Friday, May 10, 2019

Easter 4

EASTER 4 Series C

John 10:22–30
12 May 2019
Christ the Good Shepherd Cares for His Sheep

Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter:
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. 

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came from the Father. He became flesh among us. In order to rescue His sheep. He laid down His life for you. And took it up again. To give you eternal life. By the preaching of His Gospel. He calls His sheep to Himself. And keeps them with Him forever. As you hear His voice and follow Him, you have this guarantee: “they will never perish” for “no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:82-29).

Jesus is your good shepherd. And He cares for you. “When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36  That’s why Jesus entered this world. To shepherd you.

I.  You belong to the Good Shepherd. “My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me.”  There are two marks to being part of Jesus’ flock: hearing His voice and following Him.

A. As a sheep of His flock, you listen to the voice of your Shepherd.

1.      There are many voices all trying to get our attention.

2. In our struggle in this life, the question must be asked, to whom will you listen?   Whom will you follow? It’s a continuing question. Will we continue to hear the voice of your shepherd and follow the Savior?  Or, will we, as it were, change the channel? The challenge for us is to stay focused on Christ the Good Shepherd.

B.        We are assured of the Shepherd’s love and care for He knows us.

1.  Your Shepherd knows your needs. He knows you even better then you know yourself.

2. As a Good Shepherd who knows you, He will provide you with all that you need to support your body and life.

C.       We follow Him alone.

1.    We don’t have to follow other Shepherds voices, which would tempt us to stray.

2.      We follow the direction and the voice of our true Shepherd. Jesus reminds us, “My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me...” My prayer, is that you would hear, obey and follow the Good Shepherd faithfully.

Transition: We live securely because we belong to the Good Shepherd. Our Good Shepherd gives us His promises.

II. Jesus gives us his Word and Promise, “I give them eternal life.”

A.    The real story is not what you do. It’s not what you’ve accomplished.  Rather, it’s always about Christ. What your shepherd has done for you. His cross and empty tomb guarantees for you - life everlasting with your Shepherd in heaven.

B.      In glory, you will live and reign with Him forever. Just think of the life decisions our youth will be making in the next few years. Where will you go to school? What career will you choose? Whom will you marry? Where will you live? As parents, these decisions concern us deeply. Because we’ve already gone through the process of making these and other life changing decisions.  

On this Mother’s Day, these and other concerns are what mothers think about and contemplate for their children. Fathers have the tendency to be rather near-sighted and myoptic. We tend to focus on what is right in front of us. Mothers, on the other hand, in general are concerned for the whole person. They gaze on the bigger picture.  But of all the decisions you will ever make or have every had to make - the most important decision has been made already for you. – Jesus declares, “I give them eternal life and they will never perish.”

B. All we like sheep tend to wander. Jesus your Good Shepherd finds you. He carries you. And brings you to a safe place. This is how we come to know how must He loves us. That’s why you follow Him. 

Not because the law says, you must. Not because of the fear of sin or death. – But because you trust the Good Shepherd!

D.  You also know of the quiet waters and green pastures He provides us. We live thankful lives for the forgiveness of sins, and the gift of salvation we have been given. We are Easter people.  We are given the gift of eternal life. The life we have now continues to eternity.

Transition: Jesus has promised us eternal life. He has also provided security and safety.

III. Jesus’ word and promise is sure, “No one shall snatch them out of My hand.”

A.    There is a choice.  It’s simple.  Whose sheep will you be? Every day there are choices to be made. Choices in what we think, do and say. Every day by these and similar actions we are answering the question, “whose sheep will I be?”

B. We sometimes struggle.  We are all tempted. Each of you have known hard times. Everyone of you - have been afflicted by disease and have lost loved ones. Every single one of you have known loss. Each of us, at one time or another, have not always felt protected from loved ones who abuse or belittle them. 

We often fail to listen to our Savior and follow where He leads us. Yet, you keep coming back to Him. You come back to Him - because nowhere else can you find the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation that is yours in Jesus Christ your Good Shepherd.

You belong to Christ. As a sheep of His fold, a lamb of His flock, a sinner of His own redeeming you can boldly says, I am Jesus’ little lamb. Ever glad at heart I am. For my shepherd gently guides me. Knows my needs and well provides me. Loves me every day the same, even calls me by my name.

Words- 1,125
Passive Sentences – 4%
Readability – 85.2%
Reading Level –3.9

Google Image “The Good Shepherd” The icon shows Jesus as the Good Shepherd. In the upper corners, we see the stylized letters IC and XC, which are abbreviations for Jesus Christ in Greek. The Greek words on either side of the head of Christ say Ο ΠΟΙΜΗΝ Ο ΚΑΛΟΣ, meaning “The Good Shepherd.” Again, notice the pierced hands of the Good Shepherd who lays up His life for the sheep.

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