ONE FLOCK! ONE SHEPHERD!
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 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. (John 10:14-16)
When Jesus speaks of being the good shepherd, he is saying a lot. I know my sheep and my sheep know me. Jesus says that he knows those who belong to him, those who have been given to him by the Father. Just as sheep respond to the voice of their shepherd, those who belong to Jesus hear his voice and respond. Please notice this: Jesus’ sheep already belong to him before he calls them and they hear his voice! These are the ones for whom Jesus died. His sheep are already his before they answer his call! Those of us who are Christians already know this to be true. How did we ever come to faith in Christ? We heard his voice and responded. But how could we respond unless we already belonged to him?
Jesus goes on to say, 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. Jesus already had many sheep who were not part of the Jewish sheep pen. He had sheep from all the nations and peoples of the world. These would have to come to him as well. But Jesus never went to those nations to call his sheep! How would they come? His followers would go in his place and they would call out the good news Jesus gave them. Listen, this is amazing: When we call people to come to follow Jesus, it is his voice that they hear! They recognize the voice of the Master…not ours!
There will be only one flock with one shepherd. This is the kind of teaching that is speaking powerfully to me in these days. One flock. One shepherd. Not a flock of white sheep and a flock of black sheep and a flock of Asian sheep and a flock of Mexican sheep, just one flock! We are all to be one as Jesus prayed in John 17. There should not be a Baptist flock and a Methodist flock and an Anglican flock and a Reformed flock and a Pentecostal flock. Just as there is only one shepherd there can be only one flock; yet we continue to try to pull ourselves apart to form our own flocks! When will we learn to begin to do the work we must do in order to be the one flock Jesus leads? When will we stop pointing out the flaws in the other sheep of our flock as if we are the only perfect sheep? One flock. One shepherd. These are the words of the Good Shepherd.
Please keep an eye on the bookshelves in your local Christian bookstore. My dear friend, John Armstrong, has a book coming in the next month or so that is a must read on this subject. It is entitled Your Church Is Too Small and will be in your bookstores soon.