Jesus the Shepherd
We are compared to sheep who wander off. Jesus is shown as the shepherd who goes after us and brings us back. He supplies every aspect of our needs as we let him care for us.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you?Everything going all right at your house? I hope it is. And if perhaps you’ve struck a rough day, remember, look up and say, “Lord Jesus, see me through this one.” And He will. “For He hath said, ‘I will never – never, that is, “leave thee, not forsake thee.’” God is faithful by whom you were called into the fellowship of His son Jesus Christ, our Lord. He isn’t going to let you down, you turn to Him and let Him see you through the situation, whatever it may be.
This is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. I cherish these moments, I look upon them as a high and holy privilege. And also I look upon them as a kind of a life-preserver for my own self, because digging in the Word of God blesses me day by day. And then I can pass it along to you. Thank you for being there so we can share together. The miles drop away, and we’re together in the presence of our Lord, and His inerrant, infallible, eternal Word, the Bible. Thank God for this privilege.
We’re looking at 1 Peter 2, and I’ve been ticking off some of the comparative phrases that help to ventilate the concept of ‘living unto righteousness’. As newborn babes, you feed on God’s Word. If you want to live unto righteousness, don’t starve your soul. Learn to feed on the Word of God. How do you do it? Stick with any given passage until it says something to you. Then write that down. If you can’t write it down, you ca-, haven’t got it. So stick with a passage till it says something to you and then write it down. Third, pray it back to God until your heart gets warm and tender with the truth. And fourth, share it with someone as soon as you can, that very day. That is how to feed on the Word of God.
Then as living stones, he says, built up into the eternal purpose of God, remember if you’re living for God, living unto righteousness, you consider every circumstance and every relationship as part of God’s provision in building you up. Now this is hard to rationalize sometimes, especially if it involves my failure. If I fail at something – and we all do, don’t we – if I fail at something, hard to think, “Well, this is part of the way God is building me. It looks like I stubbed my toe and everything is broken.” No, every part of all of your life is ordered and used by the miraculous power of God in building you into God’s perfect purpose.
You can prove that for yourself by looking back, those of you who’ve lived a little while. If you can look back say 10-15-20 years, and just see the times when you were complaining about some thing, but which God actually was using for your good. Now you know that to be true, don’t you? And He built into your life either patience, or grace, or love, or forgiveness, or some freedom from something that was grieving the Spirit of God – whatever it may have been.
God used that particular situation to build you more clearly and, and more effectively into His purpose for you. Now isn’t that true? Well then, let’s adopt it as a constant attitude in life. Where I am and what I am and what is happening to me is not by happenstance, but I’m a child of my heavenly Father, and I’m a living stone built in to the eternal purpose of God. “Ye are built up, a spiritual house. Built together for a spiritual habitation of God,” says Paul. You follow that?
That’s how to live unto righteousness. Your attitude toward life is the realization that you’re being built up into God’s perfect purpose for you. Strangers and pilgrims we talked about – you remember that? Strangers means you don’t fit, you’re a foreigner here. Your homeland is heaven. Pilgrims means you’re on your way. There is no certain dwelling place here. You may stop for a while to rest for 70 or 80 years, but eternity lies before you. You’re on your way to the heavenly city.
Free, we talked about being free. Free from the curse of the law, free from the dominion of the law, free from your old habits and habit patterns, free from guilt, and free from fear, and free from malice, and free from hatred, and free from pride, and free from envy, and free from all that would bind you and make you a slave of sin. Jesus died to free us – hallelujah! And free from the fear of death. Each one of us, if Jesus tarries His coming, is going to have to lay down our life and go on our way into the presence of our Lord. You don’t have to be afraid of it if you belong to the Lord Jesus, because as Paul said, “To die is to be with Christ, which is far better.”
And as Moody said as he lay dying, “This is my coronation day!” Well of course, you don’t have to be afraid of that because Jesus took the stinger out of death. Free! Then we talked about being the servants of God. That was the last time we got together. Now we go down to verse 25, for another descriptive phrase that tells about how one lives unto righteousness. Are you following along with this now? Live unto righteousness by feeding on the Word, live unto righteousness by being built into the purpose of God, live unto righteousness by being freed by the miracle power of God, live unto righteousness by submitting your will absolutely to God’s will so you’re His servant, live unto righteousness.
Now what? “Ye were as sheep, going astray, but are now returned unto the shepherd and bishop of your souls.” Now much of this, this second chapter of, of 1 Peter is, is reminiscent of Isaiah Chapter 53, as you know. Now here’s another example of that fact. Isaiah Chapter 53 says, “We, all we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, every one, to his own way. And the Lord hath laid on Him, Christ, the iniquity of us all. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him. And by His stripes we are healed.”
As sheep going astray. “All we like sheep have gone astray,” says Isaiah. Peter says, “You were as sheep, going astray.” What is the characteristic of a sheep? He’ll wander off. Sheep do not have a homing instinct. When they’re lost, they’re lost. Period. They don’t know how to get back. And so somebody has to go out after them. Our Lord Jesus used the, the parable did He not, of the one lost sheep? How many of you have 99 sheep, and one of them is lost, “Doth He not leave the 99 in the wilderness and go out and seek the, the sheep that was lost. And when He hath found it, He layeth it on His shoulders and commeth back rejoicing and saith unto His neighbors, ‘Rejoice with Me for I have found My sheep that was lost.’” – the lost sheep.
But somebody has to go out after you. And so in this case it is our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s the shepherd. He says in John 10, “I am the good shepherd and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. I’m the door. By Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” The care and the protection and the supply of nourishment from the shepherd; all of this involved in, in the literary figure of sheep and shepherd as applied to the believer, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our natural tendency, what is it? To go astray. “I want to be me. I want to do my thing. Don’t get in my way. Don’t fence me in. Don’t tell me to do, just ask me what I want.” This is not limited to modern phraseology. It has always been the characteristic of fallen human nature. I sometimes use the old, the old Lancaster Dutch proverb that says, “Erscht kumme mich, kumme mich, eerst dich, awwer net zeit – first me, then me, after that you. But not for a long time.” Then comes you but not for a long time. “First me, then me.”
What I want is important – that’s human nature. Everybody has that tendency. But now there’s a change because we have a shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. And He goes out after us, and He finds us, and He brings us back to His fold. Can you remember the time when, when the Lord Jesus gently brought you to Himself? Can you remember when you bowed and yielded to Him as your Lord and your Savior? And you found that you were once again now in the presence and in the fellowship of the loving Savior and shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ?
What a glorious, wonderful experience that is – never lose the memory and the thrill of coming back to the shepherd. You’re now returned unto the shepherd. Not only that, but he uses the word ‘bishop’. We have a denomination that we call ‘Episcopal’ the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Episcopal denomination. Now that’s a, that’s a transliteration into English, of this word ‘bishop’. And it’s made up of two words meaning ‘to look over’, ‘to oversee’ – ‘Overseer’, that’s what it really means. It’s, it’s two words meaning ‘to see’ and ‘to look over’. Overseer. He is the overseer; he’s the bishop, meaning the overseer. He is the supervisor.
Now if you want to enjoy the shepherd ministry of the Lord Jesus, you have to let Him supervise you. That’s the force of this, of this text here. If you want to enjoy the shepherd ministry of Jesus, what is it? Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Needs supplied. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” Food supplied. “He leadeth me beside the still waters.” Rest supplied. “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Integrity supplied. “Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Assurance supplied, even in extreme circumstances. “For thou art with me.” The divine presence supplied. “Thou anointest my head with oil.” The divine love and comfort supplied. “My cup runneth over. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” Provision supplied, even under pressure. “Thou anointest my head with oil” – I mentioned that. “My cup runneth over.” Abundance supplied. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Confidence supplied. “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Eternal future supplied.
That’s the shepherd. Now that’s what I want, isn’t it? I oftentimes turn to the… Well I’ll tell you what I do. Oftentimes when I’m just about to fall asleep, I’ll, in my heart and mind, I’ll go over the twenty-third psalm, phrase by phrase, and drift off to sleep thanking my Lord that He’s my shepherd. If you want something that will be better than any sleeping pill in the world, just quote some Scripture as you lie there, drifting off to sleep. And so your last thoughts will be of your blessed Lord. And I can guarantee you that you’ll wake up with thoughts of Him because your unconscious mind will have been working on it all night long.
You try that. What you go to bed thinking about is what you wake up with. And if you go to bed worrying, you wake up worried. And if you go to bed quarreling, you wake up angry. And if you go to bed hurt and grieving, you wake up hurt. But if you go to bed with the Scripture, you’ll wake up with the presence and truth of your blessed Lord. It’s a pretty good idea. Shepherd, if you want to do… The shepherds work for you. And I just gave it to you in Psalm 23, verse by verse.
Then He has to be also your overseer. And you and I need to learn to pray that prayer. “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” Paul the Apostle started his career there on the road to Damascus, by praying the right prayer. First, “Who art Thou, Lord?” He learnt that Jesus is Lord. And second, “What wilt Thou have me to do?” Every day start your day, and on through the day pray your way through the day simply asking Jesus to guide you, and to take charge of your life as the overseer. There are no regrets where Jesus leads.
Blessed Lord today, oh be our shepherd, be our overseer, be Lord of all. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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