What, Who and Where Is Jesus Christ and His Sheep?

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What, Who and Where Is Jesus Christ and His Sheep?

What Is Christ?

The scriptures instruct us:

Rom 10:6  But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 
Rom 10:7  Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 
Rom 10:8  But what saith it? The word [Christ] is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

The apostle Paul had no doubt that what he was preaching was “Christ… the word of faith, which we preach”. These verses, reveal, for those who have the eyes to see it, that Jesus Christ is the fire that comes out of the mouth of His witnesses. “Christ… The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth…”

Rev 11:1  And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
Rev 11:2  But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
Rev 11:3  And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Rev 11:4  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Rev 11:5  And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
Rev 11:6  These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 

Christ is the fiery words in the mouth of His witnesses, and while it is very little understood or appreciated, God Himself has empowered those in whom He dwells to devour their enemies with His fiery words which proceed out of His mouth. He has even empowered them to shut off the waters of heaven from their enemies, and to “smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will”.

Christ’s witnesses are a power for their enemies to contend with, simply because they know Him, and they have His words in their mouths. Christ Himself made this same statement earlier in Mat 18:

Mat 18:18  Verily I say to you, Whatever things ye may bind upon the earth shall be having been bound in the heavens, and whatever things ye may loose on the earth shall be having been loosed in the heavens.

The things which have been bound and loosed on the earth, and the things which have been bound and loosed in the heavens are all the Words of Christ, which are always true.

If we are not even aware that we have these powers, it is because we do not have them. Paul knew his own powers in the spiritual word of God, and he did not waver in that power.

1Co 2:4  And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
1Co 2:5  That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 

I have emboldened the words “my speech and preaching was… in the power of God”, because it was what Paul said and preached that demonstrated the spirit and power of God. If I say anything of my own, it is nothing but “enticing words of man’s wisdom”. But when I demonstrate what the scriptures actually teach I am “demonstrat[ing] the spirit and power” of God.

When we live in and by His word that is what Christ meant by “abid[ing] in my word”. (Joh 8:30-31)

1Co 7:40  But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

1Co 2:16  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 

“I have the spirit of God… we have the mind of Christ… The word of faith [is what] we preach, [and we] know the Truth”.

Joh 8:31  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
Joh 8:32  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (ASV)

“If you abide in My Word” means that you and I must know Christ before we can abide in Him. If Christ is in any man, that man knows Christ is there, and he also knows Christ when He hears Christ’s voice in another man:

Joh 10:4  When he hath put forth all his own, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 
Joh 10:5  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

“Know not the voice of strangers” actually means the exact opposite of what it appears to say. What that means is that anyone who “know[s Christ’s] voice, recognizes when they are not hearing Christ’s voice. “They know not the voice of strangers” means they do not identify with a stranger’s voice, and the word voice means the “speech and… preaching” is recognized as the “enticing words of man’s wisdom” instead of “the demonstration of the spirit and of power” which “spirit” is the Word of God:

Joh 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they
are life.

So that is ‘what’ Christ is. He is His Word, and His Word is Him:

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2  The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3  All things were made by him [the Word]; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Who Is Christ?

As Saul of Tarsus, Paul wanted to know who had struck him down on the road to Damascus, and the Lord answered him in no uncertain terms:

Act 22:7  And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Act 22:8  And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

We, too, want to know who Christ really is, because Christ warned us that there would be many people who would come in His name and claiming to be Him who would not really even know Him at all:

Mat 24:3  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Mat 24:4  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
Mat 24:5  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Exactly when is this going to happen? Here is the answer to that question which the apostles asked our Lord:

Mat 24:34  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Christ has been in those who know His voice in every generation since He was raised from among the dead. Here is who He tells us long before He told Saul of Tarsus who He is:

Mat 25:34  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Mat 25:35  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Mat 25:36  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Mat 25:37  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Mat 25:39  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
Mat 25:40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

“The least of these my brothers” is not just those in whom Christ dwells. “The least of these my brothers” includes the man who was robbed and beaten on the way down to Jericho. It includes anyone the Lord brings before us at any time. We must treat everyone as though “the least of these my brothers” is Christ Himself, nevertheless Christ and His body should come first as we deciding who Christ is and when we are pouring out our own alabaster box of precious ointment:

Mat 26:6  Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
Mat 26:7  There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
Mat 26:8  But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
Mat 26:9  For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
Mat 26:10  When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
Mat 26:11  For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
Mat 26:12  For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
Mat 26:13  Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

The holy spirit repeats the message contained for us in this story in these verses:

Gal 6:10  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 

‘Do good to all men’, but we are all commended for pouring out of our own precious ointment “on my body… especially unto them who are of the household of faith”.

That is who Christ is. He is “especially [His own] household of faith, [His] disciples”.

Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Where is Christ?

Earlier we read in Revelation 11:

Rev 11:1  And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

“Them that worship therein” are those who know that Christ is His Word. They “know His voice when they hear it, and they worship in His temple.

Where is that temple?

1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

2Co 6:16  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

That is where Christ is. He is in His temple. But we are also told that His temple is in the heavens:

Rev 14:17  And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

Rev 15:5  And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:

The meaning of “in heaven” becomes much clearer when we understand the demonstration of the spirit and power of God in these words:

Heb 9:23  It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves [you and I if Christ is within us] with better sacrifices than these.

When we come into that house of God we are commanded to watch our steps:

Ecc 5:1  Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.
Ecc 5:2  Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

It is best to simply quote Christ’s words which are spirit and life, rather than to say anything. It is best to let Him do all the talking because that is where Christ is; He is in His temple, and He is in His “temple which is in heaven”. “[We] are the temple of God [if] the spirit of God dwells in [us]”. It follows that “the heavenly things themselves” are also those in whom Christ dwells because it is we who are “purified with… better sacrifices than… the blood of calves and goats”. (Heb 9:19) Christ has always been in His people, and that is what He Himself has promised us:

Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

This is what, who and where Christ is, and where He has always been since His resurrection. He is His Word, He is those who are persecuted for His sake, and he is within His temple which is within the heavens.

This is what, who and where you and I are, if we are abiding in His Word. We are not just a group of men who are playing church for filthy lucre’s sake. We are filling up in our bodies what is behind of the afflictions of the Christ for His body’s sake, which is the church. We know the voice of the True Shepherd, and we flee from the voice of a stranger, because we “know the Truth” and we will both symbolically and literally die to be with Christ and His Christ in that blessed and holy first resurrection.

As overseers of the Lord’s flock we are first to “look well to [ourselves]”:

Act 20:28  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

But we are also commanded to “take heed… to the flock over the which the holy spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God”. A godly overseer is a godly shepherd whose whole life in invested in the sheep under His care, and He is not just a hireling:

Joh 10:11  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 
Joh 10:12  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.
Joh 10:13  The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 
Joh 10:14  I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
Joh 10:15  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Christ’s sheep know who it is who “gives his life for the sheep”. The Christ of Christ is known of His sheep. The true shepherd, lays down his life for the sheep, and does not allow wolves to catch and scatter the sheep.

The true shepherd is still in a vessel of clay and is not yet perfected. Yet he lives for the sheep laboring in the word and in doctrine. Here is how we are told to treat the good shepherds among us, who “give [their] lives for the sheep”.

1Ti 5:17  Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

Tit 1:7  For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

A true shepherd of Christ must be blameless because He really is a steward of God, and this is how we are to act when we are counseled of our elders who preside well over, and have proven themselves to be good stewards of, the Lord’s flock:

Heb 13:17 Be persuaded by your leaders, and be deferring to them, for they are vigilant for the sake of your souls, as having to render an account, that they may be doing this with joy, and not with groaning, for this is disadvantageous for you.”

Conclusion

God’s true shepherds are not hirelings. They are proven leaders who have given their lives for the Lord’s flock, and we are told to count them worthy of double honor, and we are told to “be persuaded of your leader and be deferring to them for they are vigilant for the sake of your souls.”

Nowhere is it ever said that a good shepherd has been perfected, but we are told that they have proven that they will lay down their lives for the Lord’s flock.

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