Fourth Sunday of Easter: Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23 or Ezekiel 34:7-15; Psalm 100; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10
The Day of the Spirit’s Power
In Acts 2, we read about the Day of Pentecost. It was a great day. The Spirit was poured out on God’s people. Christ was proclaimed to the crowds. Many were brought to faith in Christ. What is to be our response to the God who worked so mightily on the Day of Pentecost. Let us pray for the Spirit’s power. Let us preach Christ. Let us look to God for His blessing.
Preach Christ – the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd.
* Jesus Christ has passed ‘through the valley of the shadow of death’ for us (Psalm 23:4).
Now, we rejoice in Him, our Shepherd of love –
(a) the Good Shepherd who died for us (John 10:11);
(b) the Great Shepherd who was raised for us (Hebrews 13:20-21);
(c) the Chief Shepherd who is coming again for us (1 Peter 5:4).
He restores us. He keeps us from ’straying like sheep’. He leads us ‘in paths of righteousness’ (Psalm 23:3; 1 Peter 2:25). He is preparing us for our glorious eternal destiny: ‘I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever’ (Psalm 23:6).
* God speaks to us in love. He says, ‘I Myself will be the Shepherd of My sheep’ (Ezekiel 34:15).
We rejoice in His love. We say, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ (Psalm 23:1).
Jesus is our Shepherd.
He is ‘the good Shepherd’. He laid down His life for us that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins. ‘Christ died for our sins’. He - ‘the Righteous’- died for us - ‘the unrighteous’- ‘to bring us to God’ (John 10:11; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 3:18). He is ‘the great Shepherd’. He was ‘raised’ from the dead’. Through His resurrection, we receive eternal life. He says to us, ‘Because I live you will live also’ (Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:4; John 14:19).
He is ‘the chief Shepherd’. He will come again with ‘the unfading crown of glory’ for His ‘good and faithful servants’ (1 Peter 5:4; Matthew 25:21).
Let us look to God for His blessing on our worship.
‘Exalt the Lord our God... Make a joyful noise to the Lord’ (Psalms 99:5, 9; 98:4,6; 100:1).
We are to worship the Lord with joy. We are to glorify God. We are to enjoy Him.
In our worship, we must never forget the holiness of God: ‘He is holy!... The Lord our God is holy!’ (Psalm 99:5, 9).
In our worship, we rejoice in the love of God: ‘His steadfast love endures for ever... He has done marvellous things!’ (Psalms 100:5; 98:1).
The God of ‘awesome purity’ loves us with the most perfect love of all: ‘No earthly father loves like Thee...’
Let us worship Him with holy fear and heartfelt love: ‘O how I fear Thee, living God, with deepest, tenderest fears... with trembling hope and penitential tears! Yet I may love Thee too, O Lord, Almighty as Thou art, for Thou hast stooped to ask of me the love of my poor heart’ (Church Hymnary, 356).
Let us look to God for His blessing on our witness.
Being ‘God’s own people’ is a great privilege - ‘you have received mercy’.
It is also a great responsibility - ‘declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light’ (1 Peter 2:9-10).
God’s people are described as ‘strangers in the world’ (1 Peter 2:11).
We must not think of ourselves as ‘superior’- ‘a cut above the rest’. We are not! In ourselves, we are ‘strangers’- ‘without God in the world’. There’s nothing ‘special’ about us, There’s something very special about what God has done for us: ‘In Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ’ (Ephesians 2:12-13).
As those who ‘have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls’, let’s point others to Him who ‘bore our sins...that we might die to sin and live to righteousness’ (1 Peter 2:24-25).
Let us look to God for His blessing on our walk with Him.
The Christian life is not easy.
The devil ‘comes only to steal and kill and destroy’ (John 10:10).
Satan was working through the religious leaders. They were trying ‘to stone’ Jesus (John 10:31). ‘Again’, they failed (John 10:39). They could not take Jesus’ life. ‘His hour had not yet come’ (John 10:18; 7:30; 8:20).
When Satan attacks us, we must remember this: God is in control. God has given us great promises (John 10:28-29).
Jesus saves. Jesus keeps. His salvation is eternal: ‘He didn’t bring us this far to leave us. He didn’t teach us to swim to let us drown. He didn’t build His home in us to move away. He didn’t lift us up to let us down.’
Satan will cause us plenty of trouble. Be on the alert (1 Peter 5:8). Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Looking to Jesus, we are assured of this: Satan will be defeated (Revelation 12:9).