One of the greatest helps available to preachers is the work of other preachers who have gone before them. Logos 5’s Sermon Finder tool helps you glean insights and wisdom from centuries of preachers. Sermon Finder combs through every tagged sermon in your library, pulling out sermons on the particular passage or topic you are studying.
Next weekend I will be preaching on John 10, where Jesus gives two pictures of shepherding. I’ve studied the passage and written down my own thoughts and notes, and I have some rough outline options available to me. But what have other preachers said about this topic, and how did they understand the passage in its context? The Sermon Starter Guide provides me with the answers I’m looking for.
“The Good Shepherd” by Tim Keller
Keller notes in his introduction that Jesus’ audience would have likely thought of Psalm 23 when they heard this. Even today, most people are familiar with that passage. And the idea of Jesus being the Good Shepherd hits home to all who seek comfort, rest, and protection from the dangers of life. Keller focuses on two main points: what Jesus is to the sheep and what Jesus does for the sheep.
In his first point, Keller emphasizes that Jesus is his sheep’s all in all. He is their protector, their provider, and their guide. He establishes what the sheep ought to do and where they ought to go, and without him they are completely lost. Keller exhorts us to comprehend this, to embrace it, and to thus obey Jesus comprehensively, existentially, and joyfully.
In his second point, Keller declares that the Good Shepherd knows his sheep completely and thoroughly—to the depths of their souls—yet he still lays down his life for them. Keller provides some vivid and helpful illustrations to give me inspiration as I prepare to preach on this same point.
“Other Sheep and one Flock” by C.H. Spurgeon
Spurgeon tackles this passage from a different angle. In verse 16, Jesus says that he has other sheep of a different fold who will also hear and recognize his voice. What does he mean? Who are these sheep, and what does that mean for us today?
Spurgeon draws out several important truths from this text. First, Jesus has faithful sheep in his fold even during the worst of times. “There was a sad lack of vital godliness in those days,” yet Jesus still kept some for his own. This ought to encourage us. The faithful presence of Simeon and Anna at the temple are a breath of fresh air among that unbelieving generation.
Second, Spurgeon points out that the Lord has other sheep we don’t yet know. Furthermore, Jesus doesn’t say, “I will have them”—he declares that they are already his. No matter how far these sheep outside the fold have wandered, Jesus still says, “I have them.” Spurgeon put it this way:
[I]n this there is great comfort for God’s people who love the souls of their fellow-men. The Lord has a people in London, and he knows them. “I have much people in this city,” was said to the apostle when as yet nobody was converted there. “I have them,” says Christ; though as yet they had not sought him.
Seeking help from those before
With just 10 minutes of research, I have already assembled another page full of notes and some helpful ideas for outlines, illustrations, and sermon content. The voices of Keller’s logical appeals and Spurgeon’s impassioned exhortations mingle with those of George Whitefield and others. This great cloud of witnesses aids me as I prepare to declare the Word of the Lord to my congregation in two weeks.
There is much help to be found, and if you have Logos 5 you already have the tools to find it! Learn more about Sermon Finder, and check out our new Classic Sermon Library Builder, which is 60% off for a limited time! Add it to your library today, and don’t forget to check out our sermon collections from Tim Keller, John Piper, D.A. Carson, and Charles Spurgeon.