Here is the Wednesday evening sermon for May 20th, 2009.
John part 46
One flock – One shepherd.
John 10:11-16 TNIV – 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own 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. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
In John 10 Jesus is contrasting the Pharisees, which He calls hired hands and thieves, with Himself – being the gate of the sheep, as well as the good Shepherd.
The Pharisees were blind guides, leading people further and further away from the one true God through their teachings and traditions. Christ came pointing the only one true way to God – Himself.
In this sermon we will see that through Christ there are not two flocks – a Jewish flock and a Gentile flock – but only one flock, and this flock is His chosen – the church.
We will also see that there are three blessings the Good Shepherd gives to His sheep listed in our text. Let’s begin.
The Good Shepherd dies for the sheep.
John 10:11-13 TNIV – 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own 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. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
Here again Jesus contrasts the Pharisees from Himself. Let’s backtrack one verse.
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.
Here Jesus lists the two people that He is talking about here (I believe the hired hand and the thief are one and the same person) – the thief and Himself.
The Thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy this verse states. Ultimately the thief is Satan, but here it is his workers, the Pharisees. They steal, kill, and destroy based on their teaching and tradition (which we’ve already looked at those passages that state this truth).
Jesus on the other hand comes and gives life. This life is an abundant, to the full type of life, filled with the Holy Spirit. How does Jesus give this life? Well verse 11 answers it – by the Good Shepherd, Jesus, giving willingly His life for His sheep.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He is in a class by Himself. He is perfect in every way, and above all others teachers and leaders throughout history and Scripture.
Let’s look at the hired hand in verses 12-13 for just a moment. More than likely, the hired hand here represents the Pharisees and the Jewish religious leaders of Christ’s day. They are after their own self-interests. They aren’t ministering to the Jewish people based on their love for them, their love for God, their love for the Scriptures, but for their own self-interests and position in society.
Let’s look at another description of the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law. Jesus doesn’t state here that they shouldn’t be listened too, for there may be times that they are truly teaching from the Scriptures, but their lifestyles and agendas do not match up with what they are teaching.
Matthew 23:1-4 TNIV – 1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
This didn’t go away when Jesus ascended, but even within the church in the first century there were teachers who were teaching for dishonest gain and not to truly feed the flock. Here a few passages that show this.
Titus 1:10-11 TNIV – 10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain.
2 Peter 2:1-3 TNIV – 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
As a Pastor I can tell you that the temptation is great to preach God’s Word for self-interest. I mean, in our culture, numbers and money are important, and it takes entertainment and worldliness plus a positive upbeat message to draw a crowd. To do this would be for me submitting to my self interest, and not following the example of the Good Shepherd – my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What is the difference between a Shepherd endeavoring to follow after Christ, and a hired hand only seeking his benefit? Well according to verses 12-13 a hired hand will run and abandon at the first sight of danger.
Pastors must learn to stick through the hard times, and not run when things get rough, but care for the sheep and continue to preach God’s uncompromising Word no matter the outcome.
Let’s look at the second blessing the Good Shepherd gives to the sheep.
The Good Shepherd loves the sheep.
John 10:14-15 TNIV – 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Here Jesus is restating what He said in verse 11 – He is the Good Shepherd. This is actually a statement of divinity – using “I am” which is the covenant name of God from the Old Testament that God revealed to Moses.
Exodus 3:14 TNIV – God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “
Jesus knows His sheep and His sheep know Him – This knowing is because Jesus loved His sheep enough to die for them. So this knowing comes from this love Christ has for His sheep. The word, “know,” here in Greek means more than just a mental knowledge of who truly belongs to Him. In Greek it means, “A knowledge of their wants, of the dangers they face, of their character; and a deep interest in their welfare; a knowledge based on love and relationship.”
Jesus knows His sheep just like the Father knows Him – The Father and Jesus have a unique, one of a kind relationship. This is a great truth – His church has a unique one of a kind relationship with Jesus as well. He laid down His life for us to establish this relationship. It is a relationship that the world doesn’t have nor understands.
Let’s look at the final blessing the Good Shepherd gives to His sheep.
The Good Shepherd united His sheep into one flock.
John 10:16 TNIV – I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
There is a teaching in the world today that is completely unbiblical. It states that there are two people of God – the Jew and the Church. If the Jew will keep the commandments then they do not have to accept Jesus as their Messiah to make it to heaven.
This goes against the very nature of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t come to have two different flocks – Jew and Gentile – but one – the church. He came to save sinners, both Jew and Gentile.
The sheep that are not of this sheep pen is talking about Gentile people. Jesus calls His sheep out of the world, whether Jewish or Gentile, and brings them into His sheep pen, so that there is one flock – the Church, and one Shepherd – Jesus Christ. Let’s look at a few passages of Scripture before we close.
Isaiah’s Prophesy about Christ being a light for the Gentiles.
Isaiah 42:6-7 TNIV – 6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
Paul declares that the Gospel is for the salvation of both Jew and Gentile.
Romans 1:16 TNIV – I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
In Ephesians Paul says that both Jew and Gentile have been reconciled to God through Christ.
Ephesians 2:11-18 TNIV – 11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 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.
The fact that Jesus is our Good Shepherd and we are His sheep should be a humbling truth. A truth that fills our hearts with praise and thanksgiving. All other supposed leaders, if they do not point to the gospel are hired hands and thieves. We need to cling to the gospel truth that Jesus has come to open eyes blinded by sin and call His sheep into His flock. We also need to ask the Lord to use us to carry His call out and share the gospel. He is still calling His sheep, let’s be the voice He speaks through.