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What the Bible says about Voice of the Shepherd
(From Forerunner Commentary)

John 5:25

Jesus Christ's declaration is interesting because the subject directly involves a resurrection, and it is also tied to a vital process that sets the elect apart. The key words in this verse are "hear" and "dead."

We need to add a thought from Ephesians 2:1: "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins." Before God's calling, even though we were physically alive, we were spiritually dead because of sin. However, John 5:25 says that the dead "hear" His voice. Similarly, those who are spiritually dead cannot "hear" God's Word until they are called, made part of the elect, and enabled by God to hear and thus understand His Word clearly.

Another important factor appears in Hebrews 10:38: "The just shall live by faith." Also, Ephesians 2:8 says that we are "saved by grace through faith." Romans 10:17 adds, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Finally, in John 6:63, Jesus clinches the point: "The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life."

This linkage of truths makes vitally clear the importance of the calling and election by God. His enabling of us to "hear" is what begins to sweep away the spiritual blindness that has kept us ignorant of the purpose He is working out here below. This miracle of hearing gives rise to truly effective faith. It makes God's Word truly logical and believable, making commitment in obedience to His purpose possible.

Yet, what if a person cannot "hear" what God is saying? None of these saving elements comes to pass in life because no faith is produced!

Jesus utters another awesome, humbling truth in John 10:3-4, 6, 16:

"To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice." . . . Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. . . . "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd."

He describes our calling and relationship with our Shepherd—Himself—in intimate and personal terms. "He calls them by name." He personally leads them out of their pen, a symbol of the world in which we are held captive, enslaved, and spiritually dead. Conversely, verse 6 plainly depicts the spiritual condition of the uncalled: They did not understand. God had not enabled them because He was not calling them to be a part of His purpose at that time. Thus, the miracle that opens our minds so we could "hear" was not performed on them.

Romans 8:30 adds another startling truth: "Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and who He justified, these He also glorified." Only the called are justified! Justification through repentance and the atoning blood of Jesus Christ is what permits us into the presence of God, enabling further growth to glorification in God's Kingdom!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Six)

John 10:1-5

In the illustration many sheep are in an enclosure where several flocks come together for the night. The shepherd comes in the morning to lead them to their pasture, and he calls to his sheep by name. Though the individual flocks had become hopelessly intermixed during the night, the shepherd's sheep hear his voice and separate themselves from the larger flock.

Notice how often Christ emphasizes the voice of the shepherd in this short section: "The sheep hear his voice" (verse 3); "The sheep follow him, for they know his voice" (verse 4); "They do not know the voice of strangers" (verse 5). When the shepherd speaks, the sheep go to him immediately.

When "voice" is used in the New Testament, the writers all chose the Greek word phone, meaning "sound" or "spoken word." But phone can also mean "an address as to a group of people, a speech." Phone derives from phaino, meaning "to enlighten" or "to shine." From this root meaning springs the fact that phone can mean "disclosure" or "revelation" through an address or speech—a message!

This is its figurative meaning in John 10. The true and faithful shepherd will be preaching a message which his sheep will hear and immediately follow!

Mike Ford
The Shepherd's Voice

John 10:1-4

The sheep, like the lover in Song of Songs 2:14, know the voice because they know the Shepherd and trust Him. They trust His voice. In it, they hear safety, security, sustenance, joy, hope, encouragement, love, warmth, and correction that does not turn them aside. The voice is the effective means of communication between Christ and us. The voice not only identifies, but it also communicates concepts to us that reveal both character and emotion.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 4)

John 10:3

Unlike other animals, sheep rarely find their own way safely. Since sheep go astray, their guidance and safety lies in the Shepherd's leadership (Psalm 23:1-2). A thief, a robber, or a stranger may call the sheep by name and try to imitate their Shepherd's voice, but through long usage and intimacy, the sheep can discern a strange voice and become alarmed. We know the Shepherd's voice because the Holy Spirit gives us discernment; the result is that we turn and flee from any unfamiliar, misleading voice.

Often the unfamiliar voice is a religious-sounding one. Just as the Pharisees' voices confused and misled Jews, so do many religious leaders' voices today. Since the truth is not in them (I John 1:8; 2:4), they lead foolish sheep away from the truth. It is vital for us to seek to live according to the Good Shepherd's will, known from His voice. His positive guidance leads us "in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake" (Psalm 23:3).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Good Shepherd (Part Two)

John 10:14

Jesus says, "I know My sheep, and am known by My own." Both the Shepherd and the sheep are aware of this, and it enables the Shepherd to lead His sheep in the best possible way, helping them to learn what He teaches and to do what He commands. Being known by and knowing the Shepherd implies that, not only do they know His voice, but they have an intimate understanding of the way He thinks and are inclined to reflect His way of doing things. Their imitation of the Shepherd becomes automatic because the sheep anticipate his will. They become one with the Shepherd, as the Shepherd is one with the Father (John 10:15, 30). Just as full knowledge exists between the Father and the Son, the Shepherd has a complete knowledge of each of His sheep.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Good Shepherd (Part Two)

John 10:28-29

God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead, dwells in each member of His church through His Holy Spirit, and by it He will also give eternal life to them (Romans 8:11). Therefore, the life given to the sheep is the same Spirit that dwells in the Father, in the Shepherd, and in the sheep. Because the Shepherd gave His life for the sheep, sacrificing all, He is able to give abundant, eternal life to them by removing the obstacle of death, the penalty for sin, by the resurrection from the dead.

No one can steal His sheep from Him because they are, in effect, in the palm of His hand (I Peter 5:6; Revelation 1:17). Nothing could be safer or more secure. The Shepherd and His Father are one, and Their grip is tightly on Their church so that even "the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

Thus, with a large number of sheep, the true Shepherd may shelter them in many pens, but they are still all His sheep and all one flock. The flock does not create this unity, but because the nature of the sheep is in harmony with their Shepherd, and because their relationship to Him is intimate, they recognize and obey His voice: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Good Shepherd (Part Two)


 




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