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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Fourth Sunday Of Easter

Option A: From  Kelly Bedard 

Acts 4:23-33 

A. Fleeced
    1. We're sometimes too careful not to ruffle any wool--er, feathers!
    2. We sometimes leave it ("speaking the word with all boldness" [verse 29]) primarily or solely to fellow sheep--or to the shepherd
    3. If we're pressed too far, we might seek another pasture altogether
B. Peaced!
    1. "Signs and wonders" (verse 30)--but not apart from His purposes, i.e., only as they point to the ultimate signs of the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus
    2. "Great power and grace" (verse 33)
    3. Another pasture might not be a bad idea, especially insofar as we may have strayed from the original purposes and intent of God's flock (John 10:16 [Gospel])

Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

Option B:

The Best Shepherd
John 10:11-18

A large shopping Mall in a medium sized Midwestern City has added a store
featuring the paintings of a very popular artist. You can take his paintings
home for viewing in your living room or den. You can find his work on plates
and even on Bible covers.

We have a need to surround ourselves with peaceful scenes. Consider one of
most beautiful word pictures ever painted for us. Jesus is the artist and He
tells us about how he is:

The Best Shepherd

I He comes because the sheep are lost

A. Our lost state is depicted each day on television

    1. The difference between right and wrong is obscured

    2. Many question if "right and wrong" categories even exist.
       a. Former Variety critic Len Brown writes: Programs exist not to feed the minds of the audience not to elevate them morally or spiritually but to deliver them to an advertiser.
       b. John Howard describes our lost state as evidenced by TV programming: The
cheap thrill, the shady joke, the bedroom farce, the exaggerated vulgarity, the fascination with blood and gore--these are the dominant motive in developing the substance of TV's influence in millions of lives.

  B. We cannot escape this lost state on our own--the Good Shepherd must seek
the lost sheep--Cf. Lk. 15:4, Isa. 53:6

II He lays down His life for the sheep

A. Unlike the hired hand, he really cares about the sheep.

  1. They belong to Him by virtue of Creation 
  2. He will never forsake them--Heb. 11:5-6

B. His life is one of devoted care for the sheep--Rom. 5:10

C. He pays the penalty for sin--1 Peter 2:24-25

III He gathers the sheep into His sheep pen

A. His voice is heard in His Word--10:16

B. His Word leads the sheep to eternal life--John 11:27 "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." 

Notes: Phillip Keller describes the lost of the Good Shepherd and the impact it has upon the lives the flock: "It is the Shepherd's presence that guarantees there will be no lack of any sort; that there will be abundant green pastures, that there will be clean waters; that there will be new paths into fresh fields; that there will be safe summers on the high tablelands; that there will be antidotes for flies and disease and parasites; that there will be quietness and contentment. My Good Shepherd is aware of every circumstance I encounter. He attends me with care and concern because I belong to Him. And this will continue throughout eternity. What an assurance! I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (From Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Ps. 23)

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.S., M.Div.

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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:32 PM