John 10:1-31 and John 21:15-17
Introduction: Learning the truth about sheep can be eye opening. It is not necessarily a compliment when Christ refers to us as His sheep. Sheep need someone to look out for them, and this is the comforting part of the analogy: Christ cares for His sheep. He loves them and died for them. So with that, let us consult the Scriptures on the care of Christ’s sheep.
#. Who are the sheep? The elect.
Psalm 74:1-2* – the sheep are purchased by God, they are His redeemed!
Micah 2:12* – God speaks of protecting His people as gathering His sheep together in their pasture.
John 10:9* – All those who come to Christ are His sheep and will find pasture.
2. Who do the sheep belong to? CHRIST, He is the Good Shepherd.
Psalm 23:1-2* – The LORD is the shepherd spoken of here.
Isaiah 40:11* – The Lord will tenderly care for His flock, carrying lambs in His bosom and gently leading nursing ewes.
John 10:11, 14, 26-27* – Jesus says that He is the good shepherd and that the sheep are His and they know Him.
Acts 20:28* – Paul tells the Ephesian elders to shepherd the church, which He (Christ) purchased with His own blood.
3. Who has Christ charged with the care of His sheep? His under shepherds, church leaders (i.e. elders and deacons).
John 21:15-17* – Jesus conversation with Peter implies at least 2 things about under shepherds (as Christ is the true Shepherd as seen in John 10):
- They must love Christ more than anyone/thing else. (v15 especially as “more than these refers to the other disciples)
- They must also love the sheep and be prepared to care for them.
Verse 15 -- Jesus said, “Simon, is the love in your heart (agapao) greater for me than it is for your fellow disciples?” Peter said, “Lord you know that I have great affection (phileo) for you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” (Jesus cares for even the smallest/weakest of his sheep)
Verse 16 -- Jesus said, “Simon, do you love me (agapao) with all you heart?” Peter said, “Lord you know that I have great affection (phileo) for you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” (Jesus is concerned for all aspects of their care)
Verse 17 -- Jesus said, “Simon, do you hold me in high regard? (phileo)” Peter said, “Lord you know that I hold you in the highest regard! (phileo)” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” (Jesus wants His sheep to grow by their feeding)
Note: Peter is told to feed Christ’s sheep; there is no mention of goats here. We should be about the business of feeding sheep, not poisoning goats, but not feeding goats either. Christ’s sheep are not attracted by goat food either.
I Timothy 3:1-13* – those who seek to lead (elders and deacons) the church must be qualified to do so.
4. What are the sheep to be feed? The Word of God (doctrine).
I Corinthians 10:1-4 (focus on 3 & 4)* – Spiritual food and spiritual drink are the food of God’s sheep.
Hebrews 5:12-14* – by negative example, the word of righteousness, or the word of God rightly understood.
5. What becomes of these sheep? Eternal glory!
Matthew 25:31-34* – The sheep are separated from the goats and are ushered into eternal glory with Christ. Which, by the way, has been prepared since before the foundation of the world!
Conclusion: Christ is concerned for His sheep. Therefore we should be too. We should have concern for our own spiritual welfare as well as that of our fellow sheep. Let us be about the business of feeding His sheep. Let us concentrate on doing it His way, not our own way.
Hebrews 13:20-21 – “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.