Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Lent Mid-week 6

Mid week Service 6
March 31, 2004 
Psalm 23:6 (KJV)
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

The good Shepherd shares the secrets of a happy eternity

INTRODUCTION: King David in this much-loved Psalm gives us an insight to a life lived well. He gives us the secret to happy life, a happy death and now a happy eternity. David concludes our Psalm for this Lenten season by reminding us: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” -Psalm 23:6 (KJV) How can we be assured of a happy eternity?  By this verse David gives two directions of thought; the preservation of our life and a place of eternal security.

I.        David assures us of the Preservation of our life – “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me...” Goodness – God’s goodness consists of righteousness, holiness, justice, kindness, grace and love. Goodness is also one of the fruits of the Spirit which characterizes Christian behavior. {Galatians 5:22}  Christians are called to goodness even as God the Father is perfect and good. Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew: "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
There is a problem, however; you know the problem. It’s a problem found in all of us. It’s a problem with sin. Because of our sinful nature our goodness fails to measure up to the Father’s standard of perfection. What are we to do?

We trust in the mercy of Almighty God. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me...” What is the mercy of God? Mercy is that aspect of God’s love, which causes Him to help those who are miserable. Those who are miserable may be so either because they have broken God’s law or because they find themselves in circumstances beyond their control.
What are we to do when we find ourselves to be in such circumstances? We rely and fall upon the Savior’s amazing grace, which, of course, is that aspect of God’s love that moves Him to forgive those who are guilty.

God shows mercy on those who have broken His law. Daniel 9:9 reminds us: “To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him”

God’s mercy is given to us although it is undeserved. Paul reminds us in Romans 9:16: “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on god who has mercy.”  No wonder we cry out to god when we pray the Kyrie: “Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us. Lord, have mercy upon us.”

Especially when we poor sinners find ourselves in circumstances beyond our control the Savior reaches down to us with His mercy. Jesus had mercy when He healed the blind men {Matthew 9:27-31; 20:29-34} and when He cleansed the lepers. {Luke 17:11-19}   Because God is merciful, He expects us, His children to be merciful. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy”

Jesus says in Matthew 5:7 In James 1:27 we are reminded: “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of god our Father; to visit orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world”

Transition:  Not only will the Good Shepherd provide for the preservation of our lives; He will also bring us to a place where we will live and reign with Him.

II.     The Good Shepherd gives us a place of eternal security.

A.     David reminds us: “...and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

United by God’s election and salvation through Jesus Christ our Good Shepherd we are included in the Father’s household of faith. St. Paul explains it this way:

 “So them, while we have opportunity let us do good to all men – especially those of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10)

“We will dwell with God in heaven, the dwelling place of God; the dwelling place of the righteous” (Ephesians 2:19)

CONCLUSION: This is how the Good Shepherd shares the secrets of a happy eternity; in goodness, mercy, and security.

Lord Jesus Christ, shepherd of Your Church, You give us new birth in the waters of baptism, You anoint us with oil, and call us to salvation at Your table. Dispel the terrors of death and the darkness of error. Lead Your people along safe paths, that they may rest securely in You and dwell in the house of the Lord now and forever, for Your name's’ sake. Amen 

No comments: