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Summary: He stands with us when evil tries to attack us.  He directs our thoughts and guides our actions.  We just need to choose to follow His directions.

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I Am, the Good Shepherd

Date: March 18, 2012

Scripture: John 10:11-15, 18

Introduction

As you may know by personal experience, most of us go through an identity crisis of sorts at some point in our lives.

For some reason, when we get to this particular stage in life many of us become unsure as to who we are or why we have been put on this planet.

 There's an old youth choir anthem that expresses this feeling. It's lyrics ask,

"Why was I born? What am I living for? If I should die, what would I be dying for? Is there an answer to my question? Is there an answer to my plea?"

 Many/us go through our own time/asking/very same questions.

 Some who face this identity crisis simply change their major in college or change jobs.

 Or maybe they say, “I need time to find myself!”

 I'm tired/playing all these roles/society says I have to play.

 I'm tired of being the ME/my FRIENDS expect me to be...

 The ME the CHURCH expects me to be...

 The ME that my PARENTS expect me to be.

I've got to peel away each of these socially prescribed identities.

 Or these socially constructed roles.

 I've got to peel them away-peel them away do you hear?

 I’ve got to come to grips with the core of my being...

 The essence of my personality.

Suppose after you peel away each of these socially prescribed identities;

after you peel away each of these socially created selves you discover you are an onion?

There is a common presupposition in our culture that everybody has a self waiting to be found.

 If this were true someone would have found it long ago.

 The only way to create self...

 is through commitment to something in life

And the only commitment that is worth giving your SELF over to is a commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

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In fact it is only in THIS commitment that we FIND what we are seeking.

Do you remember what Jesus said about this issue? ..whoever loses his life for My sake, will find it. (Matthew 10:39b)

 Because we/custom-designed for a relationship with God.

 Each of us is uniquely-gifted for a specific role in His kingdom.

In Ephesians 2:10 Paul says, We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 It is only in giving our-SELVES over to God's purposes that we find the reason for our existence

 And then a sense of direction that comes with that all-important commitment.

I found myself...my life's purpose...my reason for being...when I surrendered to Jesus' call in my life. I found myself in losing myself within His will.

Sermon

And you know, unlike us, Jesus never had an identity crisis.

 He never had to go out in search of Himself.

 Even/age of 12 our Lord knew exactly why He was here.

Remember what He said to His parents when, after a frantic search, they found Him in the temple in Jerusalem teaching the priests a thing or two?

 He explained Himself by saying that his life purpose was, ...to be about His Father's business.

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Throughout His life Jesus made other statements that showed He very clearly KNEW Who He was and WHY He was here.

 Many/statements/recorded/Gospel of John/we refer to them as the I AM sayings of Jesus.

 You probably know them by heart.

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During this Easter season I want us to study several of our Lord's I AM sayings.

Study them in the hopes that we will come to know Him better here at Shell Point and in the process will find ourselves in a renewed commitment to His lordship.

 Next Sunday/focus/John 6:35/Jesus said, I AM...the Bread of life.

 On April 8th, EASTER SUNDAY, we'll study John 11:25 where our Lord said, I AM...the resurrection and the life.

 April 15 we will focus on John 14:6where Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except by Me.

Today we begin with John 10 where Jesus said, I AM...the Good Shepherd.

Open your Bibles to these words in John 10:11:15 and 10:18

Now of all the I AM sayings, this one is the most beloved and I think it is for two basic reasons.

1. First off, we are drawn to this particular I AM saying because each of us instinctively knows how desperately we need a shepherd.

Deep down inside we realize that we require guidance or leadership-also known as shepherding-to make our way down the roads of life.

 I mean, think about it.

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