WELCOME GWU – SPRINGVALE “CLAP YOUR HANDS, ALL YOU NATIONS; SHOUT TO GOD WITH CRIES OF JOY. HOW AWESOME IS THE LORD MOST HIGH, THE GREAT KING OVER ALL THE EARTH.” PSALM 47:1-2
SUNDAY NOV. 15 The Home at the End of the Way Text: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days Of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6) INTRODUCTION Today we come to the last verse of Psalm 23: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” There are several thoughts in this verse, each of which could serve as a text for a sermon.
Facing the future with faith. A. “Surely,” The psalmist says – “without doubt, beyond question.” “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” He speaks with confidence, faith, courage, optimism, and hope as he faces the future. He has no question about the goodness, faithfulness, and love of God. Because of his great faith in a wonderful Shepherd, the psalmist is able to say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”Some modern versions translate “Surely” as only”: Only goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
B. “Goodness and mercy.” God always deals with his children on the basis of goodness and mercy. It is very possible that some shepherds of David’s time had sheep dogs that followed along behind the flock to keep the sheep from straying and to protect them from wild beasts. Someone has casually suggested that if this were the case, then perhaps the Good Shepherd had one dog whose name was Goodness and one whose name was Mercy. as the psalmist looked back over his lifetime of varied success and failure, he bore testimony that God always deals with his own in terms of goodness and mercy. If God were to deal with us in terms of justice, we would be destroyed.
Is your heart and mind filled with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty as you face the future? Many situations in our world today would frighten us to death if we forgot that God has everything under control. The psalmist faced the future with courage and optimism, for he was convinced that the God who had been so gracious to him in the past would continue to be gracious to him in the future. Faith’s commitment for the present. Concentrate now on the psalmist’s wonderful confession of faith: “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This statement approaches better than any others in the Old testament the revelation of life beyond
death. It is similar to what Jesus said in John 14: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions: If it were not so, I would have told you.” many people think that here the psalmist is referring only to heaven, but actually he considered it possible to begin dwelling in the house of the Lord here on earth. In Psalm 27:4 we read, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” Although David had committed some grievous sins, the Lord had mercifully forgiven him, and now he could say, “I am going to dwell in the house of the lord forever.”
The eternal home of the soul is a continuation of the home of the soul that we have here and now. By his grace, God wants us to taste the very joys of heaven in this life. He wants us to enjoy fellowship with the saints and develop friendships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. In twenty- first- century terminology, David was saying , “I am going to stay close to the church all the days of my life. Then I am going to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” From time to time, every Pastor’s heart is grieved by hearing a fallen church member give one of the following reasons for leaving the church: “Things didn’t suit me in sunday school class”; “I became unhappy with one of the deacons”; “I became dissastified with the pastor”; or I
did not like the way that certain things were done.” such people have left the church to the detriment of their own spiritual lives and to the poverty of their own souls and the souls of their family members. One of the wisest decisions that any of us can make is to say, “Come what may, I am going to stay close to the church. I am going to be a vital part of the church. I am going to be loyal to the church all the days of my life, for the church is the nearest thing on earth to the home of the soul in heaven.” Faith in the future home. Many people cannot read the Twenty-third Psalm without thinking morbid thoughts, for they associate
this psalm with death. We need to have a Christian understanding of death. Death for the Christian is not earth’s greatest tragedy. We do not grieve because people go to heaven; we grieve only because we have been left behind. To paraphrase, the psalmist saying, “When my body is worn out and When I am no longer able to function in this life, I will go to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” The home at the end of the way is a prepared place for a prepared people. In no other area of life does preparation pay off so much as being prepared for the home at the end of the way.
B. Heaven is a prepared place where praises will be perpetual and where we will praise God without the limitations that we have Known in this life. C. Heaven is a prepared place of purity. Through the years saints have been disturbed by the fact that even in their most sacred moments of prayer they have been interrupted by impure thoughts. In heaven that sinful nature will no longer be with us. D. Heaven is a prepared place where payment is made. Jesus said, “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward” (Mark 9:41). Jesus said, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me , to give every man according as his work shall
be” (Rev. 22:12). I believe that somehow we develop the capacity in this life for enjoying and appreciating the life beyond, When we get to heaven, everybody’s cup will run over, but as Dwight L. Moody said, some of us will have small cups. The size of our cup is determined by the works we do and by the worship of our hearts in this life. Conclusion This life is the vestibule, The preparation room for the life beyond. I Challenge you this day to make the Good Shepherd your Shepherd. Let him become your Leader, Guide, Teacher, Friend and Saviour. Make that decision today.