The Church - Sheep of the Great Shepherd

The Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A Psalm of comfort, assurance, trust

Encouragement to keep going, pushing through
Why this psalm? I’m overcome with trials, I turned to God, He took me there
ILLUST: “Instruments only” flying (flying blind) - many pilots will not get this, only flying if conditions are ideal
Trying something new? For many, walking with, and trusting God completely is a new experience/adventure (or strange concept)
Fears are real
Faith quiets them, calms them, controls them (but they are there)
Fear lies, the enemy lies, so that you will fear
He’ll keep lying, and faith will keep him at bay

Psalm 23 - Listen to what God is saying...

1) The LORD - YHWH (Ex. 34:6-7)

Remember, this is who He is, this is who David is talking about

My shepherd - mine, yours (personal)

Shepherd cares for sheep, HIS sheep - John 10
Cares for each one - is that you?
This psalm is a promise to those who are HIS
Each believer can express the truth of this psalm

2) Shepherd (care, provision, protection)

Disregarded, but crucial to care of sheep (a position of service)
Care, provision, protection…SO THAT:
I shall not want, Makes me lie down, Leads me, Restores me, Guides me...
I shall not want - He will provide everything I need - promise, and He knows what I need
Makes me lie down in green pastures - the sheep don’t need to wander looking for food, nourishment - not seasonal, but constant
Leads me beside the quiet waters - plentiful source of water (springs, wells)
The sheep have time to lie down, to rest, to be nourished and refreshed without rushing - God’s care is consistent, constant, plentiful, refreshing
Especially encouraging after a rough go
Especially encouraging to know He is providing and will provide care
Restores my soul - renewed, so that the sheep feel cared for
Believers are renewed so that we feel that life in God’s presence is good, and worth living
Again, personal, my soul - we get down spiritually, we need uplifted
Friends are few and far between, the Shepherd is there
Guides me in the paths of righteousness -
The shepherd guides the sheep in the most direct path to the desired destination, nourishing along the way
The Great Shepherd’s sheep, desired destination is dwelling in the house of the Lord forever - we are citizens of Heaven
The LORD’s sheep are not tired out unnecessarily
The LORD knows what lies ahead, He chooses the right paths and guides us along the way (sheep need to follow)
All this care, and guidance - Why?
a) He loves His sheep
b) FOR HIS NAME’s SAKE - this is who He says He is!
God’s reputation is at stake - those who are not His sheep are watching those who are - they see if we trust Him through all the garbage!
Other sheep of His, see each other, rely on each other, mutual following, to keep each other strong and feeling secure
Find faithful sheep, and stick with them

3) Valley of the shadow of death

“Even though”
The paths He guides us on may still require a tough stretch, a trial, a challenge or two
Heartache, stress, betrayal, hurt… AND…danger....
I will fear no evil - very declarative statement
Evil wants my response to the valley of the shadow of death to be fear, crippling fear, so that I will stop following.
If I tap out here, give up, enemy wins
If I let my fear end my following the Shepherd, God’s will will NOT be accomplished through me, and I leave His protection
And I’ll miss the opportunity to grow and share
2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 - comfort others
Fears, trials, restlessness, needs
Aside: Inclusio - verse 1 and 4 - The LORD is my Shepherd, His rod and staff comfort me
Rod and Staff
Rod - to club wild animals, ward off threats (1 Sam. 17, 2 Sam. 23)
Staff - to keep sheep in control - keep heading the right direction, correct them, they want to run from fear
Constant vigilance, watching - personal presence and involvement
VISUALIZE this: Your Shepherd - with the rod, staff
Protection - we like
Correction - not so much? Ever think that correction, even difficult, is geared for our well-being?
Hebrews 12:6 NASB95
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
The Shepherd who guides, He is always with His sheep, bound by His name, even when that path is through the YUCK

4) In the presence of my enemies

Picture is that of a gracious host
The guest of honor would have his head anointed with oil upon entry
Cup overflowing = the LORD giving His best to his child
This occurs in plain view, enemies watching, right there!
Would never stop to eat when battle comes, laying down weapons to be restored, nourished
A sheep won’t eat unless it feels safe, protected
The shepherd knows the enemies out there, even if sheep do not
they trust the shepherd
The LORD’s sheep are told we can rest, be nourished, even when we might think it is dangerous - God says SHHHHH - show the enemy you are not afraid!
POINT: our cup may not always be full, we may not always feel like the guest of honor - but we must know that God with His grace, mercy, provision, care, will ALWAYS be right there with us, our companion.

5) Dwelling in the house of the LORD forever

Confidence in this care now, and forever
In this life - God’s goodness, mercy
Beyond here - forever with the Lord
2 Corinthians 5:6–8 NASB95
Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
THIS IS GOD’s PROMISE - Eternal security


To embrace this protection, care, provision, and experience joy, peace, mercy, forgiveness, grace....
…is to give us a taste of eternal fellowship with God
Experience the nearness of God - so few do!
Some without the LORD will try very hard to be happy now, comfortable now, and they need to be warned that without God they will suffer forever
We, believers, may suffer now - but fellowship with God forever
He’s the Great Shepherd - follow Him
Are you His sheep? Let Him care for you?
Not His? Why not ask Him today, to forgive your sin, and surrender to Him?
This very comfort is there for the asking.
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