Welcome to today’s Open Heavens Devotional written by Pastor E. A. Adeboye
Topic: The Mix
Today Wednesday 29, March 2017
Memorise: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: – John 10:27
Read: Matthew 25:31-46 (KJV)
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Bible in One Year: Exodus 35-36, Jeremiah 4:3-18
“But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” – Matthew 10:6
The Lord deliberately refers to His own as “sheep”. He affectionately calls them “My sheep”. From the above scripture, we can see that even when He is referring to sinners or those yet to be saved, He calls them the “lost sheep”. The Lord’s parable in Luke 15:3-7 makes it clear that His sheep can get lost. It also illustrates that the shepherd goes looking for the lost sheep until they are found. This means it is possible for sheep to go astray, but when the shepherd goes searching for them, he finds them and brings them back to the fold. In John 21:15-17, in His post-resurrection appearance to Peter, Jesus repeatedly asked him to feed His sheep and His lambs. A lamb is a baby sheep. Jesus does not pastor goats but sheep. He never said, “Feed my goats.” Never! This is why I tell my children not to call themselves “Pastor’s kids”, because kids are offspring of goats and rams. God has no place for goats.
However, in our Bible reading today, you will observe that the sheep and the goats got mixed up together. This is so because wherever the sheep gather, goats would subtly infiltrate their fold (Matthew 13:24-30). This is why some people are heading for Heaven while some others are heading for Hell in the Church. The final separation will take place on the last day. God allows the goats to coexist with the sheep, but on the last day, He will separate them: the sheep will be on His right hand, while the goats will be on the left. He will address them separately and send them to their separate eternal destinations. This is very serious! Furthermore, this co-existence of sheep and goats gives room for pretence. That means the fellow sitting next to you might be a goat pretending to be a sheep. You also might be a goat pretending to be a sheep. This calls for self examination. Jesus gave the criteria for discerning a goat from a sheep in John 10:27. He said:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”
Do you pass the test of hearing His voice and following in His footsteps? Does He know you? I was telling one of my sons recently how my father in the Lord use to ask me to pray for patience. In those days, when I saw someone not fully complying with what we were taught, I would go to Papa, compelling him to do something about it. He would just ask me to pray for more patience. Today, I understand better. God allows goats and sheep to coexist. Are you a goat or a sheep?
Action Point: Use the criteria set by Jesus in John 10:27 to judge yourself to whether you are His sheep. If you have strayed from the fold, return to His loving arms and surrender your life to Him.
Open Heavens Daily Devotional guide was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical church in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer’s Ministries.