Isaiah 43:1-3a; Hosea 11:1-2;John 10:3-5, 16-17, 27 (text)
January 31, 2016 • Download this sermon (PDF)
Congregation of Christ: When the pastor preaches the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to a congregation, there are people who respond positively, and with interest, and later come to faith. But there are also many who have no response and show no interest. Have you ever wondered why this division happens? Are those who say yes to the gospel have better understanding and more wise than those who don’t? Are they better than the others?
Let us briefly take a look at the life of Augustine. He was born in A.D. 354 in Numidia in present-day Algeria to a pagan father and a devoted Christian mother named Monica. He was a brilliant, well-educated student of classical literature and rhetoric. In his early youth, Augustine’s life was one of immorality, excesses of youth, and discontent. At the age of 18, he started a 13-year relationship with a woman whom he never married, but who bore him a son. During this time, he was involved in a pagan cult called Manicheism, which was a combination of the teachings of Buddha, Zoroaster and Mani, two Persian wise men, and Christ. But the philosophical teachings of this cult was staunchly anti-Christian.
From a teaching appointment at Carthage, in present-day Tunisia, Augustine went on to teach in Rome, where he drifted into neo-Platonism, a Greek philosophical system. Later, he was appointed as chief professor of rhetoric in the most prestigious school in Milan, the capital city of the Western Roman Empire. In spite of all these things, his mother Monica prayed without ceasing for his son to come back to Christianity.
But how can this man, pagan, adulterer and rebel for most of his 32 years of life, come to faith? Our texts today in John 10 give us the answer to this mystery. Jesus says that his sheep know him, and when he calls them, they know his voice, and they follow him. Other sheep do not follow him because they are not among his own flock. But we know from our studies that all humankind are slaves of sin and are actually dead in sin. How would sinners hear the voice of Christ calling them when they are spiritually dead and enslaved by the devil?
Today we will study how a dead sinner respond to the gospel and hear God’s call? Our meditation will be, “The Shepherd’s Call,”under three headings: first, “The Shepherd Calls His Own Sheep by Name”; second, “The Sheep Hear His Voice”; and third, “The Sheep Follow Him.”
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