1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
Father, thank you for drawing every single one of us to your Son. And Jesus, we want to hear from you today. We want to hear from You and not a stranger’s voice. Not the voice of a hired hand, or anyone who pretends to be a shepherd or even an under-shepherd. We want to hear from the one and only true Shepherd Jesus Christ. Teach us, Lord, today about what it means to be a gatekeeper/ doorkeeper/ watchman. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.
The one point that I have for you today is – as a doorkeeper/ watchman, stay alert, and pray for yourself and for those around you.
As a doorkeeper/ gatekeeper/ watchman, pray for yourself. Be alert. Be watchful. Pray for yourself and for those around you. First of all, we have to ask why does Jesus talk about himself being the true Shepherd? Because if you recall what we covered last week in John chapter 9 – we have examples of false teachers, false shepherds, or false guides. Jesus healed a blind man. A man/ boy because he must have been in his early 20s since the Pharisees wanted to speak to his parents. So he’s a young person and the parents come in John chapter 9. The Pharisees ask the parents, is this your son and they say, yes, he’s our son. The Pharisees try to interrogate the parents further. But what do the parents do? They deflect. They say, I don’t really want to answer your question. Why don’t you speak to my son. He is of age.
And we read in John chapter 9 that the reason why they responded in this kind of a way is because they feared being being kicked out of the synagogue. Because back then there was only one temple and it was in Jerusalem. And these false teachers, these false guides, or false shepherds were the gatekeepers. They are the ones who let people in and out of the synagogue.
And then the blind man is questioned multiple times by these Pharisees and the blind man is so bold. He says, why are you asking me the same question? I already told you. Do you want to become his disciples, too? He’s a little sarcastic. He’s a little courageous. He’s bold. He’s testifying, I don’t know who this is – all I know is I was once blind but now I see.
And so with that as the backdrop, Jesus is now going to share about himself being the true Shepherd.
And if you’re not a Christian today, you are here because John chapter 6 says the Father has drawn you. And He has brought you to the foot of the Shepherd and the only thing you need to pray is, Lord meet me. Lord, save me and open my eyes. That’s the only prayer you need to pray. You don’t have to pray for other people. Just pray for yourself, Lord, meet me. Lord, save me. Lord, open my eyes. I want to be born again. That’s all you have to pray. So you don’t in theory have to hear anything else I have to say for the rest of the message. That part is for you. You just need to hear that word for you. Lord, save me. Lord, meet me and open my eyes. I want to be born again. That’s the only thing you have to pray and then one day, in a moment, you will hear His voice.
And it’s not because it’s an emotional experience and a pastor is telling you to come down the aisle. It’s not anything like that. There’s no manipulation. There’s no pressure. There’s no, you’re going to go to hell. There’s no condemnation because God is drawing you because He wants to save you. He does not condemn you. When you’re ready, you will hear His voice and so just listen for that voice. Say “Jesus, I want to hear Your voice,” and when you hear it, you’ll know.
In 1993 when I was going to church, I thought I was a believer. I had gone to church my whole life. I thought I was a believer. But that Sunday I heard the Shepherd’s voice and the way I experienced it wasn’t an audible voice but it’s as if all the lights in the church went dim and it’s like the spotlight was upon me. And the Light of the world was shining upon me and He was calling me by name. And then I went and it was in a response to that voice, I was saved.
So if you’re not a Christian, the Father is drawing you and the only thing you have to pray is Jesus, meet me. Jesus, save me. I want to hear Your voice. Open my eyes. That’s your only prayer. Simple.
For the rest of us once you’re saved there’s more to do. But it’s actually not that much different. We have to keep hearing His voice, right? A shepherd Is known by the sheep because of His voice. This is not like Gap. Gap might have a herd of sheep, right? Because they want the cotton to make the clothing. You know, the Gap Company. I don’t think Gap cares about each sheep individually. They just want to rob the cotton, the wool and make cotton from the sheep. They will not take the time to train the sheep to hear the voice the same way that a dog knows the voice of his master. There’s a relationship between a shepherd and the sheep. In these corporate settings, I think they are herded by dogs out of fear. They’re just herded into a place, right?
It wasn’t like that in biblical times. You had a sheep and the sheep knew the shepherd’s voice and just by the shepherd speaking, the sheep would follow. At night time, they would be herded into a common sheepfold – multiple shepherds would bring their flock into this sheepfold and there was night guard duty. There is night duty and the gatekeeper would be there to open the door only to the shepherds who are bringing in their flocks.
And then when the shepherd came to claim his flock, the gatekeeper would see, yes this is a shepherd. Yes I know and recognize the shepherd. He opens the door and the shepherd just by calling the sheep – the Sheep would recognize the shepherd’s voice and come out. There’s multiple flocks represented but only those who are known by the shepherd, those sheep would come out because they recognize the voice. So, believers, we keep on listening for the voice of Jesus – the same voice that saved us.
And you might be saying, well, I’m trying to hear His voice about all these decisions, but I’m not hearing Him. If that’s you, it’s okay – go back to Jesus’ words. Because that’s clearly when He’s speaking. Let’s master His words first. Let’s become sheep who really understand His words – the voice that has been recorded for us in Scripture. All the red letters in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Revelation. Let’s just master these words because as sheep we have to recognize His voice and His voice has been recorded for us. So before we ask for the tailor-made answer, His voice to help us make a decision, instead of saying, I need to go, or I need to know whether I should go this direction or that direction, let’s first master his voice in Scripture – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Revelation – all the red letters.
And I’ve been asking the Lord all week about John chapter 10 verse 3 which says to him the gatekeeper or the doorkeeper opens. I’ve been asking the Lord all week, who is this gatekeeper/ doorkeeper? I never even knew that there was such a person. Jesus says He is the door. You have to go through the door and all of these thieves and robbers and hired hands are climbing through the gate. They’re climbing over the walls. You have to go through the door and the door is Jesus.
But who is this gatekeeper who recognizes a shepherd and opens the door? The literal translation for doorkeeper is the one who keeps watch over the door. So it’s a watchman. So he watches the door and when the shepherd comes, he opens the door because he’s been waiting for the shepherd.
And this is similar to a watchman that occurs in several places in the Old Testament, but the most famous place is in Ezekiel. So let’s look at Ezekiel.
16 And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.
So God calls a watchman and he is a prophet, Ezekiel. As a prophet, he’s calling the house of Israel who is in rebellion to God to repentance. He’s calling them to return to God.
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, 3 and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.
God starts by calling one man Ezekiel as a watchman. A prophetic voice to call an entire nation to turn from their sins and turn back to the Lord. Then here Ezekiel as Israel’s watchman says, why don’t you call some people from among you to watch and stand guard and stand by the gate. From an upper position, look out and if you see the sword coming, if you see the enemies coming, sound the alarm because the judgment of the Lord has come.
And if you as a Watchman warn the people then you’ve done your job. There’s no blood on your hands. But if you are watchman who is lazy or you’ve fallen asleep and the enemy comes and you have not warned the people, then the blood of the people is on your hands because God has called you to be a watchman.
So in the Old Testament, the watchmen were a select few among the people of God. But I want to make the case that today in the New Testament, we are all watchmen. We’re all watching. We’re all doorkeepers. And as doorkeepers and watchmen, we must stay alert and pray first for ourselves, and then for those around us. In Mark chapter 13, Jesus is speaking about the end times and we are in the end times.
32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
So we are all servants put in charge by the master and we all have our work and there’s a watchman or a doorkeeper who is told to stay awake because a master can come at any moment. It’s not just one person who has to stay awake. In the end, He says all of you stay awake. So in the end times, all of us must stay awake. That is the one quality of a watchman, doorkeeper, or gatekeeper – that he or she must stay awake at all times and be alert. What was Jesus’ final words to his disciples while they were still assembled as a group before they scattered? It’s in Matthew 26.
36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
On the night that Jesus was going to be betrayed, when Jesus was struggling and He was overwhelmed and so sorrowful, He wanted the cup of God’s wrath to pass. He didn’t want necessarily to endure all of the shame and the mockery of the Cross and what what made it so terrible to Jesus, the won was that He would be separated from His Father – something that He had never experienced before and that was the hardest thing for Him. And He was anguishing and crying drops of blood. That’s how much as a Son, He was suffering and he asked his disciples – all eleven of them to stay awake. That’s all he asked is to stay awake and pray. He takes Peter, James and John as watchmen for the group, as leaders of the group. He brings them and says, okay for you three, can you watch over the others? Can you stay awake?
I know that as a pastor, my main goal is I’m a watchman. God has clarified that to me this week. I am a watchman and it’s my job to first of all stay awake myself and to tell people Jesus is coming.
I am watchful as best I can for myself. I am watchful as best I can for Jackie and the boys. I’m watchful as best I can for everyone who’s here. But being watchful is every believers responsibility. Jesus pulled aside Peter, James and John. God pulled aside Ezekiel. He has select few that He’s given maybe the assignment and responsibility of a watchman over others.
What about each believer? You have to be at least watchful for yourself. Each believer has to be watchful for himself or herself. Then on the one night that Jesus needed watchmen, he needed his fellow disciples – the eleven to stay awake to support him, to be prayerful that one night, they failed. And if the disciples failed, that means many in the body of Christ will fail. Then when Jesus comes for the body of Christ, at least half will be asleep.
So as believers we need to stay awake. And if we’re not awake we need to wake up. Our spirits are all willing. We all want to be saved. We all want to be watchful. When Jesus comes, that moment we want to be waiting at the door. We want to be so excited at the moment He knocks. We want to run to the door and open and say, Jesus, I’ve been waiting for you! But the problem is even if our spirit is willing, our body is weak. The body, Jesus says, leads us into temptation.
And we have to be alert. We need to wake up. We need to see the areas in which our bodies are being tempted.
We need to repent of those things. We need to put away those things. We need to turn away. We need to stay alert and be watchful for yourself first and foremost, and then for one another.
Going back to our main text.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
Jesus is the one Shepherd and He’s speaking of another group, of another flock that has not been called yet. He is speaking about the Gentiles that one day, He will bring both Jew and Gentile into one family. From God’s view, there’s always only one flock. There’s always only one church. May the Lord have mercy on us that we’ve taken what it’s supposed to be and we’ve splintered and divided it because of theological preferences, because of leadership, because of preferences, we’ve turned this thing that should be one flock, one church under one Shepherd into such a divided place.
What the Lord has impressed upon me this week about these verses is that he says there’s only one Shepherd. A hired hand versus the shepherd – the distinction is about ownership, right?
12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees.
So who owns the Sheep? Jesus. A hired hand doesn’t own the sheep. And you know he doesn’t own the sheep because he flees and doesn’t care for the sheep. But is there any quote-unquote lowercase shepherd? By definition, is there any lowercase shepherd? No. No lowercase shepherd, no pastor, no priest, no under-shepherd owns the sheep, if the definition of a true shepherd is that he owns the sheep.
The sheep here only the shepherd’s voice. Does that mean any person in leadership should give him or herself a title of Shepherd? Under Shepherd? Lead Senior Pastor? Should any of us claim to own the sheep? There is only one shepherd with one flock and the characteristic of the sheep is that they hear the shepherd’s voice.
What is Satan’s job? He wants you to hear anybody’s voice other than the one Shepherd’s voice. He would love it if you listen to a pastor’s voice and make that pastor your shepherd.
He would love it if you made John Piper your shepherd and you listen to his voice. He would love it if you made any person your shepherd and you listen to his or her voice.
There’s only one Shepherd because the shepherd by definition owns the sheep. Nobody owns a sheep. I don’t own the sheep. That’s why this is not my church. This is God’s church. He is the head of the church. That’s why at any moment God says it’s time to move on, I’m not possessive. I’m not clutching on, it’s not mine to own or possess. When God calls each of you, He may call you to leave, it’s not me to persuade you to stay. No, you listen to one Shepherd. I don’t own anybody.
My job is to hear the Shepherd’s voice and there’s only one Shepherd and let’s start by listening to what He said – His own words. Jesus’ words. The same word that one moment came alive like you read the Bible for maybe decades, but one moment it came alive. That’s the Shepherd’s voice coming through His word. You need to start there and then we abide in these words. We stay on these words – the Shepherd’s words.
And then as you mature, as you grow, as you get better at hearing His voice and shutting out all the other voices, then He will start shepherding you through decisions that comes later. Let’s first abide in His words.
Okay, let’s pray.
If you’re not a believer, the Father is drawing you to the Son. No one can come to the Son unless the Father is drawing you. So just by being here, just know that the Father loves you and wants to save you. He doesn’t want anyone to perish.
And you just have a simple prayer. Jesus, meet me. Jesus, save me. Jesus, open my eyes Jesus, I want to be saved. I want to be born again. That’s all you have to pray. You don’t have to pray for anybody else. You don’t have to pay for anything else. You have to pray that simple prayer.
And for those of us who are believers, we’re all doorkeepers. We’re all gatekeepers. We’re all watchman the same way that Ezekiel was a watchman for the people. We are watchman for one another.
Cain asks God, am I my brother’s keeper? And God’s answer is yes, of course. We are watchman for one another. If I preach a different Jesus, a different gospel, as watchmen, your job is to kick me out. Or to leave. Because you hear the Shepherd’s voice. We are watchmen for one another, yes. But we’re primarily watchman for ourselves. That means, simply, to stay awake. That means, Jesus is coming soon, and we’re ready for Him. We’re so excited. We’re getting our wedding dress on. We’re ironing out all the blemishes and the wrinkles. We’re cleaning up our our soul and our spirit and our body.
All of us have willing spirits, but our bodies are weak. May the Lord show us in what ways our bodies are leading us into temptation because Jesus knows it is weak. If the disciples were asleep on that one night that Jesus was about to be betrayed, when Jesus needed all 11 to be alert, that tells us that many in the body of Christ are asleep. We’re not alert. We’re not watchman over our own souls, much less the souls of other people.
Let’s assume this new title. Maybe you never considered yourself as a watchman, as a doorkeeper, but that is assignment in the end times. We’re all watchman, we’re all doorkeepers, we’re fixing our eyes upon the door. The door will open. Jesus is the door. We’re fixing our eyes on the door. We’re waiting for Jesus.
Father, thank you for drawing all of us to your Son. We wouldn’t be here unless you’re drawing us to your Son, unless You loved us, unless You want us to be saved. And today is the day of salvation. So every day, we pray, Lord, save me. Even if we had a moment of salvation in the past, still, we pray, Lord, save me today. Today is the day of salvation.
Save me, Lord. Open my eyes, open my ears. I want to hear the Shepherd’s voice as clearly as I did on day one when You first saved me. It was so clear. I knew it. I heard it. I sensed it. I want to have that clarity every day of my life, that I would hear the Shepherd’s voice, when the word of God, the words of Jesus came alive and leapt off the page. I knew, Jesus, You’re calling me by name.
I pray that all of us can have that experience every day where we read Your words and words jump off the page and we’re hearing the Shepherd’s voice calling us by name, shepherding us and giving us freedom, going in and out of the sheepfold, to come in for protection and rest and going out of the sheepfold in the freedom of movement.
Father, we want to experience that abundant life as we are shepherded by You, Lord Jesus. Lord, we’ve heard so many false voices, who just robbed us of spiritual blessings, who killed all spiritual desire, and whose mission was to destroy us. There are so many voices, Lord. We don’t even try hard to hear those voices, but they come flooding to us.
Father, help us to silence those voices. We rebuke those voices in Jesus Name. We ask for all the false face voices to be cast out so that we can hear clearly the true voice in these last days. We assume this role and responsibility as watchman for ourselves, watchman for one another. We are our brother’s and our sister’s keeper. We’re being watchful for one another. We’re making sure we’re still following the true Shepherd. And there’s only one Shepherd, one flock, one Church.
Forgive us, O Lord, for dividing the Church around people who claim to be shepherds. If we all listened to the one true Shepherd, the Church would still be one, but we’ve listened to other people who pretended to be shepherds.
Forgive us, Lord. There’s only one Person who owns the sheep and that’s You, Lord Jesus. Forgive us for calling ourselves shepherds or under-shepherds or Apostles, or Senior Pastors or Lead Pastors. Forgive us for our arrogance, Lord. Only You Lord own the Sheep. We bow down and worship You only. We honor You only. Lord, speak to us now. Help us to wake up in our spirits. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen