“I entered this world to render judgement – to give sight to the blind and to show those who they think see that they are blind.” – John 9:39 (NLT)
“‘If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,’ Jesus replied. ‘But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.'” – John 9:41
Over the weekend we had a conference going on (the reason for my having not posted in a few days). The entire conference was focused on Midnight Oil, and the necessity to obtain oil for our lamps before the time was too late. And there was especially an emphasis placed upon the need for us to recognize our need to obtain oil (I will go into more detail about this in a later article). So it is no coincidence that, in the midst of this conference, the Lord is having me read in John concerning spiritual blindness, and the need to recognize what we have become blind to. And the obtaining of oil is a major thing the church has been blind to for a while now.
We go from John giving account of Jesus and a discussion about spiritual blindness, straight into Jesus speaking of hearing and knowing His voice. He goes from giving sight to the blind, to providing and highlighting the need of hearing for those who are deaf.
“But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” – John 10:2-5
There is a major lack in the church of those who recognize the voice of Christ. They have followed those who did not enter in through the Gate, which is Christ, but instead they snuck over the wall into the midst of the flock (the church). And those who have failed to recognize this have failed to realize they are blind as well as deaf, for they do not recognize the true shepherd, who is Christ.
“I tell you the truth I am the Gate for the sheep. All who came before Me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the Gate. Those who come in through Me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” – John 10:7-10
“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep.” – John 10:11
“I am the Good Shepherd; I know My own sheep, and they know Me, just as My Father knows Me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to My voice, and there will be one flock with one Shepherd.” – John 10:14-16
It is interesting to me that, every time we hear or see verse 10 mentioned, it is also used in reference to the devil. And though it is true that this is the nature of the devil, that is not the thief that Jesus is talking about here. He is speaking about those who come into the midst of the flock and claim to be the shepherd. They claim to be the one who is to guide them. But their intent is vile and evil, only seeking gain for themselves. And what does Jesus say should be done by those who recognize His voice and know Him as the Shepherd? They are to run from the voice that does not speak His Truth.
We live in a culture that has fallen for the lies of the thieves in our midst. The ones who have come claiming to be there in the name of the Lord, yet they speak and teach contrary to His Truth. They are nothing more than agents of the enemy, infiltrating the camp. And we have chosen to not only embrace them, but also to only listen to their voice, or those that carry a similar sound. And their sound is deception.
These thieves have stolen away the souls of people who were once on fire for God. They have killed their spiritual lives, and have destroyed their relationship with the Father. All because they embraced a voice not of the Good Shepherd, instead of running from the stranger’s voice that they did not recognize.
It is critical to the life of a believer that we know the voice of the Good Shepherd, who is Christ. It is pivotal that we listen to Him, and run from all who attempt to steal us away. We must break away from the pastors and speakers and church leaders who claim to come in the name of Lord yet bring forth a voice that is not of Him. We must recognize the voice of Truth, which is Christ, and we must run from all others.