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John 10:16

Posted 01/11/22, by Dan Vis

Yesterday we looked at Peter's affirmation, that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. And how Jesus responded to that statement--that 1) God had revealed it to him, and that 2) He was going to build His church on that exact point.

Today I want to spend a little time looking more deeply into that second part of His response. What it really means that Jesus was going to build His church.

Clear there was going to be some work involved. Some construction process. Some time element involved. And there is. Consider for example, today's verse:

John 10:16
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Here, Jesus refers to a special location where His sheep are separated from the outside world by a fence or wall. The word "fold" used here describes an enclosed yard--or a sheep pen as some modern versions put it. But the word is also used to refer to the outer court of the temple (Revelation 11:2But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.). It's also translated as meeting hall (Mark 16:15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.), or even a palace (John 18:15And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.). Clearly, it suggests some kind of structure.

Of course, the structure does equate directly to the church. Jesus has "other sheep" which are not "of this fold". That are outside the structure and need to be gathered in. But it's also clear, that that's His intention, that "there shall be one fold, and one shepherd". That all true believers would be gathered into one structure. One church.

And this certainly involves a process. The Great Commission is essentially about pointing people to the true Savior, and then giving them the information they need to safely enter into the true church. It was never Christ's intention for His followers to be scattered among tens of thousands of different denominations, all separated from each other by confused interpretations of Scripture.

In His great Apostolic prayer of John 17, Jesus prayed for all who "shall believe on me" through the witness of the apostles, "that they all may be one" (John 17:20-2120 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.). And He made it clear how that unity would be achieved: The disciples were united because Jesus had "given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them" (John 17:8For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.). And the only way the church could remain united was for them to remain continually "sanctified through the truth" (John 17:19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.).

It was going to be a painstaking process for sure. While heaven would be working to gather God's people, a power from beneath would be seeking to divide them. While heaven would seek to lead believers "into all truth" (John 16:13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.), the enemy would seek to "cast down the truth to the ground" (Daniel 8:12And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.).

Or to quote Jesus elsewhere, "he that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" (Matthew 12:30He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.). The "wolf", Jesus warned, "scattereth the sheep" (John 10:12But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.).

So we see two very important principles here: that Jesus longs to protect His sheep, by gathering them safely together into an enclosed structure. A single, unifying church. But the enemy would do everything possible to oppose that work--using confused Bible teachings to divide and scatter the sheep.

On which side of this great contest are we? Are we gathering and uniting--or scattering and dividing. Our charter calls us to build, not tear down.

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Posted by Dan Vis on 01/12/22
Nice verse Qing! Never hit me quite like that in connection with this topic. Very cool. Yes, every gift should be used to build up the church. Love it!
Posted by Qing Ling on 01/12/22
I Corinthians 14:12Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. KJV
Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

It's easy for us to get passionate about certain things because of our own make up and experience...sometimes we forget that not everyone is as interested as we are .... it takes discernment to note when our zeal may need modifying to ensure that in whatever way we interact with others, we build up their faith where they are at.

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