Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
» Get directions

April 29 – In The Care Of The Good Shepherd

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Gospel Lesson just read, John 10:11-18.  We begin with prayer.

 

Dear fellow disciples of the Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • All of us have become pretty secure in how we handle the difficulties and challenges of life in this world.  Yes, there are still things that we are somewhat fearful of, that we would not like to have to face: someone suing us, some catastrophic accident, some terrible illness, or one of our children falling into some grave difficulty.  Still, even in the face of these things, we have some confidence that we’ll be able to get through and make it.
  • Because we have confidence in our external lives out there in the world, we may also tend to have confidence when it comes to the “spiritual” challenges.  In fact, a good many Christians are pretty much oblivious to the grave spiritual dangers that exist, and unconcerned about their spiritual safety. 
  • Now this is a good thing if such confidence is the result of knowing and believing God’s promises, especially the promise of Jesus that He is the Good Shepherd, and that we are in His care.  However, for many it is out of naïveté and blind optimism – and this is surely a very dangerous thing that makes us vulnerable to the spiritual attacks of the evil one.
  • So we must listen carefully to good news that Jesus is our Good Shepherd, and we must also take care to remain “IN THE CARE OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD” rather than wandering away from Him.  And surely we do not want to stray from Him, for:

I.  Jesus The Good Shepherd Laid Down His Life For Us Because He Cares For Us And Loves Us

    

Text:  “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”

 

Statement: 

  • It should be of great comfort to us that Jesus cares for us and loves us, and that this is the reason He was willing to suffer and die on the cross for us.  And we know the benefits of His suffering and death – our sin and guilt is now fully and completely washed away and forgiven; our Heavenly Father is now reconciled to us, not counting our trespasses against us but accounting us to be righteous in His sight through faith in His beloved Son Jesus Christ.  Now we have eternal life, and shall never come into condemnation or perish – but rather we shall inherit the bliss and glory of heaven! 

Application:

  • Now we should all realize and understand that we don’t like being sheep that much – that we would prefer to “shepherd” ourselves, and our families, all on our own.  Because of our sinfulness, our desire for self-determination, we are much like sheep who often go astray.  But we must remember Who it is that we are straying from – the Lord Jesus Christ, Who dearly loves us and desires all that is good and most blessed for us. 
  • So surely we understand that it is not a wise thing to do so, especially when we consider where He is guiding and shepherding us to – to good things in this life, through all of the rough things in this life, and ultimately to the glory of heaven! 

 

Transition:  But there are times too when we forget how it is that Jesus the Good Shepherd is guiding and directing us, and so we must remember that:

 

II.  Jesus The Good Shepherd Cares For Us Still And Is Shepherding Us By His Word

    

Text:  “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

 

Statement:

  • Later in this same chapter of John Jesus reveals this same principle to us:

 John 10:27-30  “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

  • Over the years there have been a good many “goofy” assertions made about Jesus’ “voice” which have led a good many people astray.  So it is obviously of critical importance for each of us “know His voice” so that we may be following Him.  So exactly how is it that we “hear the voice of Jesus”?   The only way to discern it is by means of Holy Scripture – His voice is never different than or contrary to or even in addition to Holy Scripture!  You remember that when He taught His disciples, even after His resurrection, He always turned to “the Law of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets,” that is, to the written Word of God.
  • It is no different for us today – so that whether it is a little three year old child, a ninety year old great-grandma, a parent, or even a teenager – when what is spoken comes from and conforms to God’s Word, Holy Scripture, we can hear the voice of Jesus. 

 

Application:

  • So it is that reading, learning, and inwardly digesting the Holy Scripture, the Bible, is critical to hearing the voice of Jesus and “following Jesus.” Not knowing Scripture makes it difficult for us to hear Him and follow Him – in fact it makes us vulnerable to the mimicking calls of the evil one who seeks to lead us away from the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ.  And in that Jesus indicates in our text that there are “wolves” out there in the world who seek to “scatter, snatch, and even devour” us, our spiritual safety is dependent upon Jesus the Good Shepherd, our “hearing His voice and following Him.” 

 

Transition:  And if we wonder how our Heavenly Father feels about all of this we must remember that:

 

III.  All Of This is By The Charge Which Jesus Has Received From The Father

        

Text:  “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

 

A.  This Charge Includes All That He Has Done For Us And For Our Salvation In His Suffering, Death, And Glorious Resurrection

  

B.  This Charge Also Includes His Speaking To Us, His Leading And Shepherding Of Us Through His Word, Holy Scripture

 

C.  And Of Course This Includes His Shepherding Of Us Through His Visible Word, His Precious Meal Of Holy Communion

 

Statement:

  • We who are the sheep sometimes think it safe for us to stay away from the Good Shepherd’s voice.  We are sometimes attracted to other places even when the Good Shepherd is calling us to hear His Word and receive His Sacrament – to things we find more interesting, stimulating, exciting, and enjoyable.  We think that we are safe in this – but this is all part of the work of the wolves who seek to snatch and scatter us away from Jesus.
  • Sometimes it is just a matter of over-confidence, thinking that we really don’t need the instruction and shepherding of Jesus, that we have heard enough of Him, so we just stay home or do something else.  But again, all of this is the work of the wolves who seek to scatter us away from our dear and blessed Good Shepherd.

 

Application:

  • So let us all consider carefully the dangers that are around us, including the deadly temptation of thinking that we can do all right by ourselves without hearing the voice of Jesus and following Him.  This is a gross over-estimation of our strengths and abilities.  And obviously, it is contrary to the Father’s will Who has given this charge to Jesus, the Good Shepherd! 

 

Conclusion:

  •  And Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has promised not only to provide for all of our spiritual needs, but to bless us and provide for us in all other areas of life.  Whether in sickness or health, good times or bad times, He is there “working all things together for our good” when we are hearing His voice and following Him.
  • We have nothing to fear when we remain close to our great Good Shepherd – as the psalmist wrote , “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me, Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
  • May it always be so for each of us – that we eagerly hear His voice in our study of Holy Scripture, for then we will always be hearing and discerning His voice, and we will be safe “IN THE CARE OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD” forever!  God grant it to us all, Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.