Welcome to our sermons page!
Check out the most recent messages below, or use the tools provided to browse our archive of Series, Topics, and Speakers.
When I'm Exhausted
Message by Dr. Rick Mandl at Eagle Rock Baptist Church, February 14, 2021
Recorded in Los Angeles, CA.
Sermon Manuscript: Living In The Goodness Of God Message 3- When I’m Exhausted
Sermon preached by Dr. Rick Mandl, Eagle Rock Baptist Church, February 13 & 14, 2021
Hey E.R.B.C. family. Great to be with you as we continue our new teaching series based on Psalm 23 called “Living In The Goodness Of God.” And I’d like to begin by reading through that Psalm . . .
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth 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 thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
I’ve been challenging you to try to commit that Psalm to memory throughout this series. And I know some of you say “I can’t memorize.” But I hope you’ll give it a try and accept that challenge. But even if you don’t memorize it, I’ve given you another challenge this week, which I think you can accept . . . Which is to read this Psalm twice a day. First thing in the morning when you get up . . . Last thing at night before you go to bed . . . Because I believe that if you start your day and end your day with this reminder of the goodness of God it will make a difference, in how your day goes, as well as how you sleep at night.
The 23rd Psalm is a psalm about the goodness of God, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about over these next weeks. But today, I want start out by talking to you about a medical condition that has touched a lot of people and it’s not. . . COVID-19. This is something that was a problem prior to the Pandemic It just continues to be a problem today. And it will continue to be a problem, long after the Pandemic is behind us.
I want to describe this particular medical malady and see if you can figure out what it is that I’m talking about . . . This condition afflicts 70 million Americans. It causes. . . . 38,000 deaths per year. It costs the US economy $70 billion a year in lost productivity, and health expenses, 64% of high schoolers struggle with this. But as bad as that is, this is not the group that it hits the hardest. The most severe cases are in people between the ages of 30 and 40 years old. In addition to this an estimated 50% of senior citizens have this. Just in case you haven’t already figured it out, the condition I'm talking about is Sleeplessness. Add a Pandemic to the equation, and what you’re left with is what is being called - “Coronasomnia.”
Even before COVID-19, medical experts were concerned about increasing rates of insomnia and its impact on physical and emotional health. Now, add to that the COVID-19 stress, the huge changes in routines and the decreased activity for many people, sleep experts say the coronavirus has caused a second pandemic of insomnia.
In America, we are a sleep deprived nation. Here’s one stat that is somewhat sobering . . . . 1910 Americans slept nine hours a night on average. Fast forward about a hundred years . . . And today (NIH) we sleep seven hours, two full hours less a night. And you may look at that and think, “I wish I got seven. For me, it’s more like 5-6” And for some of us we’re actually proud of that. Because it shows that while we're working hard, we're busy and and we almost brag about it to our friends. But it's a problem. And it’s a problem that is addressed in that part of God’s Word that we’re looking at today, which is the 23rd Psalm. Psalm 23 which is arguably one of the most familiar portions of God’s Word.
I like what Haddon Robinson said about the 23rd Psalm, in his book Trusting The Shepherd. He said . . .
"Three thousand years have passed since David wrote the words of the Twenty-third Psalm. Thirty centuries. That’s a long time. The palace in which these words were penned, the harp on which the melody was played, the Book of Law on which David meditated day and night — all are now buried under the debris of the centuries.
Yet the twenty-third Psalm remains as fresh today as it was in the hour it was first composed. The psalm has an enduring relevance. The words are among the first that many of us learned as children, and they are often among the last that we whisper in the final dark hours of life, as we look forward to the daybreak of heaven."
In this Psalm, David talks about how to live a life that is free from want. If you were with us last week, you know that we looked at the first verse of the Psalm. Psalm 23 and verse 1 which says . . . “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. And what we saw was that, when it comes to your wants and needs and desires. . . The key to meeting your Needs isn’t found in Pursuing your Needs, but in Pursuing God. Let me say that again . . . The key to finding whatever it is that you're looking for, doesn't happen as you pursue whatever it is you're looking for. It happens when you pursue God. And so we’re looking at what it means to be . . . “Living In The Goodness Of God. . . And today, specifically, what it means to be “Living In The Goodness Of God. . . When I’m Exhausted.
We’re focusing on the second verse of this psalm which, in speaking about the Lord as our Shepherd says . . . “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” I wonder, has God ever had to “make you lie down” because that was the only way He could get you to rest? I know that for some of us, the subject of rest seems like a pretty lightweight topic. You’re busy. You don’t have time for rest. You figure, there will be plenty of time to rest when you’re dead. But think about it this way. . . . God thought that the command to rest was so important, that he put it right in the middle of the 10 Commandments.
In Exodus 20, beginning in verse 8 we read. . . “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.” And then in verse 11, he gives us the “WHY?” behind this commandment. And to do that, he takes us all the way back to the creation account in the book of Genesis, and he tells us . . . “For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.” Exodus 20:8-11
Why did God rest on the 7th day? Was it because He was tired? No, the Bible tells us that God never slumbers or sleeps. He rested, to provide of with an example of the rhythms of life that we need to observe. Again, I know that this seems like a lightweight subject to a lot of people, but think about it this way . . . Why do you suppose that when God was laying out the 10 Commandments He could cover other topics like murder and adultery and lying, and stealing, in a single sentence, but when it comes to resting, He felt the need to spell it out, be very specific. Why do you think that is? I think it’s because He knew that human beings, just like sheep would always struggle to find rest. So let’s look at what sheep can teach us about rest. . .
Three Things Sheep Need To Lie Down
Maybe you look at that and think . . why should we even care about sheep? I mean, unless I’m thinking of leaving California and moving to Texas, to start herding sheep, why would I care about what things sheep need in order to lie down? BTW – why did I say Texas? Because I went online and checked and do you know which state in the U.S. has more sheep and lambs than any other? Texas! You know who’s number two, California. But they’re only ahead by a couple hundred thousand, and if we all work together, we can catch them! But again, why think about sheep?
The answer is because sheep is what we are. The Bible tells us repeatedly, but I’ll just show you one place – Psalm 100:3 “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” We can learn some lessons from sheep, because sheep is what we are . . . And here are three things that sheep need in order to be able to lie down. . .
Number one. . . They need to know that. . .
- The shepherd is close. If you were with us in the previous weeks, you know that we saw that sheep are defenseless. They have predators, but they don’t have any means of defending themselves against those predators. They're not fast. They can't run. They don't have claws. They don't have teeth with sharp incisors that can bite. On top of that, they're not very smart animals. They fall off cliffs and they get lost. . . In order to survive they really need a defender.
If a predator comes along, their natural instinct would be to run away, unless a shepherd is there. So for them to rest, they need to know that he’s nearby. They need to be able to see Him. . . And if they can see Him, they’ll be fine . . . Because they TRUST him. Someone said it this way. . . What calms the sheep is not the absence of predators. It’s the Presence of the shepherd.
What calms the sheep and what should calm you and me, is not the absence of predators, because frankly I don’t think we’re going to find that, at least not any time soon, in the days in which we’re living. It’s not the absence of predators, but rather the presence of the shepherd that is going to make all the difference.
Have you ever heard the expression, “Worried Sick”? There’s a reason we say that - - And the reason we say that is because that’s a thing. You can’t be healthy when you’re filled with anxiety. Our good shepherd offers to take our worries and exchange them for his peace.
One of my favorite verses . . . I love this paraphrase of Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”
We give God our worries, he gives us His peace. That’s a pretty good trade. But this only happens if “The Lord is your shepherd.” And if he is your shepherd, you need to know that he’s close. And you need to know that he’s particularly close if you’re hurting. In Psalm 34:18 he tells us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” For sheep to lie down, they need to know that their shepherd is close.
A second thing is necessary in order for sheep to be able to lie down is...
- There can’t be friction in the flock. What kind of friction can sheep have in their flock? Sheep are highly social animals - they always like to be around other sheep they are familiar with and they find it stressful if they’re isolated from their flock. Within the flock they form strong social hierarchies Chickens call it a ('pecking order'). And sheep have something similar. And they will assert their dominance and show who the alpha sheep is, who the boss is, by . . . Butting Heads.
Sheep will head-butt and bully and mistreat each other in an attempt to try and establish dominance. Exactly what they have to argue about, I don’t know. Maybe they’re afraid one of the others is going to steal their food… Or mess with their babies. . . Or vote Republican, I don’t know . . . But they can get divided and they can fight. . . And there's nothing you can do to get them to stop unless you're the shepherd. The shepherd has a rod, and the shepherd has a staff And when the shepherd shows up. For some reason, the sheep stop head butting, and they all go over to the shepherd. And they're happy because they're all distracted by the presence of my shepherd.
So David says, in order for sheep to lie down, they need to have the shepherd there to free them from friction. And in a similar way you and I can’t rest if we’re experience friction with others. I don’t know if you get the video devotionals that we send out throughout the week, but Pastor Andrew had a great one on Wednesday on the subject of Unity and friction within the flock. He referenced Jesus’ prayer in John 17 in which Jesus prayed for his followers. And Jesus was specific in that prayer that he wasn’t just praying for those who were following him then, but he was also praying for you and me. For those who would follow in years to come. And what he prayed was for our UNITY He prayed. . . “They may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21)
Notice, part of our witness, to who Jesus Christ is, to an unbelieving world, is shown through our unity. And this is a case where, as we work toward establishing unity we actually have an opportunity to be part of the answer to that prayer that Jesus prayed. And Pastor Andrew in his devotional on Wednesday, referenced a situation that the Apostle Paul had written to address that was going on in the church at Philippi, in which two believers were having a hard time getting along. Pastor Andrew gave the challenge that when it comes to “friction in the flock.” It’s not necessarily enough to be able to say that “I’m not doing anything to cause it - - I’m not part of the problem.” He challenged us to think about whether we’re part of the solution. Sometimes, wants to use us as peacemakers – as those who can come alongside to help others who are having a hard time getting along. Sheep can’t rest if there’s friction in the flock and neither can you and I.
In order to lie down, sheep need. . .
- To Know that the Shepherd is Close
- There can’t be Friction in the Flock
And then third . . .
- They need to be full. Once again, looking at our verse for today, Psalm 23:2 says . . . “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” What you and I need to know from that verse is that green pastures and still waters are what sheep need in order to be satisfied. Why are those things important? They’re important because when they have green pastures and still waters, they no longer need to be moving around in search of those things.
Shepherds understood this. . . They knew that it’s while the are resting, that that the sheep are growing. And as a shepherd, that’s the goal for your sheep. Tired or stressed-out sheep don’t produce lambs. They don't produce wool. Stressed sheep are not healthy sheep. If sheep are filled. . . If they’re well-fed and satisfied they will lie down. If they’re not, they’ll be on the move searching for something to eat.
“He leads me beside the still waters.” ? Why are still waters important? They’re important because sheep actually fear moving water. And deep water can freak them out for good reason, because, sheep are like half wool. And if they fall into moving water, then you know the wool is gonna soak up the water and they’ll drown. So they prefer still shallow water.
However, their preference for Still Water gets sheep into big trouble. It can lead them to drink from shallow, but muddy, polluted puddles where they can get all kinds of intestinal parasites. So if there's stagnant water, or poisonous water, or germ-filled water, they’ll drink it just as long as it’s wet. That’s why they need a shepherd . . . How can the sheep tell the difference between the shallow water that is good to drink as opposed to the shallow water that is polluted? Only one way - - by keeping their eye on the shepherd And TRUSTING the Shepherd. . .
Read through this 23rd Psalm, and you’ll see that throughout the Psalm, the emphasis is not on the SHEEP but on the SHEPHERD. It’s not “Sheep!!! Try harder, Work harder, work, work, work. .. No, It’s TRUST THE SHEPHERD, because… He is the one who . . . . . . Maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He is the one who . . . Leadeth me beside the still waters. He is the one who . . . He restoreth my soul: He is the one who . . . Leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. That’s why Jesus calls us to come to Him. And to follow Him . . .
In Matthew 11 he gives this invitation. . . “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 Let’s turn to Him right now. . .
Lord we thank you that each that David says that the Good Shepherd does for his sheep, is something that you offer to do for us. I’ve got to believe that there are some among us who are right now “weary and burdened, and need your rest.” My prayer is that they would cease striving, and turn to you and follow you. And as a result that they would experience the green pastures and the still waters to which you desire to lead them in Jesus Name, Amen.
Recorded in Los Angeles, CA.
From Series: "Living In The Goodness Of God"
We live in a world that so often focuses on what’s missing. But did you know that God invites us to experience his goodnes.
God invites us to live a life without scarcity or lack. In Psalm 23 we find a compelling picture of this kind of life. Join us for our new sermon series, “Living in The Goodness of God,” as we learn how a life of goodness is available to anyone who will allow God to be their Shepherd.
Living in the Goodness of God begins January 30th.
How to join:
In-Person during our Outdoor Worship Service on Sundays at 11 am (for details visit: https://www.erockchurch.com/outdoor-worship)
Watch online at www.erockchurch.com/live Live Stream Service Times: Saturday at 5:30pm Sunday at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 6pm Wednesday at 7pm
Download our app to watch sermons, take sermon notes, check our daily devotional videos and more!