The Good Shepherd
By Bobby Blakey on March 6, 2016
The Good Shepherd
By Bobby Blakey on March 6, 2016
This is a rush transcript.
[00:00:12] I'm pretty sure that's what would happen if I was the shepherd, the sheep would absolutely run away. I have no firsthand experience with anything having to do with shepherding of sheep. I am a city slicker. In fact, let's get honest here this morning. I'm not even a city slicker. I'm a suburban slicker is really what I am. You are, too. You live in Orange County, right? I mean, I know where you're at. All right. I mean, we are somewhere below urban and probably thinking of ourselves as somewhere above rural. That's kind of where we would put ourselves. Right. I mean, if we're honest, I think that people live in the country are a little bit crazy. I'm I'm just trying to say how I feel about. Right. And so I read something about being a shepherd. And I think I can't relate to that. I've never lived in that kind of a context. If it was like reading about a Starbucks barista, I can relate to that as these Starbucks is everywhere. But see the context of the Bible that we're going to get into today. This idea of shepherding and there would have been sheep everywhere, shepherds everywhere here in Orange County. We don't really relate to that. It sounds more like a far away idea unless you've ever ventured into the country and maybe got some people who grew up on a farm or were around sheep or animals like that. I had a friend like that once. He was actually a friend of my dad, became a friend of our family and went to seminary with my dad. And this guy was a country hick. And I don't think he would be offended by me saying that because that's how he would have introduced himself. Right. And he was a pastor of a church. And he's kind of what gives me the impression that sometimes people in the country are crazy. I'm basing that solely on this one individual. And he was certifiable. Like for him, a good time was getting out there and trying to catch rattlesnakes. Like that was a Friday afternoon. You know what I mean? I have encountered the sound of the rattle a few times, and I immediately ran as fast as I could back to see meant and manicured lawns. You know what I'm saying? But he is out looking for the rattle, setting up coolers, knocking him over, trapping the snake inside. And then what are you going to do with your pet snake? You know, usually end up eating. It is where these stories ended up going. So one day we go to visit this guy in the town of 60 people where he's a pastor, where they offer us Dr. Pepper for breakfast, if you know what I'm saying. That kind of a place. And there's no shame there. And basically, he says, I got a game for you guys you guys are going to love. And that night after the sun goes down, we go outside and we're gonna play a game of cow patty pitchin. I'm not making this up. There's a volleyball net, but there is no volleyball. We are going to pick up the poop of cows and we are going to throw it at each other over in that. And you have to catch it so it doesn't hit the ground otherwise. The other team gets a point. And I think for our sake, he put some of the poop in plastic bags as if that was supposed to make it more of like a sanitized suburban experience of it. And so we are literally spending our evening throwing cow poop at each other, not even in a frustrating way, not even directly at each other, just like lobbing it at each other.
[00:03:26] And that night, I will remember lying there in his house smelling poop everywhere. I mean, even though I had showered under my fingernails like the smells, I wanted nothing to do with that. Right. So I can't firsthand relate to the smells, the sounds of the farm, the sheep. All of that. That's it. That's a different world. I don't know that world. But here's what I do know. The Bible. And if you do know the Bible and you study the Bible, this an allegory that the Bible uses, the extended metaphor throughout scripture of God being our shepherd and us being his sheep. See, all of us become familiar with it, perhaps through the pages of scripture. And we're getting to one of the precious promises where Jesus says that he is our shepherd and we are his sheep. Go to John, Chapter 10. Turn there with me. And let's get into our text. And while we may not relate to the experience of sheep herding, we can get into it through the scripture here together in John Chapter 10 versus one to 21, page eight hundred and ninety six. If you got one of our Bibles and let me read this text, this is a great text where Jesus is going to use this allegory of being a shepherd and a sheep to explain his relationship to us as his people. And so read with me, John, Chapter 10, starting in verse one, a truly, truly, I say to you. He who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climb in by another way. That man is a thief and a robber, but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him, the gate keeper opens the sheep, hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and he leads them out. And when he is brought out all his own, he goes before them and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice, a stranger. They will not follow. But they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers, this figure of speech. Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So, again, Jesus said to them, truly, truly, I say to you.
[00:05:34] I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers. But the sheep did not listen to them. I'm the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved. And we'll go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He was a hired hand and not a shepherd who does not own the sheep. Sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. But I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me just as the father knows me and I know the father. And I lay down my life for the sheep and I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason, the father loves me because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my father. There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said he has a demon and is insane. Why listen to him? Others said is are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind? So it's important that we end there with that verse 21, where it gives us the context of where Jesus is saying this guy, because he's saying this still after the story of the man who was born blind and Jesus gave sight to this man, that was if you flip back over to Chapter nine, you are with us the last two weeks. That's what we've been working through. We're first of all, we looked at the miracle that Jesus did to open the eyes of a man born blind. And then we saw the controversy that came because Jesus did this on the Sabbath. The miracle was rejected by the religious leaders of the day. And because the man who was born blind but could now see testify that Jesus must be of God. He was cast out of the synagogue. Basically, he was just kicked out of the social circle of the day. And Jesus goes and he seeks this man out and he makes sure that this man is a believer in him. And the message that Jesus then gives by moving into a shepherd and his sheep. Some Arab leaders with thieves and robbers. Here's what you're looking for, a shepherd who actually cares about his sheep. That's a commentary on what just happened when the world casts you out. Jesus seeks you out. That's the point he's trying to make here. And he's contrasting different kinds of leaders that you could follow. So it's like when our kids say, you know, why is six afraid of seven? You ever heard this one before? Because seven, eight, nine. Right. Little jokes are about a sequence of order here in numbers. Well, Chapter Ten is basically chapter nine. Part two. That's what we've now entered. And so this chapter division and we just got to remember that the chapter divisions, the verse breakdowns.
[00:08:57] That's something that we have done to help us identify where we're talking about in the Bible. Those are not of divine origin. Those are not in the original copies of the scripture. It's not breaking it down into chapters and versus so many people misinterpret this passage about the Good Shepherd because they don't see it in the context.
[00:09:16] And the context is Jesus is now in an allegory. He is explaining. You could follow those thieves and robbers or you can follow me. And really what he's saying is whoever you follow is going to end up defining your life. That's really the point that he's making here. Who are you following now? An allegory is different than a parable, but at times when we hear a story in the scripture, we think of it as a parable. But if you know anything about the parables of Jesus in our Sunday school class that just met at nine o'clock is now starting a whole series on parables, you know that the point of the parable was actually to obscure and you find this in Matthew 13 and you could listen to Pastor Bill's message about this because he just started this series. Parables actually obscure the meaning, like when people are rejecting Jesus and there's all this controversy about what is he saying? Well, he tells it in stories. So actually. So that they won't get what he's saying to obscure it. And that's why he has to go later and explain the parables because they're making it more difficult to understand and the point of parables, if you were just in Sunday school, the point of parables, you know, is to lead people to salvation. That's ultimately where every parable is going. Well, that's not what this is here. This isn't a parable to obscure the meaning or to talk about how to get saved in some kind of story way. No, this is a way that we're making a metaphor to explain. Who do you want to follow with your life? What kind of a spiritual leader do you want to have? Do you want to have thieves and robbers who are just in it for what they're gonna get out of you? And ultimately, they cast you out. That's his commentary on the Pharisees and what they've done to this man born blind. Or do you want to have someone who actually cares about you?
[00:11:00] You want to have a good shepherd?
[00:11:02] That's the analogy here that he's building. So we have to see here that really in John nine, what we have is a microcosm of what's been happening in the whole gospel of John, how it begins. Is Jesus doing signs so people will believe in him? Then there's all this controversy. Some reject him. Some believe in him. A division is happening. And then the end game, the ultimate point of you believing in Jesus is that you would have what what what's the end game? Eternal life. That's the point. And here what we get into now is we start to get into a picture of what this eternal life really looks like, what it looks like for you to know God and his son, Jesus Christ. And he extends this to us through this shepherding relationship, which is actually a story told throughout scripture, a way that God has always referred to his people is as a shepherd. And when you start to study the Bible about sheep. One thing you find out about sheep is that sheep are stupid.
[00:12:05] That's what you find out. They are animals who desperately need a leader. In fact, here's a verse that maybe you've heard about sheep. This is Isaiah 53, verse six, just up here on the screen for you all.
[00:12:18] We, like sheep have gone astray. That's the connection that the Bible makes with sheep. We have turned every one to his own way that what sheep do if they don't have a shepherd, if no one is hurting them together, if no one is providing for them and protecting them and making sure they're in a safe place at night and leading them out to eat by the day, if no one is doing these kinds of things, will sheep will be on their own and they'll be destroyed because ultimately they're stupid. They don't they can't really fend for themselves. They require leadership. Have you realized that about your own life yet? Now, you really do identify yourself as a sheep, that if somebody is not watching over you, if they're not providing for you, if they're not protecting you, you are not going to make it in this life. That's what the Bible says. And what's cool is God did something through this one man named Phillip Keller, who actually at one point was a shepherd in his life. And then he became a pastor and he wrote a classic that I strongly recommend. A shepherd looks at Psalm 23 and it's recommended on the back of your hand out there. You could see it if you're taking notes. And so it God inspired this guy, not in the divine like scripture way, but just a guy who used to be a shepherd of real physical sheep. And then he became a pastor and overseer of people's souls. And so he wrote a book, A Shepherds Perspective, through Psalm Twenty Three. And when he makes very clear at the beginning of the book, the profound insight that he gives is the sheep's life is completely defined by the shepherd. How good the shepherd is determines the sheep's experience. And he tells stories of how his neighbor, this shepherd over here, did not care for his sheep and in sheep were always looking thin and the ground was all the ground was always looking brown and there was nothing for them to eat. And when they got sick, there was nobody trying to heal them. And they hit the sheep. Next stories that would literally try to stick their necks through the fence to see the green grass in in his area where his sheep were wet because he talks about the investment, like when he sunk his entire life into the 30 sheep that he bought. And that was now his investment, his livelihood, how he cared for those sheep and how he looked after them. And he gets into it with great detail. But he says, here's sheep. Same animals. Their experience completely defined by the shepherd. Your life will be completely defined by your leader. Let's get that down for point number one. Your life is defined by your leader who is running your life, who is the one that you trust ultimately to guide you. Now, clearly, the contrast here is between the thieves and robbers, right? And then those. Come in through the door, right?
[00:15:14] If you jump into verse eight, you're in John ten. And the analogy here, let's just review what happens in this in this text. The idea is that shepherds at the end, usually towns would have multiple shepherds, multiple flocks out there, but then they would all put their sheep in one place and hire one guy to watch them throughout the night. And so then in the morning now the shepherd comes back in and he calls out his own sheep and his sheep follow him and they go out for the day. That's the idea that you see here expanded. But as Jesus even gets further into it, look at verse eight and nine, Liquidy says he says all who came before me and this is clearly referring to the Pharisees of Chapter nine who have just cast a man out of all who come before me are thieves and robbers. But the sheep do not listen to them. They did not listen to them. On the other hand, I'm the door. That's what he says in verse nine. If anyone enters my me, well, then he will be saved and we'll go in and out and find pasture. So the contrast in our text is these thieves and robbers or you enter in by the door, which gets you into the place of life where there's pasturing and where there's feeding and everything you need. And clearly, we could spend a lot of time talking about the false leaders of our day, people who, under the guise of religion, are leading people away from Jesus Christ, not to him. Our world is full of false teachers, people who are saying that Jesus is somebody great, some kind of prophet, somebody awesome, but not actually God who can save you. And I mean, there's so many cults, there's so many churches who have added tradition and burdens on top of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that the truth is you're probably more likely to hear a false gospel in Huntington Beach than you are to hear the real gospel in Huntington Beach. That's a big problem. Lots of false leaders. But in America, we're not really into this whole leadership thing. We don't really want anybody telling us what to do. No, you can lead your own life. That's the American dream. You don't have to have somebody telling you what to do. You can be the somebody telling yourself what to do.
[00:17:20] And are you still chasing that dream? Are you still trying to think that you can take care of yourself in this life, or are you ready to admit here this morning? I'm just a sheep and I need a shepherd. Somebody doesn't watch over me. I'm not going to make you. That's what the scriptures trying to say through the sheep analogy.
[00:17:38] If I go to Ezekiel 34. Turn with me into the Old Testament to an example of a prophecy about the shepherd and the sheep. This is a Zeke Hill 34. Please grab a Bible and turn there. It's on page seven hundred and twenty two. If you got one of our Bibles and I don't know if you're familiar with the prophet Zeke. It's not a book that's talked about as much today. But this is clearly a prophecy about what Jesus says in John Ten. What Jesus is saying in John Ten is a fulfillment of what God is saying here to his people of Israel, the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. And Ezekiel was prophesying right before Jerusalem was going to be destroyed. And as he killed 34 verse one, look at it with me here. Here's a word of the Lord that came to as equal as equal 34 one. The word of the Lord came to me. Son of man prophesy against the shepherds of Israel prophesy. And say to them, even did the shepherds. Now that's going to get everybody's attention. That would be like saying, here, write this against the pastors, against the priests, against the religious leaders. Got this prophecy is against the people who should be taking people to God.
[00:18:54] No, this is actually God's prophecy against them. So this would have been a known prophecy. This would've been controversial. Wow. God's going off on pastors. That's what this would be like today. Thus says, the Lord God are shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves. Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat. You close yourselves with the war. You slaughter the fat ones. But you do not feed the sheep, the weak. You have not strengthened the sick. You have not healed the injured. You have not bound up the straight. You have not brought back the lost. You have not sought. And with force and harshness, you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered. They wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep are scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them. Here's God describing what has happened in the nation of Israel, because even the priests and even the people who should be leading people to God, well, they're not doing it. They're in it for themselves. Therefore, you shepherds of her seven hear the word of the Lord as I live, declares the Lord God. Surely because my sheep have become a prey and my sheep have become food for all the wild bees since there was no shepherd. And because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep. Shepherds have fed themselves and I'm not fed my sheep. Therefore, you shepherds hear the word of the Lord does, says the Lord God. Behold. I am against the shepherds God now against his own priests. And I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths that they may not be food for them. Here we see a dynamic where God has words to say against the people who should be leading his people. He rejects them. We see it here in the Old Testament. Here's Jesus doing it with the Pharisees in the New Testament. Surely there are false teachers, misleading people today that God wants nothing to do with. But then it gets into this precious part. This is really a prophecy that we see fulfilled in John ten verse eleven four. Thus says the Lord God, behold I myself. If the middlemen aren't going to do it, if the religious leaders aren't going to do well, I, I myself will search for my sheep and seek them out.
[00:21:15] Isn't that the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that you don't need a middle man to get between you and God? He'll seek you out for yourself. The world will cast you out. Leaders will let you down.
[00:21:25] But God himself will pursue your soul. Who's leading your life? I hope the answer wasn't you or any other man. I hope there's only one who leads your life. And that's God himself.
[00:21:39] Is he really the leader of your soul?
[00:21:42] Look what he says here in verse 15. He says I myself. This is what God wants. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep and I will make them lie down, declares the Lord Phillip Keller in his book as he goes through Psalm 23. And it talks about lying down in green pastures. He talks about how extremely difficult it ever is to get a sheep to lie down. Sheep don't want to lie down. Sheep are always afraid of predators. You have to make them feel safe. Sheep are always fighting in among themselves to be first in line. You have to end the tension between them. Sheep are always hungry.
[00:22:17] You have to make them well-fed. There's all these practical needs that you need to me. If you're going to get sheep to lie down and God saying not only am I going to seek after you when the world leaves you high and dry, not only why I pursue you and find you, I will bring you in and I will meet every one of your needs until you can lie down.
[00:22:35] And contentment and peace. Did you have that do you have somebody watching over your soul, someone getting your spiritual back, or are you trying to do it yourself, or are you hoping that some other human being is going to do that for you? Maybe you just got a godly friend. A lot of times I think we settle for godly friends when we could be with God himself. Leeching off is somebody else's spiritual life rather than going to God to develop our own life in him. We got to be careful.
[00:23:10] We got to make sure that he is the shepherd and then he drops down this this prophecy here in verse twenty three, look down a verse twenty three and see how this is clearly something that's fulfilled in John, Chapter ten. And I will sit over them. One shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them, he shall feed them and be their shepherd and I the Lord will be their God and my servant David shall be Prince among them.
[00:23:34] I am the Lord. I have spoken.
[00:23:37] You could see the passion of God's heart, what God wants. In fact, you could make a strong case that this is the purpose of life, as people have said throughout church history. He wants to be God and he wants to have people who are his people. That's the point of life. He wants to have a relationship with people who really know him and treat him as God. And they are his people. That's what he's looking for. And so someday he's going to set us shepherd. He's gonna send us a shepherd and his servant, David. Now, again, you have to know the context of the scripture. You've got to know even the chronological order does Zeke Hill. Is he prophesying after or before King David?
[00:24:16] You guys tell me. After.
[00:24:19] After. Are we talking about King David? When we when we mentioned this King David himself, we know he was a shepherd back in the day. Is that who this is about? No. This is the book right before the city of Jerusalem where David was king is about to be destroyed.
[00:24:34] This is hundreds of years after David.
[00:24:36] So who is this prophecy about who is coming in the line of David? Who is going to have a kingdom that will reign forever? Who is going to be the real shepherd of God's people? His name is Jesus.
[00:24:46] That's what this prophecy is about, pay, because there is so much corruption in religion and church and even maybe people who have acted like they were spiritual examples to you in the past have betrayed you later and showed themselves to be hypocrites. Hey, guess what? I'm gonna just be done with all the middlemen and I'm going to send you a shepherd who will seek out your soul and he will bring you into relationships straight with me. God says, and I will be your God and you will be one of my people. And he prophesies that Jesus is going to be the shepherd. And now here's Jesus rejecting the Pharisees and saying, I have a right. I guarantee you people were understanding when Jesus was saying this. And John Ten, as Xiqing, 34, was coming to the minds of the people there, perhaps even the Pharisees themselves, they were understanding what Jesus was claiming to be the fulfillment of when he says, I am the door.
[00:25:41] If you want to come in and know the know the shepherd, if you want to come in and pasture, you have to enter through me. Jesus says I am the only leader that can get your life where it needs to be. If I go back to John, Chapter 10, Jesus is making the case of why all of us should be following him as the leader of our lives and in the case is not just to save your soul for all of eternity. That's not what he jumps to when we think of eternal life. That's what we get in Jesus Christ. When we believe in him, we receive eternal life. We've unfortunately, in our minds, the first thing we think of is a life that lasts forever, a life after we die. Here, we have a future hope. That's not where Jesus goes. Look at John, chapter 10, verse nine again saying I have to be the leader. There's only one way and I'm the door and you have to enter by me. Then you're saved. Then you're going to find pasture to go with our sheep allegory. But look at verse 10. Here's the contrast again. The thief, these Pharisees, they how they treated the blind man, they just came to steal and to kill and destroy.
[00:26:50] But I came that day. The sheep may have life and have it. What does it say? There doesn't say eternally. It says abundantly. He's saying, I offer you a better life than those guys.
[00:27:05] You think you can lead your own life? Well, that won't be as good as the life that I could lead for you. I offer a more abundant way, a life to the full.
[00:27:15] What we as Christians believe is that we are the only people on planet Earth who are experiencing this life as it was meant to be experienced in relationship to God. He's our God. And we are as people. And that changes everything about how we think about all the things that we experience are changed because we experience them with God in relationship to him. It is the fullness of life. It is a rich, abundant life that Jesus wants to give you. If he is your shepherd, he will lead you. That's what he's trying to say. Your life is gonna be defined by who leads it. Do you know that Jesus is leading your life?
[00:27:55] Are you ready to testify here this morning that there is no better master? There was no one you would rather have calling the shots for the rest of your life than Jesus Christ. Can I get a man from anybody on that?
[00:28:07] And so much rather him have him telling me what to do than me telling me what to do. The abundance, the fullness, the real meaning of life comes through him.
[00:28:19] You're not going to find a better master because look what he goes on to say right after that first alone. He says, I am the Good Shepherd. So he's trying to distinguish himself from all the other false leaders that you could have in life. And he says, I am the Good Shepherd. And here's what good shepherds do. And later, he's going to compare it to the guy who's hired who doesn't really own the sheep. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. So we need to understand this kind of in two ways, in the allegory here in John 10. What you're looking for when somebody is watching the sheep is somebody who's so invested in the sheep that when the wolf comes, when the predator comes to try to attack the sheep, that the shepherd is not thinking about self-preservation. He's thinking about sheep preservation. That's what you want. And so when the shepherd has invested his own resources into those sheep and they're now his sheep and he owns them, he possesses them. So then he's going to have an invested interest in fighting off all of the attackers and making sure those sheep are safe. Now, you just get somebody else who's really in it for themselves and they end up in that situation. They're going to run. See, what you want is someone who's even so loving, so caring of these sheep that they are willing to die even if there's the threat of death on the line that shepherds going for sheep.
[00:29:39] Was that what you're looking for in a shepherd? That's also what you're looking for in a savior and someone to lead your life. And what Jesus is saying here isn't just an allegory. We know because we've read the rest of the book. We know this is historical fact. That Jesus Christ offered his life when he died for you on the cross.
[00:30:04] And I wonder how much that really weighs with us.
[00:30:08] I wonder how seriously we really take it or if we just get so used to it and we see the cross is like a piece of necklace that a piece of jewelry that people are wearing around their neck or we see it outside the building and we just become kind of used to kind of familiar with the idea that Jesus died for us. And I wonder if that loses the fullness of meaning in our hearts.
[00:30:31] Like, if someone died for you, let's just think about you being responsible for someone else's death. Let's let's just take a moment to go down that path.
[00:30:44] I think let me give you a suburban allegory, all right? Something maybe that more of us can relate to around here, because to get to our house, we have to drive through all of these other houses. And so we're driving in our cars through these residential neighborhoods and cars. And people don't really go together. Not at the same place at the same time, you know, Anderson. In fact, Huntington Beach, to get from this church to my house to drive through the streets of Huntington Beach. I got to drive by a lot of people who are walking, riding bikes, motorcycles all around the street. And it's regular that on my drive just from here to my house, about 10, 15 minutes away, I see car accidents here in Huntington Beach.
[00:31:23] Anybody else ever see these as you're driving around?
[00:31:27] Fact is, if I've ever been a moment, maybe when you were driving and somebody maybe you weren't paying good attention or maybe they weren't. And they kind of stepped off the curb right. When you were driving and you almost thought that you were going to hit someone with your car, that it would get your attention, that if you get your heart beaten, your blood like racing through your body. I mean, if anybody here has ever actually hit someone with their car, they don't think it's a joke.
[00:31:50] I don't think there's anything funny about talking about it. It's as serious as it gets. Let's just think about what that would be like if you were driving.
[00:31:59] And it's a green line up there and you're going 40 miles per hour and somebody in one of these areas, they just step off the curb almost like they're trying to get in front of you. They step off the curb and you hit their body with you. I mean, you hit the brakes. There's the squealing of the tires. You slow down, but you are still going fast and you feel your car hit a human body.
[00:32:22] How would that make you feel in that moment? How would you respond to that?
[00:32:29] That music wasn't supposed to come on at that moment, but it was effective.
[00:32:37] Imagine getting out of your car and going up to that person and you realize that your car has hit this person and you reached down to see if you can help them because you're so freaked out. You're like, what did I do? And you want to help them. And as you pull back your hand, it's covered in the person's blood and they're dead right there in front of you.
[00:32:55] You watch someone die and you are responsible for their death. How does that make you feel?
[00:33:02] Would you ever be able to forget that moment? Would it ever not feel 100 percent real to you? Would you hear the sound of the tires squealing over and over when you were alone at night? Would you have a hard time getting the images out of your mind and then maybe as you're replaying in the images in your mind, not because you want to, but because you do you see that way? That person jumped out in front of me and I hit that person because I had the green light and I didn't know why they were in front of me. But I remember a car driving past going the other way. And what must have happened is somebody ran a red light over here and they were going through the intersection and I would have crashed into another car. But that person jumped in front of my car. They were actually saving my life when I hit them with my car. They were actually keeping me from hitting another car that was barreling through the intersection. So not only am I responsible for their death, but they saved me.
[00:34:03] I might have died if they hadn't done that.
[00:34:07] I mean, how would you deal with that? There's a funeral for this person. It's out in the news. Are you going to go to this funeral? This person who died because of you. And they saved your life. I mean, imagine. And you go to that funeral and you start to hear about this person's entire life. And they didn't have.
[00:34:25] They weren't married. They didn't have kids. I mean, the man that you it seemed like a nice, well put together man and the only surviving relative he has is his father, who seems like this really great guy. And he's up there speaking about how much he loved his son.
[00:34:40] And all these people start getting up and they start saying what a difference this man made in their life. And they have a time. Does anybody else want to say something to anybody else? Want to say what this man mattered? You going to go grab the mike? You got to say something about this man. It's dead because of you and you're alive because of him. Are you going to sit in the back?
[00:35:02] We're gonna keep it to yourself.
[00:35:05] After the funeral is over, imagine if you were there that the father of the man walks through the crowd. Everybody's trying to talk to him and comfort him. But he comes and he finds you and he wants to comfort you. And if you'll extend the metaphor with me a little bit, he offers you. He says, look, I have vast resources. I've worked my entire life. And I was going to give it all to my son. Everything that I have, this vast network of finances and relationships and and resources, I was going to give all of this inheritance to my son. But now that my son has died and need now that he died for you, I want to give you my son's inheritance.
[00:35:47] You killed his son and now he wants to offer you the life that he was going to give to his son.
[00:35:56] Does it matter that Jesus died for you? Does it feel like a real death, like it cost him his life?
[00:36:07] It's as real as us hitting somebody with a car that on that cross, you were responsible for his death, your scene is the reason he had to get on that cross. And his death there saves you from the accident that is surely coming, that judgment that is surely coming. If you don't get your sin, forgive was amazing in the Bible is that we're not the only sheep. The Bible talks about Noah after Isaiah 53, verse six. Look what it says right in the next verse, verse seven, it switches the analogy.
[00:36:41] Now onto Jesus. And it says like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep before it shears is silent. So he open not his mouth.
[00:36:52] Here's Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
[00:36:55] Not only is he willing to lay down his life for the sheep, he becomes the lamb. He becomes the sheep that sacrifices his life for our life. I mean, is there a day that goes by where you forget that someone actually died to make your life possible? How could that be? Point number two. Let's get it down like this. Don't forget, he actually died for you. This is not a story. This is not just something we believe. This is something that happened when Jesus shed his blood, his blood for you to save you. And now the father offers you the life of the son. He wants to give it to you. Go to first, Peter. Chapter two. And first, Peter in Chapter two. He is preaching on Isaiah 53, where it talks about us like sheep going astray. But Jesus like a sheep dying for us being slaughtered for us. And it gets into how Jesus died for you. First, Peter, chapter two, verse 22. And it says it like this when he was revived. Sorry. Verse 22, he committed no sin. Jesus didn't need to die for himself. Now he was dying for our sin. We are responsible. We were the ones that put him there on the cross. Neither was deceit found in his mouth. And when he was reviled, so many people were mocking him. He did not revile in return. When he suffered, people were beating him. He did not threaten. He continued entrusting himself to him, who judges justly. This is verse 24, verse Peter two 24. He himself Jesus bore our sins in his body on the tree. Why? So that we could die to sin, that we could be done with that old life because he's paid for it and that we might live to righteousness. Jesus literally died on the cross so that you could live by his wounds. You have been healed. And then brings it all together. Peter here in his in his writing for you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the shepherd and overseer of your soul. It costs Jesus his life so that your soul could be forgiven of sin and given a new life. That should weigh on us every single day. We should never be able to go through a week, a moment of time without remembering that Jesus died for me.
[00:39:31] Do you realize that there are so many people that Jesus died for and they don't even know about it, but the father wants to give them the inheritance, the life of his son? That there is an offer from the father in heaven to give people all the blessings in the heavenly places. All the good things of the life of Jesus. He wants to give them to people, and they've never even heard that message about it.
[00:39:56] That's gonna break our hearts.
[00:39:58] I mean, hopefully the death of Jesus means so much to us. It is the basis of our entire life so that the thought of someone not even knowing that Jesus died for them, that should break our hearts. Go back to John Chapter 10 and look at how Jesus does his own prophecy here. Not only is Jesus fulfilling prophecy here in John 10 from his Egill 34, he begins to prophesy himself. And look how timely this is for us. It's amazing as we just go through the the passages, how God makes the passages of scripture intersect with our calendar and what's going on in our lives. And look what Jesus says in verse 16 of John 10. He. I have other sheep that are not of this fold. Who's he talking about? Well, usually in the scripture, the sheep refer to the people of Israel. But now he's saying there's a whole nother fold out there of sheep. Who were those? Well, those are the gentiles, the people who are not Israel, people like us.
[00:40:53] Maybe people like America are able to sheep that are none of this whole. But I'm going to bring them also and they will listen to my voice. In the end, there will be one flock and one shepherd.
[00:41:05] You want to see a place where people of all kinds of ethnicities and colors of skin and backgrounds, all kinds of variety, get together as one group of people? Well, that's what heaven's gonna be like. People of every nation, tribe and tongue, all worshiping Jesus Christ as our shepherd, one flock, one shepherd. I mean, nobody could have fathomed the depth that two thousand years later there would be people like us in a part of the world they didn't even know about yet and that he would be our shepherd. It's so much bigger than anybody here that they could have realized. But look what he prophesies in verse 17. For this reason, my father loves me because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it up again. This is the charge I have received from my father. Was Jesus prophesying right there? I'm going to die and I'm going to rise again. No one's making me do it.
[00:42:04] I am willingly do it. I am choosing out of my love as the good shepherd for the sheep. I am choosing to lay down my life. And not only will I choose to lay it down. I have the authority.
[00:42:15] I will take it up again, prophesying his own death and his own resurrection. Not something he did because he had to. Something he did for you because he wanted you. Because when the world didn't care. He did. And he wants to seek out your soul and save you even here this morning, if you don't know.
[00:42:36] A Jesus says, what kind of card is the Jesus drive? Well, he drives a Honda because he does it of his own accord.
[00:42:44] My friends and I was bad, but you'll think about it next time you're buying a Honda.
[00:42:54] He willingly laid down his life for you. He chose to do it. I think about that.
[00:43:03] Think. Try to compare that to something else. And if somebody died for you, what a big deal that would be how you would always remember that. And it would define the rest of your life. That's the death of Jesus on the cross. And what a prime time it is for us to be looking at this passage as we literally on the calendar. I don't know if you guys bike by calendars and fill in different things on the calendar, but when I buy a calendar from Staples or wherever and I start writing things on different days, the Staples.
[00:43:33] This isn't a Christian calendar here, but even this calendar knows Good Friday and Easter Sunday are coming up. I mean, the days that Jesus chose to put on the calendar because he wanted to.
[00:43:46] And how many people don't even know how many people that, you know, don't know what Jesus did for them on Good Friday when he laid down his life and what he did on Easter when he took it back up again. If there was ever a time, I mean, it's always a good time for us to be telling people. I know some of us are, but, wow, there's days on the calendar to talk about events here at the church, specific ones to invite people to.
[00:44:11] He needs to and needs to mean so much to us. What Jesus did. And it needs to compel us that it must mean something to everyone, that Jesus died for them.
[00:44:21] The offer is on the table right now for the sins of the entire world to be forgiven in the blood of Jesus Christ. He chose to lay down his life as the Good Shepherd now. And John, 10, jumped back up to verse 14 because he says, I'm the Good Shepherd twice. And the first time he says he lays down his life. But this time, he gives us even a deeper insight here, I think in verse 14 where he says, I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.
[00:44:52] So what is the purpose of Jesus laying down his life? Well, it's so that we might believe in him so that he might pay our sins, so that we might have a new life. And what is the purpose of the new life or as we refer to it, as the eternal life? OK, we should always reprogram our minds to think whenever we hear eternal life. The fact that it lasts for forever is just one of the perks. It is not primarily a quantity of life. It is a quality of life. And what is good about this life? What is better about this life is knowing God. That's what's better, him being your God and you being one of his people. So here's why I did it. I'm the Good Shepherd. OK. And here's here's what it's all about. I know my own and I own my own. Know me. That's what he wants, in fact. Then he says this to give definition. Verse 15. Just as the father knows me and I know the father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. What is the purpose of the laying down of the life that we might enter in to the relationship that Jesus has with the father, that we might know God and Jesus Christ to me? He has sent that John 17 three. It gives us the definition of eternal life. And it says, here's what it's really about, knowing God and Jesus when you think of eternal life.
[00:46:14] Don't think about what's gonna happen after you die. I mean, praise the Lord for that. But that's not the primary definition.
[00:46:20] The primary thing you should think of when you hear eternal life is God, the father and the son and the spirit. They had a perfect relationship for all of eternity past that, an intimacy and the fellowship. The father loved the son there. They knew each other in some kind of a way. I want to know God like that. The reason he created us, the reason he invited us into this relationship.
[00:46:47] Some might even say that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. The point of life is that you would come to know God.
[00:46:59] That is the point that he had a relationship that he already had that was perfect and sufficient the way the father knew the son. And now you could know God and you can know Jesus in the same way, just as Jesus says, just as they know each other. You now can enter into that knowledge. That is amazing.
[00:47:21] That we could walk around, not alone, but in relationship with God. That's what we like to say, right? Christianity is not a religion. It is a which is really just our version of the sheep allegory.
[00:47:36] We compare it to a relationship because that's something we're really familiar with. We have spouses. We have kids. We have relationships with one another. But what the scripture is saying is there's a way that the father knows the son. And now we are invited to know them in that same way. And that is the point of your life. Point number three. Let's get it down like this.
[00:47:55] No, the point is to know him. This is what we're trying to get to or preaching on the signs of Jesus. We're encouraging people to believe in Jesus. There's all this controversy about who believes in Jesus and who doesn't. But for those of us who do believe in Jesus, the point, the heart of the gospel of John. What we're really trying to get to is that you even you little sheep, you little person, you you could know God an amazing, intimate way. And you would marvel at that, that you would never cease to wonder at that that the relationship you have with God, the knowledge of him, would then become something that affects everything else about your life, that there is no experience you could experience without sharing that experience with God. That's the idea here. That there is someone who's always watching over you. Someone who was always there, someone who's providing for every need and protecting from every danger. And sometimes you just think you're doing it as like commando sheep out there. But really, you realize and you begin to know and you begin to understand that he is the one who's doing all good things in my life. You become aware of his presence. I mean, when was the last time you could say that you enjoyed God?
[00:49:13] That is the point of your life. And we're doing the things that humans have been doing, eaten, sleeping. Diane.
[00:49:25] What's the point of it all? The point of it is to share those experiences with the knowledge of your creator. That's the point. That's what brings meaning to this life. Solomon said vanity of vanity. All is vanity under the sun, he said. But if any man enjoys God, see for who can eat or who can drink or who can have enjoyment without him. Do you know God in such a way that it changes your daily experience? Do you? No.
[00:49:56] God in such a way that you don't just come to church and experience God or read your Bible and experience God. You are always aware of the presence of God in your life that you practice it.
[00:50:09] You know, he's there.
[00:50:11] I heard the verse quoted this week, maybe you've heard this before that were two or three are gathered. There is in our name. Anybody heard that before? But if you've ever been to a small prayer meeting or a small worship night, that's the first thing they said. You know what I mean? It's like the verse we bust out at church when the attendance isn't good. Hey, guys. As long as there's two or three of us. The Lord is with us. Hey, newsflash, if you're by yourself, the Lord is with you.
[00:50:40] That what that's talking about in Matthew 18 is it's referring to Deuteronomy, where you need two or three witnesses to accuse someone of something. If you look at the context there in Matthew 18, it's about confronting people who are continuing in sin. And you might have to ask them to leave the church because they're continuing in sin. And so you got to get two or three witnesses to go and confront this person. And you gotta you gotta know that Jesus is with you when you do that, like, intense work of talking to someone about their sin.
[00:51:06] That's the point of that passage, because the point of the rest of the Bible is, I don't care if you're by yourself or what everybody else in this life has done for you. Jesus is with you. He's seeking you out.
[00:51:18] He's shepherding your soul like in that dark night when you are alone and you find out that you are ill with cancer or that some precious person has been taken away from you or your finances are collapsing or something bad is happening and you feel so left out by the world.
[00:51:37] See, that's when even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, he is with me. I cannot be alone. There's one thing I as many things I might be in this life, but alone is not one of them because God is always with me. And if you're one of his people, he's always with you.
[00:51:59] And he's seeking after you right now, even if you're not one of these people, go to Psalm twenty three. This is a precious passage. And there's no way we could talk about the Good Shepherd without referring to Psalm 23, which many people read and enjoy. But I wonder if the words have just become cliche. Let's see if we can get the fullness of meaning out of them here as we think about now. God always watching over us. Always meeting every need. Protecting, providing the shepherd. David knew all about being a shepherd.
[00:52:32] He was one. He fought off the lie and he fought off the bear. He cared for the sheep so well that the Lord made him king of his people. And here's what David says. The Lord is my shepherd.
[00:52:44] He's so good.
[00:52:46] I shall not want me literally if I have God and I know him and I know how good he's been to me, I'm content.
[00:52:53] I'm at peace. I have joy. He makes me lie down in green pastures and like we said, he's got to meet so many needs to get a sheep to lie down. But he's taking care of my needs so that I have nothing that I lack.
[00:53:07] In fact, I'm lying down in green pastures. And besides me are still waters. He restores my soul. That's your shoe. That's God turning us towards him. That's God seeking us out and bringing us into the fold. And then not only does he turn us around and bring us in, but he leads me in paths of righteousness. Now he leads me down the right path. I hear his voice and I follow him and he leads me in paths of righteousness for his namesake. Now, even though if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, even if darkness on my worst day, I'm not going to fear an evil. Why, for you are with me, there's nowhere I can go to escape your presence, your rod and your staff.
[00:53:45] They come for me. They protect. They direct.
[00:53:49] In fact, just switch the allegory here, you prepare a table before me in the presence of enemies and it's like you've anointed my hip head with oil.
[00:53:57] It's like you're pouring into my cup there and my cup is overflowing on the table and everyone can see how good you are to me, surely. Goodness and mercy. No allegory now. Now we're just saying, oh, goodness and mercy are going to follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I cannot get out of the house of God. Well, you might leave these doors. This isn't the house of God. Well, this is church where we gather together, worship him.
[00:54:27] But I cannot, as one of his people leave his presence. He's with me no matter where I go. Literally, the idea here is goodness and mercy are chasing after you. They're running after you.
[00:54:42] You're in a dark place. You're in an alley. Something bad's gonna happen. You're getting afraid. You're wondering what's gonna go on. You look over your shoulder and there's your old friends, goodness and mercy, and they got your back.
[00:54:54] That's the idea.
[00:54:56] That's a picture now. See, if I were to tell you, someone is always watching that, that sounds weird to us today just to show how kind of twisted our society is vital if somebody is always watching first thing you think is stalker. All right. Who knows? Scary creeping on your social media. They're following you around.
[00:55:15] See, we almost think, well, if somebody was always watching just because of the world and all the evil that we've seen in the way that power is abused and the way that people mistreat people, we think if someone's always watching, that might be a bad thing. Well, let me tell you, the shepherd is the anti stalker, OK?
[00:55:31] He's the exact opposite. Now he's the one and you don't maybe always realize he was there, but he was. Man, there was this Wolf coming after you and you didn't even maybe know it, but he protected you. You just keep kept eating your grass that he provided.
[00:55:49] He's always there. How will where? All right, we have him being there. How confident are you that no matter what happens? His goodness and his mercy. They're not going to stop following you.
[00:56:04] You can't get out of his presidency when you start to think like that and you walk through the day like that. Then you start to know eternal life. Then you start to feel like, yeah. It's good being a sheep. If God is my shepherd, he's the ever watching ever their presence in my life. And I'd like to have a shepherd like that, and I hope that, you know, God like that. And if you don't, I could tell you right now, even through this passage, he is seeking for your soul. And he wants you. He wants you to be one of his people because all he wants is to be your God.
[00:56:43] I hope you'll worship him as such. In fact, if you flip your hand out over to the back, you'll see we're doing something exciting in our fellowship groups if you've never gone to a fellowship group before. This is the week to go. Go talk to my friend Minthorn at the table right after the service and he can get you in a fellowship group. Come talk to me upfront. I'll get you in a fellowship group. But we're going to have fellowship group worship night. One thing I get concerned about is that we think worship means singing along with words that somebody else has written. I think we can worship by the things that we speak. We don't need to sing to worship. We can praise God for his goodness and his mercy. We can share of things that God has done. We can share scripture that causes us to just overflow with joy and Thanksgiving. And so we are going to show up at our fellowship groups and we are going to respond to this good news of this relationship with God. And we're going to share praises with one another this week. Usually we go through questions that we talk about. But no, this week we're speaking praises. And then there are some questions for you to evaluate yourself personally.
[00:57:42] Like the end game of all of this is that you personally would know the presence of the shepherd and his goodness and mercy there with you, like you are supposed to have this relationship with the Lord.
[00:57:54] Where are you at with that? How do you want to grow in knowing God in 2016? Because the gospel of John is going to take us there. We're just going to learn more and more about eternal life. And that's really the goal of all of this, is to know him and enjoy him. How's that going for you? And we want to encourage one another. So hopefully you come to these fellowship groups and you get into this praise and this partnership in us encouraging one another to have our own relationship with God.
[00:58:22] So I really hope that that's true for you, that you can relate to being a sheep who and you can say that Jesus is my good shepherd. Let's pray God. Thank you so much for this passage that we could dove into here together this morning. And God, we thank you for this allegory that you use that even suburbanites like us come to understand as we study your scripture. What a great picture it is that the sheep is dependent on someone always watching over them, protecting, providing, taking care of them. God, you are that to us. And we worship you.
[00:58:58] We shout for joy in our souls here this morning that you are God. And what a blessing it is to be one of your people. God, we acknowledge that to you right now in worship, in our hearts.
[00:59:09] Thank you for making us one of your people, even though we had gone astray. Thank you for seeking us out, God. Thank you for turning us and bringing us into your pasture.
[00:59:21] Thank you for satisfying our souls and for comforting us in our darkest of moments. Thank you for the promise this morning that when we walk out of here, your goodness and your mercy go with us and we're in your presence all the days of our life.
[00:59:36] God, we thank you so much. And I pray that we would not be so busy with the hustle and bustle that we would miss the shepherd and we would not miss moments that we could be enjoying with you. And instead were wanting more. And we're afraid of what might happen. Let us enjoy this life with you. Let us give you the glory and God. I just pray if there's someone here this morning and they know right now, I don't have that abundance. Now, there are moments in my life when I feel alone and I don't know, someone is with me. God, I pray that if there is a soul like that here this morning that they will come forward, that they will talk to someone, that they will hear your voice calling them, and that they will listen to you and they will follow after you and they will see how good the Good Shepherd really is. Sky, we give Jesus the glory and we pray this in his name a meant.
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