Jesus Christ, our Shepherd

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
Sermon Series: Topical

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Jesus Christ, our Shepherd

A Biblical look at Jesus as our Shepherd

A little boy grew up in the great state of Kentucky.  He spent the bulk of his childhood sitting by the side of the road watching those massive tractor-trailer trucks swish by, dreaming that someday he would get the opportunity to ride in one.  When he became a teenager, he got his ambition and that convinced him that’s the way he wanted to spend the rest of his life, driving one of those big rigs.

He took the training, passed the program with distinction, and then he came up for the ultimate final.  He was required to appear before a battery of truck drivers who could confront him with any conceivable problem that he might face on the road.  He was expected to come up with the solution.

This is the problem they gave him.  They said, “You are driving down a very tortuous two lane highway in the hills of Kentucky.  You look in your rear view mirror and there are two cars in the process of passing you.  In the other lane, there is another huge truck coming from the opposite direction and two cars in the process of passing it.  You look to your right and there is a sheer 500-foot precipice and to your left solid rock.  You hit your brakes and they are gone.  What would you do?

The kid thought for a moment and said, “Well I’d wake up Leroy.”  They said, “Leroy, who is Leroy?”

“Well you see, Leroy is my relief driver.”

“Exactly what could he do?”

“Well,” he said, “I don’t know what he could do, but Leroy . . . he’s from a small town here in Kentucky and he’s never seen an accident like he’s going to see right now.”

Now that’s a no-win situation.  And we can be thankful that God did not make the Christian life a no win situation.  What did He do?  He gave us His Son Jesus Christ, Who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords–He’s in charge–and thankfully, he is also our Shepherd.  He loves us—today.

He is a good Shepherd, but Christ is more than a good Shepherd.  As I read through the New Testament, Jesus is described as a Shepherd in five different ways.  These descriptions have ministered to me greatly, and I trust they will move you in the same way.  Open your Bibles to John’s Gospel, the 10th chapter.

In John 10, we will find two descriptions, and then we’ll go to other portions of Scripture to find three others.  Let’s read together verses 1-10:  “Truly, truly I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.  But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.  To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.  When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.   And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.  This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.  Jesus therefore said to them again, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before Me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.’”  When I think of Christ as our Shepherd, I think first of all of Jesus Christ as:

#1  Our True Shepherd

Jesus Christ is the True Shepherd.  How does this text picture Jesus as a Shepherd?  In Palestine, there was a common sheepfold in each village.  All of the shepherds, returning with their sheep from the hillside, would lead them into the sheepfold at night.  There was a man, called a porter, who was hired to care for the sheepfold while the shepherds went home.  He guarded the door from animals, thieves and robbers.  In the morning, the shepherds would come back, and each flock of sheep would recognize their shepherd’s voice as he called them by name–then they would follow him to pasture.  Only true shepherds would be allowed through the door to call for, or check on, the sheep.  But the thieves would climb the walls to steal, and robbers would climb the wall in order to slaughter the sheep.

Jesus says He is the True Shepherd who comes to care for, check for injuries and disease, and call the sheep to go to pasture.  And because He is the True Shepherd, He is the Shepherd who ultimately satisfies.  He is our satisfaction. All of us have come to the point where we are satisfied with Jesus Christ.  In our searchings and our wanderings, in our cravings and our desires, we need to come to the realization that Jesus Christ is the only and True Shepherd.  There is no one and nothing else out there.  He alone is the only way of salvation.  He alone is the way of satisfaction for the Christian.  He alone is the way of sanctification for the Christian.

In Matthew 11, John the Baptist went through a moment of doubt, and he wrote to Jesus and said, “Are You the One or do we look for someone else?”  He was obviously at a low point in his life, in prison for the cause, probably depressed, and he went through a moment of doubt and wrote a little message to Christ and he asked, “Are You the One or do we look for someone else?”  And Christ answered him by saying, “You tell John that the lame walk, the blind see and the dead are raised from the dead, and the poor have the gospel preached to them,” and John the Baptist was satisfied.  He went on and died for the cause.  He had found the True Shepherd.

But even as God’s people, those of us who follow Christ, there may come a time when you and I begin to doubt if Christ really, ultimately satisfies.  And it is at times like those we begin to pursue other things.

Verse 10 says there are thieves out there, and the thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly.” God doesn’t just give us existence–He gives us life.  God doesn’t just get us by, He gets us there.  Our Lord doesn’t simply come and meet some of the needs that we have–He meets all of our needs.  He really satisfies.  But if we don’t believe that, or if we forget it, then we will start pursuing other things.

We will begin to go after the thief of comfortism, politicism, experientialism, issue-ism, or the robber of defeatism, hedonism, or materialism—and as a result, Jesus will no longer be our satisfaction.  All of us are tempted from time to time to look for greener pastures, something better or new that we think will really satisfy–but it won’t, because only Jesus is the true shepherd, only He can satisfy.  Some people are like the woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years in Mark 5:29.  She had exhausted herself and all her means at the hands of many physicians.  She had spent all she had and was not helped at all, but rather was worse off when they got through with her after twelve years, until Jesus.

So it is with some people, people who go to churches and are raising Christian families.  They walk away from Christ and try everything else, and before you know it their lives are all messed up because they didn’t trust in Christ alone, but began to trust in Christ and something or someone.

To the young person here today . . . if your parents are Christians, and you are here because they force you to come, and you are on the verge of saying, “Is this really it?  Is Jesus real?  Is this genuine?”  I want to say to you, “Be careful,” because when you step out there, the thief will come and the thief comes only to steal and destroy or kill.  The thief will rape your soul and leave you destitute.

Let me ask you honestly, “How many walked away from Christ and Church only to get wiped out at some time?”  Young one, listen to these people.  Talk to them.  They did exactly what you are about to do, and it cost them dearly.  Don’t leave Christ, don’t leave the fold.  Don’t walk out and experiment with sin, because if you do, sin will thrash you–sin will steal your holiness–sin will steal your purity, and it’ll take you and beat you, rob you, wound you, cripple you or kill you.  In this church we have folks who have gone away from us, while walking away from their Shepherd, and after many years, they finally come back to Christ and the Church, but they come back thrashed.  And they say, “Oh why did we leave in the first place?”  And you and I should say in response, “Yes, why did you leave?  You should have never left.”  Jesus is here.  Jesus alone can satisfy your life.

The well-known rock & roll group, The Rolling Stones echo the cry of people today, when they sang, “I can’t get no satisfaction. I can’t get no satisfaction.  And I try, and I try, and I try, and I try.”  And I feel like saying, “Try Jesus man and shut up!”

Psalm 103:1-5 says, “Praise the Lord . . . who satisfies your desires with good things.”

Philippians 4:13 says in the Amplified, “I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.  Don’t be tempted with something more.  Don’t let the enemy tempt you by thinking, ‘Christ is not enough, you need more.’  You don’t need more. Christ is everything.’”

All of us have got to come to a point in our lives where we know that Jesus Christ is everything.  Christ is more than my wife, more than my children, more than my church, more than life itself, more than my grandkids, more than my profession, more than our future . . . Jesus is everything.  Jesus is the True Shepherd.  He says, “I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.”  That doesn’t mean money, prosperity, or tranquility; it doesn’t mean that everything works out fine, it means deep inside your heart you know that everything is right with God and everything in life comes from His loving hand, and that Christ alone can satisfy your inner cravings.

I have this fantastic wife.   Almost every time I ask her, “Honey, what can I get you for your birthday, Christmas or our anniversary?”  Nearly every time, without fail, she says, “I don’t want anything.  I don’t need anything.”  ME–I want a mountain bike, Craftsman tools, a pair of Levi’s overalls, and more!!  But Jean has enough . . .why?  Because she has the Lord, and He is enough.  Is Jesus your True Shepherd?

In John 10:11 there is another aspect to the Shepherd ministry of Christ–He is . . .

#2  Our Good Shepherd

John says in verse 11-18, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep.  I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.   And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd.  For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

Christ is our Good Shepherd.  What does being a Good Shepherd mean in John 10?  That Christ not only died for us sheep, but in verse11 when it says, He lays down His life for the sheep, the Greek literally says, “He poured out His soul” for the sheep.  In other words, in His death, Jesus felt it all for us:  the curse of sin, the hurt of hate, the pain of the nails, the agony of every sin ever committed, and the fullness of separation from God, because of sin . . . all of it.

He is a Good Shepherd because He went through all of that so that you and I would not have to.  And though the sheep were scattered when the Shepherd-Jesus died, three days after He rose from the dead, He immediately re-gathered His flock.  He is the Good Shepherd, not like a hireling who cares nothing for the sheep.

The Lord loves us.  John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” The Good Shepherd lays down his life for His sheep.  He says He loves you so much that, “I have sacrificed Myself for you.”  We live in a day when captains abandon their sinking ships and leave the passengers aboard to fend for themselves, when injured people cry out for help while people walk by.

Over the last twelve years, one of the great criticisms our generals had about other generals was that they left their men in the trenches, left them to die alone as they fled.  A good general loves his men, and he’ll die with his men.  Our Shepherd is not a hireling—He is a Good Shepherd, and He’s concerned about the sheep.  You see when the wolf comes to destroy the sheep, the hireling jumps the fence and he is gone, but the Good Shepherd will fight the wolf, and if necessary, he’ll lay down his life for the sheep.  And that’s what Jesus did.  He fought the wolf–Satan attacked Christ repeatedly.  He tempted our Shepherd, tested our Shepherd, buffeted our Shepherd, and attacked our Shepherd.  Our Shepherd suffered shame and reproach, He agonized, He was poor, and He died.  But much more, our Shepherd suffered things that you and I have not even begun to suffer or will ever suffer.

Often times we feel sorry for ourselves and we say, “God, why Me?”  You don’t know the Shepherd then.  Look at Him.  He laid down His life for the sheep.  We sometimes think He doesn’t love us, when afflictions and problems come our way.  We think God forgot us.  But He hasn’t ever forgotten us.  He loves us with an everlasting love.  And not only did He fight the wolf, but He suffered the ultimate separation when He cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?”  Why?  So that we would not have to experience that indescribable agony.  He took God’s wrath for sin upon Himself.  Why?  For His sheep, for you and me.  He loves His sheep. He’s the Good Shepherd.

What a great motivation for us to live holy lives, isn’t it?  We would not want to offend our Shepherd.  He’s the Good Shepherd, and He knows His sheep.  By the use of the word “know” in verse 14 it doesn’t mean He merely knows their names and something about them–this one’s Wooley and he is difficult . . . this is Baaaarbara and she’s never happy . . . this is Mutton Head and . . . no!  Jesus knows his sheep intimately–He knows us in a personal way, and so that you and I can walk with Him together and enjoy sweet fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

He is the Good Shepherd, and the Good Shepherd knows His sheep, and it says in verse 27 of John 10, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

I like the nursery rhyme, “Mary had a little lamb, her fleece was white as snow and everywhere that Mary went” . . . what a wonderful poem.  But that is not the way I remember it.  The other version I learned was, “Mary had a little lamb, her father killed it dead, now Mary takes the lamb to school between two slices of bread.”  That’s an awful thing to teach a kid.

That’s why I like the sanctified version better.  “But Jesus has a little lamb, His fleece was white as snow because He washed it in His blood, and everywhere that Jesus went, the lamb was sure to go.”  Is that us?  It should be us.  If we love Christ our Shepherd, we will want to walk right next to Him. Just like my boys, who loved their father want to walk right next to him, so the child of the Good Shepherd wants to walk close to Him.  Our hearts should be drawn to Christ because He is a Good Shepherd.

At times some of us need to bow our heads in shame because we haven’t been the kind of sheep that we should have been.  We’ve been rebellious sheep, sometimes shameful sheep.  God has been so good to us, and we have been so ungrateful to Him, but He’s still a Good Shepherd, isn’t He?  Let’s learn to love Him, follow Him and appreciate Him as the Good Shepherd.  Now turn to Hebrews 13 as we see another description of Christ our Shepherd.

#3  Our Great Shepherd

In Hebrews13:20-21 there is a benediction, and in it we find a third description of Christ our Shepherd.  “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the [what kind of Shepherd?] great shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

He’s not only the True Shepherd, He’s not only a Good Shepherd, but friends, He is also a Great Shepherd.  What does being a Great Shepherd mean here in Hebrews?  He’s talking about our great need for God’s power.  We can’t live the Christian life by great examples or by human effort.  We have to have God’s power.  All spiritual growth is by God’s power through obedience to His Word through His Spirit.  Therefore, we are to yield to the Great Shepherd, who proved He has all power by rising from the dead.

Jesus is a Great Shepherd.  We don’t have a puny shepherd, we have a Great Shepherd, and the sheep who are weak and defenseless need to look at their Shepherd and realize we have a Great Shepherd.  We forget how great our shepherd really is.  We Christians get a kind of persecution complex, we get a feeble attitude towards life, kind of an “I’m going to lose anyway, I’m just a Christian and Christians always lose and we’re always last, we don’t win, we’re always beaten and persecuted and we have to eat worms” attitude.

Don’t you buy that.  We have got a Great Shepherd.  We don’t fight our battles.  Our Shepherd fights them for us, and He can’t be beat.  When I think of a shepherd, I think of Jesus.  And I also think of a little boy named David, the shepherd boy.  And I think of the way he slew the giant Goliath, as recorded in I Samuel 17, as all of the Israelites were hiding in the caves and the hillsides, trembling from fear as the giant came out every day and challenged the Israelites and the God of the Israelites.

I appreciate that little shepherd stepping out and meeting that giant head on, and taking that little slingshot, and going out there to fight that great giant one-on-one. And I love the fact that in the first round, the first shot knocked him out. That’s what I call a champ. A champ doesn’t go fifteen rounds, he does it in the first round with the first blow.  David took that sling and flung it and hit that giant on the head and knocked him out and cut off his head with Goliath’s own sword.  David told Saul, “I am a shepherd, and that giant is nothing to me. I’ve dealt with things like him before.  I was shepherding alone in the hills, and I killed a lion and a bear.”

Who among us has ever killed a lion and a bear?  And David, a shepherd, showed that the giant Goliath was nothing for a great shepherd.  You and I sometimes are the same way–we hide in the caves, we’re afraid to step out.  The giant of illness or suffering or sharing Christ has us paralyzed with fear.  Friends, don’t be paralyzed with fear.  We have the Great Shepherd of the sheep, and He slays the giants, He slays the giant of despair, defeat, discouragement, delay and denial.

No matter what is happening to you, whether you are losing your husband or wife, your family or job, a child or a friend.  If your car is gone, your business over, your grades too low, your health disappeared or your emotional tank is bone dry–no matter how big your problem is, God is bigger than your problem.

As a survivor of a German death camp, Corrie Ten Boom, who experienced the worst kind of torment, once said, no pit is so deep that God is not deeper still.  Do you believe that?  Some of us who have come today, we’re defeated.  We came today with, “Well, maybe there is something here for me, but I don’t think so.”  I want to say to you, my friend, there is something else for you, you’ve got a Great Shepherd, and as big as your problem might be, God is bigger than that problem.

I once ministered on a high school campus.  I began a club on that campus, and it began with the loser kids–the rejects, the rebels, suicidal, parents on drugs and more.  Yet, our Great Shepherd took those kids and made them into powerful agents of Christ, changing their campus for the better by reaching their peers of all groups for Christ.

In our church body, our Great Shepherd has taken alcoholics, street fighters, agnostics, CEO’s, thieves, adulterers, rejected, rebels, and transformed them into peacemakers, ministers, effective servants, great husbands, fantastic mothers and more.  In our church body, it is the Great Shepherd who has carried the couples who have lost children through their grief.  It is the Great Shepherd who has cared for those who lost their spouses.  It is the Great Shepherd who ministered to those with physical illness or suffering.

As our society experiences more of the judgment of God, we will find more and more kids on drugs, kids on the street, more gangs, and more teen alcoholics.  These things will increasingly suck the juice out of our children.  They will give up on life.  More and more will not finish high school.  They will not know what to do, where to go.  Life will be too big for them, and their problems will be too great–they won’t be able to overcome them.  How do I know this?  It’s already happening.

So, what do we tell them?  Go to a counselor?  Get a job?  Get your act together?  Finish school?  No! First you tell them that Jesus is the only answer.  That’s the truth.  Christ can come in and change your life.  You can stand up tall, put your shoulders back and walk squarely behind the Lord Jesus Christ and accomplish anything that God wants to give you.  That’s it.  Jesus is the answer–nothing more, nothing less.  He is the Great Shepherd–only He can transform lives from the inside out.  Only He makes a difference.  That’s our Shepherd.  He is great.  No matter what your problem is.  You may have gone through a terrible divorce, but I want to say to you, you have a Great Shepherd who will see you through.  You may have gone through a broken relationship and your heart is crushed, but you know Jesus Christ will see you through.  You may have lost your job and where else are you going to go?  Jesus Christ will see you through because He’s not just any Shepherd, what is He?  He’s a Great Shepherd.  Follow with me to I Peter 2 as we see a fourth description of Jesus Christ, our Shepherd.

#4  Our Guardian Shepherd

Look at I Peter 2:25, “For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”  The word guardian is the word for bishop or overseer, and is used of Jesus only here in the New Testament.  It is what elders are supposed to do for the flock, and that is to look at, care for, and oversee the flock.  The stress here is to convince us that Jesus is fully active in His responsible care for His sheep.  Not only does He guide, direct and protect as a shepherd, but He also leads, feeds and sustains His own as an overseer.  Our bodies may be dying because of sin, but Peter says in verse 25, our inner life–our soul–is under the constant watch care of the Guardian Shepherd.

God watches over us to make sure nothing hurts us.  Why is that?  God didn’t use the illustration of sheep because sheep are such intelligent animals–they are some of the dumbest animals that exist.  They are so dumb, when you are about to slit their throats, they don’t even bleat, and they look at you with those big eyes as you take their life.  Every other animal tries to run away, but not sheep.  They are not that smart, especially when it comes to danger.

When we used to take our dog Betzy to the vet, somehow she knew she was going to the vet and would fight us, whine, and cry, and resist as much as she dared to keep from having to go.  Yet our dog Sunny, on the other hand, doesn’t have a clue, and actually gets excited about seeing her friend the doctor who sticks needles in her.  That is what sheep are like–you could put a vet in front of a sheep with a knife, and he’d think it was a party.  And God says here in Peter, you and I are like that.

We stray, we stray, we stray (prone to wander).  I am so glad we have a Shepherd like this who is our Guardian, who keeps us, protects us, and goes after us.  We sometimes like to boast, “The reason I’m still fired up for God is because I read my Bible every day, and I memorize Scripture, and I have a personal discipleship and that’s why I have been faithful to God”–and that’s true to a point.  Be careful–you could be sick with pride.  You cooperated, but it’s not because of you.

In reality, you have a Shepherd that’s been watching out for you.  That time when you wanted to stray, He beat you up alongside the head and made you walk it right.  He’s there, and He’s watching over you.  He lets you go just far enough and, then He pulls you back to walk closer to Him.  If you get a little behind, He will pop you on the behind and keep you going.  He’s not about to let us stray.  Jesus gives an illustration in Luke 15 of a shepherd with 100 sheep.  He returns with the flock and counts them one-by-one, and there are 96, 97, 98, 99 . . . where’s the 100th sheep?  He doesn’t say, “Well, 99 are enough, later with that other one.”  No, that’s His sheep; that’s 100 sheep and “I know the one who is missing. That black beady-eyed one.” He says to his wife, “I have got to go out again, I have gotta go find you know who.  He’s out there again, but I’ll be back.”  He goes out and finds that black, beady-eyed bald-headed sheep hanging on the side of the cliff there, holding on for dear life, “Baa, baaa!”

“There you are.  Come over here you lost sheep.”  He doesn’t kick the sheep back to camp; He doesn’t say, “You’re lamb chops, Sheepy!”, even though the sheep was doing things he “mutton” be doing.  No, He picks it up and sees that it’s all bruised, so He puts it on his shoulders and brings it back home.  That’s the Shepherd we have; He’s the guardian of the sheep.

How many times has God brought us back that way, hasn’t He?   He’s brought you back to church, He’s brought you back to God, and He’s brought you back to the Scriptures.  He’s nursed you back and you sat there weeping, saying, “Thank you for being such a wonderful Guardian Shepherd to me.”  We are feeble, we lambs, aren’t we?  Even the strongest among us are still feeble, and we need a Shepherd to watch over us.  That’s why the 23rd Psalm is so precious:  the Lord is my what?  Shepherd.  It’s a Guardian Psalm because the Shepherd watches over us.  That’s why I feel so secure in the Lord–I trust Him.

Parents–kids get robbed every week, approached regularly, and even get killed every day in the US.  We can be paranoid over this. It’s easy to live by fear and not faith and start trusting in our protecting actions for our kids.  We think they’re safe because we have our kids covered, or isolated, or removed so they’ll be safe.  But in reality there is only one person we can trust with our kids, we need to just trust God.  Isn’t that true?  What do we trust?  Who do we trust?  Don’t live by fear, don’t live by isolation, and don’t live on the defense–live to be salt and light in a dark world.  Teach your kids by your example that you all are here to be a difference-maker, not a detached monk.

God has called us to be salt and light–you say, what is that?  It is this:  HP + CP = HI.  Salt and Light are only effective when two things are true . . . High Potency (HP) Christians who walk close to Jesus combined with Close Proximity (CP) to those who need Jesus results in, or equals (=) High Impact (HI) for Jesus.  If we do what God has called us to do, which is to live holy for Him, and to get close to those who need Him, we will have a high impact for Him.  And if we do what God says in His Word, we can trust Him to be our Guardian, to protect us, to keep us safe.  Do you trust the Guardian Shepherd?  He is there to keep us from straying from Him and to protect us against our fears.  Finally, turn over to I Peter 5:4 for the fifth look at Christ our Shepherd.

#5  Our Chief Shepherd

In 1 Peter 5:4, a passage to elders/shepherds/pastors he says, concerning Jesus Christ, “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”  Jesus is called the True, Good, Great, Guardian and now the Chief Shepherd.  What’s the emphasis here?

First is that we are all undershepherds–we all answer to somebody.  We all answer to Jesus.  Pastors answer to Christ.  No one is his own man. Every elder, every teacher answers to Christ.  But second, the emphasis here is on rewards.  If you are faithful to the Chief Shepherd, you can be assured He will reward you at the proper time.  When the Chief Shepherd appears, you are going to receive the unfading crown of glory.

What an exhortation to be faithful in ministry, isn’t it?  Be faithful in the ministry.  Here today are a number of men who are preparing to be sent out from this body to pastor.  There are an even greater number of teachers, leaders of flocks and children, seniors, college and youth.  I want to say to you today, be faithful to Christ, and be a faithful shepherd.  Stay serving, stay ministering. God called you to a flock of sheep; stay with it.  If it’s 10, stay with the 10.  If it’s 20, stay with the 20. Hang in there. It gets tough, sure you get thrashed.  Sure people talk about you, they run over you, they criticize you, and they beat you and all of that.  Hey, so what? That’s the ministry, that’s what it’s all about.  No pain, no gain, no growth.  Stay in the battle, stay in the trenches.  It’s part of the calling.

That is why it says, “And when the Chief Shepherd appears (and He is going to appear one day, then He is going to reward us for our faithfulness), you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”  We have a Chief Shepherd, and He rewards us.  Not today, maybe not tomorrow, but sometime it’s going to happen.  We have just got to be faithful.  And Jesus said, if you are faithful in little, you will be given more responsibility.  Are you faithful now, and are you willing to have a greater impact for Jesus?  Instead of being a helper in children’s, are you willing to be a teacher?  Mother, you have two or three kids–be faithful to them.  That’s your little flock.  And show them how to serve and how to give to others, how to be like Jesus.  By your ministry to others, you teach your kids how to be like Christ.

Be faithful at your job, for as you work hard like Jesus would and did, you’re showing and sharing with others who Jesus is, and being faithful to the Chief Shepherd.  We report to Him directly, and one day there is going to be a great graduation service, and there will be rewards handed out.  All I am looking forward to is for Him to say, “Chris, well done, good and faithful servant.”  That’s all I am asking for, the look of approval.  When I finished seminary and got my diploma, my dad came to me and put his arms around me and said, “Son, I am so proud of you.”  I was so happy because he was happy.  And I want to say to you, friends, be faithful and one day your Shepherd will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  What a wonderful Shepherd we have.

I trust today I may have encouraged you to love Him just a little bit better, and to trust Him a whole lot more.


ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church – Murrieta.

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