The Good Shepherd

Gospel of John #26: An exposition of John 10:1-18. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, June 12, 2011.

Do you ever worry about getting too comfortable?  Don’t misunderstand me, we all want to be “comfortable.”  We all would prefer comfort to pain.  We would rather have plenty of money at the end of the month than to have to scrimp and save to get by.  We prefer to have clothes that fit rather than to squeeze into that suit and endure the wedding.  Most of us have that shirt or that pair of paints or those shoes that we just love to wear.  They may not look so nice or be all that stylish but it doesn’t matter they’re comfortable.  You may have even rescued them a few times from the rag box or the trash can but like an old friend, you’re just not ready to let them go.  I understand that but in other areas, comfort can be a problem.  When you get comfortable with a job you become lax.  Details become less important.  Time restraints are often ignored.  Enthusiasm, passion and zeal are lacking and if not corrected you may find yourself in the unemployment line.  When you get comfortable in relationships you take things for granted.  Rather than being appreciative you become demanding.  What was once considered a favor is now expected.  Relationships become strained, nerves get frayed and distance is created.  Before long you’ve grown apart and there is nothing to keep you together.  So, I worry about getting too comfortable.

There is an area of life where I’m convinced “comfort” is deadly.  Comfort is deadly to faith.  You can be too comfortable with the Gospel.  If you’re not careful you can become so comfortable with the language of faith, with the truths of the Gospel that it can be deadly to your spiritual growth and development.  The truths of the Gospel become like an old shirt, you wear them well.  You are familiar with them and you begin to take them for granted.  You are familiar and comfortable with the language of faith and you mistakenly translate that as being familiar with God himself.  Trust in God’s grace becomes presumption upon His grace.  Forgiveness once understood to be the precious gift of God’s mercy and grace is now expected.  Salvation once received with wonder and profound gratitude is now held as your divine right.  The wonder is gone.  The joy is lacking.  Your faith is lifeless.  Not because you do not believe.  Not because of some “crisis of faith” that caused you to doubt.  You got comfortable.  The Gospel became routine.  How do you recover?  How can we regain the joy and the wonder of salvation?  Come to the Scripture and take a good, long look at the Savior.  Look to the beauty and the wonder of the One who died to set you free.  Look to Him who bore your sin.  Look to the Shepherd of your soul.  Our text this morning is found in the 10th chapter of John’s Gospel.

Text: John 10:1-18

Thesis: The wonder, the grace and the glory of the Gospel are made clear through Jesus’ revelation of himself as the Good Shepherd.

You really must see John 10:1-18 in its context.  This talk of thieves, robbers, hirelings and the true and good shepherd follows the events of chapter 9.  Jesus healed a man who had been blind since birth.  The Pharisees, who were the shepherds of God’s people, refused to see the miracle and to rejoice is God’s goodness and grace.  In fact they cast out the man who had been healed because he refused to join them in their disdain for the Lord Jesus.  Those who were charged with caring for, feeding and protecting the people of God pushed the man aside in their pursuit of  maintaining the purity of their traditions while Jesus loved and cared for him giving him both physical and spiritual sight.

The opening words of chapter 10 are aimed directly at the Pharisees.

There are three things I want you to note.

  1. The wonder of the Gospel is found in the Shepherd’s relationship to His sheep.  (10:1-6)
  2. The graciousness of the Gospel is demonstrated by the Shepherd’s provision for His sheep.  (10:7-10)
  3. The glory of the Gospel is manifested in the Shepherd’s love for His sheep.  (10:11-18)

I would suggest that when you consider the relationship between the Shepherd and his sheep; the Shepherd’s gracious provision for his sheep; and the profound love our Shepherd has for us the Gospel is anything but common.  Such could never be considered routine.  Rather it demands our eternal gratitude and our most profound worship.

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