Sermon Notes

Knowledge is power – Ignorance is strength

Our knowledge of God and His word is our power against our adversary. Our ignorance thereof is the adversary’s strength.

Hosea 4:6 –  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Psalm 23

A Psalm of David

1a – The LORD is my shepherd…

  1. The LORD, all uppercase letters.

LORD or GOD, being written in all uppercase letters is a reverent transliteration of Jehovah or Jah, meaning self-existent or eternal Jah, the Lord’s name.

LORD God versus Lord GOD

Genesis 2:4 – These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

Genesis 15:2 – And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt Thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?… 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

Though there be those that are called gods and lords, David stating “the LORD” places his God above all others and emphasizes authoritatively that Jehovah is One.

  1. The Lord is, meaning God exists. He is real.

Deuteronomy 6:4 –  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.

OR… Hear, O Israel: The self-existent Jehovah our God is one, eternal Jehovah.

Ephesians 4:4-6 – There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Hebrews 11:6 – But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

Isaiah 43:9 – Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.  10 Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.

John 8:23 – And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.

Two more verses that help to clarify this, especially in light of Paul stating that there is “one LORD” are seen in Luke when Jesus was brought into the temple for His dedication.

Luke 2:11 – For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:25 –  And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

The Lord’s Christ is none other than Christ the Lord.

Back to Isaiah

43:11-13 – I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. Yea, before the day was I am He; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand: I will work, and who shall let it?

John 8: 25 – Then said they unto Him, Who art Thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but He that sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. 27 They understood not that He spake to them of the Father. 28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

Zechariah 12:1 – The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him… 9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

John 12:32 – And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.

A couple of chapters before Jesus had an earlier discourse with the Jews when they pressed Him to tell them “plainly” whether or not He was Christ, the promised Messiah.

John 10:24-33 – Then came the Jews round about Him, and said unto Him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.  25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. 29 My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one. 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me? 33 The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.

Again, remember what the Holy Spirit said through the Prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 43:13 – Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?

Now comes the good part…

  1. The LORD is my, or mine, this implying direct connection, as in a personal relationship or property. For it is true that the LORD has HIS people which He has purchased with His own blood, and that He has referred to them as “His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

Psalm 100:3 – Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.

But here, David makes this very personal, for he does not state “The LORD is our Shepherd,” but rather that He is my shepherd. Likewise, Paul makes this truth equally personal when He speaks of the LORD’s love for him.

Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

  1. The Lord is my/our Shepherd

Psalm 80:1 –  Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.

Scriptures reference the God as a shepherd three distinct ways.

  1. Good Shepherd, as one who willing lays down His life to protect and save the Sheep.

John 10:11-14 – I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.  The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine.

  1. Great Shepherd – Rose from the dead.

Hebrews 13:20,21 –  Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Jesus rising from the dead assures us He is able to and will do all He has said, which is “make you perfect in every good work to do His will,” if we will let Him. He can do this because as the “great Shepherd” He has defeated death, man’s last enemy.

1 Corinthians 15:21-26 – For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

  • Chief Shepherd – Referencing He who oversees all of His people and returning for His flock

1 Peter 5:1-7 –  The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 

In the following verse, we see an excellent example of two “elders” who humbly led God’s people to The Promise Land under the direction and strength of the “Chief Shepherd”.

Psalm 77:20 – Thou leddest Thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

It is worth mentioning here that what differentiates God’s people from the vainly religious is that God’s true people follow Him wherever He leads them.

John 10:27 – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

However, not all who start out will continue to follow Him. That we see happen with those under the Spiritual authority of Moses and Aaron.

1 Corinthians 10:1-12 – Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

Again, we have further admonishment in Hebrews –

Hebrews 4:1-2 – Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

1b – The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want… not I do not want.

Based upon all we have clarified about “The LORD is our Shepherd,” it is noteworthy that David’s following statement “I shall not want” is inseparable from all we’ve just clarified it proclaims. That the LORD, the only true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, it is He that is both David’s and our Shepherd. Therefore, it is evident that such a good and great Shepherd would provide for the needs of His people and sheep.

But is David speaking of his needs, stating that he as God’s sheep would never lack anything? For David’s saying “shall not” is future tense, while “do not want” would be in the present tense. Is that what the Gospel preaches to us? If so, why then did Paul testify that he and others under God’s watchful care had suffered times of being in danger, persecution, mockery and ridicule, and were often times without food, water, and proper clothing?

2 Corinthians 11:26-27 – In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

No, David wasn’t testifying that he never had to do without basic comforts or necessities for a season, but rather he stated that because the Lord was his Shepherd, that He shall not want. For the phrase “shall not want” can appropriately be used outside of the present or future tense if we recognize it as pledge and not a testimony. Thus, to me it is as much a statement of David’s personal resolve to be content with godliness as it is a statement of his confidence that the Lord will provide what is best for him. For David had experience times when he knew the Lord hade given him to rest, as it were, to lie down in green pastures, and to have periods of peace and tranquility in his heart as if the Lord were walking with him besides quiet and still waters.

Nevertheless, scripture reveal to us that David was also a man acquainted with fear and anguish, heartache and grief. But was God the cause of his grief? Or the One faithful to address the inner causes, those “wants” of David that gave place for the grief to occur in his life?

2 Samuel 11:1 – And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. 2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 3 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

Now we can readily see here that David looked upon another man’s wife and coveted her, leading to his committing adultery and murder, but the power of this sin to get into his heart actually began with David excusing himself from his responsibilities by his not going with his men, leading them into battle.

The principle whereby sin gained advantage and the first murder was committed, once again gained opportunity. For before Cain killed Abel, God said unto him, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire [is] for you, but you should rule over it.”

David’s next big crisis, one that impacted the whole of Israel, was again because of David’s failure to discern and do that which was right with his family.

2 Samuel 13:1 – And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her. 2 And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.

Ammon ultimately rapes Tamar because in truth he was actually obsessed with her, for afterwards he then despises her and cruelly sent her shamefully away. When her blood brother Absalom hears about it, he plots and then kills Ammon later. This caused Absalom to have to flee and become, as it were, banished from his own family and country. But after three years David’s heart was soften, but not enough.

2 Samuel 13:37 – But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day. 38 So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years. 39 And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.

2 Samuel 14:21-24 – And the king said unto Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing: go therefore, bring the young man Absalom again. 22 And Joab fell to the ground on his face, and bowed himself, and thanked the king: and Joab said, To day thy servant knoweth that I have found grace in thy sight, my lord, O king, in that the king hath fulfilled the request of his servant. 23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So, Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king’s face.

Partial forgiveness is evident because it leaves out reconciliation. Where there is no reconciliation, the is no true forgiveness. Absalom knew this and became bitter against David and became his enemy, stealing the heart of the people and David’s kingdom for a season from him, causing David to have to flee from his son Absalom until he was overthrown and killed. Where in all this was David’s Great Shepherd then?

But David and Israel’s woes didn’t stop after the death of Absalom. For David’s heart was stirred up with a sense of pride when David wanted to know how great “his” kingdom had become.

 2 Samuel 24:1 – And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

1 Chronical 21:1 – And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

Jonah didn’t want to do what God told him to do. The 10 spies, lacking faith and given to fear didn’t want to go and fight the giants and take the Promise Land. The five foolish virgins didn’t want to go through the effort or expense to get extra oil before they went to wait for the Bridegroom, reasoning to themselves that what they had at hand would surely be adequate for the time they expected to have to wait.

Balaam’s greed for the filthy mammon he wanted, the Jews in the wilderness murmuring over not have the leeks of Egypt or flesh to eat.

Wants versus Needs

Our “wants” are often justified as “needs” but rarely are. Just like are not wanting to do something can be reasoned so as to excuse ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we are justified in our ultimate course of action. As Christians, we cannot be the Lord’s disciples unless we pick up or crosses and deny ourselves and follow Christ wherever He leads us. So, tell me, what do you think is the difference between being a disciple and a sheep?

Matthew 16:24 – Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Luke 14:26 – If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.

John 10:26 – But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.

Are you in the Lord’s hand? If so, then what does scripture say regarding your being in His hand, apart from nothing or no one being able to snatch out of His hand?

Hebrews 10:26-39 – For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge His people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Does it sound like those being mentioned here at times didn’t lack basic needs or comforts? Of course, they did. Don’t allow your own heart to be deceived by asking yourself “What’s wrong with” this or that or such and such; rather ask “What is right, or righteous about this? How does this glorify God or benefit another according to God’s will?

Now, when the verse above mentions those who “sin willfully,” is referencing the Hebrew believers who were giving into the pressure of their countrymen and returning to the sacrifices and ceremonies of the Mosaic Law which foreshadow Christ sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world. And thus, by sacrificing an animal again, they were stating by their actions that the sacrifice of Christ was not sufficient and were guilty of putting Christ to open shame by prophetically sacrificing Christ afresh.

Hebrews 6:4-6 – For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Rod – the Law of the Lord,

Psalm 2:7-11 – I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

  • For correction –

1 Corinthians 4:21 – What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

Hebrews 12:5-7 – And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?… 10-11 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Revelation 3:19 – As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

The rod will be employed in the millennium reign of Christ and His Church as well.

Revelation 2:26-29 – And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Revelation 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

Revelation 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Staff – the Gospel – deliverance and salvation

Romans 1:16-17 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 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.