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The Lord - Our Shepherd - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
March 21, 2022 12:00 am

The Lord - Our Shepherd - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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March 21, 2022 12:00 am

Are you having a difficult time believing that God truly loves you?

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Matt Slick
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Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
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Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
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Erwin Lutzer

Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, March twenty-first. Maybe you've memorized the twenty-third Psalm, but do you really know it? Embrace this comforting chapter to see the Lord as your Shepherd. I wonder why so many people have such a hard time believing that God really and truly loves them.

I mean, He says He does. It's written in the Word of God, yet somehow many people can't quite grasp that. And so, we can think of a lot of reasons people think in their minds why God doesn't love them. But they can't give you a biblical reason for thinking so. And what happens is they go through life. They miss this awesome experience of an intimate personal relationship with God, which is the most important thing in their life.

They miss that. And they go through life missing the sense of confidence and security they have in a relationship with Him. And so, to believe and to believe with all of your heart that God loves you no matter what is absolutely an awesome attitude. And it is a great gift from God that you could even believe that He loves you, but He does. But as long as you come up with specific reasons why you don't believe He does and you made you on that, you'll go through your whole life having missed one of the most awesome experiences in life.

And that is the wonderful intimate relationship that you can have with God Himself through His Son Jesus Christ, knowing that He loves you unconditionally, no matter what, that love never changes. God loves you no matter what. You can act lovable and He loves you. You can act unlovable and He still loves you.

The difference is this. When you act lovable, that is when you are walking in obedience to Him, the blessings flow. When you walk away from Him and wander and stray away from Him, it's not that His love ceases, but your capacity to enjoy His blessings and listen, the presence of those blessings are not there. So, what we do, we're the ones who determine how blessed we want to be. And that is if we're willing to be obedient to Him and if we're not. Now, I want to deal with a passage of Scripture that probably most all of you have heard it and read it many times. And many people have memorized it and it's probably, of all the passages of Scripture in the Bible, it's the one that's the most known and the most quoted. It's quoted in foxholes. It's quoted in hospital rooms. It's quoted in prisons.

It's quoted probably in most memorial services when people have died. So, I want you to turn to the twenty-third Psalm. So, let's begin in verse one.

Everything rests on this first statement. What does it say? The Lord is my shepherd, and then I shall not want. He says He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet, still waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. For though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed my head with oil.

My cup overflows. Surely, goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Now, if you'll think about it for a moment, there are only fifty-five Hebrew words in this Psalm and a hundred and fifteen English words. And when He says the Lord is my shepherd, you'll notice in your Scripture that it's capital.

All the letters are capital, capital L-O-R-D. It is the word that we call Jehovah. And because this is the Word for God. And so, we start out by saying here, God Jehovah is my shepherd. And if you start with that, you have to ask yourself the question, Now, who is this God? This God is the all-sufficient, eternal, everlasting, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, eternal God who is loving and kind and gracious and good to us.

That's who this is. So, when we say the Lord is my shepherd, look who we're talking about. Now, somebody says, Well, how could He be all of that?

Because He's God. Now, when it comes to the New Testament, and you and I think about our life today, the New Testament oftentimes in many, many different ways helps us understand some things in the Old Testament. So, I want you to turn, if you will, to the tenth chapter of John, because we're still talking about the Lord is my shepherd. And you'll recall in this tenth chapter, Jesus is clarifying some things to those who were His listeners. And He uses this whole idea of the shepherd and the sheep to explain that and to describe it. And He says, for example, in the verse one of this tenth chapter, Truly, truly I say to you, He who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some of the way, he's a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. And to him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. Then let's drop down to verse seven. So Jesus said to them again, Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. Look in verse eight. All who come before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they might have life and have it abundantly. Watch this next verse. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them away.

He flees because he's a hired hand and not concerned about the sheep. Watch this next verse. I am the Good Shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me. So when we come to the twenty-third Psalm, what are we talking about? We're talking about Jesus being our Good Shepherd.

So with that in mind, let's look at what He says here. And I want us to see, first of all, He says, He, Jesus says, He is a personal Shepherd. Now, I'm glad He didn't say the Lord is a Shepherd. He said, David said, The Lord is my Shepherd.

That makes it very, very personal. That is, as we just read in John, He says, My sheep know my voice. My sheep hear My voice. I know them and they follow Me. He says, I'm known by My sheep and I know My sheep. Every single child of God is like a sheep. That is, we're known by the Father, known by the Lord Jesus Christ, and not only does He know us, but we know Him. That is a personal relationship. I am the Good Shepherd.

I am on a personal relationship to You, knowing You, and I want You to know me. The Shepherd certainly wants the sheep to know Him because they're to follow Him. And it's His responsibility to lead them in the right places, the right times of the year and the seasons and so forth. And so, He makes a big point of that by saying, The Lord is my Shepherd. Now, let me just say this to you, and you may take this the wrong way, but I'm telling you the truth. If you don't want the truth, you don't have to listen, but if you want the truth, listen to this. You cannot say, The Lord is my Shepherd and deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

You cannot. Somebody says, Now, I don't believe in that New Testament part, and I don't believe about Jesus, but I do believe in God. Now, wait a minute. Jesus said, in fact, if we turn back over there to John, Jesus made it very clear who He was. And when He's talking to His hearers and explaining all of this to them, He says, for example, in the tenth chapter, and let's start with verse twenty-seven, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father who's given them to Me is greater than all.

No one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and the Father are one. So, when we talk about the Good Shepherd, we're talking about the Lord Jesus Christ who is our Shepherd. And He says, I and the Father are one. Now, somebody says, Well, now, I believe in God, but I don't believe in Jesus. You cannot.

Listen, you cannot. You can say, I want God, but I don't want Jesus. He says, I and the Father are one. So, you have to deny the truth of God's Word. You have to say that God's Word is not true because Jesus said, I and the Father are one. You have to deny the truthfulness of God's Word. And then what do you have? You have your Word, listen, against the Word of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who laid down His life, shed His blood for your sin.

What I want you to see is this. Only one who has trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior can say, The Lord is my Shepherd. Because the Scripture says He is the One. In other words, what kind of Shepherd is He? We just read a few moments ago, the Shepherd gives His life for His sheep. And that's exactly what Jesus did. He went to the cross, laid down His life in order to make it possible for all of us dumb sheep, all of us dumb sheep to understand what it means to know God personally through the Lord Jesus Christ. He's the One who's opened the door and He's the One that you're going to find in this passage of Scripture is doing something in every verse for you and me.

What I want you to see is this. That Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd of every single person who will allow Him to be. Who will accept Him as the Son of God. Who will believe His death at Calvary. May their sin, debt paid in full, and make it possible for them to know God and to know Him personally. If you don't know the Lord Jesus Christ, you do not know Him. You can talk to anybody who denies Jesus Christ and let them tell you what they know about God and you'll find out it is mere, it's mere crumbs of what they know about Him.

Very few crumbs because you can't know Him apart from Jesus Christ. And Jesus said, I am the Good Shepherd. I am the Father One.

If you've seen me, you've seen the Father. And so, that's who I'm talking about and that's who we're talking about in the rest of this passage. So, when we talk about the Good Shepherd, we're talking about the Lord Jesus Christ. And first of all, we say He's a personal Shepherd. That's what Jesus was up to. He was up to, listen, He was up to making it possible for you and me, sinners, having sinned against God to have a personal, intimate relationship with Holy God, with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and to walk in that wonderful relationship.

That's who He is. Then I want you to notice as we read the Scripture and you know it by heart, the Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. Somebody says, wait a minute, I can't believe that either because I've wanted for many things.

So, let's explain that. A Good Shepherd, for example, is only going to want for His sheep what is good for them, what is best for them. So, when the Scripture says that the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. If I'm following Him, I'm going to recognize pretty quickly in life, I don't want what He doesn't want me to have.

Because every time I get what He does not want me to have, what happens is I'm paying a price. And every parent knows that there's some things that your children want that you know is not good for them. Do you love them? Yes. You want the best for them?

Yes. Do you want everything that they want for themselves? No, you don't because you love them more than they love themselves and you know more about their life than they understand and so it is true with God.

Thank God. I would say thank God He hasn't answered all the things I told Him I wanted or wished I needed in life. When He showed me you don't need that and you don't really want that because if you get that, look what's going to happen. So, He's being true to His Word.

If you and I are willing to follow Him, we will not want. I could never count how many people have walked down here and said to me, you know, I prayed and prayed and prayed and I told God I couldn't understand why He allowed this to happen to me. And they'll come back sometimes weeks later or maybe months later and say, you know what, God knew exactly what He was doing in my life as if that was a surprise. And the truth is, He always does.

But in the heat of the moment, we don't think He does. But He says, I shall not want. Now, look in the thirty-fourth Psalm for a moment. Just turn over to that thirty-fourth Psalm and listen to this passage of Scripture. And one of the wonderful things about the Psalms is it's just full of information about how God thinks. And if somebody says, well, how does God think?

I'm going to get to that in a few moments. But look at this thirty-fourth Psalm and look if you will. Let's start in the seventh verse of the thirty-fourth Psalm. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him.

That means He's our protector. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints.

Now watch this. For to those who fear Him there is no want. Who are those who fear Him? Those who reverence Him. Those who acknowledge who He is. And listen, and to reverence Him and to acknowledge Him is to do what?

To reverence Him and acknowledge Him is to submit myself to Him and to obey Him. And He says, when you and I are living in obedience to Him, there's not going to be any want. Because listen, what He does, if I want something that's not of Him, He's going to change my want. So that what He wants is what I want.

Now think about this for a moment. How many times have you been in need that God fail to meet your needs? You say, well, now I can remember when I wanted not want need. He's promised, listen, He's promised to meet our needs, but here's what He says. And He makes it so crystal clear. And I repeat it on purpose. Delight yourself in the Lord, He give you the desires of your heart.

Now watch this. If I'm delighting myself in Him, what am I doing? I'm in agreement with Him. I love what He loves. I want what He wants. I desire what He desires.

So, I don't have this struggle in my life. If I reverence Him, I'm not struggling in my life about me wanting this and He wants that and I can't have this and why doesn't He give me that? Because God is so willing to show you what is best for you. And you see, why the sheep, watch this, why do the sheep follow the shepherd? Humanly speaking, they've learned to trust Him. They know that when He takes them over on this hillside, it's going to be green over there. When He takes them through the valley, it's a little tough, but they go into another hillside, it's going to be green over there.

And not only that, but the stream over here is gentle or this pond is still and quiet and the water's moving in and out and it's very refreshing. Sheep learn to trust the shepherd. And you see, one of the reasons we get out of sorts with God is because we don't trust Him. We say, well now, I believe that He's going to show me what I need and I believe that, but.

And you see, here's what happens. What makes the sheep stray? They take their eyes off the shepherd and they decided that, you know, they're going this way. Or they see something that looks greener over here and so they stray away.

And what brings them back? The sight of the shepherd and they find themselves facing danger so they come back. In your life and mine, we have the Good Shepherd with us every single moment of our life.

I am the Good Shepherd. I will lead you in the right path. Does He not say, I will guide you with My eye upon you. I will teach you in the way which you should go. That is, He is willing to show us the way and He's willing for us to follow Him.

And when we follow Him, He always has the best in mind. And when I see people who are believers getting into all sorts of things and situations and circumstances and they just become, making a big mess out of their life. And are you a Christian?

Yes. Well, what's going on? Well, things are not going too well for me.

Well, why not? Has God failed you? The truth is, is when we stray and the old word is backslide.

That is, we just decide that we're going to slide back into what we used to be doing. Anytime the sheep lose sight of the shepherd, they're headed for trouble because He knows exactly where to go. Thank you for listening to The Lord Our Shepherd. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by, This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-20 06:40:53 / 2023-05-20 06:48:54 / 8

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