Here is the Wednesday night sermon for May 13th, 2009.
John part 45
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep.
Though we are only going to be looking at John 10:7-10 tonight; these few verses are part of an extended passage found in John 10:1-21.
The context of verses 1-21 in John 10 is Jesus is answering a question that the Jews had asked in John 9.
John 9:40 TNIV – Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
Jesus initial answer to this question is found also in John 9.
John 9:41 TNIV – Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
So these first 21 verses of John 10 Jesus is expounded further into what He meant in John 9:41. In verses 1-6 He used the illustration of the sheepfold.
Now He is going to expand more on the Gate, the Good Shepherd, thieves and robbers, hired hands, and of course the sheep. We will also see some responses after Jesus does this. Let’s get started.
Jesus – the true gate for the sheep.
John 10:7-10 TNIV – 7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Jesus is now explaining more of what He said in verses 1-6. In verses 1-6 was an illustration, a parable. Now Jesus puts meat to the parable and begins to tell the truths behind the story and the answer to the question of the Jewish leaders being blind. Let’s look at a few things He states here.
John 10:7 TNIV – Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
The sheep-fold represents God’s kingdom. There is only one access, one way of entrance into God’s Kingdom: not through good works, not through being more religious, not having an upbeat attitude – but through Jesus Christ. He is the only way to salvation and eternal life. Both the Jew and Gentile Elect are members of one sheep-fold – God’s Kingdom through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:17-22 TNIV – 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
The Pharisees and the false teachers of the Law were not true shepherds, but thieves and robbers.
John 10:8a TNIV – All who have come before me are thieves and robbers…
Jesus is contrasting the false teachers, false messiahs, false priests, and false prophets throughout history that came before Christ came. He is not talking about the true prophets, priests, and kings like Isaiah, David, Moses and many others, but those who were not speaking true words of God. Perhaps Jesus might have had passages like this on His mind during this discourse.
Ezekiel 34:1-4 TNIV – 1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.
Though this was prophesied during Ezekiel’s time, it was definitely applicable to the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law.
In the same way, as ministers of God’s flock, Pastors need to recognize they have a two fold responsibility: To God first – and the sheep second. We must feed them the whole counsel of God’s word, which strengthens the weak, treats the sick, sets broken bones, regathers those who have been scattered or lost their way, and looks for those who are lost in their sins. They don’t need our morsels, or half-truths, or entertainment, but the complete Word of God preached, line upon line, precept upon precept.
God’s true sheep did not listen to the thieves and robbers.
John 10:8b TNIV – the sheep have not listened to them.
There were some in the Jewish community who would refuse to follow Christ. They would deny His authority, His teachings, and His signs. They were not of the true sheep-fold of God. They were not the Elect.
Church, this is why I believe the doctrine of Election is so important and for me such a comforting truth. If I’m abiding in Christ – that is evidence that I’m the Elect of God. And though there may be times of struggle with doctrine and belief, I will not truly be led astray by the enemy. I do believe that even if I am, as the Elect, when my Shepherd calls, I will heed His voice and come back to Him, in repentance and joy.
I know that Election can be a very controversial thing, and I’m not trying to start controversy, however, it is clearly taught in Scripture, throughout all the Bible. Allow me to share one of my favorite passages that teaches it, this verse has provided me much comfort during times of doubt. It has been an anchor for me.
Ephesians 1:3-10 TNIV – 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
When God’s true sheep enter through Christ, they find salvation and comfort.
John 10:9 TNIV – 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
Jesus again declares that He is the gate. If we enter through Him, we will be saved. In this salvation we experience God’s love, grace, redemption, forgiveness, deliverance, and protection. I personally feel that Jesus is emphasizing protection here. The Greek word for “saved” can also mean protection. Why do I feel this way? Well, because He speaks about those who go before Him are thieves and robbers, and His sheep don’t listen to their voice but His, and He is also the gate for the sheep. So within His sheep-fold there is protection from the thieves and robbers.
To come in and out is also emphasizes the protection we have in being the sheep of God. We have nothing to fear of this world.
We also find pasture. He feeds us and comforts as well. The wonderful thing about being a member of the sheep-fold of God is we don’t have to hunt and search for food and comfort (pasture), He graciously provides it for us as our Good Shepherd.
Thieves destroy – Christ gives abundant life.
John 10:10 TNIV – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Now most people teach, and I’ve been guilty of it too, that the thief here is Satan. Actually, looking at the context, it is the false shepherds of Israel. They didn’t drive Israel toward the sheep-fold of God, but the scattered them away from His Sheep-fold.
Jesus on the other hand, is not only the only entrance into God’s sheep-fold, He provides abundant life within the sheep-fold.
The Greek word for “full,” can be translated in many different ways. It doesn’t mean however “an abundance in material blessings”, although God may at times do this according to His will for the individual believer. It can mean exceeding and indescribable as well. This is what the believer has. Ours is an indescribable joy and exceeding salvation that is forever, eternal, that will never fade away like the temporal that we might experience and see.
1 Peter 1:8-9 TNIV – 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Church, Jesus is the only gate that His true sheep run through. In His sheep-fold we find abundant life, protection, nourishment and eternal life. Yes, there are thieves and robbers out there, trying to steal, kill, and destroy. But in Christ you are protected. Abide in Him, listen to His voice. He will guard us and watch over us, and keep us from falling. Let me close with just one more passage of Scripture that I feel is appropriate for this sermon.
Jude 24-25 ISV – 24 Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling and to make you stand faultless in his glorious presence with rejoicing, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time and for all eternity! Amen.