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Summary: JESUS IS the Good Shepherd who REMINDs HIS Sheep of how he provides, for their eternal and abundant life. HE THEN GOES ON TO GIVE US INSTRUCTIONS ON TO

THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN THE SEASON OF EASTER,,

THE MESSAGE FOR SUNDAY THE 6th OF MAY, 2001

THE TEXT ARE:

The LESSON:.....PSALM 23: 1-6

The Gospel......JOHN 10: 22-30

PRAYER...MAY THE WORDS OF GOD AND HIS MESSAGE SPOKEN THIS HOUR BE BOTH A WORD OF COMFORT AND CHALLENGE

WE PRAY THAT IT WILL CHALLENGE THOSE WHO ARE COMFORTABLE

AND COMFORT ALL THOSE WHO ARE BEING CHALLENGED THIS DAY.

Psalms 23:1-6 INTRODUCTION

Turn with me this morning to the 23rd Psalm, perhaps one of the best loved passages in all the Bible. We often read it in times of stress or sorrow. But I would like you to see it in a slightly different way this morning.

I’d like you to see in this Psalm three great reasons for us to be thankful unto God. A. The 23rd Psalm begins with these familiar words, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." When someone says, "I shall not want," we need to sit up & take notice because this is an age of discontent. THERE IS A QUITE POEM,

It was spring. But it was summer I wanted - The warm days, & the great outdoors.

It was summer. But it was fall I wanted - The colorful leaves, & the cool, dry air.

It was fall. But it was winter I wanted - The beautiful snow, & the joy of the holiday season.

It was winter. But it was spring I wanted - The warmth, of nature. I was a child. But it was adulthood I wanted - The freedom, & the respect

I was 20. But it was 30 I wanted - To be mature, & sophisticated.

I was middle-aged. But it was 20 I wanted - The youth, & the free spirit.

I was retired. But it was middle-age I wanted - The presence of mind, without limitations.

Then my life was over, & I never got what I wanted.

Many people never seem satisfied, & almost everybody wants more.

Obviously, God wants us to be a happy, satisfied people. But We shouldn’t be restless , always grumbling about what we don’t have.

So with the 23rd Psalm in mind, we affirm THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD I SHALL NOT WANT..

OFTEN in the Bible, human beings are compared to sheep.

Now that sounds nice, but surely you realize that is not necessarily a compliment, because sheep are among the dumbest & dirtiest animals in the world.

So when Isaiah says, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray," he is not saying "That’s good." He’s saying, "That’s bad, because we’re just about on a level with sheep."

When Jesus looked out on the people with compassion, the Gospel writers say that He saw them "as sheep without a shepherd." That’s not a compliment, either, but a concern, because sheep are so helpless when they’re all alone.

Now let’s look at what David says..

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD I SHALL NOT WANT

David then says, "HE MAKE ME TO LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES,

He leads me beside quiet waters. Then David says, "He restores my soul." "He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake."

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."

Why? Because "you are with me." David goes on to say, "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies."

Finally, listen to this, "You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Surely goodness & mercy will follow me all the days of my life, & I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Jesus was a Master teacher. He drew attention to what the people understood and then moved them from there to spiritual insights.

He saw a man sowing seeds and told the people that the different soils the seed landed on was like different hearts that receive the Word of God.

He said looking for the Kingdom of God was like looking for a lost coin.

He told us that God’s love for us was like that of a Father who’s son had left home.

In the passage before us Jesus uses A SHEEP IMIAGE..

NOW WE UNDERSTAND THE IMAGE AND WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE POINT AS WELL.

THE POINT IS THAT Jesus is the One True Shepherd . . . . the only way of salvation (v.9)

BUT AT THE TIME OF THIS PASSAGE The Pharisees believed them selves to be the guardians of the people.

BUT Jesus makes it clear that He alone can lead the people to a restored relationship with God.

He alone is the Redeemer.

HE ALONE IS THE Good Shepherd.

JESUS IS QUICK TO REMIND HIS FOLLOWER THAT HE IS WHO HE CLAIMS TO BE AND AS HE ALSO IDENTIFIES THE QUALITIES OF SHEEP HE THEN GOES ON TO GIVE US INSTRUCTIONS ON TO How to Defend Against Those who would lead us astray

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