Tag Archives: sheep

False Christs

In Jesus’ final message delivered to His disciples on the Mount of Olives before Judas’ betrayal of Him two days later, He told the disciples in answer to their question of when shall these things be that He was telling them and what will be the sign of His coming, “If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets.” False christs and false prophets are in our world today. There are those who are placing their faith in another Jesus, not the Jesus of the Bible (Matthew 24).

Throughout the world there are those who are believing in a Jesus whom they say is the spirit brother of the devil. They believe in a Jesus who supposedly contended with Satan for the privilege of taking on human form, coming to earth and becoming the redeemer of the world. They do not believe their Jesus is the eternal Word of God or God Himself as the Bible clearly teaches He is (John 1:1-14).

There are millions of others throughout the world who believe in a Jesus who was merely a prophet, not the Son of God. They believe their Jesus appeared to be crucified but did not die on the cross bearing the sins of the world, but ascended to Heaven having never died. They are worshipping a false christ, not the Christ of the Scriptures (I Corinthians 15:1-4).

There are millions more believing in a Jesus whom they believe to be a co-redeemer with his mother. They believe in a Jesus whose mother remained a virgin throughout her life contrary to Scripture (Matthew 13:55-56). They believe in a Jesus whose body and blood mystically appears in the transformation of the bread and wine of the communion table. They believe it is upon Peter the church is built, not Christ.

In His introductory words of Matthew 24, Jesus admonished His disciples, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” In further mentioning the coming of false christs into the world midway through the chapter, He warned “If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” But it is not possible to deceive true believers in the One True God, His Only Begotten Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit of Scripture, for it is written of Jesus in John 10:3-5, “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.” They will not follow another Jesus.

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All We Like Sheep

Jesus refers to Himself in Scripture as the Good Shepherd who leads His sheep (John 10). As sheep are commonly considered dumb animals, many characteristics in their behavior give them that connotation. David was a shepherd boy who spent many hours watching them, caring for them, protecting them. It is through his experience with them he penned Psalm 23.

Without a shepherd to lead them to green pastures, sheep will feed upon whatever they can find, including poisonous weeds. They are apt to drink from polluted water when thirsty, picking up internal parasites when not following the shepherd to the still, clean waters. When sheep are “cast down” getting themselves in a position of lying on their backs with their feet in the air unable to roll over and get up, the shepherd is there to restore them back on their feet. Creatures of habit, sheep will follow the same paths causing ruts and overgraze the same pastures turning them into wastelands without a shepherd leading them. It is the shepherd who safely guides the sheep through  mountainous passes where danger and death lurk. It is the shepherd’s rod that disciplines the flock and protects them from wild predators, from which they are defenseless. The staff is used to gently prod the sheep from getting too close to the edge of steep cliffs, keep them together moving in the right direction, and reunite separated lambs with their mothers. It is the shepherd who anoints the heads of the sheep with oil to control the flies which aggravate them. When sheep have good pasture, clean water, no fear of predators, are healthy and feel safe, they are able to lie down and not be in want of anything.

Isaiah wrote “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way,” (53:6). The herd mentality of sheep causes them to follow after one another. Without a shepherd to guide them they become scattered and leave the path that has been deemed best to lead them to green pastures, inviting all kinds of disasters upon them. David , with great clarity and an abundance of experience, declared, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” To live a life of peace and contentment, and not be led astray by wandering off on another trail, it is imperative to be led “in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.” For it is only then when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we will fear no evil. His rod and His staff will comfort us.

The Good Shepherd goes before His sheep,

The sheep follow him;

For they know His voice.

The Acceptable Offering

The boys had grown into manhood. They had been accustomed to watching their parents year after year bring an offering unto the Lord throughout their childhood. It was God Himself who had killed the first animal in the Garden, spilling its blood to provide a covering for their parent’s sin, who had disobeyed the instruction of the Creator concerning the forbidden tree. The time had come for the sons to bring their own offerings to the Lord.

Abel was a keeper of the sheep; Cain, a tiller of the ground. Abel worked with the animals all year long; feeding them, watering them, keeping watch over them. Cain was a man who had his hands in the dirt; planting seed, watering plants, harvesting crops. In the process of time both brought their offerings to the Lord. Abel brought the firstborn of his flock, a lamb without spot or blemish; Cain brought his best fruits and vegetables from his garden. God accepted Abel’s offering; He rejected Cain’s (Genesis 4).

Although Cain spent many long hours in the hot sun cultivating his plants, keeping the weeds from choking them out, and tenderly plucking the fruit from the vine, his offering was not what God required. It was understood even at that time without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin; God had demonstrated that in the Garden on that fateful day Adam and Eve found themselves spiritually naked before God, their sin obvious for all to see. It was the shedding of blood that would be required for anyone to receive God’s covering for their sin.

Knowing God’s requirement, Cain determined to forego God’s plan and conceive his own plan for redemption. He thought his plan of good works would be sufficient and God would be accepting of him. But God was not, to the point of banishing Cain from His presence after Cain’s anger at God’s rejection of his offering resulted in Cain murdering his own brother. God had warned him sin lay at his door if he refused to follow God’s commands.

All throughout the Old Testament the Temple sacrifices were conducted under God’s direction as described in the Book of Leviticus to provide what was needed to be accepted by God and for one’s sin to be covered. But then came Jesus in the New Testament the perfect Lamb of God who was to be offered once for all time for the sins of man (Hebrews 7:22-28). No more animal sacrifices would be needed as His blood was more than sufficient to make man whiter than snow. Jesus said “I am the Wayno man comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14) Any other way devised by man attempting to come into a right relationship with God the Father is unacceptable, just as it had been for Cain. Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary is able to cleanse us from all sin (I John 1:7).

Not by works of righteousness which we have done,

But according to His mercy He saved us;

by the washing of the regeneration and

renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

Titus 3:5