JESUS SECURES THE FOREST WHILE LOOKING FOR THE TREE

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JESUS SECURES THE FOREST WHILE LOOKING FOR THE TREE

The parable of the lost sheep is a very familiar one.

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?” Matthew 18:12

And for some of us, myself included, we read it and immediately agree, like it is the most natural thing to do. But is it? If we have a hundred sheep and one goes astray, will we really go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? If we are honest, we won’t. Let me prove to you why.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” Luke 15:4

If the rest are safely in the pen, we might consider going after it. But even then, it is just a 1% write-off. Would we bother? What more now, considering that they are all in the wilderness? It does not make sense for us to leave the 99 to the mercy of the elements, wolves and whatever wild beasts out there, just to look for the one. We will never risk total loss just to prevent a 1% write-off.

Unless there is an unflinching confidence in the security of the other 99; and beloved, there is.

Jesus is no fool. He need not attend Business for Dummies 101. He knows what is important. He is God. He invented important. So what is this confidence that He has in the security of the 99 that makes Him so sure that nothing will happen to them when He goes off searching for that lost 1?

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 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. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” John 10:1-5

When we have received Christ, when we have responded to this call of His,

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20
He is in us and we are in Him. There is an inextricable bond between Jesus and us. Though we may not feel like it all the time, it is there. And this bond is the very thing that makes us recognize His voice and follow Him. Even though, from time to time, we get distracted by the voices of the world, when push comes to shove, we know Who it is we trust, we know Who it is Who is guiding us and we will flee from those other voices.

This confidence we have because when we are saved, we are saved once, for all, for Jesus says,

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9

We enter once and we are saved. After which, going in and out does not make us any less saved. We are saved once and for all. In fact, we move freely because we know that we are saved, and we have a Shepherd who will look for us if we ever get lost. And not only that, we can go in, we can go out, we can go everywhere, and Jesus assures us that we will find pasture, we will find supply. It is almost as if pasture follows us, for it is indeed the supply of Jesus that follows us.

And why is it that the sheep have such confidence? Because The One they listen to, The One who looks after them, The One who watches over them is the Shepherd, The One who owns the sheep; not the hireling, not the servant. For us who believe, we do not have a 2nd rate hired hand who will do this,

“But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.” John 10:12-13

We have the Son of God, Beloved of our Father, watching over us. And He is not merely watching over livestock or commodities, He is watching over us, His children, for it is written,

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

So we will not stray because His Spirit within us will not let us stray. He Himself watches over us so we are protected and provided for. And His sacrifice on the cross is so complete and comprehensive; we are His forever, for He says,

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29

And not only is Jesus watching over us, not only is our Father holding us lovingly and firmly in His safe hand, They’ve got help too, for it is written.

“For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Psalm 91: 11-12

Beloved, when you put your trust in Jesus, you are putting your trust in the only true and sure thing in this world, for He says,

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33

So we can be sure of His love and protection because He said,

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

So what about the wild animals in the wilderness?

“Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;” Psalm 91:9-10
“You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.” Psalm 91:5-8

Because

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

And if by chance you have never heard of Jesus or the beauty of His love, protection and provision, and want to be under the shadow of the Almighty right now, my friend you can, because He says of exactly you,

“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.” John 10:16

He is looking for you right now, so respond with me.

“Loving Father, thank You for calling me into Your fold. Thank You for leaving the other 99 and coming to look for me. Thank You Father for bearing me up on Your shoulders and rejoicing over my salvation. Thank You Jesus for dying for me, that in so doing, I may also die to sin with You; and with You, rise again to eternal life. Thank You for Your shed blood which has washed away all my sins, once for all, so that now, I can go in, and go out, and be confident that Your love, Your provision and Your protection will be with me always. Indeed, I now declare that You, my Father, are my refuge and my fortress; my God, in You I will trust. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Beloved, you are unimaginably secure for eternity. Nothing can ever remove you from the love of our Father and the care of Jesus.

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