Sunday sermon 21 April – My Shepherd, His Sheep

My Shepherd, His Sheep

Readings: Psalm 23;  John 10: 22-30

The Lord is my shepherd.

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.’

So what is a personal pronoun?

The teaching of grammar seems a strange way into a sermon, does it not?

Grammar is such a neglected art. Many young people today haven’t a clue what it means.

So what is a personal pronoun?

Are there any other kinds of pronouns? And what difference does it make?

Actually there are quite a few kinds!

Grammarians classify pronouns into several types, including the personal pronoun (I, he, she, it, we you, they did it), the demonstrative pronoun (that boy did it), the interrogative pronoun (who did it?), the indefinite pronoun (anybody could have done it), the relative pronoun (the boy who did it), the reflexive pronoun (he did it to himself), and the intensive pronoun (I myself think).

That was fun. Look at all of them in this passage:

. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.’

So pronouns (which are used in place of nouns) are quite useful! (Try putting nouns in their place and see how clumsy it sounds).

There are two personal pronouns that jump out of the passages set for today!

The Lord is MY Shepherd. (23:1)                (My Shepherd)

MY sheep listen to my voice. (10:27)       (His sheep)

The intimacy of our relationship with the Lord Jesus is at the heart of the Christian faith and experience.

While it sounds selfish, we are entitled to say with King David – the Lord is MY shepherd.

And he claims us as HIS sheep.

Of all the things I do – the one thing that matters most is that this becomes real to you!

I want you to KNOW this shepherd – and I want you to be his sheep – his followers – because you will hear his voice and KNOW HIS VOICE.

From the crazy days of David the shepherd boy – with real wolves and lions and bears – to the insane dangers of the world we live in  (what a terrible week it has been for the most innocent of people across the globe) knowing the Lord as my Shepherd and hearing and knowing His voice is vital and essential.

Of course the different English translations battle with this word – listen to his voice, hear his voice!  Respond to his voice – recognise his voice – you get them all.

It’s a personal thing – arising out of a personal relationship expressed with personal pronouns.

The Lord is my shepherd.

My sheep hear my voice!

Nothing else matters really.

And he speaks. He spoke this week – at prayer – and the person who shared what became his voice had no idea how He spoke into my life.

And verse 27 has more: . 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

I know them!

This is quite disarming really. And a relief all at once. I hardly know myself really. I wonder if any of us really do?

He knows us!

He knows me – and you! (O my all these pronouns!!)

He knows our deepest fears, our deepest needs, and our deepest hopes.

And then – this simple consequence:

They follow me!

The rest is profound – there is good reason to follow this Jesus:

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.’

How does that make you feel?

I was chatting to our previous pastor here at BBP – who is working in a new kind of model of ministry in a more rural region. He shared some good thoughts with me – about the church being over taught and under active – in general.

I would say the modern church is over-taught, and under-engaged emotionally.

This verse should make you feel something!

It should be comforting – strengthening – and encouraging! It should move our hearts.

Jesus’ words – listen: Change the pronouns a bit – make it the second person singular rather then the second person plural!

·         I give YOU eternal life!

·         YOU shall never perish!

·         No one will snatch YOU out of my hand!

·         No one will snatch YOU out of my Father’s hand!

Good? I think so! Remember the context of John 10:

John 10:10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

·         We need a protecting shepherd with a rod and staff to comfort us!

·         We need to know his voice!

·         We need to follow him!

And knowing that we cannot be snatched out of his hand is a wonderful truth. Yes it is part of our heritage – the belief that we are chosen by God and one of his elect.

No-one can snatch us out of Jesus’ hand because, he says, 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all…

As we come to communion today may you rediscover this personal relationship we have with the Lord.

May he fill you with His love and power – and his assurance.

Amen.

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About robinpalmer

I am a Presbyterian Pastor living and working in Browns Bay on the North Shore of Auckland in New Zealand. We moved here at the end of March 2011 after spending five years in Wellington the capital city. I am passionate about what I do - about communicating and writing. I also enjoy my counselling work, especially with young people.

Posted on April 21, 2013, in Sunday Morning Sermons and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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