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In our conclusion to Jesus Christ The Good Shepherd, Jesus teaches us the characteristics of His sheep, giving us a good idea what we should be like. 

Jesus Christ The Good Shepherd-2

Continued from Jesus Christ The Good Shepherd

a. His sheep come from everywhere: vs 16 Jesus told the Jewish leaders there will be people from outside the family of Israel who are part of His flock. That was frustrating to them! I had a religious friend here in the U.S. that got mad at me when I told him God loves the people in Japan just as much as us. I may make some others mad when I say He loves the people of Afghanistan as much as He loves you. At , we are a World church. The World is our community. I was confronted with the reality of this when a new friend of ours, Chandni, in India, got filled with the Holy Spirit. She started glorifying God and prophesying, saying all kinds of things wonderful about God. Believe it or not, I was put off by her words, and I told her so. I didn't think she mentioned Jesus enough. The things she did say, seemed to be mixed with the Hindu religion. Actually, I didn't tell her…I attacked her verbally. Here she was committing her life completely to God, and I was mad at her. Even though she was hurt, she responded with a strong declaration of her love for Jesus and a genuine desire to accept me, as narrow minded as I was. If we're going to be a World church, we must learn to understand that Jesus has sheep that weren't raised here. Paul said, "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." When Paul preached to the Greeks, he pointed to an idol and said it represented the God he worshiped, Jesus Christ, then he quoted a line from Greek mythology about Zeus, when he said, "In Him we live and move and have our being." Was Paul saying he worshiped Zeus? No! He was saying the One Supreme God revealed himself to the Greeks through their myth about Zeus. If Jesus, the Good Shepherd, says we're all His sheep, how can I exclude those with different color coats, and still follow Him? If you're Buddhist or Baptist, Catholic or Communist, Moslem or Methodist, Jewish or Jehovah's Witness…you need Jesus. If you have Jesus, God-the Son, you're one of us, His sheep.

b. His sheep follow only Jesus: vs 4-5 His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. How many times have we heard it said that some pastor or priest has led many innocent sheep astray by being a thief, dressed in shepherd's clothes? It isn't true! Jesus makes it very clear that His true sheep will know His voice and follow only Him. They will run from a stranger. If a pastor or priest does something shocking and horrible, no one who is following Jesus will stop following Jesus. They weren't following that pretend shepherd, anyway. Sure, people will be hurt…but they won't be lost. Why do you think I tell you almost every week don't follow me! I'm just another sheep. Let's all follow the Shepherd, together. He's the only source of good pasture.

c. His sheep have abundant life: vs 10 Jesus came to give us life, complete, full life. Some say this just means in heaven after we die. That's not true! The Bible says we have been raised (past tense) to heaven and seated with Jesus. The Bible says we have (present tense) the mind of Christ. The Bible says streams of living water will well up and flow from anyone who drinks of Jesus. His Word is full of things that bring me to my knees begging, "Jesus, what am I doing wrong?" "Why am I living like a pig rooting around in mud, compared to what your Word says about life in you?" His Word promises we will have great problems, we can't avoid them. But it also says we have the power of the living God to deal with those problems…focus on the power…not the problem.

d. His sheep know Him intimately: vs 14-15 There is no more intimate relationship than the one between God-The-Father and God-The-Son. Jesus said they are "one". He was being literal. They are truly One God. Some say that's so amazing as to be impossible. Really, people reject the idea that One God could be 3 persons and still be One God. I don't understand why people would have a problem with it…if they believe there is One God, at all. If we believe Someone is greater than us in power, knowledge, etc. How can we then set rules for how this Someone can represent himself? Which one of us is God, anyway? Here's where my mind gets bent beyond repair…that same God said I have that same relationship with Him. He said, "I know my sheep and my sheep know me-just as the father knows me and I know the Father." We think husband and wife are intimate, but do we truly know each other? Trust me, I've been married 15 years. I know there is far more to my wife than I will know in 500 years. Yet each of us has been given the same relationship with Jesus that He has with the Father. Oh how much more we have than we can comprehend. Praise Him when we get a rare glimpse of what this means.

God, wherever we come from, teach us to follow Jesus, the One Shepherd. Help us to love and embrace sheep from other flocks, even though they're very different. Help us to avoid all thieves and hired hands and to seek only the Good Shepherd to lead us to pasture. Help us to accept and live in the reality that we have a relationship that is fully intimate with Jesus. Lord, we commit to be your sheep, lead us.

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