Psalm 37 | Free From Fret – Part 2


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Ever find yourself fretting? Learn six imperatives in Psalm 37 to help you stop.
 

Psalm 37 | Free from Fret–Part 2

John Cole / General

Jesus & Me in the Psalms / Trust; Fret; Evildoer; Good Works; Anger; Example / Psalm 37

If we get our eyes off Jesus and pay too much attention to the temporary successes of those who advance through wrong doing, we can begin to fret about life and envy the way of evildoers. Psalm 37 declares six imperatives to help us trust the LORD and stay the course of righteousness, free from fret.

 

SCRIPTURE READING:

Psalm 37:23–28 KJV

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: And he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: For the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. 25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his seed begging bread. 26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; And his seed is blessed. 27 Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell for evermore. 28 For the Lord loveth judgment, And forsaketh not his saints; They are preserved for ever: But the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

 

INTRO:

10,000 Sermon Illustrations Bread to Hold

  In his book God’s Psychiatry, Charles L. Allen tells this story:       “As World War II was drawing to a close, the Allied armies gathered up many hungry orphans. They were placed in camps where they were well-fed. Despite excellent care, they slept poorly. They seemed nervous and afraid. Finally, a psychologist came up with the solution. Each child was given a piece of bread to hold after he was put to bed. This particular piece of bread was just to be held—not eaten. The piece of bread produced wonderful results. The children went to bed knowing instinctively they would have food to eat the next day. That guarantee gave the children a restful and contented sleep.”   Our Daily Bread

 

God has given us so much more than a piece of bread to hold. He gives us promises like those found in Psalm 37.

 

Psalm 37 give us guarantees that God will take care of those who trust in Him.

 

Oh, how important it is that we trust God to care for and guide us as we follow Him.

 

Look at these assuring truths:

 

Psalm 37:23–24 KJV

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: And he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: For the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.

 

Psalm 37:28 KJV

28 For the Lord loveth judgment, And forsaketh not his saints; They are preserved for ever: But the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

 

Psalm 37 helps us learn to trust the LORD and stay the course of righteousness, free from fret.

 

THREE PRIMARY TEACHINGS:

 

#1 Don’t  fret  or  envy  over evildoers. (Vs. 1)

•    Notice: “Fret not thyself” in vs. 1, 7, & 8.

•    To Fret: to burn with anger; to get excited; to kindle inside

•    Fretting is something you and I do to ourselves; it is not something others do to us.

•    Fretting is usually accompanied with envy.

•    Temporal success doesn’t prove a way is prosperous.

 

#2  Trust  the LORD, and do good. (Vs. 3)

•    “Trusting” and “doing” go together.

•    Trust trumps fret.

 

#3  Be  delivered  by the LORD. (Vs. 39-40)

 

 

So, how exactly do we follow these teachings?

 

Psalm 37 gives us six imperatives to follow and be free from fret.

 

SIX IMPERATIVES:

Review from Part One:

#1  Delight  in the LORD. (Vs. 4)

 

#2  Commit  your way to the LORD. (Vs. 5)

 

#3  Rest  patiently in the LORD. (Vs. 7 & 34)

 

Final Three Imperatives:

#4 Turn from  anger . (Vs. 8)

 

Psalm 37:8 KJV

8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

 

Give  anger  an inch, and it will take a mile.

Ephesians 4:26–27 KJV

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.

 

10,000 Sermon Illustrations Anger Spreads

  In the spring of 1894, the Baltimore Orioles came to Boston to play a routine baseball game. But what happened that day was anything but routine.   The Orioles’ John McGraw got into a fight with the Boston third baseman. Within minutes all the players from both teams had joined in the brawl. The warfare quickly spread to the grandstands. Among the fans the conflict went from bad to worse. Someone set fire to the stands and the entire ballpark burned to the ground. Not only that, but the fire spread to 107 other Boston buildings as well.   Our Daily Bread, August 13, 1992

 

Learn to be  slow  to anger.

James 1:19–20 KJV

19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

 

Avoid  unjust  anger.

Matthew 5:21–22 KJV

21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

 

Be careful not to  provoke  anger.

Proverbs 15:1 KJV

1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: But grievous words stir up anger.

Colossians 3:8 KJV

8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

10,000 Sermon Illustrations The Letter

  Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, was angered by an army officer who accused him of favoritism. Stanton complained to Lincoln, who suggested that Stanton write the officer a sharp letter. Stanton did, and showed the strongly worded missive to the president. “What are you going to do with it?” Lincoln inquired. Surprised, Stanton replied, “Send it.”   Lincoln shook his head. “You don’t want to send that letter,” he said. “Put it in the stove. That’s what I do when I have written a letter while I am angry. It’s a good letter and you had a good time writing it and feel better. Now burn it, and write another.”    Today in the Word, February, 1991, p. 9

 

Ephesians 6:4 KJV

4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

 

10,000 Sermon Illustrations Quotes

Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame. – Benjamin Franklin

 

 Fret  and  envy  can turn to anger, and anger can turn to evil.

 

 

#1 Delight in the LORD. (vs. 4)

#2 Commit your way to the LORD. (vs. 5)

#3 Rest patiently in the LORD. (vs. 7, 34)

#4 Turn from anger. (vs. 8)

#5 Depart from  evil .  (Vs. 27)

 

Psalm 37:27 KJV

27 Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell for evermore.

 

Fear God to  hate  evil.

Proverbs 8:13 KJV

13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: Pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, And the froward mouth, do I hate.

 

Seek God’s presence to  expose  evil.

John 3:20 KJV

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

Avoid even the  appearance  of evil.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

 

Departing from sin and evil is for our own  good .

 

10,000 Sermon Illustrations Root of all Evil

  Q:  Oswald Chambers said that the root of all sin is the suspicion that God is not good.  Isn’t it true that somehow we’ve got a generation of kids — and perhaps their parents as well — who think that God is not good, that sin is attractive, and that God is a type of kill joy?   A:  I think that’s true.  And that’s why, in my relationship with my own children, I have hammered home the idea that within every negative precept – every “Thou shalt not” — there are always two positive principles.  One, God gives them to protect us. And second, He gives them to provide.  He’s not a cosmic killjoy who wants to take the fun out of life.   My new book has many illustrations of this.  One is the story of a high school guy who wanted to go swimming with his girlfriend at midnight.  The neighbors down the block had a pool, and he knew it.  So they ran down there and scaled the fence even though there were No Trespassing and Do Not Enter signs.  Just as he hit the diving board, the girl yelled, but it was too late.  There was only a foot of water in the pool.  He broke his neck, and he’s in therapy to this day.  He didn’t realize that the signs on the fence – the precepts – would have protected him.   Josh McDowell, New Man, March/April 1995, p. 55

 

God tells us to depart from evil because He is good.

 

#1 Delight in the LORD. (vs. 4)

#2 Commit your way to the LORD. (vs. 5)

#3 Rest patiently in the LORD. (vs. 7, 34)

#4 Turn from anger. (vs. 8)

#5 Depart from evil. (vs. 27)

#6 Watch and follow good  examples .  (Vs. 37)

 

Psalm 37:37 KJV

37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: For the end of that man is peace.

 

Actively look for and follow good examples.

 

One source for examples is through reading about past examples:

 

10,000 Sermon Illustrations God’s Gracious Providence

  In Bristol, England, George Mueller operated an orphanage for two thousand children. One evening he became aware that there would be no breakfast for them the next morning. Mueller called his workers together and explained the situation. Two or three prayed. “Now that is sufficient,” he said. “Let us rise and praise God for prayer answered!” The next morning they could not push open the great front door. So they went out the back door and around the building to see what was keeping it shut. Stacked up against the front door were boxes filled with food. One of the workers later remarked, “We know Who sent the baskets, but we do not know who brought them!” -P.R.V.   Our Daily Bread, November 30, 1985

 

 Surround  yourself with people you want to follow.

Proverbs 13:20 KJV

20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: But a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

 

Beware of  bad  examples.

Philippians 3:2 KJV

2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

 

Prove church  leaders  to be examples you would follow.

Philippians 3:17 KJV

17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

 

“Mark them” refers back to “dogs” referenced in verse two.

 

1 Peter 5:3 KJV

3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

 

Church leaders are called to a life, not just a vocation.

 

Their life should be an example for the church to follow, or they should not be in leadership for the church.

 

1 Timothy 3:1–7 KJV

1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

 

Biblical churches should be  multiplying  good examples.

1 Thessalonians 1:6–7 KJV

6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

 

10,000 Sermon Illustrations First Things First

  First Things First   In the late 19th century John Wanamaker opened a department store in Philadelphia. Within a few years that enterprise had become one of the most successful businesses in the country. But operating his store wasn’t Wanamaker’s only responsibility. He was also named Postmaster General of the United States, and he served as superintendent for what was then the largest Sunday school in the world at Bethany Presbyterian Church. When someone asked him how he could hold all those positions at once, he explained. “Early in life I read, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.’ The Sunday school is my business, all the rest are the things.”   One evidence of Wanamaker’s desire to keep the Lord’s work first in his life was a specially constructed soundproof room in his store. Every day he spent 30 minutes there praying and meditating upon God’s Word. He had his priorities straight!   Our Daily Bread

 

This man was a layman who put first his ministry within his church even though he had all the excuses he needed to not be faithful.

 

He did this by knowing his priorities and not letting life difficulties run him. He kept fretting in check.

 

Examples like this help us know we can do the same.

 

This is the churches business—making disciples and multiplying spirit-filled examples to help one another follow Christ!

Surrounding ourselves with good examples will help us not  fret  over or  envy  evildoers.

 

It can be hard to trust God and do right when you are the only one doing it and evildoers are prospering wrongly next to you.

 

But when you have wisely surrounded yourself with good examples, it is much easier to not envy the temporary success of those advancing through unrighteousness.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

#1 Delight in the LORD. (vs. 4)

#2 Commit your way to the LORD. (vs. 5)

#3 Rest patiently in the LORD. (vs. 7, 34)

#4 Turn from anger. (vs. 8)

#5 Depart from evil. (vs. 27)

#6 Watch and follow good examples.  (vs. 37)

 

If we get our eyes off Jesus and pay too much attention to the temporary successes of those who advance through wrong doing, we can begin to fret about life and envy the way of evildoers.

 

Let’s follow these six imperatives to help us trust the LORD and stay the course of righteousness, free of fret.

 

We can trust the Lord, because He loves us and came to us.

 

He proved that when God the Son came and bore our sin and shame.

 

Sin is shameful and harmful, but you can be free from that too.

 

Romans 3:22–24 KJV

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

 

Jesus frees from sin, death, and fret.

 

Come to Jesus, and find true and lasting  freedom .



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