Who Are You Following?

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Who Are You Following?

Who Are You Following?

John 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
30  I and my Father are one.

We began to look at these verses yesterday. There is nothing more important to any person than to know the condition of their soul.
The Bible makes it clear that we should all understand that death is a sure thing for all of us. We do not know how long we will be on this earth. Generally speaking, young people go through a time where they assume they are invincible. They are young, they are healthy and they look forward to a long life on earth. They make plans and they work towards fulfilling those plans. Of course, we know that this present group of young people is not as keen on this road as others have been. More and more young people have a great lack of ambition for anything worthwhile. Part of that trend is due to the darkness within which they are raised. Fewer and fewer parents believe in a true God. There are some who have a form of religion, but it is a false religion and their children are not interested in what they have to offer.
It is extremely important to know for certain what the relationship between your soul and the God, Who gave you that soul, is. It is not just important to know where you will go when you die, but it is important to know what is the spiritual health of your soul today. The Bible is clear that we all come into this world dead in trespasses and sins. The Bible is also clear that the wages of sin is death. The Bible is also clear that we cannot save ourselves. In fact God tells us that in and of ourselves, no one is even concerned about saving ourselves. We wrongly assume we are good people and things will work out ok.
The Bible also tells us that God, in His mercy and love, intervened in the lost estate of man and provided the only way for man to deal with the need of the soul both now and into eternity. The way that God provided is through Jesus Christ.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

It is not wise to ignore what God says. Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. He is the only truth and He alone provides life to man who is born dead in trespasses and sins. In our opening verses we noted yesterday that Jesus declared that His sheep hear His voice. How can a person know if he or she has heard Jesus’ voice? Jesus tells us how we can know that. He declared that His sheep follow Him. In between the phrase: “my sheep hear my voice” and “they follow me” is the declaration by Jesus that He knows His sheep.

Matthew 22:12  And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

That man had a problem. He was not appropriately dressed for the wedding and thus was not allowed in. This does not at all suggest that some will sneak into heaven without being saved. It is a picture of those who want to partake in certain aspects of God’s blessings, but they do not want to enter into a right relationship with the Lord. That is where the Jews were at in Jesus’ day. Most of them liked the miracles and the food. However as we see in John 6, they did not like the terms of salvation. Many of them left Him at that point.
From our text it is important to note that Jesus knows those that are His sheep. No one can act their way into Christianity or into heaven. Idle words mean nothing. A person can protest and claim to be saved all they want however Jesus knows those that are His.

Matthew 15:8  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

Jesus knows what is going on in your heart and in mine. A person can act as pious as they want or can act as vile as they want. No one will fool Jesus with what is really going on. We generally assume the vile person is lost. We are less likely to assume the pious person is lost. Ultimately it is not our judgment of a person that determines their spiritual nature. God gives us His Word so that we can make wise judgments with regard to friendships, etc. However, we cannot see the heart of man. God can and His judgment is always right. In the Gospels we read that Jesus chose 12 disciples. He chose them from different walks of life. He called each one to come and follow Him. Each of the 12 followed Jesus. Yet, in John 6:70 we read:

John 6:70  Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

That was quite a shocking statement to the disciples at that time. Judas Iscariot was following Jesus physically, but not spiritually. The Bible tells us that Judas was a thief. Jesus never stole anything. He never tried to trick anyone into giving Him money. When the Jews accused Him of not paying the Temple tax, He sent Peter to the sea of Galilee to take the first fish he caught and in that fish’s mouth there would be the taxes that Peter and Jesus were required to pay.
Following Jesus is more than just making a physical appearance. A person can try to be faithful in church attendance and still be lost. A person can be baptized by immersion and still be lost. A person can be a member of a local church and be lost. Following Jesus rightly comes from the heart. It comes from a heart that is changed by God through the new birth. No true Christian is without sin, but there is a fundamental difference in the life of a true child of God.

II Corinthians 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

The Bible does not have a list somewhere that a person can check and see if they meet all those things on that list and thus claim to be good enough. God gave the nation of Israel Ten Commandments to demonstrate His righteous standard. Those Ten Commandments were and still are the law. No human being has ever been able to keep them perfectly.

James 2:10  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

The danger is that a person assumes that since we are not saved by law keeping, then let us just live as we please.

Romans 6:1  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

It is a foreign concept that a true child of God should live in sin. God directed John to write:

I John 3:4  Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Every time I sin, I have broken one of God’s laws. However, I am not saved by law keeping. I am saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If I am saved I will follow Jesus from my heart. It will not be an outward facade. It will be a genuine walk with the Lord.
When a true Christian sins, the Holy Spirit Who indwells them will be working in their heart to show them the importance of repentance and confession of that sin. The true child of God will desire to serve God faithfully, because their heart has been changed. There will be a genuine life-long change that has taken place and is becoming more and more evident as the true saint lives on this earth.
Biblical salvation is not complicated. The devil in his subtilty has helped lost people to develop much false doctrine to try to create confusion. The good news is that God is bigger than the devil. He has sent the Holy Spirit to work in the heart of each person to show them clearly what the truth is. If a person will follow the work of the Holy Spirit in their heart, they will come to the truth. If they refuse to follow that work, they will remain lost.
Today is the Lord’s Day. It is a day where we can prove whether we are following Jesus or not. It is the day where a true child of God will be led by God to go to a true church. If a person is following Jesus, they will go to a true church today. If they are not following Jesus they will do their own thing. Many will justify that as good enough. Keep in mind, Jesus knows your heart. You will answer to Him and Him alone. If you will take God’s Word and desire Him to examine your heart today, you will know whether your heart is in His hand or not. The danger is self-deception. Don’t follow your heart. Follow Jesus today.
Pastor Bartel

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