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Experiencing God 09 - God Speaks to His People

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Reading: John 10:1-21
When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:4 (NIV)

I.   The Shepherd calls His sheep by Name

     A.  He Knows His sheep

           1.  There are a lot of sheep.

                 a.  Herdsmen usually name a few of their herd (the best and the trouble makers)

                 b.  Jesus has millions of sheep.

                 c.  Yet he knows each one by name.

           2.  He doesn’t just know “sheep”

                 a.  He does, of course.

                 b.  But it’s much more than that.

           3.  He knows us as individuals

                 a.  He calls us by name.

                 b.  Have you ever heard him call out your name?

     B.  He Speaks to His sheep

           1.  A sign of someone who cares about their animals.

                 a.  Speaks — not shouts.

                 b.  He speaks words of comfort, encouragement and direction.

                 c.  Do you ever hear that?

           2.  He speaks to us?

                 a.  Yes. But not often in an audible voice.

                 b.  He speaks through His Word

                 c.  He speaks through His people.

           3.  In our day our Shepherd speaks to us through the Holy Spirit
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 1 Cor. 2:9-10 (NIV)

     C.  He Leads His sheep

           1.  Our Shepherd doesn’t leave us to our own devices.

                 a.  We’re not supposed to just “make it up as we go along.”

                 b.  Jesus gives us enough leadership that we can follow him.

           2.  He promised not to leave us or forsake us.

                 a.  We know he is with us.

                 b.  We don’t have to go searching for him.

           3.  He leads us where He wants us to go.

                 a.  He leads us beside still waters, to green pastures, through the valley of death.

                 b.  His goal is to bring all His sheep into the same flock (v.16)

II.  The Sheep know His Voice

     A.  They Know the Shepherd

           1.  They have an established relationship.

                 a.  To recognize someone’s voice, you need to get to know them.

                 b.  It’s not a matter of carefully studying vocal patterns.

                 c.  It’s about a relationship.

           2.  They have come to know and trust Him.

                 a.  We know that Jesus doesn’t lead us into danger.

                 b.  We know Him as sheep know their shepherd — he is a part of our flock.

     B.  They are Familiar with His voice

           1.  I often wonder if I recognize His voice.

                 a.  Won’t I mistake my own voice for His?

                 b.  Doesn’t sin hurt our listening abilities?

                 c.  In fear of the awesome responsibility of leading God’s people I heard: “Just lead them to me. I’ll take it from there.”

           2.  Jesus’ sheep know his voice well enough to know when it’s not Him.

                 a.  They know His voice because they have a relationship with Him.

                 b.  God’s people often sense when something they hear “just isn’t right”

     C.  They Listen to His voice

           1.  When the Shepherd speaks the sheep perk up their ears.

                 a.  It’s the shepherd’s voice. Something good is about to happen.

                 b.  It’s not just the lead sheep who pay attention — all the sheep do.

           2.  When the Shepherd speaks, he has something important to say.

                 a.  We want to pay attention.

                 b.  We want to understand.

III. The Sheep Follow His voice

     A.  The Shepherd goes Ahead

           1.  Shepherds in Palestine go out ahead of the sheep who follow them.

                 a.  They don’t stand behind them with a whip.

                 b.  Sheep will follow a leader they trust.

           2.  The sheep follow the Shepherd

                 a.  If we follow each other, we end up like lemmings swimming off into the sea.

                 b.  We follow the Shepherd, not merely the shepherd’s words

                 c.  We listen and follow together.

     B.  The sheep follow Willingly

           1.  Not one of them has a leash.

                 a.  They aren’t driven from behind, threatened or dragged.

                 b.  It’s OK to stop and eat the grass along the way.

                 c.  But it’s not OK to stop, when the Shepherd is leading us to better fields!

           2.  They all follow because they know and trust the shepherd.

                 a.  The Shepherd is leading us.

                 b.  Whatever else might change or might threaten, the Shepherd is leading us.

     C.  The Shepherd leads us to Abundant life!

           1.  The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.

                 a.  God has good things in store for us.

                 b.  Wherever He leads us, whether to larger numbers or deeper faith (both?!)

           2.  I don’t have to know which way abundant life is.

                 a.  All we need to know is that the shepherd is going “thataway.”

                 b.  He leads us individually and as His flock toward a life to the full!

The Bottom Line:

Listen to the one who calls You by name. Follow Him to abundant Life!

R# 588 In the Garden (v.1)

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