I am the good Shepherd

Jesus declares Himself to be the good shepherd. He knows His sheep. He laid down His life for His sheep. He leads His sheep out into life. His sheep listen to His voice and follow Him. They enter the gate. They enjoy abundant life. They depend on their shepherd. Do you know Jesus as your shepherd? Pastor David helps us reflect.

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David Herron


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Today's Bible reading will be from John 10 chapter chapter 10 from verse 11 to 21 so if you have your Bibles please get it out I'll be reading from the New Living Translation which is a little bit different than what's on the screen from verse 11 I am the Good Shepherd Good Shepherd sacrifices his his life for the Sheep a HED hand will run when he sees a wolf come in he will abandon the Sheep because they do not belong to him and he isn't their Shepherd and so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock The Hired Hand runs away because he's working only for the money and doesn't really care about the Sheep I am the Good Shepherd I know my own sheep and they know me just as my father knows me and I know the father so I sacrific my life for the Sheep I have other sheep too that are not in the Sheep F I must bring them also they will listen to my voice and there will be one flock with one Shepherd The Father loves me because I sacrificed my life so that I might take it back again no one can take my life from me I sacrifice it voluntarily for I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again for this is what my father has commanded when he said these things the people were divided in their opinions about him some said he's demon-possessed and out of his mind why listen to a man like that others said this doesn't sound like a man possessed by a demon can a demon Open the Eyes of the thanks thanks uh CLA for that uh reading keep your Bible open to uh John chapter 10 uh you'll need that this morning as we go through the text together before we get stuck in uh I've just got one uh quick announcement to make uh there's a big card for the pray Taps uh in the foyer and uh if you haven't had a chance yet to sign a a message in that for them uh you still have time to do that you can do that after the service the card is in the foyer there so make sure you pop uh your messages in that uh today uh that would be great well my name is Dave one of the pastors here and it's a a privilege to bring God's word to you this morning uh we're currently uh working through a series uh of messages looking at some of the I am statements that Jesus uh said and made about himself Jesus made seven of these I am statements from John chapter 6 through to John chapter 15 and the idea is is that we want to look at the source we want to look to Jesus the one who made these statements about himself to try and understand what Jesus understood about himself and and what he wants us to understand about him whether you're here today and you're not really sure about what you think about Jesus or maybe you're here today and you already know him our prayer pray as we go through this series is that you'll get to know him better so far we've looked at two of these thingss we looked at I am the bread of the life and I am the light of the world and today we want to dig into John chapter 10 where Jesus says I'm the Good Shepherd what we' found so far is that these I statements that Jesus has been making are kind of strange and in fact they were divisive statements those who heard him in in John chapter 10 today make this this statement and I'm the Good Shepherd they were divided again in their response to Jesus radical Claim about himself some people thought he was demon-possessed some people thought he was crazy in chapter nine in the in the verses leading up to this the the key kind of thought or the key kind of question that the people have been trying to puzzle through or trying to answer is is this guy from God is is Jesus from God is he the Christ is he the Messiah God God's chosen one that's going to save us and what Jesus does is he builds on his previous statement we looked at last week of being the light of the world and he heals a blind man on the Sabbath in John chapter n and the blind man believes Jesus he he worships Jesus as the Messiah as the one sent from God but the religious leaders and some of the others who were caught up in all of this they're confused and and Jesus says to them that they're spiritually blind and talking about their spiritual blindness and and seeking to correct it Jesus makes this this next I am statement further revealing who he is and this time he uses the image of a shepherd and his sheep Jesus says in John 10 I am the Good Shepherd and it's incredible imagery when you think about it both because it's a a fairly intimate or personal picture but also because of the relevance of that image in the culture of the day see the Bible uses this image of a shepherd and sheep as a common picture of a king and his people a king and his subjects God had actually revealed himself as a shepherd and he referred to the people of Israel as his sheep in the Old Testament and so now Jesus says I am the Good Shepherd and so Jesus is saying if if you want to know if I'm the true king if I'm the one that's sent from God well you can tell that in the same way that you can know somebody is a Good Shepherd so what does a Good Shepherd look like I think we see three things in John chapter 10 this morning firstly a Good Shepherd knows his sheep a Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep and a Good Shepherd leads his sheep into life the first one there the Good Shepherd knows his sheep in uh verses 1 and 1 to 3 and verses 14- 15 have a look at that in John chap 10 veres 1 to3 Jesus says truly truly I say to you he who does not enter the Sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way that man is a thief and a robber he who enters by the door is The Shepherd of the sheep to him the gatekeeper opens the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own Sheep by name and leads them out jump down to verses 14 and 15 Jesus makes the St 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 it's an incredible statement in the ancient world in the near East where Jesus was saying these words shepherding was actually quite different to how we might imagine shepherding here in Australia uh in in Australia we have huge sheep stations with tens of thousands of sheep often on vast giant patches of of land but in the ancient world a flock of sheep might have only been just a few dozen and at night the the shepherd would gather the sheep and lead them into a sheep fold to protect them from harm from from the weather from animals from thieves and these sheep folds were often backed into a mountain where there was rocks behind with a fence at the front or maybe they were made of a stone fence and and had a gate at at the front there the sheepfolds were communal enclosures where several flocks would be hous they weren't the property of of just one Shepherd and so in the morning when it was time to to gather the Sheep again the shepherd would have to come and he would separate out his sheep from the Sheepfold and the gatekeeper would only open the gate for the true Shepherd the Sheep would be called out by the shepherd they would hear the shepherd's voice and this is the imagery this is the the process by which Jesus is speaking about in verse three when he says to him the gatekeeper opens the sheep hear his voice he calls his own Sheep by name and he leads them out a Good Shepherd knows his sheep the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep was a an intimate a personal one that's why the image is is so striking for us and and for the people of the day the Shepherds they spent so much time with their sheep every moment of the day and the night they knew their sheep inside and out they knew what they looked like they they knew their temperament their their quirks their needs the the shepherd had complete knowledge of the sheep and Jesus is saying I'm the Good Shepherd because I know my sheep like that look again at verses 14 and 15 Jesus compares the knowledge between the shepherd and his sheep as being akin to the knowledge between Father and Son he knows his sheep like the father knows him and he knows the father Jesus knows you if you are his sheep he knows you he knows all about you what an encouragement this is especially in our modern society where the problem of not being known or feeling like you're not known can be a real issue for some people sociologists say that thanks to technology our current generation is more connected than ever before but they're also more isolated and lonelier than any other generation researchers tell us that this phenomenon is not unique to this generation it's actually happening right across the generations right across the board it just seems to be more pronounced with this current generation we know it's true we're spending more time on our devices and less time interacting with others in person and it's easy to feel invisible worthless disconnected easy to feel like we're just the number it's why we see at times in Those ads from the insurance companies the health funds and the banks you know the ones where they they promise US that if you sign up with us if you take out our account or our insurance you won't just be a numbered to us we'll treat you like an individual it doesn't really help with our deep need to be known friends the good news this morning is that Jesus the Good Shepherd tells us I know my sheep he knows us intimately person personally what a wonderful truth to hold on to when we feel isolated or invisible or disconnected the Good Shepherd says you are known he knows his sheep what a wonderful truth to hold on to in those moments when you find yourself thinking about a fractured relationship and you you may be wondering if anyone understands Jesus the Good Shepherd says I do I know my sheep when friendships fail and those that we thought loved do have best best have let us down again the Good Shepherd Jesus knows when disappointments overtake us when news of ill health has swept us and buffered us and in those days in those moments Jesus the Good Shepherd knows his sheep we read in Isaiah 40:1 these words 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 it's describing the actions and the Heart of a Good Shepherd who cares intimately for his sheep this is what it what we have in Jesus he tends us like a shepherd He knows his sheep the Apostle Paul put it this way in 2 Timothy 2:19 but God's Firm Foundation stands bearing this seal the Lord knows those who are his it's a great truth to hold on to Jesus the Good Shepherd knows us intimately personally he knows all there is to know about us it's even more amazing when you think about it because it means he knows the good and the bad I think we need to acknowledge that being called a sheep is not necessarily a compliment don't know if anyone's ever received a card or a letter from someone that said you're a beautiful sheep no one said that it's not a compliment doesn't happen you remember the prophet Isaiah when he's describing the the Disobedience of God's people what does he compare them to sheep we all like sheep have gone astray each of us has turned to our own way in Isaiah 536 it's not a compliment since coming up to Kabula I've managed to obtain some sheep I actually have sheep in my padic we've uh we've been uh breeding sheep for the the last few years and I've learned a little bit about them sheep are a prey animal they've got no defenses or little to no defenses at all they can run away or try and headbutt but that's about it um they've got a herd mentality they flock together because there's safety in numbers but if they're attacked uh sheep will either die from their injuries or even if they didn't get attacked because they're with the herd and they got scared they can sometimes die of the panic of the attack they they frighten easily and uh and get quite scared they panic and and can quickly run and follow other sheep without even think thinking about where they're going and they can get themselves into all sorts of trouble sheep need to be shown what to eat otherwise they might eat everything and they could eat something poisonous and die they can get stuck in fences or bushes they if they get too fat and too woolly they can flip over and they can get stuck on their back and if the shepherd doesn't help write them they can just lie there and die because they can't figure out how to roll over and uh and get back up again sheep need a Shepherd so long as sheep follow the shepherd things go well for them because the Sheep Shepherd is the one who loves and cares for them he knows the Sheep he's their protector their provider their guide their physician he knows his sheep friends we need a Shepherd too sometimes we're more like sheep than we're willing to admit Kelly read that beautiful Psalm 23 for us at the start of the service this morning it's a wonderful Psalm the Lord is my shepherd that's quite familiar in our Aussie Society not just in church but outside the church as well you often hear it at at funerals and Memorial Services even for non-christians they want this Psalm read maybe for sentimental reasons I'm I'm not sure but I I wonder also if it's not because deep down there's something within us that we know that we're a bit like sheep we might fool ourselves into thinking that we're independent or self-reliant but we long for a Shepherd who knows us completely and yet still loves us and and leads us through life a Shepherd who knows our need for food and for pasture for water for protection for rest we need a Shepherd who can provide for a sheep that's the second thing we see in our text this morning the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep look at verses 1115 and 18 three times in this passage Jesus tells us that the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep look at verse 11 I'm the Good Shepherd the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the Sheep verse 15 just as the father knows me and I know the father and I laid down my life for the Sheep then notice in verse 18 Jesus says that the offering up of his life was completely voluntary we got that in the reading CLA did for us this morning 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 received from my father Jesus willingly laid down his life for the Sheep he intentionally and willingly died for you and for me in the original language that that word that we've translated for there where Jesus says he lays down his life for the Sheep it literally means in place of the Good Shepherd lays down down his life in place of his sheep friends this is the Hope at the heart of the gospel story that Jesus died in our place so that we might have right relationship with God and the promise of eternal life the Bible says that he willingly went to the Cross to to die in our place so that we might have life it's the hope of Christmas Jesus the savior is born as Adrian mentioned last week Christmas is just the beginning o of the story the gospel story that story goes through and culminates in Easter at the cross where Jesus Paid the price for our sin where he conquered death by laying down his life so that we might live Jesus did this because he's the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep Jesus tells us in our text this morning that we see what a Shepherd is like at the time of test when The Hired Hand comes and sees the wolf coming he abandons the Sheep Jesus says in verse 12 but the Good Shepherd even when the Wolves surround the flock Jesus will not abandon you he loves his sheep for they're his he has put his value in the flock he's the shepherd who became the sacrificial lamb by laying down his life I don't think there's ever been a greater statement of the value of the human person person the value of us the value of you than to hear this news that Jesus the Good Shepherd willingly gave his life so that you might live came across a story this week of Harry Ironside an American Bible teacher and author who once told of a a young Russian soldier whose father was a friend of the Zar Nicholas I because of his connection to the Zar this young Soldier was was made pay master in the barracks in the in the Army there unfortunately the soldier had a gambling habit and he was uh gambling away most of his money and he started dipping into the military funds which were set aside for the soldiers pay and he gambled the government's money as well in due course this young Soldier received uh notice that a representative of the Zar was going to come and check over the accounts and he knew that he was in trouble the evening he got out the uh the ledgers he got out the books and he tallied up all the funds that he'd owed and and then he went over to the safe and he got out his his his own money this pitifully small amount of money and as he looked at the the two numbers as he was overwhelmed by this astronomical debt that he owed and the small amount of funds that he had and he knew that he was ruined he knew that he'd be disgrace The Story Goes that he was so overwhelmed that he thought about taking his own life at the bottom of the Ledger he where he total up all of his illegal borrowings he'd apparently written these words a great debt who can pay surprisingly rather than take his life he fell asleep the worry and the stress of the evening obviously waigh on him and he fell asleep at his desk and that night as the Zar wood he would often do his rounds and he's walking by he sees the light on in the barracks and he heads in and he instantly recognizes the young man sleeping at the desk and he he goes over and notices over his shoulder the books he sees the letter and he realizes what's happened just as he's about to wake him and arrest him he saw those words the soldier had written at the bottom of the Ledger a great debt who can pay the story says this wave of compassion came over the Zar and he picked up the man's pen and he wrote one word and then he slipped down later that evening when the young Soldier awoke he saw beneath his writing was written one extra word Nicholas it was the Zar signature promising to make good the debt the soldier was dumbfounded thinking to himself thear has seen the book he he knows everything and yet he's still willing to forgive me and make good the dead soldier rested on the word of the Zar on that signature in The Ledger and the next morning a messenger came from the palace with exactly the amount that he needed to cover the dead friends this little story in a way shows us what Jesus has done for us he pays the debt that we couldn't pay and in fact Jesus is the only one who can pay it he's the only way because in our text in John 10 it tells us that he doesn't just enter the gate rightly he is the gate look again at verse 2 of John chap 10 and then verses 7 to9 Jesus says he who enters by the door is The Shepherd of the sheep verse 7 to9 Jesus says again to them truly truly I say to you I am the door of the sheep all who come before me are thieves and robbers but the Sheep did not listen to them I am the door if anyone enters by me he will be saved and he'll go in and out and find pasture shepherds in the ancient world would often lay down at night with their sheep and sometimes they'd lay across the gate or the entrance to the sheep fold and Jesus Takes this idea and he says this is the only way for my sheep to be saved it's to enter through me sometimes we can fool ourselves into thinking that we're our own Shepherd for honest we know that that doesn't work sometimes we can appoint Shepherds in our lives and find out later that they're counterfeit and when the going gets trough or when they're under threat they fail and disappoint us or abandon us or Worse the Pharisees and the religious leaders in Israel they were meant to be the Shepherds of God's people but Jesus said they didn't care for the Sheep they looked after their own needs and purposes back in the Old Testament in Ezekiel chapter 34 uh the prophet spoke of a time in which God would be the shepherd and he looked forward to a time when the Messiah God's chosen one would be a shepherd and we see in Jesus that both of these are true only this Good Shepherd God's son can truly save us for he lays down his life for the Sheep so the Good Shepherd knows his sheep he lays down his life for his sheep and then thirdly the Good Shepherd leads his sheep out into life throughout this passage we've seen that in order for us to be in relationship with the shepherd the Sheep need to respond look at verses 3 and 4 again and then uh verses 9 and 10 get to him the gatekeeper opens the sheep hear his voice he calls his own Sheep by name and he leads them out when he's brought out all his own he goes before them and the Sheep follow him for they know his voice verse 9 we just read I'm the door if anyone enters by me he'll be saved he'll go in and out and find pasture look at verse 10 the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy I came that they they may have life and have it abundantly when we respond to Jesus he saves us and his desire for us is life to the full Abundant Life contrast that with the Pharisees to whom Jesus was speaking these words no doubt the Pharisees thought they had all sorts of wonderful ideas about how to guide the people of Israel to live a Godly life but for a Pharisee a full life meant a life of rules and regulations and they were elaborate they'd invented all sorts of extra rules and regulations that were over and above what God had commanded them to do Jesus teaches us that really living is not about following elaborate lists of rules but rather it's following in the footsteps of a master Jesus invites us to follow him oie o Aussie Shepherds tend to drive their sheep from behind we have quad bikes and and dogs dos and and helicopters and stuff but Jesus as the Good Shepherd he goes on ahead he invites us to follow him as he leads us into life it's the same idea we heard in our reading of Psalm 23 this morning didn't we he leads me beside Still Waters he leads me in Paths of righteousness for his name's sake Jesus invites us to follow him it's an invitation to an abundant life life to the full it's walking in the way of the master Jesus our Good Shepherd who leads us into life this is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus is to follow his example and it's the Great Joy Of Our Lives isn't it those of us who are his sheep to Journey with Jesus the Good Shepherd as he leads us into life we know it's not something we do in isolation or alone but it's something we do in community as we knowledge Jesus unites his flock together in him verse 16 Jesus says I have other sheep that are not of this fold I must bring them also and they'll listen to my voice so there be one flock one Shepherd when Jesus said these words his audience that was hearing this for the first time they were largely ethnic Jews and many of them in that audience had forgotten God's promises to them in Genesis chapter 3 and Genesis 12 right through the law and Prophets and in many of the Psalms of David God had promised that Christ the Messiah God's chosen one would one day accomplish something globally for all people God had promised that his kingdom his flock would one day be comprised of men and women from every tribe and tongue and Nation on earth a beautiful Melting Pot of humanity the Jews of the first century had forgotten that they they thought their Messiah was just going to come and overthrow Rome and and make Israel into a military power once again but that's not what the shepherd was about Jesus declares in verse 16 that I've got other sheep they're not of this fold and Friends he had you and me in mind when he said this because most of us in this room are not ethnic Jews we're not part of that original Gathering of people that God Called to himself so what a wonderful truth that Christ the Good Shepherd invites us as well to follow him as he leads us in the life and friends he's still seeking and saving the lost today I think this means we need to ask ourselves this morning considering jesus' description of himself as the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep who lays down his life for his sheep who leads his sheep into life we need to ask ourselves the question are you one of the sheep how do you know if you're in the flock I think there's a number of characteristics by which you could know firstly Jesus sheep listen to his voice and follow him we saw that in in verse 5 they don't follow a stranger they flee from a stranger they don't know the voice of a stranger but they know the voice of the Good Shepherd do you know the shepherd's voice God has graciously given us the scriptures by which we can know him we can understand what it means to follow Jesus to follow after him so we need to be in the word we need to be spending time with our Shepherds so that we can learn day by day to recognize his voice so that we don't listen to the voice of a stranger especially today when it's so noisy there's there's so many voices vying for our attention seeking to tell us what it means to live the good life don't settle for the stranger's voice listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow after him secondly the characteristic we see of jesus' sheep is that they enter via the shepherd who's the gate we saw that in verse 9 Jesus says he's the only way the only way to be saved if you're thinking that you can get right with God and and make it to heaven to eternal life by any other way you're deluding yourself Jesus is the only way to be saved Jesus sheep enter by the shepherd who is the gate and because we know that it's not about us it's all about him then we're not ashamed to say that we're saved because it's not about me it's everything about what he's done we're not ashamed to speak of the Salvation that we've received to share the good news and tell others about the Good Shepherd who invites us to follow him Jesus sheep are profoundly moved by The Wonder of Christ's love for them as he lays down his life for the Sheep thirdly Jesus sheep enjoy Abundant Life we saw that in in verse 10 and that's the the picture of the Christian Life that Jesus invites us to and we know don't we that Jesus Jesus doesn't guarantee us an easy life sometimes following Jesus is harder but he still promises us life Abundant Life Life to the full and Jesus sheep remember that we hold on to that especially when obedience to Jesus gets hard sometimes it is we read something in the word and we think oh Lord I wish you hadn't said that I wish that didn't apply to me will we hang on to this that Jesus is leading us into abundant life because then our obedience to him we know he's leading us towards life and not away from it and so it helps us when obedience is hard fourthly Jesus sheep depend on the shepherd we know that it's not because of anything we've done but all because of what Christ has done that we're forgiven we depend on the finished work of Jesus Jesus said it this way in John chapter 6: 37 and 39 Jesus is speaking and he says all those the father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never drive away for I've come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me and this is the will of him who sent me that I shall lose none of all those he had given me but raise them up at the last day what a wonderful truth to depend on our Shepherd to hold us to carry us to that last day he won't abandon us he won't let go we're his do you know Jesus as your Shepherd if your answer is Dave I'm not sure then you don't know him do you want to know him today Jesus the Good Shepherd calls to us as his dear sheep in love and Trust Follow Me Jesus the good Good Shepherd says I won't abandon you I want to lead you out into eternal life he desires a personal relationship with us as as the shepherd as the one true king Jesus says there's plenty of counterfeits who rob or abandon you but not Jesus he knows you he's laid down his life for you he wants to lead you into Abundant Life you have an opportunity to know the good sheep sometimes we think that we can respond in part to Jesus that maybe we'll let him be a shepherd of just a little bit of our life and we just kind of do the rest of our life our own way as the shepherd it doesn't work like that it's all or nothing we need to let Jesus be the shepherd of all areas of our life and he invites us to do that today if you don't know him yet it's really easy I'm going to pray and I'm just going to leave some time of silence and all you've got to do to respond is in your own heart just between you and God just admit your sin admit that you need a Shepherd believe in your heart that Jesus is the only way to be saved and you confess that you choose to follow Jesus today invite him into your heart and then after the service tell somebody about that come come back and join us on Sundays as we encourage one another to do what Jesus commands us to do to follow after the shepherd as he leads us into Abundant Life you have an opportunity to do that this morning right now if you don't yet know the good she let's pray father we thank you for these words of Jesus who declared himself to be the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep who lays down his life for us and leads us out calls us to follow him into Abundant Life Lord we thank you that we have been able to hear his voice this morning and I just pray Lord for anyone that has heard that voice for the first time that even now might be responding to you and saying yes yes God I admit that I need a Shepherd I believe right now today in my heart that these claims of Jesus are true that he is the Christ the Messiah the SA avor who was born all those years ago so that he would die in my place so that I could be made right with you father as we confess that to you acknowledge that and invite you in Lord we know your word says that those that confess their sin and believe in their heart that they will be saved so father we thank thank you for this wonderful gift of new life that you offer to us to all who would believe help us Lord as your people as your sheep to do what it is that you've commanded us to do to follow in the footsteps of Jesus our Good Shepherd who knows us who died for us and who leads us out to life we pray this in Jesus name. Amen.