In this series of posts we have been looking at how Jesus describes His sheep in John 10 and we have established that Jesus provides five marks about His sheep in John 10:3-9. Again, those five marks are:
- 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 the previous post we looked at the first mark of Christ’s sheep. In this post we will move forward to consider the second and fourth marks.
2/4: Jesus’ Sheep Hear and Know His Voice
I combine points 2 and 4 because they are so similar. How can you know if you are one of Christ’s sheep? How can you know that you are in the safety of His fold? Consider what Jesus says about His sheep in John 10:3-4.
 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
Do you recognize the voice of Christ? I realize that may sound a bit mystical but I am not saying that if you are truly one of Christ’s sheep that you will receive audible instructions from Him. What I am saying is that in order to know whether or not you hear the voice of Christ, we must first establish where Christ speaks.
Jesus Christ speaks in only one place today; the Bible.
The Bible is, after all, referred to as the “Word of God” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “All Scripture is breathed out by God…” The Bible—sacred Scripture—is where the Good Shepherd speaks to His sheep. With this in mind, let me ask, do you recognize the voice of the Shepherd? How you relate to Scripture has everything to do with hearing and knowing the voice of the Shepherd.
Consider the following questions:
- When you read the Scriptures are you just reading ancient history or do you really hear the voice of God?
- When you read the Bible do you find yourself being merely informed, or does God speak to you in and through His word?
- When you hear the Word of God preached do you hear God’s voice in it convicting, encouraging, consoling, and calling you to Himself? Or, in your mind, is preaching nothing more than an exchange of ideas?
- Does God call, encourage, and challenge you? Does He rebuke you through His word such that you could say, “God spoke to me this morning”?
- Can you say that the Bible is a living book to you?
Let me put it to you in another way; if you are one of Jesus’ sheep, His Word will be to you as a word of a father to his son. Reading the word and sitting under the preaching of the Word will be just as much of an experience as it will be a discipline.
The two men on the road to Emmaus experienced something of this reality,
Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures? (Luke 24:32)
Why did their hearts burn? Because the Good Shepherd was speaking to them! And how did He speak to them? By opening the Scriptures (look at the verse again!). Have you ever had this experience? Has your heart ever burned in you as you poured over the words of the Good Shepherd in the Bible? Has your heart ever burned within you as you have sat under the instruction of the word of God in church?
When Jesus speaks to you in His word do you ever find yourself saying in your heart, “That’s the voice of my Shepherd!” Sheep do not relate with their shepherd in a cold, mechanical way. Sheep do not relate with their shepherd in the same way that money relates with a banker. Sheep are dependent, weak, and helpless. Apart from the protection and provision of a shepherd, sheep are defenseless and helpless. Sheep flock to their shepherd. Sheep long to hear the voice of their shepherd.
The beautiful reality is that the Christian doesn’t relate to Christ in a cold, mechanical way either. If you are in Christ, He is your Shepherd and you are one of His sheep.
The reason why biblical truth comforts and exhorts and convicts and thrills the heart of Christ’s true sheep is not first and foremost because it is true (though it is), but because it is the voice of the Shepherd. “The Lord is my shepherd.” (Psalm 23) Because He is my shepherd–because He is my protector, provider, and savior–His voice means all the world to me and more.
If this is true, the way you relate to Scripture says a lot about you. If you don’t delight in God’s word, you are not one of Christ’s sheep. If Scripture is nothing more to you than a collection of truths, you are not one of Christ’s sheep. Scripture is the word of the Shepherd of the sheep. If denominational ties or worship styles or church decorum or the median age range of the congregation are more important to you than hearing the voice of your Shepherd from the pulpit, you ought to be concerned for your soul.
Christ’s sheep love God’s word because that is where they hear the voice of their Shepherd. Christ’s sheep love to sit under biblical preaching because that is where the word of the Shepherd is heralded and applied!
Are you one of Christ’s sheep? If so, you will hear and know His voice. Even more, you will long for it and delight in it (Psalm 1:2).
NOTE: This is Part 3 of a five-part series exhorting believers to test themselves to assure they are in Christ. Click here for Part 4…