In this sermon, Pastor John emphasizes the importance of recognizing the voice of the true shepherd, which can be achieved by knowing His word and listening to the Holy Spirit. He also highlights the contrast between the true shepherd and false shepherds who abuse their role and hinder the way to Jesus.
The sermon concludes by pointing out that true love involves sacrifice and selflessness. The ultimate example of this is Jesus, who laid down his life for his followers. John encourages the congregation to reflect on whether they are acting as true shepherds in their own lives, caring for others and being willing to make sacrifices.
The sermon title is "Deadly Love," referring to the sacrificial love that Jesus demonstrated for humanity.
At Valley View Church we are currently studying through the entire gospel of John, verse by verse. You can join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM for worship. We are located at 8911 3rd Street Road, Louisville KY 40272.
Well, good morning to all of you. It's great to be with you this morning as we continue our study. And John and I had an interesting experience this week that I think ties in to the passage we'll be looking at in chapter ten today. It was one of those days where I had just worked out. I was kind of tired. I was kind of spaced out. I was driving down the road and I stopped at a stoplight. And I don't know your mind kind of does your mind ever do this kind of just goes to a weird random place for no reason. And maybe it's her name in there. Maybe it's because I've been reading a book on delusions, and maybe paranoia is, I don't know. But all of a sudden I'm just sitting here and I start thinking, What would I do right now if somebody jumped out of their car and started coming at me with a gun? And what would I do in this moment? I don't know why I was thinking about that. I'm not worried. There's not anybody here in particular I have in mind. Why did my mind go there? I don't know. But then I. Okay, well, what I do, what I try to back up and ram the car behind me and then jump this curb. Or do I need to ram the car in front of me? I'm not sure. I'm kind of just processing all this, trying to think it through because you need to be prepared, you know, for something like that. Finally, I've kind of gone through all that. I'm coming back down to earth, realize now I'm still driving. I'm at a stoplight. I've got to move here in a minute. And while I'm sitting there still kind of coming down from this, I look over at the car next to me and there's a guy with his window rolled down just staring at me. Great timing, right? Kind of a guy who is staring at me, bald headed goatee. Now, in that moment, you've got to kind of process, is this someone I need to be worried about or is this someone I can trust? And when we look at today's passage, I'm not really going to help you deal with hitmen per se. But when you are wrestling with the question, is this the kind of person I can trust or not? We're going to get some clues in this passage today. Is this the kind of person, especially leaders in particular in this passage, the shepherds of Israel? Is this the kind of person what are the attributes of the kind of person that I can trust, that I can look to for leadership that I can depend on in hard times or sketchy times or whatever we're going to be in? John Chapter ten. And if you have a church Bible that's on page 842, if you don't have a Bible, we'd love to put the Bible in your hands. We want God's Word in your hands for you to read and study on your own. Those are free for you. We have those in the connection corner pages on the screen. Page numbers are tied into that specific Bible. But John, Chapter ten, we're going to look at verses one through 21 today. And let's just start by looking at the first six verses to get the setting, get our bearings for today's passage. John, Chapter ten 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, but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him, the gatekeeper opens the sheep, hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them and the sheep follow him. For they know his voice, a stranger. They will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So, John, Chapter ten. We're moving into a new chapter, but it's important to note when Scripture was originally written, they didn't write down chapter and verse numbers. And really, this isn't a new section. This is a continuation of what we were studying in Chapter nine with the blind man defending himself to the Pharisees. And in fact, if your Bible has the words of Jesus in red, some people like that, some don't. It doesn't mean those words are more important. But what it does point out here is you'll see the last verse in chapter nine ends with the words of Jesus continues right in. He's just continuing to converse with the Pharisees. One of the ways we know this is just those words at the start of Chapter ten, those first two words truly, truly, I say to you, whenever those words are used in John, they're never used to start a new conversation, a new discourse, a new section. They're always a continuation of something that Jesus is already teaching. They're a little bit like how we might use the word honestly. You always love it when someone you're in a conversation with them that you answer it, ask a question, and they go, Well, honestly, and part of you goes where you're not honest before now, like, is this the point where you've turned on us? But that's not how we take it, because we know that's not what it means. They're not all of a sudden deciding, to be honest. Well, that's just a cue that says, okay, I'm going to open up a little more to you. I'm going to be a little more transparent here than I was. I wasn't dishonest before, but now I'm going to open up a little more. You don't say that at the start of a conversation. You do that after you've been talking for a little bit and now, Jesus, It doesn't only mean that, but it's a bit of truly, truly it's a cue. This is really important. I'm drawing out something that you need to take note of, and the first thing he says here, he does not. He who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. You know, if you I've never personally come to my house driven up and thought, you know what, today I'm just going to try to go in through the window for fun, right? You don't do that if you are needing to go through your window. Something went wrong. If you see someone else going in through a window, especially if it's not their house, something is wrong. You're calling the cops. That's not the way you normally go in to a house. You go in the easy way. You go in through the front door. And he's pointing out to them. He's suddenly saying to this audience, the Pharisees, those who who were supposed to be the shepherds of Israel, who we saw in the previous chapter, weren't they were the ones condemning people. They were the ones holding people back. The religious leaders are the ones who actually weren't shepherding the way they should. And he's saying, you're not coming in through the front door. You're coming in through the back door like a thief and a robber. Now, they're not picking up on all this fully yet, but this sets up this whole section, these holes, first five verses. And what we're going to see in these first five verses is this theme of Shepherd versus non shepherd, true shepherd versus thief and robber, true shepherd versus stranger. In fact, we're going to see over the course of our whole passage today five key attributes of a true shepherd in this passage If someone you can trust five key attributes. So these are things you will see in them, maybe not all of them, but portions of this, more of these that are in someone, the more you can trust them. The less of these, the more cautious you need to be. We're going to see the first four in these first five verses, and then the fifth one will come later for a reason. I'll show you in a minute. So let's look back at verses one through five. We've already talked about verse one, look at verse two. In verse two, we're going to see the first attribute of a trusted shepherd. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him, the gatekeeper opens. So the first attribute is he enters through the door. This is someone who's not sneaking around in the background. They're not trying to accomplish things indirectly in a way that subverts the way things should be. They come in through the front door, open and obvious and clear with confidence and recognized by the gatekeeper as someone trustworthy, someone who should come in, someone who has the authority in this situation, not sneaking around in the background. There's no doubt about the leadership, the authority, the trustworthiness of this person, person. Second attribute we see here go back to verse three to him. The gatekeeper opens the sheep, hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name. The sheep hear his voice and call his and calls his own sheep by name. Now, before I mention the second attribute, what sets this up is the fact that the sheep hear his voice. They recognize his voice. There's an instantaneous acknowledgment that this is the voice of the one I can trust. There's an instantaneous connection and instantaneous understanding of relationship. I spent a lot of time at playgrounds over the years, especially when we lived in Phenix and we had three, four or five year old son who was as intense of a person as I've ever met. We were just looking for survival. And parents in that moment often end up outside looking for other parents who feel the same way. We got to band together to survive in that moment, so we end up at a lot of playgrounds and we'd be at this playground and there'd be hundreds of kids there just smothered all over like ants in a colony over this playground, just taking it over. And there'd be parents everywhere, all scattered out, and parents are talking and hanging out and enjoying themselves and having a little snippet of adult conversation. And of course, kids are murdering one another over on the side. No one's paying any attention, except occasionally there'll be this one scream that rises above all the other screams. And that one mom instantly, she'll be deep in conversation instantly. That's. That's my kid. How did she pick out that one? Scream over all the others? I don't know. It's some superpower mothers have, but I didn't hear it. I didn't hear my own kid half the time. You can't pick it up at all. But she. She hears it. She knows that scream is just different enough in that moment. And the sheep hear his voice. They know him. In that moment, there's an immediate connection, an immediate recognition. It stands out. And the powerful part of that, it's not just that they hear his voice, but the second way, you know, the attribute of a trusted shepherd, he calls them by name. That's what it says here in the verse. He he calls his own sheep by name. And there's just something so powerful about knowing someone's name. You know, there's an intimacy there. There's a connection there by knowing someone's name, by remembering their name, by saying their name back to the in that moment when I was sitting at the stoplight and I look over at this guy who's staring at me, I wasn't worried. I didn't have a little bit of worry because I knew his name and he knew my name. In fact, I got a photo of him to throw up on the screen. It was our own Colby Flowers. Okay. There's nothing scary about him. It's a great photo. It's a great picture. I didn't have to worry. Write, trusted connection. There's someone who knows my name. I knows his name. A big difference here in this passage. They'll take that photo down. It's been up there long enough. Colby's our student pastor. If you don't know Colby. Great guy. Big difference in this passage. He knows our name. He calls us by name, and he knows our true name. So we all have a name that's been given to us. And it's amazing how much of our identity is connected to our name, something that we did nothing to get something that was given to us by someone else. Sometimes that's really good. You might carry the name of someone you really admire. Sometimes, maybe not. But even if you were given a perfect name by your family, we've all done something to mess it up. We've all let ourselves down. None of us have perfectly lived up even to a perfect name. But here's the difference. Jesus knows your true name. No matter what you've done to mess up your own name. And we all have. He knows your true name. When he made you, he knew exactly who he wanted you to be. He knew exactly what you were designed to be. And he hadn't forgotten that He hadn't given up on you just because of some of the things you may have done. He knows your true name. In fact, in the Book of Revelation, he says there will be a day when he gives you your true name. Remember, he knows your name. He calls his sheep by their name. Now number three, the third attribute of a true shepherd. Look back at verse three sheep. Hear his voice, calls them by their name, he leads them out. And when he has brought out all his sheep, he goes before them and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. The third attribute of a true shepherd is he leads them out, he leads them out, he goes before them. Jesus goes out before the sheep. He doesn't just send them out on their own, hoping that it works out. No. In fact, a true shepherd knows the sheep. It won't work out if they go out on their own. They desperately need a leader. They need someone to show them where to go because they can't make it on their own. And I'm sure you've read and heard over the years, if you've been in church any amount of time, you've heard all the stories about how helpless sheep are without a shepherd, how many mistakes they make, how much care and direction they need. And what's the powerful part here is how Jesus leads them. He goes before us. There's an illustration I've shared a number of times in especially with men, about about this related to leaving. Well, there's a guy who's written a book, Stu Weber, called Tender Warrior, and in that book he paints the picture of what it means to provide. And man, we often hear that word you need to provide for your family. And we usually take that to mean primarily financial provision. And that's one part. But Stu Weber breaks that word down into two parts provide pro vision probe for vision. See, see before meaning see out ahead. Provision ultimately means to look out ahead of where whatever area you're over, where we're headed to look out ahead, to anticipate problems, to go ahead and solve those before anyone even knows about them. And it gives the picture of the scout in the Old West that you've seen any old Westerns where they're out on the wagon train and all of the sudden the scout, he's gone. No one knows where he is, and he's wandered off to go look for problems. And he goes and finds out there's a bridge out out ahead or there's an ambush waiting for us. We need to go around this way. He he looks out ahead for the problems before they encounter them and tries to solve them before they get there. Jesus leads out his flock and goes out ahead of them. He is always going out ahead of you, looking for what you might encounter. Protecting We. Yes, Life is imperfect. We still encounter problems. But how much has he protected you from that? You never know about? I mean, how many times have you encountered a situation where if you would have showed up just microseconds before, he would not have gone well for you? Maybe you've come upon a car accident that just happened and thought that could have been me. I've seen that. I remember the moment sitting at a stoplight. Actually, the light was turning red and in some instances I might have gone through it. I'll confess in this moment, for whatever reason, I didn't. The light in front of me did. And she's hit by a dump truck, flipped over and spinning on the hood of this explorer microseconds. You know what? What hesitation in life. How has God gone before you? That seems like an inconvenience. It seems like he's trying to ruin my life. But maybe, just maybe, he's going before and. And protecting and we can't see it. And we don't know. And we're mad at him when he's the one who is has protected us. The shepherd leads the sheep, he goes out before them. And then number four, look at verse four and five, when he has brought out all his own, he goes before them. The sheep follow him for they know. His voice, in contrast, is verse five, a stranger. They will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. This one is really powerful. Jesus protects through relationship, He protects through relationship, through knowing Him, the sheep, knowing him, the sheep, knowing his voice. They're less likely to be distracted by other voices that want to lead them astray by the stranger, by knowing who he really is, by knowing truth. We're less likely to be distracted by error, but to be drawn aside by error. I remember having a conversation with a guy who owned horses and he did classes for those who wanted to learn how to ride horses and we were chatting about it and I said, Well, tell me about the mix. How many what's your, you know, average person who comes to learn to ride a horse? And he said, well, they're mostly young pre-teen, 95% girls. Really interesting. Tell me more about that. He's like, well, I don't know all the reasons why that is, but I can tell you this. I've noticed this that young girls that learn to handle horses ride horses, care for horses, they have this confidence about them. Maybe it's the fact that they're able to direct this gigantic animal with just the smallest twitch, just the smallest movement. They learn to get to this place, have control over this huge animal said. I've also noticed that many of those girls are less likely to be led astray by boys with bad intentions. I said, Take all my money right now, every bit of it, right? He knew what he was doing. There's some kind of confidence that says, I'm not depending on my purpose in life. I'm on the approval of someone else. I don't have this void that is needing to be filled up by someone else's attention, someone else, especially, that might not have the best intentions. For me. This is really powerful for all relationships in your life, by the way. I mean your friends. You want to know who to spend time around. You want to be around the people that sharpen you, that make you better, that builds you up and make you a better person than you'd be without knowing them. This is true of romantic relationships. You want to be in a place where the person you are connected with is as strong as you are. Spirits. Who is growing? Who is feeding you? You're both encouraging one another to grow and grow and grow. There's a quote that I've shared many times, especially with those who are engaged or are younger. And how do you find a spouse is from Tommy Nelson. He's one of my my favorite preachers. And he says, you want to know how to find the person to marry. You just run towards Jesus as hard as you can. Keep running to him, keep running, and while you're run and focused on him, look to your right, look to your left, and see if anybody else is running too. And if they are, join hands with them and run faster together. That's that's how you find a spouse. That's how you find a real true friend. That's how you find the core people in to surround yourself with in life because you want to be running together. You don't want to be trying to drag them along or be drag along. And that happens by the way, in relationships. Even if you start out running together, there'll be seasons where maybe you do need to be drag along, maybe I need to drag the other. But you want to be in a place where you both are sharpening one another, pushing, encouraging, not tearing down. This is just a picture that they know my voice. They know I'm trusted and they're not led astray by the stranger, the person who doesn't have good intentions for them. It's not even a temptation because they know the truth is they know who the true shepherd is. So those are the first four attributes of how we know what a trusted shepherd is. Now, one key question coming out of these first four is how do we know his voice? And they the sheep who know him know his voice? How do we get to know his voice? Two things I'm just going to mention here quickly, and they're really straightforward. The first is to know his word. This is his voice. This is his we call it his word for a reason. It comes directly from him. And so if you want to know what truth is, if you want to know, who do I trust, get to know his word. That is the place. In fact, I would say if you're a believer, my hunger for his words should be growing and growing and growing. I should want to read it more and more and study it more and more and be in situations where I'm hearing his teaching more and more and more. In fact, one of the things we've tried to do here is create a Bible reading plan to make it easy for you to get into God's Word. I've heard from so many. I've never read through the Bible before. That was an amazing experience. This year we're reading through the New Testament. Never read through the whole New Testament before. Makes it a lot more bite sized and it's amazing to see how it connects together if you want to do that. We have Bible reading plans out in the connection corner. You can get those there. We also do a monthly memorization first, and I mention that because I want to keep it in front of us. It's easy to forget that we have that. In fact, throw this up on the screen. I put all this up on our website. We're constantly adding stuff to the website, by the way. You should go there and just move around some minutes, some time, see all that's there. But we have a whole tab on the website under Do you have a need called How to Grow Spiritually? And on that page, go to the next slide. That's where we've listed out. Here's our annual Bible reading plan. Read through the Bible with us. Here's our Scripture memory. You can go to that page. We've got them listed out the Scripture memory verse for every month and almost every month has a song with it makes it easy to memorize, makes it easy for kids, especially to memorize adults too, by the way, and let it, quote, play. I'm playing it for my kids. Let it play for the kids. You'll pick it up too. It makes it super easy to memorize Scripture, but to know his voice, we got to be in his word. Second, listen to the Holy Spirit. And some people are pretty nervous right now talking about the Holy Spirit. That's kind of subjective. What do you mean? Listen to him when he speaks. How can I be sure? It's him. And not just my own crazy delusions. Thinking about being murdered at a stoplight. How do I know that it's the Holy Spirit talking? That's why I spent three weeks at the start of the year talking about how to know God's will. That is complex, right? It is hard to know sometimes. Is that the Holy Spirit or not? But that doesn't mean we avoid it. We don't avoid hard things just because they're not always clear. That's why we lean on one another. We whatever we think we're hearing from the Holy Spirit, we check it against God's Word. We spend time in prayer. We ask wisdom from others on and on and on and on. But and this is something I've been dwelling on a lot lately. In fact, I mentioned it in the midweek update. Why don't we expect to hear from him every day? Why don't I expect to hear from him more often? What an amazing way to start the day to wake up going, Lord, I'm ready to hear from you. I'm desperate to hear from you. Let me hear your voice today. I promise you, he wants to speak to you. He does listen to his voice. Listen to his voice through his words. Listen to his voice through the Holy Spirit. That's the first four attributes of the shepherd. Now, notice it said in verse six, this figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. Common theme with the disciples, with the Pharisees, both. I don't quite get what you're saying. So what he's going to do is he's going to unpack two ideas that he presented already. The idea of the door, the idea of the shepherd. He's going to unpack both of those by using these I am statements. So let's look at the first one here and verses seven through ten. So Jesus again said to them, truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and he will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly so I am the door. He's going to unpack this idea. He enters through the door. The true shepherd comes through the door. The gatekeeper opens the door. I am the door, he says. This is one of those seven I am statements in the book of John. John is well known for that seven I am statements seven key signs, all pointing to who Jesus is. And here he says I am the door. What does he mean by that? You know, it's interesting. Some of this whole setting can get complex if we try to slice it to finally, if we try to give each character an exact role, if we try to give each element an exact role. But here with the door, he's playing it multiple ways. I'm the door. I'm both the entrance to the sheepfold. I'm the way you the way the truth, the life, I'm the way you come in. But I'm also the one who decides. I am also the judge. I'm also the one who determines who comes in, who goes out. It's such a stark contrast, by the way, with the Pharisees, who were all about kicking out the the sheep. I mean, the blind man who truly in Christ, who had his life returned to him, was sight given to him with sight for the first time. And they're kicking him out. You don't belong with us. And Jesus says, I'm the door. I'm the one who both decides who comes in and I am the way into the true sheepfold through me. No one comes through the father, but through me I am the door. And yet here, like with the strangers, the sheep know his voice. The sheep know that he is the door. They are not tempted by others not led astray by thieves and robbers. Particular He's talking about those who have come before me and we don't know exactly what he's referring to. There could be false prophets from the Old Testament. It could be more recently, some of the false messiahs that had come on the scene acting like a messiah declaiming declaring to be a messiah and there's recorded in history dozens and dozens of these. I mean, there was a national expectation that a missile would come and save them politically. Of course, many are going to raise hand and go, Hey, I think that's me. Could be that false messiahs who came before were really thieves and robbers. It could be. He's talking specifically to the Pharisees here. You think you're the ones who are to care for the nation, and yet you've been the thief and the robber in this moment, when Jesus speaks of himself as a doer here, both as the means and the keeper, He's pointing back to a powerful passage that we see hinted at here. In fact, we're going to look at two different Old Testament passages today that are all about the shepherd. One is very familiar. If you turn to Psalm 23, it's on page 428 in a church Bible. And the 23rd Psalm is very familiar to many. If you grew up in church, you've quoted this many times, but I want to look at it through this lens. Even if you've quoted it many times, have you often thought of it through this lens of Jesus as the true shepherd, as the door to the sheepfold? What are the attributes of the Good Shepherd? Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want meaning. I won't have any need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leaves me beside still waters. He provides for my needs. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his namesake. He takes me down the road of righteousness. But it's for the purpose of bringing glory to him. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Even though hard times come, they will come. We're not promised life will be easy. We're not promised that all our problems will go away. Even though I walk through the darkest place, I'll fear no evil. I will be fearless. He goes before us. You are with me. His presence is with you. Your rod and staff Comfort me, protect me. I know you are there. You have gone before You have let out You prepare a table for me Continuing to provide in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Presence, connection. He knows my name. He knows who I am. He is my shepherd. This is the picture of the abundant life he mentions in verse ten. He goes before us. He provides he predicts he cares. He's there with us through the darkest moments I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 1010 Psalm 23 is the perfect picture of that and the background of a true shepherd, in contrast to those who come to kill, steal and destroy Jesus is the opposite of those who claim to be His shepherd but aren't. Now, those were the first four attributes we look at in the first five verses we about him as a door. He expands on that. Now he's going to expand on what it means to be a good shepherd. And in fact, this is the fifth attribute of a true shepherd, of a genuine shepherd, of a trusted shepherd. And I'll just say this. It's the most important, especially for today. We're going to take communion together in a little bit. And it's it's the one that sets up the reality of why we follow Christ. So look at this other I am statement that he makes here in verses 11 through 13 or so thief comes only to kill, still destroy. I came to have life abundantly. I am the good shepherd. So we have I am the door now I am the good shepherd too. I am statements about himself in the same little passage. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd. And here it is lays down his life for the sheep. In contrast, he who is a hired hand and not a shepherd who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. And so the fifth attribute of a trusted shepherd is he lays down his life, he lays down his life. He sacrifices. He cares so much about his sheep. He is willing to put his life on the line. In contrast to the hired hand, who wants to be paid to be in charge, wants to appear to be in charge. But when things get hot, when things get difficult, they're out the door because don't really care. And again, he's talking to the Pharisees here. They're more like the hired hand than the true shepherd who will lay down their life. And again, the background for this comes from the Old Testament in Ezekiel 34. Ezekiel is one of the prophets. Go ahead and turn there. One of the prophets of the Old Testament. But this background is so important. I want to take a few minutes to walk through this because these are the statements. These are the passages that would have been familiar to his audience. They would have known where is a shepherd that we've heard of before in Scripture? Well, Psalm 23, another one, Ezekiel 34, Ezekiel, a prophet. This would have been when the nation was already taken captive to Babylon and he was prophesying to the nation. Here's how we get back under God's favor. Here's how we make things right. And so if you look at the Eagle 34, the first thing that happens here is criticism of the false shepherds look here in versus one through four. The word of the Lord came to me, son, a man prophesied against the shepherds of Israel prophesy and say to them, even to the shepherds. Thus says, The Lord God are shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves. Should not shepherds feed the sheep, you eat the fat, you clothed yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened the sick, you have not healed the injured, you have not bound up the strayed. You have not brought back the lost, you have not sought. And with force and harshness you have ruled them. You call yourselves shepherds and yet only care about yourselves. You get the first and you're not caring at all for the people you're supposed to be overseeing. So this is his condemnation. This is the background of the so-called shepherds. And so what does he do? Here's what he says. Here's my solution. Here's how I'm going to respond in a Ziegler 30 forward to these so-called shepherds, verse 11 that says, the Lord God, behold, I myself will search for my sheep. I will seek them out as a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered. I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered. I will bring them out from the peoples, gather them from the countries, bring them into their own land, feed them in the mountains of Israel by the ravines and all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land and on rich pasture. They shall feed on the mountains of Israel. False shepherds didn't do their job. I'm going to have to step in and be their shepherd. I'm going to do what those who should have been doing want. Now, here's how it all comes together. Here's what he says, how he's going to do that. Look at verse 23 in Ezekiel 34, verse 23. Here's how he's going to go about it. I will settle over them. One shepherd, my servant, David, and he shall feed them. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord will be their God and my servant David, shall be Prince among them. I, the Lord have spoken. And so David's long gone at this point, by the way, five dead, 500 years or so at this point when his ego is prophesying. So he's he's not talking about literal David. He's talking about one in the form. David Who will come? David was the quintessential shepherd over the nation. I mean, he was a literal shepherd boy, a literal shepherd board who literally put his life on the line for the bears and the wolves to protect his sheep. And then when it came time to protect the nation as a little shepherd boy, he went and did what the actual shepherd of the nation saw wouldn't do. I mean, Goliath, when he was standing up saying, Hey, somebody come and fight me, who do you think he was really calling out? Just anybody. Oh, you say you're in charge. Come fight me. And what is your do not me. He is the one who is called to lay down his life for the people. And a little shepherd boy comes and say, Yeah, I'll give it a try because God's name is at stake. And so when it says, Here my servant David will be your shepherd, pointing forward, pointing forward to a day when the true David will come back and serve. And of course, back in John now flipped back there. John, Chapter ten. This is where this all comes to a head. The true shepherd lays down his life for the people. He lays down his life for the sheep and this is so critical to point to because this is the nature of true love, sacrifice. True love always has a cost. But you can say all day long you love someone, but real love true love. And there'll be a cost. And that kind of love flows from this model that Christ set. But where that comes from is in the rest of our verses. Look at verse 14 I'm the good shepherd, I know my own, my own know me. And as I'm reading this, by the way, listen to how he talks about his relationship with his father. Take note of what he's saying about his love for the father and the father's love for him, because that's where all of this flows from. In our modern world, love is an ambiguous, made up concept that can mean anything you want. It can even mean hate. Where does true love come from? This is where I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me Just as the father knows me And I know the father and I laid down my life for the sheep And I have other sheep that are not at this fold. I must bring them also and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason, the father loves me because I lay down my life that I might take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own accord. Why? Because I have the authority to lay it down. I have the authority to take it up again. Where did I get that? This charge I have received from my father. There was again a division among the Jews. Because of these words. Many of them said he has a demon. He's insane. Why listen to him? Others said, These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind? Division occurs again. But notice here his comments about his relationship with the father. The love that he pours out to us comes from his relationship with the father. Look at three things here. Verse 15 he knows him, verse 15 as the father knows me and I know the father. I lay down my life for the sheep. His love for the sheep comes from his relationship with the father. Second, he delights. Look at verse 17. For this reason The father loves me because I lay down my life that I might take it up again. He delightfully lays down his life, and it comes from his delight in loving the father and knowing him and wanting to honor him in all things. And then lastly, it flows from the authority the father has give him, given him verse 18 I lay it down on my own accord. I have authority to lay down. I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my father, this points to some complexity of the Trinity that we don't fully understand, but the love of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit. There is even a hierarchy within that and they delight in one another. A delightful receive instruction from my father. And even though three persons one God, we can't understand how that all fully works, but every element of love that you've ever experienced, that is true. Genuine love flows from that relationship they have with one another. The way that they eternally love, serve, delight in one another, out of joy to know one another. That's why we can know love and know Christ. And that's why all sacrifice is tied into love And all love requires sacrifice. I remember seeing a powerful picture of this when we were teaching with marriage conferences, and I've mentioned this before, but it's so powerful. This stuck with me so many times that at the end we do a vow renewal ceremony. There'll be thousands of people in a room renewing their vows together. And it was always shocking the drastic difference between them newly married couples and those who've been around the block a few times. I don't mean in multiple marriages, though that may be the case, but I mean who have lived some years together Because for the newly married, this was this was giddy. This was fun. This was kind of kind of new and silly and lots of smiles and cuddles and laughter. But the couple had been married ten, 20 years and been through some stuff. It was tears. There were still smiles. I was still joy, but there were tears because they knew this new love is great. It's wonderful, but they knew there's a cost to true love requires a death to self requires sacrifice. In fact, I think we could call that deadly love, true love. There's a sacrifice involved. And of course, the most amazing picture we have of that is the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, his sacrifice for us. And we're going to celebrate that together and remember that together today as we take communion together. I want to go ahead and dismiss the deacons now to prepare the elements for distribution. I like to read from First Corinthians 11 how we take communion together, for I receive from the Lord what I also delivered to you that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed, took bread. When He had given thanks. He broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. Let's take the bread together in the same way. Also, he took the cup after supper saying This cup is the New covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's Death until it comes. Let's take the drink together. And now we're going to have a time of worship together. Sing another song together. And during this time, there's an area where you need prayer. If you want to talk about what it means to follow Christ, to know him, talk about joining the church, about anything whatsoever, I'll be down here, but love to visit with you. But Andrew, go ahead and lead us. God, we thank you for this time together today. And I pray over this congregation. I pray that we would experience your blessing today, that we would know that you keep us enlightened. John ten You go before us. You are the good Shepherd. I pray that we would experience your face upon us today. Your countenance would look toward us and we would have a peace. And God bless you today. Go in peace.