FaithPoint Online: Episode 059 – The Sweet Life: Fences

[Music] [Pastor Ben Trawick] How much
do you know about sheep? Me, personally? Not much. I know that they’re white and fluffy and their wool can be used for all manner of things, but if I was called upon to care for a flock of sheep, I would be totally lost. During Jesus’ ministry, He uses sheep as a metaphor in all sorts of lessons. And this isn’t too surprising since the culture in Jesus’ time in the first century was built around agriculture. In those days, even if you didn’t have sheep of your own, chances are you knew someone who did. So it was a metaphor that everyone could understand. In the Gospel of John, chapter 10, Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees, who were members of a sect of Judaism distinguished by strict observance of the traditional and written law. You see for these guys, following God meant following the law to the letter. In fact, breaking the law, often meant that you were removed from the community for a time, sometimes permanently . That might sound extreme, but we do it all the time. Even today. In our increasingly polarized society, we are told we have to choose a side. We are told that for every issue, we should stand our ground and attempt to destroy our opposition by whatever means necessary. The problem is, when we play this out, what it calls us to do is focus solely on the fence that pens in the sheep. Whoever controls the fence and the gate becomes more important than the well-being of the sheep. Jesus reminds us through this lesson to the Pharisees that He is the Gate. Jesus is our Creator and our
Redeemer and our Protector. It is through Him that we find peace, rest and healing. How often do we get so fixated on the
gates and fences in our lives, that we miss an opportunity to care for someone who is hurting or worse, deepen the wounds that are already there because we’re too busy trying to protect God instead of love like Him. God’s love defends us and for that reason, we are free to love recklessly. We can seek to break down barriers instead of creating new divisions. We can love boldly, staying focused on God’s flock rather than the fences. You see in a lot of our churches today, we’ve become so focused on these fences that they’re more important than the people that are sitting in our churches. We get so focused on the rules and the regulations and the traditions that they become more important than the lives of the people around us. And what Jesus calls us to, Is to focus on the people first, to love God’s children, to love God’s sheep and to focus our heart and energy there. . . first. Then come the fences. Then come the systems that are in place to help carry us towards that perfection that God calls us to. But we get that flipped around so often. We’re focusing on those fences instead of God’s children, instead of God’s sheep. Will you pray with me? Let’s sing together. FaithPoint Online
FPO EP-059 The Sweet life: Fences
Campus Pastor Ben Trawick

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