Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

May 16, 2014

Tom Lowe

 

Title: A FEAST OF GRACE

 

Psalm 23 (KJV)

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

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

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.

 

Introduction

This little psalm along with the Lord’s Prayer may be the most well-known passage in the Bible, and it is definitely the world’s favorite psalm, since it is the favorite of Jew, Eastern Orthodox, Western Protestant, and wistful agnostic alike. It is expressed in language that really spoke home to the country folk of that time. A long experience of trusting God lies behind these words. I am convinced that its message is timeless and that we will be blessed as we study it together.

David used the duel images of a humble shepherd and a gracious host. He reflects on the many benefits the Lord gave him even as he faced the dangers of life. His conclusion is that God’s persistent, loving protection is always with him.

Abel, the first Martyr, was a shepherd (Ge. 4:2) and so were the patriarchs of Israel. Moses spent 40 years caring for his father-in-laws sheep, and David, Israel’s greatest king, served his father as a shepherd.

In Psalm 22, David compared his enemies to animals that are clever and strong (22:12-16, 21{9]), but in this psalm, he pictured God’s people as lowly sheep. Why? So we could learn about the Shepherd and see how tenderly He cares for us. Sheep are defenseless animals that are prone to get lost, and they need almost constant care. You can’t drive sheep, as you do cattle; they must be led. The eastern shepherds know their sheep by name and can call them and they will come (John 10:1-5{10]).

Message

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

“The Lord” is Jehovah God, the covenant making God of Israel. “Is my shepherd” means “is shepherding me.” Eastern shepherds guarded their sheep, led them, provided food and water for them, took care of them when they were weary, bruised, cut or sick, rescued them when they strayed, knew their names, assisted in delivering the lambs, and in every way simply loved them.

Ezekiel from the early years of the Chaldean exile had given the finest portrait of the Lord conceived as Shepherd of the people of Israel to be found in the Old Testament: “I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick. . .” (Eze. 34:15-16). But our psalmist does not say that the Lord is Israel’s Shepherd, but the Lord is his Shepherd. For himself as an individual he claims the shepherding care of God.

The psalmist employed the figure of a shepherd to recall the blessings he enjoyed from the Lord (Also see Ps. 80:1{1]). The metaphor was a natural one for David, the shepherd-king. It was also a common metaphor in the ancient Near east, since many kings compared themselves to shepherds in their leadership capacity. In his prophesy of the coming Messiah, Isaiah incorporated the same imagery: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isa. 40:11).  And in John 10:14{2], Jesus identified Himself as the expected “Good Shepherd.” He is also called the “Great Shepherd” (Heb. 13:20{3]) and “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Pe. 5:4{4]). David’s needs were met because “The Lord [was his] Shepherd.”

Our Lord called believers “my sheep” because He died for them (1 Pe. 18:19{11]) and because the Father gave them to Him (John 17:12{12]). The emphasis in verses 1-3 is that Jesus is adequate for every need the sheep may have as they are in the pasture. Primarily, they need food (grass), water, rest, and a shepherd who knows where to lead them. When God’s people follow their Shepherd they have all they need and will not lack the necessities of life (37:25; Matt. 6:33{13]; Phil 4:19).

Travelers who have gone to Eastern lands have told us how various flocks may be sheltering in a common fold, and when a particular shepherd comes to the gate and calls to his sheep, a shivering movement can be seen here and there among the sheep; in little groups of two or three they turn toward the gate and edge their way through the other flocks. No sheep of another flock will move; but these know the voice of their shepherd. When the gate opens they go directly to their shepherd and crowd behind him and “follow whithersoever he goeth.” Only those who follow Him wherever He goes can say, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” And only they can say with confidence, “I shall not want.” Shepherds declare that they can recognize their sheep individually, just like we recognize each other’s faces. Certainly, the Good Shepherd knows His. Nevertheless, He is guarding His flock as a whole, and each sheep is safer if it stays with its comrades and if they move homeward together.

When he wrote, “I shall not want,” the writer was clearly referring to his material needs—food, drink, shelter, rest, etc. Notice that David does not say, “I have not wanted,” but “I shall not want.” “I shall not want” looks into the future and gives assurance to the child of God. The security of the believer rests upon the Shepherd. It is not possible for us to maintain that a Christ-led man is materially secure or more secure than a man who turns from Christian principles, though I believe he is. The Lord Himself is our security, and he provides everything we need, even the air we breathe. My friend, if I possessed the whole world and had not Christ, I would be more miserable than any man. Though I have little of the world’s goods, I have Jesus, therefore I am happy and content.

The tremendous lesson of this psalm is that God is love, God is loyal, and God will never let us go. It unfolds this loyal-love of God for us in three stages:

  1. While we live our life here on earth, so long as we live it with Him, and allow Him to live it with us, then we experience the deep joy, satisfaction and security that the sheep knows in the presence of its good shepherd.
  2. The second stage is this—life is not a bed of roses. We can be deeply and gratefully aware of God’s continuing presence with us in Days when all goes well. It is just because of that, however, David declares, we can be sure of Him when things do not go well, even when the light fades and we find ourselves in darkness. The phrase he uses is literally “Valley of Deep darkness.” So the idea is that God’s comfort and strength are with us in all kinds of darkness, in times of depression, serious illness, rejection by one’s friends, horror at discovering the disloyalty of one’s own heart, and so on, as well as the experience of death itself. David does not argue that this is so. He tells us that it is so.
  3. Stage three is David’s recognition of the eternal security he has in God. He will never let go of His children and no one can snatch them out of his hand. I can’t even imagine anybody (even Satan) strong enough to open God’s clinched fist. Therefore I know “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

By the authority of His redemptive work, His death and resurrection, you can trust Him and call Him your Shepherd. It is true that the Good Shepherd died for all, but only those who actually receive Him by a definite act of faith are His sheep. His saving work is sufficient for all, but it is effective only for those who actually believe in Him. Everything therefore hinges on the personal pronoun my. Unless He is my Shepherd, then the rest of the psalm does not belong to me. On the other hand, if He is really mine and I am really His, then I have everything in Him.

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

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

The first blessing David experienced was spiritual nourishment. Just as a shepherd leads sheep to fresh grass, so does the Lord lead His people. One who follows the Lord does not lack any spiritual nourishment. Under-shepherds are expected to feed the flock (John 21:15-17{5]) as well. The Word of God is food for the soul (Heb. 5:12-14{6a]; 1 Pe. 2:2{6b]).

People who know sheep tell us that a hungry sheep will not lie down. When sheep are lying down in green pastures, it means they have their tummies full. And Christ is our sufficiency. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).

The key word in this clause is “maketh;” is that what weariness is for, and even illness? In our modern life we seem to lose the power to relax; so God mercifully compels us, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” But rest is not an end in itself. “He restoreth my soul (v. 3).” Rest is a means to an end. The restored soul is expected to renew the pilgrimage.

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

Another blessing that comes from the Lord’s leadership is spiritual restoration. Just as a Sheppard leads his sheep to calm waters for rest and cleansing, and where energies are restored for continuing the journey, so the Lord restores (v. 3) and refreshes the soul. Here the spiritual lesson is clear. The Lord provides forgiveness and peace for those who follow him.

Sheep are frightened by turbulent water. And they don’t like stagnant water. They don’t want to drink where the hogs drink. All of this applies to the human family. We need rest in our day—not so much physical or mental rest, but rest for the soul. Remember what David said in Psalm 55:6: “Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.” He wanted to get away from it all. But he found out that getting away from it all was not the answer to his problems. He had to learn to put his trust in the Lord, rest in Him, and wait patiently upon Him. The Lord Jesus says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

The word here translated “leadeth” means to lead gently. You cannot drive sheep. The sheep hear the shepherd’s voice, and follow him, just as we listen to Christ in His Word and obey Him (John 10:3-5, 16, 27){14]. If a sheep goes astray, the shepherd leaves the flock in charge of his helpers and goes to find the lost animal (Matt. 9:36{15]).

The outstanding characteristic of a sheep is that it is stupid. When a sheep goes astray it does so for no reason, and once it has gone astray, it cannot find its own way back home. That is why the good shepherd had to leave the ninety and nine sheep in the wilderness and go after the one that was lost. But:

None of the ransomed ever knew

How deep were the waters crossed;

Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through

E’re He found His sheep that was lost.

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

He restoreth my soul

The third blessing that comes from the Lords leading is guidance in the right way (“paths of righteousness”). A good shepherd knows the right paths on which to bring his sheep home safely. Likewise, the Lord loses none of His sheep, but guides them in the right way. He does so because of his reputation (“for His name’s sake”).

David tells us that God is the God of hospitality, the Father who sets before the returned prodigal a special fatted calf. Why does David think of himself in this light? Because of the expression, “He restoreth my soul,” which is really “He gives me back my life.” David knew what that was. David had sinned—he was that little lost sheep that had strayed from the fold, and his Shepherd had restored him. God longs to be hospitable, even to David’s enemies, if only they would also come home and share in the feast. In the New Testament God’s hospitality in eternity is pictured as our being invited to sit down at the Supper Table of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9{8]).

We smile at the youngster who panicked when reciting this psalm and came up with a novel version, “The Lord is my Shepherd: I should not worry.” But he was more right than wrong. He missed the exact words but caught the exact sense. If the Lord is our Shepherd, we need not worry.

“He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.”

The word “paths” means well-worn paths, ruts. When sheep start to explore an exciting new path, it will lead them into trouble. “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines” (Heb. 13:9). God cares for us because He loves us and wants us to glorify Him (“for His name’s sake”). The shepherd cares for the sheep because he loves them and wants to maintain his own good reputation as a faithful shepherd.

Paths must lead somewhere, and for sheep that somewhere is the fold, which for the sheep is home. They have been awakened in the morning; they have been led to the mountainside pastures, where necessity requires they be given rest for tired hooves and weary legs; and now it is evening and they must make their way back to the fold and reach there before nightfall.

Jesus leads, but we must follow. The Lord Jesus said to the religious rulers who were actually His enemies, “. . . I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:25-27).

There can be no true happiness apart from true holiness. Moreover, there can be no more walking the paths of righteousness in our own strength. So He puts His life in us. As Paul put it, “He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

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

This verse is the central verse of the psalm.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

The “valley of the shadow of death” represents any difficult experience of life that makes us afraid, and that includes death. Sheep lack good vision and are easily frightened in new circumstances, especially where it is dark; and the presence of the shepherd calms them. Toward evening time the sheep must be led through deep gorges, which are so characteristic of Canaan, which by early afternoon lie in deep, dark shadows where wild animals lurk and where danger to the sheep may be imminent. The safe way is not easy to discern; the right path is not clearly marked. But the Shepherd knows the “right paths” for the feet of his sheep and is prepared for any crisis. Thrust into His belt is His club, “a straight stick tipped with a heavy ball of bitumen, hard as rock.” And in his hand is a staff for support or protection. His sheep are secure.

The forth blessing from the Lord’s leading is protection. If one finds himself in a valley of deep darkness (“or shadow of death”), he need not “fear.” The Lord is “with” him and will protect him. “The valley of the shadow of death,” is what faces all people of every race and social standing.   

Death is the supreme test of life. This is not just talking about the deathbed. Our human family lives in the shadow of death. When a person is born he starts down a great canyon, and that canyon is “the valley of the shadow of death.” You are in it constantly. As someone has said, the moment that gives you life begins to take it away from you. All of us are in death’s valley. The shadow of death is on us. But, all the while I walk through that valley, I will feel no evil. This is the encouraging comfort He gives. If one of our loved ones dies as a child of God, this is our courage and comfort.

Note that he is no longer talking about the Shepherd. He is talking to the Shepherd. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” We note that this is only the valley of the shadow of death. The shadow of a dog cannot bite, the shadow of a sword cannot kill, and the shadow of death cannot harm the child of God.

Where we have a shadow we have two other things—a substance and a light. David has already talked about the valley of the substance of death in Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” That is what Jesus cried at Calvary. The very substance of death is to be forsaken by God. That is the essence of a lost eternity—to die, God-abandoned. That is what awaits those who die without the Shepherd.

Where there is a shadow, there must not only be a substance; there must also be a light. It is the light shining on the substance that casts the shadow. This is what makes the difference between the death of a believer and the death of an unbeliever. The unbelievers go out into the dark. There is reserved for him “the blackness of darkness forever. “ It would be hard to imagine a greater horror than to be lost and alone in eternal darkness. The believer however goes out into the light.

The sting of death is sin—sin unconfessed and unforgiven. But Christ has robbed death of its sting for believers. He has put away our sin once for all. Now the worst thing that death can do to us is really the best thing that can happen to us. Thus we can sing:

 

O death, O grave, I do not fear your power;

The debt is paid.

On Jesus is that dark and dreadful hour

Our sins were laid.

                                              --Margaret L. Carson

 

It is true that Christians may have a certain foreboding about the suffering that so often accompanied death. As one old saint was overheard to say, “I don’t mind the Lord taking down my tent, but I hope He takes it down gently.”

It is also true that we usually do not get dying grace until we need it. But the fact still remains that death has lost its terror for us because we know that dying means going to be with Christ—and this is far better. “To die is gain.”

I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;

David was comforted by the Lord’s presence and protection. Believers are never in situations the Lord is not aware of, for He never leaves or forsakes His people (Heb. 13:5{7]). He is “Immanuel. . . God with us” (Matt. 1:23). We can know that our Shepherd is with us at all times, and even at the time of death. And I WANT HIM WITH ME WHEN IT IS MY TIME TO DIE.

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me

The “rod” and “staff” are the shepherd’s equipment to protect the sheep in dangerous situations. The rod was a heavy cudgel (possibly a straight stick tipped with a heavy ball of bitumen, hard as rock) with which the shepherd could stun or kill an attacking beast, and the staff was the shepherd’s crook which he used to assist the individual sheep. At evening he would have the sheep pass under the crook one by one so he could count them and examine them (Lev. 27:32{16]). It gave the flock peace knowing the shepherd was there and equipped for any emergency. Jesus is not a hireling that runs away at the sight of danger; He is a true Shepherd who lay down His life for His sheep (John 10:11-15{17]). God’s sheep have peace with God (Rom. 5:1{18]) and may enjoy the peace of God (Phil. 4:4-7{19]) as they trust Him. Through life, as we follow the shepherd, we will have many and varied experiences, some of which will be very trying, but none of them can take the Lord by surprise. We may trust Him and have peace. The closer we are to our shepherd, the safer we are and the more of His peace will fill our hearts (Isa. 40:9-11{20]).

Now that I am getting to be an old man, I look back on my life and I realize that indeed that rod is a comfort. He used it on me many times, and I thank him for it because it got me back into the fold—we all need that.

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

Some students believe there is a change of metaphor here from the shepherd and his sheep to the host and his guest, but this is not necessarily the case. “Table” doesn’t necessarily refer to a piece of furniture used by humans, for the word simply means “something spread out.” Flat places in the hilly country were called “tables” and sometimes the shepherd stopped the flock at these “tables” and allowed them to eat and rest as they headed for the fold (78:19{21]).

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:”

In this verse the scene changes to a banquet hall where a gracious host provides lavish hospitality. Under this imagery the psalmist rejoiced in the Lord’s provision. What was comforting to David was that this was “in the presence of” his “enemies.” Despite impending danger, the Lord spread out “a table” for him, that is, God provided for him.

But as we noted in the introduction to this verse a change of scene is not necessary, since verse 5 can also be applied to the shepherd and his sheep. After each difficult day’s work the object of the shepherd was to bring the flock safely back to the fold where the weary sheep could safely rest for the night. Sometimes at the fold the shepherd would spread out food in a trough, because sheep lie down and rest after they have eaten. As they slept they would be protected by a stone wall that surrounded them, and the shepherd himself would sleep across the opening and be the door (John 10:7-9{22]). During the night thieves and dangerous animals might approach the fold, but there was no way they could reach the sheep. The Lord doesn’t always remove the dangers from our lives, but He does help us overcome them and not be paralyzed by fear. This is what it means to be “more than conquerors,” and have peace in the midst of danger (See Rom. 8:31-39).

“Thou anointest my head with oil;”

“Thou anointest my head with oil;”is not an image that means much to us, but in the ancient Near East it was a means of refreshment for weary travelers.It was refreshing and soothing, and harmonizes with the concept of a gracious host welcoming someone into his home. The point to emphasize is that the Shepherd of the soul goes the “second mile” in giving all that is required for renewing power and providing comfort.

The shepherd would examine the sheep as they entered the fold to assure none of them was bruised, injured or sick from eating a poisonous plant. To the hurts he applied a soothing “oil.” He would also apply the oil to the heads and horns of the sheep to help keep the flies and other insects away.

In the Bible, “oil” is often used to represent the Holy Spirit. Every believer is anointed with the Holy Spirit the moment he receives the Savior. This anointing guarantees him the teaching ministry of God the Spirit. So we need that anointing today. We cannot face life alone.

When we think of all the riches of grace which we have in Christ Jesus, we break forth with the grateful acknowledgment, “My cup runs over.”

His love has no limit,

His grace has no measure,

His power has no boundary known unto men.

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus

He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

                                                     --Annie Johnson Flint

 

“My cup runneth over.”

In view of the table and the oil David knew that his lot in life (his “cup”) was abundant blessing from the Lord. The psalmist had had enemies, but their plans against him have been frustrated, because the Lord, in effect, has said, “This man is My friend.”

He observed every sheep as they entered the fold, and for those sheep who were thirsty, the shepherd had a large two-handled cup filled with water. The sheep knew they were safe and they could sleep without fear.

“My cup runneth over” is symbolic of joy. We need to be undergirded with Joy today. The Lord says, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The Lord wants our joy to be full. It reminds me of the little girl who said, “Lord, fill up my cup. I can’t hold very much, but I can run over a whole lot.” Oh, how this world needs Christians who are running 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.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

David realized that the Lord’s good loyal love would go with him everywhere through “all” his “life.” God’s blessings on his people remain with them no matter what their circumstances may be (for God’s “goodness”—27:13; 31:19; 69:16; 86:17; 109:21; 116:12; 142:7; 145:7). Our Shepherd brings us all the way from the green pastures and the still waters to the Father’s house. “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.” In John 14:2-3 the Lord says to us, “. . . I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” You know we are not pedigreed sheep, and sheep are not worth much anyway, but we do have a wonderful Shepherd. Can you say at this moment, “The Lord is my shepherd?” If you can, all the wonderful promises of this psalm are yours. If He is the Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep and He is your Savior, this psalm is for you.

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

“The house of the Lord” referred to the sanctuary (tabernacle). For the rest of his life (lit., “length of days”) he would enjoy full communion with the Lord. In fact, the Hebrew verb translated “I will dwell” conveys the idea of returning; the same verb is translated “He restores” in verse 3. Perhaps the psalmist was in some way separated from the sanctuary and full enjoyment of its spiritual benefits. His meditation on the Lord’s leading and provisions prompted him to recall his communion with the Lord in His presence, in the sanctuary. David knew what it was to be present continually in the sanctuary in Jerusalem (the temple had not yet been built), as did another psalmist (Ps. 63). Because of this he here refers to the “heavenly sanctuary,” the place of God in eternity, even as Jesus spoke of God’s “many mansions” (John 14:1-6).

“Forever,” suggests permanency (as long as I live—in this life and the next); that one was accepted as a member of the household of the divine host—a guest adopted into the family. His greatest delight will be to continue as a guest in the house of his divine host.

 

Scripture reference and special notes

{1] (Ps. 80:1)Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.

{2] (John 10:14) I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

{3] (Heb. 13:20) 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,

{4] (1 Pe. 5:4)And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

{5] (John 21:15-17) So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

{6a] (Heb. 5:12-14)For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

{6b] (1 Pe. 2:2) As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

{7] (Heb. 13:5) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

{8] (Rev. 19:9)And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

{9] (22:12-16, 21) Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

{10] (John 10:1-5) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

{11] (1 Pe. 1:18-19) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

{12] (John 17:12) While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

{13] (Matt. 6:33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

{14] (John 10:3-5, 16, 27) To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

{15] (Matt. 9:36) But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

{16] (Lev. 27:32) And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.

{17] (John 10:11-15) 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. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

{18] (Rom. 5:1) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

{19] (Phil. 4:4-7) Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

{20] (Isa. 40:9-11) O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

{21] (Ps. 78:19) Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?

{22] (John 10:7-9) Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

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