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Summary: This sermon asks the question, How long will we be listeners to the word of God without following?

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How Long? John 10: 22 - 30

Intro: When I was a youngster, members of our family would often gather around the piano on Sunday afternoon and sing hymns from a very old hymnbook. One of the hymns I remembered when I read this passage of scripture was “How Long Has It Been.” The opening words of the hymn are “How long has it been since you talked with the Lord . . .”

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 is the only place in the gospel that Jesus is asked directly if he is the Messiah. They HAD to know! Why?

B. They really didn’t want to know, they wanted to trap Jesus. How long Jesus?

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. Perhaps the problem the Jewish leaders were having was the same one 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. I think what Jesus said wasn’t 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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