“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him [the true shepherd], and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” – John 10:3-5
We who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, we who have put our faith in Jesus as Lord, are called and known as His sheep. We have been brought into a loving and intimate relationship with our God. He knows each of us by name. We are His and He is ours. Our Shepherd leads us and we follow – knowing Him and knowing His voice. Knowing His words and His ways. We follow in trust.
We are also called, and are to be known as, the Shepherd’s gatekeeper. Each one of us.
As God’s gatekeepers, we are to be able to readily recognize our Shepherd Jesus Christ. Recognize His presence, His Spirit and His truths so that we will fully open the gates of our hearts and lives to Him, to His love, to His leading and to His authority.
As God’s gatekeepers, we are to know His eternal truths so that we may discern what is truly from Jesus and what is not. As God’s gatekeepers, we are to be able to discern the loving, life-giving, transforming truths that come from Jesus alone so that we will recognize and separate out all things – thoughts, words, practices and doctrines – that are ugly lies or the twisted truths. No matter how subtle or blatant these may be. We are to be on watch against everything that comes at us from the thief, robber, liar and killer of our souls.
And as God’s gatekeepers, we are not just on watch for ourselves. We are also to be on guard to open the gate only to Jesus and His truths so that those who are already His sheep – our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ – will know His voice even better and follow Him more closely. As God’s gatekeepers, watching out for each other, we will be on guard and more fully protected from being led away by any false teachers and their fruitless, lifeless, twisted teachings. As God’s gatekeepers, watching out for each other, we will more tenaciously guard against all of our inclinations towards selfish, sinning ways that would lead any of us out and away from our Shepherd’s intimate protection and peace. In love we are to be on watch. With grace we are to protect our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Our Shepherd comes into our lives. He comes right into the midst of our muddled-up mess to bring us into His loving care and into His true Shepherd’s pen. Our Shepherd Jesus intimately calls each of us to follow Him, calling us each by name. Calling us to listen to His voice, to follow Him and to be on guard – watching out for all our brother and sister sheep – as our Lord lovingly leads us by His words and ways.
May we open the gate only to the Lord Jesus, following only Him, recognizing His voice as the voice of our true Shepherd! May God grow each of us up to be discerning, protective gatekeepers over our own hearts and lives, also watching, in love and grace, over our Shepherd’s other sheep.