THE GOOD SHEPHERD.
I. THE CONTRAST IN THIS CHAPTER IS BETWEEN THE HIRELING AND THE GOOD SHEPHERD.
A. One of the curses through the years are those who look upon religion as a way to control people and to take advantage of them financially.
1. Before Jesus came, there were many who had come claiming to be the Messiah, and had gathered disciples around themselves, but they used their disciples to help them live a luxurious and opulent lifestyle.
a. When a man declared to Jesus that he wanted to be a disciple, Jesus in effect said, consider the cost, for the foxes have their holes, the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.
b. When the tax collector was badgering Him for an illegal assessment, Jesus did not have the money to pay so He sent Peter to catch a fish.
c. When He wanted to use a coin to illustrate a point, He had to borrow that coin.
d. He surely did not use his position to enrich himself, He said that He did not come to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give His life as a ransom for many.
2. There have been many in the past who were false prophets, and there are many today who disguise themselves as sheep, but as Jesus said, they are wolves in sheep's clothing. Their chief goal is to mix among the flock in order to devour the flock. Peter warns of the false prophets who he described as being covetous, and by using feigned words, make merchandise of the people.
a. This age of computers has added greatly to their ability to use feigned words.
b. That is, deceiving people through words that are not true but intended to give the impression that they are.
c. The computer will personalize the letters so that your name is repeated over and over through the body of the letter so that it seems that the dear evangelist has written you a personal letter to tell you about his financial crisis.
d. They can write such things as "Dear Sister Jones. As my wife and I were in prayer this morning the Lord laid you on our hearts, and the burden was so heavy we are sure that something must be wrong. Sister Jones please write to us so that we may pray more specifically for your need. And yes, if you could enclose an offering it would mean so much to us at this time, for unless we receive a generous offering from all of our partners this month, much of God's work will suffer tremendously. We will be forced to curtail the work of our orphanages and send the dear little children back out on the streets. You may use the enclosed envelop to send your gift. Just consider it seed faith money, and we will pray that God will return it to you one hundred fold. God bless you sister Jones and send the money as soon as possible."
3. Jesus said that they were thieves and robbers.
a. He declared that the thief comes to steal, to kill and to destroy.
b. I think of all of the destruction that these faith teachers and healing evangelists leave in their wake.
c. One of the things that is always prominently featured in their meetings is the offering, as they seek to steal from your pocketbook.
4. Jesus called them hirelings. They really do not care for the sheep. The sheep are not on their hearts.
a. The true shepherd seeks the green pastures to feed the flock. The welfare of the flock is his chief concern.
b. The hireling is always looking for some way by which he can fleece the flock.
B. Jesus said to His disciples, freely you have received, freely give.
II. JESUS SAID, "THE THIEF COMES TO ROB, KILL AND DESTROY, BUT I HAVE COME THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE LIFE AND THAT MORE ABUNDANTLY."
A. Jesus does not come to take from you, but to give to you.
1. Many ministries exist to be ministered to.
2. They are always calling on you for support so that the ministry might be maintained.
3. Other ministries exist to minister.
4. They are more interested in giving than receiving.
5. Jesus came to give to us life more abundantly.
B. Jesus said that He was the Good Shepherd in contrast to the hireling.
C. The things that He tells us about the hireling.
1. The hireling will desert the sheep in the time of danger.
2. He is more interested in saving his own hide than of protecting the sheep.
3. The hireling cares not for the sheep.
D. The things that He tells us about the good shepherd.
1. That He is the door of the sheep.
a. When the shepherd would bring the sheep into the fold at night, which was a rock walled enclosure.
b. He would have the sheep pass under him as they entered and he would count them and inspect them, pulling off any briars, and checking for wounds.
c. Once he was certain that all the sheep were safely in the fold, he would then lay across the opening so that nothing could get to the sheep except by passing over him.
d. In the same token the sheep could not escape from the enclosure without passing over the shepherd.
e. It is so comforting for me to realize that the enemy cannot get to me except by passing by my Shepherd. How secure can you be?
f. He said that He was the door of the sheep, and if any man would enter in by Him, he would be saved.
2. He said that He knew His sheep, He called them by name, and He led them.
3. He said He went before His sheep and they knew His voice and would follow Him.
4. He said that He was the Good Shepherd and He would lay down His life for the sheep.
5. He said that His sheep heard His voice and followed Him and He gives to them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and that no man could pluck them out of His hand.
6. Are you following the true Shepherd, or a hireling?
7. Peter exhorted the elders to feed the flock of God, watch over them, not by constraint, but willingly. Not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. Neither were they to lord over God's people, but be an example to them and when the chief Shepherd would appear He will reward them.