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Fourth Sunday of Easter

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Good morning, welcome to Good Shepherd, Lutheran Church in Florence. Alabama, I am Pastor, Brandon Scroggins and we are so pleased to have everybody here with us this morning, both in person and online. And so we thank you for being with us.

Would you please stand with me as we begin our worship service today?

This morning is April 25th 2021. It is the fourth Sunday in the season of Easter.

We are gathered together to for worship in the name of the one. God Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

our first lesson, this morning comes from Acts chapter 4, beginning at the first verse,

Well, Peter and John were speaking to the people. They were confronted by the priests. The captain of the temple guard. In some of the Sadducees, these leaders were very disturbed at Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus, there is a resurrection of the Dead, they arrested them and since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning. Many of the people who heard their message believed it. So the number of men who believe Mel totaled about 5,000, Then what is a council of all the rulers and elders and teachings of the religious law? In Jerusalem priest was there has John

Then Peter filled with the Holy Spirit said to them rulers of our people. For a crippled man, do you healed? What if any clearly state to you To all of you and do all of the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ. The Nazarene, the man who crucified but whom God raised from the dead for Jesus is the one referred to in the scriptures where it says the stone that you Builders rejected has become the Cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else. God was given. No other name under Heaven by which we must be saved. This is the word of the Lord.

Our second license this morning comes from first John chapter 3 beginning at verse 16.

Real Love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we will also give up our lives for our brothers and sisters if someone has a live, well, and sees a brother or sister in need, but shows no compassion. Help. In God's love. Being that person. Dear children. Let's not merely say that we love each other. Let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belongs to the truth. So we will be confident when we stand before. God even if we feel guilty God is greater than our feelings and he knows everything. Dear friends. If we don't feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. We will, we will receive from him, whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him, and this is his commandment. We must believe in the name of his son. Jesus Christ and love one another just as he commanded us those who remain in fellowship with him and he with them Because the spirit he gave us lives in. This is the word of the Lord. Please rise for the holy gospel.

The holy Gospel according to John the 10th chapter glory to you. Oh Lord. I am the Good Shepherd, the Good Shepherd, sacrifices, his life for the Sheep. A Hired Hand will run. When he sees a wolf coming, he will abandon the Sheep because they don't belong to him and he isn't there Shepherd? And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The Hired Hand runs away because he's working only for the money and doesn't really care about the sheet. I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me just as the father knows me and I know the father So I sacrifice my life for the Sheep. I have other sheep to that are not as the Sheepfold. I must bring them all, so they will listen to my voice and there will be one flock with one Shepherd. My father, loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me, I sacrifice it voluntarily for I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again for this is what my father has commanded. This is the gospel of the Lord.

please be seated Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ I'll men Let us pray. Heavenly Father we thank you for your Rich Grace. We thank you for being our Good Shepherd. Maybe we read and listen to your word and hear it and respond in Jesus. Holy and precious name we pray. Amen. This morning, we have a text that we, as a congregation should be pretty familiar with As Good Shepherd, Lutheran Church. We listen to this story of the Good Shepherd and we say we follow the Good Shepherd, the Good Shepherd is Our Shepherd and so we've claimed that name, we've said, this is who we are, we are his sheep, we are his flock, but I think that sometimes we miss some of the context of what is happening in this story and in this text you see a lot of times when we talked about the story of the Good Shepherd. We picture Jesus carrying the Lamb on his shoulders, we picture him being the happy peaceful person at this point in time. But we miss is in this story. Jesus is actually telling this Parable, the only Parable in the Book of John, he's actually telling them that He's pretty angry with the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He's pretty angry with the leaders of the church at this day. And so this story is not told in a happy O Come and follow me telling the story in a very angry tone. He's telling the story because he's very upset with the leaders of the religious law who have lead his people astray and not done what they were called to do. You see, at this point time, Jesus is talking to the Sadducees in the Pharisees. He's telling them about, he's healed somebody and they're criticizing him and condemning him, because he's healed, the man on the day that he shouldn't. And so he's pointing out to them over and over again, several times that they have not done what they should be doing. You see this text? We actually hear of a few different groups of people. The first one is an individual. It's the Good Shepherd, the Good. Shepherd is the one who speaks the one who is leading his people here. Clearly, we also have sheep. If we have a shepherd and then we have the Hired Hands and The Hired Hands are the ones in the scripture, text who Jesus is referring to, when he's talking to them, because he is talking to these religious leaders, they are The Hired Hands. They've been called to be the leaders of these people, they've been called to teach the law to bring them to an understanding of who God is and what they had done was to confine the people. So tightly by the law and actually expand upon the law and make the laws. So great, that it became an immense burden to the people. You see, we have to remember and understand that these Hired Hands are not the people who love the Sheep. They are there for the job, they're there for the opportunity, they're there because they're just waiting for a Payday. You see. Actually, what's going on here is that The Hired Hands have a tool to use in leading the sheep and taking care of the sheep and making sure that the Sheep obey and this tool that they have is called the Sheep pen. The Sheep pen is what they use. Whenever they want to control the Sheep, they put them in the Sheep pen. The walls are there to keep them bound and tightened and not free roaming about. It's there to protect them possibly. But primarily The Hired Hand is kind of nice for him cuz he just knows. Okay. The Sheep were in the pain, I can just kind of sit back and the walls will work with a will do. The walls we see are the laws are binding in the people together. They're holding them in making them Old Bay, making them listen and do what's commanded of them? There's protection that the walls bring. there's also, Just a restriction that it brings as well. And so the hired hands are holding the sheep in this pin. They're saying here is where you need to stay. You don't get to go outside of the pain because there's dangers out there and so we're going to keep you inside. What the religious leaders were doing of the day. They were saying there are dangers out in the world. And you need to follow the law to the letter. You need to, In fact, when the law says that they're you shouldn't work on a Sunday. We're going to make it so hard for you. Even potentially work on a Sunday but you won't come anywhere near it. You can't work on Sunday so you can't walk a certain distance, you can't do a certain amount of things. When the law says that you that you are committing some type of scent, then we're going to punish you severely. When you break that rule They were making it so that in order to have sacrifices, you've got to have the right thing. You better have the you got to come and purchase the right animal from us and make it so that you are taken care of in the right way. To the hired hand sinks that he's doing what's right. He thinks that he's taking care of the sheet. In what he's really doing is, he's holding them and he's restricting them.

Start allowing them to have freedom and a problem happens is that there are dangers in the world. There are there is a wolf prowling. There's a wolf seeking to Devour the Sheep.

The Hired Hand. She's a concerned about the Sheep nearly as much as he is about his own skin. and so when the wolf comes and threatens the Sheep when there's trouble in Calamity that happens, He runs, he hides. He's not there because he values himself more than he values, the Sheep.

that's what Jesus tells them, he's saying you Religious leaders who have been supposed to take my sheep out and take care of them and give them time in the in the pastures and protect them. And keep them, you've actually made it more difficult for them. You've made life more confined than it was supposed to be. You've made it more painful for them than it should be. And then when danger came you didn't even protect them, you ran away.

Jesus says that he is the Good Shepherd, he says, by contrast to the way that the the Sadducees and the Pharisees, and the temple leaders at that day had done. He says, I come to lead in a new way. I come to take care of my flock in a new pattern. He doesn't use the Sheep pen in the same way. In fact, he brings Freedom, he brings the opportunity for the sheets to go out and be free in the pasture. And he takes care of the danger of the Wolf by laying down his own life as a sacrifice. And what we see here is is fascinating because Jesus says something, he's actually predicting something this to come. He says that I will lay my life down willingly. No one can take it from me but I give it and I can take it back up. So this week is our first week in the season of Easter that we haven't had a resurrection story but Jesus is talking about the time that he will be raised. He said I will lay my life down for the wolf, the wolf will come and he will kill me. But that's not the end. I lay it down willingly, the wolf will be gone and I will rain, I will come back and take care of my sheep. The tool that the shepherd uses is his word. What's fascinating? And I don't know if I, I might have shared a video with the The church here before. But sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd and they respond to the voice of their Shepherd. It's really neat to see that a Shepherd can go out and speak to his sheep and I'll come running. They've done this with other people do that aren't familiar. Aren't the Sheep are familiar with and they'll go out and they'll say the same words in the same things and the chief don't listen, they just kind of ignore. But when the shepherd comes and says the same words, they respond, they come running because they love the shepherd, they want to be with the shepherd, to Shepherd, takes care of them and protect them. Hired Hand wasn't in it because he cared for the Sheep. Jesus is. Jesus is in it for us. Jesus came and he died for you, and for me, The law. The pin is no longer where we live. We're still longer. We reside, instead, we are free to roam the pastures. We're free to be about not having to be bound by the law. As we once were we Now respond to the voice and the calling of Our Shepherd. And Jesus has set us free. What a wonderful thing is it to know that we are free by Our Shepherd. We get to be with our Shepherd. I think that when I listen to it this way, when I listen to the way that he's so upset with the religious leaders and how he wants people to be instead of following him and listening to his voice, I think that makes our church name even more powerful. Because we're not just the Church of those who are sheep. We're not the Church of hey, we follow everybody in anything. No, we follow the Good Shepherd. We are the church who says we have been redeemed. We have been set free. We have been set free from the law and into the gospel message of freedom and we have a good shepherd who loves us and cares for us so much that when Calamity comes when the wolf comes to devour He laid down his life for us, he died for us. And so was a church as Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. We are the Church of the Gospel. We are the Church of the good news. We are the Church of the Good Shepherd. Hey man.

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