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Archive for April 2018

Who Is An Obedient Child?

Who Is An Obedient Child?

As we approach Mother’s Day, we may remember the wonderful times we had with our mother, and we also may remember those times when we were not the perfect child. Even when we were disobedient our mother may not have liked what we did, but they usually love us. I know there are always exceptions. But I want you to consider why you obeyed your mother.

Was it out of fear of punishment or consequences? For example, when we drive we usually stop for red lights. If we didn’t we may be in an accident which will create more problems and stress in our lives. So did we obey Mom, because we knew there would be consequences to our actions if we didn’t? Many of us would fit into this category.

But there is another category I would like you to consider. Would we ever have obeyed Mom, because we didn’t want to offend her. Where we love Mom so much we did what we were told because we have a loving mom, who cared for us and was always thinking what would be best for us, even when we didn’t realize it at the moment.

My guess is that our obedience may have been from both categories at different points in our lives. The reason I bring this up is to compare it our obedience to Christ Jesus. Do we look at the law of God and following Jesus thinking that I will try to follow because I fear the punishment of eternal death and damnation. Or do we cherish the Law of God for we know that God loves us, cares for us, has our best interest in mind as the Psalmist reminds us:

Psalm 1:1–2 (ESV) 1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

Is our way that we love the grace the Christ has given us that we will avoid anything that will offend God, because we don’t want to ruin the relationship that Christ Jesus has given to us? God wants us as Luther says as the explanation to the first commandment that we fear, love and trust in God above all things. This isn’t out of fear of hell, but when one values the connection between us and God so much that we don’t want anything to diminish it.

So we as will remember a day when our culture remembers their mothers, we also need to remember that God has given us our mothers as a way of God showing His love for us. While our mothers are not perfect, neither are we by the way, God calls us to be obedient to them and to Him. Not of fear and punishment, but out of love and respect.

Pastor Balla

Written by dballa

April 25, 2018 at 9:54 am

Posted in Law, Uncategorized

Pointing to the Good Shepherd

Pointing to the Good Shepherd
John 10:11–18
April 22, 2018
Easter 4

Philippians 1:2 (ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

During my seminary days, I was exposed to ways in which the pastor can help people especially those who struggle with chemical dependency. After I was ordained I wanted to help, so while I was at the local hospital I asked the addiction chapline if he would like any help. He asked me if I was a recovering addict, to which I said no. His quick reply of “no” caught me off guard. Only if I myself was a recovering addict could I help those who were also in recovery was the message I received. Being very young in the ministry I didn’t know exactly how to respond, so I walked away rejected.

But the logic didn’t make sense to me, do I need to have committed every sin in order to order to counsel someone who is struggling with a particular issue, of course not. Besides how many time have we hear or even used the phrase ourselves, “You don’t know what I am going through.” The correct answer is you are right I don’t know. But I can point you to the only person in the whole world who does know what you are going through, our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ.

Christ is the good shepherd. He knows the weight of our pain and sin, even though He is perfect, having never committed a single sin. When Christ died on Good Friday, He was carrying the sins of the entire world, He was carrying your sin, as St. Paul says:

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

So even through Christ was not an addict, He knows your pain, because He is the only one who bore our sins so that you have been healed as St. Peter notes:

1 Peter 2:24 (ESV) 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

Today the 4th Sunday of Easter is usually known as Good Shepherd Sunday. Jesus Himself notes in our Gospel reading: John 10:11 (ESV) 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Jesus, in laying down His life takes our sins away from us, so that we are healed and by God’s Grace through Faith have eternal life with God. The result of which is that Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd.

The purpose of a shepherd is to take care of the flock. But what happens when a sheep in the flock steps on a thorn. If I am in my bear feet and step on a thorn I may say ouch, make some reference to Adam where after the fall God curses Adam and the children of Adam with Genesis 3:17–18 (ESV) 17 cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.

But when the real pains of life come upon us, do we blame the shepherd, saying you are the one who has led me here, and now I am in pain, what kind of Shepherd are you?

Let me bring in the Psalm for the day vto answer that question. You may have already guess which one it is.

Psalm 23:1–4 (ESV) 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

You may be saying great, but couldn’t the Good shepherd do anything about the thorns of life.

Psalm 23:4 (ESV) 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Please notes the Good Shepherd does care for you. For He walk with us during our walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Please notice that Christ doesn’t remove the valley nor does He removes the thorns for we still live in a sinful world. But as the Good Shepherd, lays down His life for the sheep, He know our pain and suffering for He bore it on on Calvary’s cross. The results of which the Good Shepherd shepherds us through the thorns, pains and death of this world into another as the Psalm continues.

Psalm 23:5–6 (ESV) 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

We gather here today, not because I know the pains and sin you are experiencing, but because we know the savior. The church’s job so to speak is to continually point to the Good Shepherd. For Christ is the one who does all the work, He heals us with His Wounds. He restores our soul. He feeds us His Word, Body and Blood. The Good Shepherd leads us here and cares for us here at Peace Lutheran Church.

So the Pastor Jesus points to Christ, the Good Shepherd, who lays does His life for the sheep, so that we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

April 21, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Sermons