Text: Matthew 10:16; Luke 10:3
1. Jesus knew conditions a Christian would face in this world.
2. He wanted them to be aware and know how to face it.
3. He used terms they understood to describe it.
II. THE NATURE OF SHEEP ENDANGERS THEM
1. They are typically timid and defenseless.
(1) They have no strong teeth or sharp feet to fight with.
(2) They are not swift of foot to get away.
2. They are easily frightened.
(1) When frightened they may stampede.
(2) When frightened they may pile up against obstructions and smother.
3. Although they are gregarious, they also like to wander away from the flock. Isa.53:6
4. A sheep has no sense of direction to bring him home when he gets lost.
5. Sheep cannot protect themselves.
(1) They are easily killed by predatory animals, such as wolves, coyotes or dogs.
(2) Sheep are dependent upon a leader to guide them.
A. A wrong leader will lead them to slaughter house.
B. A good shepherd will go before them. Isa.10:4. In this scripture, the Good Shepherd gives the sheep sound advice.
C. On their own advice, they had better not lean but listen to Him.
III. THE LOCATION OF THE SHEEP - IN MIDST OF WOLF COUNTRY
1. In contrast to sheep, wolves are cunning, strong and swift.
(1) They are cunning - They hide themselves in rocks by day and leap into fold at night and seize victim by stealth.
(2) They are strong in body and teeth - They can kill animals many times bigger than they are.
(3) They are so swift and strong of foot as to be able to carry off a lamb or sheep at full speed.
2. Wolves are deadly killers.
(1) Between 1760-1765 a single wolf killed 93 people and wounded 30 others in a town in Europe.
(2) In 1918, New Mexico wolves killed 34,000 head of cattle and 165,000 sheep.
(3) Man has never been able to outfox this killer and rid himself of it.
3. Wolves run in packs to kill.
(1) Many times they form a semi-circle around a victim and run it over a cliff.
(2) While one wolf snaps at an animals head, another may snap his heel and a third attack his middle.
4. Wolves do not kill just to satisfy hunger. They often kill just for the sport of it.
(1) Many times they kill large numbers of sheep but eat only a part of one.
(2) They may attack just because you come by them.
IV. BE WISE AS SERPENTS - JESUS FIRST ADVICE TO SHEEP
1. In use of ears.
(1) A serpent is deaf to sound carried by the air.
A. They pay no attention to gossip reports given to them.
B. They pay no attention to threats of the tongue.
(2) A snake readily perceives and heeds sounds (vibrations) from the ground.
A. He knows that this is not a second hand report.
B. He is concerned about what the foot does, not what the mouth says.
2. In use of his eyes.
(1) A snakes eyes are always open; even when he is asleep, a sudden movement or flash will awaken him.
(2) Thus he does not sleep as one drunken or stupefied. I Thes. 5:7-8.
3. In use of his tongue.
(1) It is not his instrument of attack.
A. Not an offensive weapon to him.
B. Not to pass on "information"
(2) It is his instrument by which he detects smells.
A. He picks up smells or objects with his tongue.
B. Then puts it in cavity in mouth (Jacobsons organ) which sends it to brain for interpretation of it.
4. In giving location.
(1) A snake is not boastful of his person or location.
(2) His principal method of averting danger is concealment. Col.3:3. Your life is hid with Christ (our rock) in God.
5. In right use of time.
(1) They do not jump at every object they see - They wait for enemy to enter their range.
(2) They may wait for hours or days for their food - Lam.3:22.
6. In use of "unseen" aid.
(1) A snake takes "temperature" of surroundings through pit in head. He can "feel" the heat of warm blooded animals before seeing them.
(2) He pays much attention to this unseen help - compare to Christian and Holy Spirit who knows and alerts Christian before enters situation.
V. BE HARMLESS AS DOVES - JESUS FINAL ADVICE TO DISCIPLES
1. A dove is not out to pick a fight with other birds.
(1) He does not seek a fight.
(2) When (his) territory is invaded, he shares it instead of fighting. Illus: When another church begins to build in "his" territory, he would not fuss about it.
2. A dove does not live from the good crop raised by others.
(1) He is not a sponge on society - consider govt. hand-out program today.
(2) His food is mostly seeds of grass and weeds that man is trying to kill.
3. A dove does not break up other homes.
(1) He does not seek his neighbors wife.
(2) He has a happy and joyful domestic life.
A. He is satisfied with his own mate for life.
B. His whistles and courting are for her.
C. He helps in rearing the children.
(a) In setting on eggs and in feeding them.
4. A dove is not interested in settling down in wolf real estate.
(1) He always heads for home when released.
(2) Given a day off (Sunday) he heads for home (Fathers house) not in worlds hang outs (hide outs).
5. As a result the dove accomplished much.
(1) He has many friends and laws passed for his benefit.
(2) He is used in warfare to get vital messages through enemy lines.
SERMON BY DR. ESTUS PIRKLE - LOCUST GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH - NEW ALBANY, MS - USA