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John 10:10-12

 

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.

A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming.

He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd.

And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 

 

This may be the most accurate description of who Christ is in our life, that exists in Scripture.  I will try to be as brief, concise and accurate as John was in writing down these words.  We so often discount both of the major points in our Scripture lesson for today.  First, the "thief's" purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy.  Why do we expect that when people listen to the devil, they will be loving and kind?  It is critical to our Scriptural thinking that we know the difference between Satan and God.  Many times, on the surface, they look and sound alike.  That is intentional.  I have always been fascinated with people who can do excellent impressions of celebrities.  They work for hours to get their voices and mannerisms just right, so that when we hear and see them, we can easily mistake them for the real thing.  Satan has been practicing his "impression" of God since he fell from grace.  He has gotten really good at it and, if we are not careful, we will mistake his voice for God's.  If we do, the consequences are most often tragic, and many times, permanent.  How can we tell?  Our Scripture lays it out.  The difference between God and Satan is that we BELONG to God.  Like a shepherd, He claims us as His own.  For that reason, He was willing to die for us in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ.  God is not a "hired hand" who stepped into our lives because their was a "temporary job opening!"  God is not a "day laborer," who gets paid at the end of the day for the work He has accomplished for that day, and that day only, then leaves pledging no allegiance to anything but the brief time He has worked.  The last part of our Scripture is the most tragic and in ministry, I unfortunately watch it every day.  All of us are "safe"  in our "flock" of sheep with God as our shepherd.  The old saying "there is safety in numbers," really applies to our Family of God.  We avoid much danger daily, by staying close to the one that will not abandon us when the "shepherd" job becomes too hard.  Satan knows exactly how to "divide" our flock.  Satan pits us against each other and makes us jealous, envious, covetous, and angry.  The devil plants "dividing" thoughts in our heads and, when we let him, in our hearts.  Learn to recognize the "signs of Satan" and avoid them at all costs.  We must beware of people who tell us there is "too much Jesus" in our lives.  People criticize me every day for how much time I spend with God and His people and I am a minister!!!  No offense to our spouses, children, parents, or jobs, but our number one relationship, as defined by God, is with Him.  God will direct all other relationships and the Bible has plenty to say about how we should do that on every level. God wasn't kidding when He told us in Acts to "fellowship daily in the temple," yet people often speak to me about "too much church."  Intentionally as a minister, I create lots of different opportunities for my Family of God to fellowship with each other daily.  I am not surprised that it is working so well.  After all, it is what God ordained.  Sometimes it is not convenient.  Sometimes we are sick or tired or feel sick and tired!!!  We always feel better having been with the "Good Shepherd" and adopting His personality and characteristics.  I must admit that I am practicing my impression of God daily, and even though I fall short, God is blessing me for giving it the "old college try!"  So, as you travel life's highway today, don't let the "wolf" attack and scatter the flock.  Say "NO" to Satan and "YES" to God and help your "flock" do the same.  Lean on the "Good Shepherd" who will never abandon you and leave you comfortless.  Jesus will keep looking for us, even if we are the only lost ones left!!!