GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY
April 16-18, 2016
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: John 10:22-30
“WHAT A JOY TO BE JESUS’ SHEEP!”
1. Sadly some refuse to be.
2. Happily we are!
John 10:22-30 (NIV 1984) “Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24The Jews gathered around Him, saying, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in My Father’s name speak for Me, 26but you do not believe because you are not My sheep. 27My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. 29My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30I and the Father are one.”
Have you ever taken a personality test? There’s all kinds of them out there. They ask you questions about your likes, dislikes, how you would likely respond to different situations. Many of the tests of the past used animals to describe your personality and so you might test out to be a lion, a beaver, an otter, or a golden retriever. I saw one that claimed to use over 50 different animals to really nail you down. I’m guessing that under most circumstances it’s not considered good to test out as a sheep. And yet the Word of God before us clearly shows that a sheep is exactly what each of us wants to be, at least when we are talking about Jesus’ sheep. What a joy to be Jesus’ sheep!
Sadly some refuse to be. “Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.” John chapter 10 in the Bible is known as the Good Shepherd chapter of the Bible. Because of God’s constant pictures of His care like that of a shepherd with his sheep, most notably in Psalm 23 Jesus used the picture too. As he revealed Himself again and again as God’s Son, the Messiah, the Savior from sin, He called himself the Good Shepherd, a picture the Jewish people would readily recognize from everyday life and Old Testament Scripture. He is the Good Shepherd. It’s now about two months after Jesus revealed that truth. He’s at the Temple at a time when many would be there.
“The Jews gathered around Him, saying, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Now at first this sounds pretty good. It sounds like they are eagerly seeking truth. Until you hear Jesus’ response. “Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in My Father’s name speak for Me, 26but you do not believe because you are not My sheep.” In many different ways Jesus had already told them who He was. He used the Bible’s titles for the Messiah. Every time Jesus said “I Am,” he was telling the people who he was, God. They knew it because sometimes they tried to stone Him. The specific miracles Jesus did, causing the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear were all specifically mentioned in the Bible as the miracles the Savior would do. They already knew. That’s why Jesus spoke to them some of the scariest words of Jesus that a person could possibly hear. “You are not my sheep.”
“You are not my sheep.” There are some words you don’t want to hear. “You failed the test. You’re fired. You were 20 miles over the speed limit. You’ve got cancer.” These are so much worse. “You are not my sheep.” While those other words mean some consequences for earthly living, these are for eternity. For those who are not the sheep of Jesus are the goats to whom He said, “Depart from me you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.” Who hears these words? Those who don’t believe. Those who don’t believe Jesus is God’s Son and Savior. Brothers and sisters, hear these words and take them to heart and join me right now in praying, “Lord Jesus, please do whatever you have to do so that I am my loved ones never reject you. We do believe, help us overcome our unbelief. Amen.” Sadly some refuse to be Jesus’ sheep.
But oh what a joy for those who are! “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. 29My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30I and the Father are one.” Hey, let’s take one of those animal tests. What are Jesus’ sheep like? Maybe you want to jot down or underline these words. They: listen, are known, follow, have eternal life, are safe. First, Jesus’ sheep listen. They listen to His voice. Now this makes sense. Those who are not Jesus’ sheep do not believe. No one can believe on their own. That only happens when the Holy Spirit works in hearts and he does that in God’s word. This is where Jesus’ voice is. Now take the test. Are you listening to Jesus’ voice? Well yes here and that’s great but do you have a habit of daily listening? I’m not asking for a show of hands but do it inside. Jesus’ sheep hear His voice and listen to it.
Jesus’ sheep are known. What a joy filled truth. Jesus knows each one of us personally. He knows your name. He knows what gives you godly happiness. He knows what you need. He knows when you are hurting and just what happened. He knows all those things you try to hide from other people and would be so ashamed if they find out. He knows and loves you every day the same whether you had a good day of serving God or a sin filled one.
Jesus’ sheep follow. They follow Him. Kids here today, what does it mean when your teachers tell you to follow directions? It means that you not only read what they say but you actually do them, right? Older kids called men here today, have you ever had to put something together that had some assembly required and something didn’t quite fit only to hear, well did you read the directions? Of course not, we always follow the directions… or not. Jesus’ sheep follow Him. His directions. You know we could go through every one of the 10 Commandments and find out each one of them is really for our good, to bless us. When we don’t follow the directions, sin, it hurts us. Jesus’ sheep follow Him. Do you follow Him? Is He your authority or is it the latest self help fix your family in five easy steps guy or gal? Or your own ways, what makes sense to you? Jesus’s sheep follow Him.
Jesus’ sheep have eternal life. Being a sheep of Jesus means all kinds of blessings for this life. He guides and guards us every step of the way. Nothing happens that he won’t work for good. But as the Apostle Paul once said, “If only for this life we have hope we are to be pitied more than all men.” But we don’t. We have more. Jesus’ sheep get eternal life. And when my short life is ended, by his angel hosts attended. He shall fold me to his breast, there within his arms to rest.
Jesus’ sheep are kept safe. One of the top needs of children of all ages is security. They need to feel safe. One of the top concerns of parents for their children, you got it, safety. Now, while I really hate to remind you of elections and politics, have you noticed how high safety is listed on the candidates’ platforms? People have a need for safety. Jesus’ sheep are kept safe by Him. “No one can snatch them out of My hand. 29My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30I and the Father are one.” The Bible makes clear that the real enemy of God and people is the Devil. The Devil hates God. The Devil hates people. He would like nothing better than snatch us away from Jesus. In times of trial or when things are going easy Satan is right there trying to snatch us away from Jesus. Not going to happen. Jesus won’t let it. He has the power of God and is God. He and the Father are one. When you feel like you are slipping or just can’t go on Jesus holds you his hands. You are safe in the arms of your Shepherd. Oh the joy of being Jesus’ sheep.
The people of the world might look down on those who are considered sheep like. But it’s those who aren’t Jesus’ sheep that we need to feel sorry for. They are missing out. We are not. We know the joy of being Jesus sheep. Today Jesus looks at us and says, “You are my sheep and you listen to my voice. I know you and you follow me. I give you eternal life and no one can snatch you out of my hand.” What a joy to be Jesus’ sheep! Amen.