Follow the Good Shepherd

Posted on February 17, 2016 · Posted in Encouragement, Faith, Jesus Christ

Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He calls each one of us to follow Him so why is it so much easier to do everything but God’s will?  I was thinking these thoughts one day when I noticed something about my dogs.  They live to serve and follow me, their master.  Do I live to follow Jesus, my Lord and Master?  Do you?

And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.  2 Corinthians 5:15

God often speaks to us from His creation.  I believe that God wanted me to observe my two dogs so that I could see what following looks like from another perspective.  The first thing I notice about them is that they want to be with me, so they follow me wherever I go.  They trust me, and they live to please me. 

This is what following Jesus looks like:

So, we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  2 Corinthians 5:9

Jesus is our example who said: “I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me.”  John 5:30

Following Jesus, the Good Shepherd, involves living your life by faith and making His will more important than your own.  Placing your faith and trust in Jesus pleases God.

Follow Jesus Your Savior

By Faith

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.  Psalm 95:6-7

In the Bible, the relationship between God and His people is often symbolized as that of a shepherd and His flock of sheep.

Jesus said: I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  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.”   John 10:11, 14-15

Because Jesus is good, He loves and provides for the sheep, even sacrificing His own life that they may live.  Every person born is a lost sheep spiritually and in need of a Savior from the penalty and power of sin.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him (Jesus) the sins of us all.  Isaiah 53:6

We sin when we follow our own way apart from God’s will.  Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knows that a sheep who goes his/her own way is lost and in real danger, so He actively searches for it until He finds it.

Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep; whoever enters through me will be saved.  I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”  John 10:7, 9-10, 28, 30

The Bible says there is rejoicing in heaven when one lost sinner repents and turns from sin to God.  Have you received the salvation God offers you in Jesus Christ?  If so, do you follow Him?

If you are the Christ, (the promised Messiah) tell us plainly.  Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe.  The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me.  But you do not believe because you are not my sheep.”  John 10:24-26

Trust Jesus, the Good Shepherd, for your salvation, for provision, for guidance, and for protection.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Psalm 23:1-3

Without faith it is impossible to please God. Only when we believe will we follow the Good Shepherd and have true peace and contentment.

Those who Follow Jesus

Listen to Him

My dogs spend their short time on earth studying everything about me.  They spend time with me, so they know me!  They know instantly if I am sad, happy or mad.  I have had them lick away many tears.  They know my voice and they come when I call them.  They are attentive to my word and they want to please me.

He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.  When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.  John 10:3-4

It is impossible to follow someone you don’t know!  If you don’t know Jesus, you don’t know God, and you don’t know God if you don’t know Jesus!  How can you know God?  By reading and believing what God says about Himself in His Word, The Bible.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd said: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  John 10:27

God speaks to you from His Word, so you can know Him and follow Him.  Through the pages of the Bible, God tells you what His will is; what pleases Him and what does not.  Too many who claim to be Christians are neglecting His Word so they neither hear from God or follow Him.

Jesus warns us:

Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do what I say?”  Luke 6:46

“My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s Word and put it into practice.”  Luke 8:21

You are not following Jesus if you are living in disobedience to His Word.  Ask God to help you make Him a priority by planning time each day to meet with Him in Bible study and prayer.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, (the Word of God) so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.  1 Peter 2:2-3

How strong is your desire for God’s Word?

Those who Follow Jesus

Love and Obey Him

God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in Him.  We love because He first loved us.  1 John 4:16, 19

We first respond to God’s love by receiving His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior and then we follow Him.  A believer follows Jesus by faith because he/she loves Him and not because it is a duty.

Jesus taught about discipleship: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  Luke 9:23

Because we are by nature self-interested, it comes naturally to follow our own desires rather than the will of God.  It is impossible to follow Jesus if we love our life more than we love Him who gives us life.

Jesus said:If you love me, you will obey what I command.  He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.  These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”  John 14:15, 24

Those who love God, apply His Word to their life.  It is a supernatural work of God to submit our own will to do His will.  By faith, the Holy Spirit empowers the believer to love and follow Jesus.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.  2 Peter 1:3

God’s supernatural love transforms our lives and changes our desires by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in the believer.  A follower of Jesus loves Him and does what pleases Him.

Watch Out for False Shepherds

Do Not Follow Them

There can only be one Master.  When we do not follow Jesus, we will follow our own desires and other people who do not have our best interests at heart.  Jesus warns us to watch out for false shepherds in the church who do not love the sheep and who care only for themselves.

Watch out for false prophets.  They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  By their fruit you will recognize them.  Matthew 7:15

False shepherds may look good outwardly, but their hearts are in opposition to God.

Jesus knew His sheep: “But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”  John 10:5

The only way to recognize the true from the false is to know God’s Word and to be alert.

Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep.  So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away.  Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”  John 10:11-13

Follow Jesus

Live a Transformed Life

Too many who claim to know Jesus do not follow Him but rather live as practical atheists.

If anyone obeys His Word, love for God is truly made complete in them.  This is how we know we are in Him:  Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.  1 John 2:5-6

Living a transformed life is to continually depend on God’s strength through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Followers of Jesus rely completely on the power of God by faith.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  2 Corinthians 4:7

This prayer is for you:

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.  Hebrews 13:20-21

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knows your name and He invites you to, “Come, Follow Me!”

Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.  Psalm 28:9

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Bible study for “Follow the Good Shepherd”

Week 1:  Psalms 23:1-6; 28:9; 86:11; 95:6-7; 100:3; 119:9-11; 105;4; Proverbs 3: 5-10; Isaiah 53:6; Ezekiel 34; Matthew 4:17-22; 5:14-16; 7:15-21; 22:36-40

Week 2Luke 6:46; 8:21; 9:23; 15:1-7; 9:10; John 6:40; 10:1-18, 24-30; 12:26; 14:15, 23-24; 15:4-17; Romans 12:1-2, 9-21; 1 Corinthians 6:18-19; 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, 16-18; 5:7-9, 14-15

Week 3:  Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 4:1-3, 17-32; 5:1-2, 8-10; Philippians 2:3-5; Colossians 2:6-7; 2 Timothy 2:19

Week 4Hebrews 11:6; 12:1-3; 13:20-21; James 1:22; 1 Peter 1:13-16; 2:1-3, 11-12; 19-25; 2 Peter 1:3; 1 John 2:3-6, 15-16; 4:16-19