THE SHEPHERD OF YOUR SOUL
A. Introduction: Jesus said in Luke 12:32 that we do not have to fear because we are God's flock.
1. For several weeks we have been talking about what it means that God is our Shepherd.
a. God chose to call us sheep and Himself our Shepherd to help us understand some things about Himself, about ourselves, and about the relationship He wants to have with us.
b. Sheep require more attention and care than any other class of livestock. A shepherd's life was one of dedication to the welfare and protection of his flock. A sheep's lot in life depended entirely upon the character of his shepherd. Our Shepherd is the Good Shepherd.
2. God referred to placecountry-regionIsrael as the sheep of His pasture and Himself as their Shepherd. Ps 79:13; Ps 80:1; etc.
a. placecountry-regionIsrael repeatedly wandered from God to worship false gods. But, God's promise to them was that He would one day regather, restore, and shepherd His scattered flock.
1. Ezek 34:15--I myself will be the Shepherd of my sheep, and cause them to lie down in peace, the Lord says. (Living Bible).
2. God promised to raise up a Shepherd for His people, one who is good at His job, a Good Shepherd, One who would feed and guide His people. Ezek 34:23,24
3. When He was on earth Jesus took the title of Good Shepherd for Himself (John timeMinute11Hour1010:11,14). In this lesson we want to continue our discussion of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.
B. There was controversy in the nation of placecountry-regionIsrael over who Jesus was. Some said He was from God. Others said He was a sinner and a blasphemer (John timeMinute12Hour197:12,30,40, 43; timeMinute16Hour99:16; timeMinute19Hour1010:19; etc.). When Jesus healed a blind man on the Sabbath Day in John 9 the debate over who Jesus was heated up.
1. Jesus responded by telling two parables in which He declared Himself to be the Good Shepherd of Israel and of other sheep as well. John 10:1-18
a. Jesus said He was the true Shepherd because He had entered by the door of the sheepfold (v1-5). He said that He, the Shepherd, is also the door or entry way into the sheepfold (v9). b. Jesus said that all who enter by the door (acknowledge Him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life) enter into salvation. John 10:9--If anyone goes in through me he will have salvation. (Basic); If any man goes in through me he will be safe and sound. (Phillips).
2. To understand what the Good Shepherd has done for us, is doing for us, and will do for us, we must understand some things about salvation.
a. The people to whom Jesus first spoke these words were Old Covenant men. They were awaiting the salvation of God. Consider what salvation meant to them.
1. That word salvation in the Hebrew is YSHUWAH. It means deliverance, help, victory, prosperity. It can be translated deliverance, health, help, salvation, welfare.
2. Isa 25:6-9--In Jerusalem, the Lord Almighty will spread a wonderful feast for everyone around the world. It will be a delicious feast of good food, with clear, well-aged wine and choice beef. In that day he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears…(New Living Bible). v9 calls all of this salvation.
b. Mankind is in need of salvation from sin and its consequence which is death in all its forms. Gen timeMinute17Hour142:17; Rom timeMinute12Hour175:12; Rom timeMinute23Hour186:23; Deut 28:15-68
1. At the Cross Jesus joined us in death to take us through death, bring us out of death, and give us eternal life (Heb timeMinute14Hour142:14,15). Jesus equates salvation with receiving life (John 10:9,10,28). 2. Salvation is much more than not going to hell. Saved, in the Greek, is the verb SOZO. It includes the idea of healing, wholeness, deliverance, safety, and soundness. Through salvation God has provided us with everything we need for this life and the next.
3. II Pet 1:3--His divine power has given us everything we need for our physical and spiritual life. This has come to us through our getting to know Him… (Norlie)
c. We could do many wonderful lessons about what Jesus has provided for us through His death, burial, and resurrection. But, we want to emphasize it what He, the Shepherd, shows us about God's care for us and why we do not have to fear because the Lord is our Shepherd.
3. Jesus said that He, the Good Shepherd, came to save the sheep by giving His life for them. John 10:11
--Lays down His life for the sheep (ABUV); Will give his life for the sake of his sheep (Phillips).
a. In the natural, a good shepherd's life was committed to the welfare of his sheep. He spent countless hours with them, guiding, providing, and protecting them. Shepherds sometimes risked their lives to find lost sheep or protect sheep under attack.
1. Something in a good shepherd compels him to face danger and hardship for the sake of his sheep that others (hirelings) are not willing to risk. A true shepherd values the sheep.
2. That is what this would have meant to the audience the day Jesus first spoke these words because they were all familiar with sheep and shepherding.
b. Jesus went on to say in John 10:17 that He laid down His life for the sheep. According to the Bible laying down your life for another is an expression of love. Rom 5:7,8; Eph 5:2; I John 3:16
1. In an expression of love, an act of love, Jesus the Shepherd, who is God and shows us God, laid down His life for us, died for us. He died to show us the love of God for us. I John 4:8,9
2. Jesus died to put away sin (Heb 9:26) so He could bring us to God (I Pet 3:18) so relationship could be established. In John 10 Jesus says He lays down His life for His sheep. In John 15:13 Jesus reveals that His sheep are also His friends.
4. Jesus, the Good Shepherd said He laid His life down to take it up again. John 10:17--To receive it back again (NEB); I am giving my life, but giving it to take it back again (Goodspeed). Jesus laid down His life for the sheep to make it possible for Him to give us life, to become our life.
a. Jesus gave His life to give us life. When Jesus was raised from the dead we were also given life.
Eph 2:5--And he, in giving life to Christ, gave life to us too. (Knox)
1. Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection made the new birth possible. Through the new birth we, in our spirit, are united to eternal life, the life in Jesus. Christ, the Good Shepherd is now our life. I John 5:11,12; Col 3:4
2. That life has made us literal sons of God who are holy and blameless in His sight. We now have the same standing before the Father that Jesus has. I John 5:1; Eph 4:24; I John 4:17; II Pet 1:4; II Cor 5:17,18 etc.
b. We could do many wonderful lessons on what it means to have eternal life in our spirit, what it means to be born of God. But, consider what this shows us about the Shepherd's care for us.
1. Jesus said in John 10:10 that He had come so that the sheep might have abundant life: And have it overflowing in them. (Beck); And have it to the full. (Moffatt); My purpose is to give eternal life -- abundantly (Taylor).
2. That sounds like a sheep who does not lack, whose cup is running over, who belongs to a Good Shepherd. Ps 23:5--My cup is full! (Young's Literal Translation); My fortunes prosper greatly (Harrison); Blessings overflow! (Taylor); My [brimming] cup runs over. (Amp)
C. We need not fear because our Shepherd's provision covers every part of our life and being. The Good Shepherd gave His life to provide salvation (life) for the outward man and the inward man.
1. Israel's deliverance from bondage in Egypt is called redemption (Ex 15:13; etc.). It is a picture of salvation. God brought Israel out of bondage in Egypt to bring them into a land of plenty, a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex 3:8; etc.) -- a land of green pastures.
a. In John 10, when Jesus told His audience that He, the Good Shepherd, would bring them to pasture through salvation, they would have understood that to include material, physical provision.
b. When Adam, and man in Adam, left Father's house and went astray, went into the pig pen of sin, we left full provision, the Garden of Eden. We left green pastures and still waters. The Good Shepherd, through salvation, brings us back to green pastures and still waters.
2. When God promised Israel that He, the Shepherd, would regather His people from their sin and lost condition, He also promised them that He would establish a New Covenant with them and give them a new heart, one eager to know and serve Him. Ezek 36:25-27; Jer 31:31-34
a. The Good Shepherd shed His Blood, the blood of the New Covenant, at Calvary and gave His life for us to remove our sins and make it possible for us to receive His life through the new birth.
b. The new birth begins a process that will ultimately restore us to what we were always meant to be in every part of our being -- holy, blameless sons of God.
1. Our spirit was transformed by the life of God at the new birth. Our body will be transformed by the life of God at the rapture of the Church and resurrection of the dead (Phil 3:20,21). 2. Our soul (mind and emotions) can be brought under the control of the life of God is us in this life as our mind is renewed (II Cor 3:18).
3. We could do whole lessons on this subject but the point for our discussion is that we are finished works in progress -- fully God's sons but not yet fully conformed to the image of Christ in every part of our being. But, God now deals with us on the basis of the part that is finished and He who has begun a good work in us will complete it. So we do not have to fear. I John 3:2; Rom 8:29; Phil 1:6
a. Heb 13:20,21--God, the Good Shepherd, is now working in us by His life to make us perfect. The word perfect means to complete thoroughly, i.e. repair or adjust (lit or fig). It indicates returning a dislocated limb to its proper place. It has the idea to be suitable, as one should be, no deficiency.
b. The work God does in us is pleasing to Him. v21--Working in us whatever is pleasing in his eyes (Basic); Through the power of Christ (Taylor).
c. God the Good Shepherd works in us by His life, by His Spirit and His word. He does not work “on” us by sending us difficult circumstances. Therefore we need not fear.
4. God is called the God of peace in Heb 13:20. To the Hebrew audience peace was SHALOM which includes the idea of safe, well, happy, and can be translated health, welfare, peace, and prosperity. God is the Good Shepherd who cares for us -- physically and spiritually, inwardly and outwardly -- watchfully and affectionately. Therefore, we need not fear.
D. One way shepherds who are good at their job give their life for their sheep is through their constant watchfulness and attention to their sheep. Our Shepherd is equally attentive.
1. Jesus now lives to make intercession for us. Jesus saves us now (SOZO), by praying for us. Heb 7:25
a. Heb 7:25--Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost -- completely, perfectly, finally and for all time and eternity -- those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them. (Amp)
b. We do not have to fear because God is for us and, because He is for us, nothing can be against us (Rom 8:31). Things may come against us but they are temporary and subject to change because the Good Shepherd is at the right hand of God praying for us (Rom 8:34).
2. What does Jesus pray for us? We have several examples in scripture where Jesus prayed for people.
a. In Luke 22:31,32 Jesus prayed for Peter. Peter needed prayer because he was about to fail in a big way. He was about to abandon Jesus and deny he even knew Him.
1. Jesus tried to warn Peter that he was not as strong as he thought (v33,34). But, Peter didn't listen. When Peter later realized what he had done he was overcome with grief and guilt -- vulnerable to every lie and condemnation from the devil.
2. But, the Good Shepherd saw the wolf lurking and prayed for His sheep that his feelings of guilt and condemnation, plus Satan's lies, would not drive him away and make him useless.
b. In this world we will have tribulation -- not from God, but from life in a sin cursed earth. 1. However, our Shepherd is on guard to protect us, guide us, and provide for us in and through the hardships of life.
2. Through His intercession for us Jesus causes things to work for good for us. Rom 8:26-28
3. In John 17 Jesus prayed what is known as His High Priestly prayer. Our Shepherd is our High Priest. Jesus prays that our created purpose be fulfilled -- sonship, relationship, demonstration of God's glory.
a. v1-8--Jesus begins by praying that the Father would bring glory to Himself through the Son and accomplish His plan to give eternal life to His people. He then lists the accomplishments of His mission to earth thus far.
b. In v9,10 Jesus prays for His followers. He prays that God would keep them (v11,12). Keep comes from a word that means to guard from loss or injury by keeping an eye on.
c. Jesus prays for His followers that they would have joy and be protected from evil (lit. from the Evil One--v13,15). Jesus further prays that the Father would cleanse us through His word. v17-- Make them holy by the truth. (Phillips)
d. In v20 Jesus makes it clear that He is not just praying for His eleven disciples. He is praying for all who will believe on His name -- including us. He prays that we would be one through union with the Father and Son. He prays that God's love for us would be obvious to the world. v21-25 e. v26--And I have revealed and will reveal your Being (Rieu) so that the love you have shown to me may be felt in them, and I in union with them (Williams).
4. We do not need to fear because our Shepherd keeps His eyes on us and by continuing to give His life for us to save us to the uttermost by praying for us.
a. No matter what we face our Shepherd is praying for us, working behind the scenes. He leads us in the paths of righteousness and prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies.
b. He has a plan to cause it all to serve His purposes, to bring genuine good out of genuine bad, and to get us through until He gets us out. Goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives.
E. Conclusion: There are many more things we could say about Jesus as our Shepherd, but consider these final points as we close this series of teachings on why we need not fear because we are His flock.
1. Jesus is the Shepherd and Bishop (watchman) of our souls. I Pet 2:25--Shepherd and Guardian of your souls (20th Cent); who keeps watch over your souls (Knox); keeps you safe from all attacks. (Taylor)
a. Just as sheep in the natural draw peace from looking at their shepherd looking at our Shepherd brings peace to our souls.
b. We keep our eyes on our Shepherd by looking at His word which tells us what He has done, is doing, and will do. When you know the Shepherd is on the job it brings peace to your soul.
2. A good shepherd leads, guides, and provides. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has brought us to a land of full provision through the Cross. He guides us by His Spirit and His word. He protects us. Because He is for us, praying for us, nothing can be permanently against us.
3. Fear is based on your perception of reality. To deal with your fears change your perception.
a. Recognize that the Good Shepherd, the ever present Shepherd, is with you. We are always in His view. He is always in our view -- if we will look for Him.
b. John 10:27,28--You are secure in the Shepherd's care and nothing can pluck you (snatch, tear, wrest) you from His hands.