The Australian Church Record, number 1896, April 2009, has been released.
Your can be sure that if someone says, “You are a gentleman and a scholar”, they don’t really mean either; they are pleased with something we have done. The word “Christian” is a bit like that; people use it to mean different things.
In John 10 Jesus likens his relationship with his true servants as that of a shepherd with his sheep. From this passage I have drawn the following conclusions.
- True disciples have become friends with The Lord Jesus John10:4 “…the sheep hear His (The Shepherd’s) voice as He calls His sheep by name” This is a wonderful picture. It speaks of trust and intimacy. The sheep are like pets. Each with its own name and each are known to the shepherd. The fact of the matter is that when God calls us back to Himself He doesn’t do that “en mass”. We are called personally and by name – “John you follow me.” It is breathtaking that the living God will enter into relationship with us. He makes us His friends.
- True disciples follow Jesus in their life situation John 10:4 “… He (the Shepherd) goes ahead of them (the sheep), and the sheep follow Him because they know His voice.” Here is a picture of the shepherd during the time of the Lord Jesus. He is not driving the sheep from behind. He is a leader. He is in front. They trust Him and so they follow. He can be trusted to protect them and lead them to where they can pasture. One beautiful picture in Psalm 23 puts it like this: “He leads us in the paths of righteousness for His own name’s sake” When we came to Christ we acknowledged that He was our Lord and Master. We had to repent of our superior attitude to ourselves. We had to say “You are Master and I am not. I will gladly follow you”. That is what repentance really is.
- True disciples trust in the death of Jesus for forgiveness John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Right at the heart of the gospel is the fact that God has loved us so much that He has sent His Son the Lord Jesus into the world to die on the cross and take the punishment that our sins deserve. Jesus said, “The reason why my Father loves me is that I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:17 Good Friday is the special day when we remember this great event. There is no greater demonstration of God’s love for us. Jesus loved us and gave His life for us. It is as we trust that Jesus died in our place that we can be forgiven. That is why it is such good news.