Do you read this verse the same way I do?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Daniel David, Mar 12, 2003.

  1. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    First, this is a serious discussion that I would like to have with those who do not question the integrity of Scripture. Therefore, I am starting this in this forum and not a different one. If you don't like this, please don't worry about posting.

    John 10:26
    But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.

    This is what Jesus said to the pharisees.

    Most people today reverse what Jesus said. Most people want to believe that Jesus said, "you are not my sheep BECAUSE you don't believe." Christ did not say that though.

    Christ actually said that their lack of belief is because of the fact that God did not call them. Now, this specifically destroys the idea that God "calls" everyone equally.

    Am I reading too much into this passage or do you see it the same way?
     
  2. rlvaughn

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    I also understand it that way - Because you are not my sheep, you do not believe.
     
  3. ruthigirl

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    Yes, I see what you are saying. [​IMG]

    Preach, what is your take on the "from faith to faith" that is in Romans and this that you posted?

    Is God calling and by faith to faith we are responding?
     
  4. BibleBob

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    Seems straightforward to me. I wholeheartedly agree Preach.
     
  5. Helen

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    Preach and RL, I have never thought it wise to take a verse and stand it alone like that.

    In this passage, Jesus is talking to the Jews in Solomon's Colonnade at the Feast of Dedication. It is near the end of His ministry.

    Let's track some of that ministry that might pertain to this passage. We will stay in John for convenience.

    The first clue is in the first chapter of John. John is introducing the person of Christ in the first chapter, and in verses 10-12 there is a summary of His ministry:

    He was in the world, and though the world was made though him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

    Who were these 'own' who refused Him? They were the Jews, those people God refers to as His inheritance (Isaiah 19:5, etc.). Those people He had made for Himself refused Him! This needs to be noted, because it is important here. Even though God made this people for Himself, and spent several thousand years working intimately with them, they refused Him.

    John starts the next sentence with 'yet'. "Yet" indicates something perhaps not expected. And what was not expected was that Christ was available to the whole world and not just the Jewish people. And so "Yet, to all who received him..." these people are given an incredible right. Just because they received and believed.

    A gift can be offered.....and either received or refused.

    In chapter 2, Jesus clears the Temple for the first time -- no doubt alienating a lot of Jewish people! But then, in verse 23, we read,

    Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.

    Here we seem to have a cause and effect. The cause being the miraculous signs and the effect being belief for many.

    Note this is not in the Temple, but in the city itself. This is going to be important. But the immediate thing to note is that many people responded with belief. This belief is a response from these people to what they have seen Jesus do.

    It was probably during this visit to Jerusalem that Jesus had His famous conversation with Nicodemus, a Pharisee, about being born again. Jesus takes a bit of Israelite history to explain something to Nicodemus in verses 14-15:

    Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

    Where is that snake episode? Look at Numbers 21. People could be healed simply by looking at the bronze snake on the pole. Looking is totally a voluntary thing. People could choose to be healed via a voluntary act. Jesus compared Himself to that snake, saying that if anyone believed in Him, the person would have eternal life -- which translates in terms of the snake on the pole as being healed spiritually as the people were then healed physically. As one was a voluntary act, Jesus seems to be indicating that believing in Him is also.

    This illustration is followed immediately by the famous 3:16 verse:

    For God so loved the world tht he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.


    In chapter 4, we read of the Samaritan woman -- a despised half-breed Jew who had been married a number of times and now was living out of wedlock with another man. Hardly a credible person, one would think! And yet, after she tells the town about her remarkable conversation with this Man Jesus, we read in verse 39

    Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, 'He told me everything I ever did.'

    They ask Jesus to stay, and He does, for a couple more days

    And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, 'We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.'

    There are two reasons given for their believing: the woman's testimony and then Jesus' words.

    It is never stated, implied, or hinted at that they believed because they were already His.

    In this same chapter, we see that Jesus has finished his trip and arrived in Cana. In verse 48 we see a remarkable statement from Him:

    'Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,' Jesus told him, 'you will never believe.'

    Again, not a hint that they would be believing because they were already His.

    In John 6, a general crowd has gathered and Jesus is asked "What must we do to do the works God requires?"

    Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'

    In other words, He is telling them to believe if they want to do what God requires. He does not tell them they cannot believe unless they already belong to Him.

    In John 7, we also see these words from Jesus, in verses 16-17:

    Jesus answered, 'My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

    If anyone chooses to do God's will....

    And what is God's will?

    For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

    So one can choose to do God's will. And God's will is to believe. It does seem as though, given the multitude of evidences above, that belief in Christ is a choice.

    Now, let's go back to that Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, where we started.

    Jesus is talking to the Jews again. He is in the Temple. Again. This is precisely where He has antagonized so many in the past. They have already seen Him, heard Him, talked about Him. They have chosen to harden their hearts against Him and not believe. They are not His. They could have been, for He had come to His own -- them -- but they refused Him.

    So now let's join the scene:

    The Jews gathered around him, saying 'How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.'

    Has Christ not told them plainly?

    Here is His response:

    'I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

    He did tell them.

    Their response? Refusal. They chose not to believe. By the time they saw the miracles, their hearts were hardened. They were not His. Therefore they were also not believing.

    And yet, even so, at the end of His time of speaking to this group, He is yet pleading with them to believe:

    "Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.'

    He is not only asking them to believe but He is telling them NOT to believe unless He does what the Father does! Clearly, they have a choice in the matter.

    Thus, putting the verse chosen to open this thread back in context, not just of that scene in the Colonnade, but in the context of so much else that He had said and that John has written, one would have to accuse Jesus to contradicting Himself to say that those talking to Him there were non-believers because they were not the elect from before creation, which is exactly what Preach the Word is trying to indicate by taking the verse out of context.

    It is so clear through so much of what else is said and written, even in that moment, that people have a choice where believing in Christ is concerned.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    As we have said for the seemingly one millionth time, we are not denying that man has a choice to believe, Helen. You have been around long enough to know that haven't you?? Man has a choice to believe. Apart from the unilateral work of God, that choice will always be to reject.

    But you didn't even really deal with the issue. You made a long post full of stuff that has no direct bearing on this passage. In John 10, the sheep are those that are his, those who will never perish, etc. The verse addresses the relationship between believing and being a sheep. It seems very clearly to say that being a sheep precedes and causes believing. The context is John 10, a passage that you, in your "contextualizing" totally ignored. Your other passages have also been isolated from the teachings of Scripture about election from the foundation of the world. Selective use of Scriptures does not help prove a point.

    So let's deal with the point at hand: Who do you think the sheep are and what do you think makes one a sheep?
     
  7. TheOliveBranch

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    Those pharisees never intend to accept Him, they never intend to believe, and the Lord knows this.
     
  8. martyr

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    Preach the Word,
    I do believe that God had called them(Pharisees), but they did not heed the call. I also see the verse as saying they didn't believe because they weren't His sheep. This isn't a free will vs. predestination issue. God knows everyone that will accept Jesus as their Messiah. He doesn't force this acceptance on us. Jesus died for everyone, but not everyone accepts Him as our perfect sacrifice.
    I find the best description of this is the symbolism of an old Jewish betrothal and wedding.
    The bridegroom would go to the girl's house, and then come to an agreement with the girl's father. If the girl refused to marry the groom, then the groom still had to pay whatever his part of the deal with the father was. Jesus still had to die on the cross for everyone. Not everyone will drink of the unity cup that He extended to them.
     
  9. Helen

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    Larry, a choice is not a choice unless there is a viable option. All you are doing is playing with words.

    It's sort of like giving a horse a choice between alfalfa and a steak. If you are going to use the word 'choice', this means that both are available to the chooser. That's the whole idea behind the word and concept.

    Nor was my response ignoring the context. I was adding a lot of what John had written in addition to that, which negates the meaning given to it in the opening post. Nor am I going to argue with you about what makes one a sheep and sidetrack the issue at hand. Belief is clearly a choice, and a viable one for all people, according to John's presentation of the Gospel and his quoting of Jesus' words.

    Olive, Nicodemus was a Pharisee. I will grant you the higher up you are in any establishment, the more your thoughts and attitudes are governed by that establishment, but even at the top, in the Pharisaical world, there were those who wanted the truth. A man named Saul was one...

    As for Nicodemus, we see him again in John 7:50, where he confronts the others about condemning Jesus without a trial. And, lastly, he was one of the two (along with Joseph of Arimathea) who claimed Jesus' body and took it for pre-burial, putting the spices on it and wrapping it up.

    God works with each man and woman individually. He does not condemn us as per the groups we are associated with, and maybe neither should we.
     
  10. TheOliveBranch

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    Helen, I said "Those pharisees", the ones the verse is about. God also knew the heart of the pharisees who wanted to hear the truth and gave that truth to them.
     
  11. Helen

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    You are right, Olive, and thank you for the clarification. God bless.
     
  12. Daniel David

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    Let us not ignore the explicit statement of Christ.

    He said that they did not believe BECAUSE they were not his sheep.

    Most people (even here) want it to read this way:

    You are not my sheep BECAUSE you do not believe.

    Not only is that not what Christ said, it is actually reversing what he said.

    All who believe only do so because they are first his sheep.

    There is no need to "balance this verse" with anything else. There is no need to create a contradiction.
     
  13. Helen

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    Well, Preach, if you are right, then that negates an awful lot of what else is written in John, as I quoted above...

    I know an older woman who did the same thing with the Scripture "God is love." She claimed that because her adulterous lover and she loved each other, God was there and they were blessed by God. It didn't matter what the rest of Scripture stated.

    I still prefer context, thanks...
     
  14. rufus

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    rufus says, "That is what the Good Book says!"

    Amen!

    rufus [​IMG]
     
  15. Daniel David

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    Helen, this is supposed to be a serious study of that passage. If you would like to start a thread on particular passages throughout John, feel free. Please keep posts to the original topic at hand.

    Further, you gave two options. If my view is true, then alot of Scripture is a waste of time (according to you). The other option of course is that my view is wrong.

    I will offer a third view. My quote of Christ really is true. The direct meaning (which others have seen also) is the true meaning. Your view is what is incorrect.

    Now, please keep your posts on topic.
     
  16. Daniel David

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    It doesn't say that though. That is my point. In this passage, Christ said he is the good shepherd for his sheep. No one will pluck his sheep from his hand.

    The people he spoke to were not sheep. Therefore, the COULD NOT believe.
     
  17. Artimaeus

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    Helen, very good post, Pastor Larry, not a bad response.

    “This simple creature [the sheep] has this special note among all animals, that it quickly hears the voice of the shepherd, follows no one else, depends entirely on him, and seeks help from him alone—cannot help itself, but is shut up to another’s aid” [Luther in Stier].

    The reason Jesus knows they do not believe is because they are not of his sheep.

    John 10:24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not : the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believed not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

    Preach the Word , Where, in that verse, does it say that God did not call them. It doesn't say that they can't become sheep, only that they are not sheep. Sheep believe him and non sheep don't.
     
  18. Helen

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    Good gravy, Preach! Are you saying that Bible does NOT interpret Bible? Are you saying that we cannot bring in other Scriptures that help explain the one being discussed?

    As I recall, you are the one who has accused me of not relying on Scripture...

    Make up your mind, please!
     
  19. rlvaughn

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    Helen, I don't recall saying that the verse stands alone. I think I agreed with Preach the Word's interpretation and answered his question, "Am I reading too much into this passage or do you see it the same way?"
     
  20. Helen

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    You are right. The verse doesn't stand alone. I put it back in context -- in fact I put it deep into context of the entire book of John. Taken that way, it means as Artimaeus explained, and not as it would seem to mean taken by itself.
     

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