Summary: A sermon that uses the opening line of the 23rd psalm to suggest we can revolutionise our faith in the year ahead
New Year Revolution
Ever marvel at snow it is so white and pure and untouched?
2016 is like that it is a year all wrapped up with just one piece of sellotape undone – we still don’t know what is in this gift from God. For some they don’t know if it is a good gift for them or like the socks you sometimes get from some long lost aunty.
Wrong size – wrong colour and a poor fit!
This gift of a new year is a gift from God and it is how we unwrap it and what we do with it that will be life changing for us.
It will be lifechanging but whether it is lifechanging in a good way or a bad way is totally dependent on who we walk with and what we do as a reaction to that.
My suggestion this morning is that you make a new year revolution.
No I didn’t get that wrong I said new year revolution.
The revolution will come as we walk with God.
I want to take as my text this morning some lines from Psalm 23.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
Sounds quiet and kind of restful doesn’t it. It might even encourage you to look for a cottage in the country where you can rest in God’s love and watch the world go by. The world can spin on it’s axis wars and famines may happen in other places and people may choose to follow evil and do bad things – but me! I will stay here in my place of rest. Yet this passage was written by one of histories most famous generals – a man who knew the cut and thrust of battles – was pursued by his enemies – who honoured God and indeed was considered a man after God’s own heart by God himself. Furiously refused to follow the desires of his own heart by slaughtering the unjust King who was trying to kill him. Honoured God in all he did. Who knew temptation and committed adultery and killed a man in the cover up – knew what it was to be humbled in tears and to see his own family disintegrate into disarray as a result of his own sin – yet somehow kept returning to God.
This man says and can say – The Lord is my shepherd I shall not be in want.
The history of the author suggests we should sit up and listen and listen well for he is a man who knew the toughness of life the foolishness of his own heart yet always returned to God even in the most extreme circumstances.
, Robert Ketchum tells about a Sunday school teacher who asked her group of children if any of them could quote the entire twenty-third psalm. A little four-and-a-half-year-old girl was among those who raised their hands. A bit skeptical, the teacher asked if she could really quote the entire psalm. The little girl came to the podium, faced the class, made a little bow, and said: "The Lord is my shepherd, that’s all I want." (sermon central.)
Lets consider together this morning why it makes a difference to have God as our shepherd in 2016!
Because, if we do, it will mean a New Year Revolution.
1st point is remember who is in Charge. – The Lord is my Shepherd. The Lord. God is in charge. Christians are people who have accepted Jesus as their Lord. But I wonder how well we understand the Lordship of God in our lives.
The word Lord in Hebrew The LORD (Yahweh Or Jehovah) ...or in Greek Kurios and particularly the Noun The Greek noun phobos can mean “reverential fear” of God, “not a mere ‘fear’ of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, “Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness”). This is the type of positive, productive fear Luke describes in the early New Testament Church:
“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied” (Acts 9:31, emphasis added).
The Lord at the start of psalm 23 and also 2016 then is critical to all that follows. Walking in the fear of the lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit caused the church to multiply. People are drawn to the Lordship of God in someone’s life and that gravitational pull produces life.
When Jackie Pullinger went to the walled city in Hong Kong in the 1970’s it was alawless 6 acres of hell where 30,000 people lived in crime and drug induced squallor.