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The Good Shepherd's Assurance for His Sheep

March 30, 2014 Speaker: Bret Rogers Series: The Gospel According to John

Passage: John 10:19–30

Sermon on John 10:19-30 by Bret Rogers, Pastor
Delivered on Sunday, March 30, 2014

Another Division over Jesus’ Identity

We begin today with what’s becoming to us a very familiar scene in the Gospel of John. It’s yet another scene where there’s division among the people over Jesus’ words. Jesus speaks, he teaches, he reveals something about himself, and the people divide in their opinions about him (cf. 6:66-68; 7:43; 9:16; 10:19).

In this case, Jesus has just finished revealing that he is the Good Shepherd in Israel. God had promised to send a special kind of Savior for his people—this special Savior would come as a Shepherd for God’s people; he would rescue them from their enemies; deal with their sins; gather them from all the nations; and rule over them with his loving care (Isa 40:9-11; Jer 23:1-6; Ezek 34:1-16; Zech 10-11). And Jesus essentially tells the Jews that he is God’s promised Shepherd for Israel: he had come to rescue them from their enemies, like these Pharisees; he had come to deal with their sins by laying his life down for them; he would gather God’s people from all nations when he raised himself from the dead; and he would rule over them in the end and give them eternal life in God’s kingdom (John 10:1-18).

And yet “these words” of Jesus cause division among the Jews (10:19). Many of them say he’s demon-possessed and insane—as if to say, “never has any man had the power to raise himself from the dead; this guy is nuts”—while some of the other Jews can’t see how a demon could ever open the eyes of a blind man (10:20-21). That doesn’t mean these others have ultimately sided with Jesus—they object to the demon-possession, alright, but they never confess who Jesus actually is either. All John is showing us is that the mass confusion among the Jews over Jesus continues.

The confusion even goes on for several more weeks until we get to the Feast of Dedication (cf. 7:2; 9:1; 10:22). It’s now winter time, and the Jews still want answers. Verse 24, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you’re the Christ, tell us plainly”—which we shouldn’t take to mean, “We really want to believe in you if you would just tell us plainly.” No, based on the context, they want their questions answered plainly so they have unquestionable evidence to arrest Jesus for pretending to be their Christ (cf. 7:1; 8:59; 9:22, 24; 10:26, 31). They’re not just innocently curious; they’re looking for sufficient reason to kill him. But despite their evil intent, the question becomes yet another opportunity for Jesus to reveal even more of himself for the sake of his sheep. Even if the majority of Israel remained blind and confused and hardened to his teaching, Jesus keeps speaking, so that his sheep—even the sheep in Israel—hear his voice, and see his glorious goodness, and follow him (cf. 10:38, 41-42). And as Jesus answers we find several assurances spoken for his sheep. If you’re a follower of Jesus, listen to these assurances. If you’re not a follower of Jesus, I hope these assurances compel you to become a follower of Jesus.

1. Jesus’ Words & Works Reveal He Is Truly the Christ

To begin with, Jesus’ words and works reveal that he’s truly the Christ—Christ meaning God’s anointed Savior for Israel and the world. That’s the first assurance spoken for his sheep: Jesus’ words and works reveal he is truly the Christ. The question of whether he’s the Christ shouldn’t be all that difficult for the Jews to answer, considering that God has revealed Jesus to be the Christ both through what Jesus says and through what Jesus does in his Father’s name.

That’s what Jesus says in verse 25: “I told you [that would be his words, his teaching], and you do not believe.” He’s told them. He’s told them through the titles he gives himself—like the Son of God (5:25), or the Son of Man (5:27), or the Bread of Life (6:35), or the Light of the world (8:12), or the Great I AM (8:58). He’s told them in his constant references to the Old Testament—like when he says, “Moses wrote about me” (5:46), or when he shows them how themes like the Sabbath and circumcision and manna from heaven and living water and Passover and Abraham’s offspring all find their culmination in himself (6:49-50; 7:22-23, 38; 8:21-24; 56). He’s also told them in how he’s explained himself as the One sent from God over and over and over again. So, yes, “I told you, and you do not believe.”

And then there’s also his works: “The works I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me.” His works, his miracles—like healing the man who was an invalid for thirty-eight years (5:1-9), or feeding the five thousand with a few loaves and two fish (6:1-13), or giving sight to a man born blind (9:1-7). Each of these he performed in his Father’s name, so that the miracles themselves would become testimonies that God had really sent him and that God was really with him (5:17; 6:32; 9:4). Both his words and his works should be sufficient evidence for people to know that he’s the Christ.

Read the Gospels to Understand Jesus

If you’re here today and are unsure about who Jesus is—or maybe you know somebody who’s confused about who Jesus is—I would encourage you to open up the Gospels and read them. Pick a Gospel like Mark or John and read it straight through, or maybe even read it with another Christian in this room. Give these eyewitness accounts of Jesus a fair hearing. The Gospel writers certainly aim to persuade you that Jesus is God’s only Son who came to die on behalf of sinners—that he is the Christ, the only Savior of incomparable worth and glory—but not because of something they’ve fabricated, but because of something marvelous they’ve witnessed in Jesus’ words and works. John says for himself that God’s Son came and dwelt among us, “and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14). He wants you to see the same about Jesus. Jesus’ words and his works make up a sufficient testimony for people to know he is truly the Christ.

The Problem of Jewish Unbelief

That’s even truer for these Jews who have possessed God’s word for centuries (John 1:11, 45; 5:38-47; cf. Rom 9:4-5), who have memorized Scripture upon Scripture that anticipated every single thing Jesus says and does in his earthly ministry—the Good Shepherd being just one among many Old Testament metaphors. So Jesus’ identity should be even plainer for the Jews. Everything promised in their ancient Scriptures was unfolding before their eyes in Jesus’ words and works, but at large, they remain an unbelieving people, confused about Jesus. “I told you, and you do not believe…[my works] bear witness…but you do not believe” (10:25-26). As John has already told us, Jesus “came to his own [people, the Jews], and his own people did not receive him” (1:11). What are we to make of that? I just told you to read the Gospels because of how assuring they are of who Jesus really is, and yet one of the things you read in the Gospels is how much Jesus’ own people reject him.

What are Jesus’ followers to make of all this unbelief among the Jews, especially if he’s apparently made things so plain? Is something lacking in Jesus himself or his testimony? What are we to make of this so-called good Shepherd, who supposedly calls his sheep and they follow him—and yet we see him saying things like, “yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (5:40); “If I tell you the truth, why do you not believe me?” “I told you, and you do not believe” (10:26)?

What are we to make of the fact that God’s promised Shepherd for Israel has apparently arrived in the person of Jesus, and yet the bulk of his own Jewish people don’t follow him? What should we make of the persistent stubbornness of the Jews despite the obvious testimony God has given to Jesus again and again and again through his works? Is God’s mission through his Son somehow compromised by Israel’s unbelief; and if so, what kind of Shepherd does that make him for us? If God’s own covenant people aren’t acknowledging their promised Shepherd, who’s to say that Jesus is in his right mind after all? Is he truly the Christ?

2. The Father’s Election Stands behind Our Faith

Jesus settles these questions with what he tells the people in verses 26-27; and that’s where we see the next assurance Jesus reveals for the sake of his sheep. The first assurance was that his words and works reveal he’s truly the Christ. Here’s the second: all his Father’s flock will believe in Jesus. Or, to put it differently, his Father’s unshakable purpose in election stands behind the faith of Jesus’ followers (cf. Rom 9:11). The more the Jews reject God’s Shepherd, the more they prove that God never gave them to the Shepherd to begin with.

Look at verse 26: “you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.” He does not say, “You are not part of my flock, because you don’t believe”—even though in another sense that would be true: everybody who is born again and believes the gospel belongs to Jesus’ flock (John 3:16; 6:37, 40; 10:9, 38, 41-42; cf. Matt 24:31-46). That’s just not the point he’s making here, in this text. The point he’s making here is that belonging to Jesus’ flock is the ultimate determining factor in whether you believe in Jesus. Our belief does not force God to give us to his Son, we believe because God has given us to his Son; we believe because God has made us part of his Son’s flock.

The matter is one of the Father’s election of a people out of the world for his Son by his own free and sovereign choice, just as we see in other places like Rom 9-11 and Eph 1:3-14. It’s also very much like the point Jesus made before in John 6:37-39, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out…[and] this is the will of [my Father] who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me.

He will even go on to speak the same way in his high priestly prayer in chapter 17. In 17:2, Jesus gives eternal life to all the Father has given him out of the world. Then in 17:6, the disciples’ keeping of God’s word is based on them belonging to the Father—“yours they were”—and then the Father giving them to the Son—“and you gave them to me.” And then later, in 17:24, we see this extends beyond Jesus’ initial followers to all who would believe in him: “Father, I desire that they also [i.e., those who would believe (17:21)], whom you have given me, may be with me where I am.”

So the Father has given a people to Jesus out of the world and that giving of a people to Jesus is the decisive factor in their coming to Jesus. Yes, they still come; they still believe; they choose to follow Jesus. But behind their coming and believing and choosing stands God giving them to the Son by his own gracious and sovereign choice.

Election Indicts the Rebellious Human Heart

On one level, Jesus’ statement serves as another stinging indictment of the hardness and the pride of the human heart. These Jews think they have Jesus cornered; that they can frustrate his plans; that their acceptance of him will determine whether or not his mission is successful; and then Jesus comes in and says, “Look, the reason you don’t believe me is because you’re not part of God’s flock.” In other words, “Nobody is morally able to come to me apart from my Father’s gracious will. Apart from God’s gracious will, you’ll forever remain in your unbelief. That’s how much you’re in control of this situation.” John the Baptist’s statement from 3:27 still rings true: “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” Jesus speaks this word to indict the proud in Israel, to expose how depraved they are without Christ—to expose that apart from divine grace, sin controls us and unbelief is our constant problem.

Election Stands as Encouragement for the Sheep

On another level, Jesus’ statement serves as an encouragement to his sheep: the unbelief among the Jews didn’t mean that Jesus’ mission was failing; it simply was exposing the nature of his mission even further. He came to save all his Father’s flock in particular; and not a single one of them would ultimately be left in their unbelief. He even reassures them all in verse 27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Jesus knows his sheep in Israel—some more of them will even believe by the end of verse 42—and when his sheep hear him say such things that indict Israel’s hard-heartedness and expose God’s sovereign grace, they say of their Shepherd, “You got that right! There’s no reason in me why I should belong to this Shepherd’s flock save God’s sovereign initiative in plucking me from the world I once loved.

For those of you who have believed—who’ve had your eyes opened as his elect to what Paul calls “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”—wake up to sovereign grace! Taste what it means every morning to be undeservingly saved! There’s only two kinds of people in this world: those who deservingly perish in their unbelief, and then those who are undeservingly saved through Jesus Christ. In other words, nobody comes into this world neutral. Everybody deserves hell for their law-breaking and self-seeking attitudes and God-despising sin. We all come into this world running fast and hard to hell, with no looking back; and we deserve to get what we want. And wonder of all wonders, God plucked us from the fire and lifted us out of the pit, because he simply chose to love us out of his own free grace and sovereign kindness (cf. Eph 1:4-5). Isaac Watts put it this way in his hymn, “How Sweet and Awesome is This Place”:

“Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?”

’Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.

Election Produces Thanksgiving & Humility in the Sheep

Christians, we should be the most thankful people on earth, the most humble people in our interactions with the world (Col 3:12). We must never think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think (Rom 12:3). Our salvation is owing to nothing of our own merit and nothing of our own loveliness (John 3:27; cf. 1 Cor 4:7). We once walked the course of this world and we’re still vulnerable to the same sins as the rest of society (Eph 2:1-3). The only reason we’re running away from our sins to Jesus is solely owing to God’s sovereign will (Eph 2:4-10). We are just as deserving of hell as the rest of the world, but because of God, we find ourselves among those undeservingly saved, loved.

So, put away the proud attitudes that you have all your doctrinal ducks in a row. Put to death in you every thought that God owes you grace or anything for that matter. Turn away from any attitude that says God is incapable of saving this or that kind of sinner—and you will know whether you believe that based on the sort of people you’re willing to engage for the sake of Christ. God can choose to save anybody he wants, and he doesn’t need our input. Election will not allow us to look down our noses at anyone. Free grace should kill our pride and increase our thanksgiving and humility. Our only boast is what God has done in Christ (cf. 1 Cor 1:26-31).

Election & the Condition of Faith in Christ

I want to be clear, especially when approaching a subject like this one. I am saying that the Bible teaches that we believe in Christ because we are elect. I am also saying the Bible teaches that belief in Christ is necessary for salvation (John 3:16; Rom 10:13-17). If you do not believe in Christ, then you will not be saved. I’m just saying that the Father guarantees that all he has given to the Son—that is, all the multitudes from all peoples and tribes and languages and nations (Rev 5:9), as many as the stars of heaven (Heb 11:12)—all the Father has given to the Son will believe in Christ; they will meet the condition of faith (cf. John 3:16-17; 6:37, 39, 46, 65; 10:16; 12:32; 17:20-24).

But hear this too: knowing you are elect is not necessary for you to believe in Christ. All you need to know this morning is your need of Jesus—this Jesus in particular who is carrying out his Father’s will for the sheep. All you need to know is that “I am a great sinner and Jesus is the great Savior and Shepherd.” Nowhere does the Bible require someone to know they’re elect before they can believe. That’s like requiring Lazarus to know he is alive before Jesus calls him out of the tomb. You can’t know squat until you are made alive! And when you hear the voice of Jesus, you come (John 5:24-25; 11:43-44).

The same is true now, if you hear him calling you this morning, don’t say to yourself, “But what if I’m not part of his flock? What if I’m not elect?” Don’t waste time with such arrogant questions that take your focus off Jesus and place it on your own abilities to discern whether you’re elect or whether you’re good enough to be elect. Those kinds of questions come from a heart that still wants to be God and still wants control. Election is not the object of faith; Jesus is the object of the elect’s faith. So, come to Jesus, and find yourself elect! Listen to the Good Shepherd’s voice this morning and find yourself part of his flock! Follow Jesus into God’s rich pastures and discover what it means to be called his sheep! So look to him, and embrace him and come to enjoy all the manifold blessings he is for his sheep! Jesus is the gateway into the sheepfold, and if you enter by him, you will be saved (10:9). “Whoever comes to me,” he says, “I will never cast out!” (6:37). So come to him and find yourself loved and cared for by God’s almighty Son. If you believe, you are elect.

3. The Son’s Mission Is an Infallible One

So, the sheep are now assured that Jesus’ words and works reveal he’s truly the Christ; and that even the unbelief in Israel doesn’t call his mission or his message or his identity into question. All of Jesus’ true flock will believe in him; the Father’s election stands behind it and guarantees he is the Good Shepherd. One more word of assurance: the Son’s mission to save and preserve his flock is an infallible one. When I say his mission is an “infallible” one, I mean that he will never fail us whatsoever in all he does. His work lacks nothing; his strength is never compromised; his devotion to save us never flinches or fades away. It’s all infallible. Another way we might put it is that the destiny of Jesus’ sheep is infallibly secure.

Let me read it over you first and then make a few comments. Verses 28-30, “I give them [that is, I give my sheep; the ones who hear my voice; the ones who follow me] eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” So if you follow Jesus, these things are forever true for you.

Jesus’ Cross Secures Our Eternal Life

First of all, the Son secures your eternal life such that you will never perish—and what he means is no mere physical perishing, but dying as a guilty sinner under the wrath of God without escape (John 3:16, 36; 8:21-24). God’s wrath is his just and settled response to all our sins against his infinite worth (Rom 1:18). Our complaining, our frittering away our time while on the clock, our lustful thoughts, our lies, our poisonous tongues, our self-centered motivations, our fist-shaking at God for this trial—all our sin offends the infinitely holy God and merits eternal punishment (Rom 1:18-3:2). Our sins have mounted up an eternity of wrath that we deserved to suffer.

But God—because of the great love with which he loved us (Eph 1:4)—sent his only Son into the world that he might suffer and die as a propitiation for our sins. Basically, that means he died as an infinitely worthy sacrifice to absorb God’s wrath in our place (Rom 3:25-26; 1 John 4:10). He became a wrath-absorbing sponge for his Father and for us. Our sins mounted up an eternal lake of wrath, and the dam of that lake broke on Jesus when he suffered on the cross; and he absorbed every last drop of that lake for his sheep, so that none will befall them on Judgment Day (1 Thess 1:10). The reason he gives his sheep eternal life is that eternal life is all that’s left for them when they are united to his work on the cross (John 3:36; 5:24). He drank the cup of God’s wrath to the last drop (John 18:11), wiped it clean with his robe, and now the Father and Son both delight in filling it with the never-ending life of the Holy Spirit and giving it to all the sheep for their eternal enjoyment of God himself (John 7:38-39; 14:16-17, 26; 15:26-27; 16:7).

Jesus’ Hand Holds & Protects Us

On top of that, he guarantees that no one will snatch the sheep from his hand. He holds them and protects them. God reveals himself this way throughout the Old Testament. For example, Deut 5:15, “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand.” Or Josh 4:23-24, “For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty.” Psalm 31:3-5, “You are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.”

So it’s a mighty hand that splits seas, and stops rivers, and defeats armies, and overthrows nations, and yet simultaneously a hand that leads and guides and one gentle enough to entrust with my spirit. One more, Isa 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God’s hand is a figure of speech for his power and ever-present help for his people. Jesus is using the same imagery, but not just because Yahweh’s saving hand provides a good example for him to follow. No, Jesus uses this imagery from the Old Testament because his hand is Yahweh’s hand.

Jesus & His Father Are United to Save Us

That becomes even clearer as his words continue. Verse 29, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” Now that doesn’t mean “I and the Father are one [person]”—that would be heresy (moreover, “one” is neuter, not masculine). The Bible is repeatedly clear that there is a trinity of persons in one God. The Father and Son are not the same person, but distinct persons who share the divine essence. The Father and the Son are both God. That’s more of what Jesus means here, but the way he states it is meant to point us to their unity of purpose and mission. In other words, Jesus’ unity with his Father in saving and preserving the sheep reveals that he himself is God, even though the Father and Son serve in differing roles in the same mission. The Father’s purpose to save the sheep and the Son’s purpose to save the sheep are so one that the only explanation left is that Jesus is one in divinity with his Father. And Jesus has made this abundantly clear a couple of other places in John already—both in 5:19-29 and in 8:21-29.

So, here’s what we’re left with so far: not only does Jesus’ cross ensure that the sheep will never be exposed to God’s wrath, but only eternal life with the Father, but Jesus and the Father are also so united in mission that nothing can ever threaten the destiny of the sheep. Because of the unity between the Father and the Son, the sheep are eternally secure. Even when the Son suffers the outpouring of the Father’s wrath on the cross and dies—even when it would seem that sin and death had won for three days—Jesus was so united to his Father’s will and purpose and mission that he had prayed for the Father to keep them when he was taken out of the world by the cross.

Even while he was on his way to be crushed under the weight of God’s eternal wrath, he prayed this: “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you…” (John 17:11-13). That’s why Jesus speaks of no one snatching his followers from his hand and then also speaks of no one snatching his followers from his Father’s hand. He wants us to see that throughout the entirety of God’s mission—from his election of the sheep to the saving of the sheep to the gathering to the keeping of the sheep—no person in the Godhead wavers in their devotion to the sheep. The Son does not preserve us apart from the Father or even despite the Father; the Son preserves us because it is the will of his Father to love us. And we haven’t even gotten to the Holy Spirit yet in chapters 14 and 16!

Jesus’ Father Is Greater than All

And if that wasn’t enough, Jesus says, “my Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all”—which means greater than everything in the universe he created. Nobody is stronger than him (cf. Dan 4:34-35). Nobody is wiser than him (cf. Rom 16:27). Nothing is ever outside of God’s control, even when his own Son dies on the cross (cf. Acts 4:27-29).

Unshakable Assurance for the Sheep

The point is clear: there’s no danger too great for the Shepherd to handle. His cross is sufficiently powerful to deliver us from the danger of all dangers—God’s wrath. His hand is mighty to hold on to you, because his hand is God’s hand. His mission is one with the Father, who loved and determined to save the sheep through his own Son. And his Father is greater than all. So, no one and nothing can ultimately stop Jesus from saving you, if you belong to him, if you’ve given him your life. His hand is never a hand that leaves the sheep endangered, but a hand that is always capable of rescuing them and always serving their best interest infallibly.

If you’re wondering whether Jesus’ hand has grown slack in rescuing you now, let me remind you that his hand did not grow slack when God nailed him to the cross for your sins—enduring the greatest battle he would ever face on your behalf and he endured it all to the end. He still carries the wounds in his resurrection body to remind you of how far his keeping love already went. And “if God did not spare his own Son, but freely gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him freely give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Rom 8:32-34).

That means that despite the blue mornings that will come—you know, those mornings in which you cannot see God clearly, when your soul is wearied by the world’s darkness, when you’re so tired you can’t even think straight, and when the various stresses of life seem relentless in sucking the life out of you—the Shepherd never lets you go. It means that despite what sufferings we might encounter—depression, cancer, a lost loved one, persecution, the losing of your mind like with dementia or Alzheimer’s—your destiny is bound up with the Shepherd and his keeping strength when you follow Jesus. If you belong to him, he will never let you go. It doesn’t matter if your hands eventually grow too weak to pick up the Bible and read; Jesus’ hand will never tremor. It doesn’t matter if another car takes you out on the way home; if you belong to Jesus by faith, you will know eternal life with God.

Jesus’ infallible mission to save and preserve his sheep also means this: if he is the ultimate guarantee and confidence of our salvation, if he alone possesses such power to keep us, then how could we ever place any confidence in our flesh or in preserving our public image or in our own perceived goodness or in our own good works or in our own strength to overcome this or that threat. If we belong to Jesus’ sheep, then our lives shouldn’t be filled with worry and fear of losing anything, since we’ve already gained everything in Christ. Our lives shouldn’t be filled with creating security in this world, because we already have the best of security in the mighty-caring hand of the chief Shepherd. Our lives shouldn’t be filled with frantically trying to get everything back in order after we sin as if to say that our own efforts will ensure us a spot in heaven. Should we turn from sin and seek restoration and put wise measures of accountability in place to keep from returning to sin. Yes, we must. But never should we get the idea that we must somehow re-earn God’s keeping favor all over again when we sin. His keeping power has forever been won for us at the cross, where Jesus died once for all. Our eternal security is bound up with him alone, and not with our own doings.

So hide yourself in him every day. He is your strength during times of weakness. You will be tempted and tried and you will sometimes fail. But he is your strength and your victory and your propitiation and your all-keeping Shepherd. Turn from the sin and keep following him. He has given you several assurances in these words already. His words and works have revealed he is truly the Christ—so read them for yourself and embrace them. Moreover, trust that his Father’s election shows his message and his mission are true even in the face of unbelief; and give thanks for God’s sovereign grace and humble yourself before the Lord and others. And then lastly, trust that his mission to save and preserve his sheep is infallible—nothing can ultimately prevail over God’s elect, because nothing can ultimately prevail over God, their Shepherd. And if you believe in Christ, that means your destiny is sealed; and Jesus will give you all you need to persevere to the end. He is the good shepherd.