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.

I Am, the Good Shepherd

Date: March 18, 2012

Scripture: John 10:11-15, 18


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.


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


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, be about His Father's business.


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.


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.

 How many times in the past week have you asked someone for their opinion on a decision that you faced...

Everything from...what to wear or where to eat or how to handle a homework problem to how to handle some child-rearing or marital crisis?

All people need guidance almost constantly and they seek it everywhere from horoscopes to psychics-from parents to pastors.

 We do all this because deep inside we NEED guidance in life.

 Jesus knows we need love and friendship in our lives.

 We all need someone to be involved in our daily life

 Someone to guide us as a shepherd guides his sheep.

 Every part of a sheep’s life is important to its shepherd

 Jesus knows the everyday details and decisions of our lives,

 The difficulties, circumstances and situations that we face.

 A connection with Him gives us something far above and beyond our human relationships.

How does it make you feel, when you know that Jesus knows everything about you?

 Shepherding involves more than we can imagine.

 God, our Creator, reaches out to care for His children.

 Jesus invites us into close relationship with Him.

 The same love without limit extended to each of us by Him, whoever we are and wherever we are.

Often we think we know God’s view,

 Often we will try to force our opinion

 Even when we are wrong.

 Do you ever find yourself in a place where you think you know better than God?

 Shepherd Jesus is good

 A relationship with Him is for our benefit.

 He gives protection.

 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.


Now, to give you a word picture to help you understand why this is true, let me pose a question:

• Which animal are you and I most like?

• There are several different opinions these days.

Charles Darwin/claimed/MONKEY was/nearest animal to man and his assertion that we are descendants of apes caused quite a stir.

• It still does to this day.

And like all controversies it has been the source of several jokes.

Have you ever heard/about the ape that was seen ambling out of the public library/Bible under one arm

And a copy of Darwin's book The Origin of the Species under the other?

A passerby asked the ape what kind of research he was doing with those two books and the simian replied, I'm trying to find out whether I'm my brother's keeper or my keeper's brother.


• Now other scientists-mainly biologists-tend to think that man is most like a mouse or a rat.

They base their testing/drugs for potential human use on these rodents...

• Saying/their bodily functions are very similar to our own.

• I don't know about you but it's a little unsettling to know

• Pretty much whatever makes a rat sick will affect a human in a similar fashion.

What does THAT say about our inner nature?


Some scientists say that we are a lot like ants or bees because like humans they are social creatures that live in highly structured societies.

Others have recently compared people to dolphins because of the similar ratio of brain mass to body size.


But in the Bible we are MOST often compared to another animal-SHEEP.

David, the psalmist, a shepherd himself, employed this analogy repeatedly.

In Psalm 100:3 he said ...we are [God's] people and the SHEEP of His pasture.

In Psalm 77:2 he wrote, God, You lead Your people like a flock...

Psalm 79:13 says, We Your people and sheep of Your pasture will give You thanks forever.

One of my favorites is in Isaiah 40:11where it says that God, ...tends His flock like a Shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart. He gently leads those that are with young.

Now, I could go on and on citing scriptures that infer that we are similar to sheep.

In fact, I've lost count of how many times we humans are compared to sheep in the Bible and I think God inspired this comparison in His word so often because---

 of all the animals God created---

 The species that most NEEDS guidance is SHEEP.


First of all, no insult intended---I mean you and I are in the same boat here---

 But sheep on the whole are pretty stupid/stubborn animals.

Ask yourself, have you ever seen/group/trained sheep in a circus?

 Of course not.

 You've seen trained apes/trained mice/rats/dolphins but not sheep.

 And you never will because sheep/just too simple-minded.

Second, sheep are dirty and wayward.

 Real sheep aren't like those clean, fluffy balls of cotton depicted on greeting cards and mattress commercials.

 If you've ever seen the southern end of a northbound herd, you'll know why.

 They can't keep themselves clean, and they smell atrocious.


Plus, they tend to wander off easily, perhaps because they can't see very far....less than 15 yards.

 And, no matter how many times you bring wayward sheep back

 They are prone to wander off again because they can't learn from their mistakes.


Third, sheep are defenseless and dependent.

 They don't have much of a bite... no natural defense---

 No claws, no horns, no fangs....

 Not even a stink bag like a skunk.

 To make matters worse they are top-heavy and their legs are spindly.

 This makes them slow.

Plus they have no camouflage, so when they are being chased by a wolf they are out of luck...unless there happens to be a store that sells racks and racks of wool sweaters nearby.

 Sheep are also susceptible to all kinds of diseases....

 They will eat too much if you let them and get sick.

 They are definitely not your king-of-the-forest types.

And fourth, sheep are easily frightened and confused.

 It doesn't take much to scramble the simple mental yolk of a nervous sheep.

They've even been known to plunge straight over the edge of a high precipice in a panic, one following right after another.

 God doesn't compare us/sheep so often/His Word to put us down.

 He wants to communicate one very important truth to us.

 He wants us to know that we are designed to NEED a Guide in life.

As David wrote in the 23rd Psalm, we need Someone to lead us on paths that are righteous...

We need a Shepherd with a "rod and a staff" to protect us.

So when we read scriptures like Isaiah 53:6 where it says, We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way...

or Mark 9:36 where it says, "When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd."

Texts like this should remind us that we have an inborn need for a Shepherd.

So, one reason so many Christians are drawn to this particular I AM statement is because they understand this need.

This leads us to the second reason that this particular I AM statement of Jesus is so precious to so many of us.

2. ...Jesus is the only One Who is qualified for this task.

Now think about it.

 People need to hear the truth about Jesus;

 And we are part of that proclamation of truth.

 This is who Jesus really is, this is what he is all about:

 saving people who are lost,

 seeking relationship with God,

 People who are wandering and searching and longing for purpose in life.

Jesus is all about the salvation of humanity. All of humanity. You. Me.

 Jesus is saying he is willing to live life with us,

 Not only guide us, but to take personal care of us.

 To give us a life that is rich and full of blessing because he is part of it.

He is also offering us security and protection

To trust in him/allow him to watch over us and provide for us.

Jesus is saying that he is committed to us.

 As a shepherd owns the sheep and is therefore invested in their well-being,

 Jesus is invested in who we are and how we live.

 Jesus is not just merely doing a job

 He is prepared to give up everything for us so/we can live.

 He will rescue us. He will save us.

And He does it all because of his great love for us.

What are the items on Jesus' resume' that show Him to be capable not only to be A Shepherd/but THE GOOD Shepherd?

A. Well, first off, He knows us like no other guide could possibly know us!

He is not some stranger-some hired hand-some substitute teacher paid to do the job.

 NO, Jesus knows us.

 He has watched each man/woman be born and grow up that has existed from the foundations of the world.

As God in the flesh Jesus knows everything about us from the molecular level on out!

 Our Lord is THE GOOD Shepherd because He knows us.

We can all say with David: O Lord, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar.

 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely O Lord...for You created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb...Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. (Excerpts from Psalm 139)

 Jesus knows everything there is to know about you and your life situation.

 And this is not just an intellectual awareness.

 This is an intimate knowledge between God in the flesh and His creation.

There isn't a single motivation, thought, act, or word, that has slipped out of your being and escaped our Lord's undivided attention.

As Hebrews 4:13puts it, All things are naked and open to the eyes of God.

And not only does He know us...He WANTS to guide us through life.

Isaiah 58:11says, The Lord will guide you continually.

Psalm 25:12says, Who is the man that fears the Lord?...God will teach him the way that is best.

In Psalm 32:8 God says to us, I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.

B. And then...another fact on Jesus' resume' that makes Him qualified to be our Shepherd is the fact that not only does He know us....we know Him.

 We recognize Him when He speaks.

 We recognize the call of our Creator and Redeemer.

When we become Christians God gives us a sort of caller ID that enables us to distinguish His voice from that of our adversary.

 More time we spend with Him in prayer and Bible study

 The better this caller ID functions.

And the wonderful thing about this is

 When we heed the instructions of our Shepherd

 We not only make wise decisions that benefit us...

 We actually join God in His work and benefit others!

You see, Jesus is qualified to be our Shepherd because we know His voice

 and when we listen and do what He says,

 We join Him in seeking and saving the other lost sheep of this world.

C. But there is one other quality that makes Jesus more than capable of being our Good Shepherd.

And it is the fact that He laid down His life for His flock.

This was his purpose in coming to earth in the first place.

Do you remember what John the Baptist said when He saw Jesus coming to be baptized in the Jordan?

Behold, the Lamb of God, Who comes to take away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)

Love is the great motivator.

 A Love that God views us worth redeeming and sent his Son to do just that.

It is because of Love that Jesus lived his life among the poor,

 the outcast, the needy, the hurting,

 The desperate, the lonely.

It is because of Love that he brought his life into connection with their reality

 providing for their needs, healing their hurts,

 And reaching into their isolation.

It is because of Love that Jesus chose the Cross

 condemning himself to death

 payment for our sin,

 atonement for our fallen state,

 Resolving our fractured existence.

It is because of Love that Jesus staged the Great Rescue

 The process of bringing all of creation into right standing with the Almighty God.

 Jesus came to rescue us from our present condition of sin and separation

 from the brokenness of our world

 from the brokenness of our very own lives.

Jesus is God’s eternal pledge of love for the world (John 3:16).

 He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows...

 He was pierced for our transgressions

 Crushed for our iniquities...

 By His wounds we are healed...

 for He was led like a lamb to the slaughter

 And as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open up His mouth.


So, this I AM saying of Jesus is beloved by so many for two reasons:

We all need a Shepherd/only Jesus is qualified to meet that need.

 Jesus does not want to just meet us where we are

 and just stay there with us as we live our lives the same way,

 going through the same motions

 And fulfilling the same routines.

He wants to bring us into a new kind of life,

 a life lived in a relationship with him,

 filled with his blessing and promise,

 A life that becomes more like him with each day that goes by.

 He invites us to live a life of freedom,

 free of sin, free of condemnation,

 Free to experience everything that God has to offer.

One more you remember those first five words of the Shepherd Psalm?

The LORD is my shepherd;

I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters; He restores my soul:

He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake;

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me:

your rod and your staff, they comfort me;

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies:

You anoint my head with oil: my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

• Jesus does not condemn us.

• Jesus loves us. He has come to save us.

• Jesus is committed to us.

• And this morning he invites us to accept him and challenges us to follow him.

I want to encourage you to live a life that presents an image of Jesus Christ

• The Jesus who loves people and desires to restore a relationship with them.

• I encourage you to discover this Jesus who gave it all for you.

I challenge you to be committed to Christ as he is to you, and to allow Jesus to transform you to become more like him.


God can't be---WON'T BE---your shepherd until you make Him your Lord.

Shepherd's lead....sheep follow.

He can't...He won't lead you---until you commit your life to follow Him.

If you are here today and you don't know the GOOD Shepherd,

He is here right now and as I said a moment ago He wants to guide your life!

Even now He is calling you by name!

So it is up to you....Will you accept Him as Savior and follow Him as Lord and in so doing find yourself?

There may be other Sheep here this morning who know the Good Shepherd but don't have a fold!

You are looking for a flock to join!

I know I am biased but I think the best one on the planet meets right here!

We would love to have you become a part of this church family.

However it is that God is leading you...we invite you to follow.

Won't you come as we sing?