God Himself is the perfect shepherd cleansing, protecting and providing for His people.
Scripture: Revelation 7:9-8:5
- Pastors are given the task of caring for the needs of the sheep and preventing them from going astray or getting lost or injured.
- God Himself promises to be the perfect shepherd (Ezekiel 34:15-16; Psalm 23).
- Jesus referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd (John 10:14-15). No one can snatch even one of Jesus’ sheep (John 10:27-29).
- Five sermon points are: purity, protection, provision, praise, and prayer.
- Purity: Jesus purifies the sheep, cleansing them and placing them in white robes, washed in the blood of the lamb (Rev. 7:14).
- Our sin is like a filthy garment which renders us unclean before God (Isa. 64:6).
- Advent is a season of penance. We confess our sins, recognizing that we need to be clothed in Christ’s righteousness.
- Protection: the sheep receive Christ’s protection in danger and trials. Those in white robes have come out of the great tribulation.
- God’s abiding presence goes with us in tribulation. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Rev. 7:17 cf. Psalm 56:8).
- Provision: Jesus provides for the basic need of the soul. Jesus is the desire of the nations, the joy of every longing heart.
- In Jesus the hunger of the soul is satisfied (Psalm 107:9) primarily through His Word.
- Praise: the place of the saints is before the throne praising the Lamb (Rev. 7:9-12).
- Many Christmas carols strongly and explicitly proclaim the message of the gospel.
- Prayer: the prayers of God’s people are offered before the throne of God, where our prayers are mixed with incense, purifying them to be acceptable to God.
- The prayers of God’s people are powerful for shaking up the earth (Rev. 8:3-5).
- What protection and provision does the Lamb provide for us as our Shepherd?
- How does Isaiah 64:6 portray our spiritual condition outside Christ? How can we be made clean?
- How can we cultivate love for the Desire of Nations this season? How will we receive Him?
- What opportunities might we create this season to share the message of Christmas through singing Christ-exalting carols?