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The Good Shepherd

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
May 20, 2021 12:01 am

The Good Shepherd

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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May 20, 2021 12:01 am

Hired hands will abandon the flock when danger comes, but the Good Shepherd defends His sheep to the death. Today, R.C. Sproul looks at Jesus as the One who laid down His life for His flock, the church.

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In John chapter 10, Jesus describes himself not as a hireling, but the good Shepherd the hireling or somebody than you would bring in for an hourly rate but he had no vested interest in the shape so at the first sign of trouble when the wild animal, or the thief would come, the hireling would turn tail and run what Jesus is saying is that's not how I am with my sheet because I'm the good Shepherd, Jesus is the shepherd of God's people. Those companies that sleep. It is also points to a dividing line of those who are under the care of Christ and those who were not welcome to Renewing Your Mind were studying some of the language Jesus used to describe himself in today. Dr. Darcy's goals focuses on Jesus as the good Shepherd once again were going to continue with our series on the IMs of Jesus and in our last session we looked at Jesus pronouncement. I am the door in which he spoke of the door to the sheepfold or the gateway to eternal life to the fathers house and that's saying was in response to the reaction against Jesus healing the man born blind, and that in that same discourse. Jesus calls himself the good Shepherd and I mentioned that we can distinguish between the statement. I am the door to the sheepfold and I am the good shepherd, but they belong together as part of the same discourse that Jesus had with his people before we now look at the I am the good shepherd. Let me just make one last comment about his statement. I am the door because we saw that at the end of that phase of his discussion, he said that if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and he speaks of salvation in connection to his being the gate or the portal or the door and I just wanted to call your attention back to Romans chapter 5. After Paul goes through his exposition of the gospel and of the doctrine of justification by faith. When Paul then moves in the chapter 5 of Romans. He talks about the consequences or the benefits of our justification what it is that Christ has won for his people in his work of justifying us and we read in chapter 5 of Romans these words. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

So that's the first benefit that we are reconciled to God. The estrangement is over. There's no more warfare between us and God. We have peace because of our justification and then the second benefit to the apostle mentions is this through bone that is through Jesus also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and so the word that Paul uses there to describe what Christ has won for us is access to the father and that's what Jesus has in view here when he talks about his being the door. The door is a point of access if I want to go into my house. I don't crawl through the window unless I've lost my keys or something. Usually if you see somebody going to the window of the home you call the police because you figure it's a burglar. The normal means of entering into a building is through the means of access, which is again a door.

And so Jesus is that door or that way of access into the father's house into the father's presence.

Again, remember this imagery is tied to the whole imagery of the barrier to access that goes all the way back to Genesis that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden, God posted a century God posted an angel with a flaming sword at the gateway to paradise prohibiting access back into the presence of God and we see that same imagery taking place in the construction of the tabernacle first in the Old Testament and then the temple where there is this wall of separation or division. The partition that screams the holy of holies, from the holy place where no one except the high priest, and then only once a year and again after elaborate rights of purification could enter into the holy of holies. But when Christ died, the veil of the temple was torn asunder. The barrier was removed and access was now given to the people of God through the work of Christ, and so he was the door through the barrier. He was the door into the inner sanctum. He was the door by which we have access into the presence of God will. Having said that, let's go back now to the discourse and follow it where Jesus adds to the imagery of his being the door.

The idea of his being the good Shepherd in verse 11 of chapter 10 of John's Gospel Jesus says I am the good shepherd and the good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep but a hireling. He who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.

The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd and I know my sheep and am known by my own only just compare those words of Jesus with a very famous song from the Old Testament from the Psalm of David. The 23rd Psalm he likens God to the shepherd where he says the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul and he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

And yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil. Why because the shepherd is with me your rod and your staff they comfort me's interesting language there in the Psalm where David is recalling his own days as a shepherd. You remember when it was still a boy and the troops of Israel were faced against the armies of the Philistines when the giant Goliath came into the valley and called out a challenge for there to be a champion. The come forth from Israel who would take on this giant in hand-to-hand combat, where winner takes all. Whoever wins the fight wins the day for his army and Saul looks around that he can find none of his lawyers who are willing to go up against Goliath and David happens to appear because he is bringing his brothers their lunch there in the Army and he hears this challenge. This defiance out of the mouth of this pagan Goliath and he can't believe that no one in Israel will stand up to Goliath. So he comes out the song he says let me go and fight the giant.

You remember the story and when they scoffed at him send you just a boy. You can'tů Wait a minute, I had a little bear.

When the bear attacked my sheep and God delivered me from the bear he'll deliver me from Goliath and the curse, the rest is history. And so David was experienced in fighting to defend his sheep against the lien against the bear and so on, and he had a rod and the staff name seen the shepherd staff with the crook on the end and in the prayer.

David says God's staff God's rod gives him comfort in that crook that you see than pictures and paintings of the shepherd staff with that band on the end it was for the shepherd to reach out and pull the sheep to safety. If it is veering towards the edge of a cliff. Work gets caught in a crag somewhere in a ditch. The shepherd can retrieve him, rescue him by the use of the staff. The rod was the defensive club that the shepherd used to ward off the wild animals or even the thief who would come and try to steal the sheep and so David now is looking to God as the great Shepherd and he is saying, oh God, your staff and your rod comfort me because I know that your strength is there to protect me.

And even if I go into the valley of the shadow of death I don't have to go alone again, we need to remember that God never promises his people that they don't have to go into the valley of the shadow of death, we all will enter into that veil at some point, but the absolute promise that God gives to his people is that he will never send us their alone and I can't think of any place that I would have to be frightened if I knew the Lord was with me and so that is our hope as Christians that we can count upon the ultimate shepherd of our souls to be with us no matter what and what a wonderful metaphor this is and what a wonderful thing that Davidů I said the shepherd king and the one who anticipates the coming of his greater son who is the incarnation of the divine shepherd the incarnation of the one that David celebrates in the 23rd Psalm the one who indeed is the good Shepherd.

Well, let's go back now to the text of John can pick it up again were in the beginning when Jesus is on the good Shepherd in the good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep. Notice the first thing he does here is that he contrasts the good Shepherd from the hireling and the difference was this the good Shepherd owned the sheep sheep or his he made his own personal livelihood from the sheep he was committed to the welfare of the sheep, the hireling or somebody that you would bring in for an hourly rate hiring for a little while to look after the sheep. But he had no vested interest in the sheep Hayden on the sheep. He had no affection for the shape they had no ultimate concern for the well-being of the shape.

So at the first sign of trouble when the wild animal. The debarring animal, or the thief would come, the hireling would turn tail and run what Jesus is saying is that's not how I am with my sheep because I'm the good Shepherd and the good Shepherd defends his sheep to the death and Jesus says here, anticipating the cross I lay down my life for my sheep.

This is the only time that Jesus uses that language in the New Testament and again elsewhere. He makes it clear that when he is the good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep. Nobody is taking his life from him.

Remember how Ace taunted Wendy's on the cross. Listen, you save others you know, save yourself. Come down off the cross and Jesus knew that he had legions of angels at his disposal that had he responded to that taunting, take a call upon heaven and killed everybody there at the foot of the cross. But then he wouldn't have maintained his call. They wouldn't have done what he was called. He didn't have to die number on the occasion when they sent out all the guards to take him capture him. He was ready and he just walked right through them and nobody laid a hand on his. He didn't die until it was time to die and even told his captors. You have no power over me, set that which God has given to and he makes it clear that even in his death.

It is a voluntary sacrifice.

He is laying down his own life. Why not for his own benefit for his sheep and his sheep are the ones whom God the father has given to him and he said I know them by name and they know me. They recognize my voice again. Jesus uses that statement more than once in the New Testament, even when he's on trial for his life before Pontius Pilate and Pilate is asking about his pretenses of being a king. When Jesus said I for this reason, I came into the world to bear witness to the truth and all who are the truth here may see my sheep know who I am.

My sheep respond to my voice, my sheep who are my possession. They're the ones with the father has given to me and so they follow me because I lay down my life for them.

But the hireling who is not the shepherd wonder does not own the sheep sees the wolf coming leaves the sheep and flees and then the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them in the hireling flees because he is a hireling because he does not care about the sheep but I'm the good Shepherd and I know my sheep and am known by my own as the father knows me. Even so, I know the father and I lay down my life for the sheep and other sheep I have which are not of this fold them. Also I must bring, and they will hear my voice, there will be one flock, one Shepherd, just pause there. Jesus introduces into this discourse, something that's totally inflammatory to the Pharisees who were listening to it when he compares the relationship between the good Shepherd and the shape how that the Shepherd knows the sheep and the shepherd loves the sheep and the sheep know the shepherd and the sheep love the shepherd. He likens that his relationship with the father.

The father knows me just like the good Shepherd knows his sheep and I know the father makes a somewhat cryptic statement and other sheep I have which are not of this fold not told you when we look at the I am the door statement that the sheepfold the larger sheepfold would contain more than one flock and more than one Shepherd and was only because the shepherds knew their shape that they didn't get mixed up and lost in this big massive sheep in the pen that was being held there but Jesus said, you know, I have other sheep that are not of this fold lasting all kinds of interpretations of this passage is some of them even bizarre. I've seen this passage used as an argument for extraterrestrial beings that after Jesus came to save people on earth. They want to other planets or to other stars and there he gathered his people from these other places and have them join the whole fold. I don't think that's what he's meaning here I think is pretty easy to discern that to which Jesus is speaking when he speaking to a Jewish audience is speaking of the mystery of the new covenant that God sheep are not limited to Israel, but from every tongue and tribe and nation Jesus as his sheep and he's bringing sheep from the Gentiles, from the God fears from the Samaritans into his body, the church where in his church. There's one flock and one shepherd. Not a different shepherd for the Gentiles, not indifferent shepherd for the Samaritans, but one flock, one Shepherd, and they all belong to him. Just the other day I heard a rebroadcast on the radio from the late great Dr. James Montgomery Boyce, and Jim was talking in this lecture about the propensity that we have as Christians to think that the only way that God is pleased with is our way and therefore not doing the work of the kingdom the way we do it then we probably not even in the kingdom when in fact no one of us has a perfect grasp or understanding of the things of God. And when I see somebody who's in a different church or different ministry from Mars who does things a little differently from how we would do it when they're doing the work of Christ. What are we supposed to do were supposed to rejoice at that. It's not this kind of acumen yesterday where we say there aren't any differences that doesn't matter what you believe that I'm not saying that but I'm saying that even as zealous as we are for what we believe is the truth.

We still have to recognize that among real Christians.

All kinds of different styles systems ministries concerns may not always match our but were all in Christ were all part of the same flock and we look to the good Shepherd and he gives us our marching. Then in verse 17 he said. Therefore my father loves me because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me. I let down of myself.

I had the power to lay down and I have the power to take it up again and again that he refers to the temple that he's going to rebuild in three days after's destroyed his I can lay down my life I can die and get back up again. I whom the world understood the words that he was saying here at the time that he was saying it but who would not who was there not think of those things on the resurrection Sunday.

I have the power to lay it down. I have the power to take it again. In this command I received from my father know we are told elsewhere that Jesus is the Bishop and the shepherd of our souls. That's the vocation that God has given to Christ that he is the son of God, and as the son of God. God makes him responsible for and gives them the authority over our very souls.

As the shepherd of our souls, and so he said this command I have received from my father then look what happens. Therefore, there was a division again among the Jews because of the say and many of them said he has a demon and his mad why do you listen to others said these are not the words of one who has a demon can a demon open the eyes of the blind.

Good thinking that will and have that power and they said wait a minute, he's just proven that he is the good Shepherd by ministering to that sheep who was blind, the day he was born before Jesus left one of his last discussions with his disciples after the resurrection met with Peter three times. He asked Peter.

Peter do you love me three times, Peter said, Gaylord, you know that I love you and three times Jesus said to Peter, and by extension to the church of all ages. If you love me see my not Peter sheep than on myosin, their history: following when Jesus claimed to be the shepherd of God's people. He stirred up controversy among the Pharisees, some readily accepted his words is coming from God, while others said he was from the devil. The bottom line is that Christ sheep indeed hear his voice, thanks for joining us for Renewing Your Mind on this Thursday I'm Lee Webb and this week we have been featuring Dr. RC Sproul series knowing Christ. The IM sayings of Jesus. Jesus described himself as the vine, the bread of life. The light of the world, and RC explains how these metaphors confirm the deity of Christ will send you all eight messages in the series on a single DVD for your donation of any amount. There are couple of ways you can reach us to make a request. One is by phone it 800-435-4343 or you can go online to Renewing Your Mind.Ward. Some claim that Jesus was simply a good person with a good message or a revolutionary who wanted to undermine the Roman system.

There are so many opinions about Jesus that it can become dizzying and we like to help you can get answers to your biblical and theological questions online with ask Liggett here, we have trained team members around the world who are ready to answer your questions in real time there available 24 hours a day, Monday through Saturday to receive sound biblical answers to your questions, simply go to ask.Liggett tomorrow.

RC will wrap up the week by looking at one other way that Jesus described himself. One of the reasons why the first century Christians were so willing to undergo martyrdom was because they were absolutely convinced of the resurrection and they were convinced that death was not the final dimension. Jesus said that he was the resurrection and the life that's her focus tomorrow and we hope you'll join us for Renewing Your Mind

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