Bible Ballistics: The Good Shepherd v4#4 6/1/14
Our awesome God is always at work around us and it’s such a privilege and joy when we join God in HIS work, instead of trying to come up with our own plans, and ask His blessing on them. We’re often distracted by the humdrum, the drudgery, the mundane of daily living, and forget that God is present in everything around us. Don’t let the ‘mundane’ cause you to forget that, “for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10b) God is with YOU!! Always!!
This week I was privileged to teach in a Vacation Bible School. I was invited to teach, and told that the focus was on the “I AMs” of the gospel of John. I love the “I AMs” of John (and of course Exodus); and as I was preparing the Lord began to show me things from a new perspective.
In our classes we talked about sheep, sheepfolds, doors and water, as we talked each day. John 1:14 helped us see that Jesus is/was/will be God. Immanuel—God with us, in flesh!
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” God with us!!!!! Don’t forget HE’s here!! With YOU!! NOW!!
It was delightful to see bright little faces connect the dots, to know that regardless of what the world tells them, God has a glorious ‘truth’ and His name is Jesus. We reviewed the singularity of the gospel each day from John 14:6,
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” May we always stand fast in this truth?
Only one way to God—and His name is Jesus.
We also talked about the ‘Good Shepherd” and the sheep. We saw that Jesus is not only the door of the sheep, He is also the ‘Good Shepherd’ of the sheep, and would ‘give HIS life for the sheep’. (All who will ‘believe’ see John 3:16-21)
He not only gives his life for the sheep, but His own sheep know His voice and they come. When people claim to know the shepherd and are continually not hearing his voice, it would give cause for examination to be sure they belong to this shepherd. As Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5,
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” The plumb-line is scripture not your feelings.
A sheepfold commonly had only one opening and often with no gate, so the shepherds would lie across the opening so that nothing could get in or out without their knowledge. As John 10:9-10 says,
“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Jesus is our ‘life’. He came to die that we might live. To pay our sin debt. Are you following the shepherd or the thief?
Romans 3:23 & 6:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Still one way—Jesus!!
One debt due—sin/death! Have you called on Jesus in repentance and faith or is your sin debt still due? Jesus has paid it—do you believe Him. Or have you bought the lies of the ‘thief’?
Jesus not only saves, but also speaks to and protects His own sheep, and cares for those who wander off. God seemed to bring to my mind a twofold meaning in this example. We know that Jesus saves and calls the “lost” sheep in need salvation, yet I perceive that there may be a unique principle that could speak to us.
Matthew 18:11-13, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.”
We know that this parable is definitely talking about those who are lost and need Jesus as Savior. But I think we can make another application from these verses, that won’t violate the integrity of the context.
A wandering sheep can be:
Of the shepherds fold—a saved person–
Saved and belonging to His fold–
Sheep wandering off from ‘the shepherd’ may not know that they are wandering—
But the shepherd knows it.
I had a profound thought from the Lord:
The shepherd didn’t send the 99 sheep to get the wandering one,
HE went himself.
He found the sheep.
He brought the sheep back.
He called for others to rejoice at what
HE had done to restore the sheep to the fold.
While we are to “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ”. (Gal.6:2) Sometimes we are so busy trying to be ‘amateur providences’ (doing God’s job), that we don’t pray for the ‘shepherd’ to rescue the sheep in a manner HE knows is best. We’d rather get them ourselves, try to patch up their wounds, but are frustrated when we aren’t able to fix the heart problem that keeps pulling them away—only the ‘shepherd’ can do that. We don’t like for our own to suffer for any reason, so often we step in where God is working, in ways we can’t see or understand, and get in HIS way. Trust the shepherd!!
As we bear one another’s burdens, we are, at the same time, to learn to bear our own burdens with God’s power–.
Galatians 6:4-5,”But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden.” We can’t care for others if we haven’t learned to trust God to care for us!!!
We are to care for, and walk along side the pained and hurting, but when one wanders off to the wilderness we are to call for the shepherds provision and deliverance. We are also to develop spiritual strength and perseverance by bearing our ‘own burden’, that we might be able to minister to the wandering, while seeking God’s direction as to our level of involvement. Remember,
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
Personal!! To trust MY shepherd to lead me rightly!!
We often miss what God is doing in our lives, because we don’t realize that the ‘good shepherd’ disciplines/trains His own sheep. When we learn to trust HIS care ourselves, we begin to develop a tender and intimate relationship with our shepherd and know the sufficiency of Psalm 23:1.
Hebrews 12:11 reminds us, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
In closing, John 21 shares Jesus instructions Peter, to ‘tend’ and ‘feed’ ‘HIS sheep’. (see John 21:15-19) How often do we ask God to save and bring new sheep into our churches, when we aren’t taking care of the sheep He has already placed in our midst? Jesus said,
“Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2
Are you listening to your shepherd? ‘Speak to my heart Lord Jesus’. Even so come!!