Sermon Outline On John 10: 1-10
“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Have you ever watched an old, I mean really old movie? You see an actor and you are not sure who it is. Then he speaks, and there is no doubt that it is Jimmy Stewart. The voice gives him away. You recognize that voice.
In the very next verse beyond what we read this morning, Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. His sheep know his voice & they follow him.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Are we his sheep? Do we know his voice? Do we follow him?
In this, the only thing close to a parable is Johns gospel. Jesus is seen as the Good Shepherd. John writes about the shepherd calling the sheep by name. Jesus calling us by name. He writes about the sheep knowing the shepherds voice. Followers of Jesus knowing his voice.
John is writing about a very close relationship. For Jesus to know us by name. For us to know the voice of Jesus. These indicate a close relationship. A personal relationship.
How did the sheep know the voice of the shepherd? We recognize the voice of another only by spending time with them and listening to that voice. The same is true for the sheep.
Oswald Chambers would ask, “Do we have a personal history with Jesus Christ?” “Is there an intimate connection between us and Jesus Christ?”1
How do we develop a personal history with Jesus Christ? How do we establish an intimate connection between us and Jesus? How? By spending time with Him. Through a spiritual quest!
By spiritual disciplines. We learn the voice of Jesus by reading and studying scripture. As Henri Nouwen put it, reading in a spiritual way. Rather than reading simply for the knowledge, being willing “not just to read but to be read, not just to master but to be mastered by words. To hear the voice of Jesus we must open our hearts to that voice. And sometimes in the middle of the reading we must be willing to put down the book and just listen.
We learn the voice of Jesus through prayer. So often we think of prayer m terms of speaking. We think of prayer in terms of expressing ourselves to God. But you know. Prayer is also listening. Sometimes that listening might come in the midst of the reading. Sometimes it comes in the middle of speaking to God. Sometimes that listening comes in the darkest of the early morning. Sometimes that listening comes as we observe the beauty of Gods creation. Sometimes that listening comes when we are awakened for no apparent reason in the middle of the night.
We learn the voice of Jesus through the spiritual discipline of journaling, writing down our thoughts about our developing relationship with Jesus. It is amazing how a “conversation” takes on a different nature when it is written. Not only can we write what we are thinking, we can write what we hear when we hear the voice of Jesus. Our thoughts become clearer. We can hear Jesus in ways that are different than when we are in the silence or in the middle of reading.
We learn the voice of Jesus when we worship together. Jesus said, “Were two or three of you are gathered, Ill be there.” We are within easy listening distance when we are gathered for worship.
We can learn to recognize the voice of Jesus through the Scriptures, prayer, service, and worship. Recognizing the voice of Jesus is more a matter of faith & character than it is of intellectual ability. It is a heart thing, not a head thing. It is a spiritual thing.
What does Jesus say about hearing his voice and following him? Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Jesus offers to his followers, those who hear his voice, the abundant life. BUT what does he mean — abundant life?
It does not have to do with the acquisition of things. It does not mean an abundance of things. It does not mean an abundance of money. It does not necessarily mean a comfortable life.
This relationship with Jesus, the abundant life, changes how we see ourselves, our world, and how we relate to other people. It brings us face to face with such questions as:
What is the common theme of my life?
How am I living it out in the world?
What is it that I want my life to express?
To what does my life consent?
What are the really important things in my life?
Yes, the abundant life is more about relationship than riches. The abundant life is all about being close enough to hear the voice of Jesus and recognize it. It is only when we recognize His voice that we are a part of His flock.