It is a common theme that many false teachers and false preachers will infiltrate the church body. For example, 2 Peter 2:1 (ESV) reads:
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
Also, Jude 4 (ESV) reads:
4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
This is apparent in the 21st Century where false teachers and preachers can wreak havoc in a church body. It is critical that Christ-followers be able to discern the difference between truth and lies. The passage that stood out from the Day 167 reading was John 10:5 (ESV), which reads:
5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
This verse falls with a block of text comprising verses 1-6. Some background is helpful to better understand the text. One source of this kind of information is a reference on manners and customs of the Bible:
It is not unusual for shepherds to give names to their sheep just as we do with dogs, cats, horses, fish, etc. Every sheep recognizes his own name, and comes when called. Travelers in lands where old-fashioned sheep herding methods are still used, have noticed the readiness with which the sheep of a large flock will recognize the shepherd’s voice. Though several flocks are mingled, they speedily separate at the command of the shepherd, while the command of a stranger would have no effect on them.
Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (p. 518). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers.
Another source can be a handbook on translation (Newman, B. M., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on the Gospel of John (pp. 324–325) New York: United Bible Societies) is another good source:
The possibility that there were sheep that belonged to other shepherds in the same sheep pen evidently reflects an ancient custom, in which various shepherds brought their sheep to the same pen in the evening, to be guarded during the night by the gatekeeper. In the morning each shepherd would come to the pen and call his own sheep, and they would then follow him. Though in many parts of the world sheep are herded (that is, driven by shepherds), in the Middle East shepherds still walk ahead and their sheep follow them.
In this text, Jesus makes the significant distinction between a true shepherd of the sheep who enters the sheepfold through the proper way and a thief and robber who climbs in over a wall avoiding the gatekeeper. The sheep who are those of the true shepherd know his voice and follow him as he leads them. The sheep grow to know the shepherd’s voice by being in his presence. In the context of a Christ-follower, he or she gets to know Jesus’ voice, i.e., correct teaching and doctrine, by being in His presence through Bible engagement, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines. There are two major benefits for the Christ-follower who knows Jesus’ voice.
First, the Christ-follower who knows Jesus’ voice follows correct teaching and doctrine. He or she will not be led astray by false teachers and preachers. Second, the Christ-follower who knows Jesus’ voice will recognize that the voice of stranger, i.e., the thief and robber, is not Jesus’ voice and he or she will flee from the stranger.
This passage teaches that it is vital to know what God’s Word teaches, and that is accomplished through engaging the Bible and practicing other spiritual disciplines. And it is a process of growing in spiritual maturity that takes work and discipleship per Ephesians 4:11–14 (ESV):
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
If you are in a church that does not practice discipleship through teaching how to study the Bible, as well as carry out other spiritual disciplines, you ought to seek out another church home. It is important for every Christ-follower to be a “Berean” per Acts 17:10–11 (ESV):
10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
The Professor Grant Horner Bible Reading System is a great 500 day Bible reading plan. The following link presents a description of the plan ( https://sohmer.net/media/professor_grant_horners_bible_reading_system.pdf). My goal is to briefly share my thoughts on the passage that stands out the most for me each day.
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell. But, your destiny can change. Today can be the day of your salvation. Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved.
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