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The Great Shepherd of the Sheep

(Hebrews 13:8-21)

Lesson 5 -- third quarter 2008
June 29, 2008

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2008

Nuggets scattered in the lesson text

8 -- We serve an unchanging Shepherd. His love for us is constant. His care for us is certain. His rules for us are consistent. We do not have to follow Him wondering where His next flight of fancy will take us or what His next whim will demand of us.

9 -- Choose the unchanging Shepherd! Disregard that which is not from Him. Be established, firm, and steady in His ongoing and unchanging grace. That grace will give you something very useful and profitable -- both the will and the power to please your Shepherd. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).

10 -- Under the old covenant, the priests could eat some of the meat from the sacrifices. What a privilege and honor! However, we have a higher honor and privilege than they -- enjoying the taste and other benefits of Jesus' sacrifice for us. Furthermore, this privilege is denied those who in our day continue to try to live by the Old Covenant.

11 -- Like the priests of old, our Shepherd made a sacrifice for our sin and for our peace with God. And like the lambs in the old system, He was that sacrifice, offering up His body and His blood for our redemption and restoration to God.

12 -- Our Shepherd sacrificed Himself to please the Father, yes. But He also sacrificed Himself to make us holy. Us! Do you get that?! And He did so in what surely was the most reproachful way possible.

13 -- Let us join ourselves to Him and cast our lot with Him. Christians, just as we bear His name, so let us also bear His reproach. "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (John 15:19).

14 -- Though we are in the world and though we have the Shepherd's mission to tend to while in the world, our eyes and hearts are turned toward the eternal dwelling place He has prepared for us. "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1).

15 -- Because of the Shepherd's work of redemption for us, we may offer to God an ongoing sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. The song of the redeemed shall never cease!

16 -- Don't let your praise sacrifice somehow obstruct another kind of here-and-now sacrifice -- doing good to others. Our helpfulness to our fellowman brings great pleasure to God. And why should that surprise us? The Good Shepherd surely must love seeing His flock mirror toward each other the service He does for them.

17 -- The great Shepherd of the sheep has established under shepherds to assist Him in caring for His flock. Let us faithfully follow those whom He has placed in leadership in the church.

18 -- The sheep who does not know his dependence on the prayerful support of others in the flock is both ignorant and indigent. Pity the sheep who does not recognize the blessing of interdependence. The one who thinks he need rely only on the Good Shepherd fails to see that the Shepherd Himself has established fellowship and brotherhood as part of the "system" by which He extends His grace to the flock.

19 -- The Shepherd works through the prayers of His people. His ears are open to their cry. He delights to have them petition Him in His own name.

20 -- We have no other Shepherd that the Lord Jesus, who, as the eternal Lamb of God, gave His blood for our peace with God. Now this God of peace works life in us as He did in the crucified-and-buried Jesus Christ.

21 -- Through the great Shepherd of the sheep, God brings about in us all that which His will pleases and all that which will please Him. May He perfect in His sheep the image of His own Lamb. All glory for ever more be to Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb of God who is our great Shepherd!

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