120506 John 10:27-28

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 June 2012 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: John 10:27 – 28

Sermon Theme: Listen to the Voice of the Good Shepherd

Today is a special day for us here at St. Matthew’s. It is an opportunity for you 17 young people to confess your God-given faith in the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and to make your promise to remain faithful to the true God throughout your life.

Last Sunday, not only did you have the opportunity to share your faith in Jesus as your Savior, as well as your knowledge of his Word, in the calendar of the Christian Church, we also celebrated “Good Shepherd Sunday”. It is a Sunday set aside in our Church Year to remind ourselves of the beautiful picture that Jesus, the loving Good Shepherd, is watching over his sheep. Jesus, the loving Good Shepherd, is watching over you and me. So on this day, as we celebrate your Confirmation, we want to focus once again on that picture of Jesus as our Good Shepherd. As we gather around the Word of God, you and I Listen to the Voice of the Good Shepherd! Listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd as he speaks to us in verse 27 and 28 of John chapter 10:

John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

The picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is used throughout Scripture. In the Old Testament, “The Good Shepherd Psalm, Psalm 23, tells us how our loving Savior-God takes care of the physical and spiritual needs of his sheep, that is, those who believe in Jesus as their one and only Savior from sin. What was Jesus, the Good Shepherd, willing to do for his sheep? Earlier in John 10 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” A little more than a month ago we began Holy Week. We began with Palm Sunday, as Jesus rode in to Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey, with the shouts of the crowd ringing through the streets: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” During Holy Week, we followed our Savior to Calvary. On Good Friday, we witnessed the great love of our Good Shepherd as he willingly placed himself on the cross, to offer up his life as the payment price for all sins. Then, on that joy-filled Easter Sunday Morning, together we raised our voices in praise that Jesus our Good Shepherd did not remain in the grave, but he rose again victorious over sin, death and the devil.

The forgiveness of all sins and the victory over death and the devil that Jesus won, becomes yours and it becomes mine when he comes to us through his holy Word. Listen to what the Good Shepherd says to us, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” As we studied over and over throughout the past years of Catechism class, on our own you and I aren’t able to earn a place in heaven. It is only by the power of God the Holy Spirit, working through the Word of God, that you and I are led to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior. It is only through the Word of God that you and I enjoy a close, personal relationship with the only Savior of the world. As Ephesians Chapter 2 tells us so clearly, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

In the years to come, there will be many people and many things in the sinful world tempting you to listen to them. You will be tempted to abuse your bodies with drugs, or alcohol or an improper sexual relationship. You will be tempted not to come to the Lord’s house on a regular basis, or not to make use of those opportunities you have to meet together with your fellow young people here at St. Matthew’s. And we do well to remember that the holy and perfect Lord God tells us that listening to and then following the sinful world, that sinning against him, deserves only his wrath and punishment. When it happens, when you give in to temptation and fall into sin, then fall on your knees. Repent of your sin! Turn to the Lord and plead for his forgiveness! Go back to the Word of God and hear the voice of the Good Shepherd. As you spend time in your Bibles, your hearts will be filled with joy as the gracious Good Shepherd leads you back to the time of your Baptism, when faith in Jesus as your only Savior from sin was placed in your heart. By the grace of God, through your Savior, Jesus Christ, you personally enjoy the forgiveness of all your sins. Your faith in your one and only Savior grows each time you read through your Bible. That God-given gift of faith will be strengthened each time you receive the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and hear your Good Shepherd speak to you, “This is my body, given for you…This is my blood, shed for you, for the forgiveness of all of your sins.” By the power of the Good Shepherd’s voice found in the Holy Word, you will be motivated to follow him and live a life that offers all praise and thanks to your Savior-God.

In addition to the wonderful gift of full and free forgiveness of all sins, and the power to live for him, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is able to offer something else to his sheep. We read, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” At the moment we come to believe in Jesus as our Savior, eternal life is ours to enjoy. For all of us here, who by the grace of God, believe in Jesus, this means that we enjoy that eternal life at this very moment. While this is a true fact from Scripture, I do want to take a moment to offer a word of caution and a word of promise.

The Word of caution is this: Don't miss understand what the Savior is saying here in these words before us. He is not saying “once a believer, always a believer.” He is not saying, “You can live any way you want to, and you will remain my possession.” All of us need to hear the warning of God’s Word, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!” The devil, the sinful world, and our own sinful self can lead us away from the Savior. If we allow these three enemies to snatch us out of the hand of the Good Shepherd, then, when we are judged by the Lord, we will receive the never-ending life sentence of living forever, not in heaven, but in the fires and agony of hell.

The Bible makes it clear that all of us are conceived and born in sin. The Bible tells us that you and I are guilty of sinning against our God in thought, word and action each and every day. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death; not only temporal death, but eternal death in hell. But here is where the Word of promise comes in. Our Good Shepherd, the world’s one and only Savior from sin, won forgiveness of all our sins. Jesus Christ lived as our perfect substitute. He offered up his perfect life as the full payment price for all sin. The glorious resurrection of our Savior assures you and me that his Father in heaven accepted the price for all sin that he offered through his blood. It is through the God-given gift of faith that the forgiveness of sins that Jesus won for all people becomes our very own. The Good Shepherd promises us that he will keep us in our faith through the power of his holy Word. The Good Shepherd promises us that through his Word he will give us the strength and the ability to do those things Pastor read for us earlier from Paul’s second letter to Timothy. Not only will our Good Shepherd be with us throughout our life here on this earth, but he also promises a life that never ends at his side. When believers in Jesus go to take their room in the mansions of heaven, it is the Lord Jesus and him alone who deserves all the praise and glory. For it is Jesus Christ alone who gives eternal life.

It is my prayer that through the Word of God, which you have heard here this afternoon, you have found the comfort and encouragement you are looking for on a day such as this. Listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd who says to each of you this afternoon: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." Amen.

 

Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Sunday
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9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

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St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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