[SW287] 06/16/2017 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017
“Jesus, the Good Shepherd”
Text: John 10:1-15, 27-30
Which voice should you be listening to? The Good (beautiful, valuable, virtuous) Shepherd’s! If you are His, you know Him and He knows you. And you run from the voice of strangers.
Here is some background on this passage —
In those days, when a good shepherd was in the pasture with his sheep, and night was coming, he built a hedge of thorns as a pen, and led the sheep into it. Then he laid down at the entrance. He literally laid down his life, defending his flock against any beast that approached. So the shepherd himself was the door to the sheep pen.
And in the city, a good shepherd led his flock into a pen that held sheep from many other shepherds. A doorkeeper watched the door until the shepherds returned to call their sheep the next morning. And each flock knew its shepherd’s voice, so as each shepherd called, his own flock came to him.
Therefore, you should now be able to understand Jesus’ words in the first few verses of John 10.
Verses 1-2 — Jesus said, Truly, truly! A very important truth is about to be spoken! The Jewish leaders were thieves and robbers, stealing people’s money and property, and robbing people of a true understanding of God’s heart. They taught that the only way to please God is by following the Law perfectly. But they themselves bent the Law for their own gain. So they entered the sheep pen neither by God’s ways, nor through Jesus Christ, God’s Son, whom they rejected and cursed and sought to kill. Their motive? Money, power and status. He said they had made His Father’s house a robbers’ den (Matthew 21:13).
But the one who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. That one does not sneak into the pen and steal. He is the shepherd himself, for he is the door of the pen. And the one who enters by the door also refers to the shepherds who have entered through Him, who He calls to lead the Good Shepherd’s sheep (see 1Peter 5:4).
Before I proceed, a little more background is in order —
In the natural, sheep are loyal to their shepherd and are not easily deceived. Many years ago, an experiment was done with a flock of sheep.
A shepherd gave his clothing to one who was a stranger to his flock. Then the stranger called the shepherd’s sheep.
Even though the stranger was dressed like their shepherd, the sheep knew the voice calling them was the voice of a stranger. So they did not come when he called. But when the shepherd called them, they gladly RAN to him!
IMPORTANT POINT: Do you gladly run to Jesus? Do you know His voice today?
You may say, “There are so many voices! How do I learn the voice of Jesus Christ?”
1. Through the Word of God! If you do not know the Word of God, then how can you know the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit? How can you know the voice of Jesus Christ? And if you do not know His voice, you WILL follow the voices of strangers. Such voices abound in the church and in the world today.
2. When you are filled with His Holy Spirit, you walk with Him continually. Satan ensures that distractions abound, but you discern that those distractions bear Satan’s character, not the Good Shepherd’s. And if you are one of His sheep, and walking with Him continually, you will steadfastly continue to walk with Him and fix your eyes on Him, the Author and Perfecter of your faith (see Hebrews 12:2).
Verses 3-5 — Now, Jesus refers to the pen in the city. He gathers His flock from among other sheep. How? The sheep hear His voice and follow Him! AND, even more wonderfully, the Good Shepherd knows the names of all of His sheep, and calls them by name and leads them out! Jesus knows the names of His sheep! PRAISE BREAK!
His sheep simply will not follow a stranger, but will run from him. Why? They do not know the voice of strangers.
IMPORTANT POINT: Do you run from the voice of strangers? Are you able to discern their voices?
Verses 6-9 — The people did not understand Jesus’ words, so He spoke to them again. He said, “Truly, truly, I AM the door of the sheep!” He is the one who lays down His life at the entrance of the sheep pen.
All the false Jewish teachers are thieves and robbers who do not have the Good Shepherd’s voice. So HIS sheep DO NOT HEED THEM. All those who follow false teachers are not yet His sheep and do not know His voice. Be sure you are not one of them!
Whoever enters through Him is His sheep, and that one is saved. And that one goes in and out and finds all he needs in order to live, because he is led by the Good Shepherd.
Verse 10 — The thief comes only to steal, then to kill, then to destroy by completely devouring, so there is no remnant of the sheep that he has stolen. This is the fate of those who follow the voice of strangers, beloved! Do you know the voice of Jesus? If not, you will be devoured, just as the people were at the time of Jesus, because the Jewish leaders were thieves and robbers.
Like all false shepherds, the Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus were children of their father, the devil (see John 8:44), and therefore, had his attributes — they came to steal the people, kill them, and devour them completely. They rejected Christ entirely, and twisted the truth of God for personal gain and status, purposely shutting their eyes tightly to the truth, thereby blinding themselves.
And I tell you, the intent of Satan is to have him join you in eternal destruction. He intends to steal you, kill you, and then devour you and leave no trace of you!
But the Good Shepherd has come to give you eternal life, superabundantly, until it overflows!
Strangers will tell you that these words are about God giving you wealth and health and every earthly treasure you ask Him for. That is a self-centered gospel, completely contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. So that is not the voice of the Good Shepherd. Avoid such men as these (2 Timothy 3:5)!
In contrast, here is what the Good Shepherd does —
He calls His sheep to be His witnesses here, with His eternal life abundantly in them, and His living water flowing from their bellies like flood-stage rivers, for the salvation of many!
Verse 11 — Jesus says, I AM the Good (beautiful, valuable, virtuous) Shepherd! Each time He says, I AM, He is saying He is God, the same God whose voice Moses heard in the burning bush in Exodus 3:14! And indeed, He laid down His life for His sheep, by going to the cross for us, to release us from the grip of Satan and those who speak his lies (again, see John 8:44).
And the Good Shepherd laid down His life so you may be forgiven, reconciled to God, and have eternal life!
Verses 12-13 — Jesus next unmasks the hired hands. You will know them by their actions. They are not shepherds, but are only interested in their paychecks. When they see Satan and his children come to steal and kill and eat the sheep, those hired hands will FLEE. They are self-centered, concerned only for themselves. They will save themselves from danger, but not the sheep! And Satan snatches the sheep and scatters them, putting to flight the ones he cannot snatch up.
Verses 14-15 — But again, Jesus says, I AM the Good Shepherd. I am not like them. I am not a hired hand. I am not a thief. And I know My own, and My own know Me.
How well do My own know Me? How well do I know My own? As well as the Father knows Me and I know Him! That’s an intimate relationship, with a capital “I.”
Can you say that today? Do you know Jesus by experiencing Him literally inside of you? Do you know Him as well as He knows the Father? Do you know Him as well as the Father knows Him? Intimately, personally?
If you see that you do not know Him that way, then cry out to Him. At all costs, cry out to Him to know Him! Cry out to Him for forgiveness! Cry out to Him to be filled with His Spirit so you are able to discern the voice of Satan! He will answer! He answered my cry!
Beloved, He laid down His life for you!
Verse 26 — The unbelieving Jewish leaders come against Jesus at Hanukkah. He tells them they do not hear His voice because they are not of His sheep. It was their choice to remain in the darkness rather than come into His Light (John 3:19-21). They have chosen to shut their eyes tightly, blinding themselves.
Verses 27-29 — Then He repeats what He said before — My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish (the meaning of “destroy,” in John 10:10). And no thief, none of Satan’s children, will snatch them like that wolf in John 10:12.
Why? God the Father gives Jesus Christ’s sheep to Him. And the Father is greater than Satan and those who belong to him. So no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Does that mean you can continue to sin (willfully disobey God) and not worry about being snatched? Do not be deceived! Paul says, “May it never be!” How can we who have died to sin live in it any longer (see Romans 6:2)?
The Good Shepherd’s sheep follow Him. They do not disobey Him, which is sin. They have been saved from their past sins and have followed His command to stay and wait for the promise of the Father, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and thus, they have died to sin. Jesus has freed them from slavery to sin!
Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd over all who lead His people (again, see 1Peter 5:4). But many are led by men who do not have the Chief Shepherd’s voice. And those who listen to them are troubled, confused, distressed and cast down, because they are sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).
I tell you today, Jesus Christ feels great compassion for you. And He calls you today to Himself. Do you hear His voice?