John #29 A Post Modern Ancient Lie
That you May Believe and have Life #29
Special thanks to our associates who have preached the last two messages
Well … we had a great trip to El Salvador. My brother who's a doctor in family medicine was with us. We failed to count the first day. But we saw between 100 and 150 patients in 4 villages and towns. We were able to baptize 6 converts in two locations. In one of the new villages, Las Tables, we saw where they are building a new church structure, one year after leading two men to Christ. There were 50 in that village on Sunday. God is very good.
So why do we travel across the ocean, across the continent, across the country, across the state, across the city, across the street? Because we do believe that Jesus is the Answer for the world.
Now, in today's way of thinking, this is NOT a very "MODERN way of viewing the World.
Why bother with evangelizing the world, we are all going to the same place aren't we?
There is a term that has been used for the last 60+ years, coined in 1949, to describe the current thinking. The term is "Post-Modernism".
Let me define it for you so we can see the Lie that is being perpetuated.
THE LIE -
According to "wikipedia" - Post-Modernism refers to a cultural, intellectual, or artistic state lacking a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle and embodying extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity, and interconnectedness.
In the broadest sense, it is a new world view with four main branches. Postmodern-ironist - which sees truth as socially constructed; scientific-rational in which truth is 'found' through methodical, disciplined inquiry; the social-traditional in which truth is found in the heritage of American and Western civilization; and the neo-romantic in which truth is found either through attaining harmony with nature and or spiritual exploration of the inner self
The key in all four of those is that there is NO strong central truth or hierarchy or organizing principle.
There is no plumb line to determine what is straight
There is no foundation on which to build
There is no cornerstone on which to line up everything else
So in essence you make your own truth and if you think it works then that's fine. Post-modernism is very simple and very complicated. It is complex because there are no governing principles
-Society can determine truth
-Rationalization determines truth so ethic can shift to fit the situation
-tradition determines truth
-or romantic thought or spiritual teaching determines truth, but those are simply based on feeling
So Post-Modernism has lead us to some dangerous things in the church today
Three terms come to mind.
The First Term is Pluralism - a theory that there are more than one or two kinds of ultimate reality; a theory that reality is composed of a plurality of entities
We live in a society in this Post Modern world, where there is no singular truth, there are no absolutes … there is no singular entity … put all our realities together and on the same level … and you have plurality
The 2nd Term is Universalism - a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved;
It doesn't matter that Jesus says "I am the way the truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me" "God is Love" so everyone is going to Heaven. That's a Post-Modern thought
Which leads to the 3rd dangerous term Ecumenicalism - Initially ecumenical was an effort to bring the larger body of Christ together. But now the thought of Ecumenicalism would bring together every religion, every spiritual path, and every way of thinking under the same umbrella, because anything else would be closed minded and intolerant.
Now, those of you who know me, know that I am a FIRM believer in Unity within the body of Christ. You also know that I love people from every back and every way of thinking. I believe in Christian denominations, with differing view on non-essentials being able to get along and work together. We may separate on certain things simply because our understanding is veiled in our humanity and imperfection.
There is a move in this Post Modern Culture that says we are ALL heading to Heaven.
No Matter what you call it … if you are seeking "God" or "Perfection" or "Peace"
Back in August when I was on my 3 day planning retreat I was scanning some books that were in this Post Modern, Universalistic, Pluralist vein. I read a "Theologian" using that term loosely and he said that since Salvation is by Grace, and we know that it is, but since it is all grace, then it can't even be based on a belief in Jesus … it doesn't matter, if it's grace you don't have to participate at all. WOW
Now I didn't say that I held this view, I said I read that from a proclaimed theologian and teacher.
The Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama was asked by a Christian "Seeker" if they could become a Buddhist as well, to which the Dalai Lama replied, "No … dig deeper in your own spiritual background" He was saying it doesn't matter WHAT you believe, just believe deeply. He said it's "better to dig ONE well 60 feet to dig 6 wells 10 feet deep."
This is a Post Modern Lie, it is an ancient lie. It is nothing new. Because either Jesus is lying or this Post Modern Ancient thinking is a lie.
It may be better to dig one 60 foot well than 6 ten foot well, but that's ONLY true if you dig where there is Water. 'Cause you can dig a 1000 foot well, but if there's no water, you'll still die from thirst.
Post-Modernism began as a way to describe a change in the world of architecture a changing or eliminating of the rules of design.
But there still must be a foundation, there still must be a cornerstone, their still are principles of structure within the architecture that must be there …
Now, that's a long introduction, but let's read what Jesus had to say and see if there is a truth that counters this Post-Modern Ancient Lie …
Now there are a lot of ways you could try and define verses 1-5 … and people were confused and could have come up with their own way of looking at this.
If we only had these verses, we could have come up with our own way of looking at this, but I really love it when Jesus does the Commentary FOR us and tells us what he is talking about.
Jesus SPOKE CLEARLY so they would understand …
And that leaves us with TRUTH
That leaves us with a Foundation on which to build a great life
That leaves us a cornerstone to line up the walls
That leaves us with a sound structure around which we can build a house that will stand for eternity. I don't care if you build a traditional house, a post-modern architectural, a Victorian structure, a castle, or a mud hut, you still need a sound structure, a cornerstone, a solid foundation … and Jesus give us TRUTH here …
Let's gather some truth here …
1. There are Multiple Pens and Flocks
1. The danger in this passage is to miss the point of the FOLD where the sheep are …
- The FOLD in verses 1-5 is not Heaven. Yes Jesus is the Only way into Heaven, but there are sheep in THIS fold that do NOT respond to Jesus as the Good Shepherd … so this is NOT heaven. The fold here is Israel … and
for us the fold is mentioned in verse 16 as sheep in another fold, and that's those of us who are Gentiles.
Within the fold of Israel and the fold of the Gentiles, Jesus has Sheep that are part of his flock.
Jesus has taught about light and darkness but now is using a picture they would be very familiar with, that of a sheep and shepherd
2. A shepherd was a leader and they understood that
Ps 100:3 know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are HIS; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
3. The problem was that the "watchmen" of the sheep, the priests and Levites had failed the flock.
Isaiah 56:10 said that Israel's watchmen were blind, they lack knowledge, they are like mute dogs who cannot bark, they lie around dreaming, loving to sleep. Isaiah says they do nothing but fill their own appetite.
This image powerful to those who heard.
4. A Sheepfold was a large enclosed stone pen. It would house several flocks at the same time. A Shepherd / Porter / Watchman would guard the flock at night. He would lay down over the opening so that any enemy would have to go through him. In the morning the shepherds would come and call out for their sheep, until their flock was gathered together
5. Each shepherd had his distinctive voice, his unique call and his sheep would respond to it and come
The Morning is COMING and he will call his sheep … who do you respond to in the morning?
Can you get up each morning and say "yes Lord I hear your voice and I will follow"
I've told you before, we are all God's creation, but we are not all his children.
We are all sheep but not necessarily in HIS flock.
2. There is a Wolf Scattering the Sheep
There is a reason that they guarded the entrance to the pen, because natural enemies, like wolves, would attack the sheep
A. The Wolf Attacks
1. all Satan needs is an opening and he will attack - the word is Harpa(d)zo to seize, carry off, to snatch out -
2. he is LOOKING for the opportunity - to snatch us away - that's the image of the thief sneaking over the wall at night to attempt to take away sheep …
3. he is an accuser of the brethren Rev 12:10
4. he is an adversary prowling like a roaring lion looking for whom he may devour
5. he is the Father of lies John 8:44
6. he is a murderer John 8:44
7. he is a tempter 1 thes 3:5
B. The Wolf Scatters
1. skorpi(d)zo - to scatter, through terror, driven by impulses to fly in every direction
2. If satan can't steal us he will scatter us
3. satan has a threefold purpose, to steal, to kill, and to destroy. He'll do his best to take us from Christ.
a. He wants to steal - the Greek word is "klepto" sound familiar … as in kleptomaniac - he steals because it is in his nature -
b. he wants to kill you - the Greek word is "thuo" - to sacrifice, to slay and offer as a sacrifice - satan doesn't just want to kill you, he wants religiously offering you as a sacrifice to himself
c. he wants to destroy - Greek - apollumi - to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin to render useless
3. You Can't Sneak In to the Flock
Now, I know that the purpose of this parable deals with coming into the Flock and that the pen is NOT Heaven, but you need to see that sneaking in won't make you part of the Flock
1. there are definitely those who are sneaking into both folds trying to steal the sheep - they are false prophets, they are false religions they are trying to steal sheep away
2. the good news is that they can't steal the sheep that really belong to the shepherd … his sheep truly know his voice and only follow him. There's a beautiful picture of the security of the believer here. Thieves and Robbers try to steal and fleece the sheep, they are simply working for their father the devil, but they can't lead his sheep out.
3. there is a principle that I want us to see … that we can't sneak into his flock. It only through hearing and responding to his voice.
"being good" is an attempt to sneak - it is pretending to be sheep of his flock, when we really are not
"joining a church" or "attending a church" without giving our heart to Christ, is attempting to sneak in to his flock
4. today's pluralistic society will call me a demon for teaching this "exclusive" or "intolerant" teaching … just like they called Jesus a demon … but can a demon make the blind see?
Christ's words may be close minded but he made the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead live, where else are we going to go? He has the words of Eternal Life.
The TRUTH - is that the Message of Christ IS a Message of Exclusivity … it IS Closed minded …
Because Truth #4 is
4. There is Only One Gate
1. The Flock of Christ comes from BOTH the Jew and Gentile Sheep Pen or Fold
2. but the Only Way OUT into the FLOCK of Christ to enjoy HIS Pasture land … is THROUGH the Door which is Christ
3. the thieves are trying to snatch the sheep and throw them over the wall, but they can't … and even if they could, they couldn't enjoy the pastureland of Christ.
4. the only way to leave the fold where you were born, and enter the Flock of Christ and enjoy his prepared pastures, is through Christ. In the last chapter the Pharisees threw the blind beggar out of the synagogue but Jesus led him into the flock of God
5. Christ leads us out of the circumstances of our birth and INTO the goodness of Salvation
6. v9 - whoever enters through me will be saved
7. Remember the Shepherd sleeping over the opening … he wasn't the opening he was literally the door by which nothing got in or out without him.
8. We remember that in chapter 8 if we continue in his Word, we know Truth and the Truth will set us free, he is a door to freedom
9. we are bound in the circumstance of our birth, that is we are bound by our condition of sin, but he in him we have salvation - "saved" - It's the Greek word sozo (sodezo) to keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; to save from suffering and perishing - that is to make well, heal, restore to health
10. Jesus Christ is the ONLY opening that takes us out of the storms of life and bring us safe and sound into his harbor.
11. Jesus Christ is the only way out of the disease of sin, away from our infirmities and into his health, wholeness and wellness
12. yes even in today's preaching it's alright to say that he is the Gate, the Door to Salvation to being SAVED
Jesus IS really the Only Door and That is the Truth
And finally our Last Truth #5 is
5. There is Only One Good Shepherd
1. Jesus said that there were thieves and makes it clear that there are other sheep inside the fold that are NOT his … so that means that there are also other shepherds … and they are thieves, they are robbers
2. In Ezekiel 34 the Lord prophesies against the bad shepherds … woe to the Shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not the Shepherds take care of the flock? He goes on to say that they eat the cream off the top, they clothe themselves in the wool, slaughter the choice animals and don't care for the flock. They don't strengthen the weak or heal the sick, or bind the injured … they don't search for strays or the lost.
3. Bottom line is those shepherds aren't good!
4. Jesus says, I am the GOOD Shepherd -
a. Greek word kalos - beautiful to look at, magnificent; good excellent in its nature and characteristics, well adapted to its ends; genuine, approved, precious
b. Jesus is by nature the only shepherd that can do for us what we need. Just as he is the only door, he is the only guide and protector to take us into the flock of God, to lead us into the pastures that are sweet and green.
c. the thief can only lead you to stolen goods that will be eventually be taken away from him
d. the one who is a liar by nature can only take you to the valley of lies. He will promise you good things but can never pay off on his promises
e. a murderer can lead you nowhere but to death
5. But Jesus came that we might have LIFE and have it Abundantly -
a. it is in his nature to lead us to life because he IS life
b. He is Limitless so he is the only one that can lead us into Abundance
c. he has all knowledge so he is the only one that can lead us into wisdom
6. he is the ONLY door, he is the ONLY Good Shepherd - so recognize and turn to him alone
Romans 2:4 - do you show contemp for the riches of his kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance
From the beginning satan has been telling the same lie, "God's way isn't the only way" - and believing that lie got us kicked out of the garden
It got the Israelites 40 years in the desert
It caused Israel to experience exile
And when we believe that lie, it steals our joy and abundance, it leads to every form of evil, destruction, it leads to death.
But Jesus came as the ONLY GOOD Shepherd the ONLY Door into the Abundance of life, real life
Hey I don't care what kind of life you are trying to build, you can use a lot of different types of architecture, ancient, Renaissance, Victorian, Modernism or Post-Modernism …
There is only ONE GATE, ONE Good Shepherd
He is the Chief Cornerstone, the Stone some builders have rejected
He is the foundation on which to build
Jesus of Nazareth the Christ, the Son of the Living God
Can you hear his voice?
Will you follow him today?