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Jesus Christ The Good Shepherd is a frank sermon lesson on religious leaders then...and now. Jesus teaches us about the true sheep who follow only the Good Shepherd. 

Jesus Christ The Good Shepherd

Harmony Of The Gospels Series-29, John 10:1-18

For more information about Jesus see these books on the History of Jesus Christ

Today we're going to study sheep and shepherds. Read John 10:1-18. Don't worry, we'll wait for you. Welcome back. Have you ever found yourself in a religious organization, following someone who was, let's say, a couple eggs short of a dozen when it came to love or truth? That's an uncomfortable place. I've been in that place several times in my life, following someone who was leading where I knew I shouldn't go. We're constantly put in positions where we have to make a choice, loyalty to our "leader" and our organization, or loyalty to what we feel God is telling us. Fact is, we're all sheep, the Bible's pretty clear on that.  These top-selling books on Jesus Christ The Good Shepherd can help you understand our roles as sheep. Sheep are followers. We may want to think of ourselves as leaders, but even leaders follow someone. So, the question for us isn't whether to follow someone, it's who to follow. This is a very important question, because our Scripture study for today reveals that…

The true sheep know their Shepherd, and follow only Him.

1. The Thief: Didn't come in through the Gate (Jesus) vs 1, 7-10. Some people we follow don't even have a relationship with God. They snuck in through a seminary, denomination or large church organization, but they forgot to enter through Jesus. Oh, they have their little shepherd badge and their shepherd staff and robe, even a piece of paper that says they're shepherds, but they aren't. Jesus refers to them as thieves who sneak into the flock to steal and kill and destroy. He was talking about the religious leaders of His time and too often, sadly, of ours. These people are great actors, putting on a show of being loving shepherds, while, all the time, plotting to ravage the flock and slaughter innocent sheep to satisfy their growing appetites. Their appetite could be for politics (liberal or conservative), for power, for money or other types of gratification. Regardless of how they act or what they say, they have no interest in leading people into relationship with Jesus, they have no relationship themselves. They are thieves.

2. The Hired Hand: vs 12-13 The hired hand is different from the thief. These people care about their position and their income, but not about the sheep. They have all the shepherd tools, like the thieves, but they're not shepherds, they're hirelings. They've been hired to "leadership" positions but, sadly, they're not leaders. They remind me of a parade of elephants, one's nose tightly grasping the next one's tail for fear that they would get lost if they let go…and they probably would. Unfortunately, we can follow the chain all the way to the "second" elephant and not see a true leader. But what's tragic is, when we finally get to the front of the line, we usually find a thief, not a shepherd. You see, no one would aspire to a position where everyone just blindly followed, unless they had some dark motive they wanted no one to know. It's easy to tell the hired hands. Any time they're given a choice between saving a sheep and saving their position, they choose the position. Another sign is how they treat the sheep. Hired hands treat the sheep roughly, trying to force them to follow blindly, like they do.

3. The Good Shepherd: vs 2-4, 14, 17-18 The Good Shepherd is different. He leads by following, as Jesus said, "the command I received from my Father". He sacrifices Himself to save his sheep: "I lay down my life" The watchman opens the gate for Him. He knows His sheep by name. His sheep know His voice and follow Him voluntarily. He goes before them, making sure the path is safe. There is only one Good Shepherd, Jesus. The rest of us are sheep. Yes, He appoints earthly shepherds (pastors) but these are not "positions", they are gifts from Jesus (see Eph 4). These earthly shepherds' whole function is to equip the sheep to serve under one Good Shepherd, one Head, Jesus. Any human who wants people to serve under them is a thief or a hired hand, not a shepherd.

4. The Flock: Who make up the flock who follow this Good Shepherd, anyway? How many times have we heard people cry out for unity in the Christian church? Usually, they're asking God for everyone to come around to their way of thinking. This will be a news flash for some of you…the Church of Jesus Christ is already unified! Jesus makes it crystal clear that His flock will have certain characteristics that set them apart from the other sheep in the world. Here they are:

Continued at Jesus Christ The Good Shepherd-2

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