Many Voices

In the book Faith and Works, page 55, it says,

“The voice of God is speaking to us through His word, and there are many voices that we will hear; but Christ has said we should beware.”

Already people are hearing many voices, but as time goes on there will be many more. Ellen White has warned to beware. To beware means to watch out!

She writes, “After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation, and minds will be confused by many voices crying, ‘Lo, here is Christ, Lo, He is there. This is the truth. I have the message from God, He has sent me with great light.’ ” Maranatha, 189. Will you listen to them at the peril of your soul?

It is imperative to be able to distinguish the voices. John 10:1–6 says, “ ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.” This is still true today.

John 18:37 says, “Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’ ”

Speaking to Thomas, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Here is the question: Do you recognize the shepherd’s voice well enough to distinguish His voice from all the other voices? We all hear other voices and must be sure that we are receiving communication from the right Spirit.

If we are receiving communications from the right spirit, certain things will happen in our lives. “A stubborn, willful spirit is not of Christ, but of Satan; hence, it will not be cherished by him who has the mind of Christ. All impurity of thought will be overcome, and the mind will be trained to pure and holy thoughts. Backbiting and evil speaking will be put away. Jealousy and selfishness will be overcome, for they are Satanic, and not Christlike. Bitter are the fruits of self-indulgence, of unsanctified traits of character.” The Signs of the Times, October 12, 1891. Notice what will be overcome: all impurity of thought, backbiting, jealousy and selfishness, for these traits are Satanic.

Psalm 15:3 describes the character of those who are going to be in heaven. It is the person who doesn’t take up a reproach against his neighbor, even in his bedroom at home. It is the person you can trust; they speak no evil behind another’s back.

The condition of church members may give some idea why the Holy Spirit isn’t yet poured out so that God’s work can be finished. In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul wrote, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:29–32).

Notice the context of the scripture when describing how the Holy Spirit is grieved—the way we speak. The word blasphemy simply means evil speech. The worst kind of evil speech is against God, but all evil speech is blasphemy. The Holy Spirit can never be poured out upon people who are backbiting and evil surmising and speaking evil of each other.

It is during this lifetime that we are to learn godly habits, which include pure speech. Jesus spoke directly to the Pharisees and the Sadducees with any rebuke that was necessary. He talked to them right to their faces and never behind their backs.

If the Holy Spirit is working on the mind, the words will be right. “If we cherish His [Jesus’] Spirit, if we manifest His love to others, if we guard one another’s interests, if we are kind, patient, forbearing, the world will have an evidence by the fruits we bear that we are the children of God.” That I May Know Him, 153.

Christianity today seems so powerless to make an impact on the world and the reason is that though we claim to be Christians, we don’t act like Jesus and talk like Jesus. If the world is going to see Jesus, they are going to have to see Him revealed in somebody that claims God as their Father and Jesus as their Brother.

It was not the early church in Antioch that called themselves Christian, rather it was those to whom they had witnessed who affixed that name to them. The disciples of Jesus were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26) because they continually spoke about Jesus, what He taught and did, and they were just like Him.

If you were the only Christian amongst the non-believers in your area, would others say, by watching you and listening to you speak, “That person is like Jesus Christ”?

Everyone is tempted in the area of speech. No one is excluded. The devil will see to it that evil surmising and bad reports about you will be widely spread. When you hear of it, the temptation is to absolutely destroy every argument by presenting the facts, but most of the time, if you give all the facts, it would often damage somebody else’s reputation. Never think that pastors aren’t tempted to damage someone’s reputation by giving people the facts when rumors about them start spreading. Rumors were spread about Jesus, about the apostle Paul, about Martin Luther. Rumors were spread about Ellen White. Be aware that it will happen to you if you are a Christian. If you are living right and following the Lord, all manner of evil reports will be spread about you. In fact, I’ve sometimes thought that if there are no evil reports circulating about you, you ought to get scared and wonder if you are really a Christian.

Jesus said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you” (Luke 6:26).

Some may spread gossip, claiming that they are just telling their closest friend, but why speak evil to a friend that will do nothing more than to pollute and poison their mind? Before the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost the disciples had to meet together in that upper room for ten days and talk over things, because they had been jostling with one another over who was going to be first, who was going to have the highest place. They had to confess their sins and talk things over.

Think this through: After the death of Judas, the 11 disciples were in the upper room with about 110 other people who had gathered there to make things right. And they did have a lot to discuss and make right because they had been talking a lot of evil against each other. They had a lot of praying to do and confession of sin. Suppose one of those people got so upset when he found out how much evil had actually been spoken against him and said, “This is too much,” and walked out. They would have had every right to leave. Jesus never stopped anyone from leaving, but they would not have received the Holy Spirit when it was poured out. It is time to work things out with our brethren. It is time to make things right while there is still time.  Think through how serious this is, for the Holy Spirit will be given only to those who are wearing Christ’s yoke—who are reflecting His character—and He said, “I am gentle and humble in heart.”

Would you recognize the Holy Spirit if it were poured out? In Acts chapter 2, we read that the Jews did not recognize when the Holy Spirit was poured out. There were a number of reasons for that. If they had recognized that it was the Holy Spirit, they would have had to recognize who Jesus was and they refused to do that. When the Holy Spirit is poured out in its fullness, many won’t recognize it again.

Jesus said, “And when He [that is, the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). Notice, Jesus teaches that when the Holy Spirit comes, He comes to reprove. Many people would like to receive the Holy Spirit, but they do not want to be reproved of their sins. Unfortunately for them, that is not how the Holy Spirit works.

Before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit had been working on the minds of the disciples and convicting them of their sins. As a result, they were ready to make things right between themselves. They desired their carnal natures to be subdued and made whole. The Spirit had already worked on their hearts and on the Day of Pentecost, they were ready to receive the early rain.

The result of this conversion and unity was that the Lord added to the church every single day. At that time, they did not need long series of evangelistic meetings to raise up churches. People recognized Jesus in those early believers and the churches increased daily. That will happen again before Jesus returns. However, it is never going to happen unless the Holy Spirit is poured out and that isn’t going to happen until the church members talk with each other to make things right and get things straightened out.

What an experience it would have been to be in that upper room when the Holy Spirit was poured out. Would you have stayed and faced your mistakes or fled with your pride and stubbornness? There were plenty of places to go, for there were many other Sabbath keeping churches around the area that were strictly orthodox in their belief, practice and teaching. But those churches didn’t receive the Holy Spirit because they hadn’t made things right. They were still talking about Jesus and saying that He was an imposter.

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide [continue, stay] in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’ ” (John 8:31, 32). Those who received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost were people who had stayed with the word of God and kept studying it even when they couldn’t understand what was going on. When Jesus was crucified, they didn’t understand what was going on. They were perplexed and confused but still refused to give up their faith. They continued to search for truth and humbled themselves before the Lord and He revealed the truth to them.

Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit would come, He would “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). From this text, we get the idea that receiving the Holy Spirit is closely connected with receiving the truth and following that truth as it is in Jesus. The Holy Spirit always guides into truth—never error. The devil’s counterfeit is what we call sophistry. Webster’s dictionary definition of sophistry is reasoning that is sound in appearance but actually it is false.

The devil’s sophistry puts people in a position so that they will not receive the Holy Spirit. “The cause of God is in great peril because the physicians in whose minds sophistry has prevailed against truth, are bracing themselves against the impressions of the Holy Spirit, and are placing themselves where the Lord can not use them as leaders of His people.” Spalding and Magan Collection, 364, 365. This was written at the time that we call the alpha of apostasy. These leading Adventist physicians had become convinced that the devil’s sophistry was the truth and as a result they were braced against receiving the real truth. Such is the case of many sincere people calling themselves Christians throughout the world today. By believing some erroneous doctrine, they reject truth. The word of God is true, and the Lord has given it as a measuring stick to measure things, whether they are of the truth or not.

Jesus prayed to His Father, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). It is impossible to be sanctified through error. To be sanctified by the truth is to practice it, live it.

Hebrews 6:18 says, “It is impossible for God to lie.” But the whole world has, at various times, decided that God didn’t know what He was talking about. It happened in Noah’s day (Genesis 6 and 7). The people decided they knew better. After all, how could there be a flood when there had never been rain? The Jews mocked Jesus’ virgin birth and called Him a bastard. They told Him that they hadn’t been born of fornication to indicate their belief that He had been. Jesus said that He didn’t come for Himself, but that His Father had sent Him. The ascension of Christ proves that He was telling the truth. God does not want you to be deceived by the sophistry of the devil.

“God desires scientific sophistry to be purged from every heart. He desires us to rebuke every evil devising, every evil work. If we allow such devising to go unrebuked, we shall have to suffer the consequences.” The Review and Herald, June 29, 1905. To rebuke evil devising is not fun for any preacher to do and certainly doesn’t gain any popularity. However, Jesus said, “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35 NASB).

We are commanded that if we allow evil devising and evil work to be unrebuked, we will have to suffer the consequences. We are living in a time when there is more evil surmising, more evil devising, more scientific sophistry than has ever been in Adventism and it is a snare that only God can deal with.

So how do you figure out what is true and what is not? When Eve spoke to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, she did not know who in reality she was talking to. (See Genesis 3:1–5.) Eve was deceived by someone anonymous. Think this through because this same thing is happening all around us today.

The devil works anonymously. He did not introduce himself to Eve and say that he was going to speak through a snake and deceive her. That would never have worked.

Around the time of the alpha of apostasy some young, very good-looking men began to hang around Battle Creek Sanitarium and go for walks and talk with John Harvey Kellogg. The trouble was John Kellogg did not know who these young men were. Ellen White revealed to him a scene that she had witnessed while in Oakland. “Angels clothed with beautiful garments, like angels of light, were escorting Dr. Kellogg from place to place, and inspiring him to speak words … that were offensive to God.” Ellen G. White, vol. 5, The Early Elmshaven Years, 304. Watch out, friend, for anonymous information. If they can’t give you a name, a date, a place, a phone number, and an address, watch out. You are going to be misled by something you do not understand or even recognize as spiritually dangerous.

Jesus said, “They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:5). As we draw closer to the end of time, we are going to hear more and more voices. Make no decision based on that anonymous information, not any. Ellen White wrote, “We are not to accept these suppositions and pass them along as truth.” Ellen G. White, vol. 5, The Early Elmshaven Years, 428. Weigh the evidence for what you believe or what you don’t believe. “There is no excuse for doubt or skepticism. God has made ample provision to establish the faith of all men if they will decide from the weight of evidence.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 311. As we approach the final crisis, what are you going to do?

“Present the affirmative of truth. Stand on the platform of eternal truth. But do not accuse. Say nothing to arouse enmity and strife. …

“The signs of the end are fast fulfilling. The time of trouble is very near us now. We are to be brought into strait places [that is, narrow places] in a way in which we have not been brought heretofore. The time of trouble is near, and we are to awake to a realization of this. We are to be sure that our feet are in the narrow path. We need an experience that we have not yet had, that we may have the assurance that the God of all grace is a very present help in time of need. The time of trouble—trouble such as was not since there was a nation—is right upon us, and we are like the sleeping virgins. We are to awake and ask the Lord Jesus to place underneath us His everlasting arms, and carry us through the time of trial before us. …

“How little we know of what is going on in heaven! What fearful indifference those on this earth show to eternal realities. Souls are unprepared for what is about to take place in our world; the warning must be given. The end of all things is at hand. …

“Preach the Word. The last message of mercy is to be given to prepare a people to stand in these last days. Everything is to be shaken that can be shaken, that those things that cannot be shaken may remain.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 436–438.

Study Psalm 15 to know how not to be shaken in the last days.

“This is what has been presented to me—that we are asleep, and do not know the time of our visitation. But if we humble ourselves before God, and seek Him with the whole heart, He will be found of us.” Ibid., 438.

Oh friends, the Lord says you are asleep and that it is time to wake up! Jesus told a parable of ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Because he was delayed, they all fell asleep. At midnight they heard the cry, “Behold the bridegroom is coming” (Matthew 25:6) and they awoke; some were ready to meet him, but sadly, some were not. Those not ready had failed to make the necessary preparation and were not allowed into the marriage feast. (See Matthew 25:1–13.) Learn from this parable. Determine today to seek the Lord with your whole heart. Enjoy a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and get to know His voice so you will not be found a victim of the sophistry of the devil. True joy and happiness are found only in the presence of the Lord.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Chosen Leader

Wilderness Wanderings

September 27 – October 3, 2020

Key Text

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:24, 25).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 241–251.


“The strength of Moses was his connection with the Source of all power, the Lord God of hosts. He rises grandly above every earthly inducement, and trusts himself wholly to God. He considered that he was the Lord’s.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1098.



  • As the children of Israel, dwelling in the land of Egypt, were fast becoming a numerous race, what did Pharaoh propose to do, fearing they would one day turn against him? Exodus 1:15–17, 22.

Note: “The king and his counselors had hoped to subdue the Israelites with hard labor, and thus decrease their numbers and crush out their independent spirit. Failing to accomplish their purpose, they proceeded to more cruel measures. Orders were issued to the women whose employment gave them opportunity for executing the command, to destroy the Hebrew male children at their birth. Satan was the mover in this matter. He knew that a deliverer was to be raised up among the Israelites; and by leading the king to destroy their children he hoped to defeat the divine purpose. But the women feared God, and dared not execute the cruel mandate. The Lord approved their course, and prospered them. The king, angry at the failure of his design, made the command more urgent and extensive.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 242.



  • What was Moses’ heritage? Exodus 2:1; 6:20.

Note: “[Exodus 1:22 quoted.] While this decree was in full force a son was born to Amram and Jochebed, devout Israelites of the tribe of Levi. The babe was ‘a goodly child’ (Exodus 2:2); and the parents, believing that the time of Israel’s release was drawing near, and that God would raise up a deliverer for His people, determined that their little one should not be sacrificed.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 242, 243.

  • What did Moses’ mother do to save his life? Exodus 2:2–4.
  • How did God overrule the plans of Satan to destroy God’s planned deliverer? Exodus 2:5–10. What can we learn from the way Moses’ mother fulfilled her sacred trust in training her son for God?

Note: “God had heard the mother’s prayers; her faith had been rewarded. It was with deep gratitude that she entered upon her now safe and happy task. She faithfully improved her opportunity to educate her child for God. She felt confident that he had been preserved for some great work, and she knew that he must soon be given up to his royal mother, to be surrounded with influences that would tend to lead him away from God. All this rendered her more diligent and careful in his instruction than in that of her other children. She endeavored to imbue his mind with the fear of God and the love of truth and justice, and earnestly prayed that he might be preserved from every corrupting influence. She showed him the folly and sin of idolatry, and early taught him to bow down and pray to the living God, who alone could hear him and help him in every emergency. …

“The lessons learned at his mother’s side could not be forgotten. They were a shield from the pride, the infidelity, and the vice that flourished amid the splendor of the court.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 243, 244.

“Every child born into the home is a sacred trust. God says to the parents, ‘Take this child, and bring it up for Me, that it may be an honor to My name, and a channel through which My blessings shall flow to the world.’ ” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 145.



  • Following his early education in the home, what did the second phase of Moses’ education involve? Acts 7:22. Why do you think God placed him in Pharaoh’s palace?

Note: “From the humble home in Goshen the son of Jochabed passed to the palace of the Pharaoh, to the Egyptian princess, by her to be welcomed as a loved and cherished son. In the schools of Egypt, Moses received the highest civil and military training. Of great personal attractions, noble in form and stature, of cultivated mind and princely bearing, and renowned as a military leader, he became the nation’s pride. The king of Egypt was also a member of the priesthood; and Moses, though refusing to participate in the heathen worship, was initiated into all the mysteries of the Egyptian religion.” Education, 62.

  • Because of the faithful early training from his parents what choice was Moses led to make later in his life? Hebrews 11:24–26.

Note: “Moses was fitted to take pre-eminence among the great of the earth, to shine in the courts of its most glorious kingdom, and to sway the scepter of its power. His intellectual greatness distinguishes him above the great men of all ages. As historian, poet, philosopher, general of armies, and legislator, he stands without a peer. Yet with the world before him, he had the moral strength to refuse the flattering prospects of wealth and greatness and fame, ‘choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season’ (Hebrews 11:25).

“Moses had been instructed in regard to the final reward to be given to the humble and obedient servants of God, and worldly gain sank to its proper insignificance in comparison. The magnificent palace of Pharaoh and the monarch’s throne were held out as an inducement to Moses; but he knew that the sinful pleasures that make men forget God were in its lordly courts. He looked beyond the gorgeous palace, beyond a monarch’s crown, to the high honors that will be bestowed on the saints of the Most High in a kingdom untainted by sin. He saw by faith an imperishable crown that the King of heaven would place on the brow of the overcomer. This faith led him to turn away from the lordly ones of earth and join the humble, poor, despised nation that had chosen to obey God rather than to serve sin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 246.



  • When Moses tried to work out God’s plan for Israel in his own way, what were the results? Exodus 2:11–15; Acts 7:23–29.

Note: “Moses had supposed that his education in the wisdom of Egypt fully qualified him to lead Israel from bondage. Was he not learned in all those things necessary for a general of armies? Had he not had the advantages of the best schools in the land? Yes, he felt that he was able to deliver his people. He set about his work by trying to gain their favor by redressing their wrongs. He killed an Egyptian who was imposing upon one of the Israelites. In this he manifested the spirit of him who was a murderer from the beginning, and proved himself unfit to represent the God of mercy, love and tenderness.

“Moses made a miserable failure of his first attempt; and, like many another, he immediately lost confidence in God and turned his back on his appointed work. He fled from the wrath of Pharaoh. He concluded that because of his great sin in taking the life of the Egyptian, God would not permit him to have any part in the work of delivering his people from their cruel bondage. But the Lord allowed these things that He might teach Moses the gentleness, goodness, and long-suffering that it is necessary for every laborer for the Master to possess in order to be a successful worker in His cause.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 407.

“It was not God’s will to deliver His people by warfare, as Moses thought, but by His own mighty power, that the glory might be ascribed to Him alone. Yet even this rash act overruled by God to accomplish His purposes. Moses was not prepared for his great work. He had yet to learn the same lesson of faith that Abraham and Jacob had been taught—not to rely upon human strength or wisdom, but upon the power of God for the fulfillment of His promises.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 247.

  • How did Moses find a home in the land of Midian, and who became his family? Exodus 2:16–22; 18:2–4.
  • What was Moses’ occupation in the land of Midian? Exodus 3:1.



  • What was later said of Moses, which showed the great change brought about by the years of training in the wilderness? Numbers 12:3. What lessons had he learned in the wilderness?

Note: “The education received by Moses, as the king’s grandson, was very thorough. Nothing was neglected that was calculated to make him a wise man, as the Egyptians understood wisdom. This education was a help to him in many respects; but the most valuable part of his fitting for his life work was that received while employed as a shepherd. As he led his flocks through the wilds of the mountains and into the green pastures of the valleys, the God of nature taught him the highest and grandest wisdom. In the school of nature, with Christ Himself for teacher, he contemplated and learned lessons of humility, meekness, faith, and trust, and of a humble manner of living, all of which bound his soul closer to God. In the solitude of the mountains he learned that which all his instruction in the king’s palace was unable to impart to him—simple, unwavering faith, and constant trust in the Lord.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 342.

“In the school of self-denial and hardship he was to learn patience to temper his passions. Before he could govern wisely, he must be trained to obey. His own heart must be fully in harmony with God before he could teach the knowledge of His will to Israel. By his own experience he must be prepared to exercise a fatherly care over all who needed his help.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 247.



1     How did Satan know that a deliverer was to be raised up from among the Israelites, and what did he do to try to prevent this?

2     How did Moses’ mother train the child whom she was sure had some great destiny? For what purpose should children be trained today?

3     What led Moses to choose poverty over worldly gain?

4     Why did Moses have to be re-educated in a desert place?

5     What did Moses learn in his years as a shepherd? What things can we learn from the trials we experience in our own lives?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Knowing the Shepherd’s Voice, Part II

As false winds of doctrine blow about with hurricane force, you better be ready to know what you believe from the Bible. You had better read the texts given in this article, know what they say, and know what they mean.

How are you going to survive? Well, the events of the last few years have shown to us very clearly that the majority of Seventh-day Adventists are not going to survive. John 10:1-5 will show you why they are not going to survive: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the one not entering through the door of the sheepfold of the sheep, but going up another way, that one is a thief and a robber. But the one entering through the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To this one, the doorkeeper opens and the sheep hear his voice; and his own sheep he calls by name, and leads them out. And when his own he brings out, he himself goes before them. And his sheep follow him because they know his voice. And to a stranger, they will not at all follow but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

Here is the sad fact. The majority of Seventh-day Adventists today cannot tell the difference between the True Shepherd’s voice and the voice of strangers. So when all these winds of doctrine start blowing all over the place, you find people going off after this one or going off after that one. What are you going to do about it? The winds of doctrine are already here. They are going to get stronger. You are going to hear more voices than you are hearing now. The winds of doctrine are going to gain hurricane strength. They are going to blow you off your feet unless you are anchored.

A Matter of Survival

Do you know the True Shepherd’s voice? I am sorry to have to tell you, but from my own observation, the majority of the Christian world, the majority of the Adventist world, cannot distinguish the True Shepherd’s voice from the voice of strangers. It is a terrible, terrible thing, but it is true.

You are not going to survive until the end, you will not be ready for the second coming of Christ unless you can discern the True Shepherd’s voice from every other voice. If you are one of His sheep, He says, “They will not at all follow a stranger. They will flee; they will run from the stranger, because they do not know his voice. But they know My voice.”

Do you know the True Shepherd’s voice? Can you distinguish the True Shepherd’s voice from all other voices? Can you?

A preacher of righteousnessshould be echoing the True Shepherd’s voice, but you should be checking out from your Bible whether or not your preacher is telling you the truth. You need to know for sure whether or not your preacher is echoing the voice of the True Shepherd. That is what the people did in Berea; Paul recommended it and commended them for it.

The question that you need to answer is, Can you discern the True Shepherd’s voice from all the other voices? There are many voices out there now, and the number is going to grow. If you cannot tell the difference, the devil is going to figure out what kind of voice is pleasing to you, and if you do not understand the True Shepherd’s voice from all the other voices, you are going to get snagged by something that will sound wonderful to you. You are going to think you are having a wonderful Christian experience. This will happen to the whole world.

So, I want to give you a few elementary principles about how to distinguish the True Shepherd’s voice from all the other voices.

In Harmony

Point No. 1: The True Shepherd’s voice will always be in harmony with the Law of God. The True Shepherd’s voice will never lead you to break any part of the Law of God. Regarding this, Ellen White wrote, in The Signs of the Times, July 4, 1895: “Those who have heard the voice of God proclaiming His holy law on Mount Sinai, in the hearing of the people, know His voice, and when men claiming to be led by Christ, and professing to be entirely sanctified, assert that the law of God is abolished, and ridicule and make light of the great moral standard, and set at naught the testimony of prophets and apostles, we can confidently say that we hear not in their teachings the voice of the True Shepherd. The True Shepherd’s voice has been heard, bearing a different testimony. Jesus says, ‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven, but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.’ [Matthew 5:17–19.]”

Mrs. White is here quoting from Matthew 5, and if you look up the context of this quote, Jesus is giving a sermon about the Law of God, the Ten Commandments. He refers to them by name, and talks about the sixth commandment and the seventh commandment and so forth.

If you are able to recognize the True Shepherd’s voice, you will know immediately that any voice that teaches you to be careless about any part of the Law of God is not the True Shepherd’s voice, and you had better run from it. You better not listen to the sermons; you better not read the books; you better not listen to the tapes; you better run, or you will be deceived; you will be hypnotized by the devil’s snares.

A Special Messenger

Point No. 2: Because God knew how dangerous the end times would be with every wind of doctrine blowing, He promised, in Malachi 4:5, that before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, He would send Elijah, a prophet, a special messenger.

God has sent such a messenger, something He would not do unless a special messenger, a prophet, is needed. Have you ever thought that through? Does God send His people a prophet if they do not need it? No, God knew that every wind of doctrine would be blowing, so He sent to us a special messenger. You need to be reading what that special messenger wrote, because if you do not, you are going to get snagged. But if you are reading the Spirit of Prophecy every day, you will hear the voice of the True Shepherd, and when the other voices come, you will know it is time to run. But you must be reading for yourself; the preachers cannot present it all in church.

While in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ellen White encountered a situation that brought her to write the following: “One brother thinks that Sister White doesn’t understand her own testimonies. Heard that in Minneapolis. Why? Because the brethren did not agree with them. Well, there are some things that I understand. I understand enough to acknowledge the Spirit of God and to follow the voice of the Shepherd. I understand that much.” Sermons and Talks, 149. That was her response to her critics. She understood the voice of the Shepherd, and knew the difference between His voice and the other voices.

Reading Ellen White’s writings will help you recognize the voice of the True Shepherd. There are numerous critics condemning the Spirit of Prophecy, but the most powerful evidence for these writings is that when you read Mrs. White’s books, you hear the voice of the True Shepherd. Those who do not like it do not like the rebuke given from the True Shepherd for their sins.

Be a Berean

Point No. 3: “When errors arise and are taught as Bible truth, those who have a connection with Christ will not trust to what the minister says, but like the noble Bereans, they will search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so. When they discover what is the word of the Lord, they will take their stand on the side of the truth. They will hear the voice of the True Shepherd saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’ [Isaiah 30:21.] Thus you will be educated to make the Bible the man of your counsel, and the voice of a stranger you will neither hear nor follow.” Faith and Works, 86.

You can be assured that you will not listen to the voice of a stranger, if you are listening to the voice of the True Shepherd, if you are studying the Book—the Old and New Testaments. You must be on a Bible study program of your own. From what is written in the Spirit of Prophecy, it is absolutely guaranteed that you will be misled if you are not doing these things, because if you are not studying, you will not recognize the voice of the True Shepherd from all the other voices. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 703–711; The Great Controversy, 625.) But if you are studying the Book, you will recognize when something does not ring True to the Book—it will have a different sound, and you will not listen.


Point No. 4: This is a negative point. Watch out for miracles. Miracles do not prove, in the last days, that the performer of the miracles is the True Shepherd. Of this Ellen White wrote:

“ ‘The voice of a stranger’ is the voice of one who neither respects nor obeys God’s holy, just, and good law. Many make great pretensions to holiness, and boast of the wonders they perform in healing the sick, when they do not regard this great standard of righteousness. But through whose power are these cures wrought?

“If those through whom cures are performed are disposed, on account of these manifestations, to excuse their neglect of the law of God, and continue in disobedience, though they have power to any and every extent, it does not follow that they have the great power of God. On the contrary, it is the miracle-working power of the great deceiver. He is a transgressor of the moral law, and employs every device that he can master to blind men to its true character. We are warned that in the last days he will work with signs and lying wonders. And he will continue these wonders until the close of probation, that he may point to them as evidence that he is an angel of light and not of darkness.” Ye Shall Receive Power, 202.

Miracles do not prove that it is the voice of the True Shepherd. Not at all!

Fasting and Praying

Point No. 5: Are you spending any time these days fasting and praying? Ellen White wrote concerning some people who were content with their knowledge. She wrote: “The children of God must know the voice of the True Shepherd. Is not this a time when it would be highly proper to fast and pray before God? We are in danger of variance, in danger of taking sides on a controverted point; and should we not seek God in earnestness, with humiliation of soul, that we may know what is truth?” Selected Messages, Book 1, 413.

That prediction has already been fulfilled. There is variance on controverted points all over the world. The time to fast and pray is now, so we know the voice of the True Shepherd.

Correct Mistake

Point No. 6: If, when you fast and pray and study God’s Word and the Spirit of Prophecy, you find out that you really are mistaken in something, then action must be taken. If a minister learns that he is mistaken in something he has taught and preached, he must go to those whom he has taught and to whom he has preached and tell them. Even if it was just a private opinion, he must still confess and repent to God. This is where it gets tough, because a number of people for one reason or another cannot acknowledge that they have made a mistake.

If you are in that condition, you will never make it to the kingdom of heaven. All the people who go to heaven must confess their sins and repent.

Ellen White wrote this: “With these warnings [referring to warnings in the Bible against heresies in the last days], why is it that the church does not distinguish the false from the genuine? Those who have in any way been thus misled need to humble themselves before God, and sincerely repent, because they have so easily been led astray. They have not distinguished the voice of the True Shepherd from that of a stranger. Let all such review this chapter of their experience.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 393.

She, at the time, was writing to people who were neglecting personal study and were saying they did not believe what the Spirit of Prophecy said. They were among the critics in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who did not believe that Ellen White knew what she was talking about. She cautioned them to repent, saying that if they did not do so, they would lose their way. The same is true today.

Walk In The Light

Point No. 7: If you want to be able to distinguish the voice of the True Shepherd, you have to walk in all the light you know.

“You have been able but a small part of the time to discern the voice of the True Shepherd from that of a stranger. Your neglect to walk in the light has brought darkness upon you, and your conscience, by being often violated, has become benumbed.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 229. What was this brother’s problem? He was not walking in the light. This was and is one of the big problems that creates trouble in someone’s Christian experience.

People say, “My religion does not seem real. I cannot get in touch with the Lord. It seems my prayers are not answered.” If this is your experience, you need to ask yourself, “Am I walking according to all the spiritual light and truth that the Lord has made available to me? Am I walking in all the light that I know?”

If you are walking in all the light that you know, God will give you more light. But why should God give you any more of His joy, light, and peace, if you are not even following what you already have? If you are not following what you already have, you are walking in a different direction than the True Shepherd. It is no wonder that after a while you do not recognize His voice.

Are you living up to the light you have? “Often temptations are cherished as the voice of the True Shepherd because men have separated themselves from Jesus.” Ibid., vol. 5, 428.

Beware of Stubbornness

“Men who ought to know the voice of the True Shepherd will be more ready to accept the voice of the stranger and follow in unsafe, forbidden paths because of the stubbornness of their human nature.

“Dark hours of trial are before the church [they are here right now] because they have not obeyed the warnings and reproofs and counsel of God. What a bewitching power comes upon human minds to do contrary to the oft repeated will of God, and close the eyes and stop the ears, when Jesus is calling to them to hear His voice. He says, ‘My sheep hear my voice.’ [John 10:27.]

“That night in the boat was to the disciples a school where they were to receive their education for the great work which was to be done afterwards. The dark hours of trial are to come to every one as a part of his education for higher work, for more devoted, consecrated effort. The storm was not sent upon the disciples to shipwreck them, but to test and prove them individually. Before the great trouble shall come upon the world such as has never been since there was a nation, those who have faltered and who would ignorantly lead in unsafe paths will reveal this before the real vital test, the last proving, comes, so that whatsoever they may say will not be regarded as voicing the True Shepherd.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1001, 1002.

This is the reason you see so many leaders, ministers, and other people going off on tangents, causing others to ask, “What in the world is going on?” God is revealing to the whole church that you cannot trust what these people say. It is an awful experience through which we are going. It is time to have your eyes opened. It is time to follow all the instructions in inspired writings. Ask the Lord to help you, to have mercy on you, and to help you distinguish between the voice of the True Shepherd and all the other voices.

[Bible texts quoted are literal translation.]

Pastor John Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Bible Study Guides – The Messiah’s Mission

February 22, 2009 – February 28, 2009

Key Text

“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” Isaiah 43:1.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 8, 9–18; The Desire of Ages, 476–484.


“It is your privilege to trust in the love of Jesus for salvation, in the fullest, surest, noblest manner; to say, He loves me, He receives me; I will trust Him, for He gave His life for me.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 517.

1 What evidence do we have of the pre-existence of Christ as Creator and God Himself? Isaiah 48:12, 13; Revelation 22:12, 13; John 1:1–3, 14; I John 5:20.

Note: “If Christ made all things, He existed before all things. The words spoken in regard to this are so decisive that no one need be left in doubt. Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity. God over all, blessed forevermore.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1126.

“Although Christ’s divine glory was for a time veiled and eclipsed by His assuming humanity, yet He did not cease to be God when He became man. The human did not take the place of the divine, nor the divine of the human. This is the mystery of godliness. The two expressions ‘human’ and ‘divine’ were, in Christ, closely and inseparably one, and yet they had a distinct individuality. Though Christ humbled Himself to become man, the Godhead was still His own. His deity could not be lost while He stood faithful and true to His loyalty.” Ibid., 1129.

2 What responsibility does this knowledge bring to us? Isaiah 43:10, 11; Acts 1:8; I John 2:1–6.

Note: “ ‘Ye are My witnesses,’ [Isaiah 43:10] said Jesus, and in each act of our lives we should inquire: How will our course affect the interests of the Redeemer’s kingdom? If you are indeed Christ’s disciple, you will choose to walk in His footsteps, however painful this may be to your natural feelings.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 367.

3 What prophecies point to salvation from sin? Isaiah 46:12, 13; 49:6–8; 56:1. What does the New Testament say about this promise? Matthew 1:21; John 8:12.

Note: “In the words, ‘I am the light of the world,’ [John 8:12] Jesus declared Himself the Messiah. The aged Simeon, in the temple where Christ was now teaching, had spoken of Him as ‘a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.’ Luke 2:32. In these words he was applying to Him a prophecy familiar to all Israel. By the prophet Isaiah, the Holy Spirit had declared, ‘It is too light a thing that Thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.’ Isaiah 49:6, R.V. This prophecy was generally understood as spoken of the Messiah, and when Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world,’ [John 8:12] the people could not fail to recognize His claim to be the Promised One.” The Desire of Ages, 465.

4 Which prophecy of Isaiah began its fulfillment in Nazareth? Isaiah 61:1–3; Luke 4:16–21. When the people in the synagogue heard Christ, how did they react? Luke 4:28–30.

Note: “The Jews, because their understanding was darkened by selfish prejudice, could not harmonize the strange power and authority of Christ’s convicting words, with His humble life and appearance. They did not appreciate the fact that real greatness can afford to go without display. This man’s poverty and humility seemed wholly inconsistent with his claims to the great honor and power of the Messiah. That He should announce Himself as the Son of God, they deemed intolerable blasphemy. They questioned, if he were the Messiah, why was He so unpretending? What would become of their nation if he were satisfied to be without the force of arms? When and how would the glory and power, so long anticipated, bring the nations as subjects to the city of the Jews? Had not the priests taught that they were to bear rule over all the earth? and could it be possible that the great religious teachers were in error? The Lord had answered their query through Isaiah: ‘O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.’ [Isaiah 3:12.]” The Review and Herald, February 7, 1888.

5 How did Isaiah depict Christ’s mission as the true shepherd? Isaiah 40:11. With what declaration did Christ confirm this prophecy of Isaiah? John 10:7–15.

Note: “In all ages, philosophers and teachers have been presenting to the world theories by which to satisfy the soul’s need. Every heathen nation has had its great teachers and religious systems offering some other means of redemption than Christ, turning the eyes of men away from the Father’s face, and filling their hearts with fear of Him who has given them only blessing. The trend of their work is to rob God of that which is His own, both by creation and by redemption. … It is the gospel of the grace of God alone that can uplift the soul. The contemplation of the love of God manifested in His Son will stir the heart and arouse the powers of the soul as nothing else can. Christ came that He might recreate the image of God in man; and whoever turns men away from Christ is turning them away from the source of true development; he is defrauding them of the hope and purpose and glory of life. He is a thief and a robber.” The Desire of Ages, 478.

6 What did Isaiah write about Christ’s willingness to lead His people? Isaiah 30:21; 48:17. What did Christ say in confirmation of the words of Isaiah? John 16:13; 8:32.

Note: “While it is true that the Lord guides individuals, it is also true that He is leading out a people, not a few separate individuals here and there, one believing this thing, another that. Angels of God are doing the work committed to their trust. The third angel is leading out and purifying a people, and they should move with him unitedly.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 488.

7 According to His prophetic promise, on what conditions is Christ willing to dwell with us? Isaiah 57:15; John 14:23. What blessings belong to those who have His presence? I Peter 5:6, 7.

Note: “The presence of God is guaranteed to the Christian. This Rock of faith is the living presence of God. The weakest may depend upon it. Those who think themselves the strongest may become the weakest unless they depend on Christ as their efficiency, their worthiness. This is the Rock upon which we may build successfully.” Sons and Daughters of God, 77.

8 What should we always bear in mind about Christ’s promises? Isaiah 43:1, 2; Romans 8:31; Hebrews 2:14, 15.

Note: “When trouble comes upon us, how often we are like Peter! We look upon the waves, instead of keeping our eyes fixed upon the Saviour. Our footsteps slide, and the proud waters go over our souls. Jesus did not bid Peter come to Him that he should perish; He does not call us to follow Him, and then forsake us.” The Desire of Ages, 382.

“In [the promises of God’s word] He is speaking to us individually, speaking as directly as if we could listen to His voice. It is in these promises that Christ communicates to us His grace and power. They are leaves from that tree which is ‘for the healing of the nations.’ Revelation 22:2. … Nothing besides can impart the courage and faith which give vital energy to the whole being.” The Ministry of Healing, 122.

9 What reformative work does the Messiah want to accomplish through His followers? Isaiah 29:18, 19; 62:10.

Note: “In ministry to the poor there is a wide field of service for women as well as for men. The efficient cook, the housekeeper, the seamstress, the nurse—the help of all is needed. Let the members of poor households be taught how to cook, how to make and mend their own clothing, how to nurse the sick, how to care properly for the home. Let boys and girls be thoroughly taught some useful trade or occupation.

“Missionary families are needed to settle in the waste places. Let farmers, financiers, builders, and those who are skilled in various arts and crafts, go to neglected fields, to improve the land, to establish industries, to prepare humble homes for themselves, and to help their neighbors.

“The rough places of nature, the wild places, God has made attractive by placing beautiful things among the most unsightly. This is the work we are called to do. Even the desert places of the earth, where the outlook appears to be forbidding, may become as the garden of God.” The Ministry of Healing, 194.

10 Describe some further aspects of the Messiah’s work and explain how we are to be colaborers in this work. Isaiah 42:16–20.

Note: “The work outlined in these scriptures is the work before us. The terms ‘My servant,’ ‘Israel,’ ‘the Lord’s servant,’ mean anyone that the Lord may select and appoint to do a certain work. He makes them ministers of His will, though some who are selected may be as ignorant of His will as was Nebuchadnezzar.

“God will work for those of His people who will submit themselves to the working of the Holy Spirit.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 138.

“In Christ were united the human and the divine. His mission was to reconcile God and man, to unite the finite with the infinite. This was the only way in which fallen men could be exalted through the merits of the blood of Christ to be partakers of the divine nature.” Ibid., vol. 2, 201.

Additional Reading

“Jesus stood before the people as a living expositor of the prophecies concerning Himself. Explaining the words He had read, He spoke of the Messiah as a reliever of the oppressed, a liberator of captives, a healer of the afflicted, restoring sight to the blind, and revealing to the world the light of truth. His impressive manner and the wonderful import of His words thrilled the hearers with a power they had never felt before. The tide of divine influence broke every barrier down; like Moses, they beheld the Invisible. As their hearts were moved upon by the Holy Spirit, they responded with fervent amens and praises to the Lord.

“But when Jesus announced, ‘This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears,’ [Luke 4:21] they were suddenly recalled to think of themselves, and of the claims of Him who had been addressing them. They, Israelites, children of Abraham, had been represented as in bondage. They had been addressed as prisoners to be delivered from the power of evil; as in darkness, and needing the light of truth. Their pride was offended, and their fears were roused. The words of Jesus indicated that His work for them was to be altogether different from what they desired. Their deeds might be investigated too closely. Notwithstanding their exactness in outward ceremonies, they shrank from inspection by those clear, searching eyes. Who is this Jesus? they questioned. He who had claimed for Himself the glory of the Messiah was the son of a carpenter, and had worked at His trade with His father Joseph. They had seen Him toiling up and down the hills, they were acquainted with His brothers and sisters, and knew His life and labors. They had seen Him develop from childhood to youth, and from youth to manhood. Although His life had been spotless, they would not believe that He was the Promised One.” The Desire of Ages, 237.

“As the light and life of men was rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities in the days of Christ, so it has been rejected in every succeeding generation. Again and again the history of Christ’s withdrawal from Judea has been repeated. When the Reformers preached the word of God, they had no thought of separating themselves from the established church; but the religious leaders would not tolerate the light, and those that bore it were forced to seek another class, who were longing for the truth. In our day few of the professed followers of the Reformers are actuated by their spirit. Few are listening for the voice of God, and ready to accept truth in whatever guise it may be presented. Often those who follow in the steps of the Reformers are forced to turn away from the churches they love, in order to declare the plain teaching of the word of God. And many times those who are seeking for light are by the same teaching obliged to leave the church of their fathers, that they may render obedience.” The Desire of Ages, 232.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Shepherds and the Flock

September 13, 2009 – September 19, 2009

Key Text

“I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.” Ezekiel 34:26.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 7, 254–266; Ibid., vol. 9, 19–29.


“Under the figure of the early and the latter rain, that falls in Eastern lands at seedtime and harvest, the Hebrew prophets foretold the bestowal of spiritual grace in extraordinary measure upon God’s church.” The Acts of the Apostles, 54.

1 What admonition given to church leaders in Ezekiel’s time has a special application for us today? Ezekiel 34:1–3.

Note: “Upon the ministers of God rests a solemn, serious charge. They will be called to a strict account for the manner in which they have discharged their responsibility. If they do not tell the people of the binding claims of God’s law, if they do not preach the Word with clearness, but confuse the minds of the people by their own interpretations, they are shepherds who feed themselves, but neglect to feed the flock. They make of none effect the law of Jehovah, and souls perish because of their unfaithfulness. The blood of these souls will be upon their heads. God will call them to account for their unfaithfulness. But this will in no wise excuse those who listened to the sophistry of men, discarding the Word of God. God’s law is a transcript of His character. And His word is not Yea and Nay, but Yea and Amen.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1164.

2 What attitude, especially when manifested by ministers and workers, is displeasing to God? Ezekiel 34:4-6.

Note: “We are not to condemn others; this is not our work; but we should love one another and pray for one another. When we see one err from the truth, then we may weep over him as Christ wept over Jerusalem. Let us see what our heavenly Father in His word says about the erring: ‘If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.’ [Galatians 6:1.] ‘If any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.’ [James 5:19–20.] What a great missionary work is this! how much more Christlike than for poor, fallible mortals to be ever accusing and condemning those who do not exactly meet their minds. Let us remember that Jesus knows us individually and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows the wants of each of His creatures and reads the hidden, unspoken grief of every heart. If one of the little ones for whom He died is injured, He sees it and calls the offender to account. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He cares for His feeble, sickly, wandering sheep. He knows them all by name. The distress of every sheep and every lamb of His flock touches His heart of sympathizing love, and the cry for aid reaches His ear.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 345, 346.

3 What contrast is drawn between the true and false shepherd? John 10:1, 2, 7–15. What will God demand of everyone who professes His name? Jeremiah 13:20.

Note: “To save His sheep, Christ laid down His own life; and He points His shepherds to the love thus manifested, as their example. But ‘he that is an hireling, … whose own the sheep are not,’ [John 10:12] has no real interest in the flock. He is laboring merely for gain, and he cares only for himself. He studies his own profit instead of the interest of his charge; and in time of peril or danger he will flee, and leave the flock. …

“The shepherd who is imbued with the spirit of Christ will imitate His self-denying example, constantly laboring for the welfare of his charge; and the flock will prosper under his care.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 191, 192.

4 What example for shepherding did Christ leave for our imitation? Matthew 18:12–14; I Peter 5:2–4.

Note: “The shepherd who discovers that one of his sheep is missing does not look carelessly upon the flock that is safely housed, and say, ‘I have ninety and nine, and it will cost me too much trouble to go in search of the straying one. Let him come back, and I will open the door of the sheepfold, and let him in.’ No; no sooner does the sheep go astray than the shepherd is filled with grief and anxiety. He counts and recounts the flock. When he is sure that one sheep is lost, he slumbers not. He leaves the ninety and nine within the fold, and goes in search of the straying sheep. The darker and more tempestuous the night and the more perilous the way, the greater is the shepherd’s anxiety and the more earnest his search. He makes every effort to find that one lost sheep.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 187, 188.

5 What is written about the relationship between Christ and His flock? Ezekiel 34:23–25.

Note: “Through all our trials we have a never-failing Helper. He does not leave us alone to struggle with temptation, to battle with evil, and be finally crushed with burdens and sorrow. Though now He is hidden from mortal sight, the ear of faith can hear His voice saying, Fear not; I am with you. ‘I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.’ Revelation 1:18. I have endured your sorrows, experienced your struggles, encountered your temptations. I know your tears; I also have wept. The griefs that lie too deep to be breathed into any human ear, I know. Think not that you are desolate and forsaken. Though your pain touch no responsive chord in any heart on earth, look unto Me, and live.” The Desire of the Ages, 483.

6 How does Christ express His great care for us? Ezekiel 34:30, 31; John 10:27, 28.

Note: “As an earthly shepherd knows his sheep, so does the divine Shepherd know His flock that are scattered throughout the world. …

“Jesus knows us individually, and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows us all by name. He knows the very house in which we live, the name of each occupant. He has at times given directions to His servants to go to a certain street in a certain city, to such a house, to find one of His sheep.” The Desire of Ages, 479.

7 What does Christ declare in defense of the souls of His scattered, neglected flock? Ezekiel 34:7–15.

Note: “These souls whom you despise, said Jesus, are the property of God. By creation and by redemption they are His, and they are of value in His sight. As the shepherd loves his sheep, and cannot rest if even one be missing, so, in an infinitely higher degree, does God love every outcast soul. Men may deny the claim of His love, they may wander from Him, they may choose another master; yet they are God’s, and He longs to recover His own.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 187.

8 What assurance is given us concerning many who have strayed from the fold? Ezekiel 34:16.

Note: “The sheep that has strayed from the fold is the most helpless of all creatures. It must be sought for by the shepherd, for it cannot find its way back.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 187.

“When the storm of persecution really breaks upon us, the true sheep will hear the true Shepherd’s voice. Self-denying efforts will be put forth to save the lost, and many who have strayed from the fold will come back to follow the great Shepherd. The people of God will draw together and present to the enemy a united front.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 401.

9 What wonderful event is to take place before the close of probation? Acts 3:19; Joel 2:28.

Note: “The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel, are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. …

“Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. Satan also works with lying wonders, even bringing down fire from heaven in the sight of men. Revelation 13:13. Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.

“The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God. The arguments have been presented. The seed has been sown, and now it will spring up and bear fruit. The publications distributed by missionary workers have exerted their influence, yet many whose minds were impressed have been prevented from fully comprehending the truth or from yielding obedience. Now the rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them.” The Great Controversy, 611, 612.

10 How does the Bible describe the final phase of God’s work on earth? Ezekiel 34:26; Acts 2:17, 18.

Note: “The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early, or former, rain, and glorious was the result. …

“But near the close of earth’s harvest, a special bestowal of spiritual grace is promised to prepare the church for the coming of the Son of man. This outpouring of the Spirit is likened to the falling of the latter rain.” The Acts of the Apostles, 54, 55.

Additional Reading

“A shepherd’s life was one of constant care. He was not qualified for a shepherd unless he was merciful, and possessed courage and perseverance. …

“The relation of Christ to his people is compared to a shepherd. He saw, after the fall, his sheep in a pitiable condition, exposed to sure destruction. He left the honors and glory of his Father’s house to become a shepherd, to save the miserable, wandering sheep who were ready to perish. His winning voice was heard calling them to his fold, a safe and sure retreat from the hand of robbers; also a shelter from the scorching heat, and a protection from the chilling blasts. His care was continually exercised for the good of his sheep. He strengthened the weak, nourished the suffering, and gathered the lambs of the flock in his arms, and carried them in his bosom. His sheep love him. He goeth before his sheep, and they hear his voice, and follow him.

“ ‘And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers.’ [John 10:5.] Christ says, ‘I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is a 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 a hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.’ [John 10:11–14.]

“Christ is the chief Shepherd. He has intrusted the care of his flock to under shepherds. He requires these shepherds to have the same interest for his sheep which he has ever manifested, and to ever feel the responsibility of the charge he has intrusted to them. Ministers, who are called of God to labor in word and doctrine, are Christ’s shepherds. He has appointed them under himself to oversee and tend his flock. He has solemnly commanded these to be faithful shepherds, to feed the flock with diligence, to follow his example, to strengthen the weak, nourish the fainting, and to shield them from devouring beasts. He points them to his example of love for his sheep. To secure their deliverance, he laid down his life for them. If they imitate his self-denying example, the flock will prosper under their care. They will manifest a deeper interest than Jacob, who was a faithful shepherd over the sheep and cattle of Laban. They will be constantly laboring for the welfare of the flock. They will not be merely hirelings, of whom Jesus speaks, who possess no particular interest in the sheep, who in time of danger, or trial, flee and leave the sheep. A shepherd who labors merely for the wages he obtains, cares only for himself, and is continually studying his own interest, and ease, instead of the welfare of his flock.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 122–124.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.