Summary: A MESSAGE ABOUT THE COMFORT THE CROSS OF CHRIST BRINGS TO PEOPLE
THE COMFORT OF THE CROSS
(THY ROD AND THY STAFF, THEY COMFORT ME)
I. THE 23RD PSALM
A. Background of the 23rd Psalm
B. The main idea is that God shepherds His people just as a sheep herder does his sheep
-Ps 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
C. The shepherd had many responsibilities to his sheep, all these speak of God’s provision of His people
D. The one thing I want to focus on in this message is the shepherd’s rod. The shepherd’s rod served many purposes. We are going to examine how those things are demonstrated in the cross.
II. THE CROSS
B. Jesus didn’t walk through life with a shepherd’s staff because his earthly occupation wasn’t herding sheep
C. Jesus replaced the shepherd’s staff with a cross and today we find comfort in the cross
D. The preaching of the cross is a comforting, reassuring message for the Christian and the sinner
III. THROUGH THE CROSS, THE LOST CAN BE SAVED
A. A lamb would get it’s self in a dangerous place at times but the shepherd could use the crook of his staff to reach out and lift it or pull it to safety
B. Jesus uses the cross to reach out and catch the sinner, pulling the sinner to Himself
-every time the gospel is shared with the sinner, Jesus is reaching out attempting to save Him
C. If the sinner spends eternity in hell, he will do so because he ignored the cross. He will blatantly have to push past it, taking no thought to it’s comforting promises or it’s warning if rejected
-the two thieves crucified with Jesus
D. The sinner can find comfort in the cross that he can’t find anywhere else. By embracing it’s message, he can find peace in this life and the hope of eternal life. Through the cross the sinner is reminded that God loves him
IV. THROUGH THE CROSS WE HAVE PROTECTION
A. Sheep were often a vulnerable target for hungry wild animals but the shepherd’s staff afforded protection for the helpless sheep.
B. Satan is like wild animal, always looking for meal
-1 Pet 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:......Whom resist steadfast in the faith.....
C. The cross affords the child of God protection from satan. We can’t defeat satan on our own no more than a lamb could kill a bear but if we stay close to the cross, our protection is guaranteed
-read Psalm 91, Rom 8:35-39
D. There is comfort in knowing that no matter how much satan rages against us, there is protection and safety in the cross
V. THROUGH THE CROSS WE FIND GUIDANCE AND DIRECTION
A. Sheep have a tendency to wander off, they’re not good at going in the right direction. When this happened, the shepherd would reach out with his staff and guide it in the right direction
B. Even though we may be saved, we are still good at going in the wrong direction. Without paying careful attention we will wander off and get ourselves lost or in trouble. Many times we face circumstances where we are not sure what direction to go in.
C. If we will look to the cross, Jesus will direct our paths. It’s when we get our eyes off the cross that we get into trouble
-Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
D. Before the compass was invented, sailors used the stars and constellations to guide them, primarily the North Star. As long as they could see the stars they could find their way.
E. We may go through a lot of places in life that we’ve never been to before, that may be full danger but there is comfort in knowing that the cross will always lead us in the right direction.
-Even when walking through death’s dark valley, the cross will guide us safely through.
-verse from Amazing Grace - Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come. Tis grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.
A. Just as David illustrated his took comfort in God like a lamb would with a shepherd’s staff, we can take comfort in the cross.