Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jesus is the gate and shepherd for the people of God. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to make sure that we have entered the gate and are living under the shepherd-ship of Jesus.
Read John 10:1-10
I. Jesus the Entryway. In our Sunday School material Jesus explains to the Pharisees that He is the gate or entryway for the people of God.
He talks about those trying to get in without coming through Him are like thieves and robbers. There is a close relationship between the shepherd and his sheep.
- Talking with Pharisees. Notice in vss. 1, 6 that Jesus talks directly to the Pharisees. First, there are times when we need to talk to those who are opposing what God has given us to do. Seek wisdom and courage to talk with them in ways that are pleasing to God.
Second, we should strive to be effective communicators. Helpful comparisons can be helpful. Look for things that the other person already understands as a means to helping them understand your point.
Third, there are times when people just don’t get it. Sometimes they are not listening well; we may need a better explanation; and sometimes the devil just blocks people from understanding. The best we can do is the best that we can do.
Fourth, make sure you are a Christian and not just a Pharisee. The Pharisees were very religious but rejected Jesus as Savior and Lord. Our true level of accepting Jesus as Lord is seen in our obedience to Him. Let’s work on communicating with Pharisees in effective ways.
- No neutral. Notice in vss. 1, 9 that there are no neutral areas when it comes to the purpose of Jesus. We either come through Him as the gate or we are like thieves and robbers. We either come through Him and are saved or we don’t come through Him and are doomed.
Instead of fighting against the teachings of Jesus, we should submit to them. We should make sure that we are saved and striving to live in line with the Bible, so we will not be like thieves and robbers and so we will not be doomed.
Let’s work on making sure we are aligned with Jesus’ will for our
- Close relationship with Jesus. Notice in vss. 3-5 of our Sunday School material that there are close relationships between Jesus and His people.
First, the true people of God hear the voice of God. The best way to hear and know God and His will for our lives is to prayerfully study and obey the Bible.
Second, the true people of God obey God’s word. Knowing right but failing to do right is a sin of omission.
Third, the true people of God
flee from strangers. Think about how much trouble comes into our churches,
families, jobs, and communities because of conversations that should have never
taken place, if we fled from strangers. Let’s
work on having a close relationship with Jesus.
First, whatever pleasure we gain from doing things that are not of God is like cheese in a mouse trap, and we are the mice. Anything outside of God’s will, in the end, will result in our destruction.
Second, Jesus’ way is aimed at our having abundant living. We may have to go through some valleys, walk by some wolves, and even cry sometimes, but it is all a part of God’s plan for us to have life and that more abundantly.
Let’s work on living like we trust Jesus’ plans for us to have abundant living.
Read John 10:11-15
II. Jesus the Good Shepherd. In our Sunday School material Jesus talks about being the good shepherd. Hired hands don’t make great sacrifices for the sheep. But Jesus lays down his life for His sheep. The closeness of the sheep and shepherd relationship is mentioned again.
- Our great Shepherd. Notice in vss. 11-15 that Jesus is our great shepherd. He is known for feeding, leading, and protecting His people. First, we should be thankful for Jesus’ feeding.
He feeds us through His word (i.e., the Bible), the Holy Spirit works with our minds, and God provides Pastors and others to help us understand how to live by the word.
Second, we should be thankful for Jesus’ leading. He leads us by way of biblical principles, human leaders, circumstances, and peaceful conscious.
Third, we should be thankful for Jesus’ protection. He died for us, so that we can live for Him. Even now, He mediates us for us on the right side of the Father.
Let’s live like we appreciate Jesus being our shepherd. Such living should be known for making sure that we are saved and that we are loving God with all that we have and loving others, as we love ourselves.
- Expectations of human leaders. Notice in vss. 12-13 that hired help should not be expected to do what the Great Shepherd does. We should adjust our expectations regarding humans.
On one hand, human leaders should not be the first to abandon ship when things get bad. They should make some sacrifices for the good of God’s people.
But on the other hand, we should not expect them to literally die for us. They are humans with families, friends, and dreams as well. Let’s work on maintaining reasonable expectations regarding our human leaders.
Conclusion: Let’s work on making sure that we have entered the gate and are living under the shepherd-ship of Jesus. God has much for those who obey His will.