In this, the belated second post in my “Feed My Sheep” series, we’ll discuss who Christ’s sheep are and who they aren’t. If we are to feed His sheep we ought to know who they are after all. When reviewing the scriptures related to “sheep”, one message seems to stand out: Christ’s sheep are those who hear Christ’s voice and only those who hear his voice. According to the scriptures, those who will not hearken to his voice are not his sheep at all.
Here are some examples:
3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
38 Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.
39 And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil.
60 And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.
6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.
17 Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
So there you have it. Sheep are defined as those who hear Christ’s voice and only as those who hear Christ’s voice. Now, we are also commanded to clothe the naked and feed the hungry etc. (whether they hear Christ’s voice or not), but that is apparently a separate task from this sheep feeding responsibility.
So how do we know if we personally are Christ’s sheep or not? It is pretty simple I think – we know we are his sheep if we hear his voice and obey. And how does one hear his voice? — Presumably through personal revelation in one form or another. Christ is still alive and communicative after all. If we aren’t hearing his voice (through the Holy Spirit generally)… well… we ought to rectify that.
Maybe most interestingly of all; based on the scriptural definition of Christ’s sheep there is a synonym that is found too: The Elect.
And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts; (D&C 29:7)
[Associated radio.blog song: Steel Pulse – Chant a Psalm. In honor of my first quote of a verse in Psalms!]