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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

8/11/11 Theft of the Soul

Eighth Commandment: Do not Steal.

“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’ ; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’ ” (Luke 19:46)

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:1-10)

(The Good Shepherd;  Alfred Soord d. 1915)

Thoughts: Jesus spoke of the ultimate thievery- the stealing of the soul.  There are some who would put themselves in God's place (for many different reasons- often pride), tearing down trust in His Word, so that their advise and opinion can take its place.  The Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' day were such people- by adding so many of their man-made laws to God's.  The leaders who were giving into Baal worship in Jeremiah's day (Jer. 7:11) were also such people by tolerating and syncretizing other religions in order to get along and fit in.  Such people are wolves in sheeps clothing.  They steal the sheep in order to destroy them.  This week in Bowman, South Carolina farmers lost 42 goats to a wild pack of dogs who killed their goats- not for food but just because they could.  There are many who would destroy a person's faith for the sheer joy of it.  Such people are thieves of the soul.  Some are wise professors whose philosophy is to tear down someone's faith to nothing so that they may build their own world-view from a "much wiser" perspective.  Some are atheists with no hope who do not want others to have any hope either. Some want others to follow them instead of God.  Some have been taught to steal souls for so long, that they are numb to even questioning their actions.  Today there are many who point away from the narrow gate, and there are few who are willing to bravely declare Christ is the way to life, truth, hope, strength, and love.  In Jesus' day, the Pharisees, Scribes and Pharisees were numerous and people like Anna, Simeon, and Mary were few.  In such times, it is hard to not listen to the robbers who are like the many voices pointing Pinochio to Pleasure Island. 

Prayer: Lord, give me discernment so that I will not listen to those who wish to steal my faith away from me.  Give me grace to never lead anyone astray from you. 

John Calvin Abridged: Our Lord here points out that we should never count the truth by the number of sheep or shepherds.  No plague is more ravishing to the church than when wolves work under the garb of shepherds.  We must, above all things, guard ourselves against pretending shepherds who are really wolves and thieves. So we ought not to reckon a person a shepherd because they make that claim or even have some credentials. 

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