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Origins of Christianity: John 10.1-9

We’ve been working our way through Genesis; God created all there is.  God rescued people like Noah and his family.  John 10 is about how Jesus rescues all of us, how God steps into our lives and rescues us.  God cares for us and is the Good Shepherd.  He is the One that truly cares for our souls.  We can pull away from the noise and hear from God in the coming weeks.

Counterfeit soul care is widespread.

                        When Jesus arrived in this moment in John 10, beforehand, he had an encounter with the Pharisees when Jesus helped someone that was blind.  Jesus told the Pharisees they are blind.  Jesus is concerned when people need soul care.  The Pharisees are the people who should have been caring for other people but instead they were pushing people farther away from God.  There’s an analogy here of the shepherd and the sheep.  Here’s a group of people pretending to care.  How do we know who to trust? 

1“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.

Usually at night, sheep were kept in a pin that had a 6-7 foot wall around it.  The gate is where the sheep would enter into the pin.  This was to protect the sheep.  Those who didn’t have access through the gate would have to climb over the wall.  Anyone climbing over the wall wanted to kill or steal the sheep; they were not trying to care for them.  The ones who came through the gate cared for the sheep. 

The Pharisees are climbing over the wall.  Jesus is speaking to the need of their hearts.  In John 9 the Pharisees are the ones who lead the crowds against Jesus.  In Matthew 27 Jesus is arrested and on trial.  When Jesus stood before Pilate, he saw no wrong in Jesus.  The Pharisee religious leaders say Jesus needs to be crucified, so Pilate has this idea to a tradition to save Jesus.  He puts Jesus alongside Barabbas and asks the people to decide.  Pilate goes before the people and says he’ll release a prisoner.  In Matthew 27 the Pharisees are the ones who led the crowds to ask for Barabbas instead of Jesus.  Pilate was shocked!  Pilate asked what he should do with Jesus.  The crowd cheered, “Crucify Him!” 

Jesus has very good grounds to tell us to be careful who we listen to.  In this time in our history as a church, nation and world it’s important to care for our souls.  People are crawling over the walls and want to harm the sheep.  This morning the air was cool and crisp as I walked outside.  I was surprised by this.  We go online to check for the weather and sometimes we encounter something called Clickbait.  Clickbait takes us somewhere we didn’t intend to go.  Before we know it we’re seeing a funny cat and dog video and we’ve ordered 6 bags of chips from amazon!  It’s easy for us to get distracted and move away from God.  There are counterfeit voices that don’t care about our souls.

Your soul needs true care.

            2But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

Are you getting true care?  We desire authenticity.  Jesus is talking about authenticity and who has the right to speak into our lives.  In verses 2-3 here Jesus reminds us of these words.  In that time period we can read many stories of those who cared for sheep.  The shepherds would join together to protect the sheep overnight.  They’d rotate who cared for the sheep in a community pin because
many had small groups of sheep.  In the morning the sheep knew the shepherd that came to open the gate and release them.  They knew each other.  In these times sheep were even named just like we name our cats and dogs.  You call your pet and they ignore you just like today. (Ha Ha!)  Shepherds called the names of their sheep and knew each sheep by name.  The shepherd would call the names of the sheep to exit like, “Fluffy one, Fluffy two etc…”   and the sheep would exit.  The shepherds loved their sheep.
                        9I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
Jesus takes this analogy further.  Jesus is speaking in the first person.  He is the One who cares for our soul.  Let these words sink into our hearts and souls.  Listen to this verse sang as a song.  I hope this song gets stuck in your mind.  Jesus is the door, that’s where our souls need to be.  This is part of our everyday lives.  In John 14 Jesus says he isn’t just the One who cares for us on a daily basis but for eternity.  No one enters into the Father except through Jesus.  We can trust Jesus with our lives now and forever.  Luke Mitchem, who was baptized this morning, came to that place in his life.  You can trust God with your soul.  Are you following after Jesus?  No matter what happens in my life I trust You God and I follow You.  These are challenging times but we have a Shepherd who knows us and leads us.  We long for the day when we can get back to together to worship and celebrate together.  That will be soon.  We also long for the day when Jesus will say, “Enter into the Kingdom of God forever.”  Are you listening to His voice?

 When I was a boy my grandpa wouldn’t let me name the cows.  They weren’t going to be around for a long time.  Naming the sheep meant they were part of the family.  They were cared for and checked on.  Your soul needs that kind of care.  Jesus is the true Shepherd.  He cares about you.  He knows you by name.  Are you spending time letting Jesus care for your soul? 

Jesus has the true voice that resonates with your soul.

When we hear the voice of Jesus it resonates within us.  We know it.  The sheep knew the shepherd’s voice.  We have a relationship with Jesus and we are familiar with Him.  Whatever you may be facing, Jesus knows you. 

                        4When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 

They know the voice of Jesus, their Shepherd and they were willing to follow.  They knew they could trust the shepherd with their life.  King David led in this way.  Even though he wasn’t perfect, people knew he cared for them.  Jesus says the sheep follow because they know His voice.  They will run away from a stranger because they don’t know the voice. 

I recently read a story from Jerusalem in Israel.  It’s from modern day, today, and life is just like it is here with streets and vehicles…  I was amazed to see a shepherd leading his sheep through the streets.  There were cars whizzing by and the shepherd was singing to the sheep.  The sheep were listening to the shepherd’s voice.  The sheep didn’t care what else was going on.  His singing can raise above all distractions in your life.  What voices are you listening to?  Spend time in God’s Word, the Bible.  It’s hard to turn everything off and to have a still, quiet moment.  Allow God to speak into your soul.  If you’re in our small groups, they’re getting creative in communicating with each other.  Caring for your soul; it matters.  Taking time to pray; it matters.  Whatever anxieties you have, pray the questions you have on your heart.  Our souls need this more than ever.  There’s all these different voices around us.    You need to know God loves you.  Are you hearing the voice of Jesus?

Good soul care leads to life.

If you spend time in the presence of Jesus; Jesus leads to life.  Sheep like to eat!  They get excited when they see the shepherd coming to open the gate.  Sheep are particular about what they eat.  They’re not like goats that will eat anything.  It’s important for the Shepherd to lead them towards the good essentials of life.  Like never before Jesus tells us he is the One who cares for our soul.

Sermon Notes are taken, transcribed and posted by Jeni Martin Johnson.


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