Good Shepherd sermon part 2
THE PORTER’S JOB
To Him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth His Own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when He putteth forth his own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice.
And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
Who is the ‘porter’?
The doorkeeper of the fold is watching the sheep, as they are inside the hedge wall of protection, behind a closed door, safe and secure, and awaiting the Good Shepherd. The ‘porter’ is the watchman, the under shepherd, and he has the sheep ready for the return of the Good Shepherd.
He opens the door, at the sunrise, and typifies the readying work of the pastors of this last day time, getting the sheep ready and prepared for that final departure from this earthly sheep fold, to that heavenly home for all the flock of the Lord.
It was at the dark time that the ‘porter’ watched over the flock. The Good Shepherd had departed to prepare a place for the sheep to be taken, out of this dark world, to a heavenly home.
John 14:1-3 (KJV)
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
The flock of the Lord in the New Testament time were not safe in the fold, they failed to even recognize that Jesus was the Messiah, the Good Shepherd Who had come to save them. They should have known, the ‘porters’ of the ages had called out the message to them. Daniel had predicted to the day, the day that the Good Shepherd would arrive.
Zechariah 9:9 (KJV)
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Now, the church is the flock of God. We are encouraged to build the flock to great size, and to be ready for His coming. He is coming again, and the porters are to have the flock ready. We, like they of that time of this verse above, are called upon to REJOICE and to SHOUT, for our King Jesus is coming to us. We are in the last days, uncertain of how long we have to go, but sure that it cannot be long. The world is getting worse and worse, sin is horrendous, and seemingly everywhere. The crime is increasing, the love is decreasing, the dangers of earthly life are more than we ever thought we would see. Yet, we are to look up, for our redemption, i.e. King Jesus, draweth nigh.
Jesus came the first time, riding on a donkey and its colt. (Matt. 21:1-9). Soon, Jesus will rapture us away, and then seven years later, we return with Him, and He will not then come so humbly. He shall come as King Jesus. King Jesus will judge the unreliable, unrighteous, evil, criminal human leaders of nations. King Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will come to completely restore His flock.
The time when Jesus first came, some valued Him for a mere 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave. Yet, when He comes the next time, it will be as King Jesus. He comes to claim the earth as His possession, His creation, and He will rule as a Theocracy. Do not fret the news reports, do not despair the elections of the world, do not worry over global warming or economic, fiscal cliffs. King Jesus will rule, and the scoundrels of this world that are good at creating crisis, condoning sin and degradation will be removed from power.
We are told to shout and to rejoice, for King Jesus has already come, and paid the price for our sins on the cross, has been resurrected by conquering sin and death, has departed to intercede for us, and will return soon as conquering King!
The porters are to be ready to open the door, and to allow the Good Shepherd to find a flock ready, anxious, and pure before Him.
THE WORK OF THE PORTERS OF THESE LAST DAYS
IS TO HAVE THE FLOCK PREPARED
FOR THE GOOD SHEPHERD TO COME
AND TAKE THE FLOCK AWAY.
John 18:36-37 (KJV)
36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom not from hence.
37 Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born,
and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, did claim to have a ‘kingdom’, but not one that was instituted of mankind on this earth. His kingdom was not a ‘kingdom’ as the Jews and the Romans understood a ‘kingdom.’ They were charging Jesus with endeavoring to fix authoritatively a kingdom on this earth, to overthrow the Roman domination, to establish a Davidic kingdom for that immediate time. This would required arousing sedition against Caesar, and warfare to establish a land without Roman occupation.
King Jesus says that His kingdom is not of this world. He has earned and is owed ‘kingship’, but there is no control set up on earth, of which He has been proclaimed to be King, in control, reigning over this sinful world. The nature of earthly kingdoms is far different from the kingship that Jesus desires.
The Kingdom of Jesus was not initiated for the same function as earthly kingdoms are. Jesus’ kingdom is not conducted on the plan of earthly kingdoms.
Jesus immediately shows a circumstance in which His kind of kingdom, and earthly kingdoms greatly differ. The kingdoms of this present world are defended by armies, by weapons, by defense from enemy attacks.
Earthly kingdoms maintain armies and operate wars. If King Jesus had that kind of kingdom, He would have raised an army, began to raise turmoil in the hearts to encourage warfare against Rome.
Jesus was arrested unarmed in a garden where He had been praying. He healed the severed ear of one of those there to arrest Him. He rebuked Peter for raising a sword in defense. He had encouraged paying what belonged to Caesar to Caesar. Jesus was obviously not here to set up an earthly kingdom.
Jesus was instituting a kingdom over the heart, over the evil sins seeking domination of the souls of mankind. He was wanting to rule over evil passions, over corrupt desires, over hatred and variance. He wanted to be King of the hearts of mankind. He wanted a kingdom of love, peace, unity with God.
That kind of ‘kingdom’ is not of this world. The ‘king’ of many on this earth serve the devil as their king. He rules their passions, he rules their desires and motives. The ‘kingdom’ that Jesus was here to claim in that first coming, was a ‘Kingdom’ that de-throned the devil from men’s hearts.
1 Timothy 6:13-16 (KJV)
13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;
14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
15 Which in His times He shall shew, Who is the Blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light Whom no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to Whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
Jesus gave a true witness to Pontius Pilate. Jesus spoke truth, and gives us ‘commandment’, to be ‘un-rebuke-able’ as was Jesus. We are not here to overthrow kingdoms, we are waiting for our "King" of our hearts to come. Then, He will rule, and all other kingdoms will cease, for He rules, not be armies, but by the love of mankind for Him.
Psalm 45:3-6 (KJV)
3 Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty.
4 And in Thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and Thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
The Lord is not going to conquer people and enslave them into His kingdom. He is going to rule those with changed hearts, ruled via their love for King Jesus.
Isaiah 9:6-7 (KJV)
6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
It is the ‘zeal’ of the Lord that creates this kingdom. The zeal to have Jesus as ‘King’ is what creates and sustains this kingdom. No one will ever be forced to obey King Jesus, for He wants only those who have a zealous love for Him.
Daniel 7:14 (KJV)
14 And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Jesus announced His claim to this kingdom, riding on a donkey, adored and worshiped by loving disciples. He came ‘lowly’, not with conquering armies. He wants loving adoration, to rule our hearts, while we lovingly shout ‘amen’.
Zechariah 9:9 (KJV)
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Pilate asked ‘Art thou a king then?’ Jesus answered, "Thou sayest," which was the equivalent to "yes". Jesus is King, and Jesus was not denying to being ‘King’, but He was not the kind of ‘king’ this world has ever known.
"To this end", Jesus says that He was ‘born’, and ‘came into this world’. His birth was not a man-alone, but He came from another world, a ‘heavenly kingdom’, and became a man, dwelling amidst us in this world.
John 3:12-16 (KJV)
12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man Who is in heaven.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Jesus came to reign. With millions of angels, He could easily dominate this sinful world, and enforce righteous works to be done. Yet, the harder kingdom to conquer is the kingdom of the heart, and that is done through conquering sin, and its punishment, and instilling in the hearts of men, a love. Jesus ‘bore witness’ to this truth, of a Kingdom of love and adoration for the King of kings.
Jesus did not want to assert power, to collect armies; to subdue people by battle. King Jesus wanted to present truth, exercise dominion by the truth. The only power put forth to restrain wickedness, to convince the sinner to willingly, anxiously submit to King Jesus, to sanctify sinners to righteousness, is the love and mercy of the King.
We can be made to see that we are sinners, dependent only on a merciful God, a loving Redeemer, the Lord Jesus, our chosen King of kings. We choose to submit and yield wholly to His reign.
We see in this world kings, presidents, senators, congressmen, dictators, and rulers of all kinds. Some will seek a vote, some demand obedience, some punish rebels, some lie to deceive about their intentions, some are forcefully rule.
Jesus came to be ‘KING’ and will only be King by love, not by deceit and force.
This ‘kingdom’ is here, now! John the Baptist preached, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Jesus followed and said ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.". (Matthew 3:2, 4:17)
The hold of the former kingdom, is sin, guilt, shame. We exit that evil kingdom of the devil by ‘repentance.’ We ‘repent’ of choosing sin and evil, and we enter the kingdom of heaven. King Jesus becomes our King, not by forcing us to not sin, not by locking us up in chains. We enter His kingdom when we ‘repent’ of being in any other kingdom. We choose, via our repentance, to enter into the kingdom of King Jesus.
This is not a kingdom of the millennium, or later, this is a kingdom we can be in now. We enter it, at a moment of our choosing, and to enter this kingdom, we recognized Jesus, the Son of God, the Redeemer from sin, to be our King Jesus.
We, the ‘flock of the Good Shepherd’ have joined this kingdom, while here in the sheep fold. We await the One Who is already our King, and we await Him to come, as the Good Shepherd, and take us to a heavenly sheep fold.
calleth his own sheep by name
Shepherds give names to their sheep as we do to dogs and horses. The sheep recognize their own name and come when called by the shepherd. Even when flocks mingle, they will disunite at the call of their shepherd. The flock of Jesus know that He loves us enough to have a special name for each of us, and we hear His voice when He calls. He will soon call us by name, and we shall ascend with Him into the clouds, and then on to heaven.
He goeth before them
Shepherds go before their flocks to lead them to good grass and water. Jesus went away to prepare a place for us. He has prepared a heavenly mansion for each of us, and there are rivers of living water flowing down to twelve gates of that city. We have streets of gold, crowns of glory, and robes of righteousness in that place. We will rejoice before His throne.
the sheep follow Him
Sheep follow the shepherd, and no attention to strangers. We, the flock of the Good Shepherd, have ‘porters’ who are to be preparing us for the coming, and our departing from this fold. The sheep will know the voice of the Good Shepherd, when He calls us, with ‘come up hither’.
THE COMING OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD,
TO RESCUE THE FLOCK,
"AFTER THIS, I LOOKED AND BEHOLD, A DOOR WAS OPENED IN HEAVEN AND THE FIRST VOICE WHICH I HEARD WAS AS IT WERE A TRUMPET TALKING WITH ME, WHICH SAID, 'COME UP HITHER !'"
I Thessalonians 4:15-17
"WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN UNTO THE COMING OF THE LORD SHALL NOT PRECEDE THEM THAT ARE ASLEEP (dead)--FOR THE LORD HIMSELF SHALL DESCEND WITH A SHOUT (Rev. 4:1), WITH THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL, AND THE TRUMP OF GOD, AND THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST, AND THEN WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN SHALL BE CAUGHT UP (Greek = harpadzo, to catch away out of harm's way) TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR, AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD."
"WATCH YE THEREFORE AND PRAY ALWAYS THAT YE MAY BE ACCOUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS THAT SHALL COME TO PASS AND TO STAND BEFORE THE SON OF MAN."
I Corinthians 15:51-52
"BEHOLD, I SHOW YOU A MYSTERY, WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP (die), BUT WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED. IN A MOMENT, IN A TWINKLING OF AN EYE, AT THE LAST TRUMP--FOR THE TRUMP SHALL SOUND (Rev. 4:1, I Thess. 4:15-17) AND THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED INCORRUPTIBLE, AND WE SHALL BE CHANGED..."
II Thessalonians 2:1
"NOW WE BESEECH YOU BRETHREN, BY THE COMING OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND BY OUR GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM..."
II Thessalonians 2:7-8
"...HE THAT LETTETH (hinders) WILL LET (hinder) UNTIL HE BE TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY, AND THEN SHALL THAT WICKED ONE BE REVEALED..."
There are a number of Greek words that are translated to describe the rapture.
HARPADZO =to be caught away, out of harms way by force
EKPHUGEIN = To escape away from a dreaded person or thing
APOLUTROSIS = to take unto oneself a valued object
All three of these indicate that the rapture would be BEFORE the thing raptured can be harmed. For this and a number of other reasons, I believe the rapture is before the tribulation. For if the Lord were going to come in the middle of the tribulation, or at the end, why would He use words that indicate He will catch us away out of harm's way...
If a truck were bearing down toward you, and I saw it coming... and said... "Don't worry, I will snatch you out of harm's way..." Do you want me to do it:
Obviously, you would want it to be "pre-truck"... and if the Lord is going to take us "out of harm's way"... it would be "PRE-TRIB.
We, the porters, of this last day, have a duty to get the flock ready for the coming of the Good Shepherd. It is time we busy ourselves with that duty. It is a blessed one, for we too, should be longing for that call from the clouds, COME UP HITHER.
VOICES OF FALSE SHEPHERDS
And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers
There are many false shepherds out there, and from amidst the flock sometimes there arises a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’. The true lambs of the Lord, draw nearer to their Lord when false shepherds, wolves in sheep’s clothing speak out their lies. We do not want to follow a strange voice, spouting strange doctrines, not consistent nor harmonious with the voice of the Good Shepherd.
John spoke of the wolves that ‘went out from us’ in his day.
I John 2:18-28
"Little children, it is the last time, and as ye have heard that the antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
In these last days, many false doctrines have arisen, spawned by the devils, but purported by wolves in sheep’s clothing. These false doctrines are evil, wicked, and damaging to the max in the church. They keep revival away, they hinder the salvation of more people to Jesus. The corrupted doctrines of devils that is then taught by these ‘antichrists’, these wolves in sheep’s clothing, deceive congregations, depress those that believe them, and defunct the gospel message that should be taught.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 (KJV)
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
False doctrines are spoken in many congregations, in many of the sheep folds of our Good Shepherd. We need to battle such heresies, for they are poison to truth, separate congregations from the soul winning, miracle packed congregations they should be. We need instruction from the Word of God of ‘what’ is the "truth". We need to quit being wimpy, and warn against the error, the heresy, and the false doctrines of our day. Then we need to understand that God will help us avoid error.
The ones with the false doctrines are called (by John) to be "antichrists" (I John 2:18), "liars" (I John 2:22), and "seducers" (I John 2:26). Here in this sermon, the Lord calls them ‘strangers’. They are not of Christ, they are not in love with the Good Shepherd. They are intent on fleecing the flock of the Lord, and making themselves rich or powerful using the flock. They are strange when compared to the Good Shepherd.
Those of John’s day were a philosophical and religious group that taught that knowledge, rather than faith, is the key to salvation. It was a divisive and destructive force in Christianity from the first to the sixth century. Many forms and variations of it survive even today. We are warned by Paul’s writings (from God) that these ‘doctrines of devils’ would make a re-appearing in greater power in the last days.
We are not to give them ear, we are not to follow them, for they will lead the flock away from the safe sheep fold the Good Shepherd has provided.