TD Jakes — I am the Good Shepherd
Greetings, family. I'm so glad to have the opportunity to share the Word with you. The Word is the thing that sustains us. It keeps us going no matter what you're going through. And God wants to reveal himself to you. He has given us direct access to his presence.
You won't wanna miss this message. The message is called, "I Am the Good Shepherd." Find out why I called it that as we go now to the Word of God.
There are terms that are called in theology anthropomorphic terms. Anthropomorphic terms are terms where God uses things, metaphors and similes, to cause you to understand things that you would not be able to understand otherwise. "The hand of the Lord was upon Elijah" does not really mean that God's hand was on him physically but it does mean that he was up under God's covering and protection. "He covereth me with his feathers" does not mean that God is a bird but it gives you a picture in your mind as a hen covers her eggs, so has God covered you, meaning that the warmth that you experience and the incubator process that exists in your life is a result of the hovering of the Holy Spirit over your head and over your life.
It is that method of teaching that Jesus employs here in the final summary moments of his life on earth to finally infuse his disciples with pictures and metaphors that would help to reveal more clearly his plan, his purpose, and his intimacy that he desires to express to you. First he says, "I am the door." What is a door? It's a portal of entry. It's a place of access. He says, "There are things, in other words, that God has for you that you have heard before. That have been taught to you down through the ages. And yet you have not been able to access them."
He says, "I am the door, through which you can access the blessing of Abraham, through which you can receive the promises of God. I am the door that gives you entrance into the kingdom." He is so bodacious in his claim that he says, "No man cometh unto the Father save he come by me. I am the place of entry into the promises that the Father has for you."
He says, "So that you might go in and out and find green pastures." We cannot just live in the express presence of God. We are certainly living in the omnipresence of God but we cannot live in the express presence of God, no more than the priests in the Old Testament could live their lives in the Holies of Holies.
It is a futile endeavor for you to try to spend hours a day walking in an expressed anointing of the Lord. You wouldn't get anything done. God's presence is so overwhelming and so powerful that if you spent all day up under the anointing of the Holy Spirit you wouldn't get anything accomplished in your life at all.
So he says, "I want you to be able to go in and out and find green pastures. I want you to go in and out with a familiarity like a child does who lives in your house, who goes in and out."
I can remember when I was a little boy, growing up in our house and we had a screen door and the object of the screen door was to keep the flies out. We had no air conditioning. You understand the times. And the kids would go in and out the door, in and out the door. Mama would holler, "Shut that door!" They kept going in and out the door. The reason we went in and out whereas the neighbors rang the doorbell, because we were able to go in and out, they could not go in and out because they did not enjoy the relationship that we had through which we could readily access without anybody granting us permission, access to go in or out.
When you know that you are his child, you don't have to stand with your nose pressed up against the window pane and wish you could be inside. When the Holy Spirit advertises before you things that God has in store for you because that is what the Holy Spirit does, it advertises like a storefront window the things that God has inside the kingdom for you.
"Where did you get that from, Bishop Jakes?" I'm glad you asked. He says, "Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things that God has in store for them that love him, but it hath been revealed unto us by his Spirit." So picture the Spirit of God as a window through which you can see into the kingdom your destiny and your future and it is perpetually advertising to you what God has in store.
Why is that important? We would have fainted had not we believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. We would have become weary and faint with the storms and the adversities and the atrocities of our time. But every time you got ready to faint, God advertised your future and it gave you the power to overcome your past. And ohh, my God, that's why the Bible said, "Without a vision, the people perish."
I may not be able to touch it but, Pastor Guynes, if I can see it, then with patience I can wait for it and I understand that where I am will not last, that there's something inside there I want. Many people see it. They hear us. They hear us preach. They hear us teach on television, on the Internet, through books, through tapes. And they hear all of the things that God has in store but they cannot access it because they will not come through the door.
Jesus says, "Because you are my children, I am the door. You can enter in and out and find green pastures." I want to take a moment and praise God for his accessibility. His accessibility is incredibly important to us. We need to know that. There have been times in the past that the church has taught an erroneous ideology that suggested that God was not accessible to us, that you had to go to a particular person or priest in order to access the Lord. This is inconvenient because sometimes a priest is not available, sometimes it's the wrong day, too far away, the crisis occurs at o'clock in the morning, I can't get the priest on the phone. But if you understand that Christ is my high priest, then that means I don't have to wake the Bishop up to get a breakthrough.
I can go to God for myself. I don't even have to leave the office. I can be in my office and go through the door. I can be in the courtroom and go through the door. I can be in a prison cell and go through the door. The door is so powerful that I can go in and out and find green pastures. Pastures in his presence, pastures outside of his presence, pastures up under the anointing, pastures on my job. Green pastures in my church. Green pastures in my house. Green pastures with my preacher. Green pastures with my friend. I don't have to be at a particular geographical location to get the glory of the Lord. Once I find the door, I can find the pasture, whether I'm going in or whether I'm going out.
Then he introduces an alien factor into the text. An alien factor into the text, an intimidating factor, a slithering, crawling factor. He introduces the thief. The thief crawls into this text like the snake slithered into the Garden, interrupting a romantic interlude between God and his church. He deals with the intention of the thief.
He says, "The thief cometh but to kill, steal, and destroy." The fact that you have access to the door does not mean that the thief will not come. The fact that you pray in the Spirit does not mean that the thief will not come. The fact that you pay your tithes does not mean that the thief will not come. The fact that you sing in the praise team does not mean that the thief will not come. The fact that you pastor the church does not mean that the thief will not come. The thief will come.
Jesus told you he would come, Jesus said he would come, Jesus declared he would come. Why are you shocked that the thief has come? Just imagine now, if you knew a thief was coming to your house, how would you get ready for a thief? If you knew a thief was coming to your house, would you leave the windows open and the doors unlocked? If you knew a thief was coming, would you set the alarm? If you knew a thief coming, would you arm yourself with weapons? If you knew a thief was coming, would you hide your possessions?
I came to tell you the thief is coming. The thief is coming. I could have slept in this morning but the thief is coming. I could have laid in my bed but the thief is coming. I could have taken it easy but the thief is coming. I can't let him come and catch me with my work undone. The thief cometh. The thief, the thief, the thief. The thief cometh.
I cannot afford to fall out with you and get in a war with you and spend the rest of my life arguing with you. Whatever we're angry about, we gotta get over it because the thief is coming. The thief is coming. I can't put that much energy into you. I've got a devil to fight. I've got an enemy to thwart. I gotta lock these doors. I gotta hammer shut these windows. I gotta pull these blinds. The thief cometh. Don't think I came in here acting funny towards you. I'm not thinking about you. I've got a devil to fight. I can't even tell you all the stuff that almost got me. If nobody in the whole church praises God, I will bless the Lord at all times.
Have you ever felt vulnerable, ill-suited for the fight you have to fight? All hell is up against you and you don't feel equipped to withstand the adversities that have come against your life. You assess your own strengths and don't feel competent to survive in the atmosphere that the Lord has placed you in. How could God be good and put me in a world full of wars? How could God be loving and put me in an office full of wars? How could God be kind and put me in a community full of wars?
Doesn't he know that I don't have the strength and the apparatus I need to fight against the opposition at hand? Doesn't he understand the vulnerability of my nature, the weakness of my flesh, the cravings of my lust? Doesn't he know that my mind and my will is not strong and tenacious enough to withstand the kind of battle that I have to fight every day? Does God know that I can't sleep at night? Does God know that I toss and turn because I smell a wolf?
Does God know that I can't rest in peace because I catch the scent of trouble coming and I feel ill prepared? I don't have the money and the bill is coming. I don't have the strength and the challenge is coming.
How could God put me in this situation where I am so ill equipped to fight against what I've got to fight with? I'm glad you asked. That's why he said, "But I come that you might have life and have it more abundantly."
Help me preach. Tell your neighbor, "You're not in this by yourself. You don't have to fight this by yourself. You don't have to withstand this by yourself. You don't have to deal with this by yourself." Ohh, the shepherd is coming. The shepherd is coming.
So Jesus says, "I come that you might have life and have it more abundantly."
He is saying, "I come against anything that is against you."