Sunday, December 18, 2005

"The Good Shepherd's Missionary Intimacy"

NOTES FROM THIS MORNING'S SERMON (as a side note, the Lord used this as I was conversing with someone in #prosapologian)

John 10:1-18
1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.
2 "But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.
3 "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 "When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
5 "A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers."
6 This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.
7 So Jesus said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 "All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.
9 "I am the door; if anyone enters through 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 is not the owner of 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 is not concerned about the sheep.
14 "I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,
15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
16 "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.
17 "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.
18 "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father."
19 A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words.
20 Many of them were saying, "He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?"
21 Others were saying, "These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?"

focus is on verses 14-16

The world cries out for intimacy. But they look for it in all the wrong places (self-absorption, immoral relationships). The world also needs a shepherd, but the world looks for shepherds in all the wrong places too (even those who are into "self help" buy books written by others on how to help themselves...). In Christ, we find the center of and only hope for intimacy. And, in Christ, we find the true Good Shepherd. In Christ we find the original pioneer missionary. And yet Christ has intimacy with all His sheep (v. 14 "I know My own and My own know Me " AND "I must bring them also").

What kind of Shepherd is this to the sheep?

-Good- in v.14, the Greek used is "kalos", which is not referring to merely being moral and upright but it means beautiful, excellent, and preeminent.

-Knows His sheep and His sheep know Him- this is the heart of intimacy

-the Holy Spirit causes us to know Christ- this is not a command but a statement of fact- Jeremiah 31:34- "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,' declares the LORD, 'for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.'"- we recognize Christ's voice because of who we are (v. 4-5)

- Christ's intimacy with the sheep is like the intimacy within the Trinity. The Trinity is the most important relationship in the universe, and this is how Christ describes His intimacy with his sheep:

John 17:23,25-26- "I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me...O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."

- we tend to look at ourselves through our own eyes rather than through Christ's eyes- how does Christ see us?- Christ says of His sheep:

John 17
6 "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
7 "Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You;
8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me."

Hebrews 11 speaks of the faithfulness of people like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab, and yet they were sinners

all this is based on the substitutionary atonement of Christ- v. 15- "and I lay down My life for the sheep"- there is no intimacy with God without a faith that trusts solely in the finished work of Christ- Christ Himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:13) and our righteousness and our wisdom and our sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30)

"Upon a life I did not live,
Upon a death I did not die;
Another's death, Another's life
I stake my whole eternity."

- v.16- a mission of intimacy- God's plan is to know and to be known by people of every tongue, tribe, and nation- Christ HAS other sheep "not of this fold" (He has sheep among the Gentiles too) - note it doesn't say that Christ may potentially have sheep, but He has them- the doctrine of election drives our evangelism- John 6:37: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out."

- if Christ didn't bring in all of His sheep, then He'd leave the work He came to do unfinished- Christ didn't come to spill His blood and then have those He spilt it for to go to Hell

- v.16- the sheep will hear His voice- this is encouraging because that means it doesn't matter how steeped in falsehood one is before conversion, whether it be atheism, Islam, Buddhism, whatever- when God calls His sheep, they will hear His voice- this means we don't have to dress the Gospel up or come up with fancy program, we just need to go out and preach the Gospel!

Acts 18
9 And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent;
10 for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city."
11 And he settled there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Acts 13
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
49 And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region.

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