Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Lord is "My" Shepherd

Reading:

1) Heidelberg Catechism

21 Q. What is true faith?

A. True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction that everything

God reveals in his Word is true; it is also a deep-rooted assurance,
created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel, that, out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ, not only others, but I too, have had my sins forgiven, have been made forever right with God, and have been granted salvation.

2) Scripture

Psalm 23:1: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

John 10:14: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.”

Comment:

I remember hearing a story about a little shepherd boy in the back country of Wales. Two ministers were on vacation and doing some hunting. On their trip they came across a young shepherd boy. Learning that this young lad did not have any knowledge of the Bible, they taught him about Jesus using the imagery of Jesus as the good shepherd. They taught him to memorize Psalm 23:1 by using the fingers on his left hand starting with his thumb: The --- Lord --- is --- my --- shepherd.

The next year they returned to the same area and through some strange circumstances, came to a modest home where they met a woman. She related to them the sad story of how her young son had died the previous Winter in a sudden snow storm while tending the sheep. But it was strange she said, for when they found him he was holding on to the fourth finger of his left hand. This little boy, who was the same boy the ministers had met the previous year, had died in the storm grasping his fourth finger. This young boy had appropriated Christ for his own, for he had understood how important that little word my (the fourth finger of the memory technique) is when it comes to faith.

The catechism is teaching us that we need a personal faith in Jesus Christ. It is not enough to be born in a Christian family. It is not enough to belong to a certain kind of church. It is not enough to be a nice person or to do lots of good works. What is required for salvation is a personal faith in Jesus Christ---a faith that unites us to the Son of God. We must come to the point where we too can say, Jesus is my Lord, my Savior, my God. Can you say that about the heavenly Father and his beloved Son, Jesus Christ?

Discussion: What things do not unite us to the Lord Jesus Christ? What is the one thing that will unite us to Christ?

Prayer Starter: Ask God to graciously work true faith in his beloved Son in your heart and in the hearts of those you love.

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