Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise! (Psalm 100:3-4)
Inasmuch as we are known as “the people of God” . . . “children of the light” . . . “followers of the Way” . . . “more than conquerors” . . . “disciples of Christ” . . . we are also known as “the sheep of His pasture.”
Now sheep get a bad rap, and for good reason! To say it politely, sheep are not particularly intelligent. One Kansas farmer said bluntly that these creatures are “mind-numbingly stupid.” Sheep often wander away from their shepherd and get lost. They are easy prey for predators and need constant care and protection if they are to survive.
But if you are one of Jesus’ “sheep,” I want to encourage you today by pointing out a wonderful character trait of sheep; they know the voice of their shepherd and will not respond to unfamiliar voices. “My sheep hear my voice,” Jesus said, “and they follow me” (John 10:27). Jesus is our Good Shepherd, and we are to follow Him, just as sheep respond to the voice of their shepherd and follow him.
To hear the voice of Jesus is to be in intimate relationship with Him. To know and to respond to the voice of our Good Shepherd means that we are in an intimate, personal relationship with Him. Jesus calls us by name (John 10:3), and we are empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit to listen and follow wherever He leads. As one of Jesus’ sheep, you demonstrate that you know the voice of Jesus if you are obeying Him. John wrote —
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 2:3-6)
Remember, when Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice,” He is affirming that there are true sheep and false sheep. The false sheep do not know Jesus, hear Him, or follow Him; but Jesus’ true sheep do know Him, hear Him, and follow Him. Never forget this: we follow Jesus like sheep – that is, imperfectly – because we are still prone to wander. We are, after all, sheep! We stray and become prey for Satan, the remorseless predator of Jesus’ sheep. But when we do stray, we can be sure that our Good Shepherd will rescue us and return us to His sheepfold.
We are His; the Good Shepherd laid down His life for His sheep. So let us enter into His presence with thanksgiving and praise!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!