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I AM. . .The Good Shepherd
How I Am Changes Who I Am
The Good Shepherd
John 10:11-14
 
Do you ever get worried about things in your life?  Do you have something you are worried about right now? If so, think about this:  Have you ever had a trouble or problem solved because you worried about it?
 
You may feel like the person who told his friend, ''Don't tell me that worry doesn't do any good. I know better. The things I worry about don't happen.''
 
After an extensive study on worry, Dr. A. J. Cronin sorted it out the things people worry about this way:
 
Things which never happen: 40%
Things in the past that cannot be changed: 30%.
Needless health worries: 12%.
Petty Miscellaneous worries: 10%.
Real legitimate worries: 8%.
 
That means about half of the things you worry about will never happen and the other half will happen whether you worry about them or not, so why worry?  Too many people, and especially too many of God’s people are living frustrated lives for nothing.
 
There was a very wealthy man who was worried about getting his mother a gift for Mother's Day that she would really enjoy. She lived alone and he was far away and he was worried in particular about her getting lonesome. 
 
He thought a pet might keep her company so he went to a pet shop and sure enough, they had a bird that could talk and carry on a conversation.  The only problem was the bird cost $5,000.
 
Well, he had the money and it was his momma and she was lonely and he was worried about her so he decided to go ahead and purchase the bird and have it shipped to his mother for Mother's Day. Mother's Day came and he called her to see how she liked the bird. After greeting her on the telephone he said, ''Mother, how did you like the bird I sent you?'' She said, ''Son, it was delicious.''
 
He said, “Oh no Momma!  The bird wasn’t to eat.  That bird could talk!”  She said, “Well he should have said something!”
 
I want to invite you to turn with me this morning to John 10 as we continue our series of messages about how Jesus as the I Am of Scripture changes who I am. 
 
Seven times in John's gospel Jesus uses that I AM name that God gave Moses back in Exodus 3 in describing Himself. Every time Jesus used that name, He was declaring His deity.
 
We hear Jesus say in John 6.48, ''I AM the Bread of Life,'' which speaks of His PROVISION.
 
Then in John 8.12 Jesus said, ''I AM the Light of the world,'' which speaks of His PATHWAY.
 
In John 10.9 we heard Him say, ''I AM the Door,'' which speaks of His PASSAGE.
 
And today in John 10.11, we're going to hear Him say, ''I AM the good shepherd,'' which speaks of His PROTECTION.
 
John 10.11-14
 
Jesus provides a very vivid contrast here between a shepherd and what Scripture identifies as a “hireling”.  A hireling is a hired hand that assists the shepherd.  And Jesus says the way you can tell the difference between a shepherd and a hired hand is how they respond when trouble comes to the flock. 
 
The hired hand doesn’t love the sheep.  He’s just getting paid to do his job and if it gets too dangerous, he’ll just quit and go find something else to do.  In other words, he’s there for only one reason and that is to draw a paycheck. 
 
The good shepherd, on the other hand, tends to the sheep because he loves the sheep.  Then Jesus identifies Himself as the Good Shepherd.  f
 
In fact, if we were to continue reading, we would find not only does He love His sheep, He will never leave His flock and will even lay down his life to protect them. Now don’t miss the picture Jesus is providing.  If you belong to God, no matter what comes your way, Jesus as our good shepherd will stand between us and whatever causes us worry! That's what good shepherds do!
 
So let me ask you again, “About what are you worried today?”  Is it too much for the Good Shepherd to handle?
 
 
I want you to know when Jesus is your Good Shepherd, you have every right to say along with the Psalmist in Psalm 27.1, ''The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?''
 
And in Psalm 118.6, ''The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?''
 
Throughout the Bible, the Lord is pictured as a shepherd. For example: Ezekiel 34:15-16, ''15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,'' says the Lord God. 16 ''I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick.''
 
Listen to Jacob's prophetic blessing on his son Joseph in Genesis 49.24, ''But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel).
 
Isaiah said in Isaiah 40.11, ''He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.''
 
Certainly we shouldn’t fail to mention the most beloved reference of all found in Psalm 23 where David declares, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
 
And here we find Jesus picking up that beautiful Old Testament picture to identify Himself as the Good Shepherd.  So what does it mean to call Him the Good Shepherd and how does it change us?
 
And in particular how does Jesus being the Good Shepherd help resolve our worries?
 
1.  His Redemption makes Him the Good Shepherd
 
verse 11
 
The Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep.  I pray we never get over the fact that Jesus died for us.  He voluntarily, willingly, lovingly laid His life down for us. 
 
I mentioned earlier the beauty and provision of the 23rd Psalm.  It is in the opening verse that David declares this beautiful, personal relationship that he enjoys with the Lord as His Shepherd. 
 
What you may not realize is that the 23rd is a part of a trilogy of Psalms that are found in order with the 23rd being in the middle.  Listen to what we find in the 22nd:
 
Psalm 22:1
 
It was this Psalm that Jesus quoted while on the cross.  That heartrending cry of felling forsaken was first voiced by David. 
 
He goes on to say. . .
 
verses 15-18
 
There is no more vivid description of the crucifixion found anywhere in the Bible! Psalm 22 is the Good Shepherd dying for the sheep to redeem them!
 
We read in Revelation 5 of a new song being sang in Heaven in verse 9, ''You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood ..''
 
Jesus did more than die for you.  The fact that He was slain speaks of being slaughtered. It literally means to ''cut in the throat for a sacrifice.'' Jesus was not merely killed, He was slain, He was offered as a sacrifice; the Just for the unjust to bring us to God! He was slain, slaughtered, sacrificed in order to redeem us!
 
Listen to what we read in Hebrews 13 as the writer of wraps up this letter.
 
Hebrews 13:20-21
 
If you read carefully, you will notice we add a new dimension to the description.  It’s as if redemption makes Him the Good Shepherd, but then it's . . .
 
2. His Resurrection makes Him the Great Shepherd
 
verse 20
 
Now remember, we began by talking about the worried lives we live and we’re trying to discover how Jesus being I Am changes who I am. 
 
This verse tells us the quickest way to get rid of your worries is to know that our God is a God of peace!  And it is the God of Peace who gives peace to the sheep that follow Him.
 
 
Did you ever notice that there are some people who can walk into a room, and without saying a word, just suck the life and breath and joy out of it?  Everywhere they go they are surrounded by dissension and division and confrontation.  And when you see them coming, you just kind of draw up on the inside as the tension increases
 
 Others can walk into a room and it’s just like a breath of fresh air.  They instantly create a calming presence. Their life is marked by peace and joy and freshness.  Do you know what makes the difference?  One has been spending time with Jesus and the other hasn’t. 
 
You just take note.  The more time you spend with the God of peace, the more peace you will have and the more peace you will radiate.  And the opposite is true as well.  The less time you spend with the God of peace, the less peace you’ll have to enjoy and share.
 
There’s another way to say that.  The more time I spend with God in His Word, the less worries I’ll have.  The less time I spend in His Word, the more time I’ll spend worried and fretting. 
 
Here is how Isaiah said it in Isaiah 26.3-4, ''You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord is everlasting strength.''
 
 
 
 
 
 
No wonder Paul tells us in Philippians 4.6-7, ''Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.''
 
The opposite of worry is trust. When you stop trusting, in comes worry. When you start trusting, out goes worry. What is trust? Trust is simply having a confidence in God in every circumstance and according to this verse in Hebrews 13, it is the resurrection takes the worry out of life!
 
Now remember, I told you the 23rd Psalm is part of a trilogy of Psalms.  It is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep and that is pictured in the 22nd Psalm.  So what do we find in the 23rd?
 
Listen again to verses 1-3.
 
What is the shepherd doing for the sheep in Psalm 23? He is feeding and leading and restoring! In fact, everything we need, He provides. 
 
There is a beautiful picture of that kind of care provided in the life of Moses.  We don’t often think of Moses as a shepherd, but that’s how he spent the first third second third of his life.  Listen to what is said of Moses in    
 
Exodus 3:1
 
Just as Moses led the flock to the mountain of God, Jesus the Great Shepherd, arose from the grave to lead us into the presence of God.
 
Joseph was that kind of shepherd.
 
Genesis 37:2
 
Moses led the flock.  Joseph fed the flock.  In like manner, our resurrected Savior not only leads us, He feeds us with His word, by His Spirit and through His people!
 
What did we read in Hebrews 13:21?
 
The God of Peace brought up our Lord from the dead to. . .
 
''. . .to make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight.'' He was raised to ''complete'' us, to equip us, to prepare us ''in every good work to do His will ..''
 
As the Good Shepherd, He lays down his life for His sheep.
 
As the Great Shepherd, He leads and feeds and restores His sheep!
 
Now let me show you one last shepherd comparison in scripture, it's found in 1 Peter 5:4 where we read, ''and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.''
 
Now if it's
 
  • His REDEMPTION that makes Him the Good Shepherd
 
And if it's ..
 
  • His RESURRECTION that makes Him the Great Shepherd.
 
Then it's
 
3. His Return that makes Him the Chief Shepherd.
 
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who died for the sheep!
Jesus is the Great Shepherd, who lives for the sheep!
Jesus is the Chief Shepherd, who returns for the sheep!
 
Now just as the 22nd Psalm speaks of Jesus the Good Shepherd who died for the sheep and 23rd Psalm speaks of Jesus the Great Shepherd who lives for the sheep, the 24th Psalm speaks of Jesus the Chief Shepherd who comes for the sheep.
 
Psalm 24.7-10
 
See the picture? In Psalm 22 we have a dying Shepherd.  In Psalm 23 we have a leading Shepherd.
In Psalm 24 we have a returning Shepherd.
 
Jesus is the Chief Shepherd because He is returning and upon His return, He will reward the faithful! There is a ''crown of glory'' coming our way! Yes, we are saved by faith but rewarded by works.
 
1 Corinthians 3.14-15, ''If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.''
 
 
 
Ephesians 2.10, ''For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.''
 
Do you know what makes Jesus the chief shepherd? His return for us, His reign over us and His rewards to us! What a shepherd! What a savior!
 
One man said, ''There are two days in the week about which I never worry. Two carefree days, kept free from fear and apprehension. One of these days is yesterday and the other is tomorrow.''
 
That leaves today! And what did Jesus tells us regarding today?
 
Matthew 6:25 says, ''Do not worry.'' Matthew 6.34, ''Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.''
 
What sheep need to eliminate worry is a Good Shepherd they can trust.  Dear friend, the Good Shepherd is Jesus and what makes Him the Good Shepherd is His Redemption.
 
What sheep need to eliminate worry is a Great Shepherd who can lead and feed and provide and Jesus is our Great Shepherd through His Resurrection.
 
And what sheep need to eliminate worry is the Chief Shepherd. And Jesus is the Chief Shepherd who will one day return with His rewards.
 
 
 
In his book, A Turtle on the Fencepost, Allen C. Emery tells of a night he spent on the Texas plains with a shepherd who was keeping two thousand sheep.
 
The shepherd prepared a bonfire for cooking supper and providing warmth. The sheep dogs lay down near the fire as the stars filled the sky. Suddenly Emery heard the unmistakable wail of a coyote with an answering call from the other side of the range. The dogs weren’t patrolling at the moment, and the coyotes seemed to know it.
 
Rising quickly, the shepherd tossed some logs on the fire; and in this light, Emery looked out at the sheep and saw thousands of little lights.
 
Emery writes, "I realized that these were reflections of the fire in the eyes of the sheep. In the midst of danger, the sheep were not looking out into the darkness, but were keeping their eyes set toward the shepherd."
 
There is great counsel in that story for us.  If you don’t want to be worried, then put your eyes of Jesus and keep them there.  Look to the Good Shepherd for salvation, the Great Shepherd to give you peace and the Chief Shepherd to come take you home. 
 
Let’s pray.
 
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