Sermon #65                                                                                      John’s Gospel

 

      Title:                     Christ Our Shepherd

 

      Text:                     John 10:11-16

      Subject:   The Threefold Character Of

      Christ as Our Shepherd

      Date:        Sunday Morning - October 25, 2009

      Tape:        John #66

      Reading: John 10:1-30

      Introduction:

 

I want by the grace and power of God the Holy Spirit to preach to you this morning about Christ Our Shepherd. I take for my text the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ himself in John 10:11-16, where he describes his characteristics and work as our Shepherd. Read the text with me, beginning at verse eleven.

 

John 10:11-16 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (12) But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. (13) The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. (14) I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (15) As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”

 

The Apostle Peter describes our experience of grace in these words...

 

1 Peter 2:25 “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”

 

What a blessed, delightful, instructive subject we have before us! May God the Holy Spirit now take the things of Christ as our Shepherd and show them to us.

 

Proposition: My subject this morning could not be more simple. I have only one thing to show you from the Word of God: The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Shepherd of his sheep. May the Lord God enable each of us to know him, trust him, and worship him as our Shepherd.

 

Old Testament

 

Throughout the Old Testament Scriptures it was prophesied that Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, our Redeemer would come into the world as a Man and that one chief characteristic of his work of redemption and grace would be that of a shepherd buying, seeking and gathering his sheep. The prophet Isaiah wrote...

 

Isaiah 40:11 “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”

 

Isaiah 49:10 “They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.”

 

The Lord himself says, in the Book of Ezekiel...

 

Ezekiel 34:11 “For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.”

 

Ezekiel 34:22-23 “Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. (23) And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.”

 

Ezekiel 37:24 “And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.”

 

When David meditated upon these things, his heart bubbled over with joy, confidence, faith, and hope. He sang, — “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalms 23:1).

 

New Testament

 

In the New Testament three distinct adjectives are used to set forth the characteristics of Christ as our Shepherd. In his great work of redemption our Savior is called “The Good Shepherd.” He says,

 

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”

 

In his resurrection glory he is called “The Great Shepherd.” The apostle Paul closes the Book of Hebrews describing our Redeemer as “The Great Shepherd of the Sheep.

 

Hebrews 13:20 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”

 

In reference to his glorious return Peter declares him to be “The Chief Shepherd.”

 

1 Peter 5:4 “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the good Shepherd with reference to his work of redemption, the great Shepherd with reference to his resurrection, and the chief Shepherd with reference to his glorious return. These three adjectives are always distinct. They are never mingled together or interchanged. Each is used in its proper place and setting with reference to the Son of God and the accomplishments of his mediatorial work for the salvation of his sheep. In this message, I want us to look at each of these three descriptions of Christ Our Shepherd.

 

The Good Shepherd

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ calls himselfThe Good Shepherd.”

 

John 10:11, 14 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (14) “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

 

In the redemption and salvation of our souls the Lord Jesus Christ is “The Good Shepherd.” The Apostle Peter takes up this theme of redemption in 1 Peter 2:21-25 and shows us five things about Christ as “The Good Shepherd.” Remember, it is with reference to the redemption and salvation of our souls that Christ is called “The Good Shepherd.”

 

1.    The Good Shepherd is THE SUFFERING SHEPHERD.

 

1 Peter 2:21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.”

 

Here is our calling. — For even hereunto were ye called.” All true believers have been effectually and irresistibly called by the grace and power of God the Holy Spirit to Christ. We have been called to salvation, eternal life and faith in him. And all who are called by grace are called to a life that involves suffering in this world.

 

Philippians 1:29 “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

 

In this world we are called to suffer many things for Christ’s sake, even as he suffered many things for our sakes. As he took up his cross and suffered for us, so we must willingly take up our cross daily and follow him. It is written, — If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.” It is not possible to follow Christ without suffering with him and for him.

 

1 Peter 4:16 “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

 

Let us ever remember that those things we suffer as Christians, as believers, we suffer...

Š      From Christ!

Š      With Christ!

Š      For Christ!

This is a great honor indeed. So let us glorify God in all that we may be called to suffer in this world as the children of God.

 

Here is our rule of life. — Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” Rebels must be ruled by law. Mercenaries are ruled by rewards. Believers are ruled by Christ. We do not live by the rule of religious custom and tradition, the rule of our own consciences, or even the rule of Mosaic law. We follow Christ. We live by the rule of...

Š      His Word.

Š      His Example.

Š      His Spirit.

 

But the primary thing to be seen in this verse is the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ, our good Shepherd, is the suffering Shepherd. — Because Christ also suffered for us.” — Apart from the sufferings of Christ for us, apart from him having fully suffered the wrath of God to the full satisfaction of divine justice, there could be no salvation for anyone. Be sure you understand this. The necessity for Christ’s death was the holiness and justice of Almighty God.

 

Romans 3:24-26 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

 

Had Christ not died in our stead, we could never have been made alive. — “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24). — Had Christ not suffered the curse of the law for us, we could never have been freed from that curse. — “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13). Had the Son of God not poured out his life’s blood unto death upon the cursed tree, he could never have obtained eternal redemption for us. It was with “his own blood (that) he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Hebrews 9:12). — In a word, had not the good Shepherd suffered for us, he could never have saved us. — “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). — But, since he has suffered the wrath of God in our stead, to the full satisfaction of infinite justice, all for whom he suffered and died must and shall be saved. Else his suffering and death are vain; and the blood of Christ is of non-effect!

 

2.    Next, the good Shepherd is described as THE SINLESS SHEPHERD.

 

1 Peter 2:22 “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.”

 

He knew no sin.” He is “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.” Had he not been the sinless Shepherd, he could not have been the good Shepherd. Had he not been altogether without sin, he could not have atoned for our sins, he could not have been our Substitute. But since he is without sin, the Lord Jesus Christ is a suitable substitute for sinners, one who is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by him.

 

Though he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, “he did no sin!” Though he lived among sinful men, there was never any “guile found in his mouth.” Our Savior had no sin!

Š      No Original Sin!

Š      No Personal Sin!

Š      No Actual Sin!

Yet, this immaculately holy, sinless One was made sin for us; and now we are made to be the righteousness of God in him. He took our place in time that we might take his place for eternity!

 

Romans 5:19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

 

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

 

3.    Next, Peter tells us that the good Shepherd is THE SUBMISSIVE SHEPHERD.

 

1 Peter 2:23 “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:”

 

There is, of course, no subordination within the triune Godhead. The three Persons of the Holy trinity are eternally and immutably equal in all things. But, in order to redeem and save his sheep, the Son of God agreed to become one of us. He willingly, voluntarily assumed all responsibility for his sheep. And in his office capacity as our Mediator, he submitted himself to the will of the triune God as our Shepherd. That is what is revealed in John 10:16-18.

 

John 10:16-18 “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

 

He submitted himself to the will of God in the covenant of grace before the foundation of the world, and voluntarily became Jehovah’s Servant.

 

Illustration: The Bondslave (Exodus 21:5-6).

 

Psalms 40:6-8 “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. (7) Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, (8) I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”

 

Isaiah 50:5-7 “The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. (6) I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (7) For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”

 

The Lord Jesus voluntarily submitted himself to the will of God at the time of his incarnation.

 

Hebrews 10:5-10 “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (6) In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. (7) Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (8) Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; (9) Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. (10) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, as our Representative in this world, voluntarily submitted himself to the will of God as a Man throughout the days of his life upon this earth. Both his first words and his last words in this world demonstrate his submission to the Father’s will.

 

Luke 2:49 “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

 

John 12:27-28 “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. (28) Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

 

John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

 

Illustration: Gethsemane—”Not my will, thy will be done.”

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ was a willing Victim, a voluntary Substitute, an unconstrained, unforced Sacrifice for sinners.

 

4.    Now look at verse twenty-four. Peter tells us that the good Shepherd is THE SUBSTITUTIONARY SHEPHERD.

 

1 Peter 2:24 “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

 

John 10:11, 14, 15 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep…(14) I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (15) As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

 

Now, be sure you hear and understand what I am saying. Substitution is the very heart of the gospel! That person who does not understand the doctrine of substitution has not yet even learned the ABCs of Christianity. This is basic, fundamental, and essential.

 

Isaiah 53:4-6 “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

 

Isaiah 53:9-11 “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”

 

Š      Christ is an able Substitute.

Š      Christ is a willing Substitute.

Š      Christ is a legal Substitute.

Š      Christ is a satisfactory Substitute.

Š      Christ is an effectual Substitute.

 

Yes, we do, most assuredly believe the great and glorious doctrine of limited atonement. You simply cannot believe in substitutionary atonement without believing in limited atonement. The Son of God did not die for nothing! Christ did not shed his blood in vain! The scope, the object, the purpose, the goal, the benefits of Christ’s atonement are limited to, specifically designed for, and shall be enjoyed by God’s elect. His precious blood made definite satisfaction and complete atonement for the sins of his people. Christ died for those who are saved by his blood. The good Shepherd did not lay down his life for the goats. Where does the Word of God suggest such an absurdity? Nonsense! The good Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep. That is not Baptist language, or Calvinistic language. That is Bible language! Is it not?

 

Why am I so insistent, tenacious and dogmatic in asserting this matter of particular and effectual redemption? I am glad you asked. There can be no compromise here. There can be no compromise here because this is the place where the glory of God and the souls of men are at stake in our day. Those who preach a universal atonement preach A False Gospel for they preach that the will of man is the effectual cause of salvation and redemption. Whereas the Word of God declares, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Rom. 9:16)

 

Those who preach a universal atonement preach A False Christ —- for they make the Son of God a failure in that which is declared to be his most glorious work, declaring that his blood was shed in vain for the multitudes in hell. Whereas the Word of God asserts that “He shall not fail!” (Isa. 42:4).

 

Those who preach a universal atonement preach A False God for they declare that the love of God is mutable, the justice of God perverted, the purpose of God frustrated and the Word of God is a lie, when they assert that the sin debt fully paid by Christ may yet be demanded from those for whom it has already been paid! Whereas God declares himself to be “A just God and a Savior!” (Isaiah 45:20). Because God is just and cannot be unjust, we are assured that...

 

“Payment God cannot twice demand,

First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,

And then again at mine!”

 

Those who preach a universal atonement preach A False Spirit for they declare that the Spirit of God convinces men of a lie when he convinces them of sin removed, righteousness established and judgment finished. Whereas the Son of God asserts that these things are indeed done — “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:8-13).

 

We cannot and must not tolerate such blasphemous perversions! I dare not hold my tongue, while wolves in sheep’s clothing seek to destroy the souls of men and rob Christ of his glory as the good Shepherd!

 

Look once more at Peter’s description of the good Shepherd. He is the suffering Shepherd, the sinless Shepherd, the submissive Shepherd, and the substitutionary Shepherd. Then in verse twenty-five, the Apostle tells us that...

 

5.    The good Shepherd is THE SUCCESSFUL SHEPHERD.

 

1 Peter 2:25 “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”

 

It is our nature to stray. We are all depraved, sinful, straying creatures.

Š      We went astray in our father Adam.

Š      We went astray as soon as we were born, speaking lies.

Š      And we went astray by deliberate choice all the days of our lives.

Lost sheep can never find their way home! Dogs can. Cats can. Horses can. Even goats and hogs can. But sheep simply do not have the ability to come home. Straying sheep can only stray. They are the dumbest, most helpless, most pitiful animals on earth.

 

You will notice that the Spirit of God does not say, “you have returned,” as if to imply that we decided by our own freewill to return to Christ. Oh, no! That would never happen! Dumb as we are, sheep know better than that! The text says, You “are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” We “are returned” because the good Shepherd sought us out and returned us!

Š      We went astray. He sought us out.

Š      We were lost. He found us.

Š      We were slipping into hell. He laid us on his shoulders.

Š      We would not and could not return to him. He returned us to himself.

 

He who is the good Shepherd is the successful Shepherd. “He shall save his people from their sins.” With reference to his great work of redeeming and saving his people, Christ is “The Good Shepherd.”

 

The Great Shepherd

 

Now, let’s look at Hebrews 13:20. Here the Holy Spirit shows us that with reference to his resurrection glory our Lord Jesus Christ is THE GREAT SHEPHERD.

 

Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, (21) Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

 

Notice how the Holy Spirit describes the God of glory. Though he is glorious in holiness, inflexible in justice, majestic in power, and terrible in wrath, the great and glorious Lord God is called THE GOD OF PEACE!” I cannot spend any time talking about it, but he is calledThe God of peacebecause...

Š      He is the Author of Peace. He found the way of peace and devised the covenant of peace.

Š      He made peace. By the blood atonement of his dear Son, the Lord God is reconciled, propitiated and satisfied.

Š      He is the Giver of peace.

 

The resurrected, ascended, exalted Christ is calledTHE GREAT SHEPHERD OF THE SHEEP.” — He was The Good Shepherd in his humiliation, while he worked out and accomplished redemption for us. And he may yet be called “The Good Shepherd,” as he seeks and saves his lost sheep by his almighty grace. But we are no longer dealing with him in his humiliation. Here is the Shepherd who sits upon the throne of the universe! He is “The Great Shepherd of the Sheep.”

Š      He is great in his Person — The God-Man!

Š      He is great in his Position — The Right Hand of the Majesty on High!

Š      He is great in his Power — Total Sovereignty! — Omnipotence!

Š      He is great in his Possessions — All Fullness!

Š      He is great in his Provisions — All Grace! All Glory! All Things!

 

Now watch this. — Our Lord Jesus obtained his greatness as our Shepherd in his resurrection gloryTHROUGH THE BLOOD OF THE EVERLASTING COVENANT.”

 

You know what the everlasting covenant is (Jeremiah 31:31-34). — “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

 

You know what the blood of the covenant is. — The precious, sin-atoning blood of the Son of God, the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior!

 

But why is the resurrection of Christ connected with the blood of the everlasting covenant? — The answer is just this. — The whole purpose of God in the everlasting covenant was contingent upon one thing. It all depended upon one ultimate, final, climatic thing. It all depended upon the sufficiency, efficacy, and satisfaction of the blood of Christ.

 

Hebrews 9:12-17 “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (13) For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (15) And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (16) For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. (17) For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”

 

When our Lord Jesus Christ cried from the cross, “It is finished” and died, he had at last fulfilled all the terms and conditions of the covenant. He rendered unto God the Father complete satisfaction for the sins of his people. And the efficacy of his atonement demanded both his resurrection from the dead and ours! It demanded both his release from all the consequences of sin and ours! This was the Father’s promise to the Son as our Surety in the covenant before the world began.

 

Isaiah 53:10-12 “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. (12) Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

 

Our sins were made to be his and were thus imputed to our blessed Christ. — His death satisfied the justice of God for all the sins of his people, which he bore in his own body on the tree. — Now death has no more dominion over him. — And, because he is our Substitute, death has no more dominion over us!

 

1 Peter 4:1-2 “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”

 

It is through this great Shepherd of the sheep that God perfects his work of grace in his sheep. In Hebrews 13:21 Paul’s prayer is that the God of peace may “Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” — It is Christ the great Shepherd who causes his sheep to do his will. — It is Christ the great Shepherd who works in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight. — And it is Christ the great Shepherd who shall have the glory and praise for all his works of grace for us and in us.

 

Are you still with me? Our Lord Jesus Christ is “The Good Shepherd” in his work of redemption and salvation. He is “The Great Shepherd” in his resurrection glory. And, third, I want you to turn to 1 Peter 5:4 and see how...

 

The Chief Shepherd

 

The Apostle Peter declares our Lord Jesus Christ to be the chief Shepherd in his glorious second advent.

 

1 Peter 5:4 “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

 

I am, as you pastor, a little shepherd, an under-shepherd. Christ is the Chief Shepherd. In the kingdom of God there is only one Chief. That Chief is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. All pastors, teachers, elders, evangelists, missionaries, apostles and prophets are servants of the Shepherd, not lords over the flock. God’s servants are examples to the flock, not tyrants over the flock. Let me say it again — We are under-shepherds. Christ alone is the Chief Shepherd. And it is as the Chief Shepherd that our Lord Jesus Christ shall complete his work of grace in our ultimate and final glorification. — Soon, Christ the Chief Shepherd shall appear. — When Christ comes, he will raise our bodies up from the dead. — And the Chief Shepherd shall give to all his sheep “a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

 

We shall at last be perfectly conformed to Christ, even to the likeness of his glory as the God-Man Mediator. Then, the purpose of our God shall be finished.

 

Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

 

1 John 3:1-3 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

 

Try to remember these three pictures of Christ our Shepherd. Meditate upon them, draw comfort from them, and glorify Christ in your heart as — The Good Shepherd who redeemed us. — The Great Shepherd who rules from heaven for us. — And the Chief Shepherd who is coming again to take us up unto himself in glory.

 

It is Christ the Shepherd who is our Savior. Salvation is altogether his work. — He agreed to it in the covenant. — He accomplished it on the cross. — He applies it from his throne. — He planned it. — He purchased it. — He performs it. — He preserves it. — He perfects it. — And he alone shall have the praise for it.

 

Now I call you, one and all, to trust Christ the Shepherd. May God enable you now and evermore to trust him.

 

AMEN.

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

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