Text: John 10:1-18
I. A disturbing trend has been commented upon time and again
A. Children going astray, Christians leaving the church.
B. It appears that the second law of thermodynamics applies to Christians as well.
1. Instead of a trend toward increasing entropy (randomness and disorder)
2. It is a trend toward increasing apathy
C. While not the sole cause, it is more than obvious that a heavy contributor to the problem is a lack of leadership
1. Parents doing a poor job of parenting
2. Elders, and the lack thereof, not doing their duties
D. We are God’s sheep - Psalm 95:7; 100:3
1. We find comfort in Psalms 23.
a. It describes the contentment found under the care of a shepherd
2. God shepherd’s His people - Psalm 80:1
3. He cares for us - Isaiah 40:10-11
4. Jesus is our shepherd - Hebrews 13:20-21
E. Sheep without a shepherd don’t do well - I Peter 2:25
1. Without guidance, we tend to go our own way - Psalm 119:176; Isaiah 53:6
2. When Jesus saw the people of Israel - Matthew 9:36
F. Israel’s fall was due in part to a lack of guidance - Jeremiah 23:1-4
G. Let us examine the traits needed in good leaders because they are much like what is needed in good shepherds.
II. Shepherds care for their sheep far above themselves
A. Jeremiah charged that the shepherds were not attending to God’s flock - Jeremiah 23:2
1. Isaiah said they were looking to their own gain - Isaiah 56:11
2. They feed themselves - Ezekiel 34:2-3
3. They only worked for pay - Micah 3:9-11
B. Far too many parents have children, but it is just a side business or a minor inconvenience.
1. Fathers are charged with bringing up their children - Ephesians 6:4
2. Yet when decisions are made, what we are going to do with the children becomes a secondary thought.
3. Imagine hiring a shepherd, who then watches the sheep when he’s not working his other full-time job and doing his own activities.
C. Good shepherds know their sheep
1. They care about them. Each has a name and the shepherd can tell you which is which along with a history of their past.
2. He knows each sheep’s personality and their individual needs.
D. This is why elders must desire the office - I Timothy 3:1
1. It is not a desire for the position of power, but because he cares about God’s people - I Peter 5:1-2
2. A good parent wants to care for their children
III. Shepherds watch over the flock
A. Guarding from harm
1. Isaiah complained of leaders who did not watch - Isaiah 56:10
2. Jesus was willing to die for his sheep - John 10:11-15
3. Elders were made overseers to guard against savage wolves - Acts 20:28-30
B. Good shepherds take cared of their sheep - Ezekiel 34:4
1. Good parents watch over their children. Binding up wounds, nursing them through sickness, seeing that they have what is needed
2. Good elders watch over the spiritual needs of God’s flock, rescuing those who have wandered in sin (Matthew 18:12-14), helping through times of grief, seeing to their needs - Hebrews 13:17
IV. Shepherds feed the flock
A. Israel’s shepherds weren’t feeding their charges - Ezekiel 34:3
B. Jesus asked Peter to feed his sheep - John 21:15-19
C. Elders were to shepherd (to feed) the church - Acts 20:28
1. This is one way how the church is protected
2. Teaching to cause growth - Ephesians 4:11-16
D. Fathers were told to instruct their children - Ephesians 6:4
V. Shepherds lead the flock
A. The leaders of Jeremiah’s day were driving people away - Jeremiah 23:2
B. Good shepherds show the way - I Peter 2:21-25
C. Elders are to lead by example - I Peter 5:3-4; Hebrews 13:7
D. Follow the example - Philippians 3:17
E. Parents, too, lead by example
1. Does a parent who is sporadic in attendance produce faithful, strong Christians?
2. Have you notice that children tend to exhibit our worse traits?
VI. We need good leaders.
A. Parents who love their responsibility and elders who love God’s people.
B. The fall comes with people loving themselves - II Timothy 3:1-5
C. Put others above ourselves - Philippians 2:3-5
D. Men are not capable of guiding themselves - Jeremiah 10:21-23