Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

02/16/2020 A.M.

 

THE I AM SAYING OF JESUS

I Am The Good Shepherd

John 10.1-18 & 26-30

 

Tonight…We continue our study in the I AM SAYINGS OF JESUS.

 

It’s difficult for us to relate to Sheep and Shepherding of the First Century World.  We Westerners are Cowboys... We are into Cattle and Horses... Not Sheep & Shepherding!

• We raise cattle and chickens to kill... Shepherds raise Lambs to keep for wool.

• Cowboys prod and drive cattle... Shepherds lead and carry lambs.

Shepherds and Cowboys have a total different mentality and purpose.

 

Now... This doesn’t mean that we...

• Can’t imagine...

• Can’t comprehend...

Sheep & Shepherding.

 

We just don’t have... A daily... Firsthand... Exposure to this Old Word Lifestyle.  In fact... It’s more likely that we’ve...

• Never owned a single sheep...

• Perhaps none of us have ever met a genuine shepherd.

 

So we must...

• Remove our Cowboy Clothing...

• Lay down our Cattle Prod...

• Put on a Shepherd’s Garb...

• Exchanging our prod and rifle for the Shepherd’s Rod and Staff.

 

We must be willing to listen to Jesus in order to understand what He means...

• When He says... I am the door...

I am The Gate...

I am the Good Shepherd.

In fact... If I counted correctly Jesus refers to Himself by these metaphors ten or eleven times in this chapter.

 

Just what is Jesus saying to us?...

Come... Let’s see what we can learn...

 

First... We note that the Bible is filled with Sheep & Shepherding...

• Genesis 4.2 tells us that Able was a keeper of sheep.

• This occupation was so common that even Jacob’s beloved wife... Rachel... Was a Shepherdesses...

• Exodus chapter two tells us that both Moses and his wife Zipporah were shepherds...

• Old Testament David was a Shepherd...

• The birth of Jesus was not announced... To the Sanhedrin... To Kings or Priests... But to Shepherds in the field watching their sheep.

 

Secondly... We note that God is a Shepherd...

God’s people have historically been portrayed as sheep.

Perhaps the most well-known Old Testament passage indicating this idea is Psalm 100.3... Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us... We are His... we are His people... the sheep of His pasture.

 

There’s Isaiah 40.11... He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

 

Mark 6.34 tells us that Jesus had compassion on the people because He saw them as sheep without a Shepherd... And He began to teach them...

 

Then in our text... I am the door... I am the gate... I am the Good Shepherd.

 

We must note here that Jesus said...

I am The Door...

• I am the Good Shepherd...

He’s not just one of the doors... But the only door... Not one of the Good Shepherds... But the only ONE!... Acts 4.12... Tells us... There is salvation in none other.

 

Thirdly... We examine Biblical Shepherding...

Our text appears to indicate that Jesus has two shepherding scenarios in mind.

 

In Jesus’ day, Palestinian Shepherding used two pens... A summer pen and A winter pen.

 

The first appears to be the winter pen... An enclosure close to a town or village. The enclosure was made by the walls of a house or courtyards... With a formal gate. Most often this Winter pen was a communal affair. Two or more shepherds would combine their flocks...Penning them in these enclosures for the night.

 

The next morning the individual shepherds would call their sheep by name. The sheep would recognize their shepherd’s voice and follow them to pastures and water. Sometimes these shepherds would hire an individual to watch the sheep through the night... Jesus speaks of this individual as a hireling... One who cares-less for the sheep. The only way a thief could enter this communal enclosure was to climb over the walls or to intimate the hireling.

 

Now... the Summer pen was somewhat different... The sheep would be taken out into the countryside... In the mountain and wilderness areas. There...The pen would be made of any available material... Rocks... Tree limbs... Brush... Etc. Here... The protection was not against thieves and robbers… But against wild animals. Because there was no formal gate, the shepherd would lie down across the opening... thus becoming the door or gate.

 

Then numberfour... We consider the nature of sheep... Both animal and human.

Sheep are dependent and Vulnerable... They are far from being able to care for themselves... Sheep need a shepherd...

• They need guidance...

• Sheep need food and water...

• They need protection from their enemies... parasites... poisonous plants...wild animals.

• They need rest.

 

Access a Worship Handout and let’s read our text together... Beginning with verse numbered one of chapter ten... Here we hear Jesus say…  I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

 

Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

 

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

 

“I am the good shepherd... I know my sheep and my sheep know me--just as the Father knows me and I know the Father....Now to verse 26... You do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no-one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

 

Now... What I want to do with our lesson is to ask...

What does... Jesus... The Good Shepherd... Do on our behalf?...

 

As our Shepherd... Jesus provides Spiritual GUIDANCE.

 

Jeremiah 10.23 reminds us that... It’s not within man who walks to direct his own steps.

 

Proverbs 3.5 & 6 admonishes... Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding... In all your ways acknowledge Him... and He will make your paths straight.

 

Psalm 23... Speaks of His leading us in paths of righteousness. It speaks of the shepherd’s staff... A curved stick used to guide the sheep... Nudging us into paths of righteousness.

 

John 16.13 says… The Spirit of truth will guide us into all truth.

 

2 Timothy 3.16 tells us where we can obtain our spiritual guidance... All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

Listen as we hear Jesus say... My sheep know me and recognize my voice...

 

Tonight... I hope we hear His voice... I hope we obey His voice... Because... The more we hear and obey... The more we will enjoy the life Jesus came to make possible.

 

As our Shepherd... Jesus provides Spiritual NOURISHMENT.

 

The 23rd Psalm speaks of His providing lush green pastures... And quiet still waters.

David continues to tell us that the Shepherd prepares a table before us...The Hebrew word for table implies food and drink.

 

Ephesians 5.29 says... Jesus cherishes and nourishes us as His Church.

 

1 Corinthians10.4 tells us that... God supplied Manna & Quail to Israel... He says their water was from a rock that followed them and that rock was Christ.

 

Listen to Jesus from John chapter six... I am the bread that comes down from Heaven... So that you may eat and live... If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever... For My flesh is true food... My blood is true drink... Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me ... And I in him.

 

From last week’s lesson… We learned that eating and drinking Jesus’ flesh and blood is nothing more or less than applying Jesus and His teaching to our life… Our conforming to His image… Having His… Heart… Disposition… Lifestyle.

 

Matthew Henry said… Bread looked upon will not nourish… But bread fed upon will.

 

Church… Our belief in Jesus must be strong enough that it compels us… Nudges us… To appropriate Him INto our daily walk.

 

Jesus the Good Shepherd protects.

Sheep are… Defenseless... Dependant... Vulnerable. Vulnerable… To parasites... Poisonous plants... Wild animals.

 

Jesus knows your and my vulnerability... Our every weakness... Every issue we face.

 

David speaks of the shepherding tools... The rod and the staff.  The rod was a large stick that could be used as a weapon to ward off the wolf and the lion. It was also rubbed down the sheep’s back to separate the wool so that the shepherd could see... Parasites... Briars... Thistles... Nicks... and Cuts.

 

Scripture speaks of God being our protector...

 

Isaiah 41.10... Do not fear... For I am with you... Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you... I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

2 Thessalonians 3.3...The Lord is faithful... He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

 

Listen to God’s promises from Psalm 121.1-8...

I lift up my eyes to the hills for help... My help comes from the Lord… The Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip...

He who watches over you will not slumber;

Indeed... He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you...

The Lord is your shade at your right hand;

The sun will not harm you by day... Nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm...

He will watch over your life...

The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

 

Spiritually we’re hearing Jesus say... In Me you are secure… I give eternal life and they shall never perish... No one will snatch them out of my hand.

 

Listen church… The security of the believer is a Bible Doctrine…

This Scripture says… We’re safe in the arms of Jesus… It’s a shame we will sing what we will not preachAmen?

 

We need to read First John 1.7 & 1.9 again and again…

• Acknowledging our sins results in God’s forgiveness…

• Walking in the light of His truth allows His blood to continually cleanse.

 

This morning we heard Paul say that… In baptism… We are raised with Christ… For we died and now our life is hidden with Christ in God… HiDden IN GOD… IN CHRIST… That sounds pretty secure to me… In fact could one be any more secure?

 

1 Corinthians10.13 promises... No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful... He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

 

Romans 8.28... We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

 

The Hebrews’ Writer tells us that God is our helper… Our refuge... That He will never leave or forsake us... That He is our helper and we should not fear what man can do to us.

 

Sheep need rest... And so do we… As sheep of His Pasture.

The 23rd Psalm tells us that he makes us to lie down in green pastures.

The idea is rest.

God rested on the Sabbath...

He gave Israel the Sabbath… Not as a duty… but as a blessing...A day of rest.

 

Author Phillip Keller who spent a lot of time with sheep and shepherds says there are four conditions that must be met before sheep will lie down and rest...

• They must be free from fear...

• Free from friction with others in the flock...

• Free from pest and parasites...

• Free from hunger.

 

Like Psalm 23… The Hebrews’ Writer says... In like manner we too will enter REST in the Lord’s house.

 

Revelation 14.13 tells us... Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on... They will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.

 

Here it is Church... When we are aware of God’s presence... There’s a tremendous sense of… Rest... Comfort... Peace...

• Fear and anxiety about our future are lessened by His presence and promises...

• Guilt is removed by His forgiveness...

• Our security is enhanced by His promise... I am the door... If anyone enters by Me... he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture... I will give them eternal life and no one… And no one can snatch them out of My hand.

 

When the Lord is our Shepherd... We will not be in want of... Hope... Security... Strength... Comfort... Joy... Peace... Confidence... Love... or Rest!

 

Let’s close our thoughts with familiar Scripture...

Scripture that says it all about the Good Shepherd...

 

The Lord is my shepherd... I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters,

He restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..., I will fear no evil, for You are with me...

Your rod and staff...They comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil... Life’s cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy... Your loving kindness... Will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

The Lord is my Shepherd?...That says… The choice is ours...

 

So...The question becomes... Have we made the Lord our Shepherd?... By...

• Faith in Him...

• Repentance... Walking as He walked...

• And the New Birth of water baptism.

 

Are we hearing and obeying His voice daily?

 

Tonight… God is saying

If you hear my voice... Do not harden your heart.

Make Jesus your Shepherd

as we stand and sing this song of invitation.