Funeral Sermon, Douglas Binnie / Friday January 5th 2018
Funeral Sermon for Douglas Binnie / Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Friday January 5th 2018: Season of Christmas / Psalm 23 "Baptized into The Good Shepherd."
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 paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even 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. 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 forever.
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. Doug had his baptism confirmed at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Lumsden Saskatchewan just outside of Regina. Why is that church called, “Shepherd of the Valley?” One obvious reason is that the town of Lumsden is set in the Qu'Appelle River Valley but the other more important reason is because Christ Jesus in the Gospel of St. John called Himself The Good Shepherd. In John 10 verse 14 He says, “I Am The Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me.”
Psalm 23 was written by King David around a thousand years before the angles proclaimed Jesus’ birth to the shepherds watching their flocks in the hills overlooking Bethlehem in Israel. When our Lord Jesus then, as an adult, says “I Am The Good Shepherd” He makes a connection back to Psalm 23. When King David, himself a shepherd in his youth, says “The LORD is my shepherd,” David is speaking of the coming Christ of Jesus whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.
If you go to Agrabition and you walk around the stockyards you’ll find sheep. We still have shepherds today but in Saskatchewan they sometimes wear a cowboy hat. Raising sheep and caring for them is still a part of farming. It’s not the same as grain farming but its farming. For thousands and thousands of years shepherds have cared for their sheep and here’s the important part of this: It’s the shepherd who cares for the sheep not the sheep who care for the shepherd. The sheep are not so good at looking after the shepherd or even themselves.
The prophet Isaiah says it like this, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one [of us] —to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Laid on whom? Laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all. In fact when Jesus says “I Am The Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me,” the very next thing Jesus says is, “I lay down My life for the sheep.” Then Jesus caps off this discussion of Himself as The Good Shepherd by saying “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from My Father.”
When Doug was baptized in November of 1964 in the year of his birth, he was baptized into Jesus and as such Doug became one of Jesus’ sheep along with all those who have faith in Christ, along with all those who are baptized into Jesus. This means that the promises of Scripture that apply to the baptized apply to Doug. It means that the words of Psalm 23 are for Doug and that Jesus The Good Shepherd did and does for Doug as those words say and do. When Psalm 23 says “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” the Goodness and Mercy that it speaks of is Christ Jesus Himself, the Good Shepherd, Jesus was with Doug all through his life from Doug’s baptism, through his years of farming, through his painful health struggle, through all the ups and downs, right into the valley of the shadow of death, Psalm 23 says that even there in the valley of the shadow of death Jesus The Good Shepherd is there with His sheep and He was there with Doug too.
In the Gospel of St. Matthew Jesus said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones [these ones that belong to Me]. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of My Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones [that belong to Me] should perish.” In Baptism Doug belongs to Jesus, Doug is one of Jesus’ sheep and in that same spot in the Gospel of St. John where Jesus said that He was The Good Shepherd, Jesus continues to say, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” Doug is in Jesus’ hand. Listen to Jesus’ voice when He says that.
No one of us can earn what Jesus gives out of mercy and love. We don’t pay for eternal life with our good works or with silver or gold. Jesus Himself paid the price and He didn’t pay it with silver or gold either, no Jesus paid for your eternal life, Doug’s eternal life, “not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with [His own dear and] precious blood,” which He shed upon the cross of Good Friday. And because Jesus walked out of the tomb three days later that first Easter morning He now has the gift of eternal life in His hands to give to you. What does this mean? If you run, He will chase after you; if you become like a lost sheep He will find you, for you were never as far away from Him as you thought, for like Jesus says, you His baptized, Douglas his dear sheep is in His Almighty hand, and “no one will snatch them [snatch you, snatch him] out of My hand,” This is what Jesus says to you today.
In our Gospel reading from John 14 we hear Jesus say to His disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.” And what did we hear in Psalm 23? King David says of the coming Jesus, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” The Lord is one who rescues the lost, raises the dead, forgives the sinner, and takes those who stand separated from Him by sin unto Himself preparing a place for them in heaven, preparing a table for them in heaven; we all join their, we are all brought there by Christ Jesus, those of us who believe in Him: brought there no matter what pain we suffer in this life, no matter what hardship of body mind or soul. Listen to the voice of The Good Shepherd when He says “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Listen to Jesus when He says, “Believe in God; believe also in Me,” and trust that Jesus has Doug in His Almighty Hand.
I leave you with the words to this hymn, they are for you, for Doug for me: “I am Jesus' little lamb, Ever glad at heart I am; For my Shepherd gently guides me, Knows my need, and well provides me, Loves me every day the same, Even calls me by my name. Day by day, at home, away, Jesus is my Staff and Stay. When I hunger, Jesus feeds me, Into pleasant pastures leads me; When I thirst, He bids me go Where the quiet waters flow. Who so happy as I am, Even now the Shepherd's lamb? And when my short life is ended, By His angel host attended, He shall fold me to His breast, There within His arms to rest.” Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Isaiah 53:6
 John 10:15
 John 10:17–18
 Matthew 18:10–14
 John 10:27–30
 1 Peter 1:18–19
 John 14:1–3
 #740 “I am Jesus' Little Lamb,” Lutheran Service Book, Concordia Publishing House 2006.