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The Lord is my Shepherd

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

The Lord is my shepherd - I shall not want - he makes me to lie down in green pastures - he leads me beside still waters - he restores my soul.

What comforting words these are. But are they true words? Are they Words that are true in the sense that they really apply to us? Jesus said, "My Sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me." You know, I really want Jesus to be my shepherd. l want Him t0 be my shepherd because I am told that when I am lost, he will look for me; that when I am in danger, His rod and His staff will comfort me. I want Jesus to be my shepherd because He promises His sheep Eternal Life and that they will never perish. "No one will snatch them out of my hand;" says Jesus." 'For what my Father has given me is greater than all else and no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand." As the 23rd Psalm puts it, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

I really want Jesus to be my Shepherd. I really want all that the 23rd Psalm promises and all that Jesus promises to be true for me. True for all the people that select the 23rd Psalm for their funeral service and from all the people that can recite the 23rd Psalm by heart. I'm sure that all of you want the same thing.

We want a God to watch over us, a God to protect us, a God to bless us and we need a God to seek us out when we go astray. We want a God to comfort us when we hurt, a God to heal us when we are ill and we need a God to walk with us when we traverse through the valley of the shadow of death. We want a God to bring us into paradise when we die. I believe that we all want this, and God is telling us, indeed Jesus is telling us, you can have it, you can have it from me; for I am the Good Shepherd. I am the One who looks after His sheep, the One who loves His sheep, with a Love that is stronger than death.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Almost every one of us here today believes this statement. Almost everyone of us believes that He is indeed the Shepherd who laid down

His life for His sheep.

Almost everyone, of us here today believes that He and God, the Father, are as Jesus said, One, and that what is entrusted to Him is also entrusted to the Father, and what is entrusted to the Father is entrusted to the Son. I know I believe that and I believe

that most of you believe it as well. But the question remains. The simple question remains. Are we His sheep? Does his words of comfort apply to us?

Hear what the Shepherd says about His sheep. Hear what every observer of shepherds and sheep knows to be true, and that is that the sheep knows the sherherds voice and follows them. They will not follow a stranger. Instead, they will run away from them because they do not know the voice of strangers. And like a good shepherd, Jesus tells us that He is the Good Shepherd, He knows His own and His own know Him. His sheep hear His voice and They follow Him.

The question for us today is are we His sheep? In verse sixteen of the tenth chapter of the Gospel according to John, Jesus says, "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also and they will listen to my voice and they will follow me".

This is a test. It is a test of whether or not we are the sheep of the Good Shepherd. It is a test of whether or not, no matter what fold we may come from, we are the the people who belong to Jesus Christ; the people who belong to God. Do you pass the test? Do you know and listen to your Shepherd's voice?

There is a story about a woman who lived in British Columbia. She worked there

at the local TV Station as a Continuity Director. She was responsible for scheduling all the programs and all the advertisements within those programs. She also wrote ads for local companies and did a few other things.

One night her family was sitting at home watching TV when advertisement came on for one of the big national moving companies. It was a locally made advertisement and it consisted of a picture of a letter slanted sideways on the screen with the voice of a woman reading out the letter and then thanking the moving company for doing such a marvelous job of moving her family's belongings.

The voice was very British. It wasn't one that her family recognised at all. So, her teenage son turned to his mother and asked who it was that was reading the ad and that he didn't think that anyone from England worked at the TV. Station.

His mother stared at him, shook her head, laughed and said, " you dummy - that's me!" He had never heard his mother's voice on tape before and so he didn't recognise it. After years of living with her, the son still didn't know his mother's voice. He didn't realise that she had a British accent. He didn't recognise her speech apart from seeing her in 'front of him.

So how much easier is it for us TO NOT KNOW the voice of Jesus when he speaks· to us? How much easier might it be f0r anyone of us to not know the voice of Jesus? Do we know the voice of the shepherd? Do we pass the test? Think about it some more. How many of us actually pray to God at least once a day using our own word sand from the heart?

And then how many of us, when we thought to pray, when we thought to talk to God and bring to Him our requests, thought to listen to Him? How many of us actually took the time to quiet our hearts and our minds, and listen for a message from God? Did we look for a word, for a thought or for some impulse to come to us from the very heart of the living God; from the stirring 0f His Holy Spirit?

And then again, how many of us thought to talk to a brother or sister in the Lord about our wants and needs? How many of us thought to listen to a fellow believer in an attempt to discern God's will for our life; that God will speak to us through them, knowing as we do, that when there are here two or three are gathered in Christ's name, He is present.

There are people who claim to believe and yet are unfamiliar with the Voice of Jesus and the Word of God. Many run each day to the astrology section of the newspaper in order to discover what is happening and what they should do that day rather than turning to the Scriptures and to Prayer, and especially to the indwelling Spirit of God for counsel and advice.

There are so called believers who are so unused to listening to God, so unaware of the presence of the Living Word in their lives that they c0nsult the Ouija Board for messages. They call up the Psychics' who advertise on Television for advice rather than seeking the Wisdom of the Saints who live among us in this Church.

What kind of belief is this? To what flock do such people really belong? Even

Satan believes in the Word of God and he has the good sense to tremble. He trembles because, though he believes, he does not listen nor does he follow. He trembles because he knows that God does not make empty promises, nor does he issue idle warnings.

The great test of listening is in responding. "The works I do", said Jesus, "the w0rks I do in my Father's name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me." Our response to the Shepherd should be to believe that He is truly the Lamb of God Slain for the Sins of the world.

Indeed, I believe that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who laid his life down for me. And I want Jesus to watch over me; to protect me; to prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. I will even listen to His voice. But does that make me one of His sheep? No it doesn't. I become a member of His Flock when I actually respond to His Voice, when I do the things that He is calling me to do, and when I truly Follow the One who is speaking to me.

When our children were younger, just about every day in the summer, at lunch time, at supper time, and at bed time, I would go out on to the steps of our house and I would holler for the kids to come home. My wife, Cathy seemed to yell louder than I could, but neither her nor I knew that we had been heard until something happened. We did not know we had been heard until we heard the responding cry, "I'm coming". When we heard their cry, we then knew that we had been heard. We were now content and able to continue on doing what we had planned knowing that our children would be with us, as we wanted them to be.

If we didn't hear that cry then we would become anxious and worried, wondering where they were and are they were safe. We would start calling their names again and again. And after a short while we would go looking for them. We would telephone people, we would get other kids to search for them, and we would tour around the neighbourhood by foot and by car looking- looking and calling. We did what the Shepherd does when the Sheep goes astray. We did what the Shepherd does when the Sheep don't come when He calls.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I ask you this, do you know the Good Shepherd's Voice? Do you Follow Him? Do you belong to Him? These are very serious questions because the quality of our life here and now is affected by whether or not we have a relationship with the Living Christ. The question is whether or not we actually come when the Master Calls and whether or not we listen for his voice and strive to do what he tells us to do. The quality of our life here and now is affected - and the quality of our eternity is affected as well.

In the eyes of God each one of us belongs to His flock. God is calling out to us. God is searching for us. God is asking us to come to Him, to listen to Him, and to enter His fold. He wants us to be sheltered and made safe with the rest of His flock, safe from the robbers and thieves who only kill and destroy safe from the evil one who woucd have you live in darkness and despair all your days.

As parents call their children to themselves so that they might bless them, so that they might instruct them and nourish them and show them love, so God is calling us. Listen - and follow - and you shall not want. Listen and follow - and you will lie down in green pastures. Listen and follow- and your soul will be restored.

LET US PRAY: Dear Lord God, We thank you for seeking us out - as a shepherd seeks for his sheep. We thank you for keeping us safe - for standing with us in adversity and for blessing us with all that we have. Help us to better listen

and give us the faith to follow you more perfectly. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

For Morning Prayer on the Fourth Sunday after Easter

Published on May 6th, 2001 {Revised on March 23rd, 2023}

© Dr. Charles Warner 2023

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