Summary: How long will it take us to not only listen to the voice of Christ; but also, to act like we actually hear Christ speak?

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How Long? John 10: 22 - 30

Intro: One of the hymns I remember from my childhood came to me when I read this passage of scripture. It is “How Long Has It Been.” The opening words of the hymn are “How long has it been since you talked with the Lord . . .” I connected the “how long has it been” with the “how long will you keep us in suspense.”

I. Verse 24 – “How long will you keep us in suspense?” --- (literally) “How long are you talking our life away?” - In modern Greek, “How will you continue to annoy us?”

A. This event took place during the festival known today as Hannuka which celebrated the revolt of the Maccabees against the Selucid Empire in 167 BCE. Stating that he was the Messiah would be perceived as an act of treason.

B. This is the only place in the gospel that Jesus is asked directly if he is the Messiah. They HAD to know and they were annoyed that he wouldn’t give a direct answer.

C. After only his third Sunday as the Pastor of the little country church, an Elder came to the church office on Monday morning to visit the young minister. It seems the pastor had preached the same sermon three Sundays in a row. The Elder asked, “How long do you intend to use that same sermon?” --- Smiling, the young pastor answered, “Until everyone hears, understands and acts accordingly.”

II. The problem the Jewish leaders were having was the same as the young pastor’s congregation experienced. They were listening; but they weren’t hearing.

A. Jesus answers in verse 25 & 26 – “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.”

B. Why did the Jewish leaders not “hear”? Was it because Jesus’ sermons weren’t dynamic and powerful enough? Was it because Jesus didn’t do miraculous things in God’s name?

C. Jesus wasn’t saying what they wanted to hear. --- Jesus challenged them in ways they didn’t want to be challenged, was leading them to do what they didn’t want to do even though it was what God intended.

III. Through his written and spoken word, Christ speaks to us. Are you listening? Verse 27 – “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

A. Jesus tells us and the Jewish leaders there are two ways of recognizing the followers of Christ: The “sheep” of the “good shepherd” listen to his voice and they follow.

B. Sitting in church hearing the words of Christ read from the Bible and God speaking through the Pastor does not make you a sheep of the shepherd. Listening alone does not make one a Christian. It is in following that “voice” one truly becomes a sheep in the flock of Christ. Those who TRULY hear, follow!

C. Following Christ Jesus implies involvement in His work. If you are not following, you are not a true sheep of the flock. Just listening isn’t enough. We are united to Christ Jesus by the work we do in his name.

Conclu: If we are truly listening and following Christ, we can expect his guidance and care. The shepherd, Jesus says, “I give eternal life to my sheep and they shall never perish; and NO ONE shall snatch them out of my hand.” Are you listening? How long? How long will you listen without following?

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