Intro: " In a large classroom, two men were asked to recite the Twenty-third Psalm. One of them was a well-known orator who had studied drama and speech technique. He powerfully repeated the psalm. The audience cheered and even requested an encore so they could hear his wonderful voice once more after he finished. The second, much older man, then said the same thing: "The Lord is my shepherd; I won't be hungry...' However, the large class didn't say anything after he finished. Instead, people sat in a deep state of prayer and devotion.
"After that, the orator, the first man, stood to his feet. He stated, "I have a confession to make." The following is the difference between what you just heard from my previous friend and what you just heard from me: My friend knows the Shepherd, and I know the Psalm.'" The portrayal of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is probably the most evocative of John's many images in his wonderful Gospel. Jesus, like a shepherd, is concerned about the well-being and care of His flock. Following the healing of the blind man at the Temple, Jesus gave this sermon in which He made it abundantly clear who He was and what His plans and purposes were. We can see Jesus' heart on display in these verses. He reveals His plan for dealing with sinners and His great love for them in this passage. As I deliver the message this morning, I want you to consider whether you actually know the Shepherd. I want you to know that this is a message you need to hear if you do not know Him. You are going to hear directly from the Bible about how you can be saved in the following few minutes. If you have not yet accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, I ask that you do so before you leave this building today. You will learn how knowing the Shepherd makes your life more abundant and rich if you do know Him. We are taught in these verses that Jesus is the Good Shepherd because of certain characteristics. I'd like us to take a few moments this morning to read this passage and discover for ourselves why Jesus is deserving of this title. Please join me today as we examine these verses and learn about Jesus: The Merciful Shepherd. I. V. 1-5 HE HAS THE RIGHT CREDIT A. V. 1-3a He Came Properly (Ill.) Jesus uses the sheepfold as an illustration of His message. A Sheepfold was a circular wall with a single doorway and a height of about 10 feet. At night, the sheepfold could hold several flocks and have one shepherd lying in the opening as the door. Without the shepherd's permission, nothing could enter or exit the sheepfold. Jesus is implying to His listeners that the only people who want to enter the sheepfold outside of the doorway are robbers and thieves. However, the shepherd always arrives in the right direction!) (Ill. Jesus' righteous entry into the world demonstrates that He is the Shepherd of the sheep. He entered exactly as planned. His credentials had been presented to His people. Pay attention to the evidence that He came the right way: 1. Isa had been his mother's only child. 7:14; Matt. 1:21-23 2. Micah 5:2 says that he was born in Bethlehem; Matt. 2:4-6 3. Gal. said that he had arrived at the right time. 4:4 4. Hos had brought him out of Egypt. 11:1; Matt. 2:14-15 5. Jer, the foe, had become enraged upon his arrival. 31:15; Matt. 2:16-18. Ill. He was the right person; he was born in the right place; he arrived at the right time; he was summoned from the right nation; and the right sign was there to see him. He has all of the credentials required to demonstrate that He is the Good Shepherd! Matthew 4:18–19; Isa. 61:1-2) John the Baptist openly introduced Jesus to the nation and declared His identity when He arrived with the proper credentials, the porter. B. He Calls Properly (Ill.) The same sheepfold may be home to multiple flocks. However, when the sheep's shepherd approaches the door and calls to his flock, they hear his voice and respond. They recognize his call.) (Ill.) A man was arrested in Australia and accused of stealing a sheep. However, he insisted vehemently that it was a member of his own family who had been missing for a number of days. The judge was perplexed and unable to make a decision when the case came to court. He finally requested that the sheep enter the courtroom. The plaintiff was then instructed to call the animal outside. The sheep didn't say anything other than raise its head and look scared. The defendant was then instructed by the judge to call the sheep from the courtyard. The sheep dashed toward the door when the accused man began to make his distinctive call. His master's familiar voice was clearly recognized by him. The judge stated, "His sheep know him." Case closed!") (Ill.) The same is true for the lost soul. There are many voices in the world vying for our attention, but the voice of the Lord has a special quality. At the point when He calls, everything changes - John 6:44. Until he is awoken by the Holy Spirit, the lost sinner is dead (Eph. 2:1. The only thing that has the power to rouse the slumbering heart is the voice of the Good Shepherd. only one who can inspire us with hope. the only one that makes sense to a soul in despair. Ill. When contrasted with the sweet call of the Lord Jesus, all other calls sound hollow and frightening.) C. V. 4-5 He Exercises Proper Commandment - (Ill.) When the shepherd summons his sheep, he leads them and they instinctively follow. He is not required to drive them because goats do that. They just follow closely behind him as he leads them out.) (Ill. Wow, what a fact! A soul who has been saved by God's grace will want to follow the Good Shepherd! A person who has been saved and has their heart right with God does not need to be begged to come to worship, give thanks, or share their faith, among other things. 2 Cor. says that the Shepherd has called them out and that they are driven to worship Him. 5:17. 1 Corinthians sums up their desire. 10:31.) I. He Has the Proper Credentials II. A. V. 6-8 His Personality - In these verses, Jesus reveals who He is as the Door. He possesses the appropriate character A. If you recall, there was only one entrance and exit to the sheepfold. The shepherd was lying in this opening. As a result, the shepherd himself became the sheep's door. Without going through the shepherd himself, nothing could enter or leave the fold. (Ill) There is only one entrance into God's fold for anyone who wishes to enter. Jesus Himself is at that door! Eph. 1:16 says that he is the only way to God. 2:18; John 14:6; Acts 4:12. From 1 John 5:12, this truth is abundantly clear. The only way to the Father is through Jesus. Matt. says that there is no other way but death and damnation. 7:13-14.) (Ill.) This may appear narrow-minded and out of step with our current mindset. Nevertheless, it is in complete agreement with what God has revealed in His Word, 1 Timothy. 2:5.) B. V. 9a His Performance: Jesus makes it clear to those who are listening that the only way into God's eternal salvation is through Him. He guarantees that those who enter will be saved. That is, they will be saved from God's wrath and will experience God's perfect salvation to its fullest extent. (Ill. saved means saved from all danger and harm. According to John 5:24, a person who has sinned is forever freed from the mighty wrath of God when they come to Jesus and are born again. Rom. 5:9.) (Ill. It is wonderful to be saved for all time and to not have to worry about going to Hell or losing your way. I am thankful for my present salvation in Jesus!) The thief poses a threat to the sheep in C. V. 9b-10, His Promise (Illinois). When a thief enters the fold, his primary goal is to make money off of the sheep. He has no concern for their well-being. In contrast, the sheep's life is made infinitely better by the arrival of the Good Shepherd. He promises the sheep a new and better life within Himself because He cares about them.) (Ill. When a person meets Jesus, everything changes! It is impossible for a life to remain unchanged when He enters it. He empowers us to live better lives, to love better, and to do things with our lives that will honor God. According to Ephesians, Jesus is the difference between a life lived for the devil and a life lived for the Lord. 2:1-4! Ill. "However, God!) I. He Has the Proper Credentials II. He has the right character, number three. V. 11-16 HE HAS THE RIGHT CONCERN A. V. 11-13 His Sacrifice Proves His Concern - (Ill.) Jesus differentiates between the hireling and the concerned shepherd. The hireling is only there for the money. He flees when trouble arises, leaving the sheep to be eaten by the wolves. In contrast, the shepherd is the owner of the sheep and is responsible for their care. As a result, the good shepherd is willing to sacrifice his own life in order to safeguard the sheep at any cost.) (Ill.) Jesus has demonstrated that He is the Good Shepherd by not fleeing when He saw the threat to the sheep but by doing everything in His power to save them. Isa, the Bible compares people to lost sheep. 53:6. We have been cut off from God's fellowship and relationship due to our waywardness, or sin, Isa. 59:2. Worse still, according to John 3:18, man's sin has brought him under God's wrath. 36. Every lost sinner will eventually be cast into an everlasting Hell as a result of this condition, Rom. 6:23. Jesus, on the other hand, changed that! Jesus descended from heaven and became a man in order to fulfill God's promise that the penalty for sin was death. After living a sinless life, He then died on a cross, taking the place of every sinner who would believe in Him, 2 Cor. 5:21; 2 Cor. 5:15.) (Ill. The awful death that Jesus was required to suffer for sinners. Isa, the crucifixion is the most horrible death known to mankind. 52:14; Psa. 22:14-22. He was mocked, beaten, spit on, slapped, had his beard cut off, whipped with nine tails, and forced to wear a crown of thorns that His tormentors drove deeply into His head with a staff. He put up with everything because He loved you and me. However, He also endured the immense wrath of God against all sin. Jesus literally took on our sin while he was crucified and was judged in our place. He is deserving of the title "Good Shepherd" because of this priceless sacrifice for the sheep! (Ill.) Some individuals may wonder, "Why did Jesus have to die?" The response is easy! According to Hebrew, the soul must be cleansed of sin by blood. 9:22. Jesus shed His blood when He died, and after He rose from the dead, He ascended into Heaven with the blood and offered a perfect sacrifice on the mercy seat in Heaven, Hebrews. 9:12; 24-28; 10:12. Thank God for Jesus' blood! In 1 Peter, it is the sole plea of the sinner. 1:18-19; Rev. 1:5; Rev 5:9. He had to pass away in order for you to live!) B. V. 14: "His Concern Is Proven By His Sheep" (Ill.) Jesus refers to the bond that exists between a shepherd and his flock of sheep. The shepherd knows his sheep, and they know Him and won't follow anyone else. Ill. To the untrained eye, every sheep in a flock looks the same. But a good shepherd can tell them apart, often because of their flaws and unique characteristics. A Christian friend was taken aback by the man's familiarity with each animal after the man explained this to him while tending a large flock. Do you see that sheep there?" He inquired. Take note of its slight toeing in. The person behind it is looking down; The following one has a woolly patch on its back; The one in front of us has a distinctive black mark, and the one closest to us has a small tear in its ear. The believer considered Christ, the Chief Shepherd, as he observed them all. Christ knows the strengths and weaknesses of each member of His flock and watches over them with discerning love and understanding. He observes their doubts, fears, trials, conflicts, and defeats with infinite concern and quickly intervenes to help.) (Ill. May I reiterate that the Good Shepherd knows His sheep this morning? Matt, he is aware of everything there is to know about you. 10:29-31; Matt. 6:8. He is aware of both his strengths and weaknesses. He is aware of every happiness and burden. He is familiar with every valley and mountain. He stands ready to assist you when you need it, Heb, and He knows every victory and battle. 4:15-16. Psa. says that He is your benevolent shepherd and will take care of you. 23:1-6) (Ill. He continues to be Jehovah-Jireh; "The Lord will see to it!", Gen. 22:14.) C. V. 15-16 He Shows His Concern Through His Salvation - (Ill.) Jesus makes it clear that additional sheep will follow. Like the people who were present to hear Jesus speak, these sheep are certain to be saved. You see, according to John 1:11, He first appeared to Israel, but when they rejected Him, He turned to the Gentiles. Therefore, according to John 1:12, anyone who puts their faith in Jesus will receive salvation.) (Ill.) Salvation is always the outcome of faith in Jesus Christ. Heb., this salvation is finished. 7:25; and it lasts forever, vrs. 28-29. This is the good news: Jesus gave his life for all people on earth, including you. He will save your soul if you come to Him right now and put your faith in Him. Basically, anyone can receive the salvation that Jesus offers. He continues to be the Good Shepherd and the Door. He is still on the mountains of sin, searching for those who have wandered away from the fold, just like the shepherd in Luke 15:4–7. Acts 16:31 states that "all who will respond to Him in faith will be brought into the flock and saved.") Conc: Jesus is without a doubt the Good Shepherd. At this point in the service, the only question that remains is: Is the Shepherd familiar to you? The answer you give to that question will determine where you will spend eternity. The answer you give to that question will be the deciding factor in whether you end up in Heaven or Hell. You can rejoice in the fact that the Shepherd will always be with you and watch over you if you know Him. I encourage you to immediately approach Him if you do not already know Him. You are not required to wait, nor should you. It's dangerous to wait! Your soul will be saved if you come to Jesus today. You will be added to God's flock by him. He will shield you from God's wrath. You will be given a fresh start and a new life. Will you approach Him?

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