S-1184 4SOE/3C 4/25/10 Hymns (O) #735LSB; S #277; L.S. 201; 193; 314; (C) #54
Texts: Acts 20:17-35; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:22-30
Theme: “A Voice To Follow” (John 10:27)
Question: “Can you remember the sound of a familiar voice?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for The Good Shepherd Sunday is from the Gospel lesson: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27)
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
People of God, chosen and beloved the other day I was watching TV and I heard this infomercial. “Do you have trouble keeping track of the items in your purse? We have the right solution for you. We have here a kangaroo (Brown) insert that will help you organize every item in its place. (They demonstrate it by placing every gadget in a pocket and then insert the whole thing in your purse) This item is valued @ $50.00 but today we are offering it to you for $19.99 plus S/H; BUT WAIT, if you order in the next 10 minutes we will give you another Kangaroo insert (Black) a total value of $100.00 for only $19.99 plus a 2nd S/H. How gullible people are. They can be distracted by all the voices out there.
Indeed, my beloved in the Lord, there are so many voices in our world today that are vying for our attention; voices from every coroner—the Politician, President, Preacher and plumber. Just this past week, we saw two vastly different kinds of voices collided in conflict. I don’t know how many of you are regular viewers of the show South Park? I am not. If you aren’t, that is probably a good thing. The creators of South Park are the poster children for the voice of irreverence. They have disrespectfully and sacrilegiously spoken of everything that most people hold sacred. Most times, people have laughed. But this week was different. They took aim at Mohammed, the prophet of Islam. And that is where the other voices of extremism answered back. Except their voices was nothing other than voices of hate. They threatened to murder the creators of this show.
We would be mislead, if we thought there were only voices that speak of all that is wrong in our society or those who hold to a different moral standards. This past week, Franklin Graham, son of Evangelist Billy Graham, was told to not come and speak at the military Day of Prayer because he called Muslims heathens, wicked and evil. The voices of South Park people and Graham have major differences between them. Graham is not being irreverent. Graham speaks the truth. His voice carries the truth that those outside of the Christian faith are in serious eternal jeopardy. But this truth was rejected because the voice that spoke it happened to be Christian.
We see something very similar in the text for this Good Shepherd Sunday. St. John gives us the Words of Jesus in a conflict that is rooted in the voice. In this conflict, we find Jesus minding His own business walking through the Temple. But there is no “routine trip” to the Temple for Jesus. He is immediately surrounded by religious leaders. Those encircle Him have one very direct, very important question: "How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." On the surface, this would seem like a very earnest, simple question. And that would have been a good question had it not been for the fact that Jesus preached, taught and performed miracles among them for some time! The real problem for the religious leaders was not a lack of a voice to follow. It was a refusal to follow the voice of the Good Shepherd.
Jesus indicts them directly. “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name bear witness about Me, but you do not believe because you are not part of My flock. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” There were so many voices that were swirling around in those days. There was the clear testimony of the miracles of Jesus. But there was also the voice of those who would say that Jesus was a threat. In the winter of that year there in Jerusalem there were the voices of faith and rejection.
Sounds like today for us too, doesn’t it? There are so many voices out there in our world today that would compete for the hold of our ears, our minds, our hearts and even our pocket book. There are those that would try to tell us that Jesus isn’t the Son of God. There are those who would tell us that the voice of Jesus and the truth to which He calls us is just one of the many roads that would lead to eternal life. There are the voices that call the message of the cross of Jesus Christ foolishness. And worse, there are even voices within the Church who would tell us that Jesus is the key to wealth and happiness in this world. So within and without, there are so many voices that would assault our ears!
But today, as we look at John 10, we rejoice because the Holy Spirit has tuned our ears to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow Him. Amid the mixtures of voices, we have been blessed by our Lord to be able to hear the voice of our Savior Jesus Christ. He is the One that has called us to faith in Him. We know His voice. We hear His voice. And then, we follow.
This is the major difference between the voices of the world and the voice of Jesus. We can hear those godless voices. But the Holy Spirit has led us to hear the voice of Jesus and follow where He leads. This voice is exactly why you are here today. The Shepherd has called you to be here in His presence. And this presence gives you something very special. For it is here that Jesus gives you what is promised in these words. Here you receive eternal life! The call to faith gives you eternal life. The Words of absolution give you eternal life in the place of the death that your sins deserve. You will have eternal life placed on your lips as you receive the Life-Giving body and blood of the Lord. Today, the voice of the Lord calls you to eternal life once again!
But my friend, this voice calls us to hear something more today. There are those voices that are telling you that the possession of this faith is good enough. These voices will tell us that when we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd we can now sit back and relax. These voices will tell you that you can just sit back and wait for eternity to be revealed. But the voice of the Shepherd calls us to so much more. Hear again what Jesus says to us today. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me”. The call of the Shepherd is a call to follow!
You and I, as Christ’s little lambs are called to follow where the Good Shepherd leads. This calling that we receive from the Lord is one that will take us to places where we may not expect. The Lord leads us to green pastures of nourishment AND into the harvest fields for the sake of the Kingdom. The voice of the Shepherd calls us to serve the Gospel wherever we are pastured. Paul in our first reading heard the voice of Jesus which led him to many places to share the Good News. All along his life was in jeopardy because he only listened to one voice and one voice only—the voice of His Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Voice, Paul faced all kinds of challenges: He was beaten and abused, left for dead, shipwrecked, thrown into prison and eventually led to lose his head.
Like Paul, we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd’s promise to us. And that promise is confirmed in the bloody cross of Good Friday and the empty tomb of Easter Sunday! This voice promises eternal life. It doesn’t promise a life of ease and comfort; but one that demands of us to follow the ONLY voice that matters—the voice of Jesus. And this voice today, calls us to go out and search for others who have wondered from this voice of truth that leads to eternal life.
Because of this promise and because of the Call of the Shepherd, we follow. We answer His call and we go where He leads. When we meet others along the way like the lost religious leaders of our text, we speak only the Words that the Good Shepherd calls us to speak. There is no guarantee of success in worldly terms. However, we still go and we still speak. Why? The Shepherd calls!
The Voice of our Good Shepherd is not the only voice in the world today. But it is the ONLY one that leads to eternal life. The voice of the infomercial will take your money. The voice of South Park will lead you to skepticism and unbelief. The voice of Islam will feed you the lies of Mohammed. Any of the other voices in the world will lead you to destruction and damnation. As true as this is, the Voice of the Shepherd proves to be the voice to follow. For no matter what the situation, what the time, or what the circumstances, that voice will always lead to eternal life! AMEN.
Now the peace…