River City Church - Smyrna, GA

Church Everywhere - Shepherding Us Into Abundant Life

May 3, 2020

Josh shares a message from John 10 where we see Jesus trying to explain how He operates. He is a shepherd -- a shepherd who draws us in to bring us into abundant life. The presence of the shepherd makes the difference in life. We need to learn the shepherd's voice. We need to recognize the shepherd's character when He speaks to us. Jesus is still shepherding us into the unforced rhythms of grace. John 10:1-10; Acts 2:42-47; Matthew 11:28-30. 

Josh shared two quotes in service and referenced the third one below that he did not share specifically: 

1) "But in fact, this passage, at its heart, is not about scarcity at all. It's not about the stinginess of God, and it's not about the self-protective walls we like to build and hide behind. (Remember, Jesus is the gate. We're not. Gate-keeping is not our job.) It's about life. Life that pushes across formidable boundaries. Life that flourishes in precarious places. Life that never denies the real threat of thieves, bandits, and strangers -- and yet holds out the possibility of pasture, nourishment, protection, and rest. Life that perseveres and maybe even thrives in the valley of the shadow of death. Life that reaches through any opening it can find, however small, however fragile, however tenuous, and insists on generous self-giving: 'This is my body, given for you. Take and eat.' " -- Debie Thomas

2) "When christological awareness ebbs in congregational life, that is, when the story of Jesus is neglected, the church becomes unmoored and rudderless. Christology teaches us that God is not willing to remain at a distance from us; rather, in God's humility the Trinitarian history of God includes creation. The Word becomes flesh as God is made 'after our likeness,' as the prologue of John narrates. The church would be helped if it could recover the theological meaning of the shepherding imagery. In the iconography of the church, by the fourth century Jesus as shepherd was gradually replaced by Jesus as Pantocrator, the elevated ruler over all, as Constantine united the church with the secular state. As the church became an expression of imperial power, the shepherd's staff was replaced with a gilded crozier; a crown of thorns was displaced by the triple tiara of the pope. Recovering shepherding imagery could call the church to simplicity, sacrifice, and solidarity -- needed in a time when many have lost their way." -- Molly T. Marshall

3) The concept of "zoe" -- "fundamental to John's gospel. This life is the very essence of God brought to the world through His word. The bestowal of life is to be the very purpose of Jesus' mission. Jesus himself embodies God's life for the world. Life in Johannine terms is to be understood not only as the vital force that animates the human person but also as 'eternal life' -- a share in the very being of God through faith in Jesus." -- Donald Senior

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