Summary: There is no doubt that we are in good hands if we are in God's hands! To be in the hands of God is to be in the greatest hands of all because God who created us, also redeemed us, and holds both our present and our future!
IN HIS GRIP
Text: John 10:22 - 30
The Allstate Insurance Company has a captivating slogan that you have probably seen many times in TV commercials: “You're in good hands with Allstate”. (T. T. Crabtree. ed. The 2003 Zondervan Pastor's Annual. Harold T. Bryson. “You Are In Good Hands With God”. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002, p. 352). When it comes to images of safety and security, what will it take to attract you as a customer? Which image is more appealing to you a talking gecko who promises that you can save money in 15 minutes by switching to Geico or the symbol of two hands cupped together illustrating strength reminding you that “you are in good hands with Allstate?” Consider the symbol for the University Hospital in Augusta Georgia, it symbolizes being in good hands doesn’t it?
There is no doubt that we are in good hands if we are in God's hands! To be in the hands of God is to be in the greatest hands of all because God who created us, also redeemed us, and holds both our present and our future! Nobody else can do that!
There is no safer place to be than in the hands of our Lord. There is also no place more dangerous than to be out of God's hand.
OUT OF THE LORD'S HANDS
To be out of the Lord's hands is to be in danger. 1) Unprotected: To be out of God's hands means that you are not protected. Jesus once looked a group of people and saw them as an unprotected people---like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:37). 2) Fall-proof?: You can fall at any moment. Questions: But, how far will you fall? Will the fall just frustrate you? Injure you? Or, kill you? 3) The original fall: Now take that same idea and go back to the Garden of Eden, where humanity's slip is often called “The Fall”. That is a fall that frustrates, injures and eventually kills, because the wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23).
To be out of the Lord's hands could be deadly! 1) Destructive: To be out of the Lord's hands means that one is leaning toward to destruction because of sin. 2) The far country myth: The world promises us that we can pursue anything that we want. But, much like the prodigal son, people often discover that the promise of the “far country” (Luke 15:13) was destructive in the end. 3) Mirage: “Like rebellious sheep, people have looked to the mirage of greener pastures and have strayed only to find that are alienated from God, abandoned to the wrong cause, and abused ever gift that God ever gave”. (Bryson, pp. 352 – 353). 4) Master of Illusions: Satan is usually behind these mirages because he is the father of lies (John 8:44) with the agenda of deceiving people and blinding them to the light of the gospel ( II Corinthians 4:14).
To be out of the Lord's hands is to take one's life in one's own hand. 1) Self-defeating: Martin Luther described this “taking one's life in his or her own hands” as a defeat: “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing”. (“A Might Fortress Is Our God”. second verse). 2) Catastrophically Clueless: How can a sheep be his or her own shepherd? Only a shepherd knows the way to get the sheep to safety. 3) Accolades versus authenticity: A famous actor was once the guest of honor at a social gathering where he received many requests to recite favorite excerpts from various literary works. An old preacher who happened to b e there asked the actor to recite the twenty-third Psalm. The actor agreed on the condition that the preacher would also recite it. The actor's recitation was beautifully intoned with great dramatic emphasis for which he received lengthy applause. The preacher's voice was rough and broken from many years of preaching, and his diction was anything but polished. But when he finished there was not a dry eye in the room. When someone asked the actor what made the difference, he replied "I know the psalm, but he knows the Shepherd." Again, only a shepherd knows the way to get the sheep to safety. There is no safety apart from the Shepherd!
To be out of the Lord's hands makes one vulnerable to being snatched. 1) Sign- seekers: They were an adulterous generation (Matthew 12:38 – 39): As many have noted, we cannot help but to be curious about those who questioned whether Jesus about whether or not He is the Messiah. 2) The pure-hearted versus the bandit-hearted: Like many others, we could speculate that there were two groups “in the portico [porch] of Solomon”. The pure-hearted: There were some who motives were pure because they were seeking the Messiah. The bandit-hearted: There were others who “... want[ed] [H]im to make a claim that would give them unquestionable cause to reject [H]im”. (David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor. eds. Thomas Troeger.. “Homiletical Perspective”. Feasting On The Word. Year C. Volume 2. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2009, p. 447). 3) Belief and belonging: We cannot become God’s children without belief (John 1:12). Jesus declared to them, “.... you do not believe because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will ever snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28 -29 NRSV). At the same time, Jesus was telling those who were His critics that they were not “snatch proof”!