The Shepherd Leads and Supplies Purpose
by Mike Robinson
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over (Psalms 23:1-5).
God seeks and values the gifts we bring Him—gifts of praise, thanksgiving, service, and material offerings. In all such giving at the altar we enter into the highest experiences of fellowship. But the gift is acceptable to God in the measure to which the one who offers it is in fellowship with Him in character and conduct; and the test of this is in our relationships with our fellow men. We are thus charged to postpone giving to God until right relationships are established with others. Could the neglect of this be the explanation of the barrenness of our worship? Matt 5:24 (G.C. Morgan).
Meaning, purpose, and happiness come when I:
A. Look to God’s word, follow Him and glorify Him alone
(2 Timothy 3:16-17; Luke 14:27).
B. Decide to focus on eternal things (Colossians 3:2).
C. Look for things in my life that need to be changed
D. Ask others what my character flaws are in order to mature (Proverbs 15:22).
E. Be amazed about Jesus–Jesus died for His sheep (Galatians 2:20)!
F. Trust Jesus—believe in Him for all things (John 14:1;
G. Pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
H. Look to the Gospel (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
I. Remember happiness is not Hell (Matthew 25; Revelation 20-22).
Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in Heaven (Luke 10:20).
The Moral Law and the Gospel of Christ: Distinct But Not Separate
The predominant functions of the moral law and God’s commandments:
I. Restrain Evil.
II. Reveal Sin/our Depravity.
III. Assist in our sanctification.
One must not confuse and commingle law and gospel: God’s commands distinct from God’s promises. The law is not just the Old Testament inasmuch as the Old Testament contains the gospel and the gospel is not just the New Testament for the New Testament contains law. The law accuses. The law commands and demands. It’s what God expects out of His creatures in our thoughts, words, and works. For it is not the ten recommendations, it is the Ten Commandments. It is rigorous. The law doesn’t say just do the best you can. God does not grade on a curve. The final requires perfection or one does not enter Heaven. It demands one hundred percent, every moment, in thought, word, and deed. The good news is Christ has expiated the transgressions against the law for His sheep by grace through faith. The greatest good news is that Christ has made satisfaction for the sins, the mistakes, and the commandment breaking of His people.
The gospel has attained and acquired for all Christians, without any works or merit on our part, the forgiveness of sins and the imputed righteousness of Christ that avails before God and provides eternal life. The law is written on our hearts and the gospel comes from outside us from God’s grace (Galatians 3:10-12). Scripture reveals that the law is everything that demands perfect obedience to God and pronounces God’s curses on all transgressors (Romans 3:19). The law of God renders the whole world guilty before God’s holiness and reveals the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20-23).
How can one avoid Hell? Jesus taught that it is very simple, “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Do that every day, perfectly and live. Recall what Jesus said, “It is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven than a camel to go through an eye of a needle.” In that particular instance the disciples were very perplexed. They said, “Lord who then can be saved?” Jesus responded by revealing to them, “With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Heaven is infinitely beyond the reach of sinful men. Men need God to do the impossible. And God has accomplished this through Christ and His vicarious death and resurrection. It is all solely by grace. Deny Christ and it is impossible for an imperfect man to be accepted into a perfect Heaven. One must have their imperfections and sins removed by the Cross of God’s Son.
The gospel offers acceptance from God, peace with Him, and salvation freely given to the sinner by grace through faith (Romans 1:16-17, 10:15; Acts 20:24; Ephesians 1:13, 6:15). The law is distinct from the gospel but not separate; there is a unity within the diversity. Distinct but not separate.
The inward area is the first place of loss of true Christian life, of true spirituality, and the outward sinful act is the result (Francis Schaeffer).
Both the law and gospel are in the whole of Scripture. The two pertain to men and women and must be taught side by side with distinction within the oneness of Scripture. Christians are to uphold the law with zeal and with truth through the grace and the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 7:7-14). Some contemporary Christians believe the law is not to be upheld. They argue that we do not need to do the commandments in today’s dispensation. These are antinomians. Anti means: against. The definition of noumos: Law. Hence an antinomian is against the law. If there is no moral law, there can be no hell and no punishment for lawbreakers. If the law is gone, you get rid of the absolute standards of right and wrong. You also get rid of hell, and you get rid of the need of the Savior too. If we are not lawbreakers we do not need to be saved.
The Life of a Christian
John 10:10-15 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. 7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear 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 does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
To live a life of obedience before God’s face you must:
1. Admit that the flesh is weak (Matt 26:41).
2. Pray for power and wisdom to overcome temptation and sin.
3. Avoid instruments, places, people, and circles that tempt you and where you previously fell.
4. Keep your focus on the Shepherd Jesus and His victory. He died for you and He leads you.
(1 Corinthians 15:56; Hebrews 12:1-2).
The church of Jesus Christ has plenty of programs, plenty of buildings, books, and trinkets. But what we need most are trained, mounted troops of God. Soldiers trained for sudden, daily charges against the gapping breaches in the enemy’s line opened daily by the Word of God. The church has advanced through slow, pounding bombardments as it has opened hospitals, orphanages, outreaches and care centers. We must become loving troops: aggressive, compassionate, merciful, and unlimbering the great theological guns from the portholes of the churches. The great gospel weapons: The pounding of the truth of justification and lifting high the standard of the triune God must be our goal. Exalting the person of Christ our Prophet, Priest, and King should be our passion. He is the unstoppable weapon of the church: Jesus Christ.
Christians must become impassioned disciples to run with Jesus. Our moral duty is to put off all the excuses, indifference, sloppiness, slothfulness, slouchiness, laziness, and sluggishness. One can’t be a Christian sluggard. A Christian can’t afford to be droopy, duff, or negligent, but diligent in obedience and worship. It is about honoring God as God.
If you are weak and weary:
• Pray to God for power and grace.
• Praise and glorify God Almighty.
• Hence, if you are battle weary: Pray and praise.