Summary: The source of peace to your troubled hearts is belief in Jesus Christ.
We are going to dive into a series of weeks where we're going to come across that little phrase, take heart, a whole lot. We are in John 14. We've been away from the gospel of John for a while. We pick it back up at an incredible moment, when the Commander, if you will, of God's enduring people on earth is addressing the initial group of people that will form this body the gates of hell will not stand against.
But we have some work to do before this thing can endure the length of time they're waiting for a reuniting with their Commander and the difficulty of the war they will find themselves in. You, my friends, if you know Christ, are a part of this army. If you don't, I'm going to talk to you about the Commander you are going to want to get intimately acquainted with.
I love what I get to do. I have to tell you, I am just blessed. Thank you for letting me study God's Word this week, that I might spend a few moments with you this morning and just open your eyes to the incredible love God has accomplished and communicated and preserved for you. I mean, this is some great stuff.
I'm going to tell you right now I'm about to ruin a certain part of Scripture you often hear at a very tender moment of your life, but here's the trade I'm going to make with you. It's going to do you a whole lot more good, because this was not a Scripture that was intended for you to be read at a very tender moment in your life. It was a Scripture that was intended for you to have all the time so you might continually live in the fullness of life God intended. Let me pray, and I'll explain.
Lord, what a privilege it is to stand here and to open up your Word, to communicate your love to a group of people you deeply love. I pray you'd protect them from any nonsense that would come from a man, from any persuasive words or impressive means of communication that would come from me, but I pray you would not let them miss the fullness of the glory you intend to be revealed to those you long to be in intimate relationship with.
I pray, Lord, it would take heart as a result of the study we will accomplish these next few weeks, and I pray that, because we would become courageous and brave and confident in our Lord and King, this world would never be the same. Would you start by changing our world this morning, and would you use your Word to do it? Conform us to your image. Transform us from the death that is in this world. Teach us some Jesus. Amen.
All right, so here we go. I've already ruined this one little verse for you. I'm going to take you back there. Psalm 23 is a psalm that is often read when you gather at a tender moment, when people are burying those they love and have lost. Almost without exception, we read Psalm 23. Let me just tell you something. There's nothing wrong with reading Psalm 23 at a funeral, but there's something wrong with only reading Psalm 23 at a funeral.
There's nothing wrong with reading the text I'm going to teach you this morning at a funeral, but there's something terribly wrong with only reading the text I'm going to teach you this morning at a funeral. Let me explain this to you. Psalm 23 was not a psalm that was written for sickly old men on their deathbeds. That's not the purpose of Psalm 23. Psalm 23 was written for young shepherd boys who were about to face lions and bears and crazy kings and tyrants and live alone every day in the terrors of this world. That's the purpose of Psalm 23.
David said, "Listen, I have a guy who is the most sovereign power in the world, and all he wants to do is kill me. He's throwing spears at me. All I do is sing to him. All I do is bless him. All I do is serve him, and he wants to kill me. But, God, you are with me. Even though I live in the midst of the world, just like sheep, who are completely defenseless in a world filled with bears and lions, they are in good stead if their shepherd is with them. They have no fear."
If you've not studied sheep lately, they don't have many defense mechanisms. They're little fluffs of cotton that go, "Baa." There's no camouflage. There's no agility. There's no speed. They are just a chop, waiting to be devoured. But they have something almost nobody else in the animal kingdom has, and that is a shepherd who is always with them.