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1209. Refreshing Truths for Anxious Hearts

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
March 17, 2022 7:00 pm

1209. Refreshing Truths for Anxious Hearts

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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March 17, 2022 7:00 pm

Dr. Bruce Meyer, a seminary professor at Bob Jones University, will continue a short series titled “Developing a Healthy Mind” with a message titled, “Refreshing Truths for Anxious Hearts,” from 1 Peter 5:6-11.

The post 1209. Refreshing Truths for Anxious Hearts appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today on The Daily Platform, we're continuing a short series on developing a healthy mind.

Today's speaker is Dr. Bruce Meyer, a seminary professor at Bob Jones University. Are you anxious today? We talked about that starting yesterday and I was shocked to find out how many of you are feeling stressed. It is at least one of our goals as the faculty to try to eliminate all of your stress. Have you noticed that? You haven't noticed that?

I couldn't even say that with a straight face. Frankly, stress is a part of life. And by now you have discovered so many stressful situations here at the university. The first day of school you were introduced to your syllabi.

All of the semester work piled all in one piece of paper. That was stressful. Perhaps watching the news is what stresses you out. I gave up watching the news a long time ago because I discovered their sole job is to scare the living daylights out of us every single day. Have you noticed that as well?

So I don't watch much news. What about freshman speech? How many of you are taking freshman speech right now?

Yeah, quite a few of you. Stress? Absolutely. Asking a girl on a date. You still don't do the note system here, do you? Now you have to actually ask face-to-face, or do you call them up? What's the preferred method there?

Ah, wow, so instant message. Good idea. Then if you get shot down it's not nearly so painful. Well guys, you should think about, what about that girl accepting the date? That's stressful.

Or what if she's trying to figure out a smooth way to shoot you down? That could be stressful. Even more stressful for you. How about this one? Life after graduation. Oh, thank you, Dr. Meyer.

You had to remind me of that one, right? There is life after graduation, and you need to start thinking. And there is stress after graduation. Here are some very serious ones, though. What about a family member who's battling a chronic illness? Maybe even a terminal illness. Financial concerns at home, maybe your own financial concerns.

Grades, that one class that you have that is considered a killer class. And you're feeling all of that. That can add to your stress. Of course, we've had COVID. It is our reactions to stress, our anxiety that is a potential threat to the health of our mind. And that's what we're talking about yesterday and today and this week. It is our thinking. After a couple of hard years, we need to hit the refresh button to think accurately about our responses to anxiety, because we're always going to have anxiety with us.

So it's what we do with that anxiety that really determines how we come out on the other side in dealing with those stresses. We're going to look at a book today. So if you would turn with me to 1 Peter 5, please.

1 Peter 5. While you're turning there, I want us to consider the context. These were believers who were experiencing serious persecution.

Now, it hadn't risen to the level yet of the arena and the animals and the gladiators. It wasn't quite there yet, but it was serious persecution. A lot of these believers were overlooked potentially for a promotion at their job.

Maybe they were refused service at a particular store because they were Christians, discriminated against. And Peter writes this entire letter to encourage them. In fact, starting in chapter 1, he reminds them, you need to live in the context of holiness, even though you're suffering. Chapters 2 and 3, he reminds them of the example of Jesus as he suffered.

That's the pattern for our suffering. And he closes this letter in chapter 5 by reminding them of some very important truths. Truths that would give them both encouragement but direction as they live through those stressful moments of persecution. I find these words to be highly encouraging. I use them frequently with counselees because they just give us such a wonderful view of who God is.

Dr. Pettit began that yesterday. He set us up wonderfully in Isaiah 26. To understand how God fits into our suffering and how we should view him.

And I remind folks frequently that too often you and I have glasses that I call fear glasses. We're looking at the world around us through a lens of fear rather than faith glasses that allow us to see this world the way God sees it. That allow us to see him as huge and as impressive as, let's use this word, infinite. Because the truth is our problems are finite. The stresses that we face are relatively small compared to who God is. Relatively small compared to his plan for us.

And especially relatively small compared to eternity. And so let's take a look at this passage. And as we do, I want us to consider especially verse 7 because there we are introduced to our cares. We use this word, our anxieties, our fears, our worries. And so Peter is going to funnel us towards that concept of how to handle those fears, those anxieties, those stresses. You know, the butterflies that you feel when you stand up to give that speech. The butterflies that you feel when you're wondering, how do I pay for my school bill this month? Or when you're wondering what's going on with mom and dad back home.

Or that illness. So let's take a look at this. I'm actually going to wait until the end of the sermon to wrap it all up into one nice, neat thought, a take-home truth for us. But I want us to see these three truths. And you'll notice the first two truths involve imperatives, commands, that Peter wants us to do. And so we'll lay it out that way as we work our way through this text. So the Bible actually teaches us what to do with our fears. It's wonderful because not only just here, but the book of Psalms, Philippians 4, we saw Isaiah 26 yesterday. So what are these truths that Peter lays out for us?

Let's notice them. First of all, we have a powerful God who cares. Therefore, depend upon Him.

Would you look with me beginning in chapter 5, verse 6. Humble yourselves. There's our imperative. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God.

And then we have a purpose clause, that He may exalt you in due time. Now, those are comforting words, but perhaps that first word, humble, is a word that we stumble over because that's one of those words that we don't much care for. Ancient society, when Peter was writing these words, the Roman Greco world, they didn't like that word.

The Roman Greco world was all about getting glory for oneself. And so when Peter wrote that word, humble yourself, I'm sure these folks were thinking, oh boy, I'm not sure I can do that. What does that word mean? The word simply in this context means this idea of depending upon the Lord. Now, how do we know that? Well, because He's going to tell us what we do in response to God, and that is to cast all of our cares upon Him, for He cares for us. That's the dependency that Peter is talking about here. So humility, that's one of Peter's emphases throughout this book. He at least two other times mentions meekness or humility in this letter. You remember that Peter wasn't well known for humility in the Gospels. There were times that he would launch out in such brazen ways to even challenge the Lord Jesus, you shall not surely die. And yet Peter, I think, has learned now that there is this dependency upon God that is so vital for us.

And it helps us when we are feeling those pressures, those challenges to our Christian walk with the Lord, those fears. So humility, well, it certainly does work against what you and I face even today. Our culture is one of solving our own problems.

Rugged individuals who can launch out and solve the problems that we have and we can depend upon man and science to solve our problems when we're discovering very quickly that that doesn't work. Man really doesn't have his solutions for his problems. So I'll solve it my way. I don't need anyone telling me what to do. God would say, yes you do. I created you as a dependent creature. And so you, as you stand before me, as you walk before me, God says, walk in humility.

That is this dependency. And so what I've learned is that worry and anxiety festers the more we exclude God while endeavoring to solve our own problems our own way. Meanwhile, God says, you know what?

You can come to me. So the way to be humble is the response that he tells us here by casting all of our cares upon him. This is a word that is this idea if you had, let's think of it this way, three backpacks full of books. I've noticed some of the heaviest books in the university are the nursing books, accounting books, any science book. We have some heavy theology books.

Let's imagine three backpacks full of those books, and you're trying to carry them all over campus, and you suddenly realize, my back is just worn out. And you take those and you suddenly cast them away from you. That's what God is calling us to do with the heavy burdens that we carry. We cast them onto him.

Why? Because he cares for us. So sometimes we think of this mighty hand of God, as Peter says here, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.

Doesn't that sound frightening? That sounds like at any moment he's ready to squish us. And yet in this context, that mighty hand of God is a hand of care. How do we know?

Well, look at the context again. You'll notice in that verse he says, and I will lift you up. So you humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and he lifts us up.

Why? Because he cares for us. So we need not fear that mighty hand of God. That mighty hand of God is strong to save. Strong to deliver.

Strong to uphold us. And that lifting up may or may not come today or tomorrow or this week or even this year or even in this lifetime. As you read through this epistle of 1 Peter, you'll see several times where Peter talks about that coming of the Lord Jesus when we are glorified. When we see him, and that's when we will be ultimately delivered. And so it's not always in this lifetime that we have hope, but certainly in the next.

That's where we see our hope. We see that hope in Jesus and what he has done for us in the past. And if he is mighty to save us from the worst of our problems, our sin problem, the penalty that comes as a result of that sin, then he's mighty to save us from the lesser problems today. One of my favorite verses, and I have many of them, but Romans chapter 8 verse 32, Paul said this, He who spared not his own son for us, how shall he not also freely give us all things? It's an argument from the greater to the lesser. And what Paul was reminding us there is, if he takes care of the worst of our problems, then he'll take care of those lesser problems.

So students, you and I can find great comfort in him today, because it is his nature to care. Now it's easy to hear those words and maybe think, boy, I can just kind of sit back and relax and let God handle everything. I call that hammock theology. Don't you think it would be nice on a day like today to be at the beach, have a hammock strung up between two trees and just be swinging in the breeze and enjoying the sunshine and let God handle all my problems?

Maybe sipping on a Pepsi Colada. I don't know what that is, but it sure sounds good, doesn't it? But you know what? God doesn't call us to hammock theology. And you'll see this in his next point, because in contrast to the loving God that we serve, there is somebody else who enters the picture. And that's Peter's second point here. So we have a powerful God who cares. We should depend upon him, but at the same time we have to be on our guard. And I want you to notice what he says here then in verse 8. Be sober.

Here's the second command. Be vigilant. Why? Because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion walks about seeking whom he may devour. So the second truth that Peter shares for us is this. We have a ferocious adversary. And his goal is to devour us, to destroy. The command?

Resist him. Now he gives us three words here. The first two are very similar in nature.

So there's some overlap between those terms. But you'll notice that first term, be sober. The idea here is to curb the controlling influence of inordinate emotions or desires. And therefore become reasonable. Here's where this passage fits our theme this week. If we're talking about thinking correctly, Peter would say, wait a minute, be sure to focus your mind in such a way that you are rejecting those attempts to destroy your life. We know that especially is acute when we're upset. When we're suffering. When we're anxious or worried or fearful. That's when we make dumb decisions. So Peter says, be sober.

Think carefully. In fact, as you read through this epistle, you'll see him using that word at least two other times. That captures my attention because Peter wasn't known for sober thinking always. And yet I think he's learned by the time he writes these letters, he's learned how valuable it is to be thinking correctly, to orient our minds around the truth of God's Word.

That's the worldview that we so often talk about here at Bob Jones University. So be sober. The second word is this idea of vigilant. Be alert. Now police officers will tell you that you can't be on red alert all the time.

We don't have the energy for that. You can't be hyper-vigilant. You're tense, you're uptight, you're like this all the time. So they will tell you, be relaxed. But be alert. Yellow alert. That's what Peter is calling for us here, to be relaxed but alert.

And be sober, be thinking constantly truth that orients my life the way God wants me to be oriented, even though I have this enemy. So the reason? Because I have a vicious adversary. You notice how Peter describes him here? He's on the move. He's looking for the weak and the careless. Predators don't look for the strongest animal, they look for the weak one.

The one that's not paying attention, the one that's vulnerable, the one that is just kind of going through life without much thought. He's not alert. He's not sober. I do notice he's powerful. No, he's not as powerful as God.

We established that in the first point. But he does have this quality about him that is fearsome. And I notice he's a roaring lion. I think his job is to paralyze us with fear.

That's what lions do when they roar. It's like, ooh, there's something terrifying about that. And I think in terms of Satan, he is a relentless terrorist. Because what he wants to do is build into us as believers this terror that freezes us, that causes us to just be paralyzed.

And instead we can be bold. And so Peter says, resist him. Hmm, but how are we to resist him? You notice he doesn't say resist him in your own strength? This is a theology that you can see all through the Scriptures in fact. Remember Paul's teaching in Ephesians 6, be strong in the what?

Say it. The Lord. Be strong in the Lord. Here it's resist him in the faith. So this persistent faith, and he calls it steadfast faith, it's faith that's not moved by the roaring of Satan.

It's not moved by the turbulent times that we face. But I can stand bold, so it's not because, OK, I can bench 90 pounds, so take that Satan. No, this isn't my own power.

This isn't my own strength. That will never stand against Satan. It is the faith that I have in the powerful Lord Jesus, the salvation that he has wrought for me. That's steadfast in faith, and in fact that links us to the previous point that we observed. This is where now again we need faith glasses, not fear glasses. We're viewing the world around us as that which can be conquered because Jesus has conquered. So we have a powerful God who cares.

We have a ferocious enemy who devours. The first point overrules the fears in the second point, but there is a wonderful assurance in this text, and I want you to see it as we head towards our close here. Number three, and this is the assurance.

It's not a command. The commands, OK, we are to resist the devil. We're to depend upon our Heavenly Father, but here's the assurance. Number three, we can trust our powerful and loving God. And we've come full circle now because he began with dependence and he brings us right back to the trust.

But why should I trust him? In what way can I say that God is the one who is in fact going to deliver me from these fears, from these troubles? This is Peter's call to action, and I want you to notice with me verses 10 and 11. But the God of... what are the next two words?

Say it, everybody. All grace. All grace. That wasn't very good.

Let's try that again. The God of grace. This is not a God who is stingy with grace. This is a God who is the God of all grace, so much so that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. And once again, if he can handle that problem, then he can handle my daily problems. So how does he define him? Well, we can trust our powerful and loving God.

What's this look like then? Well, let's think of trusting his power. Verse 6, we already saw. His mighty hand. Trust his goodness. He cares for us. I can cast all my care on him. Verse 10, he's the God of all grace. I can trust his purposes.

Why? Because he has called us to his eternal glory in Christ. Look at verse 10, how he words it. Who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus. Eternal glory. Wow.

That's what we look forward to, young people. That's where we can enter into his glory and say we have conquered because Jesus is the one who saved us. Trust his purposes. Trust his work.

I want you to notice this. Look at verse 10. After that you have suffered a while. How long is that? We don't know. It might be a short time. It might be a longer time. But I'm finding the older I get, the more I suffer.

Aging is taking over. But here's the promise. There is an end sometime.

But look what he says. We suffer a while. He will make us perfect. He will establish us. He will strengthen us. And he'll settle us. What wonderful promises those words are. All these words are assurance of restoration. What I have with this isn't the end.

There is something better coming. And then he closes this way in verse 11. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.

That's not an accident that he closes that way. These were folks who were experiencing Rome. Rome was in charge.

The people persecuting them were in charge. And Peter reminds them, no they're not. It is the God of heaven who is in charge. To him be dominion. This is not a wish for more power. It's a recognition that he already has. All of this power, all of this dominion. So I can trust him.

And I can trust his timing in due season. So how would we summarize all this? Let's put it this way. We refresh our anxious hearts when we trust our infinite God to handle our finite cares. Notice the words? He is the one who is infinite. My problems? Finite. And so often we reverse those when we ought to be saying, wait a minute, I have a huge God. And my problems, though they feel and seem large to me, to him they are nothing. All I need to do is depend upon him.

Trust him. And be actively resisting the one who seeks to destroy me. So, what about today?

Here's the call to action. People think, what are your top three problems that you face today? And then how can you spring into action to make sure that you are doing your part to solve those problems as you trust the Lord specifically to guide you through those problems?

List those problems. And then cast those cares upon him. Don't resort to hammock theology. You spring into action and say, Lord, what do you want me to do in order to handle these problems biblically as I trust you? Could we pray together? Lord, thank you so much that in times of uncertainty, times full of care, worry, anxieties, fears, we have a God who is bigger than all of those and a God who stands ready because he loves us to solve those problems and so help us to cast those cares upon you realizing that your love is so defined for us through the cross that these little problems we face day to day are nothing for you to handle. And so we depend upon you. Help these young folks to develop that spirit of trust that gives them the bold confidence to rest in you and to roll those anxieties upon you for it's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen. You've been listening to a message preached by seminary professor Dr. Bruce Meyer. Join us again tomorrow as we continue the series on developing a healthy mind here on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-21 06:21:18 / 2023-05-21 06:31:08 / 10

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