A brief overview for Sunday School teachers and Bible study leaders, of Lifeway’s “Explore the Bible” lesson of John 10:7-14, 25-30 for Sunday, February 19, 2023 with the title: “I Know My Own.”
(A video version of this overview is available on YouTube at:
INTRO: One way to introduce this lesson would be to ask: ??? Has anyone in your class ever had any experience with sheep???
(If anyone has, you can talk about it … AND/OR, THEN, if are you led to, you could show one or more of these videos of sheep being rescued, and jumping right back into the ditch again!)
SHEEP VIDEOS: (I’ll post these on my blog and in the comments)
???You might talk about: What kind of qualities do you think it would take, to make a good shepherd?
(Obviously, PATIENCE! Love for the sheep would help: why would you do it otherwise! Diligence; you have keep be on the alert for the crazy things they might do — or against predators!
THEN = Today we are are going to look at THE Good Shepherd, Jesus, and how He cares for US!
Is John 10. We saw in John 1 the Person and Work of Jesus; how He is “fully God/fully Man;” came to be “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Over the last weeks we’ve studied several of the 7 signs that form the backbone of John 1-11, and several of the 7 “I AM” statements. Today we are looking at how Jesus says in John 10, “I AM the Door,” and “I AM the Good Shepherd.”
- Our Door (:7-10)
- Our Shepherd (:11-14)
- Our Security (:25-30)
I. The Door (:7-10)
— In :7 Jesus says: “Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.”
— :9 He says AGAIN: “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
TWICE here He = “Door” ??? Why is a “door” important???
(It’s how you get IN a particular place.”
??? SO what’s the significance when Jesus says “I am the door”???
(That HE is the way to get where we want to get! To heaven, and to a better life.
We see that particularly spelled out in :10
:10 is a favorite verse of many: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
With DE Board: 2 columns:
The Thief The Good Shepherd
??? “What are some ways you can think of, that Satan “steals, kills, or destroys”?
(He destroys lives, relationships, wealth, steals joy, kills babies, kills lives, etc. SO many examples you/your group can use here!)
Then I’d talk about the TWO significant things it says here that Jesus, the Good Shepherd gives:
— “Life” — “Abundantly”
This indicates TWO kinds of life that Jesus gives:
1) ETERNAL life: (remember we talked about how “life” in the Bible often means “eternal life.” It is life forever in the presence of God. This is NOT only “length of days”; just longer life and more days is not necessarily good, right: for those who are growing older and more incapacitated; for those who have no joy in life, etc. — just “eternal length of days” is not necessarily good. It’s the eternal QUALITY of life that is so good: it is eternal life WITH GOD: with all the pleasure, and joy, and fulfillment that He will give you in His presence!
2) ABUNDANT life: a better kind of life NOW. (Don’t confuse this with the “health, wealth, prosperity” gospel we talked about a couple of weeks ago — but the truth is, there are principles in following Jesus that will lead you to have a better life now, than if you did not know Him.
??? How is life with Jesus RIGHT NOW better than a life without Him???
(You do not have to live with insecurity; you know how it ends; you know you have eternal life.
You have the joy of worship now.
You have His leadership and direction in your life now.
You have so many blessings He gives you now.
You MISS so many of the troubles and problems that happen to those who are disobeying Him now.
And on and on.
But the key is: HOW do we get this “eternal life and abundant life”? It is through Jesus. HE is “the door” to all this! Without Him, we don’t get eternal life, OR abundant life. He is “the door”!
II. The Shepherd (:11-14)
Jesus says in :11 “I AM the Good Shepherd.” And He goes on to describe Himself as the Good Shepherd in a couple of ways:
— :11 = He lays down his life for the sheep
— :14 = He knows His own
:11 “Lays down his life for the sheep”
In the OT, David when he fought Goliath talked about how he fought with a wolf and a bear, while he was tending the sheep. He literally PUT HIS LIFE ON THE LINE for his sheep. THAT is a “good shepherd”!
Of course, JESUS did that too, as the ultimate “Good Shepherd.” He literally put His life on the line for us; He DIED for us, to pay for our sins on the cross.
Then :14 says “He knows His own.” The Good Shepherd has a RELATIONSHIP with His sheep. He KNOWS them. It’s not a “mechanical process” or a “business transaction;” following Jesus is a RELATIONSHIP. He knows us, and we know Him
(Psalm 23 describes what that relationship is like; if you felt led to, you could develop that; maybe talk about what aspects of the relationship in Psalm 23 are most precious to each of you)
Verse :27 fits here, when it talks about the relationship of the Shepherd and His sheep. Jesus said “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me …”. This is talking about a RELATIONSHIP. We the sheep know the voice of our Shepherd!
Bruce Catton writes that during the Civil War: “If infantry and cavalry happened to bivouac together, dawn would reveal an oddity. Cavalry was always awakened by bugle calls, but the morning summons to infantry was the long roll beaten on the drums. The cavalrymen would sleep soundly through the beating of the drums but would rouse instantly when their own bugles sounded, while it was just the other way around with infantry — bugles would not awaken them, but they got up at once when the drums began to beat.” (Bruce Catton, Civil War Trilogy, pp. 541-542)
It’s so funny: but each group would respond to their own particular call.
They say it was that way with shepherds and sheep in the Middle East too. Several flocks might be together, but when one’s own shepherd call, HIS particular sheep would leave the others and go to Him. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
??? What does that tell us about OUR relationship with the Lord???
(We can hear His voice, and hear Him leading us.
??? HOW does this happen??? We learn it by spending time with Him in His word & prayer. Over time, just like sheep with a shepherd, we learn to discern HIS voice)
NOW NOTICE ALSO: it is NOT all about “benefits” — there is also something about RESPONSIBILITY here too: “they follow Me.” A genuine sheep of Jesus’ will be following Him.
Like the soldiers who get to know their bugle call, or drum roll, so we get to know the Lord’s voice as we WALK WITH HIM every day in His word & prayer. That takes some responsibility on our part: to spend that time daily, so that we DO know Him!
III. The Security (:25-30)
One of the best benefits of our relationship with the Lord, is the eternal security He gives us in Him. Eternal security is one of those primary doctrinal distinctives, that we believe as Southern Baptists, that makes us Baptist. So I would be sure to emphasize this point. Some call it “once saved, always saved,” others “the perseverance of the saints.” The term “eternal security” is good. (I like to emphasize “IF saved, always saved.” It’s not just anyone who ever went forward at an invitation or who ever claimed to be saved, who is eternally secure, but only those who were truly, genuinely saved! But if a person is genuinely saved, one of “His sheep,” they cannot be lost again.) But is this just our “Baptist dogma” or do we see it in the text? (“Show me scripture”!)
??? In :28-29, what do you see that indicates that a genuine believer is eternally SECURE?
(I see at least FIVE indicators of eternal security here:
— “eternal” life. ETERNAL life, by definition, has no end. If you can lose it, it is not “eternal life,” it is only “temporary” life!
— “I GIVE eternal life to them.” It is a GIFT. It is not earned by works in the first place (Eph. 2:8-9) so it can’t lost by our works either!
— “they will NEVER perish”: never means never! If you are genuinely saved, you will “never” perish. Not some time later; not after some great sin. NEVER. (We talked about the Greek “double negative” a couple of weeks ago: NOT/NOT! That is what is used here: “they will NOT/NOT perish;” it is an emphatic way of saying in Greek that it WILL NOT happen! They will NEVER perish!
— “NO ONE will snatch them out of My hand”
Paul wrote in II Timothy 1:12, “For I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” Jesus is guarding and keeping our salvation until the day we come to Him. We might not be able to keep ourselves, but HE keeps our soul, which we entrusted to Him with our salvation.
— “My Father … is greater, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” GOD is the One who is ultimately holding you, and there is no one who can pry you out of His hand!
Bill Elliff once told the story of how he loved to let his kids sit in his lap, and try to pry a penny out of his hand. He said he did it for the fellowship; he just wanted to do something with them. But they did not have the power to pry that penny out of his hand. Had he not let them, they would never have gotten it out.
It’s even MORE so with our Heavenly Father. NO ONE/NOTHING can “pry us out of His hand.”
So there are FIVE STRONG POINTS in these two verses alone, that teach us that a genuine believer cannot lose their salvation.
(I actually have a full sermon on John 10:27-29 that I preached last November, on my blog at http://www.shawnethomas.com. You can scroll back to November on the home page, or type John 10 into the search bar and it will bring it up. It has the full text of that message, with explanation, illustrations, and applications for each of the 5 points, and you are welcome to incorporate any of that you’d like to into your lesson.) Just this point on eternal security could take the whole lesson — and if God leads you, you might want to focus on that. You apply this passage as the Lord leads you to for your own group.
I’ll be praying for you as you do. And if you write something in the Comments below, I’ll be sure to pray for your and your group by name this week.
Per my licensing agreement with Lifeway:
– These weekly lessons are based on content from Explore the Bible Adult Resources. The presentation is my own and has not been reviewed by Lifeway.
– Lifeway resources are available at: goExploretheBible.com and: goexplorethebible.com/adults-training
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Thank you for your insight. Certainly helps my class preparation
Just got turned on to your blog and videos. Thank you! This will help me be better prepared on Sunday mornings.
Thank you so much for your commentary on this chapter! I am really looking forward to our class this Sunday.
Please continue to pray for our church, Clayton Baptist in Clayton, Alabama.
‘Dumb sheep’ video?
Thanks for great notes and insights. Please pray for FBC Liberty City (Kilgore, TX),Adult 3 small group.
Thanks again Pastor Shawn for your great insights… it helps me every week as I prepare to teach. Sam Winn, Parkwood Baptist Church, Concord, NC Median adults SS class
Thank You ever so much for this. It is a Tremendous help in my lesson prep for John 10!!! We could get more than one lesson/study from these verses!!. And much class discussion!!!.. Blessings… Lois Elijah co-teacher; 70+ class at Shandon Bapt. Church in Columbia, SC
Thank you for your help each week.