Friday, April 3, 2020

23rd Psalms Christians: Going Places with God - Lesson 7 In the Lord's House

23rd Psalms Christians: Going Places with God

Lesson 7 In the Lord's House
Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

The Good Life Now

Boasting on the Shepherd

Keller writes, "The sheep with such a shepherd knows of a surety that his is a privileged position.  No matter what comes, at least and always he can be perfectly sure that goodness and mercy will be in the picture.  He reassures himself that he is ever under sound, sympathetic, intelligent ownership.  What more need he care about?  Goodness and mercy will be the treatment he receives from his mater's expert, loving hands. 

Not only is this a bold statement, but it is somewhat of a boast, an exclamation of implicit confidence in the One who controls his career and destiny."

The sheep has traveled with the shepherd from the winter fold to the summer mountain pastures.  He has been through the thunderstorms and the attacks by wild animals.  Through it all the shepherd has protected and dealt with every trial.  Always when the sheep needed help or confidence the shepherd was there.  Looking out over the flocks, his presence a constant source of comfort.

First Priority

How often do we are New Testament sheep stop and boast of our shepherd?  Do we fully grasp the concept that all I really need in this life is to have Him near me? 

Many Christians seem to be more interested in what the shepherd can do for them than having the shepherd with them.  They cannot see past the food and water to see the one who provides and leads.  Jesus once said, Matthew 6:25, "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?"

Jesus is telling us to quit worrying about the peripherals and to start concentrating on the things that mattered. 

Look at Luke 10:38-42 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Who are the characters of the passage?
Jesus, Martha and Mary.

What has upset Martha?
Martha was probably the oldest daughter.  This meant she was responsible for caring for any guests.  In this culture not greater shame could there be than not taken good care of your guests.  Martha was upset by Mary's seeming disregard for this important duty.

Was Mary wrong in not helping?
Not unless you want to argue with Jesus.

Was Martha wrong in wanting to serve the Lord?
No, not at all.  She was only worried and concerned to the point of distraction from spending time with the most important guest she had ever had.  Bering with Jesus was more important than being busy for Jesus.

What did Jesus mean when He said, "One thing is needful?"
He was needful and knowing him personally would mean much more than serving food to Him.

Read John 11:17-27 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.  Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:  And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.  Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.  Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.  Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.  Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?  She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. 

What is revealing about Martha leaving the home during her own brothers time of mourning? 
At a time when even greater pressure to do what is right was on her she left all those who had come to mourn and went to the one who was needful at this time, Jesus.

We all need to ask ourselves, "Am I aware of the presence of Jesus in my life right now?"  It is not a matter of doing things that Christ would want us to do, but of doing things with and through Christ.  This is the real understanding of goodness and mercy, it is in the person and presence of the shepherd.

The Good Life Forever

Basking at home

Now we come to the final thought, the last phrase, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."  The sheep are returning back to the safety of the shepherd's fold and as they reflect upon the year that has preceded they realize how good it is to dwell with in the shepherd's house. 

The word house used here means a dwelling place, a place of habitation.  It can refer to houses for people, a shelter for animals or even our bodies as a dwelling place for our souls.  To David it meant dwelling in the household of the shepherd, a place of protection, security and eternal love.  Nothing that he could ever encounter would take away his confidence in dwelling with his shepherd forever.

Knowing Jesus as My Shepherd

What of us?  Do we first of all belong to this household?  If I have never entered in by the door of the sheep then I do not belong.  There is only one way into the fold that is to "pass under the rod" of the shepherd.  To open up my heart to Him and allow to deal with the flaws found there.  In a human life those flaws are sin and no matter how minute they may seem to other sheep to the shepherd they must be dealt with.  Only a complete trust in the Shepherd who gave his life for me can bring his shed blood upon the sin of my life and make me white before God.  Only a sheep who has experienced the forgiveness and cleansing of God can be a member of God's house.

How can I know Jesus as my Shepherd, my Savior.

Hear His CallJohn 10: 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Enter Through Him - John 10:7, 9  Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 9  I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Believe In Him - John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Once I am His and experience Jesus as my shepherd, I will also know the same confidence that David did, in boasting of the protection of His Shepherd. 

If we don’t believe that Jesus can keep us eternally then we don’t trust our Shepherd.  We don’t believe He will do what He has promised.

If we can’t believe He will save us eternally then did we really believe He saved us at all?

Read the following verses and write out the promises we are given.

John 3:16
Should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 10:28-29
None able to take out of Jesus hand or the Father's hand.
Romans 8:38-29
Nothing shall separate us from God's love.
Ecclesiastes 3:16
If God has saved us it is forever.
Psalms 37:23-24
Even a fall shall not be forever, for God upholds me.
Hebrews 7:25
He is able to save us to the uttermost, because he lives and intersedes for us always.
Philippians 1:6
The salvation which God has begun in us, He will continue until Jesus comes back.

Are there other verses which you could share that also describe God's promise of eternal security to those that belong to Him?

How confident are you right now?  Are you sure that you belong to God's flock?  If you are then can you confidently boast as David did, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever?"  If David could say this as sheep in God's fold then you should be able to say it as well.  If you can not then you have not really learned to trust the shepherd.  Walk with him, journey out to the pleasant pasture and into the dark valleys.   Look for him there among the still waters and in the midst of the attacking wolves and when you return from a lifetime with Him you will know as David did the power and care of the Good Shepherd.

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