Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
‘Recovered, Anointed, and Restored by Our Good Shepherd, Jesus’
© October 23, 2016 by Steve Mickelson
Announcements and Call to Worship: Responsive Reading #612 (The Lamb of God – Isaiah 53); Prayer
Opening Hymn #288: Amazing Grace! How Sweet the Sound; Choruses
Prayer and Tithing Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings
Scripture Verses: Psalm 23, Ezekiel 34:11-15, Luke 15:1-7, John 10:1-18
Let us pray,
Welcome to Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church and our Sunday Morning Worship and Praise Service.
The message today, entitled ‘Recovered, Anointed, and Restored by Our Good Shepherd, Jesus’, we will examine some of the reasons why Jesus often compared his relationship with his followers and his ministry to that of a shepherd and his flock of sheep.
Contained in both the title and first line of the 23rd Psalm is David’s acknowledgment that the Lord is his shepherd. Psalm 23 both describes David’s relationship with the Lord and acts as a faith testimony.
Psalm 23 (ESV) The Lord Is My Shepherd
A Psalm of David.
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.[a]
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness[b]
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[c]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely[d] goodness and mercy[e] shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell[f] in the house of the Lord
Footnotes: a. Psalm 23:2 Hebrew beside waters of rest b. Psalm 23:3 Or in right paths c. Psalm 23:4 Or the valley of deep darkness d. Psalm 23:6 Or Only e. Psalm 23:6 Or steadfast love f. Psalm 23:6 Or shall return to dwell g. Psalm 23:6 Hebrew for length of days
Psalm 23 reinforces the description of the Lord as a shepherd, who cares for us, like a shepherd’s flock, by providing not only our physical needs with green pastures and still waters but the spiritual needs by restoring the souls and guiding us along the righteous path for his name’ sake. His provision is so complete, that we are not wanting or in need of anything else.
Even when we are in low circumstances that may threaten our very own mortality and spiritual survival, we take comfort in the Lord’s presence.
The gift of God’s Covenants, of His mercy, and life eternal, anoint us so that we are completely and eternally full with the Lord’s goodness and mercy.
And though we may find physical and spiritual tests and challenges intended by the devil to drift away from the safety found within the Lord’s flock, we may take solace from the Lord’s promise that, as a Good Shepherd, He will seek out those of His flock who have gone astray, as we read in Ezekiel 34:11-15 (ESV):
The Lord God Will Seek Them Out
11 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God.
The arrival Jesus, the Good Shepherd, was prophesied in Ezekiel 34:11-15 as seeking out His flock, who have become scattered and lost in the darkness and clouds which have obscured the light of his guidance and goodness.
When the lost members of the Lord’s flock are found, they will be led in the same manner described in Psalm 23: out of a place physical and spiritual danger, to a place that he provided where we shall not need or want for anything.
While the Lord provides for the needs of His sheep, Jesus explains His expectations of the way which we are to share Christ’s Gospel or the Message of Salvation with others, as a parable described in Luke 15:1-7 (ESV):
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” In our final Scripture, Jesus declares that he is our Good Shepherd, who acts as the gatekeeper to the Father’s kingdom in heaven, calling His flock to the only way of salvation and the presence of God’s glory, John 10:1-18 (ESV):
I Am the Good Shepherd
10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, loves His flock so much, that He has given his life to redeem them. The Lord has chosen to lay his life, to redeem our lives, by the authority given to Christ by the Father in heaven, so God’s goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lifetime, and we may anticipate the beloved Son of God, who sacrificed His life to atone for the judgment for sins of His flock. If we listen to the call of the Lord and accept His gift of salvation and follow the path that He provides, we are promised the gifts of light, salvation, and eternal life.
Let us pray…
Closing Hymn #49: A Pilgrim Was I and A-wandering
Benediction – Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV):
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.