“FOLLOW ME” SERIES – #8. Originally preached October 30, 2011
Rev. Jeremy Stopford, Retired Pastor
Today’s “Special”: “Golf Funny” The hacker hit the ball into the rough and landed on an anthill. He tried three times to hit the ball and each time he missed the ball and hit the anthill.. Ants went flying all over the place.
One ant turned to the other ant and said, “If we are going to survive, we had better get on the ball.”
This message is the last in our series on the Biblical topic of “following” Jesus. Whether it is watching what He does, or leaving everything and submitting our whole lives to Him, Jesus wants us to follow Him.
Our text today shows the fellowship to which we are invited to enjoy with God. The old salts called this “Communion.”
Observe how it connects with “follow” (v.27).
22. Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24. Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25. Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30. I and My Father are one.”
1. TRUE SHEEP COMMUNE WITH DEITY (vs. 22-25)
Jesus says (v. 25) that what He does He does through His Father. And if we are following Him, in essence, so are we. That is fellowship!
How would you respond if you knew that to fellowship with God is an invitation personally from Him to you?
Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
ILLUSTRATION: Martin Luther – today marks the anniversary of the start of the Reformation. Martin Luther is famous for many things, but especially for his private walk with the Lord. He once commented, “I have so much to do today that I need to spend at least 4 hours in prayer before I do anything.” Do we understand “communion with God” in the same manner Martin Luther did?
2. TRUE SHEEP COMMUNE AS TRUE SHEEP (vs. 26)
This is a brutal accusation. I’m glad I wasn’t at the receiving end of that accusation, aren’t you?
So… what are some indications that true sheep are truly communing as God has newly created them to do?
1 John 1:5-9 There will be a consciousness of walking in light
Acts 2:42-47 There will be a hunger to be identified with God’s people
3. TRUE SHEEP COMMUNE WITH ONLY ONE SHEPHERD (vs. 27)
(a) vs. 3-5 The sheep hear only the Shepherd’s voice “they are familiar with His voice” (Message)
ILLUSTRATION: Three flocks of sheep – whose voice do they hear? Phillip Keller, a shepherd turned pastor, once told the story of coming up on a stone fenced-in area with many sheep within the walled in area. At the “gate” or entrance by the walls were 3 men. They were each shepherds. The first shepherd called out, and a good number of the sheep perked up and followed him out. Then the second shepherd called out, and another group of sheep followed him. Finally all were left were a small flock of sheep and the third shepherd. The sheep even then did not move until the shepherd called out to them in his all too familiar voice. All three groups of sheep were familiar only with their shepherd’s unique voice.
Any other voice – any other shepherd – is a THIEF! He wants to steal you from following the true Shepherd! (vs. 8-10) – only He gives “abundant life”!
(b) Vs. 11-14 The true Shepherd gives His life for the Sheep!
Chicken “Funny”: So a gentleman walks into a restaurant and asks the maitre d’, “Can you please tell me how you prepare your chicken?” To which the maitre d’ replies, “Yes. We let them know right up front they’re not going to make it.”
The true shepherd is focused on giving His life for His sheep.
Commune with the One Who is the Source of true communion!
CONCLUSION It’s exam time!
Have you responded to the Savior’s invite to commune with Him?
Do you hunger to commune with God’s people?
Are you familiar with communing with the Savior’s voice? In Scripture? In His house?
Where He takes you in your journey?
CLOSE IN PRAYER