Summary: What does it mean to listen to and follow the voice of the Good Shepherd?

Thursday chapel PASTORS DAY

John 10: "My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me."

Do you remember that image you saw on Monday, of all of those sheep following behind the shepherd? The shepherd would make a noise, and the sheep would recognize that noise, and they would follow the shepherd.

There was once a visitor to the middle east who was sitting on top of a hill overlooking some water. He looked down and could see all these different flocks of sheep converging on this stream. Five different flocks of sheep, all coming together - a giant mass of sheep, all getting mixed up together. The visitor looked at this and wondered, how in the world are those shepherds going to figure out which sheep are theirs? What a mess! When all the flocks were done drinking the water - each shepherd started walking in a different direction, and each shepherd started making his own unique noise. And like magic, that big mass of sheep separated into their different flocks, and followed the shepherd who had brought them there.

Jesus said, "My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me."

Do you follow Jesus? The noise he makes comes from his Word. As Christians living in this world, you hear all kinds of ideas. You hear all kinds of suggestions of how to live your life, what you should say and how you should act. Who do you follow? My sheep listen to my voice, Jesus says, and they follow me.

Obey your parents, the voice of Jesus says. Do you follow that? But I don't feel like their rules, we might say. Obey the laws of the land, the voice of Jesus says. But what about that law that says do not drink until you're 21? What about this weekend - May Banquet - it's a special weekend, so I can do whatever I want. That's not Jesus talking to you. That's the Devil. If you sin, you'll be happier. That's not Jesus talking to you - that's your sinful nature. Here are some more lies - If you get involved in underage drinking, people will like you more - not true. If you give in to sexual temptation, your relationship with that special someone will get stronger - once again, not true. That's not Jesus talking to you. That's the world.

My sheep listen to my voice, Jesus says, and they follow me. Who will you follow this weekend? Seniors, who will you follow when you graduate from this school. Will you listen to all the lies that float your way, lies that tell you to experiment with sin because you'll be happier and more content if you do?

When we listen to Jesus, what do we hear? The first thing we hear is that we are forgiven of all of our sins. Our good shepherd forgives us for all the times we have strayed away from him. If you've ever fallen into a temptation because you thought you'd be happier if you sin - Jesus responds by saying, "I forgive you - I laid down my life for you" - do you hear the voice of the Good Shepherd?

What else does our good shepherd tell us? Trust me - that's what he says. Trust me. When you are faced with the possibility of sinning, and you resist, you are trusting the voice of your Good Shepherd. He promises to bless your life, he promises to give you contentment and joy and peace, as you reject all the lies of the world, as you listen to his voice, and follow him.

Do you trust him enough to follow him? He has proven to you that you can trust him, when he laid down his life for you. Follow Jesus, this weekend, and forever. We pray:

Dear Lord Jesus, forgive us for all the times we've gone astray. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for laying down your life for us, the sheep. Thank you for taking our sins away by your death on the cross. Give us the strength to follow you, to trust in all of your promises, to resist sin, and to believe that you will bless us. Amen.

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