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Summary: Jesus is the Good Shepherd who calls for His sheep to follow.

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*Ask the children in the congregation: If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

Why is it that no one ever says they want to be a sheep? It is never a mascot of a sports team. But from the Christian perspective, it is often seen as a romantic or complimentary thought to who we are.

I. Attributes of sheep-nothing romantic or complimentary about sheep

1. Stupid and stubborn-ever seen a trained sheep?At the circus, come see the dancing elephants, funny monkeys and trained sheep? They are simplehearted

2. Dirty and Wayward-NOT THE SERTA SHEEP WE SEE ON TV. They easily wander and never learn from their mistakes

3. Easily frightened and confused-known to plunge off cliffs in their fear and confusion

4. Defenseless and dependant.

5. Need guidance and protection.

6. May not be complimentary to be a sheep (we are sinful, obstinate, rebellious and foolish), but it is comforting to know we have a good shepherd.

Read John 10:1-18

II. Jesus, The Good Shepherd

1. THE GATE TO THE SHEEP FOLD

a. He is the ONLY WAY IN-John 14:6

b. Come in and find pasture/Abundant life

c. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy

2. THE GOOD SHEPHERD KNOWS HIS SHEEP

a. Intimate knowledge-We like to be known

i. Knew Simon JOHN 1:42

ii. Knew Zaccheus

b. KNOWS OUR NATURES

i. While all sheep are alike in their fundamental nature, each has its own distinctive characteristics.

ii. The loving shepherd recognizes these and deals with all differently, yet with the same love

iii. 12 Disciples were different, but Jesus dealt with each of them.

c. Since He Knows our natures, HE KNOWS OUR NEEDS

i. PSALM 23

ii. Phillip Keller A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23

When all is said and done the welfare of any flock is entirely dependent upon the management afforded them by their owner. The tenant sheepman on the farm next to my first ranch was the most indifferent manager I had ever met. He was not concerned about the condition of his sheep. His land was neglected. He gave little or no time to his flock, letting them pretty well forage for themselves as best they could, both summer and winter. They fell prey to dogs, cougars and rustlers. Every year these poor creatures were forced to gnaw away at brown fields and impoverished pastures. Every winter there was a shortage of nourishing hay and wholesome grain to feed the hungry ewes. Shelter to safeguard and protect the suffering sheep from storms and blizzards was scanty and inadequate.

They had only polluted, muddy water to drink. There had been a lack of salt and other trace minerals needed to offset their sickly pastures. In their thin, weak and diseased condition these poor sheep were a pathetic sight.

In my mind’s eye, I can still see them standing at the fence, huddled sadly in little knots, staring wistfully through the wires at the rich pastures on the other side.

To all their distress, the heartless, selfish owner seemed utterly callous and indifferent. He simply didn’t not care. What if his sheep DID want green grass; fresh water; shade; safety or shelter from the storms? What if they did want relief from wounds, bruises, disease and parasites?

He ignored their needs-he couldn’t care less. Why should he-they were just sheep-fit only for the slaughterhouse.

I never looked at those poor sheep without an acute awareness that this was a precise picture of those wretched old taskmasters, Sin and Satan, on their derelict ranch-scoffing at the plight of those within their power.

iii. In pastures, by water, or in the valley, the sheep need not fear because the shepherd is caring for them.

iv. As the shepherd cares for the sheep, the sheep get to know the shepherd better.

3. THE GOOD SHEPHERD LEADS HIS SHEEP

a. Sheep know the voice of the shepherd and they follow only HIS voice

b. When the stranger comes, they run!

4. THE GOOD SHEPHERD PROTECTS THE SHEEP

a. He is the sacrificial shepherd, one how places Himself between His sheep and any attacks.

b. SHEPHERD vs. HIRED HAND

c. WILLIAM BARCLAY The Gospel of John

A real shepherd was born to his task. He was sent out with the flock as soon as he was old enough to go; the sheep became his friends and his companions; and it became second nature to think of them before he thought of himself. But the false shepherd came into the job, not as a calling but as a means of making money. He was in it simply and solely for the pay he could get. He might even be a man who had taken to the hills because the town was to hot to hold him. He had no sense of the height and the responsibility to the task. He was only a hireling.

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