Monday, April 18, 2016

Sermon April 16-17, 2016

Title: Sheep … follow their shepherd
Text: John 10:22-30

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Last weekend we talked about discerning the voice of the Lord. Also, hearing, listening and obeying that same voice. At times, God’s voice is clear, direct and powerful and it is easy to discern what he means and what he expects of you and of me.

You shall have no other Gods
You shall not steal
You shall not bear false witness
You shall not covet

Other times, God’s word causes us to wrestle with the truth of his word and how best to understand it as we deal in this life with sin, death and the devil.

Honor your father and Mother

Well, what if a mother or father has been or is an abuser of their children?

You shall not kill

How might this apply to warfare and accidents or unintended death? What about capital punishment?

Go, and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit … Matt. 28:19

Is Baptism God’s work or mans?

Take eat, this is my body which is given for you … Take drink, this cup is the new covenant in my blood. Luke 22: 19-20

Is Christ’s true body and blood in with and under the bread and wine or, as some denomination maintain, that it is simply a remembrance? These and other questions must be answered by God’s word in an honest and truthful way and though divisions exist within the Christian church as my professor Dr. Arthur Just once said, “Even if a church misses the blessings God intends in the sacraments they still have God’s word!”

Our gospel for today begins:

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. [Today this feast is known as Hanukkah or the festival of lights] It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.

The Feast of Dedication commemorated the reconsecration of the temple in Jerusalem after it had been desecrated. So here in the temple is Jesus, the true temple, who had said in John chapter 2: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again." speaking of his own death, burial and resurrection that we just celebrated during Holy Week and Easter. This was in answer to the Jews who had demanded a miraculous sign of him.

Now, the Jews again ask, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

To this Jesus tells them, that the works that he does in his Father’s name bear witness about him. His death, burial and resurrection bear witness, His word of promise to make disciples by baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit bear witness, His gift of body and blood, in and with the bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins, bear witness.

To deny Jesus is to deny the witness and works he has done in his Father’s name.

The Jews did not believe so Jesus tells them: 26 …” you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.”

It is unbelief that damns us and separates us from Christ.


(Today/ tomorrow) we (will) welcome some dear Christian friends into membership here at Peace. It is always a great joy to celebrate with these new members their fellowship here at Peace. Some have been members of God’s flock at other places - for a good long time I dare say, but all are relatively new here to Peace. They all have been called to faith by the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ to believe and by the working of the Holy Spirit they remain steadfast in the faith, hearing the Good Shepherd’s voice, even through the weak vessels of Christ’s under shepherds. They have once again, by the power of God’s Holy Spirit in them, confirmed their faith in the presence of God and his church gathered here. They have been received into this sheep fold that is Peace Lutheran church as members so we rejoice with them that they hear Christ’s voice … and come.

But Christ also comforts with this promise … [“That] I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

My friend Pastor Paul Monson who preached at my ordination a few years ago sent me a reminder me when I was starting my seminary education saying:

“I'm proud of you that you are getting such good grades. Just remember what the pastoral office is all about. It's about feeding sheep, caring for sheep, and running after stray sheep.”

But I would add that it is also about joyfully welcoming the sheep from other folds that God has seen fit to send here … to be fed and cared for at this time.


C.S. Lewis once said:

You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong as long as you are merely using it to [tie] a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it? 

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed.

In the midst of sickness, test results, or impending surgery the Lord comes to mind to us all, doesn’t he? We see a great amount of souls added to the prayer list. But following the healing, good test results or successful surgery we see some forget again the Lord Jesus and his gifts.

It is certainly not what we do that keeps us in the faith. It is both God’s work that justifies or saves us, as well as, sanctifies or sustains us in that same faith … making us holy.


Next Saturday Peace will be hosting the LWML Spring Rally and not only do I serving as the LWML Zone pastor, but I’ll also be the guest speaker sharing how the Lord brought me from Rock-n-Roll to the Rock of ages.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

How else can you explain where I was to where I am now, except that the Lord hand was upon me and he was directing all things and had the outcome that we now see?

At our elder’s meeting this past Tuesday we too found it interesting how the Lord has worked over this past year to direct and guide us in aspects of mission and ministry here at Peace, many times bringing the things needed right to our door.

Having difficulty finding an organist last year, Katherine Nold found us.

Having no means to replace our organ, God, now gives us a newer and better one.

Needing it professionally moved … Jim Evola offers to move it at no charge.

As I told our Elders, “We can’t make this stuff up and have it happen … we just need to follow God’s leading and directing, trusting that he knows what is best for us.”

The Dow’s, Charles Fox and Jackie Nast came to Peace because this is where God desires them to be as members at this time. It is God who has worked in each of us faith and has brought us here. By his Spirit we hear and follow the good Shepherd call and by that same Spirit he will point, direct and keep us all in that same one faith.

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.


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