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2011-06-26 The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

Time: 2011-06-29 Click:

 

By Larry

26th Jun 2011 Sunday

 

 

 

Worship song: I Rest In Your Peace

 

 

 

Verse I rest in Your peace, O Lord
I rest in Your wisdom
I rest in Your mighty arms
I rest in Your love
Chorus: You are the Holy One!
You are the Great "I Am"
You are my Shepherd
You are the Mighty God!
Verse Chinese

安 歇 在 祢 平 安 里,
an xie zai ni ping an li


安 歇 在 祢 智 慧 里,
an xie zai ni zhi hui li


安 歇 在 祢 能 力 中,
an xie zai ni neng li zhong


安 歇 在 祢 爱 中。
an xie zai ni ai zhong

Chorus Chinese

祢 是 至 圣 的 神!
ni shi zhi sheng di shen


祢 是 永 在 的 神!
ni shi yong zai di shen


祢 是 我 牧 养 者,
ni shi wo mu yang zhe


唯 一 的 全 能 神!
wei yi di quan neng shen

 

 

  

 

Scripture Reading: John 10:7-16

10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.
10:8 All whoever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
10:9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
10:11  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
10:12 The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.
10:13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
10:14  I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
10:15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
10:16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd."

 

 

  

Sermon:

 

Good morning! Last week we were in the Gospel of John 9, Stephen did a wonderful sermon on God’s unfailing love and compassion for the blind man and for all of us, he said, “Everything will shake, except for God’s unfailing love for us.”  Stephen also mentioned that everything that God does for us is for our very best and we need to grow and mature in faith through surrender, trust, obey and pray. Today, we are going to study the Gospel of John 10, starting from verse 7. Before I share with you, Let's  pray:  Heavenly Father, you are almighty God, you are the loving God, you are all-knowing God. Thank you for loving us, caring about us. Lord, thank you.  I want to pray for the people in this congregation, who do not yet know you yet. Please open their eyes to see the truth and beauty of the Gospel, to see how much You love them, how great You are. Lord.   I pray for people who already have known you and love you, please encourage us to love you most, trust you most. Lord, please speak through me today, only You can change people’s hearts. Lord, I want to give You glory and praise, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

 

John 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.

I am the gate for the sheep. Before I talk about why Jesus says He is the gate for the sheep, I want to ask you, how many of you here have shepherded sheep before? Can you raise your hands? Shepherds, or saw people shepherding sheep. I see not too many.  I did some research and found that actually sheep are not kind of smart animal, and they need a shepherd to take care of them, because sheep cannot defend themselves. When wolves or lions come, they cannot protect themselves. They can't fly away because they do not have wings; they don't run fast enough, they can't protect themselves very well. Also, sheep do not have a good sense of direction, they are not like cats or dogs,  they cannot find their homes. When sheep get lost, they cannot get back home, they need someone to go out to find and bring them back. There is a saying, “Lost sheep are dead sheep”. Somebody may steal it or kill it; or wild animal eat it; also sheep do not know what to eat, what they should eat, what they should not eat. Some poisonous plants, sheep also eat. Another thing is that sheep are short-sighted, they cannot see very far, they only can see about less than two meters far. Sheep like to follow the crowd. If one sheep is leading in the front, the rest of the sheep is going to follow the leader. It's true sheep need a shepherd, who can take care of sheep  including preparing food for them.

 

Isaiah 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.”

Think about it, the nature of sheep and human nature, they have something in common - we like to follow the crowd. If somebody owns something, we want to have it as well. If you go to a street, you see many restaurants, you see there is one restaurant with many people, you want to go to that restaurant. The same with sheep, they want to go and follow the crowd. The same with our human nature, we want to control our own destiny, we want to control our life. But in the end, we will find out, we cannot protect ourselves. It is very easy to get lost in our life.

 

Jesus says, “I am the gate for the sheep.” What does that mean? I'd like to give you some background information. You probably know that Jesus was living in Israel. In Israel, there were lots of lands that are dry and barren. There wasn't much grass. Shepherds in those days had to lead sheep for a long way to find grass.  At night, soemtimes they slept in the mountains and out in the field. It would be  very dangerous fo them - slept out in the open air, and robbers or thieves may have tried to steal sheep, or dangerous wild animals may have tried to attack and kill sheep.  What do shepherd do?  They would try to find a cave and drove the sheep in; or they would build a sheep pen with wall of stones. You can see those pictures on the screen, help you to imagine and understand the scenario. For example, shepherd used wall of stones to build a sheep pen,  sheep were safe inside, just with one entry gate, and shepherd lying at the gate. When wolves or other animals come, shepherd will fight with a weapon. just like Jesus says, “I am the gate for the sheep.” He is the one protecting His sheep.

 

 

 

 

1.         Jesus is the gate of salvation.

 

John 10:9 “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”

“Jesus is the gate of salvation.”  For those of you may be for the first time to be here, I want to explain a little bit about salvation. God created us, He gave us everything, but we break rule God instructed us, God has to punish us according to His perfect law. It is fair for God to punish us because of the sins human have already committed. But,  God still loves us, no matter what we have done, He does not want to see us fallen, no matter what we have done He want to help us and save us, so He sent His only Son Jesus, our Savior came into this earth in human form, lived a perfect life for us as example, and crucified in our place on the cross, being nailed on the cross for all our sins, so that we can be blameless, have eternal life. You see, we are the ones that mess up the world, we are the ones who commit all kinds of sins, we are the ones who did, do, still do  wrong things. Why the Creator of the Universe saves us, sent His SSon to this earth to die in our place?  The Bible tells us, the Creator of the universe, He deeply, deeply loves us, loves you and me. He provides a way to save us, the only way - through Jesus!  I used to think that I understood God's Love. I used to think, “Okay, I know God's Love.” But one day, when I heard a Pastor sharing the part, he said, "Can you image your own child being nailed on the cross? Can you image the most loved One being nailed onto the cross?!" Wow, just think about that, it just makes me cry, heart breaking.  God loves us so much! He sent His only beloved Son to this earth to die on the cross, took the punishment for our sins.

 

John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me."

Our Lord Jesus have come to rescue us from our sins, only through Jesus we can be saved. Amen!  Jesus is the gate of Salvation. Be aware that the sheep were still there and the robbers, what did they do? In John 1 and John 10, it tells us, “(they) do not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, they come only to steal, kill, destroy”, and all the deviles do are for their own benefit.

  

 

2.         Jesus is the providing shepherd.

 

John 10:10, “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.

The second point I wrote down is this: “Jesus is the providing shepherd.   Jesus is not just a shepherd, He is a good shepherd, a providing shepherd. He came that we may have life, and have it to the full. Do you know the English word of Life? In Greek, there are two ways to translate it:  one isbio”, in Greek, which meansphysical life”, literally means “to exist”. Another way to translate it is zoe”, which meansabundant life”. One is exist, another one is abundant life! God wants us to have abandant life than just exist.  He is the Creator of all, He wants us to have the eternal life, the most wonderful life.

 

Some say, "Larry, I know how to get a wonderful life, as long as I achieve my dream, I can have enough money. I've got a good job. Money can help me to buy what I want and I can have a wonderful life.” Let me tell you this, “Money can buy a house, but cannot buy a home.  Money can buy a bed, but not sleep.  Money can buy food, but not appetite.  Money can buy clock, but not time. Money can buy medicine, but not health.”  You see, money is not the answer.  The whole message of the Bible is that, the Creator of the Universe wants to have an intimate relationship with us. He loves you, and wamts to give you abundant life, not taking away from you! He is the One Who created all of these,  He wants to bless us, and He wants you to receive it, don't miss it. Please ask God, "I want to receive it, I want to have an abundant life, I want to have an eternal life, Lord please come into my life and lead me!"

 

In the Bible there are many verses talking about Shepherd. In Psalm 23:1-3, King David paised, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pasture, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.”   What a beautiful picture! He leads me beside still water. To my knowledge, sheep are afraid of running waters, so shepherd have to find a quiet body water for the sheep so that they can drink, the good shepherd desires us to have the best for us. He knows truly what we need and shepherd cares for his sheep, like the Lord cares us! He provides all our needs, he guides them, providing them, comforting them and loving them. That is our GOD!  our God is a providing shepherd! Sometimes, the way he provides is different from what we expected, different from what we thought.

 

Let me share my story,  I remember a couple of years ago, we were going back to my hometown to celebrate the Chinese New Year. For those of you living in Beijing, you know how hard it is to get train tickets to go back home, we wanted to have train tickets to sit. So my wife and I prayed, asking God, "Please, Lord help us get the train tickets with seats." That was our prayer. If you want to buy a ticket, you have to go and get in advance. I  got up very early around 5:00 am, went to buy the tickets, and I continued to pray on the way. When I got there before the ticket windows opened, I saw so many people already there lining in the queue. I was so disappointed. “Maybe I do not have a chance to get a ticket". I know once the window is open for half of an hour, all the tickets for back to my hometown are going to be gone. I just saw a long queue. I thought, "One hour? I am not going to get a ticket with a seat!" So, I waited for an hour, finally my turn. I went to the window and said, "I want tickets with seats." So, they checked this train,  “Sorry, all the tickets with seats were sold out. We only have standing tickets without seats. Do you still want them?" I said, "Okay, I will take them." So, I bought the tickets and went back home, thought that looked like we were not going to have a seat. I know what we are going to do, I want to buy some folding chairs so I can bring the chairs on the train so we can sit if I can find a spot on the train. So, I bought two folding chairs.  On the day, on the train, there were a lot of people. I kept praying, "God, hope we can find a seat." So, I walked through the different carriage.   We found out there were two seats! Nobody sit there! So we sat there and talked to our neighbours, and so great, we found out one of our neighbours was a Christian. We talked. Even more grateful, we got a chance to share the Gospel with our neighbours together, and share our testimonies! So wonderful! I'd never thought those things were going to happen.

 

After the New Year, from my hometown back to Beijing, we got the midnight train tickets, it would run at probably 0:05 am. My parents even got sleepers for us, we were very thankful for that. So we were back on the train again, we showed train station the tickets, unexpectedly they said, “You know what, you came the wrong day.” “What do you mean? The wrong day?” “You see the ticket, 5 minutes past… you were supposed to have come yesterday.” “What am I going to do with these two sleeper tickets?” “I am sorry, we cannot help you.”  I was so disappointed, “Why did you not come yesterday?” I was just complaining to myself, talking in my heart to God, “Ah, why didn't you remind us of all these things?” We just waited there and one steward came to the carriage and said, "We have two seat-tickets, who want it?" I was going to say, "Yes.” But somebody has already took their money out and gave it to the steward. OK, we were late. About another half an hour, we waited there, everybody was sleeping, lying against the side, or  sleeping. I was just praying, “How come we have got two sleepers, why we have to turn up, standing here, and it is so crowded.” Ah, I just felt so bad. About half an hour later, like I said, a steward came, and said, “you were the one who got a sleeper and came for the wrong day, right?” “Yes.” “…We have two more sleepers, do you want it?”  “Of course!”   We got sleepers and came back. Just not what I'd expected. Our God is a providing God. Sometimes, the way he provides is just not the way we expected. He wants to see what we would reacts in those situations.

 

 

3.         Jesus is a protecting shepherd.

 

John 10:11-13 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

The third point is this: “Jesus is a protecting shepherd.” Our Lord Jesus loves us more than we can imagine. He sacrificed Himself for the sheep, He laid down His life for us. When we were still sinners, before we knew Him, we were against Him, He loves us! There is no one like our God, like the shepherd, He has a deep love for His sheep. Our Jesus has a deep love for us. This life-changing love that God desires us to have it. Jesus lived a perpect life and sets such a good example for us to follow, being a good leader in the Kingdom of God.

 

Brothers and sisters, maybe you are one of the leaders in your group, or one of the leaders in your fellowship; one of leaders in your company or your family. God wants you to serve, love them sacrificially. You see, this kind of love is so different from this world. A leader in this world is more like “what can I get”, “how can people change and follow me, and meet my requirements”, “they all change and meet my requirements”. But being a good leader, a loving leader, God wants us to love others, serve others.  Have you noticed the differences between the hired hand and the good shepherd. The hired hand, he gets paid and watches the sheep. When the wolf came, he would run away, very fast.  But the good shepherd, on the other hand,  they watch the sheep closely, and when wolves come, they would battle with the wolves, never abandon his sheep.

 

We are Christians, we are not alone. Some of you here, maybe you are going through some tough situations. There are many wolves surrounding in your life. But I want to remind you, we are not alone. Jesus is the protecting shepherd, He will protect us. He is the One Who cares for us, comforts us, gives us joy. If God is with us, whom shall I fear? 

 

4.         Jesus is a personal shepherd. 

John 10:14-15 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father— and I lay down my life for the sheep.

My fourth point is this: “Jesus is a personal shepherd.” He knows my name, He knows your name, and He knows everyone. He knows our sorrow, our pain, and our ache right now. We know that we can talk to God anytime anywhere anything. Is there anyone who can do that? Or a friend can do that? He is our best friend, He is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. He cares about you, He listens to you, protects you. He is so wonderful!

Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

That is our God. There are two styles of shepherding, One way is driving the sheep behind by force. Another way is leading the sheep by voice. One is driving, one is leading, do you see the difference? God asks us, “Come and follow me; come and follow me!” He leads the way. He gives us the freedom to choose the life we wants.

 

John 10:16, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

He goes to search for the wandering ones.  Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.”   Luke 15:4-7, " Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully put it on his shoulders and go home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together, and says, ’Rejoice with me, I have found my lost sheep!"    You see, every lost soul is important to our God. He wants everyone to be saved. I  love this parable; when the shepherd found the sheep, instead of blaming the sheep, he comforts the sheep, puts the sheep over his shoulder, and he loves the sheep so much. In China, the population is about 1.4 billion people. There are probably 1 billion people are not Christians yet, never heard of the gospe, God wants us to reach out to tell them the Good News.

 

Living in this world, in this busy city, there are so many messages, so many voices, where life is just so busy. I think just like the Shepherd, we need to spend time with God, rest in Him, quiet our hearts, listen to Him speaking and asking us. Ask God give us an ear to hear, maybe through reading the scripture, maybe through sharing with brothers or sisters, or by other means. We need to have that desire to get closer with God; listen to what He wants us to hear. Also, ask God to give us the courage to obey and follow Him in our daily life, He knows what is best for us.

 

 

5.         Application:

 

Today, I've talked about:

  • “Jesus is the gate of salvation”,
  • “Jesus is the providing shepherd”,
  • “Jesus is the protecting shepherd”
  • and “Jesus is the personal shepherd”.

What is the action point for today? I wrote down two points. One: “Accept Jesus as your Saviour and your shepherd.” For some of you who do not know the Lord yet,  I want to encourage you to take this step and say, “Yes, I want you to be my savior and shepherd. Lord, I want to have the abounding life. I want you to protect me, provide for me and care about me.”

 

My second action point is this, “Do something unexpectedly to show God’s love.” For some of you who already know God, and accepted Jesus as your savior, I want to ask you to do something unexpectedly to show people God’s love. God shows us what unexpected love is, He wants us to love others, love neighbours just like ourselves. Can you imagine what would it be like if everyone in this church does something unexpectedly to show God’s love? Thousands of people showing people God’s love, how beautiful is that? What you can do is, today, you can invite newcomers for lunch, or encourage the host team, living, working so hard, standing there, helping people to find seats; or worship team, leading us to pray and worship God; or maybe encourage me, I need encouragement. Or maybe you can send a message, or call you friends, say, “I love you; God loves you!” Do something, pray and talk to God, God will give you an idea. Do something unexpectedly to show people God’s love, to show people God’s love. Some of you here, you have not received Jesus as your savior, some of you maybe for the first time to come to church. You do not even know why you are here. I want to ask you, to think about it. If you want to accept Jesus as your savior, after the service, you can come to the front, we have a prayer team pray for you. Can we all stand and pray together?

 

Ending prayer:  Heavenly Father, we thank you for loving us! Lord, we ask you to give us ears to hear, fill our hearts with your love, and we can deeply love others and people around us. Father, I want to pray for people who want to receive you as their Lord and savior. While you are standing, you can say “Yes” to Jesus. Lord, please work in our hearts, speak to us this week, and we want to do something unexpectedly to show people God’s love. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

Resources:

Sermon Video: The Good Shepherd and His Sheep video mp3
Worship song: Come, now is the time to worship mp3 lyric
Worship song: O Great God mp3 lyric
Worship song: Fairest Lord Jesus mp3 lyric
Worship song: I Rest in Your Peace mp3 lyric
Worship song: Seek ye first mp3 lyric
Welcome song mp3 lyric

   


 

Summary by Catherine team

Edited by Claire  

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