While we cannot earn our way to heaven through good deeds, we are still called to love one another and do good in the world. Today, we’ll be highlighting the importance of imitating Jesus’ example of love and sacrifice. And by the way, the Holy Spirit will equip us! Oh how I love the Good Shepherd.
- Galatians 5: 22-23 – But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
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I got a powerful prayer. I want to pray over you today. I’m so glad you came to the Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica, your host, and I love Jesus and I love the Bible and this is a prayer straight from Hebrews chapter 13 beginning in verse 20. May I pray this over you? It’ll be such an honor, and if you’re in a place where you’re not driving, or where it wouldn’t be weird, there are people around you. I encourage you to just place your hands out in front of you, palms out and receive this.
Now, may the God of peace who brought up from the dead, our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood. May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever. Amen.
Isn’t it incredible to think that we have a God who asks us to do good things, but that he equips us to do those good things? Now, as you and I just read, He bought us back with his blood. There is not enough good that you and I can do to make it to heaven. We can’t get in on our score. It’s the great Shepherd of the sheep who bled and died on the cross, who opened the gate and let us back into right relationship with God. And yet this same great shepherd calls us to do good in this world; to love one another. Right? So, what does that mean? What does it look like? That’s what we’re going to explore today, and we’re going to be begin in first Peter chapter two, beginning in verse 21.
For God called you to do good,
Isn’t that neat? I mean, I don’t know if I’ve ever read that before and really thought about it.
…even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. 23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
This is like a Jesus class, isn’t it?
He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
Okay. I want to pitch a small tent here. Remember when you and I were studying forgiveness and we talked about letting people who hurt us off the hook, but we put them on God’s hook? That’s what Peter’s talking about here. I love that. Let’s leave the case in the hands of God. Okay? Verse 24 now.
He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. 25 Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.
Yesterday in Psalm 23, you and I read that Jesus walks with us through the valley, his rod, his staff, they comfort us. He guards us, he keeps us. It’s why he’s called the Good Shepherd. He’s just so good and he equips us to do good in this world. I want to jump over now to Ephesians chapter five, beginning in verse one, because we’re learning today what it looks like to be good. In the fruit bowl of your life and my life, what does God want to see? We know it’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You can look up that passage. It’s in Galatians chapter five or six, and I’ll put it in the notes. That’s the kind of fruit he wants to see. So how do we produce that fruit? Okay, Ephesians chapter five verse one.
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
If Jesus gave a Ted talk, I feel like he would name it “Love One Another.” How often did he say that to the disciples? He wants us so much to extend the love that he has shown us to others to pass it on, right? Do you remember those old commercials for milk? Milk. It does a body good. Pass it on. Well, what you and I are learning is that the Good Shepherd Jesus helps us to do good and he’s saying, pass it on. I think about my dad and how I used to imitate him as a little girl. I grew up in New York and every Sunday, sometimes on Saturdays too, he would go to the bagel shop and bring home a brown sack full of wonderful bagels, soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside. And I would watch Dad as he took his bagel half covered in butter and dipped it into his rich black coffee. And I imitated that, and boy was that delicious. Although I didn’t like the crumbs that popped up to the surface, but I wanted to be just like my dad. And you and I are to be like our heavenly Father, but we don’t have to do it alone. We talk a lot on this podcast about how the spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead is living in us, equipping us to do the good works, right? Okay, I would like to wrap up our time today with Psalm 19, verse 14. This is a prayer that you can take into your day as you consider walking with the Good Shepherd into your office, into your house, into your local grocery store, wherever you go. Take these words with you. I love how today we began with prayer and we’re ending it. So Lord, right now we pray.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Yes, God calls us to be good, but yes, he equips us to do good things and that is reason number 1,000,010 why Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Alright, until next time, you are really loved.
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