INTRO: The world is not a pretty place. Oh, I am not referring to natural beauty. In that respect, it is truly beautiful. When I say the world is not a pretty place, I am referring to the blight of mans wickedness. That wickedness and ugliness is seen in mans inhumanities to man. Not a day passes that inhuman, violent acts do not occur somewhere. And we become more insecure, more frightened, more fretful. It doesnt help to say, Its always been that way. But the fact is, it has. And I suppose it began with Cains senseless killing of his brother.
I. BUT THE BIBLE URGES FRET NOT
A. Ps 37:1
1. we should not be fretting because of evil doers
2. nor should we envy them
3. here are two forms of trouble which are possible
a. we fret for fear, for uncertainty, for problems - fretting is a very human thing
b. we envy because evil doers seem to flourish and never pay the price of their evil deeds (human perception) - Ps 73:3-5,12
B. The truth? evil doers will receive their reward!
1. note Ps 37:2,9a,10 shall soon be cut off
2. then, vv.13-15 the Lord will settle all accounts - and the wicked, the evil doers will receive (Deut 32:35a)
3. one of the Bibles great messages is Gods judgment which will be biased only by the blood of Jesus ... Rom 6:23
II. BUT HOW CAN WE OVERCOME FRETTING?
A. Thats an important question in view of todays situation
1. we hear of and se the ugliness almost instantly
2. we have ourselves so wrapped in the world (jobs, property, investments, etc.) that we are fearful that something might happen to deprive us of that
3. there is a lot to fret about!
B. Trust in the Lord Ps 37:3a
1. now, I know that may be trite to our ears
2. but there must be a confidence in Gods workings - a confidence which is encouraged in several ways: scripture, prayer, meditation, worship, experience, fellowship
3. note Ps 37:5b and he shall bring it to pass
C. Do good - Ps 37:3b
1. here is a contrast with evil doers
2. nothing justifies our ceasing to do good - indeed, doing good in the face of evil is powerful testimony to trusting
3. I like the emphasis of 1 Pet 2:15
D. Delight ... in the Lord - Ps 37:4
1. one thing which leads to fretting is wrong emphasis!
2. listen to Ps 84:10 or Ps 27:4 - is He the source of your joy?
3. trusting and doing lead to delighting ... this emphasis permits a perspective on events which is able to say, It is well with my soul
E. Commit thy way unto the Lord - Ps 37:5
1. here is where the rubber meets the road!
2. there can be no question about which course to follow - halting between two opinions opens the door to fretting
3. daily walking in Gods way is our only hope for peace, contentment in wake of news of evil doers (Ps 61:8) ... see also
F. Rest in the Lord - Ps 37:7
1. notice the wait patiently for Him
2. how is the necessity of putting away the frustration ... of learning to be still - Jesus words to the tempest: Peace, be still could well be to us! (Mk 4:39,40)
3. I think that here is our being comfortable in the Lord - of our not looking longingly elsewhere for answers, etc.
G. Cease from anger .. - Ps 37:8
1. personal squaring of accounts is forbidden - and, yes, anger, wrath seem very human responses
2. but people trusting, resting in God must not be angry
3. Prov 14:17 - anger will cause good people to do things they will regret ... even sinful things .. evil doers are Gods business
CLOSE: This particular psalm is truly one of my favorite passages. I find myself reading it over and again. And the first two words are easy to remember: Fret not ...
Cecil A. Hutson
14 April 2002
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)