Robert Morris - He Promises
Hey, everyone. Well, first of all, I want to just acknowledge that last weekend, during the Saturday service, we prayed for the hostages, you know, at Beth Israel, and all the hostages were released safely, and I just think that's wonderful. And so, I want you to continue to pray because the enemy can just come in and cause fear in a situation like that, and we want them to come and to worship God, and we want them to press into God. We want the congregation to be blessed. You know, when you pray, if you don't have this habit already, nearly every time I drive by a church or a congregation, I say, "Bless them, Lord". Bless them, Lord. I mean, you say, well, what if they're very traditional, and they're very liberal? Well, a blessing would be good for them, to be, For the Lord to bless them, you know, he can take care of that, and I'm not saying anything, obviously, about the congregation of Beth Israel. We love him very, very much, and we love the Jewish people. So that's an answered prayer.
Next week, I'll be concluding my series this week. Next week, Pastor Josh starts a series for four weeks. I'm not even going to tell you the name of it. Let me tell you what happened. This last week in our lead team meeting, we said, "Hey Josh, what are you preaching"? And he took about two to three minutes and said, Well, I'm going to go into this and this. I'm going to show how this and this and this and this and this. And it's amazing, you know, when a person is gifted in an area to unfold the scriptures, and obviously he has that gift. We sat there spellbound for probably a minute, not saying a word, and then one of the guys on the lead team said, "How do you do that? I mean, how do you just, in three minutes, just blow my mind, you know"? So it's going to be a great, great series. I guess I can tell you the title. The title is "Oh, the Humanity," and you're going to talk about the humanity of Christ and the divinity, and anyway, it's going to be wonderful.
So, alright, so we're going to conclude our series on Psalm 23 called The Good Shepherd. Let me tell you not a fear, but a concern that I felt like the Lord spoke to me today, and that is that Psalm 23 is such a memorable and used Psalm that we could think we know it, and we could almost see it as poetic instead of straight from the mouth of God and truthful and applicable to our lives today. So that's why I'm asking you to memorize it, and that's the only scripture I'm asking you to memorize this year... at this time. So, you know, who knows what God has for the rest of the year, but it's only six verses. Take your time. You might not be good at that. Take your time, just to memorize a phrase at a time, and then meditate on it. The Word talks about meditating on the Word. Meditate on how he makes us lie down in green pastures. Take a week and meditate on just that one verse. And he leads us beside still waters. And he leads us in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. He prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies, right.
Whatever you want to med... I would love Psalm 23 to become the Psalm of 2022, of the whole year that God takes us deeper in this psalm that everybody already knows and let the truth sink in, okay. So the first week was He Provides. Last week was He Protects. This week is He Promises. And we went through the first three verses the first week, the next week, last week we went through the next two. This will be the last verse, but because we're trying to memorize it, we're going to read all six verses, alright, out loud. And last week, I didn't think you did very well. I think you kind of were like where you in class. "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want". I'd like a little more enthusiasm and a little more volume out of you this week, okay? Okay? Okay, everybody online? 'Cause you know, we have new cameras, and I can actually see you too now. So it's this new technology that, okay, alright.
Psalm 23:1, ready? "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". Here's now where we're going this week. Ready? Verse six: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever".
So we've taken three points each week. This week it's goodness. Three things that he promises. Remember the title is He Promises. Goodness, mercy, and eternal life. Goodness, mercy, all the days of your life, and then eternal life when you die. So let's first talk about goodness. Goodness is an attribute of God. We've talked about the attributes of God before, but to just help to understand when Moses asked God to see his glory, I want you to think about this. This is after the plagues. This is after the Red Sea. This is after the law had been given on the mountain. He with God face-to-face. God talked about, "I talked with Moses face-to-face". This is after all that, but he asked God to see his glory.
Now I want to give you a practical definition of the word glory. The practical definition is it's what a person is famous for. For instance, if I say Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, what are they famous for? Golf. It's just the first thing. We think they got glory or attention or people knew them because of golf. If I say Michael Jordan and LeBron James? Basketball. Notice that some of the ladies like, "I don't know, basket weaving," you know? But that's what they're famous for. So Moses is actually asking God, "What are You famous for"? And since goodness is one of his attributes, he's kind of asking, "What's the best attribute that you have"? Now because God is God, all of his attributes are a 100%, but his answer is amazing. He says, "You want to know what I'm famous for? You want to know the best thing I do"? And this is in Exodus 33:18 and 19, and he said, this is Moses, he, he, Moses, said, "'Please, show me Your glory.' Then He [capital H, God] said, [Okay] 'I will make all My goodness pass before you.'"
If you want to know what I'm good at, It's goodness. I mean, if you will know the thing I'm most famous for, if you won't know what I do the best, and I do everything the best, but if you went on to know what I do the best of the best, it's that I'm good. That's it. Now, an attribute is something God is, not something God does. God does because he is. It's not the other way around. It's not that he is because he does. In other words, because he does good, that doesn't make him good. It's because he's good that he does good. Everyone got that? Psalm 119:68 tells us this, "You are good, and do good". So you do good, but it's because you are good. But the thing about the attributes is is that all the attributes work together, but when we talk about the goodness of God, I want you to take some of the other attributes and align them with the goodness of God. For instance, God is infinite. That means he can't be measured. He has no limits, and he has no bounds.
We talk about the light of the sun, but the light of the sun can be measured. So it's not infinite light, but you can't measure the light of God. Okay, so because God is infinite, He has no boundaries at all. He has no end. Think about this now with goodness, God is infinitely good. There's no end to his goodness. In other words, he'll never have a bad day. He'll never, ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed. He can never be bad for a second. He's infinitely good. He is, another one of his attributes, he's immutable. That means he can't change. So once again, he can never be bad. He's good, and he always will be good. Another one of his attributes as he's omnipotent. That means he has all power. So he has all power to be good. In other words, his goodness is not limited by his power because his power is limitless. He's omnipresent, means he's everywhere.
So let me say it this way. His goodness is everywhere. There's so many things about his goodness that's all through Scripture where these people got, the people that we read about in Scripture, got to understand how good God was. And let me show you even a New Testament person that understood it. I'm not going to show it to you in Scripture. I didn't write this one down because I've got so many scriptures in the message, but we all know it. Paul got the revelation of his goodness and said, "He's so good that he works everything for good". That's how good he is. I mean, even the bad things that happen in your life, he works for good.
One of the greatest attacks of Satan is to get us to doubt or disbelieve the goodness of God. And here's what's so amazing to me. Satan is the one that brought bad into the world. He's the author of bad. He brought evil into the world. He brought death disease, everything, murder, rape. He brought all that into the world. Satan brought that into the world. So what Satan does to accuse God of not being good is he uses his own work as evidence that God's not good, and somehow we believe it. Like something bad happens to us, and Satan says, "Well, if God is good, why did that happen"? Well, correct theology, you would turn it around and say, "Because you brought it in, stupid". That wouldn't have happened had you not brought sin into the world in the first place because God didn't bring that. God created this great world.
So I heard this guy one time say to me, he said, "I look around at death and famine and all the stuff in the world, and I think, is just the best God could do"? I said, "No, this is the best we could do," because God created the world and gave it to us. We're the ones that screwed it up, and we screwed it up because Satan comes along and says, "Has God really said"? Immediately got us to doubt and disbelieve the goodness of God. His first thing he did with Adam and Eve is he said to 'em, "God's holding back on you. He's not as good as you think he is," and he got them to doubt that. I don't know if you've ever thought about this, but why were we even created? It's the goodness of God. I'm going to quote you a scripture that probably 80 to 90% of all Christians know the gist of the scripture. Maybe they can't quote it word for word, but they don't know the next verse. In other words, see if I literally said, "Can you quote this verse?" some of you could actually quote the verse word for word, and then if I said, "And what's the next verse?" most people couldn't quote it.
James 1:17 says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights". So everything good comes from the Father, "with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning". That's the immutability of God. In other words, God will never change, but watch this, Verse 18, "Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of his creatures". In other words, all good gifts come from God, and he brought us forth. Alright, so I'm going to say it another way. Why were you created? Well, let me explain it to you. It wasn't because you were good. It was because he's good. You didn't even exist, so how could nothing do something to deserve something? Are you all following me? Is it one of those things you have to think about it for a moment? You didn't do one thing to get created because you didn't even exist.
So God created you, this is what this is telling us, these two verses, because he's good. And then what was he looking for in everything he created? Remember he was looking to see if it was good. At the end of every day except the sixth day, halfway through the day, by the way, at the end of the sixth day, he did say it, but halfway through he didn't. Okay, so at the end of every day, it says a God looked at what he created and said... What'd he say? "It is good". Except one thing, after he created man, he said, "That's not the best I can do". Sorry, men, but we're the only thing God created that he thought I can do a lot better than that. It's not good. Here's what he actually said, "It is not good to leave him alone". It is not good he's alone. I don't know if he was like watching the monkeys and starting to pick his rear end or, you know?
You know, in public, I don't know how many times women have had to tell, wives have had to tell their husbands, "Stop picking your rear end. We're in public right now". Basically, that's one of the duties of women is to keep men from being monkeys. But then after he created woman, then he said, He looked at man and woman and said, "Okay, now this is good". That's good, but it wasn't good before. So that's what he was looking for when he was creating everyone. God is so good that he works everything for good, even though we don't think it's good.
In the late 1850s, 1800s, I should say, started in 1857 when she was born, but late 1800s, Amy Wilson Carmichael was born, begin to love the Lord, and at a very early age, she heard a man speak by the name that you probably heard of, Hudson Taylor. He's called the father of all missionaries, and he was a missionary to China, and she decided to be a missionary. I think it was 16 years old when she decided. And so she applied to go and was turned down three times. So she literally changed denominations because the only way you could go was through the denomination, so she might be able to be approved by the other mission board.
They finally approved her to go to China, but after 15 months she had to return because she had Neuralgia. When she was a little girl, she was born in Ireland, and nearly all of the little girls and little boys had blue eyes, but she had dark brown eyes. She had dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. And so she said when she was a girl, she prayed every day because she got kidded about it. She prayed every day God would change her eyes to blue, but of course, God never did. So she goes to China. She has to come home because of her illness. So she could have also been upset with God about her illness. She had it her whole life, and it caused tremendous pain and a lack of energy. Then she persuaded them to send her to Japan because she felt called Asia.
And so she went from China then to Japan after she came back home, but then her illness again prevented her from staying. And so when she was back home, someone said to her, "You know, there aren't many missionaries going to India, and we think it actually would be better for your disease". And so she went to India, and she began adopting girls. Little girls were being sold as babies and toddlers to be temple prostitutes and sold into sex trafficking at that time in the late 1800s. Not trying to say anything about India today, because obviously we have horrible things in our background. Europe, every country has horrible things in the background, slavery, sex trafficking, all of that, and yet, so they don't have anything like, they don't have that anymore, although there is still sex trafficking in the world that we need to be in prayer about. But with that time, it was kind of rampant. So she began an orphanage.
As a matter of fact, I literally have a picture of three of the girls that she rescued. Let me show you this picture here, these three. Look at how beautiful and precious these little girls are. Three of the girls, so that's just a picture of three of them. But she began to rescue, and when people began to find out about it and began to support her, one of her supporters was the Queen of England. And the ministry began to grow until finally she had rescued thousands of girls. She spent 55 years there, but she would go into these places and buy these girls that were being sold as toddlers and bring them, and they'd raise them, and then these girls would go into places and buy girls, and people began to fund them to be able to do this. But the way she did it was she took coffee grounds, and she put it on her skin.
You know, you have kind of white, brown, black, some dark, light, some type of different colors. Her skin was very light colored, so she would rub coffee grounds on her skin to make it darker. And one day she's looking in the mirror mirror, putting coffee grounds on her skin, and she noticed her dark brown eyes. And she realized there was a reason that God did not give her blue eyes at birth. Something she thought was bad was actually good, and God used her to rescue thousands of girls. And from what my understanding is the mission is still going to this day. So God's a good God. He's goodness. Here's number two, Mercy. Justice and mercy are used a lot in the Bible together. I had lots of scriptures, but we don't have time. I'll just show you one. Psalm 101:1, "I will sing of mercy and justice".
Now the reason that's a little strange is because in our mind, their opposites. Justice is giving you what you deserve. Mercy is not giving you what you deserve. And if you want a little more, these are practical definitions. Justice is giving you what you deserve. Mercy is not giving you what you deserve, and grace has given you what you don't deserve. So you can listen to that later and write that down if you want to think about it for a while, but, so how could God, and justice is one of his attributes, so how could God be fully just and fully merciful at the same time? Well, it's because of a word we don't use very much. It's because of the word impute. Psalm 32:2, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity". The word impute means to put in one's account. So, David is saying, blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not put his iniquity in his account. This then is quoted in Romans 4 about Abraham. And then he talks about imputed righteousness. This is a whole truth that is taught in seminary for us to understand, because it's the basis of our faith, imputed righteousness, but he's talking about Abraham and it says Romans 4:3, "For what does the scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.'"
Let me tell you something about this word, accounted. It's the exact same Greek word for imputed. It's the exact same. But the translators felt we could understand it better if it was an accounting term. It was righteousness was put in his account. So I want you to think about this. David says, "Blessed is the man". And Romans 4 quotes it. You could read Romans 4 later. But David says, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not put iniquity in his account". And then it's quoted. And it's basically saying, "Blessed is the man that the Lord puts righteousness in his account". It goes on down Romans 4:22. "And therefore 'it was accounted..." Again, the same Greek word for imputed, "to him". And you'll see it in a moment. It'll substitute the word imputed. "'...accounted to him for righteousness.' Now it was not written for his sake..." This was not written for Abraham's sake. This is written hundreds of years later, "...that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed..." It is referring to righteousness. Righteousness "shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead".
And 2 Corinthians 5:19 says, "...that is, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them". Not imputing their sins in their accounts. That's for the whole world. Remember Jesus died for the world. He didn't just die for the Church, He died for the world. And then 2 Corinthians 5:21. "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him". So how does God give us what we deserve and not give us what we deserve? How is God just, and how is he merciful? It's very simple. He takes all of our sin out of our account, and he puts it in Jesus's account. and he takes all of Jesus's righteousness out of his account, and he puts it in our account. That's how he's just and merciful at the same time.
And here's what is wonderful about witnessing. This is why I love witnessing. And I, by God's grace, I get to lead a lot of people to Christ because I get to tell them your sin's already been paid for. Because God who is in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not counting their sins against him. Not putting their sins in their account. And here's what I tell people. God has already taken all of your sin out of your account. But you have to believe in Jesus to have his righteousness put in your account. That's why the whole world's not going to go to heaven because they won't receive Christ's righteousness, but he's already taking care of their sin. And I've told you this before, and I know it's shocking, and I don't have time to go into it, but people don't go to hell for sin. They go to hell for unbelief. They're separated from God because they won't believe. If Jesus doesn't say, "He that doesn't sin goes to heaven, and he that sins doesn't have eternal life". He says, "He, that believes has eternal life, and he that doesn't believe doesn't have eternal life".
So the sin problem... this is great news... The sin problem has already been taken care of for the whole world. That's already taken care of. That's done. Now, it's just whether you want to receive it or not. And really, if you want to ask, if you want to put it in real simple terms, here's a real simple question. Do you want to go to heaven or hell? 'cause you get to choose. But people say, I can't believe a loving God would send anyone to hell. He doesn't. You send yourself. because he gives you the choice. Here's a favorite scripture. It's funny. I say, "Here's one of my favorite scriptures". And I have about 7,000. Lamentations 3:22, you've heard it. "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness".
I just want to tell you something. I need mercy today, as much as I needed it 41 years ago when I accepted Christ. And here's what's great about Psalm 23: goodness and mercy are following me all the days of my life. They're following me all the days of my life. Goodness and mercy. It's just fantastic. After I got saved and I was reading through the Bible several times, I was reading the crucifixion, and it hit me one day. And so I came up with this little saying that I would just kind of say to myself for several years. I haven't said that in a long time. I haven't even thought about it until I was preparing this message. But I used to just say, just remind myself, I'm Barabbas. Here's the reasoning. Barabbas was one of three men that committed armed robbery and committed murder during the robbery. And Pilate stands before the people and says, "You have a custom that I release one prisoner to you on the day of Passover, shall I release Jesus"? And they said, "No, release Barabbas and crucify Jesus".
By the way, the three people, remember, he committed with two other people, the other two were the two thieves on each side of the cross. But they actually, they were thieves. Barabbas is the one that murdered the guy. They actually asked for the murderer to be released. So Barabbas is in his prison cell. They come down the hall. They get his friend who committed robbery with him. They come down and get his other friend to crucify him. They come down, open Barabbas's door, and says, "You're free. You can go home". And Barabbas says, when he made them free, now, we don't know exactly what he said. The Bible doesn't tell us that, but you would think, Well, why am I free? Here would be the answer. Jesus took your place. They're going to crucify Jesus in your place. You get to live because he's died. So, I just want you to know you're Barabbas, too. We deserve to die, but mercy, He lets us live. And here's number three, Eternal Life. This is the third thing he promises. Verse 6 says, "...and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever".
Now, because of forever, it's talking about heaven. Somehow, when we see the house of the Lord, we think it's about church, but you're not going to dwell in church forever. When you're a child, you think you are. When I was a child, we had Sunday School and then church. We didn't have kids' church, children's church. We had church and we had to sit there like zombies. Then we couldn't talk, and we couldn't breathe. We couldn't make any noise. And they were the longest sermons I'd ever heard in my life. Even though we didn't go to church, it had long services. They were probably 30-minute sermons. But to a kid that can't move, that's a long time. You know? And I heard about this father that he's bringing his kids into church one day. His wife was in the back getting her choir robe on. She sang in the choir. He's bringing the kids in. There's a plaque on the wall with names on it. And the little boy said, "Dad, what's the plaque for"? And he said, "Well, it's to honor all the men who died in the service". He said, "Was it the nine o'clock service or the 11 o'clock service"?
Okay, remember that's what a kid thinks. Okay, so, you're not going to dwell in church forever, you're going to dwell in heaven forever. This is forever, okay. And I said the title of the message is He Promises. And I'm telling you, my third point is eternal life, okay. Would you believe there's a verse that says, "And this is the promise that he promised us"? You ready for this? 1 John 2:25, "And this is the promise that He promised us, eternal life". This is the promise, eternal life.
Now, I want you to sum, I going to sum up Psalm 23. All of this, and I get to go to heaven. And that's kind of what it... green pastures, still waters, restoration of my soul, you know, protection from my enemies, anointing, my cup runs over, goodness and mercy, and I get to go to heaven, too. That's really what Psalm 23 is telling us. But I want you, I just want to remind you that our Shepherd, we're talking about the Good Shepherd, that our Shepherd became a sheep. The Creator of the universe became the created. And do you remember what happened to him when he became a sheep? Isaiah 53:7, "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter".
And Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us what kind of day it was. Mark, and I'm just going to read the word in Mark. Mark 15:33, "Now when the sixth hour had come," that's noon. The day started at 6 am. So, the sixth hour would be noon. "And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour". Three o'clock. And that's when he cried out. And that's when he said it is finished and he died. There was just, so it was dark. Now I want to show you a verse. There's a whole bunch of verses we read over in the Old Testament. Ezekiel 34:12, "As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep," This is talking about when Jesus came to earth. On the day he's among his sheep. "As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and delivered them from all the places where they were scattered", all the sins that hold them in bondage, "on a cloudy and dark day".
If you don't think this book is perfect, you just haven't studied it enough. It fits together perfectly. The last thing I want to tell you is, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life". This word "follow" in the Hebrew means, chase after relentlessly. There's a lot of people that are running from God. But what you need to know is if you'll stop running, it's not his judgment that's chasing after you. It's his goodness and his mercy that's chasing after you. You've been running from the goodness and the mercy of God, not the judgment of God. This wonderful Shepherd provides for us and protects us and backs it up with a promise.
I want you to bow your heads and close your eyes. And I want you to just take a moment, just say, "Holy Spirit, what he's saying to me through this message"? And I want you to, you might just make a commitment to the Lord and the way you make a commitment and you don't break it is you just say:
Lord, as often as you remind me, when I have time, I'll go back and read Psalm 23. As often as you remind me, if you'll help me remember, I'll meditate on it. If you'll help me, Lord, You know how difficult it is sometimes, for me, to memorize things, if You'll help me, I'll memorize it.
So you don't have to make some commitment that you think I don't want to make a commitment and not keep it. Just say:
Lord, help me, help me to make this a Psalm that I really glean truth out of. Help me to memorize this Psalm where I don't just memorize it, but I get it. And it goes deeply inside of me, into my heart and my soul.
And then, whatever you need to know, whatever you need to hear from God, just let him speak to you. But my main thing that as I end this entire series, I want to say to you, if you're running from God, stop it. If you're running from God, I promise you, his judgment is not chasing you because Jesus has already borne the punishment for your sins. It's his goodness and his mercy that's chasing you.
Lord, I pray that you would cause the truths of your Word from this wonderful Psalm, to go deeply into our hearts and souls and bear much fruit in our lives for the kingdom, in Jesus' name, amen.