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The Good Shepherd: Part II
All believers in Jesus Christ are in the fold of the Lord,
who is the Good Shepherd and the door to the gate.
C. The Threefold Role of the Shepherd
Here we look at His message, this part of His message that would ha ve a very
specific application to any of us who may feel the Shepherd's role. The work of the
Shepherd is three fold in a sense: He gathers the flock, He guards the flock, and He
guides the flock.
1. The Shepherd Gathers the Flock
a. A World Wide Perspective
In that prophetic passage, Ezekiel says the time is coming when that Shepherd
will call His people and He will gather them from the four winds of the earth. So here
when Jesus stands preaching this message He is fulfilling prophesy in more ways than
He is fulfilling Ezekiel 34 and He is in the midst of calling people from
everywhere. But even so, here almost 2,000 years later as we stand and worship in this
church, we hear the voice of Jesus Christ. That Good Shepherd work still goes on
because He is still calling all over the world and He is still establishing that one fold and
gathering His people from the four corners of the earth.
He has reestablished Israel and He has reestablished the people of God, the Jews,
and in that sense He fulfills prophesy. But He goes far beyond that when He says, "Other
sheep have I which are not of this fold. Them also I must bring." I'm glad that I'm
included in that group of the other sheep. Aren't you?
I'm glad that He said, "I must bring them in," so that this fold that the Good
Shepherd owns that He is the door to – this fold houses every living soul who believes in
Jesus Christ, who hears the voice of the Son of God, who responds in faith and love, who
turns to Him in trust and obedience. He finds shelter, he finds safety, he finds salvation,
and he finds peace and hope.
b. The Voice of Evangelism
Not only is the Lord gathering from a world wide perspective, but it is the work of
the Shepherd to gather. This is the voice of evangelism. This means reaching out hands of
love and redemption and employing the grace of God and the Lord's redemptive power to
all those around us, who are outside the fold, who are away from God, who are
vulnerable to the attack of Satan who do not have the fellowship of people of God who
are in the fold, who do not have the protection of the Good Shepherd, who do not have
the warmth and fellowship of the people inside.
Here is where the responsibility falls upon us all to play the role of Shepherd in a
sense. That is to reach out and gather the flock and gather into the fold. God help
everyone of us to have that kindred spirit with the Good Shepherd who goes to seek and
to save that which is lost. Who goes with a heart that is opened and reaching out in love
to those who have fallen and to those who have been troubled and those who have been
afflicted and those who have been attacked.
I want to tell you that if somehow if we could employ it, if we could employ and
engage the redeeming love of God, there could be enough redeeming love of God
flowing out from hearts and lives of this church to heal every wound in this city and
county, to bind up every broken hearted person around here, to reach out with power,
redemption power, to rescue everyone that's lost and fallen. Oh, to reach out with hands
strong enough to bind up broken hearts and reach out with love strong enough to bind
them to us and to Jesus Christ. I'm telling you that within the fold, within the church,
there is redeeming, saving power that we can employ for the glory of God. We can gather
them in to the fold.
2. The Shepherd Guards the Flock
It is the work of the Shepherd to guard the flock. This means the security. Jesus
said, "I don't have anybody else standing at the door keeping watch." He said, "I am the
door. If anybody goes in and out, they come by me or really "over me." You know the
illustration of the fold in Palestine and the Shepherd stretching himself out across the
doorway to form the door. It's a beautiful picture.
I want to say something right here. I think when people really get saved, when
they really come in to the fold through Jesus Christ, through the Word of God, I think
that's the most marvelous, miraculous thing in all the world. When you really come in
through Christ, I don't believe it's such an easy thing just to go blindly stumbling back
across Him to run out into this world and turn your back on truth and light and life of
These people who are bent on backsliding all the time and can pray through at an
altar one Sunday and just almost shed off their religion like taking off a suit of clothes
and casting it aside, I don't understand that. I don't understand anybody who has ever
heard the voice of Jesus and has felt redeeming love – I don't understand any man who
has felt the touch of divinity upon his life and redeeming power and the warm blood that
cleanses – I don't understand any man turning his back on that to walk out in a cold dark
world alone to invite the powers of hell and the darkness of sin to come in and captivate
his life. I don't understand that. You hear me?
But, oh, when you know Him, when you have seen Him, when you have heard
His voice, and you've learned what it means to live in harmony and communion as a
sheep that hears the voice of the Good Shepherd and you can detect a stranger and not
follow a stranger, not be led astray – oh, that is the most wonderful relationship in all the
Let me urge you today. In these last days, be careful that you build up such a
relationship with the Shepherd that you're constantly in touch with His voice and you
know Him when He speaks and you walk in the Spirit and you walk in harmony with
Jesus Christ, never grieving Him. Because there are going to be a thousand voices
clamoring for your attention. There will be a thousand powers clamoring for your
allegiance. There will be a thousand forces reaching out to side track you and deceive you
in these last days. But hold on to the Good Shepherd of life. Hear His voice and follow
Him in faith, hallelujah, and listen to no strangers but hold to Jesus Christ the Savior of
the world. If you love Him, would you just raise your hands and praise Him. Hallelujah!
3. The Good Shepherd Guides the Flock
Not only does he gather and guard, but he guides. This means the vitality of the
sheep in the fold. This means leading them by streams of pure living water. It means
going in to the green pasture. It means having a table spread even in the presence of your
enemy. It means having your cup full and running over.
I had a member up in Louisville where I was the pastor for eight years. Matt
Cauvin is one of the most joyous Christians I ever known, a plain old Kentucky fellow.
But, oh, he would get so happy he could hardly contain himself. And he would say, it was
his expression to say, "My cup's full and my saucer too." You know it ran over all the
time. I'm telling you, that this Good Shepherd, He can lead you where there is strength
and vitality. He can lead you in paths of peace.
In these days of hurry, worry, in these days of trouble on top of trouble, in these
days of harum-scarum existence, it's wonderful to let the Shepherd take your hand and
lead you into a place of peace where fears are washed away and where the storm in your
breast is lulled to sleep and there is a peace that comes over your life. You can trust God
and you can know all is well, regardless. Let the wolves howl, but Jesus the Shepherd
stands between you and any howling wolf. Let the enemy rage, but oh praise God, His
grace is sufficient and His love is real and His power is there just the same. Oh thank God
for His guidance.
I love that song, "Like a Shepherd, Jesus Leads Me." Is He leading your life
today? Is He controlling it? You say, "Preacher, mine is in a mess." Why don't you just
hand the controls of your life over into His hand? Why don't you just turn it over and let
Him do the leading and you do the following? Instead of telling Him or somebody else,
why don't you turn it over to Him and let Him tell you and you do the obeying? You will
see the difference. In a short order you will see that difference.
Guiding the flock, He brings us to a place of that abundant life. I want to tell you,
there is a lot of difference in being a Shepherd and being a sheep dog. I've seen them at
work, sheep dogs. They do some good work and sometimes they have to chase down
some stubborn sheep evidently. Sometimes they have to get obedience from them and
cooperation from them with the threat of biting, some growling and barking. But I don't
like that kind of existence. Do you? I would rather hear His voice and obey Him. I'd
rather stay in harmony with Him.
God said, "But the rebellious I will feed with judgment." Some people seem to
prefer to live a life that is torn and wretched and miserable. They seem to rather live on a
diet of anxiety and fear and frustrations and upsets one after the other. They seem to
prefer having their life all falling apart and torn to pieces and shattered and nothing ever
in harmony or in balance or in beauty. I want to tell you can have life with peace and love
and joy when you follow the Good Shepherd.
He said, "My sheep hear... I know them...they follow... and I give them eternal
life..." And if you don't care, I'll just preach a little bit eternal security right here. He said,
"...and not only do I give them eternal life…" Let me just tell you. Have you ever thought
about the concept that right now in your own being, you have eternal life – life from
above that is eternal? And Jesus said, "There is no man, no man in this world, can pluck
them out of my hand." Oh, I like that kind of security. Don't you?
I know sometimes we may tremble and feel threatened and get our eyes on the
storms or the threats or the howling that comes against us. Oh, but if you could just stop
and think. I'm in His hands. Where would you rather be than in the hands of Jesus Christ?
Where would you rather be than have your case anchored in Him? He said, "Nobody can
pluck them out of My hands."
And He said, "Not only that, but the Father and I are absolutely together. We are
one and nobody can pluck them out of my Father's hands." Which is to say that all of
divine Holy Trinity works in perfect harmony as one for the protection of the child of
God, for the protection of the believer who looks to Jesus Christ and believes on Him.
Yes, eternal security. Sure by faith in the Son of God. We shall never die. We shall live
forever. Glory be to Jesus. Oh, hallelujah!
D. The Response of the False Sheep
1. They Took Up Stones to Stone Him
I want you to look for just a minute or so about the response of the false sheep to
the Good Shepherd. The Bible says, "They took up stones to stone Him to death." This is
the third time they have done that in this book of John. The first time they wanted to
throw stones was when they dragged that pitiful lady who was caught in the act of
adultery. They dragged her before Jesus. I never have been able to understand the double
standard they had. Because you see, they didn't bring the man. That's when they wanted
to throw stones.
But instead of having stones spattering down on her body, breaking her bones and
shattering her bones and spattering the blood out of her life, she had words of forgiveness
and love to fall upon her ears that she could hardly hear and understand. She had the
voice of the Good Shepherd receiving her and saying, "I'm not here to condemn you but
I'm here to help you to live where you don't have to go and sin anymore."
The second time they wanted to throw stones was when Jesus said, "Before
Abraham was I am." And of course that's using that expression that only God uses and
that's God talk. That expression, "I am before Abraham," on the lips of any other man
would be blasphemy but not on Jesus. And because that He began to say that He was
before Abraham and equaled Himself to God, they wanted to stone Him to death. He
escaped and got out of their way that time.
Here again they take up stones to stone Him in verse 31. Jesus reasoned with them
a little bit. He said, "...For which one of my good works do ye stone me." "...Oh, we're
not stoning you for good works. Tha t's not the point." And that is exactly the way Satan
attacks you. He attacks you in the place where you get blessed from God. He attacks you
in that place where you could be a blessing for God. He attacks you in the place of your
2. People Who Throw Stones
But the people who throw stones, they don't like to be reminded about good works
or good life by faith. They can overlook every good thing you've ever done to turn over
some little rotten thing that happened in your life somewhere.
Look at it for just a minute. Those people in a stone throwing business, they
overlooked who He was in the first place. They overlooked His good works. They react
to what they don't like, His words. They throw stones to hide their own sins and to
express their own jealousy.
As a pastor for over 30 years, that's one thing that made me angry. Self righteous
people who throw stones at other folks overlooking every good deed or every good work
they ever performed to drag up some little failure or some little something that was
wrong somewhere. That made me angry. It still does. I don't like people in the stone
throwing business. How about you? Have you ever had anybody to throw any at you? I
want to tell you, throwing stones has no place around the flock of God.
You know the only reason shepherds ever throw stones? Well, they use them in
their sling to kill wolves and to kill bears and sometimes kill giants. That's what you
throw stones for. People who throw stones at the sheep, they are way out of line. If you
are going to throw any stones at all, well you just practice up on some wolves and wait
for the day to come when that giant crosses your path and be ready then.
All believers in Jesus Christ are in the fold of the Lord, who is the Good Shepherd and the door to the gate.
Thompson's Chain Reference: 3264 (Christ - The Good Shepard)
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