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August 18, 2020 8:00 am
Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gephart challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ.
This is really comforting. One of the saddest stories about Koven 19 in our country are the people who end up in intensive care and respirator. And you hear this all the time. You know what's so sad about this? They have to die alone. They have to die alone. Their family can't be there.
If you're a believer in Jesus Christ, let me tell you something, you will never die. That is not true.
I will fear no evil for you are with me. You are right here.
Thank you for joining us today on this edition of Fellowship in the World with Pastor Bill Gephart Fellowship and the word is the Radio Ministry of Fellowship Bible Church located in Metairie, Louisiana. Let's join Pastor Bill Gephart now as once again he shows us how God's word meets our world.
It's all through the Bible, just set in different ways. Proverbs three. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding and all your ways.
Acknowledge him and what he'll direct your. Why? I'm the shepherd.
Stop that. Don't lean on your own understanding. Listen to my voice. Jesus is my sheep. Hear my voice. But I often wonder in times like this, do we hear it or not?
He said the Lord directs the steps of the Godly in Psalm 37. He delights in every detail of their lives. I say a 48. I am the Lord, your God who teaches you what is good for you and lead you along the paths that you should follow. Psalm 32, I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I advise you on watch over you.
That's our shepherd. So I'm 48.
For this, God is our God forever and ever. He will be our guide even to the end. And I say, if if the eight the Lord will guide you continually giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength when you need it.
So that's why I do that. Why does he do all that? Because he's our shepherd.
It's an amazing thing.
Now, verse four, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.
You know what that implies, because he uses the term valley of death. All valis.
This applies to every valley. The last valley, the most difficult to was the scariest for us is that the valley of the shadow of death. That's the scary one. But he says all of us go through valleys all the time. In fact, many of us in our country right now are in a valley.
He goes, yeah, this applies in every sense, the pandemic, the economy, broken relationships, it's always the valley.
Keyword there, even though I walk in the next word through.
Got to go through it.
Doesn't take a round.
Now, remember, when you're going from the lower plane up to the mountain areas for the pasture.
Understand something about this. They've got to go through these wadis or these valleys. It is loaded with predators. And the sheep are an easy target. And when you get something I read that you get something like a pack of wolves and they hitch sheep. They'll kill innumerable sheep and they'll only eat their internal organs and leave them. They'd rather d eat the best part of the sheep and kill a bunch of them, the D. One kill once she'd been eat all of it. Sheep are really timid and they're fearful. So for them, it is a valley of the shadow of death. But I'm not afraid. Why?
Shepperd's with me.
Remember, for Sam was 17, a young teenage boy, David, is talking to Saul about Goliath.
He said, I'm not afraid. So what do you mean you're not afraid? He said the lion and the bear tried to get there, my sheep. I killed them.
If I can kill this line in that bear, I can kill this uncircumcised philistine.
You see, that's the idea. This is a dangerous part, this last part up to the high plateau, Psalm 46, Psalm 46, first reverses apply to this. Listen, as I read, God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though, the Earth should change. And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea. And though its waters roar and foam. And though the mountain quake and its swelling pride, no matter how bad it gets.
I'm not afraid. That's what he said.
Notice what that little psalm says. God is a help. Oh, he's more than a he's a very present help.
He's a help. He's a president help. He's a very present help. He's a very present help in trouble. He's a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.
Are you afraid?
You see so many of us afraid.
One of the most sobering things about the whole pandemic and everything around that is that you hear person after person, expert after expert, saying one of the big problems that's emerging in America right now is a mental health of the people.
Their mental health is suffering. Why? They're afraid. They're afraid. And what do they have? Well, I'm so afraid I need more drugs. I need more liquor.
You see, I got to have the only way you can cope.
None of you really understand that the Lord is your shepherd. I don't need liquor or drugs to cope.
That's what he is telling me. I don't have to worry about this at all.
Jesus said this. I am the resurrection and the life, and he believes in me. Though he may die, he will live. And whoever lives and believe in me, he'll never die. That's what the shepherd told me. That's why it says in the song back to the song 23. It says, Even though I go through the valley of the Shadow of Death.
Let me illustrate this. Let's just say that I feel pretty indestructible. And so I'm going to stand on a railroad track and a big locomotive is coming and I stand right at the end of the track and say, I just want to show you how indestructible I am.
OK, and now locomotive comes. What's the outcome?
You are, you know, right? OK, now let's say it this way, though, I say I want to show you something. Here comes a locomotive. The sun is over in the east. All right. I stand on the western side of the track. The train will be between me and the sun. Here comes the locomotives. Shadow.
Now, tell me how this shadow is going to hurt me.
Can a shadow hurt anybody?
You can't. Here comes the shadow.
See that when I die, I'm much standing in front of the locomotive. I'm standing in the shadow. But we act as though no, with a local MO. We've got to be in front of locomotor.
Jesus said, you're never going to die. That's never gonna happen.
You're in the shadow. And then he says. For you are with me.
This is really comforting. One of the saddest stories about covered 19 in our country are the people who end up in intensive care and respirators.
And you hear this all the time. You know what's so sad about this? They have to die alone. They have to die alone, their family can't be there. If you're a believer in Jesus Christ, let me tell you something, you will never die alone. That is not true. I will fear no evil for you are with me. You are right here.
And no matter what valley you're going through, how dark the Times seen you relationally, Mary. All of the other stuff, he goes, I'm right here.
You don't have to be afraid of this. I'm the shepherd.
By the way, the New Testament tells us something here, the reason I don't have to face death and neither do you, if you know the Lord is because he died for me.
Jesus said, I'm the good shepherd. I lay down my life for the sheep. Thank God he did.
It makes all the difference in the world. He says, your rod and your staff, they comfort me. The rod and the staff. What's that mean?
It means this I am reassured that my shepherd is not ill prepared. He has exactly what he needs. He has a staff and he has a rod. And that's all I need. The staff is to get me out of trouble. She can get in trouble all the time.
They get all kinds of they wander off. They forget where the flock is. They do all kinds of terrible things just like us.
He says, Yeah, and I'll come and get you with the staff. And I'll curl it now, put all your negative cut into some brush up, pull you out if I have to, I'll put you on my shoulders. I'll carry it back to the floor. The ride is different. It's more like a club. Somebody comes and really wants to mess with you. Somebody comes in, which you won't do, you Ami says. I'll take care of them.
I have the equipment to take care of them. The staff, those with our problems on the inside and the right deals with the problems on the outside.
And then he says in verse five, a passage that I think is often misunderstood and I know I misunderstood it for years. He says, you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You have anointed my head with oil. My cup overflows.
What ends up happening to a lot of us is we make a terrible mistake here, I believe, and we think the imagery of the whole thing just changed. David is talking about taking a sheep from Bethlehem all the way up to the high country and then all the way back. That's what the Psalms are, but it's the shepherd. And all of a sudden we have a table and we're in a banquet room.
But I don't think that's what this means at all.
You see what I think what this really means is this the Hebrews called it table land. Table land was an elevated plateau in the mountains used for summer grazing.
It was extraordinarily valuable. In other words, the clear land that high up for my sheep. Shepherds and their fathers and forefathers would spend decades on it. They did everything they could to clear all the land anywhere, it was bare, they sowed seed so that have it. They took out all the rocks, they took out all the poisonous plants.
They did everything they could to make these table land high plateau. Pastures for their sheep. And that's what I believe. David is clearly talking about here.
And by the way, those pastures where you almost always find in the high country where the bears and wolves in that were where the real enemies are.
He said, you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
And then he says. You have anointed my head with oil. It's a great image.
The word anointed is not as spectacular a word as you might think. If I was gonna translate the Hebrew word anointed, I would say this tend. T and D tend you tend my head with oil. Can be annoyed. But we get a little bit too mystical when we think about this. He said, you tend. And by the way, do you attend cheap? Is that a common term? Oh, I think so. I remember after Peter denied Jesus three times. Jesus went to him and said, Do you love me? Peter?
Peter said, Yes, Lord. You said feed the sheep. Separate again. Then he said, go do let me paint. Oh, yes, Lord. Tend the sheep. Anoint the sheep.
You see, that was such an amazing thing because sheep had all kinds of different problems. The worst was the insects. But they scratch themselves and cut themselves a lot with their heads.
They put their heads in places that should never go. So what would a shepherd do hit annoying it with a whale to soothe it?
Maxim Katar writes this, he said, Bugs bug people. He said that they kill sheep. He said flies, mosquitoes and gnats can turn a summer into a time of torment for livestock. Consider nose flies, for example. If they succeed in depositing their eggs in the membrane of the sheep's nose, the eggs become warm like larva, which drive the sheep insane. One shepherd explains for relief from this agonizing, annoying sheep will deliberately beat their heads against trees, rocks and posts or brush in extreme cases of intense infestation. The sheep may even kill itself in a frenzied endeavor to gain respite from the aggravation. When a swarm of nose flies appear, sheep panic, they run, they high. They tossed their heads up and down for hours. They forget to eat. They're not able to sleep. You stop milking and lambs stop growing. The entire flock can be disrupted, even destroyed in the presence of a few flies. For this reason, the shepherd anoints the sheep. He covers their heads with an oil like repellent. The fragrant keeps the insects at bay in the flock at peace.
That's what he means.
He said, no matter how bad you think it get. I have what I need to anoint you.
To tend to I can sue you. That's one of the reasons the spirit of God has been given to us. We are all anointed with the spirit of God.
For this exact type of situation. Someone 100 says he made us. We belong to him, we are his people, the sheep that he tends.
That's what he does.
Notice then he says, my cup overflows.
Seeing where thing and drinking cup overflowing my cup. Now, I'm not gonna get to Mr Go, but think about it.
Sheep don't drink out of cups.
Came at somebody. We do. But sheep don't. They drink at a watering trough and wells. And that was a big thing. Take something like Jacobs well, when you go to it originally in the Old Testament, they dig out the well, then they put a capstone on it and a water comes right up to the capstone, eases that just a little bit, and they pull the capstone off and then it just overflows. When you read a story of Jacob, what's called Jacob's, well, there were three flocks of sheep already there getting water. That's how abundant the water was. Jesus shows up with the Samaritan woman and John for at the same well.
And so he says, you take the lid off of it in an overflows.
Those wells where a lot of work for the Sheppard. But they're just a joy for the sheep. Just like us.
He's already done it. My cup over Flo's. Then he says in verse six. Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life.
King James I like better. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. Many commentators like Morgan were the first to do it. And he said, and I love this. These are the two sheepdogs that follow you.
The shepherd led the flock. They followed him behind a flock of sheep dogs. They protected the sheep from the rear.
You see, that's what they did. He said, and you had good sheepdogs, you had real protection. And both Morgan and Lucado talk about the idea that that's our two sheepdogs, the two sheepdogs behind you and me. Is goodness and mercy. He said they're right behind us. They protect us. A celestial escort for God's flock.
That's what we're talking about.
Always. Well, look what it says.
Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life.
Some of the day's.
A few of the days, most of the days, I said, look back. Goodness and mercy are behind you every single time.
Why? Because the Lord is my shepherd.
I mean, there's not one thing in life that's not covered in this six verses of this little song.
Every possible thing and scenario that can happen, every need you could ever have.
The Lord says, I've got it. You're my sheep. I'm the shepherd.
And he says, and I will dwell on the house of the Lord forever.
Again, no says this. Remember this. God never said that the journey would be easy.
But he did say the arrival would be worthwhile. I love that. He said he may not do what you want, but he will do what is right and best.
He said he's the shepherd, a forward motion. Trust him, he will get you home.
And the trials of the trip will be lost in the joys of the feast yet to come.
Either way, that's why Paul called all the suffering of his life momentary light afflictions. He said, I know what's coming. It gives me a perspective on everything. And so we're full circle, completely full circle now. We're all the way back to the father's house and he says we're gonna be there forever.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, reinforce that for me and for you. Jesus said this. And John, 14, he said, Do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. He said at my father's house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you. But I'm going to go and prepare a place for you. And if I go and I prepare a place for you, I will come again and I'll receive you to myself.
That where I am there, you will be also. He's got a shepherd.
That's what he offers us. This is over whelming comfort. For you and for me, I got more from these six verses than almost anywhere in the word of God to comfort myself. Think about it in this point of view. Beside me, my shepherd.
Beneath me, green pastures. In front of me, Stillwater's ahead of me, righteous pass within me, restored spirits against me, my enemies. For me, his rod and staff around me at the table and. Upon me, anointing oil above me, overflowing blessings behind me. Goodness and mercy. Before me, my father's house.
That's what this psalm says.
I invite you, make this your solemn. But once you understand it, go to it, read it for the Comfort. Because once you make it your song, you know what you start doing immediately following your Shepard. We're probably in a valley right now. It's OK. All because the Lord is my shepherd. Father. These troops, three thousand years, your people have read these verses. He regains so much comfort from them. But, father, if we can't gain comfort from them, it won't help us. We'll become like the sheep panicked. Full of fear, anxiety, worry. And yet here you have a is our shepherd. He has made every provision that we could possibly need. All we have to do is hear his voice and follow him.
Father, I am amazed that there are so many despairing voices that we hear every day through media. All saying different things. And for a child of God, these voices should be irrelevant.
What does the Shepperd say? What does my savior say? What does my God say?
Father, if we let you become the final word in our lives, we become filled with peace and joy and hope.
And we can consider it all Joy. That we go through various.
We pray this for our good and for your.
You've been listening to Pastor Bill Gebhardt on the Radio Ministry of Fellowship and the word, if you ever miss one of our broadcast or maybe you would just like to listen to the message one more time. Remember that you can go to a great Web site called One Place dot com. That's one place dot com.
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For Pastor Bill Gephart, I'm Jason Gebhart, thanking you for listening. The Fellowship and the word.