“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29)
Throughout John 10 Jesus spoke of His role as shepherd of the flock of God. The Lord as Shepherd was a familiar image to the Jews. This truth gave them great comfort and it gives that comfort to us as well. The image tells us that He knows each of us personally and we know Him and follow His voice. Like sheep we trust our shepherd to lead and guide us for we depend on Him to keep us safe and nourished.
And yet today so many of the sheep seem to be led astray by shepherds who masquerade as servants of God. Now no real Christian will be fooled by outward pagans and teachers of non-Christian sects and religions. Their lies are obvious. Yet many fall prey to preachers and pastors who claim to speak for the Lord, who use the word of God to preach heresy and false doctrine. These include many denominations which allow their opinions, experiences, desires and feelings to reinterpret truth. These redefine sin, turning it into godliness. Thus many continue to sin thinking themselves blameless while in reality they are in rebellion against the Lord.
Many other false teachers twist the Scriptures around to make it seem that God promises prosperity, healing, and ease to those who will heed their words, to those who will give their cash, to those who will perform certain acts of worship and sacrifice. I know this because when I was a young Christian I fell victim to such teaching. The false teacher gave just enough truth to keep me hooked for several years. When I began to study the word of God systematically I came to discern the truth from the lies which, I was astonished and humbled to find, were considerable.
Such false teachers prey upon people’s fears as well as their pride. Such preachers are out to build their own kingdom not the Lord’s. The true sheep may be led astray, but will always come back to the Lord, as I was. He will not let them be taken from His fold. Therefore we must heed the word of God as spoken by Godly shepherd who are living, humble, and dedicated to preaching the truth no matter the cost to them.