Sermon: The Good Shepherd Calls His Sheep John 10:1-21

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 The Good Shepherd Calls His Sheep

John 10:1-21

Primary Truth Taught- All who believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God are hearing His voice and are brought from death to life.

 Introduction

-The Pharisees were to shepherd Israel

Ezekiel 34:1–10 (ESV)

34 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.

-Where does spiritual blindness and deafness come from?

I think we could answer in a general sense that it comes from sin.  However, in a more specific way it comes from idolatry.  From the time of the exodus to the time of Jesus’ encounter with the Pharisees, the Israelites and especially their leaders had become blind and deaf as a result of their idolatry.  Here’s how it works…
All people are born under the curse of sin.  We sin because we’re sinners from birth.  The more we sin the more blind and deaf we become.  Because we cannot see God nor hear Him because of the curse we naturally drift into idolatry.  There is embedded within our DNA a propensity to worship.  But because of sin we worship other things because in our sin God is not an option.[1]
Here’s an example of what I mean…

Psalm 115:4–8 (ESV)

    Their idols are silver and gold,

the work of human hands.

    They have mouths, but do not speak;

eyes, but do not see.

    They have ears, but do not hear;

noses, but do not smell.

    They have hands, but do not feel;

feet, but do not walk;

and they do not make a sound in their throat.

    Those who make them become like them;

so do all who trust in them.

So, what we have in Israel at the time Jesus came were blind and deaf shepherds leading blind and deaf people.  That is what we have today as well.  People following blind gurus who are no more enlightened than the blind followers they have.  That’s why you can write a book about anything practically and gain followers.

The truth is that it takes a work of God to give us hearing and sight…
John 6:65 (ESV)

65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

So, as we read the text for this morning keep in mind that the Pharisees were supposed to be the shepherds of the people but they were unable to lead them because they too were blind.  Jesus clearly pointed that out at the end of John 9.

Human Need Met

We have the great need to hear from the Good Shepherd.  Without God giving us spiritual sight and hearing we will die in our sin.

Oh Father grant us hearing and sight today…

John 10:1–21 (ESV)

10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

  1. The Parable

10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Our Lord is still speaking directly to the Pharisees from Chapter 9.  He is telling them that there is a door that opens up to the sheep pen.  In ancient days the shepherds would often mix their sheep with others sheep while spending the night in the city.  The shepherd who owns the sheep would enter through the door the next day call his sheep and when they heard their shepherd’s specific call all of his sheep would come running and the rest, those belonging to someone else, would stay in the pen.

The owner would enter through the door.  However, if in the night a thief entered the sheep pen he would have to climb over the fence because the door would be locked.

Jesus goes on to describe what takes place after the shepherd has brought all his sheep outside the pen…they follow him.  The reason the sheep follow is that they recognize their shepherd’s voice.  Shepherds have a specific call that all their sheep recognize and follow.  They follow for many reasons but one is that they trust their shepherd.  He has led them to green pasture and water enough times that they know he has their best interest in mind and so they follow him.

A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers

These same sheep when they hear the voice of a stranger or a thief run the other way.  They do not know this shepherd so they go another direction.

The Pharisees are the robbers.  They did not enter the sheepfold by the door.  They care nothing for the sheep, only their own agenda.

After Jesus tells this story to the Pharisees, John writes that they did not understand.  They had no hearing.  Nothing clicked for them.  They did not realize that they were the thieves who entered without permission.  They are blind and deaf.  This story Jesus tells proves the fact that they are not authorized shepherds but thieves.  They are proven to be the Ezekiel 34 shepherds.  This story shows us who the blind people are.  Jesus identifies, at least here, that it’s the religious elite in Israel who are blind and deaf.  So, the blind are identified…

  1. The Door

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

In this section we see why Jesus is gathering His sheep… I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

The purpose for Jesus’ coming into the world as the Shepherd is to gather a people and give us life, literally, to bring us from death to life.

John 5:24 (ESV)

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Jesus is the door… If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

How do we enter the door?  How do we come through Jesus?  How is one saved from death and God’s wrath and have eternal abundant life?
By believing Jesus is the Christ…
John 20:31 (ESV)

31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John 6:29 (ESV)

29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

John 8:24 (ESV)

24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

John 11:25 (ESV)

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

So, the way we enter the sheepfold that belong to Jesus is to believe that He is the Christ, the Promised Messiah, the Son of God, deity incarnate.  When we believe these things we have entered into the sheepfold through Jesus Christ.

All who believe will have life.  We’ve been given ears that hear and eyes that see.  We hear our Lord through His Word and believe and enter.
The dynamic involved is God first giving us ears and eyes that hear and see Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  Then, like the sheep who hear their Shepherd and come to him and follow him we to can begin hearing and seeing our Shepherd and as His sheep we follow as well.  He is the door…
3.  The Good Shepherd

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

  1. A Hired Shepherd– The normal shepherd were hired by the owner of the sheep.  He would receive his wages as he tended the sheep.  He really didn’t care for the sheep.  His main concern was to keep them alive and well fed so he could keep his job.  When there was a sign of danger the hired shepherd would run away to save his own skin and leave the sheep right when they needed him the most.
  2. An Owner-Shepherd– Here we see a shepherd who owns the sheep he tends to.  This shepherd is like David who when danger appeared would fight off lions and bears to protect the sheep.  Still, even the most dedicated shepherd who owns the sheep would eventually run off when things got too dangerous.
  3. The Good Shepherd–  There is only one Good Shepherd.  Jesus as the Good Shepherd does not run away when things get too dangerous.  In fact, He laid down His life for the sheep.  He stayed and died.  He didn’t run away.
    In the first point we saw that the purpose of Jesus was to gather sheep for Himself.  Secondly we saw why He gathered the sheep and it was to give them life.  Finally, here, we see how He gathers sheep for Himself, He dies.
    16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

Notice, that Jesus’ death was how He gathered His sheep.  This is not only how He gathered His first century sheep.  This is how He gathers us.

  1. All Authority

17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

Jesus’ death is not a result of superior foes.  His enemies are not or were they ever in charge.  Here is how Jesus gathers His fold to give them life…He dies.  To give us eternal abundant life cost Jesus His life.

John shows here that nothing, not even the death of Jesus is outside of Christ’s authority.  God is in complete control.
We could all say that we have the authority to lay our life down.  We could walk in front of a semi truck or any other way you could lay down your life.  Notice that Jesus also has the authority to take it up again.  Only God can take a dead body and resurrect it.  Here Jesus tells us that He has the authority to take up His life again.

No one killed Jesus, He gave up His life for His sheep.  Because our Lord is sinless death could not keep Him.  Jesus rose from the dead at His own authority.

Then Jesus tells us that laying down His life and taking it up again is the Father’s will.
No mere man can take up his life.  No mere man can accomplish all the Father’s will.  Jesus does this because He loves His Father and He also loves us.

19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Application

How’s your hearing?  Jesus claims that His sheep hear Him and follow.  I pray you are availing yourself to all God has for us so that you can hear Jesus’ call.  We hear the call through consistently reading and meditating on His Word.  We hear Him call when we connect our Bible reading to prayer.  We hear Him as we worship Him individually and corporately in the setting of the Local Church.  Has our Lord given you ears to hear?

Declaration of Grace

In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen

 

[1] We Become What We Worship by G. K. Beale

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