Verse of the Day – John 10:8
All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.
Jesus is the only Door, or entrance into the Kingdom of God – so if we are to enter it must be through Him. Remember, Jesus has already told us that those who would try to enter the fold some other way were simply trying to infiltrate the fold to harm the sheep. They are thieves and robbers.
There were many and continue to be many who are thieves and robbers, those who attempt to subvert the faith of Christians and who fight against God’s people. They had come before Christ, and they came while He was on the earth, and they continue to this day to walk among us. They are those who would steal away our joy and peace and fellowship. I want to look at these thieves and robbers to see their characteristics and their objectives. Jesus refers to those who came before Him and tried to play the role of prophet or Messiah. Jeremiah wrote about them in chapter 23:21-22. They were “prophets” who claimed to speak for God but never listened to hear what He had to say. There is a lot of that going on in America today – men (and women) who claim to be preaching the Word of God who don’t even know the voice of God.
I also think that the phrase “came before” can mean that they put themselves above Christ. They placed themselves in the position of most importance to the spiritual lives of those in their care. They claimed to serve Christ but in truth served self. If a “minister” places more importance on himself, his needs, or his teaching than on Jesus Christ, then that minister is a thief and a robber. They will steal from us our joy, peace, faith, and love.
Another category of thieves and robbers are those who steal from God’s flock to build their own. They are the denominations and groups that believe that they are the only way to Christ. We all know them, those who claim that their church is right and every other church is heretical and cultic. While it is true that Christ is the only way to God I do not believe that God has ordained one group or one denomination to serve as the only way to Christ. He uses all of us who are saved and His body is diverse. (there are key doctrines a church must hold to in order to be a true church, but there are also doctrines which we can disagree on from time to time and still fellowship together and serve God together.)
Satan fell when he exalted himself and said that he would be “like the Most High.” He wanted to play God. Those who place themselves and their interests before God and Christ are those who will rob us and steal from us spiritual truth and blessings. We are to exalt Christ. If we have anything to boast about it is only that He loves us and has chosen us to be His own. It is all about Him.
It is very interesting to me that there are many who try to subvert the church but Jesus says that the sheep of His fold don’t listen to the false teachers. The “sheep did not hear them.” The true elect, those who believe in Christ, will not be misled by these robbers and thieves. God will protect them and lead them away from those who would destroy faith and hope. That also means that all those who claim to profess Christ and then run off into the cults and form strange groups with false doctrines are not His sheep. Did you hear that? His sheep abide in Him. They remain. Those who are not His sheep stray, leave, and fail to come back.
Jesus is teaching the crowd and us that there will be those who try to steal from us and rob us of our faith, hope, and the fruit Christ produces in us. They will destroy our witness if they can – but He is also saying that His sheep are protected and know His voice and flee from the stranger whose voice they don’t recognize. That is why we must learn to listen to Him however He chooses to speak to us. He won’t mislead us – but the thieves and robbers can’t wait for their chance to cause us to stumble – be on guard. Over and over the Bible tells us to “watch” and to “stand fast.” We must learn to watch out for the deception of the devil and the trickery of the lost. And we must learn to stand firm no matter the trials we face. He is there with us – lean on His everlasting arms.
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