The Glory Has Departed

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I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Second Sunday after Easter - Misericordias Domini. The Good Shepherd
John 10:11-16

Misericordias Domini – The Second Sunday after Easter, 2014

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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 Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 426         The Lord My Shepherd Is             

The Good Shepherd - Guiding and Guarding Us

The Communion Hymn # 307            Draw Nigh               
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                

Second Sunday After Easter

Lord God, heavenly Father, who of Thy fatherly goodness hast been mindful of us poor, miserable sinners, and hast given Thy beloved Son to be our shepherd, not only to nourish us by His word, but also to defend us from sin, death, and the devil: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that, even as this Shepherd doth know us and succor us in every affliction, we also may know Him, and, trusting in Him, seek help and comfort in Him, from our hearts obey His voice, and obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Thy Son Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV 1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himselfto him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

KJV John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Three of Luther’s sermons on this text:

The Good Shepherd - Guiding and Guarding Us

KJV John 10:11 I AM the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 

There are seven (traditionally) but really eight I AM lessons in John -

  1. And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
  2. Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
  3. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
  4. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
  5. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
  6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
  7. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1).
Some overlook the theme statement in John 8, which identifies the Angel of the Lord in the Burning Bush with Jesus - "Before Abraham was, I AM." See Exodus 3 - the Angel of the Lord is God. His name is I AM.

See also Matthew 14:28 - literally "Do not be afraid, I AM."

So these are sermons about the nature of God, since Jesus is God and as God Incarnate shows us the true nature of God.

Doctrinal Gospel
One person regularly communicates with m about various topics. When I pointed out how many doctrinal issues are resolved by the Fourth Gospel, he called it The Doctrinal Gospel.
Given our knowledge about the public ministry of Jesus from the other Gospels. the Gospel of John gives us far more of Jesus' teaching about Himself.

Gigantic volumes of made-up stuff can be found in world religion, men searching for the true nature of God and yet teaching from their own imaginations. Would that be ironic for God to say, "I will reveal the most about Myself in the simplest book of the New Testament, so simple it can be used to learn a new language. Simple words. Simple grammar. Short sentences. Repetition. And yet, to get some of the meaning from this work, you will need to write very large commentaries about it."

This opening statement says so much, literally I AM the Shepherd, the Noble. The grammar emphasizes the unique nature of Jesus as the Shepherd. We have downgraded so many words and discard other good ones that we are stuck with I am the Good Shepherd.

But this means - I AM the Template for all shepherds (pastors).

I AM the ultimate Shepherd.

I AM the Shepherd who embodies Psalm 22 and Psalm 23 and Isaiah 53.

That is because Jesus defines His shepherd's role as "laying down His life for the sheep."

In saying this, Jesus places Himself above anyone who might call himself a shepherd, although there are many who give up their lives, following His example. But they cannot atone for the sins of the world.

Jesus definition identifies Him with Psalm 22, the description of the Passion, Psalm 23, the result of His death and resurrection, and with Isaiah 53 - the meaning of His suffering and death. "By His stripes we are healed."

I find it strange and ironic that the divine solution for our anxieties and guilt is treated with contempt by the modern theologians. They snort that they cannot believe in the Son of God dying for their sins. Very well. They have nothing to say to anyone, because they cannot even represent the historic Christian faith. But they cannot stop yakking, writing, braying about their opinions. They say the Word does not accomplish anything, but their words are so precious they fill the world with them.

12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 

All true confessions of faith include the positive and the negative. In fact, that is part of normal argumentation. If something is true, then it necessarily excludes what is false. "A square is always a rectangle, but a rectangle is not always a square." That is the basis for logic and learning in the West, at least 2400 years old.

Although we take that for granted, in secular knowledge, this same thought drives people crazy in discussion Christian doctrine. They want positive affirmations without any negations. That is the best approach to establish false doctrine, to have this attitude, because "Error loves ambiguities."

As long as people can think abut a matter in two ways, then error can slowly establish the wrong way.

Jesus commanded the Sacraments, so let's call them ordinances. In a sense they are ordinances. But that term is designed to deny the efficacy of the Word in Holy Baptism and Holy Communion (two combinations they do not like, for some reason). The real meaning of the word ordinance is " Jesus commanded it, so we have to do it, but neither one conveys forgiveness of sin."

The hired hands are the dangerous ones - and they are not shepherds. The difference is clear. Those who seek to be pastors for the sake of money and security are nothing more than hired hands who have no love for the sheep at all. The Fuller trained Lutheran pastor who advocated entertainment, not worship, has given his entire congregation over to the Pentecostals (Community of Joy, Glendale, is now Dream City Assemblies of God, Pentecostal). Thousands of nominal Lutherans are being led away from whatever Gospel they might know into denial of the Sacraments and rejection of infant faith.

Hired hands do well within the structure. If anyone challenges them, they raise the alarm, against the truth. That makes the sheep agitated, so it must be bad to challenge the hired hands. The one thing the belly servers agree on -  is keeping their jobs safe. They have the tightest union of all.

13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

The hired hands run away from any kind of danger, even before there is danger, because they are motivated by fear, lacking faith. Those laity who see things the same way view material gain as the proof of God's blessings. That is an easy cycle to get into. The minister says, "I drive a new Caddy because I am so good at what I do. You have to pay tribute to me, literally, so you can have the same." So he charges people to gain the way he has, and if they do not, it is their fault.

But when trouble comes, he is this or that, and soon he is gone. 

28. Because this is so, the good shepherds are thus distinguished from the hirelings. Whoever is a hireling will preach the Gospel only so long as they say of him that he is a learned, pious and good man; but when he is attacked, and men begin to denounce him as a heretic and a knave, and challenge him to a dispute, he recants or runs away, and abandons the poor sheep in their distress, and things are in a worse state than they were before. For what advantage has it been to the poor sheep that they had once been well kept? Had the shepherds been faithful, they would have sacrificed their bodies and lives for the sake of the sheep, and would have given their necks to the executioner for the Gospel’s sake. Accordingly, they are never true shepherds who, in preaching, have their own popularity, profit and advantage in view. They are surely hirelings; for they seek their own advantage, even when they dispense the true doctrine and Word of God. Therefore they continue only as long as they are honored and praised.

Hence they retract, and deny the Word, when the wolf comes, or flee and leave the sheep in the lurch. The sheep bleat for pasture and for the shepherd to protect them from the wolves, but there is no one to succor them; thus they are deserted when they most need some one to help them.

14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 

This is a great verse to remember. Jesus knows every single one of his sheep by name. That is why we call our first names our Christian name. Every soul has a name.

This sermon is also good because it touches upon the knowledge and experience of his listeners. When shepherds put their sheep in a group pen, there was no problem leading them out, because the sheep listened to the voice of their own shepherd. They knew him by his voice, and the shepherd called them by their individual names. 

That is true of our dog Sassy. People try calling her over. I say, "Use her name, and she will listen." They call her by name and she comes over if she has already met the person.

I have seen this happen when preaching about
the inerrancy of the Word.

Those who believe in Christ enjoy His voice and love to hear about Him. If I happen to speak to a large group of people, the believers become alert to words about faith in Christ. Unbelievers get angry and cross their arms.

That is also revealed when sound doctrine is contrasted with false doctrine. A big firestorm erupts because their Father Below does not like to hear the genuine Gospel, and he certainly cannot abide hearing a muted and compromised Gospel compared to the plain Word of God.

The servants of their Father Below conclude that someone must really be a bad person to be kicked around so much for speaking the truth. After all, their pastors have the biggest houses, the slickest cars, and the greatest honors in the visible church.

The comfort of hearing the voice of the Shepherd should never be overlooked. Whenever we are troubled, we should turn to the Word of God and listen to that one, clear, true Voice, especially in the Gospel of John.

15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Some verses are so well known to us that we can pass by them easily, but we should not. This Father-Son relationship is taught throughout the Gospel of John. It teaches us that when we see the Son, we also see the Father. When we hear the Son, we also hear the Father. The Holy Spirit witnesses this to us through the Word.

Too many pretend to love the Son but hate the Father. They try to separate the two and tell everyone how pious they are for loving the Son (in their own way) but ignoring and teaching against what the Son tells us in the clearest possible language.

If the laity and pastors get one passage in their minds and fully appreciate its meaning, they can defeat all the false teachers with it. 

What is sin?

That is answered by Jesus.

The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin.

Sin is - He will convict them because they do not believe on Me.

Therefore, unbelief is the ultimate sin and not to be equated with justification.

16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

I went to a conference that thought this verse was about the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches. Jesus wanted all denominations to be united in unfaith.

It is good to remember this - the liberals and Fuddlementalists use the Scriptures the same way. They quote a passage and give it their own explanation, which has nothing to do with the Word's meaning.

There is One Church, which is invisible. This true Church is made up of all those who sincerely believe in Christ as their Savior and trust only in Him, not in their merits or works. For that reason, members of this true Church belong to many different denominations and may not have a specific affiliation. God knows who these souls are. They are one fold and they have One Savior.

Ezekiel 34 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.
The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.
And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord;
As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;
Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord;
10 Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
11 For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.
15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the LordGod.
16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.
17 And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats.
18 Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?
19 And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.
20 Therefore thus saith the Lord God unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.
21 Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad;
22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.
23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
24 And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.
25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.
27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.
28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.
29 And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.
30 Thus shall they know that I the Lord their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord God.

31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God.

Jesus Cleansing the Temple,by Norma Boeckler