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- Sermon 21 -
Second Sunday After Easter. The Good Shepherd
St. John X, 1-16: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth, not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
Then Jesus said unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 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."
(March 9, 1872)
This chapter speaks about the true leader to the light of truth and the false leaders who claim that the path to light leads only through them, whereas, in fact, they themselves are the very epitome of darkness. For what here is described as "thieves and murderers", spiritually denotes the striving to steal or even destroy the spiritual which is part of the human soul.
The "door" that I represent, as referred to in the Gospel, denotes the only proper road to true cognition and means to say: Only those people who did not lose their spiritual instinct through the world and its goings-on, or who did not let it be taken from them or, if it was once taken, regained it - only those are capable of distinguishing My voice and My teaching from the voices and wrong teachings of false prophets. And only those will follow My call because they recognize My voice and can distinguish it from other seductive voices.
At the present time you are in the midst of this spiritual movement where – metaphorically speaking - thieves and murderers are climbing through all the windows and entrances into My house in order to seize the treasure which is hidden there. Nowadays in particular you notice the religious stirring in the roused minds, how it takes hold of the hearts, awakens them, draws them hither and thither and how, because of all the advertising, it is not easy to recognize where the true door and the true shepherd really are. The more their instinct is leading the believing hearts to Me, the more the others, who pursue only their self-interest, resist so that not I, but they may be victorious.
This pushing, defaming and hating will continue to increase. The more My influence grows, the more the resistance will increase. This will mean severe trials for My children when their endurance is tested and mostly their faith and trust attacked. My teaching consists only in one thing, and that is love, whereas the doctrines of the others preach a variety of things: Hatred instead of love, pride instead of humility and intolerance instead of tolerance; and all this is practised by those leaders themselves. Thus what you can read in Chapter 8 of the Gospel of John, namely, that the Jews persecuted Me and wanted to stone Me, that is, kill Me, will be repeated.
Now, too, a similar situation will arise. Stones will be thrown at Me and My teaching; the false intepreters of My teaching will ascribe it to Satan and proclaim their own doctrine as coming straight from heaven. Minds will become heated instead of hearts warmed. Ideas will be driven from heads into fists, and where peace and love should have been preached, fanaticism will wave its torch of blood, and many victims will be sacrificed to the doctrine held to be the true one.
In this way My Word must be fulfilled as spoken in those times, when I said: "I have not come to bring you peace, but the sword!" Just as everywhere in creation through friction light and warmth are created, the two factors through which the universe exists and is maintained, spiritual friction must also bring about the process of purification, so that the light of truth and warmth of love may develop.
It is actually the striving of 'thieves and murderers' that will speed up the victory of My teaching and My plans. Through their passionate actions they will stimulate the minds to ponder and compare. And even if at first many followed the call, their attention will be drawn to the teaching they are told is false, and they will give it more of their attention than they would have done without this counter-pressure. Then they will not find in this maligned teaching what they had been told it contained, and as a result many will find the right leader and the right door only because those other leaders wanted to prevent them from seeking. Thus, the efforts of My adversaries will work into My hand and in the end achieve for Me what they wanted to prevent - the unification of My children with Me, the unification of My sheep with their sole shepherd. My adversaries will be withdrawing like hirelings in the face of great danger, whereas I will protect My true children well. Through this protection My followers will recognize the true shepherd and mighty protector of His own.
This is what will happen! Therefore, do not be frightened or despair if, when you feel especially close to Me in faith and trust and are convinced that your number will be growing, your greatest adversaries put very strong and mighty obstacles in your way in order to ward off the danger facing them.
Also do not be too zealous in the seeking of like-minded or in wishing to convert! It is not so easy as you often believe, to guide others onto the path to the pure teaching of love. My teaching demands renunciation of the things people find most pleasant in the world, since My teaching is not of and not for this world, but for My great spirit-world.
Great love and great dedication are needed to relinquish old habits, old beliefs and comforts, and to commence the ever-increasing altercation with oneself and the world. I gave you an example of this during My ministry when I suggested to a man who wanted to follow Me to sacrifice all his possessions, but he sadly walked away. You will often experience this when you encourage a person to become active, a person who you think could become a follower of the teaching you believe to be the only true one; but he leaves you and perhaps, instead of a friend, becomes even your greatest opponent.
Behold, this happens when people still lack the maturity to accept My teaching. Therefore, wait until the hungry come to you of their own accord. Then give them bread, but also that only in accordance with their capacity for comprehension, otherwise - like any material food - it would not be digested and prove detrimental instead of beneficial.
It is not easy to get others to hear My voice and follow My teaching. Even you, whom I have guided and nourished already for such a long time, often behave in a weak and shortsighted manner, as if you had never received a word from Me directly. How often you want to combine the material with the spiritual in your foolish delusion because to obey the latter would cost you too much effort or demand of you too much self-denial. If you already act like that, what can you expect of others who, only just having reached the door, still lack the courage to cross the threshold and leave behind all that used to be so important to them? Therefore, be careful when you choose your friends!
Do not worry about the opponents! The farther time progresses and the more the number of My sheep increases, the less My teaching can remain unknown, and all the greater will the opposition to My teaching and its followers become. The fight has to flare up. Only the persevering will be victorious, and these will be My children, because they not only believe My voice and My teaching, but also know that only this leads to the goal and that I am the door and the only way by which to enter the infinite realm of the spirit and not have to suffer there, but be rewarded with great bliss for the struggles endured. This is the way the process of life develops. The spiritual must be freed from matter, man's soul must be separated from the influence of the world and not only man's actual, spiritual destination reached, but also My past sojourn on this earth with its suffering and struggles must find its fulfilment.
There shall be only one shepherd for his sheep in the world; it is impossible to serve two masters. He who pays homage to matter must step down to matter; but the one who strives towards the spiritual will relinquish all that weighs him down. Matter is too dense and light cannot penetrate it.
Only the spiritual is capable of receiving My love-light from the heavens, and only this light produces the warmth of life and develops the divine spark which was placed in the human soul, guiding it back to its source, to ME.
That was to be the purpose of My teaching, of My descending to earth in the past and of My Second Coming in the near future.
The closer My Second Coming is approaching, the more conflict there will be between light and darkness. However, just as every morning the rising sun defeats the dark night, so will My rising love-light be driving off the 'thieves and murderers' that work by night, and not by day. They will have to retreat, become converted, or sink back into eternal darkness until in their minds, spontaneously, the light gradually dawns.
As it happened in the past, the world will want to resist My plans and intentions. However, this opposition will speed up My ultimate goal, and in the end My children and I shall be the victors.
Perseverance leads to success. And the name 'My child' must be won through self-denial and sacrifice, for the prize is worth the fight. Therefore, all of you should be prepared to hold on to ME. Let the world and its people go their way; do not worry about events and political complications. Remember that millions of people have to be guided to the right door of light, and to achieve this, many different events and circumstances have to exert their influence in order to guide to a common destination individuals on different levels of intelligence. This is a task beyond your comprehension, and God alone can accomplish it, Who also there - as everywhere else – is able to achieve the greatest effects through the smallest things.
This much for your better understanding of the Gospel of John, to enable you, at this time, to properly comprehend My past ministry and to recognize that already almost two thousand years ago, during the time I walked on earth, the entire history of mankind's development on your dark earth was pre-determined.
This is why the Bible was preserved in order to prove to you clearly that at that time everything was already predicted which in later times had to develop gradually. However, only the reborn, the one with spiritual vision, is able to see it all clearly, as in a mirror reflecting the future.
Therefore, rely on Me confidently, remembering the word: "I shall not desert the one who does not desert Me!"
Stay with Me, and more and more will you be hearing the voice of the shepherd. And as a result you will keep growing ever more capable of showing through word and example the only road to salvation also to other blind people, so that in the end there will be only one shepherd and one fold! Amen. (Semons of the Lord, chap. 21)
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