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Fighting Division

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Beware of those who want to steal your ear

First off I want to say that I don’t think we are done with Joseph. To be honest this morning I am not 100% sure as to why God has led me down this path for this mornings Passage, but there is a warning I want to give —Beware of the who want to steal your ear. This week has been a victorious week for me personally and, I believe, for the church. We just had VBS which was amazing. We had 13 kids who heard the gospel of Christ preached. As you look around I intentionally asked Ruth to leave the set up so that you could get a sense as to what it was like. For a small church I couldn’t be prouder of our team who made this VBS possible. Ruth did an amazing job setting the vision for this and getting things together. Sandy, Beth, Jan, Sharon Woods, and Ruth’s mother, Sharon were awesome helpers, leaders, and encouragers through this process. Cindy and Bev thank you for putting together the snack packs.
With all that was going on this week I can say that I feel like a dog on a leash. If you’ve ever walked a dog you know they try to follow their nose in this and that direction and the walker maintains the straight path knowing where they are leading their Dog. While writing this sermon I was scowering Genesis trying to get water from a dry spunge. I kept being pulled back to this mornings text with this intense warning. Beware of those who want to steal your ear. And so this is the text we are going to pour into this morning. We may go back to Joseph, honestly I don’t know. All direction that didn’t lead down this path was removed. So I emplor you to pay attention this morning. As the bible says—He who has ears let him hear.
John 10:1–5 ESV
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
John 10:1-
In order to fully understand this verse we need a little context because I don’t know anyone who is here this morning who has experience herding sheep in the biblical era.
In those days it’s not uncommon for a hired hand to protect many flocks from different shepherds throughout the night. The Shepherds would deposit their flocks into this open pen to mingle with other flocks. There weren’t really dividing factors the sheep just mingled. In the morning when it was time to graze the Shepherd would come through the gate greet the gate’s protector and begin to call his sheep. Those sheep who recognized his voice would then follow him out of the pen and the rest would stay behind.
If a thief came to steal the sheep they would avoid using the gate because they didn’t want to tangle with the gate keeper. They would climb these walls which were only about 3-4ft high and lift the sheep one by one over the wall not caring whose flock they belong too. This would cause some chaos for a short period of time as the sheep who have been taken wouldn’t necessary follow the one who was stealing them. There would be some resistance, but eventually because sheep are followers they would give up and follow.
So I believe God is giving us several warnings this morning.

Beware of those who whisper in your ear

With the abundance of flattery the thieves will divide.The devil and those he uses are slick. They come in and try to entice you. They pretend to be interested in you, but all the while they are trying to convince you that you aren’t where you are supposed to be.
Proverbs 7:21 ESV
With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him.
Here’s the unfortunate truth. Outwardly everything they say and how they appear seem rightouse. But inwardly they look to sow dark spirits of deceit, deception, and division. There are those who seek to divide who have the gumption to do it out in the open. We see this all across pulpits in America, but more dangerous are those in the local church that whisper in the halls, seek gossip in the parking lot, and spill poison in segregated places.
Genesis 3:1–5 ESV
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Notice how he sprinkles a little truth, a little sincerity in with his batch of lies. On the outside it makes you believe that God truly said that or that they have your best interest at heart, but Satan’s end game was division. Divide God from man, Divide man from women, and by doing so take the power for himself.
We see this with Samson and Delilah. Self promotion covered in concern and desire to know Samson. I only want to know how to destroy you so that it’ll bring us closer together. Don’t you trust me. Can’t you tell I have your best interest at heart. OVer and over until you are worn down and willing to walk their path.
People who try to divide God kingdom cover their efforts in caring for you all the while serving only their own interests and inflating their pride.
Jesus comes to shed light on the seperation of the two kingdoms, but not to bring division, but rather to shed light to the fact that there is an opposing force. Understand light doesn’t create two side, it just shows the line the enemy is trying to hide.
Understand Satan is trying to take the place of the Shepherd and build his kingdom.
Jesus went onto explain what he meant in this parable which will give us a little more insight to the lies he was trying to shine truth on.
John 10:7–8 ESV
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
John 10:
Jesus is calling out the Pharasees. Jesus is going and preaching truth and those who should be drawn close to him are actually trying to keep the flock. They believe they should be the leader. They believe they deserve the glory. That they should be followed and so they continue to try to divide the kingdom of Heaven, but Jesus says---listen those who went before me they were but thieves and robbers—they are not to be trusted, but rather to be called out. They are trying to cause division to maintain their power and authority not to point you to my Father’s power and authority.

The Wolf comes to scatter the flock

We see division come again in verse 12. He says
John 10:11–12 ESV
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
John 10:11 ESV
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A true Shepherd will be there in your victory and your defeat. Many of the Pharasees in the time were there to remind the people how bad life was and how they didn’t measure up. It’s a common misconception that those who are with you when life has you down are your true friends, but often we mix freindship up with those who wish to control you.
The Paharasees where there to remind them how poor they were, how unholy they were, or how powerless they were, but they refused to celebrate the victories in their life.
In Jesus heals a blind man since birth and instead of rejoicing in his victory and his freedom they tried to use this time to undermine Jesus’ authority.

Those who are thieves always seek to undermine those they are stealing from.

They desire to scatter because it’s easier to plant lies when people are alone than when they are in a larger group. Those who come to divide the kingdom will always wait until no one is around to refute them and if someone is there who shines light they tend to attack.
In once they couldn’t undermine Jesus they attempted to call the blind man a liar.

When thieves can’t convince you that your leadership is defiled, they will attempt to attack your character.

This is to stop people from following you or seeing the truth you see. They want to beat you down so that you won’t talk against them to others.

So how do we stop thieves from bringing division?

The quick answer is to walk away from those who are sent to divide. People cannot divide if they don’t have anywhere to bring division.
Simply put Jesus said I am the door.
Once the former blind man left the Pharasees he found Jesus. He went back to the truth.
John 9:38 ESV
He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
People, even those people whom you think you can trust, may be set out to divide and our only defense as a church and as a body of Christ is grow closer to God. Once the blind man was in Jesus’ presence no one could convince him that Jesus wasn’t God.
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