GRACE FOR TODAY Radio Message #446
THE GOOD SHEPHERD LAID DOWN
HIS LIFE FOR HIS SHEEP, NOT FOR GOATS
Pastor Don Fortner
Grace Baptist Church of Danville
2734 Old Stanford Road
Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
The Son of God laid down his life and died for those people who are specifically designated his sheep (John 10:15, 11, 26). The objects of redemption, those for whom Christ laid down his life a ransom price, are described as "sheep". They are the sheep of Christ, his special property as the Good Shepherd. As such, they were given to him by his Father from eternity. These sheep are represented as being everlastingly distinct from others, who are not his sheep.
The whole human race is divided into two groups: sheep and goats. Sheep never become goats. And goats never become sheep. All of us are one or the other, either sheep or goats. Some of the sheep are saved. Some are lost. But all are safe. They are his sheep! Some are folded. Some are straying. But all are redeemed. They are his sheep!
The Word of God tells us certain, specific things about these sheep, things which distinguish the sheep from the goats.
They are known by Christ. He says, "I know my sheep", not merely by his omniscience. In that sense he knows all men. But he knows his sheep distinctly as his own, in a way that he does not know those who are not his sheep (Matt. 7:23). The Lord knows them that are his from others. That is just another way of saying, Christ loves his sheep. He has knowledge of them, joined with special love and affection for them; as he has not for others, to whom he will say, "Depart from me: I know you not".
The sheep know the Shepherd, too. (John 10:4). Christ is "known" by those sheep of his for whom he laid down his life. They all know him in his person, offices, and grace. Whereas there are many who neither know the Father nor the Son. The sheep know the voice of Christ; that is, the gospel of Christ, the joyful sound. Whereas the gospel is hid to them that are lost:
Those sheep for whom the Good Shepherd laid down his life, once they are called, hearing his voice, “follow” the Shepherd who died for them (John 10:27).They follow his Word, his steps, his example, and his Spirit. They imitate him in the exercise of grace, love, patience, and humility and in the performance of every duty (Baptism, The Lord’s Supper, etc.). It is written, regarding all the redeemed from among men; that they "follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth” (Rev. 14:4).
The sheep, being ransomed by the blood of Christ, “shall never perish” (John 10:28). The goats, set on Christ's left hand, he shall command to go, as cursed ones into everlasting fire (Matt. 25:33,34). The sheep shall be blessed forever! They are forgiven of all sin forever. They are perfectly justified from all things, from which they could never be justified by the law. They are perfectly holy, righteous before God, having the righteousness of Christ imputed to them. The sheep of Christ have that blessed “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). They are sanctified unto the Lord, by the purpose of God, the blood of Christ, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They are sealed, kept, and preserved in grace and life in Christ forever!