Spiritual Warfare   

 

Spiritual Warfare:  The World, the Flesh, the Devil & the Glory of God

    
Spiritual warfare for the Christian is about truth and falsehood, love and hate, good and evil, and the integrity of God's Word. These aspects are experienced in the realms of the world, the flesh, the devil and his devil spirits. Our weapons of warfare are found in the Wisdom of Christ: God's Word & Holy Spirit
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Proof: Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd & Only Door to God

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

  Jesus Christ identifies Himself as the "Good Shepherd" for several reasons.  In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was often described as the vine or vineyard of God. Israel, as the vine of God, stood as a golden symbol on the temple gate of Herod, and in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, “For the vineyard of Jehovah of Hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for justice, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold, a cry” (Isa. 5:7).

A very similar situation existed at the time of Jesus and is reflected in His claims " I am the true vine," “ I am the door,” and “I am the good shepherd” (Joh. 10:1-17).

      Most bible commentaries agree that the picture of Christ, as the Good Shepherd, is in fact intended as a contrast to the Jewish religious leaders overseeing the people of God in Israel. The Lord is the Good Shepherd, Who lays down his life for the sheep; whereas, the Pharisees stole their leadership role of God’s people, and the priests who were appointed by God, as the overseers of Israel, shrugged their responsibility of caring for God's people, and as a result they reaped the fruit of corruption. They rejected the true vine and the Good Shepherd of God; however, Jesus’ identity as the Good Shepherd is in contrast to the false by His willingness to lay down His life for the sheep (Joh. 10:11).

The verses depicting Christ as the Good Shepherd are found in the gospel of John, chapter 10.

Joh 10:1 Verily [truly], verily [truly], 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.

     The gatekeeper or porter to the sheepfold would only open the door to the true shepherd of the sheep. The shepherd is both known by the porter and by the sheep, in which the sheep will only respond to the voice of their shepherd and will not be led by a stranger. The children of God who have made Jesus their Shepherd know by the presence of the Spirit of Truth (HS) living within them the leading of God in their lives and are able to discern truth from error. This is a reality in which God says in His Word,

1Co 2:14 Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged.

     The natural man is a person who has not yet received God's truth or Holy Spirit and therefore considers the wisdom of God or the things of the Spirit as more or less a waste of time.

      Christ's parable of the good shepherd also depicts the intimacy of His relationship with the sheep, or God's children; He calls them by name. In a perfect analogy, the shepherds' rounded up the sheep for their journey by calling each one out by name, the sheep would only respond to the familiar voice of their shepherd (Manners and Customs of the Bible, Freeman).

10:2-5 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

Joh 10: 7 - 13 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

     The mark of a good shepherd was his willingness to die in order to protect the sheep. At night, the shepherd slept in the doorway of the sheepfold to protect the sheep from thieves and other wild animals, and thereby put his own life in jeopardy. Likewise, Jesus laid down His life as the true shepherd of the world.

 In the prophetic book of Ezekiel we learn the identifying marks of the good and the false shepherds of Israel.

     The false shepherds took care of their own bellies versus the people, and only with an ulterior motive did they appear to care for some of their needs. They had no regard for the sick, the broken, the lost, and ruled with oppression and cruelty. The flock became scattered and fell prey to the strong, and because there was no shepherd, no one sought to deliver them from their troubles (Ezek. 34:1-8). This analogy can also be applied to the gospel of John, when the Pharisees viciously sought to have Jesus killed for healing the sick on the Sabbath day.

     In contrast, the good shepherd goes after the sheep until he finds them; he delivers them from their enemies, binds up the broken, heals the sick, provides a habitation of peace and rest, and does so abundantly.

Again in Psalm 23, we see David's revelation of God's abundant goodness in caring for His own,

     The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

The good shepherd loves the sheep and provides for their salvation.

Joh 10:14-15 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
 
      Some might say, there were many men and women who died for their beliefs and sacrificed their lives to help others. So how can we know for sure that Jesus is the true messiah promised by God and the only good shepherd sent to save the world and bring humanity back into the fold of God?
 
     The Messianic prophecies set forth in the Old Testament clearly describe Jesus Christ as the Messiah, but the most profound of all these prophecies is David's prophecy of the heart and mind of Jesus during His crucifixion on the cross. This prophecy was foretold by David long before the birth and crucifixion of Jesus. In Psalm 22: 6-8  There were those who mocked Him in His suffering on the cross.  We read,

Old Testament Prophecy

Psa 22:6 - 8 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

New Testament Fulfillment

Mat 27:39-43 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

Old Testament Prophecy

Psa 22:9-16 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts.  I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

New Testament Fulfillment

Mar 15:20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.

Mar 15:27-28 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.

Old Testament Prophecy

Psa 22:17-18 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

New Testament Fulfillment

Mat 27:35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

Luk 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Joh 19:24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

Old Testament Prophecy

Also in Psalm 34:20 it says "He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken"

New Testament Fulfillment

Joh 19:32-33 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:

Joh 19:36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

Old Testament Prophecy

Psalm 69:21 "They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."

New Testament Fulfillment

Mat 27:34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

NOTE: These are just a small sample for identifying Jesus Christ as the Messiah promised in the Old Testament.

     Remember: The truth of God's Word is a powerful tool in winning others to Christ and Christ's fulfillment of prophecy is one way we can present the truth to others, having our feet shod with the gospel of peace as part of our armor in spiritual warfare. The Apostle Paul was able to convince others that Jesus Christ was the true Messiah by this very means.

     If you would like to know more, just click on the link below for a further look into the most convincing and significant OT prophecies that point to:

Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah

(and keep a copy for yourself.)

Click on the link below if you would like to know how to receive God's Holy Spirit or if you question your salvation and need reassurance.

What is Salvation and How Do We Know if We Are Saved?

Why did Jesus say, I Am the True Vine?

Orig. post 8/11/05.- Updated

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Pulling down strongholds with the truth of God's Word, the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the operation of faith in our spiritual warfare with the world, flesh and devil!

1Jn 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.


  By Magdalene:

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