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Living in the Sheepfold of the King

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

We are all gathered into the folds of our life. Here you all are in the fold of the Bridges. I am in the fold of an apartment complex. We at times of our life have been in the fold of a house that was a home. Once I was in the fold of my father and knew that I was fortunate for the blessing from the providence of God. There is a greater fold that we are also congregated into, the Sheepfold of the King. How blessed we are that it is not a place that we will someday come into but it is a fold that we are now in. We are even now in the Sheepfold of the King. It is a privilege to be a King’s kid. With each privilege there is also a responsibility, as we know, but today I want to focus on the privilege.

In the Gospel of John chapter 10 we find one of my favorite parables the Good Shepherd. I trust that we all know this parable and if you are not familiar with it then read it today, as it will give you a satisfaction of the peace and security that we have as a Child of God. There are five things that I want to bring to our attention that we find in this parable.

Jesus begins this parable with this statement. “He who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1) I believe in the context of the time this was a rebuke toward the Pharisees whom Jesus was always in the midst of a conflict with. In the context of today there is something amidst in the family of God. There have always been and will always be wolves that come into the Church body to steal, kill and destroy the harmony of the body of Christ. There will always be those who for their own selfish interest will try to teach a false doctrine but the spirits grounded in the Word of God will not hear them.

Our Good Shepherd enters by the door of the Sheepfold, as He is the door. He is the Good Shepherd and those who watch will allow Him to enter in because the sheep know His voice and He has a personal interest in each one of His flock. The Shepherd knows them by name and they will follow Him because they know His voice. Around Judah there were many sheep herds and in the evening multiple herds were placed in the sheepfolds. When the time would come for the sheep to go out to pasture the Shepherd would come and call to his sheep. Only his sheep would follow him as they only knew his voice. My roommate’s cats completely ignores me but when my roommate comes in they perk right up. They know her presence. Our Good Shepherd has a personal interest in us and we follow Him and know His voice. “But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:2-4, 27)

Our Good Shepherd is the door, He is the way to enter in and to go out. We come into His presence to worship and learn of Him and we go out to serve Him by telling the world of His gospel message. We are faithful to Him as He is the way to our home. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) The ones that enter not by the door are the ones who come to deceive the truth that our Shepherd has taught us. They have come to rob us of our liberty and enslave us to the ways of the world. But our life is in the Good Shepherd and it is a life of abundance. “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and 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.” (John 10:9-10) As a believer in Him who is our Master we express our faithfulness in His word which is truth.

Our Good Shepherd is the grace of God by whom we find our salvation. His word of truth written on the tablets of our heart and clarified by His Spirit leads us in the paths that we should go. His path is narrow and straight and filled with the peace that passes all understanding and will take us to the promise of eternal life. We hear His call and we know His voice and because He lives so shall we ever live through Him. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27-28) This is the gift of God the Father the gift of grace found though His Son the Good Shepherd.

Our Good Shepherd is our protector from the wicked spiritual forces that come against us. We are but sheep and cannot fight alone against the wolves that lurk in the evil darkness. There are so many in the world who say that they have your back but in times of trial you turn around to no one there. But our Good Shepherd is not always before us leading us home but also behind us providing the security of His loving eye. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) We need not fear the world nor the foolishness of men for we are safe in the love of our Good Shepherd. “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. “He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” (John 10:11-13)

God become a man in the person of Jesus Christ to restore man’s fellowship with God the Father. Jesus is fully man and fully God. It was the love that God has for mankind that he sent His Son to seek and save the lost that they may be redeemed. “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) Jesus has been given all power and authority from the Father and He will protect His Church. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18) As the old song says, “He’s got you and me in His hands.” We are in God’s hands, we are in the protecting power of Jesus Christ’s hands. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:29-30)

Throughout the Gospel of John eternal life is a present possession for the believer. Its main feature is not an eternity in time but blessedness and heavenliness of character. It is the abundant life which Christ gives to all who put their trust in Him both now and forever more.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

The Bridges May 10, 2015

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