Spirit of Grace Ministries
SOGM
Spirit of Grace Ministries
-- Feeding Jesus' sheep
-- Equipping His servants
-- Proclaiming His Gospel

Christ and the Christian

Good Shepherd

by Dennis Pollock

All evangelicals rejoice and exult over what Jesus has done for them. The story of our redemption from sin and its consequences through the cross and resurrection of Jesus is at the heart of our faith. We must never grow tired of looking back to that Day which proved to be the watershed of history, as Jesus offered His life as a payment for the penalty of our rebellion against our holy Creator.

What many fail to see, however, is our ongoing need of the Savior. We make our petitions to the Father and we depend upon the Spirit for power for ministry, but do we have any present need of  Jesus, having already trusted in Him for salvation? Sadly many don't seem to think so. It is the lack of understanding of the present day ministry of Jesus that is behind much of the failure and frustration among the children of God.

Jesus did not go into retirement after His cross, resurrection, and ascension! Neither does His ministry toward His people stop once they have been born again. The believer who has been in the faith for thirty years is as much in need of Jesus as the man who is just beginning to discover Him as Savior.

The continuing ministry of Jesus towards His people is found throughout the Scriptures. Jesus called Himself the bread of life and declared that those who feed on Him will live because of Him. Without food we quickly die. And one of the rules of nourishment is that we cannot store up our food within us for any great length of time. When you consider how much time we spend eating meals, we might suppose it would be far more efficient if we could sit down at a huge meal once each month and gorge ourselves until we had enough nourishment to last the next thirty-one days. Think of how much time we would save!

Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Our bodies are limited as to how much food we can take in during one sitting, and even if we stuffed ourselves completely full, before the day was out we would be hungry again. We were made to live on continual, fresh supplies of bread, meat, and vegetables meal by meal and day by day throughout our lives. Even the miraculous manna, which God provided for the Israelites as they trudged through the wilderness for forty years, could not be kept for the next day. There was always the need to gather a new supply every morning.

So it is with the Bread of Life, our Lord Jesus. Though we are given the gift of eternal life at the time of our new birth, we must continually look to Him for fresh life, fresh anointing, and fresh hope all of our days. Paul says of Jesus, "When Christ, who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." As food is life to our bodies, Jesus is life to our spirits. Anyone who has ever fasted for any length of time has noticed several definite changes in their body during that time. You have far less energy, you get cold much easier, and you have little heart for sustained physical exertion in times of fasting. Spiritually the same is true when we ignore the Bread of Life. Sometimes people will suggest that Christians who refuse to participate in spiritual activities are lazy. With some that might be true, but in many cases the problem is not laziness; it is simply a lack of Christ. Starving people are not likely candidates to become star football players and Christians starved of Christ are unlikely to prove outstanding workers in the kingdom of God. 

Roles of Jesus 

Petitioning Jesus

One of the primary means by which Jesus continues His relationship with those who belong to Him is through the many roles He exercises toward us. We first experience Him in His role as Savior. The Scriptures tells us, "And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world…" It is interesting that Jesus is called the Savior of the world. The Bible clearly tells us that not all will be saved; in fact Jesus tells us that the way to destruction is broad and "there are many who go in by it." So if many will be lost how is it that Jesus is the Savior of the world?

Though Jesus is potentially the Savior to every man, woman, and child in the world, only those who put their faith in Him will benefit from His saving grace. When we put our faith in Jesus as a Savior we receive very definite benefits from Him. What He was to us potentially all along, He is now in actual fact. He becomes our "personal" Savior. This is the exact same process that works in all of His roles toward His people – specific benefits are released as we trust in Him in a specific role. 

Discovering the Good Shepherd 

I discovered the power of this truth years ago when the Lord called me and my family to move to Albuquerque, New Mexico. After serving as pastor to a small church in Missouri for seven years, we moved to Albuquerque with great hopes and expectations. I had served my time in a small setting; surely now God was going to open up great doors for me and fulfill the dreams He had placed in my heart. Was I ever in for a shock!

It seemed that nothing went right once we entered the "land of enchantment." I got a teaching job to make ends meet while I looked for ministry opportunities, but found the sixth-graders more than I could (or wanted to) handle. I started the Dennis Pollock Revival Ministries but got no invitations to preach, other than in a Sunday school class which paid me nothing. Finally after months of frustration and failure to achieve even the simplest of my goals we went running back to Missouri.

In Missouri things quickly settled down, but I couldn't shake the feeling that somehow I had failed to fulfill God's will, and that the Lord had a purpose for me in New Mexico that had not been accomplished. When we fail one of God's spiritual tests, He is faithful to see that we are given a "retake" and sure enough I had hardly returned to Missouri when I began feeling the Holy Spirit's pressure to go back to New Mexico. About a year later we returned to Albuquerque for another try.

Outwardly things weren't much different, but inside of me something had drastically changed. To this day I am not sure how or when I first saw it, but somehow in that previous year I had discovered a great revelation – I had learned that Jesus was my Shepherd. Of course I had known the statements of Jesus proclaiming Himself the Good Shepherd long before then, but now it was different. As we went to Albuquerque for a second time I was continually acknowledging Jesus to be my Shepherd, and telling Him that I was trusting Him in that capacity. This time things were vastly different. As before I secured a teaching job, but this time there was sufficient grace for me not only to endure it, but to actually enjoy it. Financial blessing abounded in other areas, and in so many large and small ways little "coincidences" seemed to be working in our favor rather than against us as before. I thrilled at what was happening and knew that I was seeing Jesus, the Good Shepherd, in action. He was leading and directing His sheep with divine skill and wisdom.

Over the years I have seen the same thing again and again in different areas of life. I have found Jesus as my True Vine (the source of life and fruitfulness), my Fountain of Living Waters (the One who fills with the Holy Spirit), the Keeper of my soul, my Shield and my exceedingly great Reward. And the more I acknowledge Him in these and other roles, the more of His grace I see in my life! 

The Look that Saves 

This is the pattern for all the children of God! Jesus did not save us only to say, "I'm so glad you made it in. Now have a nice life, work hard, and I'll see you in heaven." His desire is to continually pour out grace in our lives as we look to Him, trust Him, and acknowledge Him. And it is vitally important that our faith be focused directly upon Jesus for the offices He exercises toward us. We could never have been saved if we had only placed our faith in God the Father for salvation. The man who wants eternal life cannot simply pray, "Dear God, I want to be forgiven of my sins and go to heaven. Please, O God, come into my heart, change my life, and make me Your child." If ever we were to hear a sinner pray such a prayer, any evangelical worth his salt would immediately bring correction and tell that man that his faith must be aimed squarely at the Son of God, the Lord Jesus. And as this is true for salvation it is likewise the pattern for receiving from Jesus all that He offers and proclaims Himself to be. "Looking unto Jesus" is not just a pretty Biblical phrase; it is the means of life and the outpouring of the grace of God for the believer. Thus, the command to abide in Jesus, and the promise of fruitfulness and answered prayer for those who do.

 When we possess a lively and present-tense faith toward Jesus in His many roles, we develop an affection for and trust in Him that grows continually. Imagine a young woman who is dirt poor, works at a terrible job for low wages, lives in a shack, and can barely feed and clothe herself. Suddenly a man shows up at her door and presents her with a check for 100 million dollars. Her life is instantly transformed and her gratitude toward her generous benefactor is immense. As the years go by she lives the good life, enjoys her wealth, and gladly tells others of how this man has changed her life. But because she never sees him again or talks with him, the memory of him begins to fade. Ten years pass, then twenty, then thirty. She is still grateful and will be for the rest of her life, but she can hardly remember what he looked like, and has no relationship at all with him.

Bride and GroomNow let's change the picture. Same woman, same situation, but this time she gets the man's phone number and begins to talk with him. They get together from time to time and eventually fall in love and are married. Her benefactor has become her husband. She sees him every day, talks to him, depends on him, and knows him better and better with every passing year. He is not merely someone who has given her an amazing gift; he is the love of her life, her protector, her encourager, her counselor, and her best friend.

Such should be the nature of the relationship between Jesus and the Christian. As wonderful as it is to contemplate what Jesus has done for us in the salvation of our souls, we cannot stop there. We must press on to know Him, trust Him, and love Him more. One of the greatest testimonies to this kind of relationship can be found in the life of the apostle Paul. When you read Paul's epistles you find they are saturated with references to Jesus. Try going through the Pauline epistles and circling with a red pen every reference to Jesus and Christ. Your New Testament will be filled with red circles. Regardless of what subject he was addressing, he couldn't go long without referring to Jesus. What a far cry from many preachers who can preach an entire series and barely mention Jesus! Is it any wonder that Paul was perhaps the most fruitful Christian that ever lived?

 May we all follow the Biblical exhortation to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

line

For a full listing of all devos (written and audio) go to our Free Devos Catalog Page.

 

     

        For inspirational devos, bios of Christian leaders, free downloads, and the latest SOGM news:
Sign up to receive E-newsletter
>>

Your donations are needed and greatly appreciated!

 

 

Just for you!

Missions Outreach


A major part of Spirit of Grace Ministries is our ministry in the great continent of Africa. There is a tremendous harvest going on in the world these days, and we are privileged to be a part of it. Above is a brief music video featuring video clips and pics from our recent mission in Magodes, Uganda.

Audio Devo: "Why is there suffering?"

People have debated this question for millennia. And we cannot speak concerning specific individual questions of suffering, but the Bible clearly speaks as to why suffering has always been a part of the human experience.