Other Sheep?

Albert E. Farley

Our Lord said, in John 10:16, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” 

These words were spoken in the context of Jesus’ parable in verses 1-5. In this parable, Jesus spoke of one sheepfold, one door, one shepherd, and one voice. When He finished speaking, the Jews did not understand the words He had spoken unto them. 10:6. Jesus then began a more detailed explanation of these truths in verses 7-18.

Almost two centuries have passed, and there continue to be many, today, who do not understand the words Jesus spoke on that day. It is common to hear denominational preachers and members using the words of John 10:16 to justify the existence of the hundreds of denominational churches in the world. They will say, “No one church is right; Jesus has sheep in many folds” or, “There are Christians in every church because Jesus said, ‘Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold …’” I beseech everyone who will read these words; do not be deceived and misled by this twisting and perversion of the Holy Scriptures. When unlearned and unstable teachers wrest the scriptures, they do so to their own destruction! 2 Peter 3:16. If we allow ourselves to be led by blind teachers, we will fall into the ditch with them. Matthew 15:13, 14. Every plant that our heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up!

Jesus spoke the words of John 10 in Jerusalem, and it appears from verses 22 and 23 that He spoke as he walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch during the feast of the dedication of the restoration of the temple. He was, therefore, speaking to the Jews and to the Jews, only. He said, in Matthew 15:24, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Of course, Jesus had come to die for the sins of the world, but the preaching of the gospel was to be done according to God’s own systematic will – to the Jews first, and then, to the Greek.

The Bible says in Mark 16:15, 16, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” The order of this preaching is given in Acts 1:8. “… and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” In Acts 2-9, the gospel was preached to the Jews. Then, beginning in Acts 10 with Cornelius and his household, it was preached to the Gentiles. Paul said, in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” This is why, when Paul began his missionary journeys, he always went, first, to preach to the Jews in the synagogues and, then, to the Gentiles. Acts 13:5, 14, 46-48.

When Christ built his church, He did not build one church for the Jews and another one for the Gentiles; and He certainly did not build separate churches for the Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Methodists, the Pentecostals, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, or for any other denomination! Christ built only one church! Matthew 16:18, 19. He emphasized that, when the “other sheep” (the Gentiles) were called, there would be One Fold and One Shepherd!

John 10:16 teaches the opposite of what false teachers teach today; it clearly condemns the existence of many folds – of many churches and denominations. Jesus said, “…there shall be one …” We do not seek in these words to be “mean-spirited.” We seek only to tell the truth. “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Galatians 6:4. When Jesus explained His parable in John 10, the Jews took up stones to kill him. 10:31. We endeavor to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:1-6. The body is the church.

Dear friends, what is the conclusion of our study? There is, today, only one fold. There is only one church. There is only one Shepherd. There is only one door. There is only one voice. Are we following this one voice? Have we entered through the one door? Is Christ our one shepherd? Are we in His one fold? He has no sheep in any other. –Editor.

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