The episodes are the weekly sermons from 922 Ministries campus in Appleton, WI. St. Peter is in the north part of Appleton. The CORE is our downtown Appleton campus.
Week 4 - St. Peter
Pastor Bill Monday
Can we return tp John's gospel? We pick up, John chapter 10 verses 11 and following what we heard earlier from our reading, and we'll take a look at that idea of Jesus being the Good Shepherd. The amazing weight behind that title and the comfort that is there for you and for me, for following, before we jump into our message, let's open with prayer.
Sanctify Us by the truth. Lord, your word is truth. Amen
For our message, today, we would start off with a little game. We're going to be coming back to this game throughout the sermon, but here it is. You taking notes too, you can fill in the blanks. Pick your pastor, pick your pastor, if you're new to 922 Ministries we are in the Core. There's five of us pastors here. So lucky you right, five pastors. Yes, and I'm Pastor Bill Monday. I have the blessing of serving our families and family and youth ministry. So if I haven't had a chance to meet with you. I love it if you, after the service today or if online, if you like to connect to, I would love it. Let's start with this game. Pick your pastor, what if there weren't five pastors here at our church 922 Ministry Saint Peter campus or The CORE? There wasn't a family Pastor yet that had been picked for the school, for other services here too, what kind of Pastor would you want? So there's no Pastor Tim, no Pastor Jim, no Pastor Mike, no Pastor Michael, no Pastor Bill again, maybe that would be ideal for you guys. But let's just at least admit this, you're not going to find a better looking group of guys and you already have them. All right?
Please for me, this you get to pick five new pastors and you're thinking about that. Can I define it a little bit? What Pastor is we've got up there. You know, pastor means Shepherd. And already from the Scriptures, we can probably see. “Oh yeah, that illustrations used a lot in the Bible about God, being a Shepherd for his people and those that he would sit there. Shepherds comes from a Latin word to share, which means to lead, to pass almost here at the sharing pastor. So when Jesus says, I am the Good Shepherd, as we'll see, in a moment, he's saying I'm the good pastor. ER and go to the Greek there to that. That literally means perfect time, the perfect Pastor. So calling you Bible nerds out there. There you go. I got you covered there. So couple things, pastor means Shepherd, good pastors, the perfect passionately Jesus. Is that So, you got some ideas. What kind of pastors would you pick if the slate was clean? What would you look for? I'll tell you the categories of pastors that are out there. There's two major categories, and then there's this kind of smaller group of pastors. I'll talk more about that in our message a bit later. But the first two groups, you got kind of the old school pastor maybe not as popular in our Western culture today but maybe a generation or two ago, there were the fire and brimstone preachers kind of pastors. The pastors that you are a little intimidated by like it never really wanted them to notice you. Because they might just call you out in the middle of a sermon and tell you what your sermon is what fire and brimstone, kind of preachers. He trembled a little bit if you ever had to kind of come into their office. So I do because well they were so close to God and You just want to step out of line, right? They really kind of lived out. Jesus said that broad is the way that leads to destruction and many walk down and narrow is the way that leads to life. And few are those who find it. They were definitely going to make sure you knew. That few find the way to life, you may not be one of them. They seem to be the Bible Thumpers of the past that there are still some around today. They seem to love the Bible. But you wonder if they really do because they don't necessarily look like they love people, the Bible was written for people, right? A classic example of these kinds of pastors were the ones that Jesus was confronting in John 10. They were called Pharisees.
Pharisees, they were keepers of the word of God, and they weren't just content with the word of God, but they would make up rules and laws and hundreds of extra laws. Just to let you know how perfectly holy God is. They would be the ideal of righteousness. And the regular people would be far from that. And Jesus had the most stinging and condemning words for such people will will see that when Jesus says, I am the Good Shepherd, Now, historically, it's kind of interesting where these Pharisees come from. They came from a Time, hundreds of years before where God's people were scattered like sheep without a Shepherd. They were in Exile in Babylon and you don't to say, I have to remember that history. But just know this: these Pharisees came about, because in times past, the people kind of had well, pastors for hire.
Or you could just hire a guy, he'd come along and tell you what you wanted to hear. And this is the other group of pastors that are out there today. And maybe more popular today times past, kind of a return to the time of the kings of ancient Israel where profits and password. Say, oh yeah, you love the Lord and the Lord is going to bless you. We've got his Temple. We got the word. You'll be fine, doesn't matter if you live, like the nation's, you can do what you want very accepting, and very tolerant of even things that, well, God didn't tolerate. So they would look at God's word and say, “oh yeah, it's good and kind, wherever God is loving.” But boy, some of these are strict. It was a judgment that just was for a different place. Different time today. The main thing is that the law of Love prevails. You can do what you want as long as you call on the fine and I suppose you can define whatever Lord you want.
It was for that reason they were scattered, they were sheep without Shepherds and God's. Heart was broken from both groups of false pastors. Whether they were tolerant, love the people, never mind the Bible, which you can't really love people if you don't love God's thoughts about them. God was heartbroken by the Pharisees who kept people from God's kingdom too. So those are the two major groups of pastors. Even to this day. There are those who kind of turn Grace into a license to sin. And then there are those who slight Grace for the law, and it's on you, to win favor with God and good luck.
So out of those two groups, you got any Pastors in life? Maybe there's a third group and there is. And that leads us to not so much who we would pick as far as past was, because by Nature, we always get it wrong or nature is flawed. But praise God. The better question is, what kind of pastors would God pick? What kind of shepherds would God have for his people? He gives us the Good Shepherd, he gives us Jesus so you don't have to worry about who is leading you and whether they're leading you to God. God will be your Shepherd and God will send Shepherds pastors that will reflect him and we'll get into the details of that as Jesus leads us in the second part of junk for now. Why don't we take a look at John 10 verse 11 and see this amazing claim against a claim that might be a little lost on us. As we said before, none of us are raising sheep today. We don't necessarily know that relationship of sheep and Shepherd. But Jesus what he saying here is everything and it's divisive and controversial. Get, it's for our comfort. So Jesus says to the crowd especially in the hearing of this opposition, these false pastors. He says, I am the Good Shepherd, the Good Shepherd, lays down his life for the Sheep. That's what he's calling false fast. Sorry it's not. The shepherd does not own the Sheep so when he sees the wolf coming the devil with all his lies, whether about God or about how to love others. Ours with this false Pastor sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and they need him. The most he runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he's a Hired Hand and cares, nothing for the Sheep. That was true for the Pharisees when times got tough. They left the people to fend for themselves.
It happens today, with false pastors to tolerate and accept whatever, wouldn't when their popularity wanes, Where are they? Let's think about that term. That beautiful term. The Good Shepherd. It's got some historic ancient weight behind it and again it's very practical even for this day as ancient as this title is. But permit a little history lesson here to you think back on the Old Testament. If you're somewhat familiar with the history of God's people, this people that were made of special people for a time. So that a savior could be born for all the world. The first, the Ancients of that people to remember what their profession was, starting with this man named Abram. Genesis 12, he was called out of the nation to be a special family group Abram or Abraham. We know him as the father of the faith. He was originally a Shepherd, kind of a nomad. Whose calling from one country that he knew well to some other country had never been to and that would be the promised land. Jesus would be born there. Anyway. He was a shepherd and he was watching his flock. His nephew was a Shepherd to the flock, got so big. They had to separate that. Abraham had a son Isaac. Isaac had another son, Jacob. Jacob had twelve Sons. Guess what? They were all Shepherds before their claim to fame. They end up in Egypt and they’re Shepherds down there. So they had to live separately from the Egyptians because Egyptians had no time for shepherd's. They were filthy people, so they lived in a different spot, Goshen, and then they were enslaved. And they were slave labor, but they were still Shepherds at heart. Moses would come about 1500 BC we’re talking, so 1500 years before, Jesus. You remember what Moses was before. He became the Redeemer of Israel, rescued them. Slowly Shepherd kind of living in Exile himself for 40 years and he met up with God in the burning bush while he was shepherding.
Forward another 500 years, God's delivered, his people there in the promised land, they're a nation now and they want some Kings. And so they get this King David, David was the second king of Israel too. Remember where Samuel found him to anoint him as king, he was shepherding. He's watching over his flocks by day and night almost like Bethlehem, right? That was King David. He was a shepherd. He became king and that's why he inspired the greatest of songs that are known. Today, you know, Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd.” If you want to take notes in there, in your bullets in there, “The Lord is my shepherd.” The Jewish people recognized that if you were to call yourself Shepherd, and no one ever did. Like the Good Shepherd that you were saying, you were God, you were saying, you were the Lord. “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not be in want. He causes me to lie down in Green Pastures, my Quiet Waters. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Your Rod your staff they comfort me, you prepare a nice table before me in the presence of my enemies. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me.” Why? Because you're my shepherd when Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd.” The people were hearing the voice of God himself. I am God, I am the shepherd.
Never mind these people that are leading you to destructive ways. You're going to see at the end of the text. The people were divided. He thought he was crazy, or that he was, you could show. There's a lot more history to this to in the times of the Exiles when they are false pastors. Everywhere, Ezekiel was inspired to Proclaim some amazing things about this Shepherd. Who is God and what he would do. The same time at Jeremiah, our earlier reading, where we confess our sins, looking for a Shepherd to forgive Ezekiel would say something amazing. That God himself would come and he would be the chief. And he would win back the scattered flock. So note this Ezekiel 34 says the Lord himself will seek he himself in Flesh and Blood. Somehow, miraculously, in the days ahead and that would be the days of Jesus. He would rescue his people and show what it means to be a good, faithful pastor so that God's people can have peace. He's Alive forevermore.
So, Ezekiel says this, “The word of the Lord came to me. Son of man, God would call Ezekiel, this humble term, son of Son of Man. Jesus would have this as a title from self to son of man, prophesy against the Shepherds, the false pastors of Israel. This is what the Sovereign Lord says, woe to you Shepherds of Israel, who only take care of yourselves. It should not the pastors take care of the flock. You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not care. Therefore, I myself will search for my sheep and look after them as a Shepherd looks after his scattered flock. He is with them. So, will I look after my sheep? I myself will do it. This is why the first audience of Jesus here, hearing this great claim, which I mean, we think is amazing. The Lord says, I am the Good Shepherd. Okay, great, no problem back then, when they first heard it, Oh, that's a Divine claim who can go around saying that they're gone. It's not only a Divine claim, but it's divine judgment on, all false pastors of all time. And that is everything for us. Because don't you want to know at the end of the day, the guy that's up front speaks faithful to what God has in store for you.
So, let's think about Jesus' words against all false pastors asked, “do you know which pastors that you should pick to lead you back to God.” Should we pick the ones that are overly tolerant? That really dismissed God's word for what seems to be loving. Should we pick the ones that are so full of fire and brimstone that there's no room for grace and that you're just left uncertain how God really feels about you.
Or should we pick the ones that God picks for us where, you know His grace and His truth? And you flourish even as we put to death that which causes us to stray. Obviously that's the way to go. But what does that look like? Well, I want to give you a few thoughts. And this will come from our next section with John verses 14 through 15, 17 through 18. Jesus is going to share with us three qualities that make Him the Good Shepherd and three qualities that every person who wants to be a faithful pastor will reflect. Jesus says this again against all false pastors. He says, “I am the Good Shepherd and (number one) I know my sheep and my sheep know me just as the father knows me. And I know the Father, (the second characteristic) and I lay down my life for the Sheep. The reason, my father loves me, is that I lay down my life, only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. He's hitting at the third one. Authority to lay it down my life and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my father. So here's a few things. Again, if you're taking notes, Jesus, to be the Good Shepherd. He's all about his own voice. The teachings of God, no more, no less even if it's difficult, even if it makes the crowd upset. Jesus is going to speak the truth, full of grace. And It All Leads to Jesus’ sacrifice. He's going to prove himself by taking the sins of the flock. Dying for that as the shepherd turned lamb. Hold the cross. Finally, it's all about Jesus' resurrection. It's all about his proving himself by not staying dead. Anyone can die. But to come back, that is God, that is his work alone, the work of the good perfect Shepherd. So I want you to ask yourself is, if you think of those three? Think about your five pastors that you do have. Sorry to tell you now your not, getting rid of us just yet. But hopefully, thank you, I appreciate it. Hopefully,
Hopefully today, knowing that your pastor is. None of us are perfect. We need Grace, hopefully you'll find in these imperfect people that lead 92 that we're all about those three things. So, would you ask yourself, are your five pastors that you have Tim, Jim, Mike, Michael, and Bill are? Are we all about Jesus' voice? No more, no less. I think about this sermon series, Jesus Unfiltered. Word that sounds like we're all about Jesus. Never mind what we have to say. We just want to give you His voice, all His teaching I mean you see that in our starting point class our new member class. What do we talk about? We talk about important discussions and overview of all that Jesus taught and why? And we get into difficult things, we get into things that make us uncomfortable. Which is the nature of the truth. But we pray, you see it's all wrapped in Grace. God, I pray that you see. Five pastors that? Yes are accessible. Yes. Are accepting and welcoming like Jesus who went to everyone.
Don't bend the truth, we’ll talk to you about how there is only one way to life and that is Christ. As well intentioned as other people of other faiths, maybe there's only one Good shepherd. He proved that by his death and Resurrection that's the only way our sins can be forgiven and we're all in the same boat that way. And I pray that when you hear the shepherd's voice about his views on how to
That is difficult as that is in our Western world where anyone can do whatever they want, as long as they hurt none, that Jesus has a different way. Yes, you love all people. But the truth also stays. The truth is very difficult, which is why at the end of this text people walked away from you, that's Jesus Unfiltered.
Pastors in our assemblies and worship and bible study and in our counseling which kind of leads to the next thought. Do you see in your five pastors? And you can go back to number 2? Jesus sacrifice. When you hear us, talk about whatever struggles that you were going through, I hope you're like a broken record, Jesus can handle that. All is proven in his cross. And that if you struggle with anxiety or worry or health issues, or whatever else that, like a broken record. We here, we're listening and we're honest, I don't know exactly what path God has in front of you right now. But I do know this everything you need is at the cross. It's Christ and him crucified. We all go through death in some way, but God has a plan in the darkest of hours. He has peace and forgiveness, love. And there's a Resurrection coming. We might give you all these tools to handle whatever else. But Central to our teaching and preaching is Christ crucified. Which is horrific, but at the same time, beautiful. It's reminded of that. I was giving her a sermon at a wedding and this is before I got here.
Oh, and Chicago its a travel wedding and I thought he did a good job and a lot of times I think I do okay with my service. But this one I thought hey this was a pretty good sermon. I'm outside and they're taking pictures of the wonderful couple and I overhear a group of people. And the girl says, she must have been in early 20s. She's like, what was up with that sermon? It was all about Jesus. It was like, oh I'm not sorry. I thought I shared a little bit about the Law, but what really matters? Is Christ crucified in that couple's marriage. I hope this is a broken record to you. We talked a lot about the kind of life, you can live in the spirits. Fruits, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness. But it's all about being rooted in Jesus, which is death to the old self and salvation has new self, which gives the last part. Faithful pastors will preach with authority, but you know, this, it's not because of their Charisma. It's not because of any imaginative or creative or ingenious thinking on their part, it is based solely on what the Good Shepherd did when we mean by that. When we talk about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We're not talking about some spiritual Resurrection. We're not talking about some kind of dream that isn't real mythology, we're talking about a real historical empty tomb. Jesus came back and that's our future. We who trust in him. We're also talking about how that proves that this book here, God's word is true. It's without error. It might be difficult to handle in certain aspects. It might be confusing, but that's not the words fault, that's our heart.
In time into much more study, spirit will make it clear to us. We never shortchange the word. Jesus' resurrection proves why we should not. Not that its his voice. And so, we go full circle. And I know that we see all the truth, warts and all. That he will then yes, we see Grace, but we see Jesus unfiltered. It's a tough picture, but it's beautiful at the same time because it's life. Are those the kind of pastors that we pick? Well, I give praise to God. Looking at a flock of God. Who's decided on the pastor's? You have again. Imperfect, but pastors that are striving for that. Let's take it to the last part of our text. We will see this division in the crowd.
Having heard those words of Jesus they were again divided. Many of them said he is.
Why listen to them, but others said, These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon.
He is the Good Shepherd talk. This is God himself, praise the Lord.
Kind of reminds me of a story than this whole conversation, Jesus. Unfiltered There's a 13 year old boy who was very much loved by his mother. His mother always took him to school. Drop them off even though he was of age where he can walk. The distance was always there to volunteer in the cafeteria. Loved her be at the school for the kids always there at every game. Every event, I mean, you would always where if you saw him you would see Mom. I think about this Mom though. She was disfigured. She's has horrible, horrible scars across her face. You tell her one time worldly, since she was beautiful. But now, was not easy to look at. And as the boy became 13 and you kind of grown and self-awareness. I guess he started noticing that his friends had known him. Has he never thought much? I'll bet he loved his mom. But what about his friends? They were saying things now. In fact, one day as he was getting back into his car right before she pulled up, hear them saying, hey, there's the Monster again, you see her, could you imagine having hers? And so the 13 year old boy runs to the car. He gets in the door slams the door shut. He says, Look Mom can you stop? Stop picking me up and, you know, I can walk to school too. So I don't need you. Taking me to school and I don't need you showing up for lunch everyday, okay? You don't have to do that anymore. I don't need you at my games and events always around and I’m becoming a young man. I can do this on my own. I don't need you.
She from the conversation realized, okay. I know it. She turned to her son said. “I think it's time you learned where these scars came from. She said, when you were a boy, as a baby, our house, caught fire in the laundry room. There was an electrical issue underneath your bed room and hallway floor. And by the time I noticed the hallway was already filled with smoke and flames and nobody else could get to you. And so I ran to the flames and I got to hear some asleep. And so I took your blanket. I wrapped you up as best as I could to protect you. And I knew I had to face those flames again. And this is what they ran to this flames and
That's how I got these scars.
I love you and if you don't want me to take you to school and I'm going to. If you don't want me to pick you up at school, I love you. And if you want me to go to your games, I get it. We go. I want you to be happy and if you don't want me to show up and volunteer, that's fine too. I bear these scars because of my love for you.
And the conversation stops there. And it hit him like a ton of bricks and they just drove home and quiet. Friends, Jesus unfiltered is pretty ugly. He says, he's the Good Shepherd. Those are fighting words when he goes to the Cross, it's even uglier. He is scarred, because that's the only thing that can take care of your sins. So when he speaks the truth, it will make you uncomfortable in your life at times. When you see those scars know that he bears them out of love and grace and redemption, no one could love you more than his faithful pastors will be just as awkward and weird and scarred but they're worth their salt. They will just give you Jesus' voice, no more, no less. They will always proclaim Christ crucified no matter how tiring and kids and they will Proclaim hope that you're a Victor by the resurrection of Jesus. And with authority, Heaven is your home and you're at peace with God now and that's all that matters. So we're praying. We five pastors and leaders here so that you embrace all of that. And that you love Jesus and that you'll picked pastors that Proclaim Jesus is the Good Shepherd and all that comes with it.
Praise and thanks and I'm looking at people who want pastors like that, who want nothing but Jesus, the Good Shepherd Unfiltered. Keep walking that path. Keep listening to The Shepherd's voice. There's life ahead.