In the previous post of this series, I pointed you to John 10 where Jesus identifies Himself as the good shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. But John 10 begs the question, “am I one of Christ’s sheep”? The news of Jesus being the good shepherd is only good news if you are in His fold, and thus it is of utmost importance to know if you are one of His sheep.
I argued that Jesus tells us 5 things about His sheep in John 10:3-9. If you are one of His sheep, these five marks will be true of you—not just one of them, but all five of them. Let me remind of you of those five:
- Jesus’ sheep enter through Him (vs. 9)
- Jesus’ sheep hear His voice (vs. 3)
- Jesus’ sheep follow Him (vs. 4)
- Jesus’ sheep know His voice (vs. 4)
- Jesus’ sheep do not recognize the voice a stranger (vs. 5).
In today’s article we will examine the first mark of Jesus’ sheep.
1. Jesus’ Sheep Enter Through Him (John 10:9)
Jesus says, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”
The only way to enter into Christ’s fold and thus be one of His sheep is by going through Him. Jesus Himself says in John 14:6,
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
If you have not received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are not in His fold, period. Christianity is an exclusive religion and Christians must be unapologetic about this fact. Jesus is the door. Jesus’ sheep enter into His fold by going through Him. There are no side doors or secret tunnels. There are no crooked secret service agents who will let you pass through without going through Christ. Tareq And Michaele Salahi may have been able to crash the State Dinner party at the White House in 2009, but there is no crashing the pen of Christ.
If you have not repented of your sin and received Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you are not one of His sheep.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
But what does it mean to receive Christ?
The first point to note from John 1:12 is that to receive Jesus is to believe in Him. But to receive Christ does not merely mean that you believe that He existed. Sadly, however, many people think that way. They say, “Of course I am in Christ’s fold, I believe in Him–I believe that He existed and that He died on a cross.” But biblical belief is not the mere acceptation of a fact.
Neither does receiving Christ mean that you merely believe that He died in your place on the cross and rose from the grave. Once again, saving faith always goes beyond mere intellectual assent to fact. In other words, when God tells you to believe in Christ, He is not telling you to believe in Christ in the same way that you believe that broccoli is a vegetable or in the same way that you believe that Frank Sinatra’s eyes were blue.
To receive Christ—to go through the door of Christ—means that you put personal trust in Christ. You cannot enter through The Door by merely learning and accepting certain historical facts about Jesus. You must do something with those facts—you must put your confidence in those facts.
R.C. Sproul puts it like this,
“Faith is only effectual if, knowing about and assenting to the claims of Jesus, one personally trusts in Him alone for salvation.”
In other words, biblical faith—biblical belief—always contains the idea of trusting, clinging, and taking hold of. It starts in the realm of fact, but it always moves beyond mere intellectual assent—it always moves from intellectual assent to Spirit-empowered trust in those facts. If you are not personally trusting Christ alone for salvation, you are not one of His sheep. This means that if you are not trusting in Christ alone, you are not in the fold of the good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep.
If you find yourself in this place, I plead with you to repent of your sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. How can you not want to be in the fold of this Shepherd?
If you are trusting personally in Christ alone for salvation, rejoice that you do not have a tyrant as a Shepherd. Rejoice that your Shepherd has loved you at great cost to Himself–“ The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). The news that Jesus is the good shepherd is only Good News if you are in His fold.
This first description of Christ’s sheep is the most decisive. All of Christ’s sheep enter through Him with faith and repentance, trusting in Him alone for their full and final salvation. In the posts to come we will look at the remaining four descriptions of Christ’s sheep. Once again, if you are one of His sheep, the 5 things listed above will be true of you—not just one of them, but all five of them.
In the next post we will explore the second mark and talk about the fact that all of Christ’s sheep hear His voice and follow Him.
NOTE: This is Part 2 of a five-part series exhorting believers to test themselves to assure they are in Christ. Click here for Part 3…