S-1448 12SAP/3A 8/31/2014 Hymns: (O) 740; (S) 618 TLH; LS 680; 675; (C) #725 LSB
Texts: Jeremiah 15:15-21; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28
Theme: “Forever in the LORD’s House!” (Psalm 23:6b)
Question: “Do you know of any earthly thing that lasts forever?” 9th in sermon series on Psalm 23
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! Alleluia! The text is from the 23 Psalm: “and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever”” (Psalm 23:6a).
Precious little lambs let me ask you a question: “What is your house address?” I am sure most of you know it by heart and hopefully the young children have learned their house address in case they get lost. But I am asking a deeper question here. Think again please. “What is your house address?” PAUSE.
It is indeed amazing how we live in this world—we plant deep foundations and deep roots thinking that this house is mine. We think this body is mine, this car is mine and everything we have is MINE. But truth be told, none of it is ours. The homes we live in now someday will be vacant, destroyed and ruined. The body we have now will begin to deteriorate if it hasn’t yet. You know the changes that has taken over your body—arthritis, pain in the joint, hearing loss, eye sight dimed, cancer and a multitude of other ailments. We see and feel the grip of death approaching. We experience its claws digging deep into this clay body and we can’t stop it or accept it. And yet, we don’t get it that we are simply passing through this world and nothing lasts forever. This is not our permanent resident, but a temporary one—a broken up shack that is filled with aches and pains.
The Apostle Paul put it this way: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20). You see this is not our home. This is the life we are living until we enter the home built not by human hands, but by the hands of Him who died and rose again—Jesus the Christ. For Christ Himself said: “In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I Am you may be also” (John 14:6).
Though we know this truth, we don’t believe it or act on it. We still ignore this truth and believe we know better than what God has done for us. Let me ask you few other questions. “Would you set up your bed on a moving bus? Would you pitch your tent in a train? Would you dig foundations on a plane?” Of course not! They are all moving. Yet that is what we do when we think we are going to live on this earth forever and not going to die.
The sermon hymn for today said this: “Jerusalem, my happy home! Name ever dear to me; When shall my labors have an end, In joy, and peace, and thee? When shall these eyes thy heaven built walls And pearly gates behold? Thy bulwarks, with salvation strong, And streets of shining gold?” (TLH 618 vs. 1-2).
Our home address is not an earthly number like 403 3rd St. Armour, SD. Rather it is a heavenly address marked with the blood of Jesus and built by His pierced hands, not with wood and mortar but with flesh and blood. Our home is not here below but with Him who is our Immanuel—the God of the Universe; The Faithful and Good Shepherd Jesus. PAUSE.
Throughout the last two months as we have gone through this Psalm I have had a greater appreciation of David’s great theology. The Psalm begins and ends with these wonderful promises. “The Lord is MY shepherd; I shall not want…and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:1, 6). David reminds us that truly, God is our Shepherd and we are so happy, content and satisfied with Him that we don’t want to leave His presence.
This familiar shepherd Psalm sandwiches between these two book ends the great blessings the Good Shepherd has for us. He leads us to the green pastures, gives us quiet water to quench our thirst, walks with us in danger, protects us from every enemy especially Satan; prepares a table for us, anoints our heads with oil and pursues us with the hounds of heaven. This is for the here and now. These are the Great Shepherd’s promises to you and to me. But there is more to this promise than the here and now. These golden jewels remind us again and again of the great mission of God our Savior, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Lk. 19:10). And proved them with an eternal home.
The faithful Good Shepherd came to seek and save the lost. What a wonderful truth this is. I am reminded of this when my middle son David was lost. I am sure I have shared this story with you before. David must have been about 4-5 years old. We lived in Sioux Falls on a very busy street. I came home from work for lunch at noon, and as I parked my pickup, I noticed my son’s bike in the middle of the side walk and he was nowhere to be found.
I ran to the house looking for him but he wasn’t there. I ran out again and started calling his name. There was no answer. Franticly I ran to the neighbors and began asking them if David was with them, and no one had seen him or heard him. Fear had struck a chord.
Quickly I called my pastor and requested the prayer chain. Called the police to say we have a lost child. Called my brothers and friends asking them to keep us in prayers and come help us look for him. Many came and we searched and searched. We walked the streets hoping to find him but the minutes kept ticking away. After what seemed like an eternity an 1 ½ one of our neighbor boys came and said, “David is playing in a pond!” You don’t know the sweet joy that filled our hearts and the tears that rolled down our cheeks. He was found and brought home where he belonged. I picked him up hugged and kissed him and didn’t want him out of my sight.
Likewise our faithful Good Shepherd comes seeking us we who are lost and don’t know it. Just like my son was. He was lost and didn’t know it. The Lord not only comes to seek us, but He comes to save us—and this saving took place on a cross outside the walls of Jerusalem and in a borrowed grave. There the Lord Jesus, like a Good Shepherd would, faced the barren plain of the wrath of God, the rushing waters of judgment, the famine of separation from the Father and was anointed with the spittle of those who rejected and reviled Him. All of that which should have been ours, the Shepherd endured for us. But He didn’t only endure, but was victorious over them! And because of Him defeating death and the grave, He is building for us an eternal home that will have our names on it.
With a home like this prepared for us, with its protection and provision, its bounty and its blessing, as people of the Good Shepherd we raise our eyes from this world that will pass away and long for an eternity that will never pass away. We dwell here for a time. There we will dwell forever. The eternal presence of the Good Shepherd is our TRUE home!
You see your home address is not an earthly number or street. But heaven is your home. There is a room prepared for you and one day, very, very soon you will be welcomed home by the One who is Your faithful Good Shepherd Jesus. Then you will say with David, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Yes, forever in the Lord’s house. Amen and Amen!
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA