NEWSLETTER

March 2013

In His Grip


John 10:27-29: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will 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 the Fatherís hand."

Often I have seen at the end of letters and E-mails the uplifting words - "In His Grip". This short phrase captures the essence of our eternal security in Christ. It expresses the Lordís resolve to protect His sheep as the Chief Shepherd of our thoughts, emotions, words, motives, conduct, and affections. He lovingly guards our entire being. The good Shepherd keeps His sheep safe.

There are many so-called Christians who profess their allegiance to Christ, but who will hear on the day of judgment the terrifying words from our Lord- "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness", Matt 7:23. They profess to follow Christ, but their defenseless location outside "His grip" is marked by disobedience. They lack saving faith. Christís words to the rebellious Jews in John 10:26 explain why Ė "But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep."

But true believers have been granted saving faith, Eph 2:8. God has lifted them out from the dominion of sin [Rom 6:1-12], from the rule of Satan [1 John 5:18-19], and from the power of the world [1 John 5:5]. Thus they hear and confide in their Shepherdís voice. As Jesus states in John 10:4-5, "When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers."

Safe "In His Grip", we abide eternally in His omnipotent hand. Our shepherd works continually to guard us from any spiritual danger threatening our ability to follow Him. He shields us against any trials beyond our capacity to endure, 1 Cor 10:13. No one, and no thing, no person or circumstance, is able to snatch us out of His grip. He is holding onto us tightly in His might.

APPLICATION:

  1. Make sure you are His sheep:

Genuine sheep are the objects of His loving protection. They know they are His because they heed His voice in Scripture. They do not

follow those who would lead them away from His Word. When they fall, He rescues them, Matt 18:12-14. Thus Godís sheep are able to say, "He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His names sake", Ps 23:3.

Make sure that you are in His grip. Are you consistently and progressively following His voice? Or are you listening to the perilous voice of a stranger? Those who follow their own will, the lusts of the flesh, are not His sheep. Despite their steadfast profession of faith, they are not His. Thus they will be thrown like most, Matt 7:13-14, into the eternal fires of hell Ė Matt 10:28; 25:30, 41; Luke 13:26-28.

Assurance of salvation is based on Godís power which enables us to understand and follow His lead with progressive steadiness and skill, 2 Pet 1:1-11. Godís sheep possess a Spirit wrought capacity to sort out the contrary voices within and without leading them astray. Examine yourselves to make sure the Shepherd is within you, 2 Cor 13:5!

2. Rely on Him to feed you:

In Psalm 23:1-2, we find the blessed truth that God is our Shepherd who leads us beside quiet waters and into green pastures. Thus our souls do not want for what is needed to sustain and satisfy. Our inner persons are strengthened by the nourishing food which He Himself gives His sheep from His own green grass. In John 10:9-10, Christ assures His sheep that they will be led by Him to "find pasture". They will "have life", and "have it abundantly".

Eat from the Word in rich communion with our Shepherd through His Spirit. Let the "word of Christ richly dwell within you", Col 3:16. Seek the grace to crave the "milk" of the Word like a nursing babe Ė 1 Pet 2:1-2. Seek Him earnestly in His Word so that your souls are fed with the abounding supply of His own divine power and spiritual nutrition.

3. Let your Shepherd deal with danger:

If Satan knocks on your door, so to speak, look through the "peep hole", turn around, and tell Jesus, "Lord it is for You". When you resist Satan by drawing near to Christ "the devil will flee from you, James 4:7-8. Let your Shepherd deal with the powers of darkness which seek to harm. Let His Spirit destroy the power of sin as it tries to sow corruption into your heart, Rom 8:13, Gal 6:8. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble", Ps 46:1.

Let your Shepherd deal with any lurking dangers. He promises to protect you. He is the good Shepherd who "lays down his life for the sheep", John 10:11, 14. We who are saved have "returned to the Shepherd and Guardian" of our "souls", 1 Peter 2:25.


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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427