First a history lesson (today were going to talk about history, theology, and science)

Jesus is back in Jerusalem during another celebration…Hannukah…I know many do not understand this holiday so bear with me as I give a brief, simplistic explanation

Hanukkah is tied to a time when Israel was struggling for existence. In 167 BC, Israel was under the rule of Antiochus Epiphanes (Greek for “God Manifest”), who was known for his cruelty and delusions of deity. His enemies mockingly referred to him as Antiochus Epimanes (“madman”).

Among many atrocities he committed to Hellenize Israel (Take away their faith through Greek logic and understanding), Antiochus desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem, dedicating it to Greek gods and even sacrificing a pig on the altar. One of the problems the nation also felt during this time was the Jewish leadership was compromising with Antiochus rather than standing for God’s word.

A family of Jewish priest called the Maccabees stood against him and eventually won the temple back and rededicated it to the Lord. Legend states there was only enough oil to keep the lamp in the temple burning for one day, however; the temple lamp stayed lit for the 8 days it took to make more oil

During Hanukkah, the priest would examine themselves to see how they align with truly being good shepherds for the people of Israel, they would reflect on the passage from Ezekiel 34 to see reflect the good shepherd or the evil shepherds described in that prophecy.

John 10: 22-24

It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 23 He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

This is just a few months before Jesus would be crucified for over two years, he has been traveling the countryside, healing, feeding, speaking the words of life. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, he fulfilled the prophecy from Isaiah that the Messiah would open blind eyes. Either the people were truly ignorant of God’s word (even the blind man knew of the prophecy of the Messiah opening blind eyes) or they simply were trying to discredit or trick him in some way.

From a very practical point we are told Jesus is walking in Solomon’s colonnade, this is a section in the temple protected from the winter weather where the most people would have been huddling to stay out of the weather. He purposefully went to this area with the most people.

John 10: 25-30

Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

Jesus is making some very clear statements about your and my security in the Kingdom, I will deal with that in a moment but first he is also making it very clear that he and the Father are “one” Jesus and the Father are unique personalities each with their specific purposes however as John shows us, In this passage specifically, Jesus’ will is identical to the Father’s regarding the salvation of His sheep. And yet absolute identity of wills involves identity of nature. Jesus and the Father are One in will and also in nature for both are God. Examples Philippians 2:6 and Colossians 2:9

Jesus is stating our salvation is secure in Christ. We can not lose it by any outside force or even by our sin or sin nature but as Jesus described in the parable of the sower; Matthew 13:1-9 we can choose, because of free will to walk away from salvation. It would be stupid and everything within us would be crying out to remain in God’s hand but we have been given the gift of free will. If not, then all evil can be blamed on God.

Let’s define that term, “salvation”

Theology WARNING you are about to learn some basic theology

Salvation – awkward term in how people use it versus the Biblical definition. Let’s think of salvation as a verb, an action term!

The past tense of salvation is Justification – separation from the penalty of sin, your passport to heaven is stamped not something you earned but a free gift, your get out of hell free card completed by Jesus on the cross.

The present tense of salvation, is separation from the power of sin – sanctification, if you are an unbeliever, you are in bondage to sin, you have no choice, you don’t have the power to overcome sin. But as believer’s, because of the Holy Spirit in us, we have the ability to be separated from sins power over our lives. As a believer you have a supernatural access to the Father through the Holy Spirit that a non-believer does not have. That is why I expect unbelievers to always act like unbelievers. They don’t have the power to overcome their own fallen nature. However, daily through the power of the Holy Spirit we are daily being separated from our sin and fallen nature

The future tense is separation from the very presence of sin – glorification. It is when we arrive in heaven. In heaven sin won’t be present in any way. There can no longer be any presence of sin in heaven. There will be a new heaven and new earth established to make sure that is the case because in the presence heaven, because of the promises and word of God Satan has access to the throne. I’m not sure why God would allow this but we read in the book of Job that it happens. This I believe is one of the reasons for the creation of a new heaven. But as far as we are concerned there will be no sin for us to deal with in heaven.

Justification is for us, it declares us righteous even though we are not, it makes us righteous. It removes the guilt and penalty of sin.

Sanctification is in us. It removes the growth and power of sin in our lives (it is a daily process)

Because salvation is a free gift that can not be earned it is ours for the taking but also ours for the rejecting. We don’t lose it because of sin, God is greater than our sin but we can reject this gift because of free will but that is not as easy as it may seem.

I was raised under the theology of eternal security and understand it but to me all it does is violate God’s great love for us giving excuses for our negligence of the free gift of salvation. However total Arminian free will neglects the reality of the sovereign power of an almighty God. All I’m asking you today is to believe that God is bigger than your theology and rest in His salvation.

As a side not, in the parable of the prodigal son notice he did not lose his “sonship” but his inheritance. I’ll leave that for some of you to chew on a little more.

John 10: 31-33

Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. 32 Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?”33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”

If ever we are going to miss an important point, God always uses the religious leaders to stress it for us…..They heard Jesus once again proclaiming that he is God. You and I might have missed it but they didn’t.

Jesus deals with their theological weakness

John 10: 34-38

Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ 35 And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ 36 why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. 37 Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. 38 But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”

Jesus is quoting Psalm 82 here where God is really mocking the arrogance of the rulers who believe they are Gods. But Jesus goes on to prove he is not just a son of God but “the” son of God. He stresses to them look at the things I have done rather than getting caught up in looking for things to persecute me about look at the healings, the miracles, the lives restored, the truth I’ve shared….If you see all that then know that I am from the Father and the Father is in me.

The truth is important….we live in a culture where truth is labeled as relative. Science truth tells us that when an embryo is created it has separate DNA from the mother it is a totally separate human being but our cultural truth says it is part of the woman’s body and she can do as she pleases with it. Science tells us there are chromosomes that are XX and XY and they determine the sex of a human being but our culture says it doesn’t matter what science says only how I feel but what happens if those feeling change, as most do by the time they are 18. By the way, God created them male and female. We could go on. Brokenness is everywhere and we are called to bring healing to the broken.

Our culture and nation are falling apart because we have forgotten truth. Jesus was trying to point them to the truth but many still wouldn’t have but some chose to walk in freedom. His sheep know His voice!

John 10: 39-42

Once again, they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them. 40 He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. 41 And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” 42 And many who were there believed in Jesus.

It is interesting that the religious had their minds made up and were not open to the truth of Jesus, like many of our educators of higher institutions and leaders in government can’t grasp the truth but those in the countryside, the common people saw the simple truth. “what John said about this man was truth, we have seen the evidence of who he is and we believe”

Are you his sheep today? Are you daily in the process of sanctification becoming more like Him? Do you give in to cultural relativity or do you believe and stand on God’s word