Summary: A sermon about trusting God.
"Fear No Evil"
There can be no doubt that one of the key messages of this Psalm is that we are not alone...
...we are loved beyond measure...
...we can trust God...
...And because of this we need not fear!!!
We all know that fear, hatred, loneliness and mistrust is running rampant in our world today.
A well-known figure, in his best-selling book wrote the following advice as it pertains to success in life:
"Always get even because, remember, other people are watching."
"Don't trust anyone, not even your friends.
They all want your money, your house, your wife and even your dog!"
I think that is really sad.
I would be awful miserable if I really believed that or thought that this was the way one must live.
That being said, I think many folks do believe this and live accordingly.
I think I may have lived with this basic assumption at one point in my life.
And I was a very sad soul.
This is why I need Jesus.
This is why we all need Jesus.
We are not supposed to try and navigate the devil's terrain on our own.
And this world--when we are trying to navigate it without Jesus--is...the devil's terrain.
He is the "Prince of this world."
He is the enemy of our souls.
He is the enemy of God and all that is good.
He is a murderer and when he lies he speaks his native language for he is the father of lies.
If we go our own way, like so many lost sheep--we will be devoured!!!
And God knows this.
That is why God sent His Son.
If there is no one we can trust...
...if our greatest security is money, wealth and power...
...if we are consumed by 'getting even' with anyone who we might think has slighted us...
...we are going to live a very lonely, anxious, self-centered, unhappy life--a life built on the sinking sand of fear, really.
And when we live in fear, we are living in hell on earth.
We are falling into the devil's fiery trap.
I John says that "fear involves torment."
Are any of us tormented by fear this morning?
What about our neighbors, our friends, our country?
We are told in 1 John 4: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love castes out fear...
...whoever fears has not been made perfect in love...
...God is love."
What is the opposite of fear?
What is Love?
And so, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul...
...Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with..."
And is this world the "valley of the shadow of death" or what?
We have terrorists, terribly lost and scared persons--trying to kill other persons.
We have wars, upon wars, upon wars.
We have human beings shooting one another with guns on the street.
We have disease.
We lose loved ones.
And, in the corporate and media saturated world, there is a sense of spiritual death.
Children are being sacrificed on the altar of terribly perverted and unspeakable acts.
Bullies are picking on the kids who don't "fit their mold."
Teenage girls are being cyber-bullied and some are committing suicide because of it.
So many people see no hope...
...no way out.
Adults are turning to Meth., crack cocaine and heroin in frightening numbers.
And then we have so many people who are struggling...
...we have the so-called invisible people living under bridges, in tents in the woods, holding up signs on freeway exit ramps.
Surely, we are "walking through the valley of the shadow of death."
Surely we are surrounded on all sides by evil.
And surely, we live in a world that is terrified!!!
But, for those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior...
...For those who have decided to trust the Lord...
...for those who will allow Jesus to be their Shepherd...
...we are learning that we need not fear...
...for, again, we are not alone.
We are loved beyond measure.
Jesus has conquered fear and death for us.
He died on the Cross--He endured the worst that the world and the devil could throw at Him--and He rose to victory!!!
Therefore, He reigns forever and ever.
He has "tied up the strongman in his own house" and is taking lost souls away from that "strongman"--any lost souls who will have Him.
He is setting us free.
He is transforming and regenerating those who will follow Him!!!
And in Him, we die to the world, to the devil.
And in Him, we are raised to new life here and now--and on into eternity!!!!!!