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The Good Shepherd

by Julius Hovan

(Third in Good Shepherd Series)

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

We welcome you to this great broadcast of Words of Life.  We say it is a great broadcast because it is a message of the great love and power of God expressed through the Lord Jesus.  Thank you for joining in.

Some of you have been listening and have herd two messages dealing with the subject of the shepherd with the sheep.  And we have seen that not only sheep but often people are scattered as if they have no shepherd.  And we found that often times human shepherds, human leaders, human elders, political leaders or whomever they might be are inadequate to be the leaders they ought to be.  We found that there are false shepherds as well.  Then we found the good news that God has provided a door that any who will enter in through him in accepting faith, that he can be restored to a right relationship with God.  We need not continue to be scattered like sheep.  We continue in judgment, we continue in danger when we steer away from God.

In our second lesson, we found that Jesus in the tenth chapter of the gospel of John is pictured as the good shepherd.  He gave his life that we might have life.  We concluded that there was no other way to have this life except through our faithful acceptance of the Lord Jesus.  And we came to learn that God knows those who are his and they are known by each other is a close and special relationship.

Now most of us, if we are honest, will admit to needing a shepherd, need some direction to bring us to God.  We need the knowledge of the fact that we are sinners, the knowledge that if we do not repent, if we do not get right with God, we face a horrible judgement for all of eternity in a place the Bible calls hell and none are desires of going there.  We think about the forgiveness of God that comes through the shed blood of Jesus.  Our obedience in coming to him when we are baptized into Christ for the remission of our sins.  And so many of you listening today have done that, you saw the need for a shepherd and you accepted the Lord Jesus Christ.  But after becoming a Christian too often we think that we are on our own.  We have got to make it on our own.  We’ve got to hand out by ourselves.  No, we are going to learn today that not only is our Lord Jesus a good shepherd, but we need every day a great shepherd and he qualifies to be that great shepherd.  We are not on the outside of the ark.  We think of Noah and his family in the ark.  They are not on the outside holding on to some shells or spikes driven into the side of the ark and hoping they can hold on.  No, they are on the inside, they are blessed.  They are safe because they have entered the fold through the door God provided.  So, that is the picture of our salvation as well.  Provided for us by the good shepherd on the inside.

Do you have an inside relationship with God today?  Oh, many people are living this way.  They are Christians, they have made that confession of faith, but they don’t have the joy.  We had a member of the church that I was with in Dallas, Texas and he would often greet you by saying “have you got the joy.”  Oh, my friends there is a joy that comes by a special way for those that are a part of the family of God.

Would you prefer eating the banana peeling or eating the banana.  I think we know the answer to that question do we not.  We know which is the better of the two.  And so, for the Christian who has walked faithfully with the Lord.  He recognizes he need the great shepherd for daily guidance.  For living in the way.  God said that every day is a new day of decision, every week brings up something that we must make a decision about.  Would God supply such a good shepherd to save us, and then leave us to the flood of life with only our feeble intellect, our inadequate strength to rely upon.  Not the God of the Bible, not Jehovah, not Yahweh, not the Bible God that is so vividly pictured.

I have had many people tell me.  Oh, I would like to become a Christian, but I am afraid I could never hold on.  They have missed the point have they not.  They have got to learn that they cannot do it on their own, that’s why we are scattered.  That’s why we were lost.  We tried it on our own and failure was the result of all of that.

But we don’t need to hold on by ourselves, for he holds on to us.  He provides the victory when we are not able to do it.  Our human nature feels the need.  We want the guidance.  We want somebody to lift us up when we have fallen.  And so, we have this great shepherd that comes to us.

Listen to the words in the book of Hebrews, chapter 13 and the 20th verse.  Now the God of peace who brought again from the dead, the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant.  Who is that?  Who is he talking about, even our Lord Jesus.  This is the life given to us through the Lord Jesus.  And it is the God of peace.  God wants you to have peace in your life.  Oh, we live in a world of such bitterness and hatred and turmoil.  Families are broken, nations are split, but God is one who provides peace.  Man must be at peace with himself and that happens when we become Christians and accept Jesus and his sacrifice for us.

And we learned that he who gave his life and God has raised him from the dead and is connected with us in an eternal covenant that we might enjoy the blessings that he so much wanted to give.  God has raised up the Lord as Paul told the church at Corinth and he will also raise us up.

Oh, my friend I don’t know about you but I am getting in the latter decade of my life and I will one day, if Jesus doesn’t come, that there will be the death valley that I must walk.  Oh, that day is coming that I will walk not in the valley of death, but through the valley of death in the very presence of God.  Do you have that hope today because of your relationship with the Lord Jesus?

The book of Colossians in the second chapter beginning with verse 10:  In him, that is Jesus, you are made full and he is the head of all principality and power and you were circumcised and with a circumcision not made with hands, with the putting off of the body of flesh.  The old King James Version says there, we have endured the operation of God.  God has operated on us.  Notice verse 12.  We have been buried with him in baptism wherein we were raised with him in faith and the operation on the working of God who raised him from the dead.   What a great good news that is indeed that we have such a blessing available to us.

Remember what Jesus the good shepherd told us in John 10:10. I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.  This type of life is found in Christianity in the work of Jesus Christ.  That’s why Christians are called Christians, because it is the work of the Lord Jesus.

The Scottish Highlands, a beautiful part of the nation, in that part of the world and hunters were watching a part of the lost sheep.  They were watching the sheep and what did the sheep do.  They had been rather high up in the mountains, but they watched them as they were tempted by the grass that was lush and green and they went down and down and down and down.  Tempted by the sight of the grass.  Never did they move upward and they got finally to the edge of a large ledge that dropped off to the bottom of the mountain.  A sheep is not a very smart animal and an eagle seeing this situation flew down.  Swooped down and scared the sheep and caused them to jump off of the ledge to their destruction to be eaten by this great eagle.

This is the picture of many a sheep from the fold of God.  Those that are Christians but they seek satisfaction elsewhere and they never find it.  What they do find lasts for a little while, it gives them a little taste of something that is good but in the morning, it is not so good.  And like the sheep that went farther and farther down the mountain, not realizing the danger they were coming to.  How far away might you be today.  How far down the mountain?  How close to the ledge that leads to your destruction.  This great shepherd has been raised from the dead in order that you might have abundant life here and now if you will accept it by faith.  Do not come doubting what Jesus can do.  You don’t have to understand all, it is by faith.  If we think we can do it on our own. We are in essence calling Jesus a liar.  Remember those words we said in John 10:9. “I am come that you might be saved, that you might go in and out, that you might find pasture, salvation, a place of service and usefulness and what great satisfaction and joy.

Listen to the reading of Hebrews chapter 13 verse 21 in the Phillips translation of the Bible.  Now the God of peace who brought back from death that great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ.  By the blood of the everlasting agreement will equip you thoroughly for the doing of his will.  He will equip us the text continues.  That he may effect in you everything that pleases him through Jesus Christ.  Do you want to please God?  On your own, on your own flesh nature you will not do that very well.  But indeed, my friend when we come to him this God of peace equips us and makes us able to do that.  The New English Bible translates it this way.  He will make you perfect in all goodness so you may do his will, and may he make you what he would have us to be through Jesus Christ.

God is in the overhauling business my friend.  God is in the business of making us new again.  God is in the business of equipping us for ministry, for service, for goodness in the lives he gives in the presence of other people.  He will work in us to do his will.  The Philippian writer puts it this way in Philippians 2:31 It is God who works in you, think about that.  Both too will and to work for his good pleasure.  Somebody said God will give you the want to.  Do you want to work for God?  Do you want to go to heaven when your life ends?  Do you want to enjoy the blessings of the Lord Jesus?  God will help you have the want to, to do his will.  And then indeed he will help you.  God is in the giving business.  Are you wanting what God offers?  Are we taking it by faith?  He has supplied all of this through the great shepherd that we are going to talk about in lesson number 4.

We might ask this question today as we see the fact that he equips us for doing his will and we might ask this question.  Why do not more people show the abundant life?  Why are many who are Christians struggling because they have not lived like they ought to do?  I suggest to you these simple reasons.  Sin, sin that is unconfessed hinders the power of God from working in our lives.  Listen to me carefully.  This is so important.  The immediate, absolute cleansing is available to you at the moment of turning back to God and confessing that specific sin.  The blood of Jesus washes it away.  Christian friend do not go around with unconfessed sin, get rid of it.  Then there are the unforgotten sins.
We must forget the sins that God will forget.  He said I will cast them into the depths of the sea.  I will cast them as far as the east is from the west.

A group of children ran across a dead cat and one of the children in the group was a PK.  For those not familiar with the term, he was a preacher’s kid, his dad was a preacher.  So, the children decided that they would have a funeral for this dead cat.  So, they got a shoebox and the PK, the preacher’s kid would do the preaching.  The cat was already stiff and hard and they could put his body in the shoebox.  But his old longtail stuck out stiff and they couldn’t get it in the box.  When they got to the grave here was the cat’s tail sticking out of the box.  Well the ground was hard and they dug enough to bury the box, but when they put the box in the ground and covered it up and had the ceremony the cat’s tail was sticking out.  A few days later they came back and one of the children grabbed the cat’s tail and pulled on it.  Guess what, the cat had began to deteriorate.  Began to rot, began to smell and they brought out all that wickedness that was there in the death.  Oh, if you put your sins under the blood of Christ, quit pulling them up again.  Quit saying Lord forgive me, for what has already been forgiven.  We can’t live the life we ought to live with that memory of sin.  So, sin that is unconfessed, sin that is unforgotten sin.  What a sad picture it is for the child of God.

And I think often times we simple don’t know what we have.  The man in the city had a beautiful country estate and he had lived there a long time and decided that he would put it up for sale.  So, he called the realtor and he came and looked at the beautiful place and then he wrote up an article and put it in the paper advertising this beautiful place for sale.  In the description, he told of the beautiful porches around the mansion.  The hallways inside, the beautiful spiral staircase, the lovely tall big high-ceilinged rooms.  He mentioned the well cared for lawn.  The trees of various kinds.  All kinds of shrubs and flowers, all kinds of gardens that were there.  When the man read the description of what he had he decided not to sell his beautiful estate.

Oh, listen to me as we have to bring this broadcast to its conclusion, as we see by faith and experience daily what is ours.  We are Christians, we will want to possess it, use it, not sell it, not give it away for some fleeting earthly pleasure which will destroy the soul.

So here we are.  Why do we not enjoy the abundant life?  The problem of sin, we don’t know what we have and then the problem of simply not having true faith.  The Christian, as often times was true of Israel as they tried to take the land.  They did not have faith to enter and they spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness.

A young man was blind and they thought they had found the cause of his blindness.  He was referred to as blind Charlie.  They thought they had found a doctor that had the knowledge to help blind Charlie.  So, the doctor did his surgery and had wrapped 32 wrappings around his face and then one day at a time one of those bands would be taken off.  As the last was to be taken off and the doctor came and they said that the first thing he sees should be something beautiful; a garden, his mother, his father, a rose bush.  They took the wrappings off and he said: oh mother, why didn’t you tell me all of this was so beautiful.  She said I tried Charlie, but you were blind and could not see.
And so, my friends it is with the lost.  Have you failed to see you can come to Jesus?  He will remove the scales.  He will take away your sin.  You can live as a child of the King.

Thank you for joining us today at Words of Life.  Please contact us if we may be of help as you are making this great decision for Christ.

 

Julius Hovan is minister of the Bohon Church of Christ, Bohon, KY.




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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4