Here is the Scripture that I see so often misapplied. John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:”
Now for years I believed that the “the thief” mentioned here was the Devil. It is a pet verse of those who are “under attack” by the enemy. I do believe that the Devil is a thief, but allow me to propose to you that the Devil is not “the thief” that Jesus is warning about in this regularly quoted verse.
No my friends, the thief is not the Devil, but a “false shepherd” Please take a moment and read John 10:1:16
In the very first verse Jesus identifies the thief for us.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber."
Jesus tells us that the one who enters by the door is the shepherd (v.2) and that He (Jesus) is the door. (v.9). The one who enters any other way is a “thief and robber” (v.1) as clearly identified by Jesus.
He tells us that the sheep “hear his (true shepherd’s) voice; he calls them by name, and he LEADS THEM OUT.” (v. 3)
(Funny isn’t it, most pastors today lead folks in.) The true shepherd “goes before the sheep” (v. 4) as he “leads them out.”
But Jesus tells us in verse six that the folks to whom He was speaking “understood not,”
and He took more time to further explain. Beginning in verse seven He tells us that He was “the door” and that “all that came before him were thieves and robbers.” (There it is again…He tells us who the thieves and robbers are...and it ain’t the devil.)
The thieves are the false shepherds who will not lead the sheep to Jesus, “the door” (v. 9) through whom the sheep could be saved. (v.9). (Get ready…here it comes)
In verse ten Jesus warns us that the previously identified thief (v.1 and v 7) has come to steal, kill, and destroy. The thief is not the Devil, but the false shepherd. (Still not convinced?)
Look who shows up in verse twelve…the wolf!
Doesn’t it make sense that the wolf is the Devil? We have two different characters here…the thief and the wolf….the Devil can’t be both. In fact, Jesus goes a step further to identify the thief for us by calling him a “hireling” and not the shepherd (v. 12).
It is the “hireling” (false shepherd) who “seeth the wolf coming” (v. 12) and deserts his post. The hireling flees because he “careth not for the sheep.” (v. 13), but is only in it for his own personal gain.
The thief (hireling) sees the wolf (Devil) coming and flees. It is the hireling who has come to “kill, steal and destroy.”
Some things never change. Those “hirelings” were the one’s Jesus saved his greatest criticism for, when He ran into them earlier, (only then He called them Pharisees) when He rebuked them because they “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”
(Remember, He also accused the hirelings of not being able to lead the sheep through the door). The Pharisees were the original hirelings. Read what Jesus said about them and ask yourself if they were any different from what we see on the television today?
John 10 is clear if read with an open mind. Hirelings are Pharisees and the Pharisees were hirelings….professional “ministers.” Jesus warned us about both.
How can we possibly restore righteousness, when some of those who stand in the pulpit don't honour the Word of God?
Jesus’ anger was not directed towards the secular government but towards those who changed his house of prayer into a “den of thieves.”(There are those thieves again) He cleaned the house and today we need to do the same.
Christians have lost a lot of credibility with the world. It will never change while the hirelings are doing what they do best!. It is at their feet that we must lay the killing, stealing, and destroying of the Christian heritage from the churches. It is time for a reformation.
Don't get me wrong....... There are always true pastor who follow God's word. They are the meek who inherit the earth (Mat. 5:5). They weep and pray in secret, and defy earth and hell in public. They tremble when faced with danger, but die in their tracks sooner than turn back. They are like a shepherd defending his sheep or a mother protecting her young. They sacrifice without grumbling, give without calculation, suffer without groaning. Their price is above riches. They are the salt of the earth. For the cause of the kingdom, we need more of them." (Author unknown.)
Do you know many shepherds like that?
Don’t be discouraged. The Lord’s Church is thriving and on the advance, but don't focus on the big large group of people gathered in the showpiece building down the street. Most of those sheep belong to a hireling, a false shepherd, and not to the Lord.
It is the hireling, the false shepherd that has come to steal, and kill, and destroy.
Allow The Lord to be your Shepherd. He leads us out, we hear His voice, and He lays down His life for us.
As a friend of mine said, “Everyone wants to follow Jesus until they find out where He is going. He is going to a cross and he asks you to take up yours and follow Him.”
It is time we decided to follow Jesus and not some hired hand.
INNOCENCE IS PRICELESS.........
One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names and small American flags mounted on either side of it. The six-year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, "Good morning, Alex."
"Good morning Pastor," he replied, still focused on the plaque. "Pastor, what is this?"
The pastor said, "Well, son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service."
Soberly, they just stood together, staring at the large plaque. Finally, little Alex's voice, barely audible and trembling with fear, asked,
"Which service.....8.30 or 10.30?"