“And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him for they know not the voice of the strangers.”
Jesus made it perfectly clear that his sheep hear His voice and that they follow Him. He adds to these precious words of comfort and assurance that His sheep have the ability to hear and recognize the voice of the stranger, but they give it no regard, cannot follow it and shall flee from it. The children of Adam have the ability to hear the words of Adam. The children of the Devil cannot hear Christ’s words because they are not intended for them and they have not the ability. They hear with the natural ear the natural words and by natural logic and reasoning, having no spiritual point of reference, discard the truth as nonsensical. They cannot hear the Word because they are born of the flesh, they are of the earth earthly and their ears have been closed according to the purpose of God. One who has been born from above, hears the Word, knows the Word and follows the Word without fail. The sound of something foreign to that Word and the speaker thereof, is heard, understood and identified as the voice of the stranger which the sheep of Jehovah flee from.
The stranger spoken of here means ‘another’ and to follow means ‘to be a disciple of’ so the sheep, those dumb, harmless and defenseless animals only listen to One voice and to another they will not give heed. They are under the discipline and leadership of the Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep and they will never be the disciples of another. They have full knowledge and understanding of the voice of another as they mark and avoid those who would come in with ‘another’ doctrine other than that which they have received of the Spirit, esteeming them accursed, and they ‘seek safety from’ (flee) both the doctrine and the bearer.
The children of this world hear this other doctrine and esteem it wholesome and profitable as promotes Adam, brings notoriety and increases the coffers for they are strangers to the truth. Their ears have been made to itch as they seek to hear something new and heap unto themselves teachers of the traditions of man and the works of the flesh. To them this is a feast of fat things and they live sumptuously upon it. But it is unpalatable to one who has been born from above. The waters of this world are bitter and the provisions of Egypt have run out, therefore the strangers and pilgrims in this foreign land are sustained by the ‘Bread of life’ and ‘Living Waters’ in the waste howling wilderness.
But this is not just about the sheep and the goats because the child of grace inhabits an earthen vessel. This vessel was fashioned from the same lump of clay as all of Adam’s race and it acts accordingly. It desires the things of this world being drawn away after the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life and he lust of the eyes (I John 2:16) and cannot receive the things of the Spirit. Herein is a conflict which the sons of God endure while in the tabernacles of Edom. The very booth in which he dwells hears the voice of the stranger and finds his words pleasing and comforting to him. The logic of man convinces him that in order to be a complete disciple of Christ he must keep the ‘moral’ law. He must don the armaments of warfare and march off to conquer sin and bring the vices of the flesh into subjection to the truth. Yet he does not know the truth because he is from beneath. He judges things after the flesh and his conclusions are carnal. He was fashioned from the dust of the earth and shall return unto it when the time of his habitation is ended.
The child of grace, the true sons of Abraham, are “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). They have the cognitive ability to hear and recognize this stranger and his words. They know that the flesh is of no profit to them and that there is a constant contradiction of sin against self. The flesh wars against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. The two shall never be resolved. The flesh is at much a stranger to the things of the Kingdom of life as the Spirit is a stranger to the things of this world. The absolute assurance then is that the Spirit, that inward man that delights after the law of God, knows the sounds and language of the stranger, identifies them as being contrary to the truth, knows that there is no safety or life in them and SHALL NEVER FOLLOW AFTER THEM. The child of grace is made subject to this worthlessness so as to demonstrate the weakness and corruption of the flesh and He dwells in the bondage of sin for the body is dead because of sin but He will never be the disciple of the flesh. He cannot follow after anything that is contrary to the Holiness of the Godhead, he cannot deny the Father and NOTHING can separate him from the eternal love of the Father. Therefore, being fully aware of the body of this death which he has become a partaker of, he walks by faith, not knowing where he is going, yet mindful that, even though the path leads into the valley of the shadow of death, he will fear no evil. Even though he may leave his Father’s house with all the liberty and provisions to indulge the vices of the flesh, yet, when he has taken his fill, he shall return for he cannot, nor can anything he does, negate the fact that he was, is and always shall be a Son. The path may take him on a whale ride to Nineveh, or a vacation by the brook Kedron where he will dine on flesh and bread served to him by a raven, or to the inner most recesses of his agony as he is reminded how he denied his Lord three times, but the path and the actions thereof will never change the sheep of Jehovah into a goat of this world.
The just live by the faith of the Anointed. That faith is based on the axiom of the sovereignty, immutability and omnipotence of our God. He cannot change, therefore faith cannot change. His love is eternal and cannot change and His sheep love Him because He first loved them. Whom He loves He chastens and afflicts them with trials and tribulations to prove the faith that is within. When these trials come He has already prayed for His sheep that their faith will not fail which since it is His imputed faith it cannot fail and by this they have patience. This is the discipleship of Jesus Christ and His people. His sheep hear His voice and follow Him and NO MAN can pluck them out of His hand. Therefore be of good cheer when the Father demonstrates His love unto His little sheep knowing that He will never leave them nor forsake them.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
December 4, 2011