Pastor Omar Fisher preached the sermon, “Let The Lord Lead You,” to the congregation at First Presbyterian of Blackwood, NJ on April 15, 2018

“Let The Lord Lead You”

John 10:7-16

The question comes in here, what is leading you?  What are you chasing after?  What is guiding you?  You may think it is God, or you may hope that it is God, but is it really the Lord.  Is there something that you say, “If I had that, or more of that, then I would be happy?”  Many people who go to work every day think that if they made just a little more money they would be happy.  Many people who are single think if I just could find the one and get married then I would be happy.  Many people who are married unfortunately just wish they could be with a “better” mate or single again and then they would be happy.  Many people who have extra pounds just wish they were thinner and then they would be happy.  Many people wish they had a bigger house, a nicer car, or that they were more famous, or had a skill that they currently do not possess.  Is it a desire for money, a desire for power, a desire for fame, a desire for beauty, or a desire for freedom?  Some desires can be Godly but many of our yearns and desires are not Godly.  And therefore the question we must ask ourselves is where did your ungodly leader lead you?  If it is not Jesus then it didn’t lead you to heaven.  So then where?  And along the way what did it steal?  When we pursue money we sometimes work as many hours as we can, taking all the overtime hours, maybe working weekends, but did you know that job is stealing time away from your family?  How many birthday parties or first words or soccer games did the money desire steal?  What did your leader kill?  Often times when someone is unhappy in marriage they seek happiness in someone else’s arms.  As the saying goes, “The grass looks greener on the other side.”  But that pursuit of temporary happiness can easily kill one’s current marriage by killing any hope of the person trusting you again.  And what did it destroy?  There are many people out there who wanted so much to be a famous musician or famous actor or actress or a lawyer or a doctor so much so that they destroyed their childhoods or destroyed their lives trying to reach fame and now that they have the fame they don’t have a life and are miserable and so they turn to drugs or sex or constant complaining just to keep them going.

The bottom line in all these cases if you are not seeking Jesus you are not seeking after things of the Spirit of God, but are seeking after the flesh.  The workings of the flesh are contrary to the Spirit as Paul teaches us in Romans 8.  The flesh very simply is self-confidence based on self-effort for self-glory.  It is the exercise of my will which is against God’s will.  So, I ask you what is leading you and is it leading you to glorify God or glorify self.  I would argue that if Jesus Christ isn’t your leader that whatever it is that is leading you is probably leading you to glorify self.  That is a hard pill to swallow as a Christian because it is easy to get saved, but difficult to make Him Lord, however, we need to be honest with ourselves if we are going to get better; if we are going to go through the process of sanctification and become more like Christ.  I want to let you know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel because I also believe that Jesus Christ presents Himself as the best option for leading us and wants you to choose Him as your leader.  After this message today if Jesus Christ is not in the number one position in your life I would encourage you to truly make Him Lord of your life and I will tell you why.

Matthew wrote his Gospel to show that Jesus was the Messiah.  Mark wrote his Gospel to show that Jesus was a suffering servant.  Luke wrote his Gospel to show Jesus also came for the Gentiles.  But John wrote his Gospel to show us that Jesus Christ was in fact the Son of God and that is where we get our text for today.

Jesus is painting the picture here in the book of John of being a Good Shepherd and a thus a Good Leader.  We remember the words also of Psalms 23 where we know that if we have a Good Shepherd, “we shall not want” so we will have everything we need; “restores my soul” so we will be brought back to where we should be; “You are with me” so we know that we are not alone; “my cup runs over” so you will bless me and supply what I need.  These are all things that we want which we already know from Psalms 23 that the Lord provides.  And in the New Testament John goes even further quoting the words of Jesus Christ.  We know that He came to this earth and lived 33 years here among us to show us how to live but ultimately to die for the sins of all mankind and rise again with all power in His hands and He wants us to believe in Him as Savior and to also follow Him as Lord.  We further understand that as Lord and as the Good Shepherd there are certain things that He will do for us.

Jesus makes the analogy of sheep and shepherds.

  1. Sheep are not the smartest animals
  2. Sheep can get easily lost
  3. Sheep can easily get hurt (they are fragile)
  4. Sheep need a shepherd (a good shepherd)

It is estimated that we check our phones 50 to 100 times a day.  The average American watches 5 hours of television a day.  In 2018 it is estimated that the average person will spend 5 years of their life on social media.  Just from the amount of time we waste you can see that we need a leader.  We need a Good Shepherd.  We need a Lord.

Jesus was 100% God but he was also 100% human.  That is the uniqueness of Christianity.  In Keller’s book, The Reason For God he says, “Christianity alone among the world religions claims that God became uniquely and fully human in Jesus Christ and therefore knows firsthand despair, rejection, loneliness, poverty, bereavement, torture, and imprisonment.”  Jesus walked with us.  Jesus talked with us.  At any moment He could have flexed His “God muscles” but no instead he was lowly.  He does not force us to choose Him as leader and as Lord, but gives us the chance to and like I said He has presented Himself as the best option for us.

  1. He has been to heaven and He knows the way back (John 10:7, John 14:2-3)
    1. If you want to get to the Bojangles on Albemarle Road in Charlotte, NC all you have to do is ask me. I have been there, I used to work there, I know exactly how to get there.  Well Jesus has been to heaven according to John 14. He lived there. He came and lived here. He went back there so unless you know someone else that is from heaven I think He is the best option for guiding us on how to live so that we make it to heaven.
  2. He wants the best for you (John 10:10, John 1:1-3)
    1. You may think you know what is best for you but sometimes our best thinking and plotting ends up in failure. Well Jesus says He came for us to have the abundant life.  He knows already what the best life is for you.  He came to show us how to live and the best way to live.  He can say this because He created us so He would know what is best for us.
  3. He will protect you (John 10:11-12, John 10:28-29)
    1. As much as you may disagree, money won’t protect you. You can pay for the best security system, you can be recession proof with all the money saved up, you can have a 401k with stock options and a diversified portfolio, but will that protect you from divorce or protect you from cancer or protect you from drug addiction?  Jesus can protect you from dangers seen and unseen because He is God.
  4. He knows you (John 10:14, Matthew 10:30)
    1. I hope you know what it is like to have a boss or pastor or even a spouse who really knows you. When they know you they can know when you are going through something.  They can know to ask about your children.  They can know to help when you are struggling.
    2. The Coach of the 76ers, Brett Brown, when asked about whether to put in the rookie Markell Fultz said that it was a tough decision because he did not want to mess up the team’s chemistry but he knew what Markell could do and couldn’t do. That is a good leader.
    3. Well Jesus Christ, according to Scripture, knows us even to the point of knowing the number of hairs on our head. He knows our thoughts before we express them.  He knows our pains.  He knows what gives us joy.  All of this makes Him an excellent choice to shepherd us and lead us.
  5. He is the only one who laid down His life for you (John 10:15, John 15:13)
    1. Lastly Jesus Christ laid down His life for you. Like I said before a good leader knows what you can do and what you cannot do and Jesus knew that we could not uphold the law and make it into heaven on our own.  So He came down from heaven and laid down His life for us.  Money can’t save you.  Fame can’t wash away sin. Power can’t save you.  Happiness can’t wash away sin.  Finding the one can’t save you.  Moving into that great new house can’t wash away sin.  Getting 1 million followers on Instagram can’t save you.  Winning the lotter can’t wash away sin.  Only Jesus can lead us into salvation and a new life.

The key is that Jesus was looking to simply glorify God, as Jesus would later say, “…not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)  The problem a lot of the time is not that we don’t know what the Lord has told us…its that we don’t like it.  But today I implore you to consider following Jesus’ example of being more humble.  Consider not seeking fame.  Consider not seeking fortune.  Consider not seeking personal satisfaction.  Consider just serving the Lord.   Just doing the Lord’s will.  Because that is what Jesus did.  And look what happened.  People have been talking about Him and praising Him and worshiping Him ever since.

Jesus came the first time to die and to lead us to die to ourselves.   But I want to let you know the next time that Jesus comes it will be completely different.  The first time He was born of a virgin Mary in a manger.  Next time He comes it says, “they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30)  The first time He came they had to flee to Egypt from King Herod.  The next time He comes it says, “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” (Revelation 19:16)  The first time He came when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane He fell on the ground in prayer.  The next time He comes we know that, “God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11) The last time he came they beat Him till He was unrecognizable and mocked Him by twisting a crown of thorns and putting it on His head.  The next time He comes it says that he will have, “on His head a golden crown…” (Revelation 14:14)  The last time He came He stood before Pontius Pilate and was judged.  The next time He comes He will open the Book of Life and the dead will be “judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.” (Revelation 20:12)  He is not coming to be beaten again, He is not coming to be spit on again, He is not coming to be mocked again, He is not coming to be crucified again, He is coming back to bring us to the place that He has prepared for us, a place with many mansions, a new heaven and a new earth.  A place where there is no sin, no hurt, no death.  Where we can love and praise our Lord!!  The greatest leader this world has ever seen!!  Let the Lord lead you!!

 

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