“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.
And because the Bible - The Word of God - is active and living - it has meaning for us Today. Evangelism is effective on all levels. Why bother? People are just people, they never change.
No. People bloom and grow. They thrive. Over the land.... Jesus Christ's Spirit blooms like a breath of Spring.
There is Evangelism in 3rd world countries, there is street ministry, there are people sewing needlepoint kneelers for the Glory of God's worship center. There are people who pray for friends, there are parents who pray for children, there are people who pray for their parents and family. Be a friend bring a friend to Christ - what Is Most Effective?
Love. Real Love. Remember what God says about God. God is Love. Evangelism works best when the Holy Spirit rushes in.
Ron Luce told the story of his mom. She was abusive, poor parent - I believe he even said white trash. He found Jesus and his life changed. He felt Worthy. Loved. Chosen. Special. Precious. And this man, who had felt so worthless, became empowered with the Holy Spirit. He married a woman he loved. And they had children who were Nourished at the Table of the LORD. Whole. Holy.
And his mom would come to visit. And she would tell them they were this and they were that. Cruel things. And this family didn't like that. It is a healthy reaction. And they began to see her less. Then one day Ron was listening to his wife repeat back the unhealthy things his mom had said. And he realized. Realized. His mom felt as unworthy and white trash as he used to Feel. And there was..... compassion. Better than pity. Empathy. Ron was able to explain to his wife, Katie, how he was before his wife knew him. And because she loves Ron, she was able to see her mother-in-law for the first time with love.
There was a family meeting with the Nourished, Whole Family. And the Luce Family began.... to EVANGELIZE. No. The Luce Family began to Love. At first it was something of an act. Act in Love. But because Gramma Luce didn't know, it began to take hold. And Ron Luce had rediscovered he did Love his mom. They decided at first to brush off her cruel comments. It seemed to make her angrier. Then they got angrier. It seems gritting your teeth to love doesn't work. Then they decided to listen to what she had to say. Was the process imperfect? You Bet. Because People are not the Lord, God, The Almighty, the Most High.
As they took time to be loving to Gramma Luce, listen to what she had to say, it took about 5 years. But Ron Luce, Evangelist, (ummm.... not Ron White) had the Blessing of the Most High God, to see - his own mom fall in Love with Jesus. And the result? His mom is his best friend. She Loves the Lord. They walk together with God.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.