Worship Service – May 3, 2020

Dear Church Family and Friends,

 Today’s scripture reading is John 10: 1-21.

 1 “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a strangers voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.  7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So, when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me– 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”19 At these words the Jews were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?



 In John 9:40-41. we read, 40 ”Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

In our text Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and explaining to them Their unworthiness, their sinful state, and their need for forgiveness. To help them overcome their blindness. He uses the metaphor of the sheepfold. Which they should have been able to relate to.

So, all of you can understand better. A sheepfold was a walled enclosure made of stones. Several flocks of sheep were kept in the sheepfold, and when a legitimate shepherd came to get his flock, the doorkeeper or watchman of the fold would let the shepherd pass into the fold. The shepherd would call the sheep, and the sheep, who knew his voice, would come to him, and he would lead his flock out to pasture. When they were away from the sheepfold, the shepherd would stay out all night with his flock, finding some kind of shelter in the pasture area, and he himself would act as the door, so that no wild animal could get by him.

Obviously as verse 6 tells us. They did not make the connection. They probably thought of themselves as the shepherds or watchmen, not thieves and robbers.

A watchman’s job as we find in the Old Testament, was by definition, one who guards a city or headquarters of an army(1Sam.14:16;2Sam.18:24-27). Such watchmen were set on city walls or hilltops (Jer31:6). God’s prophets and preachers should also be watchmen to warn his people (Isa.21:6).

In Jesus metaphor, a watchman’s job was to, not only recognize the shepherds and let them in the sheepfold, but also to guard the sheep.

When I was a boy, I had the opportunity to help the farmer who lived up the road, with his sheep. Every spring he would take them to pasture and leave his dog as the watchman. Heaven help you, if you tried to enter the pasture, and the dog did not know you, or some animal would try to harm the sheep. He would gladly lay down his life to save the sheep.

Then as a young man, I joined the Navy, and they taught me how to stand watch, to be a watchman. Often as I should watch I would think about the farmers dog, the dangers, the emotional baggage and the fear, that came with the job of being a watchman.

Even today as a believer, and as a pastor I am still learning how to become a watchman. Knowing my unworthiness and need for, and having confidence in, God‘s grace, in performing the tasks, He has given to me.

In verses 7-13, Jesus tells them that they are not shepherds or even the watchmen. They are but hired hands. They were not watchmen but watchers.

This reminds me of a story I found, while preparing for today’s message.

A little boy was asked what his father did by an older man. The boy answered, “He watches.” “You mean he is a night watchman?” “Oh no”, the little boy exclaimed, “He just watches.”

“Well, what does he watch?” “I don’t know if I can tell you everything, but I can name a few things.” “Well, tell me,” the curious man replied.

“He watches TV, he watches Mom do the housework, he watches for the mail man, he watches the weather, he watches the computer, and I think he watches girls, too” he said with an impish grin on his face. “He watches the stock market, football games. He watches Mom spank us, and he watches us do our homework. He watches us leave to go to Church and shopping. He watches Mom write letters and I play with my dog. He watches Mom pay the bills. But mainly, he just watches.”

The Pharisees, like many of us, think we are watchmen. But more than often, we are just watchers.

There are many who idly sit and watch life pass them by. They live lives for which there is no meaning, no significance, no purpose. If this is characteristic of your life, the Apostle Paul offers a challenge to fight the good fight, to finish the race, to keep the faith.

As Christians, God wants us to become watchmen. Like the prophets of old, we know what is to come, for God has given it to us in his word. We know that one day Christ will return. There will be a judgment day, and all those who believe will return to God and be with him forever.

We are to become watchmen not watchers.

Be vigilant, be on guard, take care to avoid surrounding enemies and dangers. We are to watch against the veiled suggestions of Satan; the allurements of the world; the deceitfulness of our hearts; and, indeed, against everything that would prove contrary to God’s will and to the church’s best interests, (His sheep). We are to exercise this duty at all times, in all places, and under all circumstances, ( 1 Corinthians 16:13 ). Paul writes, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”

To stand watch, is also to wait, and expect. So, we are…

1. To watch, wait, and expect, God‘s guidance.

2. To watch, wait, then expect, the fulfillment of the prophecies.

3. To watch, wait, then expect, God’s time for our deliverance from troubles, Psalms 130:1-8: 4. To watch unto prayer. (Ephesians 6:18).” Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert always keep on praying for all the saints “(Believers).”

5. To watch, wait, and expect, Christ’s return. Mark 13:36-37. “If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch!”

Decide today to become a watchman for Christ. Go out knowing that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit will be with you forever and ever. Amen.

In His service,

Pastor Joe

Listen to Audio Sermon May 3, 2020

Comments are closed.