“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—-just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—-and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—-only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:14-18)
Jesus is the Shepherd of His sheep—-all those who call on the name of Christ. He knows His sheep and calls them by name. The flock of God is not a large, nameless group of people, but individuals knows of God and called by Him. God’s people include others who are different in race, nationality, and native religion than those to whom the gospel first came. All these belong to God because Jesus laid down His life for the sheep. God’s purpose in Christ is to bring all His people together in His service. Church groups maintain separate identities to accomplish a unique mission, but all have a spiritual relationship to Christ’s larger family.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, today we lift up the gift of being redeemed by our Lord. They may be different people by race, gender, and though different, they all listen when He speaks. Our Father loves them all, because Jesus laid down His life voluntarily for our benefit and then picked up His life again. He was given authority to do all of this by our Father in Heaven, and He did this because we have been redeemed through God’s grace and mercy, and given eternal life, through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection through the cross for our sins. This we ask in Jesus’ name, our Lord and Savior. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Your actions speak so loud, I can’t hear what you’re saying.”
“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father,, protect them by the power of your name—-the name you gave me—-so that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11)
Jesus cares for His people and intercedes on their behalf. God desires that all His redeemed ones be united in Christ Jesus. The unity of he church is personal, not organizational. The church of he ages is united in love and purpose as are God and Jesus. This we share with them both, beloved.
“The church was not limited in time. Jesus sought truthful disciples who would carry on His work after He ascended to the Father. He prayed for all the church through all ages. He wanted the expansion of the church to produce a unified people. Divisions of the heart among God’s believers are not His will. A united people of God can witness effectively for Him. The continuing presence of Jesus with His church brings unity, displaying God’s love to the world.” (John 17:20-23)
All believers should work for unity of hear and mind with other believers rather than engaging in that which is divine. Individual identity and mission of individual groups within Christianity must never blind us to the larger unity of the church around the world.
2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” (John 20:29)
Beloved the church can be seen from different perspectives, each of which contains part of the meaning of church: 1) a local congregation (the most frequent meaning); 2) believers in a geographical area; 3) believers in a particular time period; and 4) all believers throughout history. Jesus described His small group of followers as believers. At the same time He pointed ahead to the church of all history, the believers who could not see Jesus in the flesh and yet trusted Him for our salvation. One day Jesus will be sent back in all of His glory, and I pray for those who chose not to believe and refused to believe in anything but themselves, for that will be a hard day. It’s not our job to judge them, but judgment will be coming for us all. For those who believe with all of our heart and souls, it will be a easier day, for Christ will judge us as His brothers and sisters. It will be too late for us to tell them the good news of salvation, which is why we have from now until Jesus’ return. We don’t know the time of His return, but we must reach out to all we possibly can every day and try to save as many as is possible; not through ourselves, but through the truth of God’s Word and Jesus’ actions that it is possible for them. Never, ever stop trying to reach out. Amen