Lambs and Sheep
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29.
Let us notice, dear young believer, seven things in regard to the sheep of Christ’s pasture.
The Peculiarity of the Sheep
The Lord Jesus calls them, “My sheep.” All who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour have been brought into this blessed relationship to Him; that is, they now belong to Him. They are His unique possession, His private property; moreover, they are His by election (Eph. 1:4), by redemption (Acts 20:28), by adoption (Rom. 8:15), and for infinite duration (John 10: 28).
“His very own, His very own,
Wonderful grace in His Word made known;
Chosen by the Father, purchased by the Son;
Sealed by the Spirit, I’m His very own.”
We are called a “peculiar people” in Titus 2:14. This word when rightly understood is full of meaning. To be a peculiar people is not to be queer in our dress, ungracious in our manner, or rude in our conversation. It is to be emphatically and distinctively the Lord’s own people; and therefore, to be especially near and dear to Him. How precious it is to hear Him say, “My sheep,” and to realize that we are His very own! It has been said that perhaps among all the animals in the world none is so utterly foolish, helpless, and weak in facing danger as the sheep. No man shows more tenderness and care to those over whom he has charge than does the shepherd. How befitting to see the Lord Jesus Christ as the wise, strong, ever-loving, and tender Shepherd; and ourselves the foolish and wayward sheep. We are His sheep; consequently, He calls us to Himself and cares for us. Why? Because we have cost Him so much. We were bought with a price, the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is as true of the tender lamb as it is of the older sheep.
The Privilege of the Sheep
“My sheep hear My voice,” asserts the Good Shepherd. The hearing of His voice truly is the earmark on the sheep. We heard His life-giving voice at the time of our conversion, and now that same voice sustains the life He imparted to us. If we really are His lambs and sheep we will know His voice. When last did we hear His voice? How heart-searching is this question! If His voice is not heard by His own, they eventually become like them that go down to the pit (Psa. 28:1).
The story is told of a man in India who was accused of stealing a sheep. He along with the rightful owner, was brought before the judge. Both men laid claim to the sheep, and both had witnesses to testify to their respective claims. The judge knowing something of the habits of shepherds and sheep, ordered the sheep to be brought into the courtroom. One of the two men claiming the sheep was led from the court into an adjoining room. The other was forced to call the sheep in his usual manner. The sheep made no indication of recognizing the voice. The man in the adjoining room became impatient and gave his usual little call; immediately ownership was decided, for the sheep bounded to the door of the room in which his rightful master was shut.
The Path of the Sheep
The Lord Jesus in speaking further declares, “They follow Me.” This is the foot-mark. One of the characteristics of the Lord’s lambs and sheep as given by Himself is, “They follow Me.” This pathway commences at the cross of Calvary and consummates in the crown of glory. Brethren and sisters, we have been given the great privilege of following the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is recorded of the first disciples at Thessalonica, “They became followers of the Lord,” even in a path that entailed much suffering and affliction (Thess. 1:6). Let us prove to all that we have Christianity in very truth by following the Lord. To follow the Lord involves walking the pathway of obedience to His Word (John 10:28), and the doing of that which is well-pleasing to Him (Col. 1:10).
The Perceptibility for the Sheep
“I know them.” We do not know for sure who are Christ’s and who are not. “The Lord knoweth them that are His” (2 Tim. 2:19). Many times we judge wrongly concerning those who are Christians; therefore, we are not competent judges. Christ knows His own sheep and calls them by their names.
The Portion of the Sheep
What a word of assurance! “I give unto them eternal life.” Note the kind of life we have, eternal life. If any are in doubt, let them turn to God’s Word and take it at its face value. He calls it eternal life, and if it could come to an end, it would not be eternal. Be sure of this, God never repents for having given us such a gift. May we enjoy this blessing and live in the power of this life that we possess. The Good Shepherd, not only gives His life for the sheep, but He gives His life to the sheep.
The Promise to the Sheep
How blessed that such “shall never perish!” The believer on the Lord Jesus is saved completely from sin’s doom (John 5:24), sin’s dominion (Horn. 6:14), and will be saved from sin’s domain when Christ returns in His Second Advent. Here then is the promise of salvation to all of Christ’s flock, a promise that embraces the past, the present, and the future.
The Preservation of the Sheep
“Neither shall any pluck them out of My hand.” These words present a challenge to every antagonistic power. His sheep are safe and secure in the hands of Christ and of His Father, God. There is no terrestrial or infernal power that could pluck them out, and there is no celestial power that would. Some may say, “But I can take myself out or jump out.” No, my friend, God’s hand is closed tightly and holds His sheep and lambs securely. His hand is one that grips. May our hearts be led to seek Him daily, to hear His voice, and to follow Him until He calls us home or comes to take us there.