The Sheep Trail
The Sheep Trail
Centuries ago in a woods so deep,
Through the cool grass there wandered a sheep,
Who started a trail as he moved along,
A winding trail in the brush long gone.
By now two hundred years are through,
And the sheep has died as all sheep do;
But he left behind this trail he trod,
As he mashed the grass on the forest sod.
And after him there came his flock,
And after them, some other stock,
Until it seemed to be a parade;
Thus, through those woods a path was made.
Twas a crooked path that wound about,
And dodged and curved both in and out,
And up and down over vale and steep,
Went the bending trail of that long gone sheep.
Then came some men on that twisting track,
That wandered here then took them back,
Till they uttered words of holy wrath,
To curse the curves of that twisting path.
And still they struggled till they did weep,
Along the meanderings of that sheep,
Who on this twisting trail they stalked,
Because he wandered as he walked.
In time that trail became a track,
That twisted around and circled back;
The track in time became a road,
Where many a traveler lugged his load.
And staggering on in the scorching sun,
They walked three miles for every one;
And as they walked they'd curse or weep,
As they followed the steps of that crooked sheep.
In time, the road became a street,
And the forest a town where traders meet
To sell their goods as their carts did creep,
Along the footsteps of that sheep.
And then the street became the square,
Of a growing city's thoroughfare;
And then no lesser fame than this. . .
The major street of a metropolis.
Each day the city's thousands trod,
Over that ancient forest sod,
And traveled at a furious pace,
The twisting path that sheep did trace.
And though he's now long gone and dead,
Each day a million or more are led,
By one old sheep winding in and out,
Directing a country's traffic about.
They follow still his wandering way,
Wasting ten thousand years a day;
Oh, what blind reverence is lent
To long established precedent.
We're following a trail, the same trail as all the sheep before us and don't even realize
I. Problem -
your on the wrong road and you don't even Know the right road to take -
>U. S. Hwy 9O / State 90
you're not afraid that you don't know the right road -
you are heading in the wrong direction you are going to the wrong destination
and you don't care
Job 25:4-6 How can a mere mortal stand before God and claim to be righteous? Who in all the earth is pure? God is so glorious that even the moon and stars scarcely shine compared to him. How much less are mere people, who are but worms in his sight?"
Psalm 14:2-3 The LORD looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if there is even one with real understanding, one who seeks for God. But no, all have turned away from God; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not even one!
Jeremiah 2:22 no amount of soap or lye can make you clean. You are stained with guilt that cannot be washed away. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!
A. There is No Fear of God
Be Afraid Be Very Afraid -
the purpose of the law was to make you care
Psalm 36:1-4 - "Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God to restrain them. 2 In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are. 3 Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do what is good. 4 They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their course of action is never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil."
The Law- the purpose of the law is not to Save but to make you aware of your sin and utter helplessness before a holy God
The law doesn't provide for your innocence, but on the contrary, the law makes us all guilty
The law shut us up!
While we try to make our excuses before a righteous and holy God, the law is closing it's fingers saying "'up" "no" "no" "guilty" (DANA CARVEY - )
B. The Pronouncement is GUILTY As Charged
For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all.
The law demanded righteousness, but it showed sin was there. If righteousness which it demanded had not been necessary, when it failed to produce it in man, there was no need of another. Now faith affirmed this need and the validity of man's condemnation under law, by making the believer participate in this other righteousness, which is that of God. That which the law demanded it did not give; and even, because it demanded it, man failed to produce it.
The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread,
The New Living Translation says it this way …
Isaiah 8:13 Do not fear anything except the LORD Almighty. He alone is the Holy One. If you fear him, you need fear nothing else.
The Law was designed to make us aware of our sin and point us to a God whom we should fear.
C. What is "FEAR" of God?
Hatred of Evil -
"All who fear the LORD will hate evil"
"The fear of the Lord is true wisdom"
Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. The rewards of wisdom come to all who obey him.
Key to Treasure Isaiah 33:6
In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.
Fountain of Life -
Fear of the LORD is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.
Pure - Everlasting Psalm 19:9
Reverence for the LORD is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the LORD are true; each one is fair.
What God Requires - Deut 10:12
"And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you? He requires you to fear him, to live according to his will, to love and worship him with all your heart and soul"
The Law tells me that if I do not FEAR God in Reverence and obedience, I should FEAR the consequences of my life.
III. The Provision -
YOU can't get on the right road.
You can't drive fast enough or far enough - and even if you are afraid - you can't do anything about it.
If I had a penny for every time someone said "I've got to get my life straightened out"
I'd be the wealthiest man on the face of the earth.
You can't "straighten out" your life on your own.
You can't become acceptable to God
Jesus Christ has died on your behalf. His death has satisfied God's requirement and penalty for your sin.
His burial has put to death the sin we are infected with.
His resurrection has eliminated the ultimate power that sin and death have over us.
God has done it for you He has called you righteous
He has deposited the righteousness of Christ into your spiritual account
Until you understand your depravity and complete helplessness you cannot fully appreciate the Grace of God available to you through Jesus Christ.
Your Debt is Great
You stand before God and after seeing your debt, you "empty your pockets of all your GOOD DEEDS
God says - "what else you got?"
So you empty another pocket filled with your "wealth of righteousness"
God says "anything else"
SO you empty another pocket and write God a check based on the richness of "good intentions"
God says "you haven't even made a dent"
You are Bankrupt and you still haven't satisfied your debt!
BUT God is Rich in Mercy and Grace
it's not just something you wear but something you become
it goes in you at well as on you
If you wonder from our previous two statements whether or not GOD really HATES sin -
LOOK to the Cross - you will see just how much God hates sin and HOW much he loves us
God's Justice is SURE and must be filled
All of God's Character is UNCHANGING
He cannot choose NOT to LOVE because he IS Love
He Cannot choose NOT to be TRUE because He IS Truth
He cannot choose NOT to be HOLY
In like manner GOD MUST be JUST it is his character
His Character requires JUSTICE
So, God couldn't just forgive us and let us off for our SIN without JUSTICE being served
Without shed blood there is NO remission for sins
The Debt CANNOT go unpaid
JESUS CHRIST HAD TO DIE or there could be NO forgiveness
And NO relationship between God and Man
V25 - God demonstrated his Justice
JUSTIFIED - "Just as if I'd"
The slate is wiped clean
The penalty is paid
It is as if you were NEVER guilty
If I forgave without payment I would be MORE merciful than Just.
If I judged MORE than forgave I would be MORE JUST
God is GOD! He is who he is - I AM that I AM
He is equally JUST - The depth of his Justice is shown in that he was willing to inflict it upon his very SON
The Depth of his Mercy and Grace is shown that he would IMPUTE or Transfer that payment to a completely unworthy person like me
Christ became our substitutionary sacrifice so that God could be BOTH JUST and MERCIFUL and GRACIOUS
1 John 2:2
He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.
1 John 4:10
Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
< We seem compelled to wander blind
Along the sheep trails of the mind,
To win again what others won,
And do again what they have done.
And we without the least contrition,
Bend our knee to worship tradition,
And count it progress to stumble along,
In the hoof-prints of that sheep long gone.
We plod along the beaten trail,
And repeat all over this mortal tale;
We waste our lives as we pursue,
To do again what others do.
There are many things our hearts could see,
If we our past did not have to be,
And opened our minds to the world anew,
To walk not the ruts that others do.
Our Divine charge we do not keep,
For we follow still that wobbling sheep,
And become the most pathetic of men,
Who cannot be what we have not been.
Well, many a thing this tale could teach,
But you do not want to hear me preach;
Instead I offer a challenge to meet,
To change that path that your mind cut deep.
To open your eyes, to reach the sun,
To do what others have not done,
To transcend time, to make the leap,
To transform your mind, and bury that sheep.
You have some choices to make.
I have told you the problem and pronounced the consequences but you have a CHOICE whether to do anything about it.
You can take my recommendation which happens to be God's recommendation through Paul
and by the way, this recommendation is the ONLY thing that will satisfy the problem as laid out by God.
OR, you can ignore God's provision and make your own way.
The question is destination or results.
If you choose your own way, will you be happy with the results?
You don't really know the way to Peace with God
You can't get there on your own
Fear God, Obey God, Worship Him
Because Jesus has provided your way to be justified before Holy God
What will you choose?
M.E.W. Sherwood (1897)
"The cloud was so dark that it needed all the bright lights that could be turned upon it. But for four years there was a contagion of nobility in the land, and the best blood North and South poured itself out a libation to propitiate the deities of Truth and Justice. The great sin of slavery was washed out, but at what a cost!"
The cloud of our slavery to sin hung dark over the Hill called Calvary 2000 years ago. At what Cost, the Life of the Noble King of Glory, his blood poured out as a Libation to God's Mercy and Justice to wash away our slavery to Sin.
What will you DO?
Judgement? Or Justified?
For me … I chose - Justified and it is …
- "Just - as - If - I'd" never sinned