Summary: Easter 4(C) - Jesus identifies Himself as the Christ. Jesus’ sheep hear his voice. Jesus keeps his sheep save.
JESUS IDENTIFIES HIMSELF: THE CHRIST (Outline)
May 23, 2009 --
EASTER 4 --
INTRO: Who is Jesus? This is an age-old question. There are many wide-ranging human opinions that try to answer this question. Therein lies the problem. Mankind, by his own wisdom, cannot and will not come to a correct answer. To know Jesus, the Christ, is an act of God’s grace and gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus once asked disciples what they thought of him. "Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven’"(MATTHEW 16:16,17). The Lord God Almighty opened Peter’s ears to hear, his eyes to see, and his heart to believe that Jesus was the Christ. May the Lord God Almighty continue to work powerfully in our lives today. Our theme:
JESUS IDENTIFIES HIMSELF: THE CHRIST.
I. Jesus’ sheep hear his voice.
II. Jesus keeps his sheep safe.
I. JESUS’ SHEEP HEAR HIS VOICE
A. Verses 22,23. Jesus is in Jerusalem at the rebuilt temple of Solomon, outside on the east side.
1. It was outside the temple that many religious discussions took place.
2. Verse 24. The Jews want to know if Jesus is the Christ. They are wondering, searching.
a. Who are the Jews? b. God’s chosen. c. The believers of the day. d. God’s children.
B. Verse 25. Jesus already told these Jews who he was. They did not listen and did not believe.
1. Jesus even performed great miracles. Still they did not see and did not believe.
2. Now comes Jesus’ condemnation, verse 26. These Jews are no longer God’s sheep.
C. Jesus further explains, verse 27. God’s sheep listen. There are other sheep that will listen.
D. How very, very far God’s once chosen people had fallen. It seems strange that such a thing could or even would happen. This example stands as a serious warning for us. We enter this world as the very enemies of God. We are not neutral waiting to become good or bad. We are conceived in sin, spend our life in the womb in sin, and are born as babies of sin. Simply put: we start out bad – born with and into sin. Left on our own we veer off God’s path and drive directly into the ditch of evil. To be far from God is not that hard to understand. "Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people"(EZEKIEL 12:2).
E. At times we close our own ears. We harden our own hearts because of the severe truth of God’s word. Let’s face it, we do not like to hear that we are sinners. We do not want to hear that we sin daily and we sin much. We commit evil against God and our fellow man. We also fail to do that which is good. Our evil thoughts condemn us. Our wicked words condemn us. Sinful actions condemn us. Who wants to hear such things, much less admit to them? This is God’s law that shows us our sin. It is the very truth of God’s word that we cannot escape, though we might try. "To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it" (JEREMIAH 6:10). God’s sheep will listen to his voice.
F. There is no hope or help at all when we are left on our own. But we are not left to our own destruction. Why do you and I listen to the voice of Jesus, our Good Shepherd? God in his mercy opens our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our hearts to believe. By grace God drags us out of the ditch of evil and keeps on that road which is straight and narrow. We are God’s sheep who listen to the voice of Jesus. Now this does not happen because of our desire and effort – but purely and simply by the grace, love, and mercy our loving Lord. "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me"(REVELATION 3:19,20). The Lord does rebuke and discipline, unpleasant words. The Lord also wants to live with us and in us. These are the pleasant words of God’s gospel.