The Fourth Sunday of Easter – Jubilate May 3, 2020
Text: John 10:27-30 3 Year Series C 20:2193
Theme: Safe Forever…(In the Hands of God).
The old sailor knew his Bible well. When asked if he was afraid when the winds blew stiff and strong and his ship lay at the mercy of the pounding waves, he gave an answer which we would do well to remember. He said, “No, I am never completely afraid. The Good Book tells me that the Lord holds the waters in the hollow of His hands. So, even if my ship were wrecked and I fell into the heart of the sea, I would only drop into the Hands of God.”
What a great way to express the confidence we Christians have in the omnipotence and loving providence of God! Still better, what a great way to describe the certainty of the believer’s ultimate destiny! No matter the adversity or calamity, from pounding waves and sinking ships to COVID-19 and the possibility of death, when it is over, the Christian will still be found safe, forever, in the hands of God. Nothing can pluck us away from Him. Jesus said: (Text).
I. Safe because He knows us.
The sheep about which Jesus talked so often were not fenced in. Flocks roamed at will across the countryside, looking for pasture and water. But they were not wild. Each flock had its own shepherd. He was more like a father to them. When out on the range, he lived with them 24 hours a day. He found the greenest grass and the freshest water for them. He protected them from the hyenas, jackals, and wolves which lurked around the edges of the flock, looking to pick off the weak or the old. The sheep knew him so well that they recognized his voice and came when he called. He in turn knew each sheep by name.
As a result of his ever-watchful eye upon them, a shepherd gets to know his sheep very well. Each animal is quite different, quite unique. A visitor sees a flock; a shepherd sees sheep, one at a time.
He knows that this one is independent; that one lags behind; this one is sickly; that one wanders, this one’s a fighter, that one’s timid, and so on, right down the line. A shepherd gets to know his sheep very well for he spends his time with them, watching over them.
The Lord Jesus is like that, too. He knows us the way a shepherd knows and understands his sheep. If we are frustrated, discouraged, timid, scared, sick, in danger, or ill at ease, He knows. “I know my sheep,” the Good Shepherd says.
Ah, dear friends, there is deep beauty and sweet comfort found there. He knows us and each situation through which we pass: every success, every achievement, every weakness, every failure, every temptation, every danger, every sin, every illness – He knows them all for “He knows everything” (Jn.21:17;1Jn.3:20).
To anyone but a Christian it might be a frightening thought to realize that God knows all things; He knows us through and through. Among those things which He knows lie the unnumbered sins which encumber our lives and lurk within our hearts. We try to hide them from God. But God knows; God sees. To such who try to hide them, it is a fearful thought to realize God knows all things.
Yet, to the Christian there is comfort in the fact that God knows all things. Why? What does God know?
Yes, He knows our sin and calls us to repentance. But He also knows our Savior and what He has done for us.
Ah, right there is the difference between the Christian faith and all other religions that men have devised. God graciously looks at us through Christ! He knows, to be sure, that we have sinned and done evil in His sight; but He also knows that Christ has atoned for our sin, that Christ has washed away our sins, that Christ has redeemed and reconciled us to God. For Jesus’ sake our sin-stained lives are counted righteous before Him.
The Bible declares, “Christ was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Ro.5:25). It assures us, “If anyone does sin, we have one who speaks in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 Jn.2:1,2)
There, right there, dear friends, is the sweet comfort of the Gospel. God looks at us through Christ and our faith in Him! He knows, to be sure, that we are weak and sinful. But He also knows that in Christ all our sins have been washed away (1 Jn.1:7).
He knows these things and there is never a moment when God does not know them. Christ laid down his life for the sheep. So it is that the Scriptures assure us, “If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things” (1Jn.3:20). Yes, He knows our sin and He knows that Christ has atoned for them. In faith we are His.
This is the highest pledge our Good Shepherd makes – forgiven for sure, forever! See, no one loves us more; no one gives us better care. With Him by our side we are safe; safe forever…in the hands of God; safe because the Good Shepherd knows us.
For that reason, we follow Him gladly. And to all who follow Him, He gives more assurances in our text: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them; they follow me; I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”
II. Safe because He holds us.
Eternal security – that’s what He promises His sheep – eternal security. How great is that? He will hold safe forever those who are His in faith.
Safety is what we need. How apparent that becomes in the dangerous moments of life, in the COVID-19s and whatever confronts us. We can get into so many difficulties. Can we rely on ourselves for our own safety?
That’s the way it is for sheep. Trouble can so easily come to them and they can so easily get themselves into trouble. They can wander away when eating. While they rummage for food, their thoughts and eyes are on the grass before them. They become oblivious to where they are and what is around them.
Sometimes their inattentiveness will put them into danger. It may lead them down a steep ravine out of which they cannot climb on their own. It may lead them into a thicket of brambles which claw at their wool and hold them fast. It may lead them into the open where they become easy prey for wild animals. Sheep can easily find themselves in danger.
But a good shepherd will not permit it to end in their destruction. If they go out on their own, he will search for them. Should their enemy attack them, he will run to defend them. If they fall, he will gather them in his arms and carry them close to his heart, there to hold them safely until he takes them home. He will keep them secure.
Isn’t that the way our Savior has been towards us? “Like sheep we have gone astray; we have each turned to his own way” (Is.53). But Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost ( Lk.15:4f;19:10). And we have been returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls (1Pt.2). To all who trust in Him, He says: “I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” Safe Forever in the Hands of God. Safe because the Good Shepherd holds us.
What a Gospel promise! It enables a Christian to say, “I know that if I should die today, I will go to heaven because Jesus is my Savior.” Death cannot pluck me from His hands. And nothing can pluck me from my Father’s hand. They are one in this.”
Does that mean we can never fall from faith? No. If it did, God would have no reason to warn us, “Take heed lest you fall” (1Co.10:12). But as eyes of faith are on Him, He promises: “In mercy I have given you new birth into a living hope…kept in heaven for you, who…are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed.” (1Pt.1:3f). In faith shielded by His power – that’s Christ’s promise. Safe Forever in the Hands of God; safe because the Good Shepherd holds us.
When you arise each morning and set out for work, when you tackle the challenges and problems of each new day, do it in faith. The promise of the Savior’s eternal security goes with you. When problems arise, sickness strikes, and dark clouds brood overhead, when fears annoy, doubts assail, temptations arise, your Shepherd. holds you.
And when that final hour strikes, you can say most boldly: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for Thou art with me….Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Forever! Safe Forever in the Hands of God.
With Him by my side I can unclench my hands and breathe easily again. Carefully? Perhaps? Yet confidently for no matter what happens, even should death knock at my door, He is with me and I am with Him – Forever Safe in the Hands of God – safe because He knows me; safe because He holds me. God grant that to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(Member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com You can also find us on Facebook
The Fourth Sunday of Easter: Jubilate (“Rejoice!”) Good Shepherd Sunday W May 3, 2020 W
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters; He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
I Am the Good Shepherd. Of all the titles that the Lord Jesus claims for Himself, the “Good Shepherd” is perhaps the most well-known and endearing. It provides untold comfort and strength to the souls of all who hold to Him as their Savior.
So it is that from the earliest of times the Christian Church chose to portray the glory of the risen Christ through this beautiful picture of the Savior’s care for us shortly after Easter. On either the third or the fourth Sunday of Easter, which were known respectively as Misericordia and Jubilate, the kindnesses of the Lord’s merciful heart led His people to rejoice in His saving grace in their lives that lasts forever.
To that end we pray: O Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Good Shepherd who laid down Your life for the sheep. Lead us now to the still waters of Your life-giving Word that we may abide in Your Father’s house forevermore; hear us for Your name’s sake. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The First Lesson: Acts 6:8-9; 7:2,51-60
Luke presents the story of Stephen’s martyrdom. Stephen spoke words of warning to those who rejected the Savior. Just as Jesus spoke of false shepherds who only kill and destroy, Stephen suffered at their hands. But the Good Shepherd gathered him into His arms to eternal rest.
The Epistle Lesson: 1 Peter 2:19-25
Peter admonishes Christians to live like their Good Shepherd on whatever path He leads them. The way might include unjust suffering and death. But as they recall Christ’s loving and redemptive example, they will find the strength they need to willingly follow Him.
The Gospel Lesson: John 10:1-10
Jesus pictures Himself as a good shepherd and as the gate to the sheepfold. He contrasts His goodness with the destructive desires of false shepherds. The thief is bent on destruction. As the only true Shepherd, the Savior wants to give us life with Him in all its fullness.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We Serve the Lord with Gladness:
Today’s Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Points to Ponder: When you arise each morning and set out for work, when you tackle the challenges and problems of each new day, when sickness strikes, fears annoy, doubts assail, temptations arise, look to the Good Shepherd. He promises, “Nothing can pluck you from my hand.” Nothing! Like the psalmist says: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.” He spreads His tent of protection over us. God grant us the eternal security in faith that the Savior promises to those who believe in Him.
Adapted from Herman Gockel
“Let Him see and care where my soul will stay. He has so faithfully provided for me, even sacrificing His life in order to redeem my soul. My ears hang on the voice and word of my Shepherd. Praise to Him throughout eternity, to the one true and faithful Shepherd and Bishop of all souls that believe in Him!”
— Martin Luther on “The Good Shepherd Knows How to Care for Me”
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #263
Order of Worship: The Common Service: page 15
The Ministry of the Word
Acts 6:8-9; 7:2.51-60
Psalm of the Day: #23 pg.72
1 Peter 2:19-25
Duet: Thy Holy Wings, O Savior
Gospel Responses: pg,18
Apostles’ Creed: pg.19
Sermon Hymn: #432
Sermon: John 10:27-30 Safe Forever
Our Response to the Word
The Offertory: Hymnal pg.20
Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord Blesses Us
Prayer: Hymnal pg.25
The Closing Hymn: #436
The Fourth Sunday of Easter – Series A
First Lesson: Acts 6:8-9; 7:2,51-60 – The Stoning of Stephen
8Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9Some men who were from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia) rose up and disputed with Stephen.
7:2Stephen said, “Gentlemen, brothers and fathers, listen! 51“You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit! You are doing just what your fathers did. 52Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who prophesied the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers— 53you who received the law as transmitted by angels, but did not keep it.”
54When they heard these things, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed up into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56He said, “Look, I see heaven opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
57But they screamed at the top of their voices, covered their ears, and rushed at him with one purpose in mind. 58They threw him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses laid their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59While they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” After he said this, he fell asleep.
Epistle Lesson: 1 Peter 2:19-25 – Follow the Shepherd through Sufferings
19For this is favorable: if a person endures sorrows while suffering unjustly because he is conscious of God. 20For what credit is it to you if you receive a beating for sinning and patiently endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and endure it, this is favorable with God. 21Indeed, you were called to do this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example so that you would follow in his steps. 22He did not commit a sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. 23When he was insulted, he did not insult in return. When he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24He himself carried our sins in his body on the tree so that we would be dead to sins and alive to righteousness. By his wounds you were healed. 25For you were like sheep going astray, but you are now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Gospel Lesson: John 10:1-11 – The Good Shepherd
1 “Amen, Amen, I tell you: Anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the door, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own sheep, he walks ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6Jesus used this illustration in speaking to the people, but they did not understand what he was telling them. 7So Jesus said again, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: I am the door for the sheep. 8All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10“A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
The Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV), New Testament & Psalms ©2017
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service on line – Facebook
No Bible study at this time
|All normal weekly activities are curtailed because of the virus restrictions||No Gardens
|No Midweek Bible Class at this time
Divine Worship Service on line – Facebook
No Bible study at this time
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
Good Shepherd Sunday reminds us of the special relationship we enjoy with our Savior. Those whom He has called as His sheep readily recognize his care and concern. Even in suffering, His sheep experience His gracious care and follow Him.
The Gospel Lesson (John 10:1-10)
- What is the relationship of the shepherd to his sheep?
- What does Jesus mean by likening Himself to a gate for the sheep?
Prayer/Sick List Those We Remember In Our Prayers Dea Windsor; Barbara Long; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Angela Meek; Roger & Liz Lisenby’s brother & sister-in-law and granddaughter Jackie; Karen Seutter’s step-son, Michael; the family of Mag Carter, for son John’s passing; Dave Ballou, recovering from a surgical procedure on his heart this past Friday; Laurie Moon’s father, now recuperating in the hospital from an accident last week.
New Gathering Guidelines were passed this week in Greene County allowing gatherings of 15 beginning tomorrow. That would allow a few more members to attend our Sunday service, as long as distancing is observed. This coming week we will need to decide how to proceed with this. If you are wishing to attend the worship service next Sunday, May 10, please call Pastor Lehmann, 417.693.3244, somewhat early this week so that we can determine the desires of our members.
Holy Communion During this time of restrictions, if any member would like to receive communion, pastor is willing to do that privately. If you so desire it, please call and make arrangements with him – 693.3244. What a measure of peace and joy it will be, when this is all over, to come together as God’s family of faith to receive it.
Meditations next series of devotions, beginning the end of May, has arrived. Copies may be found in the narthex. Northwestern Publishing House is also offering free things at this time to help with the teaching of children and with devotional materials. You can reach them at: www.nph.net
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 6; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: no classes at this time; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: no class; Offering: $560.
There are no church related activities, other than Sunday’s online Facebook services, scheduled at this time.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
The 5th Sunday of Easter: Acts 17:1-12; 1 Peter 2:4-10; John 14:1-12
Answers to Today’s Gospel Brief Study:
- Because of the hours of tender care, the shepherd would know each of his sheep by name. The shepherd knows the distinct personality of each. The sheep, on the other hand, would recognize the shepherd’s voice as he calls them by name. The sheep follow because they know the voice of the shepherd while wary of the strangers.
- Jesus Himself is the gate through which the shepherds must enter to get to their sheep. He is the one through whom the sheep must go in order to find good pasture. All who are truly shepherds (pastors, teachers and staff ministers) are those who believe in Him as their Savior and guide their sheep only by means of His Word.
This week I am praying for……