Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Mar 6, 2016 Sermon

“I Am the Good Shepherd”
John 10:1 – 15
Ted Jansen  March 6, 2016  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        “I Am the Good Shepherd!”  Jesus spoke those words to people to describe how He wanted to be known.  We have looked at several I AM statements that Jesus used.  Today we look at two statements related to sheep.  There were shepherds and sheep in Jesus’ day as there are today in the hills and wilderness of Israel and the Middle East.    
            In John 10:1 when Jesus begins talking about people who would jump over the gate to get into the sheep He called them thief’s and robbers.  If you want to care for sheep you enter the gate, not by jumping over the fence.  The robbers wanted to hurt the sheep. 
The Good Shepherd is different from a hired hand, a thief, or a robber.  The Good Shepherd is not motivated because of the money, or a task that has to be done, or this is the only job they can do.  The Good Shepherd was in a relationship with the sheep based on love.  The Good Shepherd loved the sheep.  The sheep needed love and guidance.  This was a relationship of love.     
            Jesus wants us to hear that the Good Shepherd loves the sheep. 
 
2.)        The Good Shepherd loves you and cares about you.  We have a Shepherd, a loving God, who wants to be in relationship with people.  Our Shepherd will lead us, care for us, protect us. 
            Consider the 23rd Psalm, words that David wrote, about his relationship with the Lord.  A good shepherd, as David was, is one that loves and lays down his life for the sheep.  Let these words give you an image of God as our Shepherd. (Psalm 23, The Message)      
God, my shepherd!  I don’t need a thing.  You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.  True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.   Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.  Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.   You serve me a six-course dinnerright in front of my enemies.  You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.   Your beauty and love chase after meevery day of my life.  I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.”
               
3.)        We know that our Good Shepherd loves us and is looking out for us.  We know that even when we wander away from the Shepherd and end up lost we never leave God’s heart.      
            Jesus spoke of lost sheep when he told a parable in Luke 15:1 – 7.  Jesus said that if you had 100 sheep and lost one you would go out and look for that sheep.  When you find that lost sheep you put it on your shoulder and bring it back.  You would rejoice and want people to celebrate with you.  Jesus said in Luke 15:7, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous person who do not need to repent.”     
              The shepherd is in the business of finding lost sheep and loving them. 
 
4.)        Have you ever been lost?  Have you ever wandered away from God?  Have you ever found yourself in a place where you needed a Good Shepherd? 
Do you know a person that is lost?  Do you know a person that has or is wandering from God?  Do you know someone that needs a Good Shepherd?  Is there someone in your family, your neighborhood, your place of work, that is lost and far from God?    
            Liz Curtis Higgs is a popular Christian woman’s speaker and author.  I read her testimony about how she led a wild life of sex and drugs and radio for years.  Then a new Christian couple came to the radio station that she worked out and loved her.  Here are Liz’s own words about this couple. 
They didn't judge me, they didn't tell me to clean up my act, they didn't act like I was weird or unsaveable, or not fun to be around. They ignored the smell of marijuana smoke on my clothes. They just accepted me and they loved me right where I was. Most people cannot resist the love of God. Grace is irresistible as long as it's presented in the cleanest, untainted form, and that's how they gave it to me. They just loved me, without requiring anything of me, I didn't even have to love them back. They just loved me.
This couple invited Liz to church and eventually gave her life to Christ.  She heard the Shepherd call her name and love her.     
            I want you to hear the news that you are loved right where you are, just as you are by the Good Shepherd and that the Shepherd wants to be in a personal relationship with you. 
 
5.)        Jesus, the Good Shepherd also said, “I Am the Gate.” (John 10:7, 9)  Let me create the image as it relates to sheep and their pen.       
            In Jesus’ day the sheep pens were made out of rocks in the desert.  We saw them when we were there in Israel.  The opening to the pen, or area of rocked in shelter, was the gate.  This is where the shepherd would sit and the sheep would come in and go out. 
 
6.)        The shepherd with his body was the gate.  The shepherd, as the gate, would prevent any hostile animals from getting inside to the sheep.  The Shepherd would prevent the sheep from leaving and getting into danger. 
            The shepherd, as the gate, would determine when it was time for the sheep to leave and go out to eat and drink.  The shepherd, as the gate, would determine when the sheep needed to come back to the pen.    Jesus said, “I am the gate.”      
             
7.)        As we think about sheep and the gate consider your need to go out and come back. 
I invite you to think about your life and ask you are you thinking or planning more about some vacation time or a home rebuilding project?  How many of you were focused on vacation, home improvement?   Is your life more focused on going out or coming back in?      
 
8.)        Each church needs a balance of coming and going.  We need to care for those in the flock who are in the pen and reach out to the sheep that are outside the pen.      
The Fruitful Congregation Journey Team is reading a book called “Get Their Name.”  It is a book that teaches people how to build a relationships with those not connected to Christ and the church.  We love so that the Good Shepherd might love them and lead them back to the flock.    
            It is important to take care of the congregation’s needs and to take care of the needs of the community.  This is a challenge but with Jesus as the gate we realize how important it is.  
             
9.)        As we celebrate Communion know that we are loved by a Good Shepherd.  Let love come close to you.  Let Jesus speak to you as the gate.  Come back through the gate and rest in His grace.  Go out through the gate to go out to share the news of the loving Shepherd.   
 
10.)      Lord, God, like sheep who go astray, we have wandered from your paths of life and light. We have heard the Shepherd's voice calling us by name, but we have turned instead to our own way. O God our great Shepherd, tenderly gather us as lambs, carrying us with your all-embracing love. Yet, like sheep, we wander from you: following our own ways, ignoring your voice, distrusting your provisions. Forgive our stubborn rebellion, our hardened hearts, our lack of trust. Show us your tender mercy; restore us in the security of your fold. Lead us back to still waters, seat us again at your bounteous table. Fill us with your Spirit, that we might bear witness to your saving mercy, revealed to us in the love of our Great Shepherd, Jesus.  Amen