Summary: How long will we languish in our comfortable sanctuaries without seeking to follow Christ Jesus in affecting change?
How Long? – John 10: 22 - 30
Intro: A story is told of an encounter between a new young pastor and one of the members of his session. After only his 3rd Sunday as pastor of the little country church, a member of the current Session appeared at the office door asking to speak to the pastor. It seems the pastor had preached the same sermon 3 Sundays in a row. The Elder asked, “How long do you intend to use that same sermon?” --- Smiling, the young pastor answered, “Until everyone here hears, understands, and acts accordingly.”
I VS. 24 – “How long will you keep us in suspense?” Literallly, “How long are you taking our life away?” In modern GK. “How will you continue to annoy us?”
A The story reported here by John took place during the festival known today as Hannuka which usually coincides with the month of December. In 164 BCE Antiochus IV of the Selucid Empire defamed the Temple by offering sacrifices on the altar to “false gods.” Judas Maccabeus recruited an army and defeated the army that controlled Jerusalem. He had the altar in the Temple dismantled stone by stone and replaced with a new altar made of new stones that had not been hewn. Hannuka is the celebration of the successful revolt and rebuilding of the altar.
B This is the only place in the gospel of JN. Where Jesus is asked directly if He is the Messiah. Given the circumstances of what had taken place under Antiochus, one can understand why “the Jews” HAD to know and were perhaps annoyed that he wouldn’t give a direct answer.
C Perhaps the problem those gathered around Jesus were having was the same as the young pastor’s congregation was experiencing. They were listening; but, weren’t hearing.
II VSS. 25 – 26 “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.”
A The problem pointed out by John here is very common. As a parent, how many times have you told your child something they don’t hear, don’t understand, or just ignore you?
B Why did they have to ask? Hadn’t they seen Jesus heal the sick, restore sight to the blind, or explain God’s Word? It seems those around Jesus that day in the Temple were listening but, they weren’t hearing.
C Perhaps the problem was Jesus wasn’t saying what they wanted to hear! They expected the Messiah to overthrow Rome and establish a new Jewish kingdom. Instead, Jesus challenged them in way they didn’t want to be challenged. Jesus was teaching and leading them to do what they didn’t want to do even though it was what God intended.
III VS. 26 & 27 “but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me.”
A The two characteristics identifying a follower of Christ Jesus are plainly stated here. Listening and following.
B Sitting in church hearing the words of Jesus read from the Bible or hearing a sermon preached, no matter how eloquently, is not enough!
C THOSE WHO TRULY HEAR, FOLLOW! Both are necessary. Being a sponge in a pew soaking up “religion” does not make you a sheep of the shepherd or a Christian. You must listen and follow!
Concl: Today, there are many who like sermons that make them feel self-righteous, churches which do not challenge, and leadership which never asks them to change. How long are you willing to listen without following? How long will we languish in our comfortable sanctuaries without seeking to follow Christ Jesus in affecting change? How long?