Don't Fret (2)
rmal'>DON’T FRET BECAUSE OF EVIL MEN (2)INTRODUCTION
|W - Will of GodF - Fret notR - Rest in the LordE - Enjoy GodT - Trust in the Lord|
Our topic: Don’t fret because of evil. Last week we looked at five principles/lessons from Ps 37:
Vs 1: Don’t fret – a command
Vs 3: Trust in the Lord & do good
Vs 4: Delight your self in the Lord
Vs 5: Commit your way to the Lord
Vs 7: Be still before/rest in the Lord
We saw how David applied these principles when facing his wicked son Absalom
What characterises us when we fret?
q We disobey God
q We hinder the action of the Holy Spirit
v Don’t walk in/live by the Spirit
v Don’t allow Spirit to lead us
v Don’t produce the fruit of the Spirit, eg, joy, peace
q We don’t emulate Jesus Christ; He is not formed in us
q We are more easily led into temptation
v We see evil people getting away with wicked deeds
v “If these people aren’t paying taxes...
q We have no testimony before the world
EVIL AROUND US
We live in a wicked world. Recently there’s been a lot of focus on Zimbabwe, other African states, the ME, E Europe – here we see evil abounding, evil men prospering, the innocent suffering & dying, Christians afflicted
But we don’t need to leave our own borders to look for evil people prospering in the midst of poverty, suffering, deprivation, abuse, discrimination, fraud, corruption
Look at the headlines – here’s a few:
q R2bn tender scandal
q “Drunk judge” claims innocence
q Whistleblower suspended
q Party wants political settlement for Zuma
q Corrupt civil servants defraud pensioners
q Church told to apologise to homosexual
q Krion pyramid scam...in which investors lost R1,7 bn. ”earlier a judge pronounced that the Prinsloo family were fraudsters, robbers, deceivers, gifted swindlers”
If you’re like me, such headlines have an affect – you want justice
But, remember Jeremiah’s question: Jer 12:1 “ LORD, …I must question you about matters of justice. Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why do dishonest people succeed?
And the Lord’s answer: (Jer 12:5) "If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses?
If you are flustered, angry, fretting because of this small peril you’re experiencing, how will you persevere when severe trials come?
But over years I’ve asked the Lord to help me to deal with it – and He has by His grace. How about you?
Does not mean we sit back, unaffected, apathetic, attitude:
q If a sex shop opens in the local shopping complex in your suburb – do something!
q If there’s corruption amongst the metro police, by taking bribes, write a letter to Metro Watch, or your councillor
Now it’s one thing to say obey Ps 37: Don’t fret, Trust in the Lord... but quite another thing to practice it. Do you feel like God has left you alone in the world to deal with all the evil around?
What help is there for us? Let’s look briefly at some spiritual resources, or that which should encourage us, to live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way (Col 1:10), and make us eager to do that which is good (Tit 2:14)
LET’S FIRST SEE WHAT ALMIGHTY GOD HAS DONE
1. Confidence in the sovereign purpose [sovereignty] of God
God knows everything, He’s able to do anything, He has a plan, He will accomplish this perfectly, nothing will stop Him. Every second of every day, God is completely in control.
Illustration: child who is threatened by bully – father nearby to protect
God’s plan for the world is clear from the Bible
q He has provided salvation for all who repent
q He has provided judgement & hell for those who reject Him
v One day God is going to judge this evil world in righteousness & justice
v Every semblance of evil will be judged; every person who has not called on the name of the Lord will be condemned –
v Ps 37:2 ...for like the grass they [wicked] will soon wither [be cut down] and like green plants they will soon die away.
v Ecc 8:13 But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
v Co 6:9,10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Those who belong to Him will be kept
(Joh 10:29) 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.
v In other words, don’t fret because God is able and faithful to keep you until that day.
v It’s not a question of nothing happening to you: evil men may take all you have, slander, falsely accuse or kill you, but your salvation is secure.
v What is more important? Protecting the temporal things that will pass, or shining as a light for Jesus
If you are not a child of God
q (2Pe 3:9) The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
q (Heb 7:25) Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
q Act 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent
God is sovereign. That means He’s in control and His purpose & plans will be fulfilled.
2. You can live confidently in this evil world because you have the nature of Christ
Illustration: If you are the son/daughter of a king – expected to act like royalty
If you’re a Christian, then you have been born again: The life of Christ was created in you – you became a new creation: spiritually – this is your position
(2Co 5:17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
This life is conditionally becoming more and more like that perfect life as we grow in grace and knowledge of Christ
So, do you show the nature & attitude of Christ?
Did Jesus fret?
q No! He lived in the midst of evil men, but true to His nature never fretted. Why? He lived in perfect obedience to His Father
(Joh 5:30) "I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
q The fruit of the Spirit was always evident in His life.
(1Pe 2:23) When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
q Jesus always did the right thing – remember how He acted against wicked merchants who were trading in the temple area
q Jesus faced the worst of wicked man – He endured it all
(Heb 12:2) looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Can we endure the evil?
Listen to Paul: (2Ti 3:11) my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me -which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.
Jesus has entrusted a great work to us – His work. That’s why we have the resurrected life of Christ:
(Joh 14:12) "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
Jesus didn’t come to evangelise the entire world as it’s happening now through the power of the Holy Spirit poured out – He entrusted that work to us, in the midst of the evil
If you are not a child of God
q You may be alive to this world, but you’re dead to God because you still have the old sinful nature inherited from Adam
q The evil may cause you to fret, or it may not
q Nevertheless, know this: God’s judgement will fall on this evil world, and you
q That’s why Jesus said: Joh 3:3 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
You can only go to heaven with a new nature
3. You are not left alone in this evil world – you have the indwelling Holy Spirit
q This is another help we have in this evil world – He is not a resource, like some power that we can take possession of
q He is the Spirit of Almighty God, the 2nd Person of the Triune God, being very God Himself – He indwells every true believer. He takes possession of them to do the work of Jesus Christ upon this earth.
q Before Jesus was crucified, rose again and ascended to heaven He made this promise:
(Joh 14:16) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper [Counsellor], to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
Illustration: If you were the son of a king, the king would not have time to educate, nurture, coach you about how to live and conduct yourself as royalty. You would have a teacher or counselor.
q In a world of evil, turmoil, uncertainty, it’s easy to fret – how does the Spirit help us?
v When we look at our weaknesses, failures and need to keep our eyes fixed on someone Perfect – The Spirit makes known to us the wonderful Person of Jesus - He’s the One who guides our thoughts, words, deeds to conform to the nature of Christ
v When we’re anxious, worried, sorrowful - He’s the One who comforts us. The Spirit brings peace, joy:
(Gal 5:22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
v When you go to the Word to find the truth, He’s the One who enlightens our minds to understand spiritual things
1 Cor 2:13: This is what we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths
v When you fall on your knees to pray to God for help & guidance, He’s the One who leads us in prayer when we don’t know how to pray
(Rom 8:26) ..the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
v When we need the support of one another during these wicked times – the Spirit produces this unity:
(Eph 4:2,3) …with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bear with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
v When you can expect reproach, ridicule from evil people – the Spirit sustains you in such situations:
(1Pe 4:14) If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
He is the Paracletos – the One who comes alongside to comfort
OTHER SPIRITUAL RESOURCES
4. The Word of God
v This is the infallible, inerrant, complete and sufficient Word of God – it is all you need for life and godliness. In other words:
v How to live your life on earth, in the presence of evil – work, home, society
v How to live a godly life – live upright, holy lives before men and God with a good conscience
v If there was no Ps 37 and other references to instruct us how to think, what to say or do wrt evil people & their prosperity, what would your reaction be?
v I would fill my mind with thoughts how these people should come to some self-deserving end. This is not difficult to do!
v Talk about this with others. There’s a difference between saying: “I hope justice is done – the truth comes out” [this is God’s way] and judging a person; wishing something bad
v Or maybe you’d do something. If someone has run you off the road through reckless driving and you damage your car – go and key his car!
All of these are contrary to what the Bible teaches
q Don’t fret. Pick up the Bible and read it. You’ll find two categories on how to deal with evil:
v God’s commandments – what to do and not to do. Eg: The government is corrupt, wastes the revenue it collects. That does not mean that you stop paying taxes.
v Guidance on how to make wise decisions in dealing with evil.
Eg: Your neighbour may have caused damage to your property because of his negligence. He brushes you off and heaps scorn on you. So you complain to your other neighbours.
Pro 11:12 Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.
Read the book of Proverbs – it has wonderful words of wisdom for every conceivable situation of life, especially in the midst of evil
See how Jesus reacted. When He was belittled, mocked and scorned, He remained silent. It’s not a question of WWJD but WDJD
When it comes to the Word of God, how are you doing in respect of the following:
q Having a daily QT of devotions and Bible study. If you’re not spending at least 30 min each day, then the Bible has little priority in your life
q Memorising Scripture – what are you going to do when someone asks you a question; when you have to witness
q Attending a Bible study – if you’re not, it’s again likely that studying the Word of God has a low priority
q This is probably the most neglected spiritual resource we have. Need to do a study on this.
q Look at how & what David prayed iro evil men
q Consider the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane
q Prayer has the following benefits (it’s not a commodity)
v We acknowledge our dependence on God
v You bring the situation to God – instead of dwelling on it or complaining to friends
v You specify your need or complaint - in the light of the Word
v You leave it with God – a burden lifted
6. Community/fellowship of believers
q Have you ever counted the “one anothers” in the Epistles?
q We need the help of others. We don’t need Christian Psychology, nor Christian counselling as it is practised today – this is based on humanistic psychology
q What we do need is a care ministry & godly counsel [need to study this]
q Are you able to counsel? As a mature believer, in fellowship in the local assembly, grounded in the Word, living a Spirit-led life, you should be able to
q We all find ourselves in a situation of sorrow, anxiety, depression, worry – it’s easy to fret
You should be able to pick up the phone, call sister... and ask: “May I come and chat?”
Eg: Alice – Dr Exner
q The practice of intercession also neglected: bringing your situation to others in fellowship means they can pray for you.
q I think we need to read about early Christians who went before us: (Heb 11:37) They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated--
If you had to do a spiritual stocktaking in respect of these, how would you do?
If we get tired & weary when we have to race against men (the evil of our day), how will we ever compete with horses?
Learn so many other skills for life
But, ill-equipped to live a life worthy of the Lord in this world
If you are not a child of God
q You have none of these resources. Yes the world offers its own resources:
v How to get rich, increase or protect your wealth
v Self-development courses
v Self-relaxation, meditation
v Eastern mysticism & spirituality
But they’re of man – offer no hope; they’re fading
(Ecc 8:13) But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
q You are without hope & without God in this world
q Repent and trust Jesus Christ