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Another sheep question


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#1 Charles Miles

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 10:12 AM

In  SS last week we were discussing the statements Jesus made in John 10 about who He is and how angry the Jewish leaders became when He answered them. He said that He had told them before but they did not understand because they were not His sheep.  "My sheep hear my voice".

Then a statement was placed on the screen that caused much discussion. Maybe made by a man named Pink.

 

"You do not have to believe to be one of His sheep. You believe because you are one of His sheep"

 

If you want to break up an adult SS class, just put that up on the board for discussion! Some people got "stuck" on the first sentence so bad that they didn`t read the second sentence. It is definitely a statement that makes one stop and think about who Jesus is, who we are, and what our relationship with Jesus has been in the past as well as what that relationship is at present. 

 

Just thought I would place this out there and see what some people, who I respect, would have to say about it. This is certainly not something to have snap judgement about, but something to let "sink in" and ask Holy Spirit to educate you on. I won`t say what my thoughts are now, I just want to see what others who are born again and live daily with Jesus and the Father in their heart have to say.

 

May God bless us all.

 

Charlie


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#2 ADVRider

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 02:02 PM

My initial thought is that it is not correct. Even if a person subscribes to divine election as taught by Calvinists, it seems to me there are many scriptures that reference the need to believe in the Savior to be His disciple. I do believe the Lord is at work in peoples' lives even before they are saved, but I think it is belief in who He is, why He came, etc. that brings you into the fold.  If one wants to suggest because of predestination, election, foreknowledge and all, that an individual is a sheep from the beginning, it does not in my view negate the need for it to become reality through belief by faith in the Son. 


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#3 Candice

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 08:58 PM

Hi Charles,
It’s difficult to take two sentences with no context. So, I looked up sheep in regards to belief, etc. in scripture.

Like John 10: “Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

There were two sheep folds: one gentile believers and then Israel. Israel was Christ’s first care but they, at least during His ministry, did not believe. Jesus said he had another fold. The gentiles who believed. So, being grafted into the branch (or sheep fold) was to be a believer. I think Arthur Pink’s full messsge or sermon would be good to read to see what he meant and get context. I think, if these two sentences were all the SS teacher provided, he kinda set up the folks —- or, at least some. Clever, but some stumble on this kind of presentation; regardless of the intent.

I can see how folks in Sunday School could get stuck because there’s just two sentences cleverly positioned. While I see what is meant here, I can’t say I fully agree without context. Who was Jesus referring to? Who is He speaking to? I think He is saying Israel isn’t in His true fold, but those who believe are His—Jew or Gentile.

I would, at split second glance and without much consideration, look at this as predestination. But, then there’s context that must be considered.

This is good to bring up Charlie as this is what we hear and ponder in everyday life, hearing in a sermon, or whatever. We can bounce off of others!


Love, Candice
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#4 Charles Miles

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 10:33 PM

I brought this up because it does provoke thought and really makes on dig down deep within their relationship with Christ. Many scriptures crossed my mind while I pondered these two sentences.  First let me say that these are not the words of Jesus, so whether one thinks they are right or wrong is not a salvation thing. As a child of the living God, and one of His sheep, I just cautiously looked this over.

 

Remember the man who was blind from birth, mentioned in John?  Jesus healed him of the blindness and the man did not even know who Jesus was when the church leaders kept questioning him over and over.  They even questioned his parents. "Who this man was, I do not know. All I know is that I was blind and now I can see!" Jesus then returned and asked the man if he knew about the Messiah, and the man said yes.  Jesus then told the man who he was, "I am He".  The man immediately believed.

 

Now, was this blind man one of Christ`s sheep before the healing?  After confessing belief in the Messiah(Jesus) I think we can all assume he is a sheep at this point. So the question posed by Rev Pink`s statement(if it is a question) is just when did the man become one of Christ`s sheep? Jesus also says that if any man come to Him, He will by no means cast him away. I knew you as you were knit in your mother`s womb.  

 

I will be first to admit that I am not exactly comfortable with Rev Pink`s statement and I will ponder it for a while, but I do think there is a possibility it is true. 

 

May the Lord bless us and keep us close to Him,

 

Charlie


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#5 Meema

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:14 AM

And then there’s this - to add to the fray - 

 

Many are called, few are chosen (Matthew 22:14) The parable of the wedding feast. The invitation went out from the king to fill the hall when the original invitees declined to attend. Not too difficult to figure out who is who in this analogy. It gets disturbing though at the punch line. That one guy, the one who came but wasn’t dressed properly - he was ejected from the party. Was he arrogant or just clueless? He heard and responded to the invitation - he either didn’t realize there was something else required of him or he didn’t care. We could debate the subtle underpins of that for eons. 

 

I’ve mulled this into the ground. I finally had to back up and stop looking at all the threads under a microscope so I could see the incredible tapestry instead.

 

Let’s establish that God is all knowing - He knows everything from beginning to end. So, let’s refer to this as God having seen the video - (actually he wrote and directed) but let’s say He’s seen the climactic ending. Further He well knows the actors and characters and how it all turns out, who is the protagonist and the antagonist. And who sides with whom.

 

Here’s the kicker though and probably the point - we don’t. All we know is the promise. We know that faith is a condition that allows for us to believe without seeing or knowing the outcome of any and all situations. We know that surrendering to His will is our best option. 

 

And - lastly - ‘they’ don’t know either. ‘They’ meaning those who either outright decline the invitation and those who go to the wedding without dressing properly. 

 

To say that His sheep know the sound of His voice is a thread - just one addition to the warp or weft. I settled this for myself by concluding there is much more to know and understand about how a work of art tapestry is woven together.

 

If I only look to the single threads I’m too close to appreciate the immense beauty of the whole thing. I choose to err on the side of respect and awe so I have to believe that I am an invitee who wants to not only hear His voice but respond dressing myself appropriately with humility and willingness to servitude. Did He foreknow that I would do this? Probably - but then He also knows how the video ends so there’s that. You can’t unknow what you know. Right?

 

The argument for predestination is not unlike the argument for universalism - everyone is either saved in the end or only the selected elite. These polar opposite doctrines always come to a myopic conclusion that mostly just keep the options open for those who don’t want to accept the first invitation and for those who do and attend but don’t want to know what is expected of them. 

 

Voltaire was an atheist who spoke about not rejecting that there is a God, “just in case”. He died in fear, scrambling to be reconciled with the church. I think he represents the guest who didn’t have a clue how to dress.


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#6 Charles Miles

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 11:30 PM

Thank you all for responding to the thoughts. There is no controversy, just thoughts about what a writer said some time ago. The statements kind of go along with the fact that we don`t praise Him to get saved, we praise Him BECAUSE we are saved. 

 

May all of you have a Merry Christmas,

 

Charlie


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