Summary: What is it that distinguishes a mediocre shepherd from a really good shepherd? The answer is in one word alone: sacrifice.
The Good Shepherd
Griffith Baptist Church – 3/22/09
Text: John 10:11-18
Key verse: John 10:11 - I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
Premise: What is it that distinguishes a mediocre shepherd from a really good shepherd? The answer is in one word alone: sacrifice.
A shepherd was looking after his sheep one day on the side of a deserted road, when suddenly a brand new Porsche screeches to a halt. The driver, a man dressed in an Armani suit, Rockport shoes, Oakley’s sunglasses, Rolex watch, and a Versace tie, gets out and asks the shepherd: "If I can tell you how many sheep you have, will you give me one of them?" The shepherd looks at the young man, and then looks at the large flock of grazing sheep and replies: "Okay." The young man parks the car, connects his laptop to his mobile, enters a NASA Webster, scans the ground using his GPS, opens a database with 60 Excel tables filled with logarithms and pivot tables, and then prints out a 150-page report on his high-tech mini-printer. He turns to the shepherd and says, "You have exactly 1,586 sheep here." Rather surprised the shepherd replies, "That’s correct, you can have your sheep." The young man takes an animal and puts it in the back of his Porsche. Just as the man is about to drive off, the shepherd asks him: "If I guess your profession, will you return my animal to me?" The young man answers, "Yes, why not?" The shepherd says, "You are an IT consultant." "How did you know?" asks the young man. "Very simple," answers the shepherd. "Firstly, you came here without being called. Secondly, you charged me a fee to tell me something I already knew, and thirdly, you don’t understand anything about my business. (PAUSE) Now please can I have my dog back?"
1. A Good Shepherd Is Willing To Die For His Sheep – 11-12, 17-18
A. A woman, carrying her baby on her back, was trapped by a prairie fire. As she looked about, she realized there was no way of escape. Hurriedly she took the baby off her back and began digging a hole in the earth with her bare hands. She then placed her child into it and covered the child with her body. Later the woman was found dead, but the child was saved.
B. Good Shepherding is a dangerous job but being sheep is even more dangerous
i. There are constant threats from wolves, lions, other wild animals and thieves
ii. There is also the constant threat of hiring someone with no vested interest in the sheep
a. These were not shepherds, but temp help
b. Their only reason for helping was what they could get out of it
c. When danger comes, they are no where to be found and run
d. This leaves the sheep exposed to danger
C. Our Shepherd proved the ultimate test – dying for His sheep:
i. His death is His choice – 10:17-18 - 17Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
ii. His death means a brighter hope - Galatians 1:4 – Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
iii. His death is the only acceptable sacrifice - Ephesians 5:2 – And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.
iv. His death releases us to serve God with a clear conscience - Hebrews 9:14 - How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
a. Conscience = the psychological faculty that distinguishes between right and wrong, i.e., moral sensitivity (Ro 2:15; Jn 8:9 v.r.; 1Co 8:7 v.r)
b. He came to forgive the sin and for us to no longer have the guilt associated with what separated us from God in the first place
c. When we sin now, our guilt should bring us to God for repentance and forgiveness.
• Guilt is a useful tool, but also a temporary one at that.
d. Dead works = meaningless works that make us think we are doing something that makes us alright with God (Is. 64:6)
2. A Good Shepherd Cares For His Sheep – 13