Friday, May 9, 2014

Easter 4

Easter 4
Good Shepherd Sunday
John 10:3
Shepherd and Sheep

Collect for Easter 4: Almighty God, merciful Father, since You have wakened from death the Shepherd of Your sheep, grant us Your Holy Spirit that, when we hear the voice of our Shepherd, we may know Him who calls us each by name and follow where He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

We have reviewed the relationship between Shepherd and sheep this past Lent. Lest we forget.  Your Good Shepherd reminds you. Once again. Of who you are. And whose you are. The encouragement for today is simple. Listen to the voice of your shepherd -who alone calls you by name.

Jesus your a Good Shepherd loves you. He proves this great love by providing for you. In every circumstance. In every situation. In every case. His compassion, care, concern is there. How so? Your Shepherd speaks.

1. He calls His sheep by name.
    A.  This happened to you individually. When He called you by name. He gave you a new name. The name Christian. When and where He claimed you to be a child of God. He did this  on the day of your baptism.
    B.  On that day, He gave you His Holy Spirit. With a promise. Those who believe on His name, He gives power to become the children of God. And promises them His Holy Spirit.  "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved."( Mark 16)
    C.   Since He calls you by name He knows everything about you. He has given you talents, abilities, gifts. To flourish in this world. Yes! He knows. Of your worries and concerns. He knows. What gives you nightmares. And causes you to stay awake at night. He knows. Of your past failures and short comings. That's why He dealt with your sin individually, personally. At the cross and empty tomb. And he's fascinated with you as an individual. So much so that He took the time to number the very hair on your head. He knows your past. He's dealt with it. He understands your current condition. Speak to Him in prayer. Your future? It is His concern.

2. The sheep hear His voice.
    A.  No one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit. No one can say, "Jesus be cursed" if they have the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3) Now you know Him. The Holy Spirit has brought you to that truth! "If you listen to My voice then you are truly My disciples indeed. You shall now the truth. And the truth shall set you free." (John 8:32)
    B.  There are plenty of voices in our world. Each screaming to be heard. Tune into any news cast and you will hear competing voices. Each with their own agenda and plan.   Each promises to be genuine. With motives as pure as the wind driven snow. And you must heed them! So they say. After all, you're merely sheep! They are, In fact, all liars. Each duplicitous. Every. Single. One!
    C.   Listen and continue to listen to "that still small voice" which calms and gives comfort and peace. It is the voice of your Good Shepherd. Where do you hear His voice today? Not in the granger of creation. Not in signs and wonders. Not in myths and legends. Yet in the truths which continue to transform. In the words and promises of your Shepherd. Listen carefully to His clear voice.  They are truth. They are life.

3. He leads them out.
    A.   There has not been a single day when your Shepherd were not there. He remains with you. Through every circumstance. In every condition. Every situation.
    B.     His goal - to lead you home.  We are Easter people. Since the Father has wakened from death the Shepherd of the sheep we always keep our gaze upward and forward. Upward toward heaven. We shall see Him on the last great day. When the last pagan  is converted. Then all things will be ready. And every eye shall see Him. When he breaks into time and space again for His final encore. And He will lead you home!
    C.    So keep your gaze forward. Always forward.  Forward for today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year. Forever forward. One day He will call you by name. And you will take a walk. From one end of the Kingdom to the other. From grace to glory. You will close your eyes to this world. Only to open them to see Jesus. Face to face.  Then, in mansions glorious you shall reign with Him.

Listen to The Shepherd's Voice. Follow in His wake. Know of His direction, care. For He shall lead you home!

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