Jesus And Treasures

Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin {brosis} destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.


My grandmother on the Bailey side was raised Church of Christ: she joined the Baptist Church when she married my granddaddy. He was killed in a logging accident at age 37 but she lived to be 102. It upset her for preachers to mention anything in regards to money. If a preacher got on Stewardship in relationship to money, she called it “begging.” She told, more than once probably, not to beg when I got in the pulpit.

I’m not begging: I personally don’t need or want anything you have but I will tell the truth about Stewardship/Money even if it offends my grandma.


Today’s message comes from Jesus: this is what He said about money and material wealth. Don’t forget, the Jewish religious leaders are in the audience and they loved money [Luke 16:14].


Earthly Treasure are:

[1] Insecure–no way to preserve them or protect them due to moth, vermin/rust, thieves.

[2] They do not last…can ‘t keep them or carry them with you. They are temporal at best.

[3] They can’t add anything to your life: neither length of day or quality.

Heavenly Treasure are:

[1] Secure–Can’t lose them.

C.S. Lewis– Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours.” In God’s economy, the way to get is to give. Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

NOTE: There are seven biblical principles that govern stewardship:

[1] Recognize Divine Ownership of Everything (Psalm 24:1)

[2] Resolve to Tithe (Malachi 3:10)

[3] Resist all forms of Greed: Never take God’s resources out of circulation (I Timothy 6:6-10)

[4] Realize that the secret to getting is giving (Luke 3:38)

[5] Remember the words of Jesus…It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)

[6] Renounce all selfish motives (I Corinthians 13) {Let love motivate your giving}

[7] Rely on God for every need (Matt. 6:33, Phil.4:19)

God does not allow hording: whatever we try to cling to we will eventually lose. Jesus said, For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. “

[Illustrations: Two hands, and dirty Santa]

[2] Heavenly Treasures are Eternal–they last and last

[3] Those who seek Treasures in heaven have a higher quality life here and now.


Greed blinds us; it obscures our vision. I know a man who is a hordes. He will not part with anything. He has old junk cars, old appliances stored in barns and he will not sell them or give them away. He could build several houses in Guatemala by just selling the things he will never use again. He is sinning against God’s economy by taking resources out of circulation.

You give me your check book and it will tell me all I need to know: If you do not have the proper perspective about material things you will not have the proper perspective about anything. Greed destroys our perspective.


“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

The NASB translates money “Wealth” which is more accurate. The old versions said Mammon which is the literal translation from the Greek word mamōnas which they shortened to mamon. Literally it means material wealth of any kind.

You can’t serve both God and Money or God and Material wealth. One SLAVE cannot serve two MASTERS. He will be loyal to one are the other but he cannot be loyal to both.


Remember the story of the RICH YOUNG RULER….

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

2Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Let me ask you a question: why did this young man walk away sorrowfully, sad, dejected–he still had his wealth?

Do you know the answer to this question?

How much is this young man worth today?

This story illustrates the truth that Jesus in teaching in Matthew 6: YOU CANNOT SERVE TWO MASTERS and MONEY WILL NOT PRODUCE HAPPINESS.


The Table

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
    he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
    for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff—
    they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    my whole life long.


The central theme of Psalm 23 is the SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST. In Verses 1-4, Jesus is pictured as the GOOD SHEPHERD providing for all the needs of the week and needy flock. In verses 5-6, Jesus is the HOST who welcomes the weary travelers.

When a person has Christ in his life, he has everything he needs because CHRIST IS EVERYTHING. He is the alpha and omega and everything in between. If it is a legitimate need: Jesus can meet it. He can provide everything you truly need within the will of God.

When speaking of the all sufficiency of Christ, I often us a sailing vessel as an illustration: Christ is not only our ARK, ship or sailing vessel, He is also the Captain, the forerunner, and the wind in the sails. So a part from HIM, we are not going anywhere: HE IS THE WAY: the direction, the means and the transport.

In relationship to this Psalm: Jesus is both the Shepherd and the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. Jesus was the only Shepherd who became a sheep.

Recap and Transition

So verse 1-4 are about CHRIST our good Shepherd and how He provides all that we need. “The LORD is my Shepherd, I have all I need.” Then there is a transition when we get to verse 5…Here Jesus becomes the HOST.

5 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    my whole life long.


What I want you to visualize is a wealthy nobleman giving a feast and inviting you to his table. What you need to imagine is a huge mansion and an enormous dinning room, like the Biltmore. To understand this Psalm or this part, you cannot think small. In the Middle East, wealth was power and once you came onto a wealthy estate you were under his protection of your host. If something happened to you, he was liable. This custom was engrained in Middle Eastern culture.

David knew what it was like to have enemies. For practically all of his adult like, he was surrounded by enemies {like Jesus and Israel itself}. So what we have here is the picture of a man dinning in ease and comfort although he is surrounded by folks who want to kill him: they cannot because his host has provided protection.


David not only received an invitation to dine with the LORD and protection from his enemies but he was also treated like an honored guest. The anointing in ancient times was a refreshing. They washed their feet and freshened them up the cosmetics. It did the same for a weary traveler that a good shower does for us. A good shower invigorates me; it renews my strength.

Now can you imagine being invited to some wealthy person’s house {mansion} and all kinds of dignitaries are present but when you walk in, you are treated like a king, like you are somebody. If you have never read Robert McGee’s SEARCH FOR SIGNIFICANCE, you need to get on line and order it today. Our significance is in our RELATIONSHIP to Christ. Once you discover the TRUTH that Jesus loves you unconditionally and that HE IS THE LORD AND CREATOR of the universe…What more do you need? If you have no other friend, you can make it just knowing that He loves you.

I was born with low self-esteem. Success, wealth and luxury intimidate me. Its not that hard to make me feel out of place. We were invited to a millionaires wedding [30 years ago] and they had the reception is some big fancy building in Huntsville. As soon as we walked in, I felt under dressed and out of place. We looked around for a few seconds and then I told June and the kids, we don’t belong here, lets slip out before we are seen by anyone we know. Before we could get out the door, I ran into an old friend. He said, “Where are you going?” I said sheepishly, “we are leaving, we don’t belong here.” I could have stayed but I would have been miserable. Have you ever been a place where you felt out of place. We left that day but we were not missed: the host didn’t even know we were there.

It refreshes me to know that Jesus cares. My presence and problems are important to Him.


David said, “My cup overflows.” I ate out last Monday with the preachers and I ran out of drink. I kept sitting there talking and listening to the preachers but I was thinking, I wouldn’t mind having more diet coke. A good host keeps the cup full. David said, “My cup is running over.”

We know the LORD provides our needs but do we understand that He is an extravagant host. Like the good Father in Luke 15, He gives us more than we need. The prodigal came home needing a job and a bath but his father gave him that and more…a steak dinner, a party, a new wardrobe, a ring and a new pair of shoes.

Unfortunately, I understand more than I can articulate. Yes, I have pastored small rural churches all my life and no, I have not written any books, received any awards or held any offices either State of local. I know little of success and I have not accumulated great wealth but folks I am blessed beyond my own imagining. I’m just beginning to understand how blessed I am.

A far better testimony to the grace and goodness of God is Elisebeth Elliott. Elisebeth’s first husband Jim was killed by the Auca tribesmen in Ecuador in 1956. Elisebeth was 30 years old and they had one daughter. She and the other missionary wives waited six days to get word about their husbands. It was a shock but she knew there were risk in Jim’s missionary work. Her second husband died of cancer. He died slowly day by day. During his long illness, she dreamed of a normal day. He also died. Elisebeth became a great speaker and teacher over the years and she said before her passing in 2015, “My cup overflows, God’s grace has been more than sufficient, it has been abundant.”


H. A. Ironside the famous pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago told a story of a very trouble woman who mind was disturbed; she came to Ironsides office trembling in fear, she said, “When I left my apartment, two men followed me and they have followed me since. When I got on the trolley, they were there. They follow me everywhere I go. Pastor what am I to do? Ironside knew that the two men were imaginary figures but they were very real to this fearful lady. “There is no need to worry“, Ironside said, “the two men following you are servants of David. They helped him and he has sent them to help you.” Then he turned to Psalm 23 and read it, putting his finger on verse 6 he said, “See, there they are GOODNESS and MERCY. They are there for your protection and they will follow you the rest of your life.”


The HOST MAKES THE HOUSE. A house is just a house unless it is occupied by those you love. David longed to be in the presence of the LORD. David said in Psalm 16:11, You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Jesus On Fasting

16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.


Note 1—Fasting is associated with confession and Repentance in the O.T.

Again, Jesus addresses a popular religious discipline of the day FASTING. Fasting was required once a year by Moses and it was on the day of atonement. It was connected to repentance. Practically all of O.T. fasting is connected to repentance…

Judges 20:26– Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before the LORD and fasted that day until evening. {this pertains to the civil war with the tribe of Benjamin after the Israelites had lost 40,000 men}

I Samuel 7:6— They gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the LORD.”

Nehemiah 9:1— Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt upon them.

This is the norm for the OT, fasting is always associated with repentance and confession of sin. You see the same thing with the Ninevites in Jonah.

Note #2…Jesus did not condemn FASTING, it was the impure MOTIVE that Jesus condemned.

You can tell by the text that Jesus assumed we would fast…He begins with “Whenever you fast.” You see the same wording in verse 17-18...”When you fast.”

Note #3…Jesus Himself fasted and so did the early church {Matthew 4, Acts 13}

SO…are we to fast or not to fast…this is the question?

[1] We are not to fast for show, to impress others.

[2] We are not to fast for the sake of fasting…there is no benefit or reward is fasting for fasting sake.

[3] We are not to limit fasting to food. When I say fasting, you think food but this only one aspect of fasting. Fasting involves all the fleshly indulgences. Food, entertainment, certain things our bodies crave, etc. {TV or Cell Phones for example}

[4] Fasting does not put God in our debt nor demand His attention. The ancient believed that fasting got God’s attention. {Only if the motive is right}



Everyone can fast. If you are diabetic, you fast from sweets. Many folks do not drink cokes. You can do a vegetable and water fast–it’s very healthy [Daniel]. I did not say appetizing, I said healthy. There are many healthy benefits to fasting. I have found, over the years, that for me, it is the best way to lose weight.


Self-indulgence is a problem for all of us. Sometimes we allow certain habits to become addictive. It is not so much that they are wrong or evil but they are time consuming. I enjoy working puzzles. I watch TV occasionally but I work puzzles every day. While Joe David was my pastor he called on us to fast some habit that was time consuming or that had become a passion. He rattled off a list of things…TV, cell phones, fantasy football, etc. At the time, I was not addicted to a cell phone, I was working the puzzles in the paper. So I went a week without working puzzles. I discovered, PUZZLES are not essential.


It is not wrong to eat, it is wrong to live to eat. It is wrong when our greatest passion is to indulge the body. Jesus said, “Man cannot live by bread alone.” Fasting will make you keenly aware of how powerful your fleshly craving are. When we practice wise fasting, no habit becomes our master. Fasting breaks the chains of our self-indulgent masters.


Food is essential but remember, wise fasting involves far more than food. It you think only food, you are missing the point. What is eating up your time? Does it have eternal significance? I don’t think it is a sin to watch TV but if you watch 40 hours per week, that is too much. Can you live without TV? Sure, you may not think so but you can. Go without watching TV one week and see.


I am not good at fasting, no need for me to be dishonest BUT the one benefit I always seem to get is THANKSGIVING. My first year in Seminary, I met a preacher from North Alabama and we actually had some friends in common. He was about 6’2” and may have weighed 140 with his clothes on. He was a few years older and a fanatic in many ways. Of course his definition of a fanatic was someone who loved Jesus more than him. I had grown a belly since getting married in August and he told me that I needed to get rid of it. He said you need to fast. Let’s me and you do a three day fast. I said, “I don’t know about that…” but he would not take no for an answer. THREE DAYS–BREAD AND WATER. Three crackers and a glass of water. By the time I had missed my second meal, I had a headache. On the second day, my head and stomach was hurting so much that I stayed home for school and stayed in the bed curled up like a snake. He came by to check on me and I told him, “I can’t do three days.” He said, “You go without eating tonight and then come to my house to break-fast.” I made it through the night and was at his door step by 7:00. We had biscuits and gravy…the best I had ever eaten. I had never been hungry in my life until those two days and I was so thankful for the food, something I had always taken for granted. Fasting will make you thankful, even when it does nothing else.


Fasting will not and cannot save us: Only Jesus can save.

Walking Through The Valley

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads 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 You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.


The Valley of the Shadow of Death is an actual valley or a ravine in fact. It runs parallel to the Jericho road, the main route from Jericho to Jerusalem. This deep ravine was the passage way for the shepherd and the flocks when they were moving from the highlands to the warmer climate of Jericho which is 846 feet below Sea Level. Jerusalem is located on a mountain 2,474 above Sea Level. This means that Jericho is on average 11 degrees warmer than Jerusalem.


The point is: the valley is narrow and very dark. Only in the very middle of the day will the sun reach the floor of the ravine. The entire trip is only 16 miles and the dark valley is for less but to get the sheep through the valley while the sun was directly above was hard to do. So the valley was known for it shadows and its darkness.

Since we fear death more than any other thing, we have always associated the valley with death. Many have pointed out the fact that it is the valley of the SHADOW of death, not the valley of death. This could suggest two things: SHADOWS can be frightening but really a shadow cannot harm you. Really there is no pain in death, it the shadow, the dread that causes us pain. But there is a second thing: We cannot make light of shadows because shadows always reveal substance. The shadow of the bird moving across the ground means there is one in the air above. The shadow of a lion means there is a lion near. So it is my belief and I share it with thousands that David is referring to dark times in our lives. One of those dark times is DEATH. However, there are some things that are worse than death. Pain, suffering, disappointment, heart break, loneliness to mention a few. Many things can cause a person to despair.

One thing we know for sure: this passage speaks to those in despair whether it is death, disappointment, disease or divorce.

Henry Ward Beecher called Psalm 23 the Nightingale of the Psalms….the Nightingale sings it sweetest when the night is the darkest. This Psalm has brought comfort to millions. Charles Allen in his tiny book GOD’S PSYCHIATRY tells the story of the woman who refused to be comforted when her son died. She would not speak to anyone, friend or family and this went on for days. Finally the pastor came calling but she wouldn’t talk to him so he just sat beside for an hour or so and then he began slowly to repeat Psalm 23, when he got to the line, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me and your rod and staff comfort me,” he heard her repeating the Psalm with him. When they finished with the Psalm, she spoke for the first time: “I see things differently now.”


The sheep could not make it through this valley without the shepherd: His presence was the comfort and confidence they needed. Shadows did not frighten them when the shepherd was near. Valleys are narrow, tight places that are difficult to negotiate and without the Savior’s presence, the valleys would be horrifying. Thank God, the shepherd is with us.

Many years ago, I heard Adrian Rogers tell a story that stuck in my memory. It was about a man and his daughter. The mother came down with cancer and did not make it. When she passed, the house was flooded with friends and relatives to give comfort but after the COLS and after everyone had gone home, it was just the broken hearted father with in little broken hearted daughter. They put it off as long as possible but finally they attempted to go to bed. Daddy tucked his daughter in and said good night. Before the dad could get out the door he heard his little daughter say, “Daddy, could I just sleep with you tonight?” Looking back, he said gently, “Sure honey, you can sleep with me tonight.” They climbed in bed and the father cut out the lights. They laid there in the stillness of the night for a minute or so and then the little girl said, “Daddy, are your eyes on me?” “Yes dear, I am looking straight at you,” daddy said. I can’t see you daddy, it is so dark I can’t see you.” I’m looking right at you, my face is toward your face.” “I believe you daddy,” she said. After a long pause she said, “Daddy, God can see through the dark can’t He?” “Yes,” said daddy, “God can see through the dark and His face is on our face, He is looking right at us.” In a few minutes the little girl fell asleep and when she did the broken hearted daddy got out of bed and on knees, he began thanking God that He could see through the dark.”

You may not see HIM or even Feel His presence but you have HIS WORD, I will never leave you nor forsake you. I am with you until the end of the age.”



The valley is not the destination, not the end, it is simply a way to get from one point to another. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. We all have our valleys, our low points, where life gets down to day to day and sometimes survival mode but we keep going. Winston Churchill is a favorite of mine, Sir Winston said, “When you are going through hell, keep going.” The valley is just a way to get to higher ground.

I surrendered to preach back in 1969. Revival brought out in our church and phenomenal things were happening. A group of young men mostly [a couple may have been in their early 30’s] were meeting every night for a prayer meeting. It got started when one of the men ask me to meet him at the church at 9:00 pm. I worked in Huntsville and couldn’t get there before 9:00. When I arrived on Monday night there were 12-15 mean there waiting to prayer. This went on for 6 months. The janitor was also a deacon at the church and he didn’t like it. One Sunday night he came back in and interrupted our meeting [he didn’t realize that the pastor had joined us]. He said, “Boy, you are going to have to realize you can’t live on the mountain top all the time.” Our pastor, sitting in the shadows, spoke us and said, “But you don’t have to live in the valley either.” That deacon did a 180 and got out of Dodge.


Of course the shepherd was visibly with the sheep. We cannot see our shepherd. We have His word that He is with us but we have no visible manifestation of Himself. The rod was more of a club than anything else. It was the weapon the Shepherd used to fight the predictors. It could also be used for discipline but it was mostly for protection. The staff was the stick with the crooked end. It was used for rescue. Both emblems were for the welfare of the sheep.

We also have two comforters. Jesus said in John 14… “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever”. The Holy Spirit is one of our two comforters; the other is the word of God. The bible is the Baptist sacrament: a visible symbol of the Divine Presence. Nothing comforts us like the word of God.

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ 


Today, we come to the last petition: there have been three…

Give us today our daily bread…a petition for daily necessities, things we need from food to grace and everything in between.

Forgive us our sins…a petition for cleansing so that we can relate to both God and man.

Today…Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. A petition for wisdom and protection.


Not all fear is bad: the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” [Matthew 10:28] It is both healthy and wise to fear God. In Deuteronomy 13:4, Moses said to the Israelites… “You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.

We should also fear TEMPTATION

I know you remember the story of Joseph. He was a handsome young man, well built the bible says and his bosses wife had a thing for him. Joseph was 17 when he arrived at Potiphar’s house. We have no idea how old Mrs. Potiphar was but we assume a few years older. She was possibly a very attractive woman and she did not proposition Joseph once, she was doing it every day and he was feeling the pressure. To please her, he had to displease his master and his God. Joseph was a man of principle and there are not that many around. Mrs. Potiphar let her lust come to a boil and she finally laid hands on the young handsome Joseph, he literally pulled away and fled. She hung on but all she had was his outer garment. Insulted by the rejection, she cried rape! You know the story.

The point is: Joseph ran from temptation.

Joseph is a good example to follow when it comes to temptation: run from it. Get out of Dodge ASAP. When a beautiful woman propositions a man, it is only a matter of time until he yields unless he runs, fleas the temptation. Was Joseph afraid? You bet your last dollar, he was horrified and he ran as if the woman was a grizzly bear.

We have to know our limitations. This was the mistake that Peter made. He forgot that he was a pebble: he was thinking like the rock of Gibraltar. He thought he was too strong to fall. Listen folks, no one is too strong to fall—don’t think like that, it will get you in serious trouble. We are all susceptible to temptation, that is why it is tempting.

Don’t flirt with temptation…

You are playing with fire and you will get burned. Pray for God to lead you in another direction…Lead me not into temptation….that should be our prayer.


We are all different and I acknowledge this truth. That which is highly tempting to me is not tempting to others…I understand. You can tempt me with a 16 ounce Rib-eye but that is no temptation to my wife, she hates steak.

There are two things that really frighten me. I threat them the same way I would treat a rattle snake. My philosophy with rattle snakes is simple: STAY AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE. I would not be at ease if I knew one was in the yard, let alone the house or my bedroom.


Youth people: treat drugs and alcohol like a deadly snake. Do not flirt with these things. Don’t keep company with those who do.

My two fears are gambling and pornography. These are things that I think could ruin me and things I must avoid. Am I tempted? Yes! Strangely enough, the older I get the more I am tempted. God made some beautiful things but nothing is as beautiful as woman. No, I’m not tempted in the least to look at picture of naked men but I could get into soft porn. A lot of preachers have gotten in to soft porn and it ruined them. Years ago Dr. Dobson sent all pastors a letter about porn. Understand, I was living in a bubble and had no idea that some of these things were going on. Dr. Dobson gave some graphic details that set my whole system on fire. I was not viewing the porn, I was reading his letter that described some of the porn. I knew right then: I didn’t need to get within 50 miles of the stuff. I am so red blooded that there are TV programs that I can’t watch. You may think: “You are so old, what difference does it make?” Folks, it will mess up your mind and effect every relationship you have. Danville is a small place but within the past 40 years, two pastors have gone to prison for child molestation and I guarantee you if started with porn. I fear it and I stay away from it.

The second is gambling. What’s wrong with betting on a football game? I am tempted. If it were not morally wrong to gamble, to succeed as someone else expense, I would bet Don $500 that Auburn will beat Alabama. It would be a win/win for me but I can’t do it. If I start betting on ball games, there is no telling where it will end.

I went to the county fair when I was in the 8th grade {I think} and I had more money than I’d ever had [$8]. That would be like 80$. A hamburger was 20 cents and you could get a coke for a dime. Einstein here, got to rolling nickles and lost all $8. This means, I got no supper. You would think a man would quite after losing a couple of dollars but not, I kept trying to win MY money back.


Bottom line, you don’t want to be lead into temptation: you want to be delivered from the Evil One. The devil’s MO is stated in John 10:10…He intends to KILL, STEAL and DESTROY….YOU! He is out to get YOU!

I John 5:18-19, NLT

We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.

He Leads Me

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.


Those of you my age will remember the AV version and in it, the word LEADETH is found twice: first in verse 2…He leadeth me beside the still waters, and then in verse 3…He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Actually, in the Hebrew text, it is two different words. The first means to lead, give rest, lead with care, guide to a watering place or station, cause to rest, bring to a station or place of rest, guide, or refresh. The second which is very similar means to bestow, bring, guide, lead forth, put or straiten. The POINT is clear: THE SHEPHERD LEADS OR GUIDES.

This fact may be threatening to some but to me, it is a comfort: I am so thankful to have a guide. When I went to visit the Marshall County Tech School a few weeks back, I went to the wrong building. The young lady began giving me instructions and then she said, “Let me just take you, I was about to go that way myself.” Immediately I said, “Thank you, a guide is always better for me than instructions. You see a GUIDE is someone who has been there before and they know the way.


There are three things I want to say about our GUIDANCE SYSTEM…


Sheep are not like cats, dogs, or horses–they cannot find their way home. They have no inner sense of direction and they are nearsighted. They have clear vision of what is right in front of them [15 yards or less ahead] but they have absolutely no long range vision. Wow, what a revelation of truth: we humans are so much like sheep–We see this world clearly but we do not see the distant world to come. We are so earthly minded.

The shepherd has greater VISION, therefore it makes sense for him/her to lead. But not only does the shepherd have greater VISION, the shepherd has greater WISDOM. He knows where he is going, where we as sheep need to go and He knows what lies ahead. God has foreknowledge, we don’t: this is what qualifies HIM to lead.

I’m a slow learner. For so many years, I got up in the morning and hit the ground running. I was busy but my life was helter-skelter, for the young, that mean disorderly haste that often leads to confusion. I always knew there was a better way but it required a slower pace. Finally age and wisdom came together and I learned to slow down and begin the day with seeking the LORD’s will.

Before, my life was like a pilot who does not check with the tower before take off. Can you imagine, being on board a jet about to leave Atlanta and the Pilot comes on the intercom and says: “I’m in a hurry today, I don’t have time to check with the tower, we are going to take off as soon as I seen an opening.” I would be wanting off of that plane immediately. THE LORD KNOWS WHAT’S OUT THERE, what we will intersect with before the day is done, we don’t. He will lead us to the right path.


If you know anything about sheep at all, you know that they cannot stay in one place too long. Cattlemen in the old west hated Sheep because they can do a lot of damage to the pasture land. They are much worse than horses. If you leave sheep in one spot too long, they will destroy the grass because they eat it to the ground. Both sheep and horse prefer low grass. Not only will they damage the pasture, parasites are all so a problem if they stay in one place too long…SO SHEEP NEED TO STAY ON THE MOVE. This is why the Patriarchs lived in tents, they were always on the move.

Instinctive within our human nature, there is a deep desire to be autonomous. This is why Eve visited the Tree without her husband, she wanted to be independent, first of him but later to God. This instinct is in every human: you see it in little children. We do not want supervision. We do not want someone telling us what to do or where to go. This desire to be autonomous grows with each passing year: TEENAGERS OR WORSE THEN CHILDREN…they resent being told what to do.

The key to a successful Christian life is LEARNING TO FOLLOW. No one makes a great leader until they learn to follow. Peter eventually became a great leader but only after he learned to follow. Being a sheep can be simple: just follow the shepherd.

When I was just a kid, our family had a grade B dairy. We milked between 6-8 cows, Jerseys and Guernseys. We had an old Jersey who was as gentle as a lamb and she was always last in line. I would go to the far pasture to bring them to the barn and all I had to do was get them started. They marched single file, in basically the same order everyday and they followed the same path. It was amazing, they rarely venture off the beaten path. When I got them started, I would get on the old Jersey and ride her. Following is a discipline and it is not that hard.

One thing before we move on: You can lead sheep but you can’t lead goats. We never had sheep on our farm but we had goats until Daddy got so aggravated that he got rid of them. Unless you enjoy eating them, they are not worth fooling with because they are a stubborn menace. They do more damage than good. They have a stubborn and rebellious nature; you don’t lead them. You can rope them and drag them or shoot them in the head but you do not lead a goat. I use to let that frustrate me but I learned. Every now and then I toy with them by giving them a direct command: then that heads comes up and I can spot the goats. They are not going to be told what to do by anyone other than those who can use force.


This fact may be the most comforting of all: the SHEPHERD must be present to lead: he cannot lead from the house or a distance; he must me among the sheep. Hallelujah, what a SAVIOR. Jesus is our GOOD SHEPHERD and He is not leading from a distance, He is with us and will always be with us. He will never leave or forsake us: we have His word.

Sometimes the path may seem steep and sometimes hard or even frightening but we are not alone in this journey–Our Shepherd goes before us to prepare the way. Jesus said…

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” [John 10:27-30]

Our security is in a person not our performance and that person is our GOOD SHEPHERD, The LORD Jesus. No one can harm us or snatch us away, not even the devil.

Now Jesus presence with us is metaphysical: we can’t see Him and at times we don’t feel His presence but we have His word and we must learn to trust His word. It’s like the lad who came home from Sunday School and his mom asks him was his lesson was about; he said abruptly, “Jesus and germs, same old, same old and I’ve never seen either one of them.” Jesus is as real as germs, pain, wind or the air that we breath and we can’t seen any of those things. Its like the simple man trying to witness to his doctor. The doctor said, “I don’t believe in anything I cannot see.” The man said, “Have you ever seen pain?” The doctor had to confess that the metaphysical is as real as the physical. Jesus is real, no matter how you feel.

Forgive Our Sins

Matthew 6:9-12, NIV

This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.


The Greeks had four words for LOVE and five for SIN. The most common one is found in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The Greek word here is hamartia and it means to miss the mark, to come short of the goal. We have all come short of the perfection we see in Christ. But this is not the word that Jesus uses. The Greeks had a word which basically means to ‘Slip’ to describe an unintentional mistake which we are prone to make. They also had a word for ‘Rebellion’ or ‘Transgression’. The word Jesus uses here is debt, which means failure to pay that which is due. We have all accumulated a massive sin debt that we cannot possibly pay.

Before we go further into the message, we need to feel a sense of your sin. We need to understand our need for forgiveness. {Do compare yourself to anyone other than Jesus}

Robert Louis Stephenson was praying this model prayer one day and just stopped abruptly in the middle and left the house. His wife questioned him when he got home…he said, “There was something I had to take care of before I could finish the prayer.” I’ve had the same thing happen to me: The LORD convicted me of my own sin and I had to stop praying and make some phone calls.

Offences Are Going to Happen

We have all said things and done things that hurt others: others have said things and done things that hurt us. We must acknowledge this truth. This is why Jesus said it is impossible not to have offences…they are going to happen.

Enduring Relationships Demand Forgiveness

Because we have hurt others and others have hurt us: we must forgive if we are going to have relationships. No marriage of friendship will survive if forgiveness is not in the picture. I can’t be your pastor for any length of time unless you are willing to forgive me when I make mistakes, and I will make them.

Unforgiveness Is A Barrier

Just as a door can be a barrier between two people; unforgiveness is a barrier between us and God. Think of it has an umbrella. Our spirit of unforgiveness keeps God blessing from falling on us. When a person refuses to forgive, it is for a reason. They want the offending party to pay for their transgression and they don’t trust God to do it, so they withhold forgiveness as a form of punishment. The only problem is: they hurt themselves much more than the person they are unwilling to forgive.

The Fruits of An Unforgiving Spirit

Remember the Elder brother in Luke 15: He is a good example of a person who refuses to forgive.What happens to people who refuse to forgive.

First: It puts us out of sorts with the FATHER

You remember the story, when the elder brother refused to forgive his brother, it ended up being angry with the Father because He did forgive the younger brother. The story ends with the Elder brother being unhappy with his Father. Have you ever known an unforgiving person that was happy? The answer is NO! Those who refuse to forgive inevitably become bitter.

Second: It makes us totally oblivious to our own sins

The Elder brother saw his brother’s sin but he didn’t see his own. He was being selfish, disrespectful to his father and rebellious {refused to go into the house as his father asks}. My sin against God are far greater than any person’s sin against me. I am complicit in the crucifixion of Jesus, how can I be unforgiving toward those who have offended me?

Third: It robs us of the FATHERS blessing

The elder brother didn’t enjoy a steak or the band: he missed the party all together. WHY? Because he refused to forgive. He missed everything; his bitter heart kept him from enjoying the blessings of his fathers favor and fellowship.


I want to close with a couple of stories, one happened a long time ago when I first entered the ministry: the other just a few years ago. I was driving a family member to the hospital to see a new born. On the way the woman I was driving began telling me how much she hated her son in law. Her words chilled my blood. Finally, I interrupted by saying, “Surely, you do not mean what you are saying.” To which she replied, “I mean every word.” Then I quoted verses 14-15…

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

I simply said, “Your refusal to forgive him means that God will not forgive you which is unacceptable.” I cannot reconcile verses 14-15 with grace but Jesus said it and I am convinced, He meant…So if you are a child of God, you must forgive. Sometimes it is a process that we have to work through but we cannot withhold forgiveness.

The second story comes from the lost persons point of view. I got acquainted with a man some 25 years ago or so who attended worship on a regular basis but never joined the church. He was in the hospital having some test run and so I took this opportunity to asks him why he had never asks Christ to save him. This was his astounding answer: “The bible says that I cannot be forgiven unless I am willing to forgive and I am not willing.” I tried to explain that holding to his grudge was not worth it but he refused to change.

STOP worrying about what others have done to you and focus on what you’ve done to Christ.

He Restores My Soul

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.


I enjoy comparing translations: the NIV uses the word REFRESHES, Moffatt use the word REVIVE {He revives life in me}. The AV translates it RESTORES. The NLT reads, He RENEWS my strength. The Hebrew word for soul is nephesh and it is found 753 times in the OT. The AV translates it over 50 different ways but mostly SOUL, LIFE, PERSON, MIND or HEART. You could say HE {The LORD} refreshes my life, restores my soul, renews my mind, and revives my life.

I discovered the power of this wonderful verse some forty years ago when I came across a little book called GOD’S PSYCHIATRY, by Charles L. Allen. I don’t remember who recommended the book but it was an answer to prayer for me.

My first couple of years in the ministry was a breeze but then I went to seminary and was surrounded by 400 preachers who knew more and could preach better: it was an humbling experience to say the least. Then bang, bang, bang: I served three churches in a row that were conflicted and I got my baptism by fire. Instead of the little old ladies bragging on me and affirming my gifts, they were hyper critical. It took its toll and discouragement became a problem and this little book became a life savor.

I don’t know if you are aware of it or not but sheep can get down. Not only are they subject to falls, they can get in a cast down position and are unable to get up without help. Even the ewes are subject to this. It doesn’t happen often but it happens, a sheep lies down in a depression and they get on their back and can’t roll over to get up. The shepherd takes his staff and gives them one pull and they are back on their feet. On their back, they will die. Their digestive systems will not work on their back and they will die for excess gas.

From time to time, we humans get down: sometimes we fall down; sometimes we run down and at times we go down. We need RESTORING like David and Peter. Charles Allen says, “Like a watch the human spirit can run down, we lose are drive and push. We become less willing to attempt the difficult. We are crusaders no more.” {p.22} The distress and the pressures of life squeeze us like a piece of citrus fruit and we feel like all that is left is the pulp. We lose our enthusiasm and the dawn of a new day brings no excitement.

I like Moffatt’s translation, “He revives life in me.” So I want to talk to you briefly about REVIVAL. Our Church of Christ friends don’t have REVIVALS. In the old days, the Methodist had revivals just like Baptist but it has gotten to the point, that no one wants to take the time to have a real revival. The reason Baptist have always been big on REVIVAL is that we believe in back sliding; no one else does. We believe you can be a child of God and not be in fellowship with HIM. Revival is not really about reaching the lost, it is an effort to reclaim or fire up those who are saved. You can’t revive something that does not have life.

Now one of the sure signs of a REVIVAL is concern and compassion for the lost but the purpose of REVIVAL is to renew our excitement and enthusiasm for Christ and His work here on earth. A genuine revival would kindle our prayer meetings, ramp up our praise and worship, our attendance would soar and we would have a new passion for the word of God. You can not have revival without fervent prayer, enthusiastic singing, dynamic preaching and soul winning. I don’t expect this message to spark a REVIVAL but I do expect it to get you thinking so we can seriously pray for the one coming up in November. PRAYER always precedes REVIVAL.

But there is a second thing that I want us to think about tonight: Sometimes we really mess up like David or Peter and we need restoration. David deliberately sinned against God, his family and the nation and we do not know how long he carried the guilt, some believe everything happened within the time frame of Bathsheba’s pregnancy which of course is nine months but for months David carried this guilt. As in almost every case, David thought his sin was a secret but the preacher knew and if he knew, everyone knew.

With the help of his pastor, David finally acknowledged his sin which is the first step: then he made an honest confession. The LORD could have taken David’s life or his throne but He choose to forgive and David was restored. Don’t get the false idea that David’s sin made his life better; if you think that, you are biblically illiterate. David’s sin brought sorrow and death into his family and I can promise you, he had deep regret about his costly role in the hay. But God is a gracious and compassionate God and he loves to forgive when people repent and God forgave David.

Peter also had a slip. Peter was not only impetuous, he was filled with pride. He over loaded his wagon. He made a bold promise that he could not keep. Peter’s sin left him filled with shame and embarrassment. He was the oldest of the twelve and the leader; yet he shamed himself with his cowardice. No man can ever be proud of being a coward. No culture, no society of men has ever praised cowardice. Courage is a noble thing in any society.

Jesus made it a point to spend time with Peter {John 21} so He could restore Peter’s confidence. I had the weirdest thought earlier today: what if the LORD suddenly withdrew His Spirit from me. The very thought sent a shock wave of terror through my mind and body.

Peter’s fall was a slip: David was overt rebellion, He fell because He was not where he was supposed to be. He intentionally went on to a slipper slope. I’ve done both. I have slipped up and I have disobeyed. All I can say is THANK GOD FOR HIS MERCY AND GRACE. And I want to tell you that Jesus is not only forgiving, He is GENTLE.