Security Security is a big concern for most people today.
Job Security Financial Security Health Care Security
None of the efforts to protect our nation, communities, schools, neighborhoods, homes, or our persons work 100% of the time. • Is anything completely secure? • Is your relationship with God secure? • Do you know the Shepherd?
Two men were called on, in a large classroom, to recite the Twenty-third Psalm. One was a published orator trained in speech technique and drama. He repeated the psalm in a powerful way. When he finished, the audience cheered and even asked for an encore that they might hear his wonderful voice again. "Then the other man, who was much older, repeated the same words--'The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want...' But when he finished, no sound came from the large class. Instead, people sat in a deep mood of devotion and prayer. • "Then the first man, the orator, stood to his feet. 'I have a confession to make,' he said. 'The difference between what you have just heard from my old friend, and what you heard from me is this: I know the Psalm, my friend knows the Shepherd.
Jesus • Guides Us
10 1-5 “Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”
The Advantages • Herding Instinct. Sheep tend to stay together. • 2. Reproduction. Sheep are quick growing and • multiply easily. • 3. Obedience. Sheep can be trained to obey.
The Disadvantages • 1. Sheep can’t survive without adequate food. • 2. Sheep are fragile. Their rough appearance is • deceptive. • 3. Sheep are naturally defenseless. • 4. Sheep are susceptible to parasites • 5. Sheep must be watched continually. • 6. Sheep need protection at night. • 7. Sheep are short sighted. They can only see 6 feet • ahead. • Perhaps we can begin to understand why Jesus says we are like sheep
The Shepherd’s • equipment was • very simple. He • had his scrip, a bag • made of the skin of • an animal, in which • he carried his food. • In it he would have • no more than bread, • dried fruit, some • olives, and cheese.
He had his sling. The skill of many of the men of Palestine was such that they “could sling a stone at a hair and not miss” (Judges 20:16). The shepherd used his sling as a weapon of offence and defense. When the shepherd • wished to call back a • sheep which was • straying away, he • fitted a stone into • his sling and landed • it just in front of the • straying sheep’s nose • as a warning to turn back.
He had his rod, a short wooden club which had a lump of wood a the end often studded with nails. It usually had a slit in the handle at the top, through which a thong • passed; and by the thong • the staff swung at the • shepherd’s belt. His staff • was the weapon with • which he defended himself • and his flock against • marauding beasts and • robbers.
He had his staff, which was like the shepherd’s crook. With it he could catch and pull back any • sheep which was moving to stray away.
The sheep pen was a round or square space enclosed by stone walls (about 10 ft. high) that sometimes were topped with briars or vines. The sheepfold had one entrance that a doorkeeper guarded. The door was the opening through which the sheep entered and exited. In towns and villages, the communal sheepfold had a sturdy door to which only the • guardian had the key.
There may be several flocks sharing the same sheepfold. However, when the shepherd of the sheep walks up to the door and calls his sheep, they instantly recognize his voice and respond to him. They know his call.
In Britain sheep are reared largely for their meat. In Palestine they are kept mostly for their milk and wool. That means they tend to live a whole lot longer. It also means a personal relationship develops between shepherd and • sheep. The sheep are given • names and respond to his call.
If the Lord is my shepherd, I must recognize his voice. I have to make sure that I really know him. I have to know what he has said in Scripture, so that I know what he really would say, and not just what I want him to say or think he should say or that someone else told me he would say. If the Lord Jesus is my shepherd, I know him first through Scripture, and then I know him through my day-to-day experience with him. So that when I hear another voice telling me something that he would never say, I recognize it as a dangerous, deceitful voice.
A man in Australia was arrested and charged with stealing a sheep. But he claimed emphatically that it was one of his own that had been missing for many days. When the case went to court, the judge was puzzled, not knowing how to decide the matter. At last he asked that the sheep be brought into the courtroom.
Then he ordered the plaintiff to step outside and call the animal. The sheep made no response except to raise its head and look frightened. • The judge then instructed the defendant to go to the courtyard and call the sheep. When the accused man began to make his distinctive call, the sheep bounded toward the • door. It was obvious that he • recognized the • familiar voice of his • master. "His sheep • knows him," said the • judge. "Case dismissed!"
If you’ve watched sheep trials you will know how difficult it can be to get sheep to go in the right direction. That’s because British shepherds tend to drive their sheep from behind. In Palestine it is a lot easier because the shepherd leads his sheep from the front.
If the Lord Jesus is my shepherd, then I’m going to walk in his steps, I’m going to follow where he leads. He will lead me, as the 23rd Psalm says, in “paths of righteousness” —to love God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength, to love my neighbor as myself, and even to love my enemies. If the Lord Jesus is my shepherd I will follow him; I’ll follow him all the way to the cross where he lay down him his life.
The people would have been familiar with the many occasions in the Hebrew scriptures where the Lord God describes himself as a shepherd. • “As a shepherdlooks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep…I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down,declares the Sovereign LORD.I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind upthe injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy.I will shepherd the flock with justice.” (Ezekiel 34:12-16)
“He who scatteredIsrael will gatherthem and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.” (Jeremiah 31:10) • “The Lord is my shepherd,I shall not be in want.” (Psalm 23:1) • “He tends his flock like a shepherd:He gathers the lambs in his armsand carries them close to his heart;he gently leadsthose that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11)
A story ran in the Washington Post in 2005 telling about shepherds in Gevas, Turkey who watched in shock as hundreds of their sheep followed each other over a cliff. First one sheep wandered away and fell over, and eventually the entire flock followed it. In the end, more than 400 sheep died in the plunge. There were 1,100 others that followed, but they survived because their fall was broken by the first ones that went over. Long ago, the prophet Isaiah recognized that the human condition was much like these sheep, for he wrote: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). We tend to follow the crowd instead of the Shepherd and the result is destruction.
Is the Shepherd singing your name? This moment will pass. The Shepherd will be gone-maybe for good. Are you waiting for a cattle prod? Were you expecting writing in the sky? Thunder bolts? Earthquakes? The Good Shepherd • will not drive you, only • guide you. • Is Jesus guiding you?
6-10 Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
When nights were warm, shepherds kept sheep in the countryside in walled enclosures that did not have doors. When the sheep were gathered, a shepherd would lie across the one opening to the fold. There is no legitimate access to the sheepfold except through him. So anyone who tried to climb over the wall to get in was obviously up to no good. If a predator tried • to enter, the shepherd • would be disturbed. • The shepherd therefore • puts his life at risk to • protect his sheep in • becoming the gate.
False religious leaders presented themselves as legitimate religious leaders. Yet they cared more for their cherished rules than for needy people. They used God’s people for their advantage and fulfillment rather than tend them. They fed themselves rather than feed God’s flock • Ezekiel 34:4 “You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost. Instead, you have ruled them with violence and cruelty.”
Jesus said, “I AM the GATE,” literally the door to heaven, the way into God’s flock. Jesus defines ‘life’ in terms of free access to good pasture, protection from harm at night and fullness of life – life everlasting.
11-13 “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and • scattered by • the wolf. He’s • only in it for • the money. The • sheep don’t • matter to him.
14-15 I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary.
If anything happened to a sheep, the shepherd had to produce some kind of proof that it was not his fault. Amos 3:12 speaks about the shepherd rescuing two legs or a piece of an ear out of a lion’s mouth. “If it is torn by beasts, let him bring it as evidence” Exodus 22:13.
Abundant life comes through Jesus alone. His way is the way of sacrifice and service. • We don’t like to hear that today. Many TV ministries teach that God caters to the selfish whims of Christians. (The Church of the New Testament sold all they had and • gave to meet the needs of the • God’s people.) Today, we are told • that God will prosper us if we send • all we can to a particular ministry…
Yet, we never see the silk suited prophet on TV hocking his gigantic ornamental diamond ring, or selling his $300,000 home, or giving back one of his five $50,000 cars to the dealership in order to fund it. No, he’d rather shear the sheep. He’d rather rob the storehouse of the local church. He’d rather have that "seed of faith" pledge from any one • of the millions of gray-haired ladies • at home on fixed income than • Sacrifice like Christ sacrificed • himself. They call themselves • under-shepherds of Christ, but they • do not go through Christ to call their • sheep. • The thief comes only to steal, • and kill, and destroy.
They steal from the resources of the local church. They kill the character of spiritual maturity that comes from service and sacrifice and the prayers of faith by teaching others to pray selfishly to a Great Sugar Daddy in the sky who will make their dreams and ambitions come true through self centered praying and positive thinking. They destroy the message of truth: that His grace is sufficient. They destroy the hope of heaven by preaching "heaven on earth". They steal paradise from us. Who wants to go to heaven if God will give me all the toys I want right here? They rob us of the joy that comes from being squarely in the center of God’s will.
A real shepherd was born to his task. He was sent out with the flock as soon as he was old enough to go. The sheep became his friends and companions. The false shepherd came into the job, not as a calling, but as a means of making money. • Jesus’ point is that the man who • works only for reward thinks • chiefly of the money or what he • can get out of it. The man • who works for love thinks chiefly • of the people he is trying to • serve.
16You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd.
Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. • The Jews and the Gentile believers would form one flock with a common commitment to Jesus, the Shepherd. • In the Authorized Version of the Bible, there is a mistranslation. It has: “There shall be one fold and one shepherd.” )That mistranslation goes back to the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations. In the 16th century it became the official Latin version of the Bible in the Roman Catholic Church.) It is there basis for teaching since there is only one fold, there can be only one Church, The Catholic Church, and outside it there is no salvation.
17-18This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father.”
In the First World Was there was a young French soldier who was seriously wounded. His arm was so badly smashed that it had to be amputated. The surgeon was grieved that he must go through life maimed. So he waited beside his bedside to tell him the bad news when he • Recovered consciousness. When • the lad’s eyes opened, the surgeon • Said to him: “I am sorry to tell you • that you have lost your arm.” “Sir,” • said the lad, “I did not lose it; I gave • It—for France.”
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, voluntarily gave up His life for the sake of His sheep, and with God’s power, He took it up again.
25-30 Jesus answered, “I told you, but you don’t believe. Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father, actions that speak louder than words. You don’t believe because you’re not my sheep. My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind.”