The Shepherd's Sheep
I. Intro: "I know" is possibly the least meaningful phrase in the English language.
a. Sometimes we think that the thing that keeps us from doing the right thing is that we didn't have the information we needed. The problem is that this isn't usually true.
i. Not doing the chore mom told me to do until her car was in the driveway.
b. A lot of times the trouble comes from the fact that we didn't do anything with the information we had. We didn't act on it.
c. This is the problem we encounter in today, let's start in verse 22 Slide
d. 22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
e. "the Jews" come to Jesus and say, look, Jesus, we're tired of all the secrecy! If you're the messiah, just tell us plainly."
i. What are they saying here? Jesus, the reason we're not on board here, is because we're not sure what you are trying to tell us. Are you the messiah?
ii. So what is Jesus's problem? Why doesn't he just give them the information they're asking for?
iii. Well, let's keep reading. In verse 25:
f. 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.
g. Jesus's answer here shows that he knows what is going on with this crowd of people, even before we do. They run up to him claiming "if we only knew, we could do something about this messiah thing!"
i. Jesus responds saying, no, you don't have a knowing problem, you have a hearing problem.—a believing problem. I've already told you everything you need to know.
ii. Then he goes on to allude to the thing they are asking about, and though it's not good enough for them to follow him, it is apparently enough for a death sentence. They pick up rocks to stone him.
h. So what is really going on here?
i. The Jews claim to have a knowing problem, but Jesus says they already know. Look here in verses 25- 27
ii. I told you, and you do not believe
iii. You do not believe because you are not my sheep
iv. My sheep hear my voice and follow me.
i. These people aren't ignorant to what Jesus has said. They are ignoring what Jesus has said.
i. Why is that?
1. Jesus says you already know what you need to know, but you refuse to believe it. You refuse to take the next step. That's because you aren't my sheep.
2. How do we know that? This is how someone who is Jesus's sheep reacts:
a. They listen to what I say, and the follow me!
3. Here's how James, the brother of Jesus, expresses this reality, in
a. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
4. Jesus's sheep, the people who are in his flock, don't just hear him with their ears. They believe what he says, and that results in them following Him.
j. So why won't these people listen to Jesus?
i. It's not a knowledge problem. This whole Jewish culture was full of "knowers" but light on "Believers".
1. reminds us "He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him."
k. This whole situation in is a perfect example of what John is telling us in :
i. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
ii. 19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
l. Jesus came to bring life. He came to be our savior. But coming to Jesus comes at a cost. And it's a cost this crowd of Jews in wasn't willing to pay.
m. To come to Jesus, you have to admit that you need a savior, and you need to let the light shine on you—revealing your sin and imperfection.
i. That is a scary thing. You gotta lay down your pride. You gotta admit your weakness. And that's something a lot of people are unwilling to do.
1. But that is exactly what Jesus's sheep do. They hear his voice, and they respond.
II. Now, you many have heard this whole sheep thing here in here and had it freak you out, because you see Jesus saying "sorry guys, you're not my sheep. You're out of luck. You're not in the club."
a. This is something people really struggle with. They see Jesus talking like this, and think, "Gosh, ultimately none of this matters, because you're either a sheep or you aren't, and there is nothing that you can do about it."
b. But keep in mind. This is really another example of Jesus taking something these Jews already believed and showing them the heavenly reality, which contradicts what they think.
i. Remember: John's readers (and the crowd Jesus is talking to) are Jewish. They already think the issue of whether you're on God's side or not is already determined, and it's along ethnic lines: Because God promised salvation to Abraham and His descendants, the Jews thought the "God's people/Not God's people" dividing line ran along ethnic boundaries. They thought if you're a Jew, you're in. If you're not a Jew, you're out.
c. But look at what Jesus just said to the last crowd he talked to, in
d. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
II. So we're narrowing it down here:
a. The sheep aren't the people who were born sheep because their parents were sheep. That's what the Jews thought.
i. Jesus already corrected that: Jesus said the sons of Abraham are the people who have faith like Abraham.
a. Let's go back to , this time looking at the most famous verse, probably in the whole bible:
i. 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
b. See in Jesus says that his sheep are the ones who get Eternal Life.
c. And here in , who gets eternal life?
1. Whoever what?
a. Whoever BELIEVES.
II. So who are Jesus's sheep? The ones who believe in him.
a. They're the one's who listen to God's word. They're the one's who listen to Jesus. They're the ones who not only have knowledge presented to them, they're the ones who BELIEVE.
III. The very thing here that scares us is intended to give us comfort. When Jesus came to reveal himself as the Messiah, he preached to a lot of people. And a lot of people heard him and didn't believe. And it's not because Jesus wasn't good enough or true enough or strong enough. It's because they were hard hearted.
a. And Jesus wasn't surprised by that. Because He already knew. He already knew who was going to respond to Him in faith, and who wasn't.
IV. Look what Jesus says about His sheep in .
a. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
V. So what do we learn about "Sheepness" here? What do we learn about Jesus's sheep from this passage?
VI. 1. Jesus Knows Us: He doesn't know his sheep in an informational sense. He KNOWS them.
i. See, if you have put your faith in Jesus, You're not just a name and serial number deep in Jesus's "salvation spreadsheet".
ii. You're not the friend request that He got from a stranger and decided, "what the heck, I can always use another twitter follower," and promptly forgot about.
iii. He knows us.
1. He died for his sheep. He died for US.
VII. 2. Jesus gives us Eternal Life: If we're his sheep, the ones who believe in Him, we're the ones he gives eternal life to.
a. Here's the mistake we often make in thinking about eternal life:
i. We think of salvation, the gift of eternal life as Jesus showing up in our lives and giving us a ticket into heaven when we die. From then on, we carry that ticket around, and then when we die, we use that ticket to "get into heaven."
1. Then we're in heaven, eternal life starts, and we get to live with Jesus forever.
ii. See that's not all of what eternal life means:
1. Jesus tipped us off to this last week in
a. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
iii. Jesus didn't come JUST to get us out of Hell. He came to give us life with him. When we give our lives, He doesn't just give us a get out of jail free card at the end. He changes the kind of life we're going to have!
1. Look how Paul expresses this in
a. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
2. When we walk through this life as believers in Christ, we are living a different kind of life!
a. Think about it this way. Look at your old life. If you gave your life to Jesus at a later age, this will be pretty dramatic. You don’t do the old things any more. Maybe you mess up some times, but the things that used to control your life don't have the power they used to.
b. Even if you gave your life to Jesus at a young age, He is always at work in our life, making us more like Him! So even though it's not as dramatic, you can still look back and see things you used to struggle with that Christ has already brought you through.
3. And eternal life isn't just about breaking old, bad habits.
a. When we give our lives to Jesus, He gives us the opportunity to do His work! To tell others about him.
1. Look what says about us:
a. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
2. We are his masterpiece! His workmanship! Created to do the good works that He has prepared for us to do!
a. While we lived as slaves to sin, no matter what we did, no matter what we accomplished, it was all going to add up to nothing at the end of our life.
b. But now Christ comes and gives us this eternal life! It's the gift of a life that matters, a life full of doing things with ultimate meaning and eternal value.
3. Ultimately, Eternal Life isn't just "getting into heaven": Eternal Life is about a change of destiny.
a. We'll be continually freed from that bad things that used to enslave us,
b. And finally free to do the things that matter!
I. 3. Jesus protects and preserves us
a. So we've been talking about what it means to be one of Jesus sheep. To be his sheep, you 've gotta believe in Him. And when we finally lay down our desire to be the God of our own life, to call the shots, we join the flock. We are one of his sheep, and He is our Shepherd.
i. But that doesn't mean life is perfect from here on out. In Jesus's stories about Shepherds and Sheep, He includes 2 other character: the thieves and robbers, and the predators that prowl around outside the sheep pen.
ii. That's a scary reality. Not only are their false teachers trying to lead us astray (those are the thieves and the robbers), we have a very real enemy, Satan, who the bible tells us is out there prowling around like a Lion, seeking whom He may devour.
iii. But before we get freaked out about the perils of sheep-life, we gotta look back at the shepherd!
1. He protects us, even laying his life down for us (which He did on the cross.
iv. Here in and 29, Jesus says "no one will snatch [my sheep] out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."
1. There are some scary characters out there, and they have power and influence. But our Shepherd and His Father are on OUR side, and they are continually protecting us, and keeping us from slipping out of their hands