The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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Advent Services - 7 PM Central Time in December.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Midweek Holy Communion Service - I AM the Door of the Sheep



Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 477                      Lord Jesus                 3:90
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Lenten Reading
John 10
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #354                In the Cross of Christ             3:84

I AM - the Door of the Sheep

The Communion Hymn #307            Draw Nigh                          3:72
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 50                    Lord Dismiss Us                              3:86

John 10 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

I AM the Door of the Sheep
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
John 9 is a separate chapter by itself, about blindness and seeing, the man born blind from birth. Therefore John 10:1 begins a new theme. The chapter is a very interesting analogy or parable, and even more so when we consider their shepherding practices at the time.
Raising sheep was so important for their economy and so significant that we can find 500 references to sheep and shepherding in the Bible. Some of the most famous passages that we all learn involve sheep and shepherding - Isaiah 40, Psalm 23, Ezekiel 34 (false shepherds), and Matthew 7 (wolves who dress as sheep).
The key to John 10 is the way sheep were gathered from various flocks in a pen at night for safekeeping. The watchman slept across the opening or door, so he knew if any person or animal tried to get into the pen to rob and kill. Left undisturbed, the flock would be called out by name by each shepherd. The sheep had names and they knew the voices of their own shepherds. The shepherd would go before them and lead them to pasture, keeping them safe.
Shepherding dogs share some of those characteristics. Sassy sleeps with her paws sticking out over the bed. If I pass by, she knows it when I brush against her feet. Shelties are especially adept at herding animals and children by darting around them and fencing them in with their movements. Cattle Dogs can be so dominant this way that they will shepherd all the animals into a corner of a yard and keep them there. Shepherding dogs are fierce toward any perceived foes and gentle with their charges, always watchful and protective. God created them to be gentle in caring and ferocious in protecting.
Given that this door is a watched opening in the pen, we can see what Jesus means when He says "I AM the door of the sheep." The only person or creature who enters another way means harm. Luther wrote about people who assume they are shepherds of the flock when no one has appointed them or called them. So when someone is moved to prevent an obvious scandal, he is not really called to be a pastor, he is moved to avoid the truth coming out. This moving of false pastors has been used in many denominations, including the Lutherans. It was a scandal in Phoenix, where many were harmed by these manipulations.
Someone who sneaks and pretends to be the shepherd (pastor = Latin for shepherd) is not coming in the front door at all but presuming his abilities are so great that he can come any way he chooses. Therefore he is a sneak and a robber, as Jesus said.
Pastoral work should not be associated with the kind of job qualifications used by corporations, with talents fitting certain jobs. Pastoral work starts with faith in God's Word and care for the flock. It does not mean pleasing anyone. Paul covered this well in 1 Corinthians when he said "a steward must be faithful" and wrote he could not even judge his own work.
But unfortunately today, keeping everything going smoothly is often the key issue, so any false teacher causing a disturbance can point his finger and suggest a better pastor is needed. Of course, the false teacher is not only available but already taking over.
This verse alone is quite a sharp detail in explaining the First Table of the Ten Commandments. That means teaching the truth and also rebuking error, listening to the truth and avoiding error. Pietists have a strange way of shunning people while being quite tolerant of error. This goes against what Jesus teaches and what He practiced. He did not shun people according to their stations or their dignity in life. He associated with lowlifes and approached lepers. However, He sharply rebuked those who trusting in their own righteousness, just the opposite of common attitudes and practices today (and for all time, as Luther noted more than once.).
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
Jesus is the only true Shepherd, as He teaches in this chapter, so there is a relationship between Him and all under-shepherds. He is able to approach through the front, the door, because the sheep belong to Him, just as the truth belongs to Him. There is no person, no book that can judge Him, although many try to shape and change the Savior to suit their purposes.
We should not only see Jesus as the true Shepherd, but also as the Creating Word. "All things were created by Him, and nothing created was created apart from Him." Jesus is the Logos, the Creating Word who imarted all the characteristics of each element and living thing in His universe. Therefore, when He teaches us about these relationships, He is not only the Savior but also the Creator.
I think of it this way - creating the natural world as a foundation for all His illustrations. What better way to make everything concrete and visible for us, so the things we observe are in harmony with what He teaches. "All we like sheep have gone astray." They are creatures like us who are so vulnerable to predators and equally prone to wander and get into trouble. And yet in the Parable of the Lost Sheep, He searches for us and brings us home on His shoulders rejoicing.
To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
A faithful pastor recognizes the Good Shepherd and welcomes Him. The Shepherd calls His own sheep by name, and He leads them out to pasture. He knows them by name, and they know His voice, which keeps them safe.
Jesus creates His flock by His Gospel. His message gives them comfort and they trust Him for safety. Any other voice is frightening to them and they will not follow it, but there are many who will only follow false shepherds who lead them into danger and death. They are predators and not shepherds.
This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
Jesus taught for eternity and He was not always understood at the time. That was part of the purpose of teaching in parables, so believers would study them and associate them with the truth of the entire Bible.
This is a clear repudiation of any other Savior of Messiah existing apart from the Son of God Himself. Everyone else before or after who claimed to offer salvation was nothing more than a thief and a robber. So there can be no compromise with those who think this is too narrow, too harsh, too old-fashioned. It is the truth revealed by the Holy Spirit. What comforts believers irritates and angers unbelievers. Nobody gets quite so furious as unbelieving clergy who hold the office but are false shepherds. Any indication of faith in Christ (and the obvious implications) will always be met with anger, manipulation, flattery (when it seems useful) and deception.
The sheep of the flock are relatively few, and they do not listen to the voice of false shepherds. They do not wish to be led to their doom but to the green pastures of the 23rd Psalm.
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
As we see in many similar passages, Jesus repeats the key phrase keeps adding meaning to it. We enter the Kingdom only through Christ. Previous mentions excluded the false shepherds. But since Jesus is the True Shepherd, the Good Shepherd - he will be saved, enter and go out and find pasture. That can be seen our entire lives - entering through infant baptism, living an abundant life through Him and the Means of Grace, and moving to eternal life in Him.