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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hearing the Voice of the Good Shephard

Sunday Sermon Summary: Guest Pastor Mark Cooke

This is the fourth Sunday of Easter, when Jesus Christ declares to the Jews that he is the good shepherd. What does it mean to hear the voice of the good shepherd? To hear the voice of God? We need to embrace the idea that we are sheep. The shepherd psalms are
  • psalm 78: 52 But he brought his people out like a flock;
    he led them like sheep through the desert.
  • psalm 77: 20 You led your people like a flock
    by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
  • psalm 79: 13 13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
    will praise you forever;
    from generation to generation
    we will recount your praise.
  • psalm 80 1 Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph like a flock;
    you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth
  • psalm 100
  • psalm 23
The common analogy is that God is our shepherd. Max Lucado says sheep are dumb and dirty. What does it mean to be a sheep? Dirty. Obstinate. Mob mentality. Max Lucado says that sheep are the least capable of taking care of themselves. Isaiah 53 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Also reference 1 Peter 2.

Can you pass the sheep test? You know you are a sheep when...
  1. you can control your words at all times
  2. you are at peace with all
  3. you have no fears
  4. you need no forgiveness
We can't pass the test. We begin to hear the voice. To understand who the Shepherd is and what he does lets look at psalms 23:1. 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. "LORD" is in all caps. Lowercase "lord" means lord as a title. "LORD" is YAHWEH. The good shepherd is Jehovah. The good shepherd is the lamb in Revelation. Over 29 times in Revelation 'lamb' is used. In John 10 and Matthew 2:6 the good shepherd is the risen Lord, also the coming king, lord, lamb and savior.

What does he do? Reference John 10:3-4 and 11:14-15. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. He gave sheep eternal life. He gives eternal life so they will never perish. He guards and protects his sheep. He pens the sheep and calls each one by name. The relationship of good shepherd to sheep is that he knows hos own and his own knows him...knows his voice.

God calls us gently. The sheep follow him. The Lamb will guide us to the book of life. The sheep love Him. A sign of not being a sheep is unbelieving. When we get before the Lord there will be no denomination. We will be ONE flock with one shepherd. The 12 tribes become one flock.

We need to ask ourselves:
  • do I belong to Him?
  • do I recognize His right to me?
  • do I respond to His authority and acknowledge His authority?
  • do I find freedom and complete fulfilment in this arrangement?
  • do I find deep contentment and a sense of peace under his direction?
  • do I know and respond and belong to the good shepherd?
Listen. Listen. It is the voice of the good shepherd. In the words he is calling us by name. Won't you run to him? Trust him? Follow him? Know the joy? He is calling you by name. Hear h is voice and follow him.


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