Summary: There was a time when sin held you captive and God out of His love for you drew you to repentance. He appeared to your spiritual heart and the Holy Ghost drew you to Christ. He graciously accepted your plea for forgiveness and has set you in His everlas

Turn your Bibles to Jeremiah 31:3

Title: The God Who Shepherds You

Theme: Grasping God’s Everlasting Love

“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.’” (Jeremiah 31:3) Let us pray!

Introduction: Chapter thirty-one of the book of Jeremiah held words of comfort for Israel as she was in captivity, assuring them that God in due time would restore them and their children to their own land. He would and again make them a great and happy nation, especially by sending the Messiah, whose kingdom and grace would be enjoyed by all who would receive Jesus Christ. There would be a day that they would repent of their sins, and God would graciously accept them in their repentance. God would enrich their spiritual blessings and those blessings would be offered to the seed of Israel forever. (The Expositors Bible Commentary; Matthew Henry Commentary)

The Children of Israel were offered the blessings that were promised to Abraham. Abraham’s seed goes beyond the Jewish nation and people for they are offered to the Gentiles as well. (Romans 4:16-17)

Proposition: I would propose to you that there was a time when sin held you captive and God out of His love for you drew you to repentance. He appeared to your spiritual heart and the Holy Ghost drew you to Christ. He graciously accepted your plea for forgiveness and has set you in His everlasting love and care, if and only if you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord.

Interrogative Sentence: Just how is God a Shepherd to His people?

Transitional Sentence: The first step to experiencing God’s love is to understand and admit the fact that there are love masks that modern mankind likes to put on. There are eight masks that mankind likes to wear in desperation to experience love.

The first is “Performance.” People convince themselves that if they excel at something this will gain them love. They like people saying, “Look what he did…. Look at what she accomplished.” Those who are able to perform get strokes of appreciation, a little bit of value, a little bit of what the world calls love. However, it does not last and the drive to perform overtakes what should be done for Christ and Christ alone.

The second is “People.” Often people will look to people in their lives for affirmation and value. Do not get me wrong, people should give affirmation to others who are diligent and faithful, and work hard to do their best for the Lord and others. It is one thing when God moves upon someone’s heart to give affirmation but it is another when people compromise God’s righteousness in their lives to gain praise from man.

The third is “Pity.” There are people who will put themselves down so people will go out of their way to come to them and give them special attention. There are many times when we should have pity on the hurting and down hearted, but at no time should sin be entertained.

The fourth is “Position.” Some feel like, “If I can only get that manager position, than I can reach for the CEO spot on the corporate ladder, then I will have value.” It is only a mask when success is not gained out of sacrificial love for who you serve.

The fifth is “Physical Affection.” Too often people equate human contact with love.” If there is no sacrificial giving and living before those we want physical affection from, then we are wearing a mask of false love.

The sixth is “Pleasure.” I can’t wait until the next thrill or high or grand experience. It is a mask covering up that need for true love that can only come from the Lord.

The seventh is “Possessions.” If I can only have that lake front property, live in that neighborhood, drive that car, worship in the same type of church that I saw on TBN. If the Lord gives you all that then it is great, however, if you feel you need that to have a healthy walk with the Lord then your wearing a mask of possessions and missing true love.

Lastly, is “Problems.” This is usually a juvenile form of love mask, the crying out of a young adult wanting expressions of love on His own terms and not God’s. This problem also arises in adults and sadly even in the church setting.

In the Old Testament they were referred to as the “rabble.” (Numbers 11:4; Ezekiel 23:42) Those wanting their own way or carefree people not interested in God ways. These rabbles are people who are quite aware of the God of heaven and earth but they live by their own agenda.

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