In John chapter ten, our Lord makes precious promises to us concerning His relationship to us and our relationship to Him. He said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Based upon “circumstantial” evidence, few people in our time are enjoying the “abundance” of life promised by our Lord. It is possible for the heart to continue beating, the lungs to continue pumping and the vital functions of the human body to enjoy regular performance and only exist as a human being. Where is this “life” promised?
1. Life is found in the “shepherd.”
Here in chapter ten, John mentions this “shepherd” in five verses. Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd…the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep….[I] know my sheep, and am known of mine.” This year, may we be faithful to the shepherd.
So many of our “resolutions” are centered on ourselves, our flesh, our ability, etc, but what about the shepherd? He is the leader of the sheep. He has promised to guide us, precede us, protect us, feed us and a thousand things more.
We as sheep would be lost on the rocks of sin were it not for the love and sacrifice of the Shepherd. Because the Lord Jesus has given His life for the sheep, we can have “life” and have it more abundantly.
2. Life is found among the “sheep.”
The word “sheep” is found in thirteen verses in John chapter ten. Needless to say, our relationship to other “sheep” will go along way in determining our happiness or discontent in life.
The old expression says, “To dwell above with the saints we love, oh, that will be glory! But to dwell below with the saints I know, well, that’s another story!” Life does not have to follow that theory. Why?
First, the sheep have the same enemy. “The thief” has the same desire for all the sheep. He wants to steal, kill and destroy. Therefore, it is the job of the sheep to protect, encourage and strengthen one another. Every member of my church has the same enemy and he desires to destroy them. May they in 2012 band together to resist the Devil and protect one another!
Secondly, the sheep have the same Shepherd. Regardless of our backgrounds or our experiences, we belong to the same Shepherd! His name is Jesus Christ. We should all find camaraderie concerning how we feel about our Great Shepherd!
To see the Lord Jesus add “living” to my life, I have to learn to love the sheep.
3. Life is found in the “sheepfold.”
The sheepfold is mentioned only once in John chapter ten but its place in the sheep’s life is irreplaceable and most-significant.
The sheepfold was an enclosure where the shepherd would keep his sheep. It was the “assembly” of the sheep. The sheepfold had a doorway, and at the doorway, sat the “porter.” The porter was a shepherd who guarded the gate of the sheepfold. Jesus said, “I am the door; by me if any man enter, he shall be saved.”
As we by faith enter the Door, the Lord Jesus Christ, we become a part of His body, the local church. God created the sheep with both a desire and a necessity for fellowship with the other sheep. To ignore the sheepfold is to ignore your peace and happiness in the Christian life.
May our lives not be lived independently of the local church but dependent upon the worship, nourishment from God’s Word and fellowship of the local church.
Jesus wants to add living to your life. These ends are possible through knowing the Shepherd, loving the sheep and leaning upon the local, New Testament church.