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How to Stay Up in a Down Time

Notes & Transcripts

How to Stay Up in a Down Time

Psalm 37:1-9

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 7, 2012

*Do you ever fret? -- Charles Spurgeon tells us that to “fret is to worry, to have the heart burn, to fume, to become vexed” (angry, irritated, agitated, annoyed). (1)

*Anybody who’s been paying any attention to what’s going on in our world has plenty of reasons to fret. And even if you aren’t fretful about what’s going on in the world, -- you can fret about your family, your friends, your job, your checkbook, or your health.

*Everybody gets fretful at times. But God wants us to stay up in the down times. And in this Psalm He shows us how.

1. The first thing to do is rush to the Lord for refuge.

*This is David’s message to us in vs. 1-3, where he said:

1. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

2. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

3. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

[1] David also tells us to trust the Lord in vs. 5, and in both cases the idea behind “trust” is rushing to someone for refuge and safety.

*Mary and I are pretty big dog lovers. And we have had at least one dog for most of our 37 years together. As far as I’m concerned, our dog, “Freckles” is the best dog in the world. And in all my years, I’ve only had a couple of bad experiences with a dog.

*One was in the first grade. It was summertime, and our next-door neighbors had gone on vacation, so, they asked me to feed their great big, mean-looking boxer. No problem, -- at least for the first two days. But on that third day for some reason, as soon as that dog saw me, he started growling. And I started backing up. When I got to the front yard, I started running as fast as my skinny legs could run. Half-way across, I glanced back and saw him coming. He was gaining every second! -- Yaaaah!

*I got to the screen door just in time. And as it slammed shut, I could feel his hot breath on my bare foot. I sure am glad that door was unlocked.

*Running for safety, running for your life: You will never find a safer place to run than to the Lord Jesus Christ. So we should trust in the Lord.

[2] And in the middle of vs. 3, David reminds us that we should trust God enough to follow Him and walk in His ways. As David simply said: “Do good.”

*“Do good.” This is God’s simple and sure command for us. Church, remember what Paul said about good works in Ephesians 2:8-10:

8. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

9. not of works, lest anyone should boast.

10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

*“Do good.” This is God’s simple and sure command for us, with the wonderful result that our doing good can lift our spirits when we are down. So Charles Spurgeon said, “True faith is actively obedient. Doing good is a fine remedy for fretting. There is a joy in holy activity which drives away the rust of discontent.” (2)

*So we rush to the Lord for refuge, trusting Him enough to do good.

[3] And when we trust in the Lord, He will surely provide for us. As David said in vs. 3, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily (or faithfully) thou shalt be fed.

*That word “fed” is the word picture of a shepherd faithfully feeding his flock. And that takes us back to David’s 23rd Psalm, where he opened by saying:

1. 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.

*Then in vs. 5, David said this to the Lord: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, certainly wants to feed His flock.

*Alabama Pastor Chris Adams once wrote that “God’s table is loaded with good things!

-Bowls of blessings.

-Platters of promises.

-Glasses of grace.

-Help yourself -- All you can eat! -- Sharing allowed. (3)

*So here’s another great reason why we should trust in the Lord: He will faithfully feed His sheep. And Proverbs 3:5&6 tells us to:

5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;

6. in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

*“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” That’s the same word “trust” we find here in Psalm 37, rushing to the Lord for refuge and safety.

-If you want to stay up in a down time, rush to the Lord for refuge.

2. But also rejoice in the Lord.

*This is King David’s great message to us in vs. 4, where he said: “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

*Delight yourself in the Lord! John Gill explained that you should “delight yourself in the persons in God, Father, Son, and Spirit. Delight yourself in the perfections of God, his power, goodness, faithfulness, wisdom, love, grace, and mercy. Delight yourself in his word, his Gospel, in his worship and his people. And delight yourself in his works of creation, providence, and redemption.” (4)

*James Merritt says: “That word ‘delight’ literally means ‘to take pleasure in.’ Nothing or no one should give you more pleasure than God Himself. Nothing should take priority over your personal relationship to God. It is more important than your relationship to your spouse. It is more important than your relationship to your children. It is more important than your relationship to your business. It is more important than your relationship to anything or anybody. As a matter of fact, the better your relationship is with God, the better it will be with other people.”

*Merritt adds: “Let me give you a principle never to forget: When you want what God wants, God will always give you more than you want.” (5)

*“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” When Ben Patterson was dean of the chapel at Hope College in Holland Michigan, he wrote about a group of people who found this delight for the first time.

*And Patterson said: “Imagine the mystery and delight of not just hearing, -- but seeing the story of Jesus for the first time, almost as an eyewitness. That’s what happened to a primitive tribe in the jungles of East Asia, when missionaries showed them the Jesus film. Not only had these people never heard of Jesus, they had never seen a motion picture. Then, all at once, on one unforgettable evening, they saw it all: The gospel in their own language, visible and real.

*Imagine how it felt to see this good man Jesus, who healed the sick and was adored by children, held without trial and beaten by jeering soldiers. As they watched this, the people came unglued. They stood up and began to shout at the cruel men on the screen, demanding that this outrage stop.

*When nothing happened, they attacked the missionary running the projector. Perhaps he was responsible for this injustice! He was forced to stop the film and explain that the story wasn’t over yet, that there was more. So they settled back onto the ground, barely holding their emotions in check.

*Then came the crucifixion. Again, the people could not hold back. They began to weep and wail with such loud grief that once again the film had to be stopped. The missionary explained again that the story still wasn’t over, there was more to come. So they composed themselves and sat down to see what happened next.

*Then came the resurrection! -- Pandemonium broke out again, but this time for a different reason. The deafening noise now was jubilation, because Christ is risen indeed!” And we can always delight ourselves in the Risen Lord. (6)

*Sooner or later, we are going to run into plenty to get us down, but we can keep making Jesus the joy of our lives. To stay up in a down time, rejoice in the Lord.

3. But also roll your cares onto the Lord.

*This is David’s message to us in vs. 5, where he said: “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” Ron Dunn tells us that the word picture for “commit” is someone loaded with a heavy burden, then rolling it onto the Lord. That reminds me of 1 Peter 5:7, where God tells us to “cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (7)

*A preacher named Edward Sermon told about a speaker who was explaining stress management to an audience. He raised a glass of water and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers ranged from less than an ounce to more than a pound.

*But the speaker explained that weight doesn't matter, as much as how long you try to hold it.

-“If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem.

-If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.

-If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.

*And that's the way it is with stress management,” he said. “If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, we won't be able to carry on.” (8)

*The Lord knows that better than anyone, and He cares for us more than anyone. So He tells us: “Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” And here in vs. 5, it’s “Commit your way to the Lord.” Roll all of your burdens onto the Lord.

-We can stay up in a down time, if we will roll our cares on to the Lord.

4. But also receive the Lord’s righteousness.

*Make sure you have received the Lord’s righteousness. This is David’s message to us in vs. 5&6, where he tells us to trust in the Lord. David said:

5. . . trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.

6. And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

*How is the Lord going to “bring forth our righteousness as the light?” Ultimately there is only one way, and that is through the cross of Jesus Christ.

*What if you were the best person in Caldwell Parish? What if you were the best person in Louisiana? You’re probably not. But what if you were? -- You would still not be good enough to go to Heaven!

*The only person good enough to go to Heaven was the one who came down from Heaven. The only person good enough to go to heaven was the one who died on the cross so we could go to Heaven. Without Jesus Christ we are simply lost and on our way to hell. But Jesus died for us and rose again.

Now he offers His forgiveness, righteousness and eternal life to anyone who will trust Him as Savior and Lord.

-2 Corinthians 5:21 puts it this way: “For He (i.e. God the Father) made Him (i.e. Jesus Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

-Jeremiah 23:6 tells believers: “This is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

*Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you, and you will have His righteousness. He will be your righteousness. The most important thing you can ever do to stay up in a down time is receive the Lord’s righteousness.

5. But also rest in the Lord.

*This is David’s message to us in vs. 7-9, where he said:

7. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

8. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret it only causes harm.

9. For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth.

*Sounds like God wins to me! The Lord is always on the job, and He IS going to straighten out this world’s mess. God’s judgment is sure. His judgment is always right, and at just the right time, the whole world will see it. So those who rest in the Lord can stay up in any down time.

*Pastor Rodney Buchanan explained it this way: “The reason I am an optimist is because I serve a God who is in control. I often think about the early church and the culture in which it not only survived, but thrived.

*Most early Christians lived within the bounds of the Roman Empire where there were persecutions. It was literally a national sport to throw the Christians to the lions as cheering crowds watched them be torn apart. The Roman roads were often lined with crosses on which Christians hung because they would not denounce Christ. Not only was abortion acceptable, a father could kill his child at any age. The government was completely hostile toward Christianity and anyone who was a follower of Christ.

*And yet it was during this time of enormous opposition that the church grew from just 120 believers to untold thousands. God is unstoppable. It doesn’t matter how much opposition there is. God is in control and He will have his way! God is in control no matter how things look. That does not necessarily mean that our nation will always be prosperous or safe. But it does mean that there is a God who is control of history, and he will have the final word. This is our hope and confidence.” (9)

*So Christians, we can rest in the Lord. Louisa Stead knew about resting in the Lord. She was a faithful missionary to Africa from about 1880 to 1915.

*Around the time she left for Africa, Louisa tragically lost her first husband. She watched him drown off Long Island in New York, while he was trying to rescue a drowning boy. In response to that tragedy, Louisa wrote the words to this song:

“‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,

And to take Him at His Word;

Just to rest upon His promise,

And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!

How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er

Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!

O for grace to trust Him more!” (10)

CONCLUSION:

*If you want to stay up in a down time:

-First, receive the Lord’s righteousness by receiving Jesus as your Savior and Lord.

-Then rush to the Lord for refuge.

-Rejoice in the Lord.

-Roll your cares on to the Lord.

-And rest in the Lord.

7. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

8. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret it only causes harm.

9. For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth.

*Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.

(1) Charles Spurgeon in “The Treasury of David” - Psalm 37:1

(2) Charles Spurgeon in “The Treasury of David” - Psalm 37:3

(3) J. Chris Adams (Source: http://theunfoldingword.com/Exposition.html)

(4) John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible - Psalm 37:4

(5) ChristianGlobe.com sermon “Why You Should Spend Time with God” by James Merritt - Psalm 37:4-7

(6) SermonCentral sermon “Easter’s Surprises” by Rodney Buchanan - 1 John 1:1-4 - 04232000

(7) Original source for Ron Dunn insight unknown

(8) Sermons.logos.com sermon “Little Things Mean a Lot” by Edward Sermon - 2 Kings 2:19-22, 1 Pet 5:6,7)

(9) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon “Why I Am an Optimist” by Rodney Buchanan - Psalm 46:1-7 - Nov 23, 2003

(10) Sources: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/t/i/tissweet.htm - http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/s/t/e/stead_lmr.htm

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