The Gospel of John
1. Throughout the Bible, there are several different figures used to describe the relationship between Christ and His church. In Ephesians 5, the relationship between Christ and His church is likened to the relationship between a husband and wife.
2. In II Corinthians 11:2, the church is referred to as “a chaste virgin” presented to Christ.
3. Revelation 19:7-9 refers to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
4. Another interesting picture found in the Bible is the “body of Christ” (cf. I Corinthians 12:12-27).
5. Another beautiful picture is found in our text tonight. Christ is the good shepherd (John 10:11). He gave His life for His sheep (10:11, 15).
6. Tonight we will look at the church as Christ’s sheepfold (10:1).
7. Some people think the “sheepfold” (10:1) refers to heaven, but thieves and robbers cannot climb into heaven. Unfortunately they often climb into the church. It is a full time job keeping the devil out of the church.
8. Some churches have been so overrun by thieves and robbers that the church has lost the blessing of God. That is why there is so much carnality. They have rock music and different Bible translations and worldliness and compromise.
9. The thieves and robbers say, “Don’t be so strict!” Don’t be a legalist,” etc. Consequently they are filling up the churches with unregenerate members.
I. ONLY ONE DOOR TO THE SHEEPFOLD (10:9).
1. The only way into the church is by faith in Christ, and the only way to be saved is through faith in Christ (John 10:9; 14:6; Acts 4:12).
2. John 10 illustrates what happened in John 9. The Pharisees were thieves and robbers, hindering the blind man from getting saved (9:24-29).
3. The blind man heard the voice of Jesus and was gloriously saved (10:27; cf. 9:35-38).
4. I will develop this in more detail next week, but Jesus not only saves us but He gives us eternal salvation (10:27-30), i.e., eternal life and eternal security.
II. THERE ARE ENEMIES ATTACKING THE SHEEPFOLD (10:10).
1. In chapter 9, our Lord exposed the Pharisees as blind leaders of the blind (9:39-41). He was referring to spiritual blindness. They could not grasp spiritual truths (cf. 10:6).
2. Not only were the Pharisees blind leaders, they were also false shepherds – thieves and robbers (10:1, 8).
3. In the OT, the relationship between God and Israel was often symbolized as that of a shepherd and his flock.
4. The most popular psalm is Psalm 23. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
5. Then there is Psalm 80. “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth” (Ps. 80:1).
6. 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.”
7. The Lord says in Ezekiel 34:12, “As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep…”
8. On the other hand, the OT also warns of hireling shepherds, false pastors who destroy and scatter the sheep (Jer. 23:1-4).
9. This is what Jesus meant when He referred to the hirelings who really do not care about the sheep (John 10:12, 13).
10.There are hirelings all over the place (e.g., heretical and charismatic TV and radio preachers).
11.Just the other day I was browsing in the book section of Wal-Mart in NC. There was a book about the recent Billy Graham meetings in Flushing Meadow Park. One of the authors in the book said NYC is no longer a stronghold for Satan.
12.He said it might have been that way when Graham came back in 1957 but now there are many huge churches and NY is now strong for the Lord. What nonsense! This man (the pastor of a charismatic church in Brooklyn) is a “hireling” (John 10:12).
13. If you study the Bible, and study history, the greatest danger to the sheep is not from the outside, but from the inside. That is why both Jesus and the apostle Paul warned of “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:28-30).
III. THERE IS PROTECTION IN THE SHEEPFOLD
1. In the sheepfold (a Bible-believing church) the sheep are safe from prowling beasts and raging storms.
2. I remember back in 1998 when we were getting ready to buy this old fish store. I was on the telephone talking to the attorney who secured our parking variance. He told me that this was a nice building. In fact, he said it was built “like a fortress.”
3. I liked that. One preacher put it this way – he said the church is not a dormitory in which to sleep, but a fortress in which to find safety from the enemies.
4. I grew up in Queens, and so I know very little about country life. But I have heard that when dogs chase sheep, they will not advance when the sheep stand together. But once the sheep start to split up, the blood-thirsty dogs will pursue a lone sheep and attack him.
5. Let me make my application. There is safety and protection in the local church. But once a backslider leaves the sheepfold he is likely to get attacked by the devil (cf. I Cor. 5:5).
6. Let me make a special appeal to young people as well as to their parents. The young lamb is in greatest danger from wild animals, in greatest danger from storms, in greatest danger of getting lost from the flock and of failing through hunger and fright.
7. Likewise, the young Christian is in greatest need of the protection and safety of the local church. Parents, do you want your child to be swallowed up by this worldly, wicked culture?
8. Thank God for VBS. Thank God for Sunday School. Thank God for parents who sacrifice to put their children in a Christian school. Thank God for parents who bring their children to church faithfully every Sunday morning, and every Sunday evening, and every Wednesday evening, etc.
9. Every parent ought to bring his or her child to Sunday School as soon as he is old enough to sit down and learn the Bible.
1. I read an interesting story about the English poet Samuel Coleridge. He was conversing with an unbeliever who did not see the importance of bringing children to church or Sunday School.
2. “Why,” said the man, “should these young minds be biased in certain directions? You train them up so that when they arrive at the age of maturity, they are not able to make an unprejudiced decision regarding whether or not they want to attend church or not.”
3. Samuel Coleridge replied, “I would like to show you a very nice garden which we have at the back of the house.” The man was surprised to see nothing but weeds.
4. Coleridge then said to the man, “It is because the land has not come to years of discretion and choice as yet, and I thought it unfair to prejudice the garden towards strawberries and roses; but the weeds took the liberty to grow.”