Caring for His Own Sheep
The sheep follow him, for they know his voice. - John 10:4
What is it that provides the infallible evidence that you are a child of God? It is a foolish presumption to answer this by our own judgment; but God's Word reveals it to us, and we may walk confidently when we have revelation as our guide. We are told concerning our Lord, "to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."1 So if I have received Christ Jesus into my heart, I am a child of God. That reception is described in the same verse as believing in the name of Jesus Christ.
If, then, I believe on Jesus Christ's name—that is, simply from my heart entrust myself to the crucified but now exalted Redeemer—I am a member of the family of the Most High. Whatever else I may not have, if I have this, I have the privilege of becoming a child of God. The Lord Jesus puts it in another way: "The sheep follow him, for they know his voice."
Here is the matter in a nutshell. Christ appears as a shepherd to His own sheep, not to others. As soon as He appears, His own sheep perceive Him—they trust Him, they are prepared to follow Him. He knows them, and they know Him; there is a mutual knowledge—there is a constant connection between them. And so the evidence, the infallible mark of regeneration and adoption, is a hearty faith in the appointed Redeemer. Reader, are you in doubt, are you uncertain about whether you are one of God's children? Then do not let an hour pass until you have said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart."2 Do not linger here, I warn you! If you must linger anywhere, let it be about some secondary matter—your health, if you wish, or the title deeds of your home. But about your soul, your never-dying soul and its eternal destiny, I urge you to be in earnest. Make certain of this eternal issue.
Family Bible reading plan
verse 1 Zechariah 9
verse 2 John 12
Child in the Manger: The True Meaning of Christmas
What is Christmas? For many it is a time for holidays, parties, family gatherings, gifts, meals together, music, and special events. For others it can mean unwanted pressure, an increased sense of loneliness, family squabbles, and crowded shops. For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas takes place at the onset of winter with its cold weather and short days. There are more incidents of depression at Christmas time than at any other time of the year. It is the best of times for some, but the worst of times for others, to borrow a phrase from Charles Dickens.
The birth of Jesus divided history into two major epochs. Until the dawn of our hyper-sensitive age, even the way we dated events underscored this. From time immemorial, every day, week, month, and year has been described as either “B.C.” (“Before Christ”) or “A.D.” (Anno Domini, “in the year of our Lord”). Even the modern, pluralistic style abbreviations, B.C.E. (“Before the Common Era”) and C.E. (“Common Era”) cannot obliterate the indelible impress of Jesus birth. For what makes the “Common Era” so “common”? And what explains the dividing line date? The answer is the same: the birth of Jesus. At the very center of history stands the person of Jesus Christ. And He does so because He is at the center of God’s story.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.