Welcome to Living Savior Lutheran Church

Living Savior church is now having regular worship services at 9:00a.m. every Sunday.  We will be practicing social distancing.  Masks are required.  Communion will be given at the end of the service.  Offering plates will not be passed, but will be located at the entrance and at the exit.  For those of you who are not comfortable with this arrangement.   We are now sharing the service on facebook live also.

 

Scriptures & Message for Fifth Sunday of Easter – May 2nd, 2021

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First Reading   –   Acts 8:26-40

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”  So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet.  The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.  In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?”  Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”  And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.   When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.   Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

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Second Reading   –   1 John 4:1-11

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.   This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.   They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.   We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.   Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.   This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.   This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.   Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

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Gospel   –   John 10:1-10

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.   The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.  The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.   When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.   But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”  Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what He was telling them.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.  All who have come before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.   I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.  They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

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MESSAGE:
Get Real       John 15:1-11, 16

Her name is Deborah Ricketts. If you ever go to the movies, you will often see her handiwork though you will never see her. She is never listed in the credits, although she ought to get credit for a lot of what you see in the movies. What is her job? She is an independent researcher for the film industry.

If you are making a film that was set back in the 1930s, then everything needs to look like the 1930s. You can’t have a person singing a song that had not yet been written or reading a newspaper that had yet to be published. Mistakes like that occur all the time.

If you have ever seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, there is a scene where Indiana Jones is reading a flight map that takes him over Thailand. The problem is the movie was set in 1936 and Thailand was called Siam until 1939. Deborah Ricketts lives to find those mistakes.

Jesus had just left the Upper Room, where He had the Last Supper with His disciples and He was walking to the Garden of Gethsemane. When He made this statement, it would have been very easy to understand what He was referring to, because in Palestine, vines grew abundantly. When those vines were properly cultivated and kept, they produced sweet grapes, which in turn was used to make wine.

It was very important for the gardener to keep the grapes trimmed, so they could bear a lot of fruit. Jesus is extremely concerned with branches that bear fruit, because He says it over and over in this passage of scripture. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2,

The purpose of the branch is to bear fruit. A branch by itself has no value. I love grapes, but a grape branch is not very tasty.

Just as a branch can only bear fruit if it is connected to the vine, likewise, significance can only come when you are connected to Jesus Christ. There is no better illustration than the truth that we find from what Jesus tells us in this passage of scripture. Your life will be most significant and most fruitful and most productive when…

  1. Relate To Christ Inwardly

Whether you are a follower of Christ or you are not a follower of Christ, Jesus was talking to you in this passage. For some of you who have never become followers of Christ, listen to these verses:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. (John 15:1, NASB) “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5, NASB)

Jesus gives us one of the best definitions of a Christian. According to what Jesus tells us, a Christian is joined to Christ, just as a branch is joined to a vine.

It is all about being connected to Jesus Christ.

That is why Jesus said in verse 5, “For apart from Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, There are a lot of things we can do without Christ. We can earn a living, raise a family, do good to other people, attend church and be religious without Jesus. What we cannot do without Jesus is to bear the spiritual fruit that will have an eternal impact.

Once you are connected, you then…

  1. Reproduce Christ Outwardly

That is what God wants in us – a life that reflects the character of Jesus Christ.

Listen to verse 2, “And every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2, NASB)

Pruning is painful. Pruning is cutting. Pruning hurts. Keep in mind, that whenever the gardener is pruning the branch it is because He considers the branch important.

We sometimes get the idea that troubles, trials, heartaches and difficulties are a sign that God doesn’t care. As a matter of fact, they are all signs that God does care. God is the master gardener. God will never allow anything to come into your life that He has not designed to be used as a means of giving you the opportunity to bear the most fruit you can in your life.

That is the meaning of this passage of scripture, “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” (James 1:2-4, NLT)

Remember this – the hand of the gardener is never closer to the branch than when He is pruning the vine. During those times that God is cutting away on me, He is simply letting you know you Matter.

Just as a gardener wants the branch to be fruitful, all the time, God wants the same thing for us. So, we must…

III. Remain In Christ Continuously

There is only one command given in this entire passage of scripture to us and it is found in verse 4, “Abide in Me.” (John 15:4, NASB) It simply means we are to continuously make Jesus Christ the center of our thoughts, the focus of our life and the passion of our hearts.

You can only bear fruit and the way you bear fruit is by simply staying connected to the vine.

There is a great lesson to learn about a tea bag. When you put a tea bag in a cup of hot water, as that tea bag remains or abides in the water that water begins to take on the color and the taste of that tea. The longer the bag abides in the water, the darker is the color and the stronger is the taste of that tea. That is exactly what happens when we abide in Christ. We begin to take on the color of His character. We begin to take on the flavor of His life.

The way you abide in Christ is you spend time with Christ. You take the tea bag of your life and you soak it in the hot water of His word. You let Him talk to you as you study the Bible. Then, you spend even more time with Him, talking with Him in prayer.

The way we can tell whether someone is real and not fake is simply inspect their fruit.

You cannot fake fruit and mirrors don’t lie.

If you want to know whether you are real and you are genuine, simply look in the mirror and ask yourself, “What fruit am I bearing.”

Amen

 

 

 

 STAY SAFE!