Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. Eugene Sherman
Delivered On
January 27, 2018 at 10:45 AM
Subject
The Good Shepherd
Description

 

The Good Shepherd

 

THE GOOD SHEPHERD
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” Ps. 23:1
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” John 10:11.
The daily experiences of life place numerous demands
on humankind. Responses to these demands – in the process
of time – brings about changes in normal bodily functions of
the individual. Some people, for example, are irritable; some
are withdrawn; some are hostile; some are exhausted; and
some are lethargic. Undergirding these stress related responses
is a common need for some time management skills. Behavioral
psychology, in this connection, have long taught the need for
leisure activities, quality time for self, and rest to maintain
an holistically healthy body.
While some people can only find relief through travel,
there are others who need only a book to read or, in my case,
a series of old fashioned cartoons. Unlike the strange looking
cartoons of today, those of yesteryear consisted of Daffy Duck,
Elmer and the Rabbit, Road Runner, Yoga Bear … to mention
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few. One of my favorites was the Sheep dog and the wolf.
The old hairy faced sheep dog was a shepherd for the little
sheep. His problem was to protect the sheep from the cunning
wolf. Numerous were the schemes the wolf used to capture a
sheep, but each time the low keyed Sheep Dog would disrupt
the wolf’s effort. Friends, that cartoon has relevance for us
today; not such much to watch it: rather, to gleam from its
symbolism a pattern of divine confidence that our text addresses
today. It echoes the historical message of assurance that we
have a shepherd who is fully capable of protecting us from the
wolves of this world. Our sermon, in this connection, has been
entitled, The Good Shepherd. The sermon will explore three
aspects of the good shepherd; namely: 1. Characteristics of the
good shepherd; 2. knowledge of the good shepherd, and duties
of the good shepherd.
As background to this study of the Good Shepherd, brief
attention will be focused on the word shepherd. In terms of

 

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biblical history, shepherd was used to designated a person whose
job it was to keep sheep. The term was quite prominent in Old
Testament history during the time when Israel was in a period
known as pastoral. That was a time when the people followed
the grazing pattern of sheep who needed green pastures and
still waters. It was within that time frame that David penned
the 23rd Psalm, one aspect of the text for today’s sermon.
While the term shepherd is of Old Testament origin, its usage
continued into the New Testament. As noted in our text today,
Jesus referred to himself as the good shepherd. This assertion
leads to the first consideration of the sermon which is –
the nature of a good shepherd. Referring back to the cartoon
involving the sheepdog, the good shepherd must be forever
alert to the dangers surrounding the flock. David, as a shepherd,
used his strength, his sling shot, and his staff to protect the
sheep. As was David, so must any good shepherd risk his life
for the welfare of the sheep. The good shepherd does not become

 

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angry with the wayward sheep, instead, he seeks to find and
return the devious one to the fold. Admittedly, the task of
being a shepherd can be exhaustive, the good shepherd must
never grow weary on the job. Humanly speaking, however, the
body can become de-energized thereby causing shallow
judgment and delayed responses, we – as Christians – are
blessed to have a shepherd superior to the sheep dog,
wiser and stronger than David, and one whom the Bible
described as never slumbering nor sleeping. His name is
Jesus and the Bible tells us today that Jesus said, “I am
the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for his
sheep. This benevolence of Jesus was a theme in the Anthem,
Listen to the Lambs, composed by Nathaniel Dett, an African
American who penned, “ He shall feed his flock like a shepherd
and carry the young ones in his bosom”.
Whereas David as a shepherd was mortal and did pass,
and pastors as moral shepherds will pass, Jesus as that great

 

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shepherd of the flock was dead, but is now alive and shall
live forever. Friends, Peter tells us that there will come a time
when ( Jesus ) the chief shepherd of the flock shall ye shall
receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away”.
The good shepherd, secondly, knows his sheep. Friends,
this fact should thrill our heart as we are becoming recognized
more by numbers: social security, accounts, driver license, and
DOB data. In the not too distance past, we were known by our
teachers, our bankers, and our account holders. That informal
comfort has been usurped by the computer.  But thanks be
to God, there is yet the good shepherd, who according to the
Bible, knows his sheep ( John 10:14-15 ) ( This good shepherd
because he has prefect knowledge of them. He knows their
proneness to wander and their infirmities. Thus he can preserve
them as members of his flock. None of the sheep can wander
away and be lost because he knows all about them. In this
regard, the Bible tells us that the Good Shepherd said unto

 

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his father, “Those that thou gaveth me I have kept, and none
of them is lost ( John 17:12 ). This knowledge of his sheep
is as complete as the knowledge of Christ and the father about
each other. Friends, let us embrace this glorious fact that we
are under the care of the Good Shepherd who knows, cares,
and watches over us.
Thirdly, and finally, this Good Shepherd gathers his sheep
as noted in John 10:16-18. As the Good Shepherd, Christ also
has an interest in gathering “other sheep” which were never
part of the “fold” of Judaism. This fact is stated in John 1:12
where the following words are found – “But as many as
received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of
God, even to them that believe on his name.” Friends, this
verse clearly referred to the Gentiles, or non Jewish people,
whom the Shepherd would be gathering from all parts of the
world wherever the gospel would be proclaimed. When his
sheep respond to his voice in the gospel, they become “one

 

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Flock” with “one Shepherd”.  Following Christ’s death, his
resurrection, his ascension, and the advent of Pentecost, the
New Testament Church was born as the channel through
which Jews and Gentiles could freely respond to the message
of salvation. In closing, beloved, the somber question becomes
have you sincerely given your life over to the guidance and
protection of the Good Shepherd. If so, remain – steadfastly –
under his care. If not, I humbly urge you to not neglect so
great a salvation. This admonition and appeal is made to
all here gathered. Accept the guardianship of the good
shepherd who is eternal, all powerful, approachable, and
– according to Scriptures – shall return to earth. At that
time, in the words of Peter – the Great Shepherd of the flock
shall return to earth and Paul declared that the dead in
Christ shall rise first and those who are alive shall be caught
up ever to be with the Lord. Are you prepared for that awful
day or will the Good Shepherd pass you by for doom into the
lake of brimstone and fire? ( Rev.20:15 ). Amen

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