“He Gives & No One Takes Away!”

John 10:22-30

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,[a] 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.”

PowerPoint slideshow is available as PDF HERE.

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Pastor Thom Rittichier:

Tis the Season and it is the season for what? We have songs that answer that like Tis the Season to be Jolly or Deck the Halls, right? And Tis the Season for decorations. Anybody put up any lights or anything lately? As a matter of fact, they’re saying to kind of make the season a little bit more jolly, with the difficulty of the time, it’s being done much more readily by folks, being more involved in this season for lights. I have the newspaper from this past week, The News Times. And right here, on the front cover, “Tis the Season”, right beside the temporary guidelines that are being put into place with IU Health Facility because of COVID. Tis the Season for lights and the light pictures from around town. Also Tis the Season for Carols, we’ll be kind of doing that. Let’s see, Karen Stewart sent me a text that she couldn’t be here because of what Dr. Stewart made mention of, the quarantine. And December comes next week. And Karen always sets Carols for starting December, “we don’t get to do them long enough” is what she tells me all the time. We don’t get to do them long enough. So Tis the Season for that. And it’s the season for gift giving. I was doing that yesterday when I was looking on line. So a lot of that will be done. And this morning, in the passage we’ll look at in John chapter 10 where I’m going to ask you to turn, is a passage about the holiday season. In John chapter 10, it’s quite interesting what God brings during this holiday season into the life of his son. Now the holiday season here is in December. Just like the holiday season that we know. Only the holiday season here in John, is the seasons of the holiday in December for the Jews. Do you know what holiday that is? It’s called the Feast of Dedication or the Feast of Lights or Hanukkah. That’s another name for it, Hanukkah. And in this, let me put up a couple of pictures of Hanukkah, Hanukkah happens in December. Thus when it’s decorated they, Jewish folks, put up the snowflakes and the indications of the wintery weather because it’s where they have their holiday celebration and their special foods that go with it. I remember Hanukkah being this time of the year. Because during one of my first two years of college, there were some Jewish folks that I got to know there. And one was a girl who lived in a dorm that was on the other side of the complex, the men’s dorm, McDowell Hall and the female dorm, Beal Hall. And in between there was a dining hall. And there was is Jewish girl I knew there and one day in December, when classes were pretty well finished up, I was walking back across campus. She happened to be in the same class I was and walking back across campus. So we walked together for a while until we got to the library. When I said “well I’ve got one more class so I’m cutting off into the library to get prepared”. She was on her way back to the dorm. So I said “Merry Christmas”. She looked at me and said, “Tom, I’m Jewish”,

which kind of caught me up short. I stumbled around. She said, “you can say Happy Hanukkah”. So I did. “Happy Hanukkah”. I don’t forget Jewish Hanukkah in December now. This event of Hanukkah, which is celebrated is called the Feast of Lights. They put up the Menorah to celebrate this feast that Israel had. They had basically four, they had Passover, Pentecost, they had Tabernacles or Booths and this one. This one came up in 164 BC, because Antiochus the IV Epiphanes was dominant from his people in Jerusalem. And Antiochus went into the Jewish temple and he desecrated it by offering a pig on the altar there. Now that is used by Daniel as a picturing. It’s a prophecy when Daniel gets it, but it’s presented to us as a foreshadow picturing of the Antichrist. Well, it was in 164 BC that Judas Maccabeus put Antiochus and his Greek gods out of the temple. And it’s called the Feast of Dedication, which was around that time. And it’s still Hanukkah for the Jews that celebrated it today. Well, that is the holiday, a December holiday, that comes up in John chapter 10, we pick up at verse number 22, “At that time, the Feast of Dedication”, also known the Feast of Lights or Hanukkah, “took place at Jerusalem, and it was winter in mid December. And Jesus was walking in the temple in the Colonnade of Solomon. 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. Jesus answered them. I told you and you do not believe. The works that I do, in my father’s name, bear witness of me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my


The passage here talks about Hanukkah. It takes place in mid December. And the passage we’re looking at talks about He gives, God gives, Jesus gives and as he gives, no one takes away. This passage


a presentation of an exceedingly great and precious promise that Jesus lays out for us here. We’ve been in a series on these “Over the Top Promises of God”. And as we’ve been looking at these promises of God, what does God intend for them to do in our life? He’s got an intention. And he tells us, based on his glory and who he is, from that he’s given us everything we need for life, for handling it and for living it and living it God’s way through his exceedingly great and precious promises. So that by these, something happens according to God’s intent. We’ve been focusing on these promises for a reason, because we’re going after having this, which God intends, come into your life. What’s his intention here? Here is what was said to us by Peter in 2 Peter chapter 1 verse 4 “he has granted to us his exceedingly great and precious promises”, now note this, “so that”, statement of purpose, where he wants to go, “so that through them, you may become partakers of the divine nature”, so that the disposition of God is in you. We participate, we take part, we share in, we “become participants of the divine nature, having escaped” by doing this, we “have escaped from the corruption that is in the world through desires” that are out of line with God. And this, this is our on going struggle in life, yep. “Tis the Season” where this struggle will be present. And God’s aim is that we participate with him, in His divine nature and His disposition. God’s Word tells us that his promises

are to that end.

Now, for us, it’s our job because this right here, that you may become, that is given in a way that says there’s a responsibility that we have that this can happen if we do or it may not happen if we don’t. It’s called a particular kind of verb tense or a particular kind of verb voice, subjunctive, it’s the mood here. That’s the mood. It may happen if we take and use this promise. I want you to know, there’s a lot of hope here, a lot of promise for us to take and use so that our disposition reflects the divine nature in this world


and it is so needed.

It is so needed. We are in an age of rage. And the church isn’t immune to this. As a matter of fact, it seems to be a leader in some quarters, where those who profess to believe are shooting and throwing stones at other believers about this or that because they’re not going along with what they desire. They’re not going along with what I want. And these promises that we started, we started these promises, right when the COVID situation was becoming intense. These promises are so that we participate in God’s disposition here. Did The Lord know what He was doing when He had us arrive here at this time? Oh I think so. And when we arrive here at this season, a holiday season, like a holiday season Jesus was in, I think He knows His timing. We need to take and use the promise, we need to grasp it,

and then use it

in our life. And we’re going to use it. We’re going to grasp it this way and then we’ll talk about using it. We’re going to look at these three things. First of all, is this a holiday greeting that’s expressed here? I want you to see, in context, how this comes up. It’s definitely a holiday there. This is a fitting and clear reply that Jesus gives here. It fits precisely what’s going on. And it’s clear, it’s clear. Finally, we come to this which he gives in his promise. He presents this for us. So that’s what we’re going to focus on. Now I want to say to you at this point, that I love the way Jesus says this. It’s so gripping. It’s so, it’s so vivid and intense and real. And I hope, I hope that it grips you. And I hope that it’s intense. And it’s real. Because

we need it.

We need it. So first off this morning, we’re going to talk about, is this a holiday greeting? Now you need to know it was a holiday season, verse 22. At that time, the Feast of Dedication, Hanukkah, The Feast of Lights took place at Jerusalem. And they were celebrating their Hanukkah in the warmth of their family gatherings. But it was winter. It was the middle of December, verse 22. So of course since everyone who knows when Hanukkah falls, wouldn’t have needed to know it was winter. But for us, a Gentile, that’s a very, very helpful to pick up. And the Jesus was walking in the temple, in the Colonnade of Solomon, he was there because it was winter. Now I’m going to import a scene here for you. This is not the actual, this is a model. This is a model of the temple area during Jesus day. Okay, now this temple doesn’t exist anymore because in 70 AD, just like Jesus told them would happen, Matthew chapter 24, it was torn down and actually had the rocks of it torn apart from each other. Titus, the Roman, in 70 AD swooped down and tore this temple area apart. And he took apart where Jesus is, this area is the Colonnade of Solomon. And he was here on the east side of it. And he was there because of the wind and the rain and the cold of December and the winter. And so he’s walking there and he’s talking. Let me bring in another picture here. This shows you the interior look of where Jesus was. And quite frankly, according to the book of Acts, after the church was formed, this was the same area where the church began to meet, when it was still part of Judaism, a sect of Judaism. They met there, because it was a place out of the wind. It was a place where they could gather together and this is what he’s doing. So that is the kind of location where Jesus is now in winter. And, he is there and he’s kind of interacting with folks. And when he’s doing that, there was an encompassing group, an all encompassing group. I want you to see what happens here at verse number 24, “And then the Jews gathered around him”, verse 24. Now what this means to encircle. There’s a group of guys and they come up on Jesus as he’s in that Colonnade of Solomon and they surround him. Now, if somebody says to you, “we’ve got you surrounded”, what is normally the kind of setting in which that is said? It’s not good. There’s no way out of this. They are on every side. And whichever way you go, we’ve got you. Now, that’s kind of what they were saying here to him. And as they have him on every side, by the way, you just might notice what the sentiment of this group was. What was the attitude present in this surrounding, encircling, encompassing group for Jesus? If you slide down to verse 31, you can kind of pick up the general sentiment of this. “The Jews picked up stones again, to stone him”. There is, what shall we say? Where is a sentiment that is

not friendly.

There is an interrogation going on. And notice what they ask, here’s the interrogation. “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ? Tell us plainly.” Humm? That’s an interesting thing, tell us plainly. If you just kind of pause here for a moment. Did they not understand the language that Jesus was using? Did they not get the picture of what he was attempting to convey? When you look at John chapter 9 and verse 22, these same Jews got the picture. Look at that verse with me. John chapter 9, verse 22, it states there, “His parents said these things”, this was about the blind man, “because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed”. They had gotten together and come to this conclusion, “that if anyone should confess Jesus to be the Christ, he will be put out of the synagogue”. And that was known in the area. It had been circulated. The parents knew it. And it was communicated, the Jews agreed, “If you confess that he’s the Messiah”. So question, did they not know plainly what he was saying? Their statement is “how long will you keep us in suspense?” The picture that is used there is of pulling something up and keeping it in the air, like when you’re fishing. Have you ever done that? I’ve fished with a kid, I’ve been a kid fishing and all the sudden your bobber goes down. And when you’re fishing with a kid, they pull it up and they say “hey look, I got one, I got one!” And there’s this fish that’s kind of flapping back and forth. And if it’s a good fish, you say something like, “well get it over here before” and then just about when you do that, flop, back into the water, right? That idea of being up in the air and suspended, as to which way this is going to go, is exactly the word that use for pulling that fish line up and hold it. How long will you keep us up in the air as to which way this is going to go? “If you are the Christ, tell us plainly”. Did he not communicate it, over and over?

He had!

As a matter of fact, all of these verses refer to statements used with the Jewsish holidays and events, the holiday season. And he says to them, “I am the bread of life. If anybody thirst”, as he says at Tabernacles, “come to me and drink.” “I am the light of the world”, the time that they were illuminating the lamps. They understood him to be the Christ, they prohibited anybody and were willing to throw them out of Judaism. “I am the door to the sheep”. “I am the good shepherd”. All of those statements were plain. And did they get them? Yeah, their reactions were such that if anybody says he’s the Christ, then they’re out. Now, the reason I took all the time to do that is because the reply that Jesus gives here is fitting. It is clear. And it fits. There is no needed repetition of what has been clearly communicated. As a matter of fact, in John 4, which would have been circulated, he told the Samaritan woman, “I am the Christ”. It’s been clear. It’s been said, it’s been demonstrated also. Not only did he say it, but he performed miracles, the lame walk, John 5. The blind see, John 9. Those were the signs that were to point to the Messiah. The dead are raised and that’s coming. It’s already been told. It’s already been shown. No need to repeat it here. So Jesus says to them in verse 25.

“Jesus answered, I told you and you do not believe the works that I do in my father’s name”, lame walk, blind see, “they bear witness about me. But you do not believe.” And you do not believe because of this heart issue. There is a heart issue


This, folks is so important. This is something Jesus recognized during the holiday. And he needed to, he needed to recognize it for himself, he needed to recognize it for his followers, he needed to recognize it for those who weren’t his followers. So he recognizes this. We need to recognize this too. We, with him, need to recognize a very, very important truth. The heart issue was that “you are not of my sheep”. verse 26. That’s the real issue. Notice with me, “but you do not believe”, I’ve already told you and you do not believe, I’ve already shown you but you do not believe. And the reason is because “you are not of my sheep”. Folks, I want you to know that that recognition is of extreme importance. You and I

talk to,

interact with, have family members, some immediate, some extended, some that we’ll see during the holiday, some we won’t be able to get close to, though we’d like to, over the holiday this year. And there is a heart issue.


are not of Jesus sheep.

And that

tugs at us. It pulls on us. It captures emotions. It raises up things in us. Sometimes, when their ideas and their statements are so out of line with what we hold to be dear and to know is true. Jesus is talking to them. And he says,

I’ve told you

and you don’t believe. I’ve shown you with the signs that are to be done. And you don’t believe. What’s the issue here? I’m going to ask you to turn back just for a moment in your Bible to the Gospel of John, chapter 8. In the Gospel of John, chapter 8, Jesus was talking about the truth being able to set people free. Freedom, freedom, we love freedom. It’s in the founding documents, it’s in our anthems. We love freedom. And he’s talking about that which is free, genuinely free, indeed. But they have a problem with what he’s saying. And in verse 43 of John chapter 8, Jesus says this, “why do you not understand what I say?” Why doesn’t it ring true? Why don’t you see the implications in the foundations, this is for your life now and for ever to come? “Why don’t you understand what I say?” He says this. “It is because you cannot bear to hear my words.” They can’t take it. They’re unable to absorb it. And here’s why. Because of a heart issue in them, a pre determined position, a prejudice if you would, I pre decided stance, that’s what prejudice is, a pre judgment that is made that we function from in their hearts towards him. And they can’t bear it. They can’t bear to hear what he says. These ideas, Corinthians says to them, are foolishness. That the world was created and God spoken it. A donkey speaks to a man, an axe head floats, people get up from the dead. Come on, get in the real world. And they can’t, they can’t endure it because of the spirit they are of. It’s the spirit of this world, which Jesus tells them next in verse 44, “you are of your father, the devil”, the deceiver, the tempter, the persecutor, “and your will is to do your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, he doesn’t stand in the truth, because there’s no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks characteristically of himself, it doesn’t conform to truth because he is a liar.” And unless God gives to Jesus and draws them, people don’t have a heart change towards that. They can’t bear it, they won’t absorb it, they won’t see how it fits, they won’t put it into their life. And that’s where we live. And so Jesus says to them, back to John 10. The real issue here is a heart issue, and “you’re not my sheep”. Now, I want you to know that right on the heels of this, he gives us something very, very clear. And something we need to register really strong and something we need to recognize, as well as we need to recognize that we rub shoulders with people that have a heart issue towards Jesus and His words, we need to recognize there are clear characteristics in heart of those who


Jesus sheep, and he lists them here. These are the clear characteristics of those who are Jesus sheep, whom God has given to Christ. Number one, he says here, “they hear my voice”. They hear my voice. They listen. Remember the picture of the sheep pen, and the shepherd calling, and the sheep lifting up their heads and giving their attention at that voice. They hear his voice, they listen to it, it registers with them. Number two, “I know them”. This is reciprocal. They know me, the voice that they hear, they know to be the authoritative shepherd, the one who leads them out into what they face that day, that week, that season. And he goes before them, they know him. He knows them. That’s what John 10, verse 14 says, “I know them, they know me”, we know each other. This is a known thing. This is the clear characteristic. When you see a person who listens to Jesus voice, they identify knowing this is his voice. And they follow, verse 7. Be assured, clear characteristic of a sheep, not there, not a sheep, clear characteristic of a sheep, this is all


not there, not a sheep. If this isn’t in you, you’re not a sheep, you’re not following him. Your disposition is you cannot bear to have him direct your life, you cannot bear because your will aligns with the will of the one who’s in control of this world and the world has got its stuff. It’s got its desires. It’s got what its preferences are. And this isn’t there, this isn’t there, not a sheep. This isn’t there, not a sheep.That’s the truth.This is the characteristic that Jesus laid out. This is where we are. That’s it. That’s the way it is. Now, having said that, we come to the most exceedingly great and precious promise that if it grips you and you use it everything changes here. Everything changes, absolutely


Now this is what he gives. Here’s his promise. “I give”, verse 28, look what he says, “I give them,” these sheep with those characteristics, “eternal life”, it goes to no one else. It goes to them with those characteristics, and the way he uses this eternal, it’s good for us to think of, of words that say the same thing. It’s perpetual. It’s not something only that begins far off and the way it begins now, John 10:10, it begins in a quality of life now, that is superior. It is a quality of life, that is beyond the regular, beyond the normal, it is super natural. It’s an experience of life, that is a bounding, super overflowing in what is beyond normal. That’s what he says. I give them perpetual life, not only far away, in the future, it’s now, it starts now. 2 Peter chapter 1 verse 4, “So that you may be partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the decay that’s in this world” through what people want. We escape it, it starts now. But it goes on for a long, long time. It goes on perpetually, it goes on for everlasting life. And it does have a future. Because when we get to that point, that we’re in his presence, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And that’s what Paul says, I prefer I prefer that, not that I give it up here. But that is preferable because in his presence, Psalm 16:11 is the fullness of joy. There is Jesus joy here, a spirit produced fruit in our life, there is that joy. But this is the fullness of it. The completeness, the wholeness of it, and there is pleasure there forevermore, Psalm 16:11, there is a tremendous future for this thing. And I want to quote to you how Jesus says this literally, as a matter of fact, I needed to write it down. And he says it this way. “I give them eternal life. And no, not in any case, or any wise, shall they perish into the forever. They shall no not in any way, case or wise, perish going into the forever The shall not, they shall not. That’s a promise. Number two. He says this is a double handed thing. My father’s hand is on this, God gave them into my hand. And my father’s hand in this. Look at verse number 29. “My Father, who is greater than all, has given them to me”. The Father is greater than everyone, his position even with Jesus was the director, submitter, Jesus. His Father was the director, Jesus was the submitter. “My father, who was given them to me is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. We, my Father and I are one” on this and I want you to get the picture. This is a double handed gift. It’s not like a right and a left hand though. It’s like Jesus holding you in his hand. And no one in any way, no thing, no event is going to be able to seize them out of my hand and pull them away, that’s what he saying. I give them eternal life, and they shall no not in any wise perish into the forever. And no one is able to seize them and pull them out of my hand. My father, he says, who’s greater than everybody has his hand on my hand. And he’s given them to me. And no one is able to take them out of my father’s hand, who is on my hand in doing this. This is a two handed thing. Jesus hand and the Father’s hand, holding it together. And we are one in this. We are in this together. I’m in it with you. And God’s expression to Jesus is he is with him. Jesus expression to us is the father is with him.

He’s one.

No one

takes him away.

Did the Jews get this? They got this. And they picked up stones to kill him. Because you’re making yourself out

to be God. They got it.

Could they bear it? No, they tried to stone him instead. What is season. I’ve already said this, no one sees or pulls him away. No one at all. What is season. What is season this was for Jesus. It was Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a great time of celebration. And where God, The Father took him in his life

was this.

What a season, what a holiday season he was having. They tried to stone him. And what is season this is for us? Was your Thanksgiving affected by COVID? Definitely was. Can I share with you in all probability, the whole holiday season is going to be affected. According to the newspaper last week, we have these classifications in our state called Red. And that’s the condition we’re in right now. Condition Red. And things will be happening, changes will have to be taking place. And God led his son in the holiday season into this. And the Good Shepherd has called our name in this holiday season. And he’s leading us out and he’s going before us on this. And he’s doing it at a time of an age of rage. Christians are getting angry at Christians and social media are calling them unbelievers or calling them socialists, liberals, when they profess Christ in they’re sheep.

And they’re angry because they’re not getting what they want.

The shepherd

has sheep

that like God, the Father was leading through Jesus into this during the time of the holiday season. He is leading us through this in the time of the holiday season. And what do we sheep do? They hear his voice. A stranger they won’t listen. This thing God didn’t do, China did it, a stranger they don’t listen to, because they don’t know the voice of a stranger. Instead, they know him. He knows them.

And they follow.

They follow him.

And what gets produced? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness. You know what the opposite of that is? My desire and dissension, contention, strife. And what’s God doing it for? Well during a holiday season there was this, Glory to God in the highest. There is a glory to be sounding in the highest to God as his sheep hear His voice and they say peace on earth, good will, good will towards man.

Joy to the world.

The Lord has come. Let earth receive her King. Let every heart, prepare Him room. Let heaven and nature sing. Glory to God. Glory to God.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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