Following The Good Shepherd
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: John 10:10, 22-28
Sunday 19th February 2017
As we continue the series, ‘Living In the Overflowing Abundance’, Here is today’s message titled: ‘Following the Good Shepherd’.
Our foundation scripture for this series is from John 10. Here is John 10:10, which reads: ‘The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)’ (AMPC). Verse 22-27 reads: ‘Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” ‘ Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.’
Over the last couple of weeks, we have taken a close look at two aspects of the life of the Shepherd and the sheep, which Jesus talked about in our foundation scriptures, namely: ‘My Sheep hear my voice’ in the message: ‘Hearing the voice of God’ and ‘I know them’ in the message: ‘Knowing Christ as the Good Shepherd’. Today, let’s find out about the third aspect of the Shepherd/sheep progressive relationship; following Christ.
Once we begin to hear and listen to the voice of the shepherd, it will invariably lead us towards knowing Christ more, aiding our propensity to following Him. This principle holds true in other areas of life, especially in friendships and marital relationships. To know someone better, work towards improving an active and healthy communication with the person – this is the key to a thriving relationship and marriage. So the ultimate aim of hearing the voice of the Shepherd is to know Christ, well enough to follow Him.
The word ‘follow’ doesn’t necessarily imply ‘walking behind a person’. Examples of this in scripture could be found in Mark 3:7, ‘But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him,’ (See also Mark 5:27-28, Mark 11:9). Following Christ is not trailing behind him like the multitude, nor is it church attendance, going from one conference to the other. It is simply a relationship with Christ.
The word ‘follow’ is the Greek word: ‘Akoloutheoo’, which means to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, to become a disciple. Mark 1:17 reads: ‘Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” (NLT). A disciple models his life after Christ. Here is Acts 4:13: ‘They couldn’t take their eyes off them—Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realized these two were laymen with no training in Scripture or formal education. They recognized them as companions of Jesus’ (MSG). A disciple is known for what he believes in, which is one of the fundamental problems with the 21st century church. The church nowadays is full of members, but short of disciples. A disciple is a Christian who is committed, loyal and reliable, attends church regularly, studies the word, prays and reaches out to proclaim the gospel.
It is in our following the Good Shepherd that we can enter into the fullness of the provision He has made, and enjoy all the privileges that the Good Shepherd has prepared for us. Verse 28 speaks about the Good Shepherd’s offer of eternal life. This is what we stand to enjoy when we follow Christ. Here is John 10:9, ‘I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will be able to come in and go out. They will find everything they need’ (ERV).
So where is the pasture, everything we need located? Here is John 6:30-35 as Jesus answers this same question while speaking to the Pharisees. ‘They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’ (NLT).
It is in Jesus, that the pastures we need are located. He always leads us to Himself. He is the real green pastures, He’s all we need. The bread of life is your healing, deliverance, victory, peace and breakthrough. Our belief in Christ gives us access to continuously partake of the life that He gives.
Martha and Mary were in desperate need of Jesus, as their brother, Lazarus lay dying. When Jesus eventually showed up, he had been dead for four days. Their only means to unlock Christ’s miraculous power in that instance was to believe. John 11:38-41 reads: ‘Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me’ (NLT). Mary and Martha’s belief in Jesus, eventually paved the way for the miraculous resurrection of Lazarus. That same principle can work for each of us today. Our belief in Jesus is the key to experiencing all that God has prepared for us in Christ – our overflowing abundance.
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