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Fighting Depression

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2022 2:00 am

Fighting Depression

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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May 23, 2022 2:00 am

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Your Bibles with you not turn with me first Kings chapter 19 will be looking at verses four through eight this evening. He himself on a day's journey in the wilderness came and sat down under a Braintree and asked that he might die say it. It's enough now, Lord, take away my life, I have noted, I am no better than my father's delay down. He slipped under the Braintree hold an angel touched him and said to him, arise and eat and he looked, and behold, there was at his head up cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water.

The ate and drank lay down again the edge of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, arise and eat.

The journey is too great for you and he arose and ate and drank and he went in the strength of that food 40 days 40 nights to horrible mount of God that with me to get our Lord in prayer. Heavenly father understand I'm dealing with a very difficult subject tonight subject Lord on a depression know that in our world today. There are many that suffer with this malady and it brings great hurt sometimes almost a hell on earth would ask heavenly father that we might look at some of the the things that you had to say about depression in your word for here we see out the prophet Elijah is gone through a deep, deep depression himself one, not I would imagine that he had never experienced before other. I know years ago I went through a depression myself and I've never done this before and I used to have a misunderstanding of what it was all about and would almost want to tell people that were telling me that they were going through a depression that it's not that big a deal, just pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get going and I realized at that point in time that sometimes it's not that easy and I would ask heavenly father that you might help us to see that drugs are not our answer that psychology is not the answer that Christ is the answer to depression. Heavenly father, help us, that we might understand that you have the power to take it away. You took Elijah's depression away from him.

You gave me peace you gave him joy when he felt like his whole life was falling apart. May that be true of every person here that suffers with depression may you take that depression do away with it and fill them with joy instead got a grant to study this passage.

Lord my Jesus be honored and exalted by what happens here tonight that's in your precious, holy name we pray. Amen. You may be seated. I have many spiritual heroes, one that is very close to the top of my list.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon is often called the prince of preachers. I think that's a fitting nickname for him. He was a man who had a photographic mind.

Hey, I could do things that most people can even think about doing. He had the ability to think about eight things at one time they could be working on or preaching a sermon and just preaching from a very short outline and then as he's preaching that sermon in the back of his mind is thinking about the next sermon is going to preach in figuring out an outline for that. I think they call that multitasking. I can even relate to that. I can't chew bubblegum and walk at the same time it because he could do this. It was amazing. It was the most pool prolific preacher in church history's schedule was amazing. He read 2 to 3 books a week. He taught at the pastors college.

He preached 3 to 10 times a week. He wrote periodicals and books and and pamphlets he him he was the administrator of an orphanage that the church supported he did all these things there more printed sermons, books and pamphlets that were written by Charles Spurgeon that by any other preacher or theologian to ever live a guided age 57 he will go into a pulpit on Sunday morning the 5000 people there and he would preach his heart out Sunday night he come back to 5000 people again and he would preach again. The people at congregation walk out of they are rejoicing, praising God for his sovereignty, praising God for his grace and for his mercy and it was an unbelievable time sometimes as he came back home on Sunday night he would get in bed to go to sleep he would fall under such a deep depression. He couldn't get out of bed for the next two weeks that happen to aim several times and wanted happen. He would get terribly upset with himself, for he would say to them. The sale sale. This is depression and depression is nothing but a lack of faith and I'm sinning against God to do it.

Charles Spurgeon suffered with Gail out people and doctors and scientists back then did not know what we know now that we know now that get out can cause a chemical reaction to take place in the body that can lead to depression and that could be a lot of his problem. The Spurgeon's worst, depression came on September 19, 1856 and this time it had absolutely nothing to do with get out because their church building in London England was not big enough, they decided that they would rent out the Surrey Garden music Hall and it was a huge building and they rented this out in one particular Sunday night. It was absolutely filled to the brim.

Every seat was full all the aisles were filled with people. People were standing up to hearing Spurgeon had his prayer and actress prayer somebody for a joke just cried out fire and when they did. All of a sudden there was a panic, horrible, terrible panic and people begin to push and shove that one long for stairwell broke and people fail from one story down to the next were seven people who died were 28 people who were terribly hurt Spurgeon the tenderhearted Spurgeon never completely recovered from that that emotional impact it had on him for the rest of his life was extremely tough. Spurgeon said it was a black cloud over his head and it made life a burden.

London newspapers put all the blame on Spurgeon said he was nothing but a callused megalomaniac and all. The reason that he wanted these huge crowds so that he could stroke his ego and in their fiery darts of criticism tore into Spurgeon's heart and caused him to be deeply depressed. Spurgeon had the same kind of questions. I think that we would probably have Lord why why did you let this happen in Lord, why can't I get over this depression. Why why why think Elijah had some of those same questions and he was experiencing a lot of the pain that Spurgeon did not have all the answers to explain all the inner workings of of depression. This seems to me that the greatest lessons that I have learned in my life have not so much been in those times of great revival or those times of spiritual and emotional highs. Nothing.

The times that I have learned motion may be growing closer to God were times of trial and tribulation. Some of the dam times in my life. So it was in the life of the prophet Elijah. Elijah just been used of God is perhaps no other person up to this time in history had ever been used in maybe Moses himself. Elijah was truly an instrument in God's hands through the ministry of Elijah Bailey is him had been dealt a death blow in Israel and in logic going up on top of Mount caramel and there was a contest between God and Bale analogic was used by God is his instrument to call down fire from heaven. Because of that, the people of Israel had come to realize that all that God Jehovah God was truly God and that Bale was a phony.

He was a demonic being he was there was a reality to him and it was a horrible, terrible thing, until Israel finally solved that and when they saw it.

It was a glorious thing because they came to realize that God is majestic and that is real. The sovereign these powerful that they can trust him. No one could deny the Lodge. It was God's man.

No one can deny that the hand of God was on Elijah we get into the 19th chapter of first Kings received the faith of the lodges begun to falter when he is threatened by Jezebel. He runs for 80 miles he goes to a wilderness right outside of Beersheba and there he gets up under a juniper tree and he prays and cries to God just to go ahead and take his life that I will live anymore. That was a deep depression that God is a sovereign God. Any years in the situation that we have here is not by accident several days immediately preceding this God has been using Elijah to teach the nation of Israel. Some of the greatest lessons that they would ever not now it's time for Elijah to learn some things Jezebel threw a tantrum and made a declaration that she was going to kill Elijah got to the struck her down right there on the spot that would have eased the lodges tension to stop the depression they with that, I'm fine and okay God and do that God could have spoken to a lodges hearts. Elijah don't worry about a thing. Don't you know that I'm going to protect you will be able to get to you. She can do anything to you I will protect you doing the thing in the world worry about God didn't do that. He allowed a lodges faith to falter. He allowed Elijah to get intimidated.

He allowed his prophet to run away from the problem.

Why God was taking his boarding school. Elijah learn more about the ways of God under the juniper tree in in a cave in the side of a mountain than he did the whole time he was up on Mount caramel: for God to send fire from heaven. Sometimes God speaks very clearly through a hospital bed funeral home financial collapse or personal tragedy was that made does that mean that we don't need the word of God anymore because God speaks to all these things these painful things that we don't need the word of God a more deadening that it all goes.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. God often uses trials and tribulations, and even tragedy and depression to open up the heart in order that we might understand what God's word really says 33rd chapter of Exodus is a great chapter love that chapter Moses is in the cleft of the rock Moses is hungering for God is by himself.

He just cried out to the Lord, and he says, Lord, show me your way that I might know you show me your glory in the Lord just put put Moses right there in the in this the side of that mountain.

Anyway came right pass right by Moses got to see a little bit of God's glory more so than any man of Israel had ever seen before lite it did something promote to Moses, he was never the same again.

Moses found the key.

He didn't sink and experience at any didn't sink a gift any didn't sink a spiritual high. He saw God he saw God, Lord, show me your way that I might know you show me your glory and God did. Don't let extremism scare you in the missing God's blessings God doesn't want us to prime fanaticism, nor does he want us to freeze and formalism. We, but we need to understand this, we need intimacy with God and we get that we need to seek God's face not his hand but his face was all that God is holy.

He's righteous. He's an all-consuming fire. These omnipotent he is totally sovereign. That's truly is also the father and he desires intimacy with us as his children.

I think sometimes we don't think about that.

I think sometimes we don't realize how how much God wants us to experience not just what he says not just what he does but he him himself. Intimacy with him.

Submit you today that one of the reasons that God allowed Elijah fail was to bring him into a deeper, more intimate fellowship with him if you're struggling with depression. God may do for you what he did for Elijah, he can use that depression to open up your heart that you might be more receptive to his wheel and to deepen his intimacy with you. Why was a Lodge experiencing this horrible debilitating depression only give you three great reasons. Number one, it was unfulfilled expectations, perhaps perhaps a Lodge expected Ahab and Jezebel to experience revival them sales and maybe thought, ma'am once they find out that Jehovah is truly God and that this Bale is nothing but a demonic God at once they understand that then they're going to come to the Lord there to help me bring revival to this nation and that didn't happen. In fact, he was the exact opposite. They put a contract out on a lodges life and they were doing everything they could to fight against God. He had unfulfilled expectations number two. It was an improper perspective.

Lodge was looking with physical style sites to the spiritual side he was not looking at God anymore. He was looking at Jezebel number three Lodge was mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally worn out absolutely worn out he was dead tired and he was totally exhausted this and Satan knows when you're at that point he knows when you're totally wiped out. He knows when you're tired mentally, he knows when you're tired, spiritually, and he knows exactly when to attack what had Moses done to making so tired he was up on the mountain calling down fire from God.

This was a contest between the Lord God and the false gods of bail and he call down fire from heaven, but then after that was over, God commanded Elijah to slaughter the profits of bail he killed for 450 prophets of bail 400 prophets of Asher, and he did that. Evidently by himself and then what did he do we find out that he runs 80 miles all the way down to the wilderness of Beersheba. No wonder he's worn out liquid is done by .1, the cause of the lodges depression. Look at verse four with me. First of all, was the center of a lodges problem. The scent of a lodges problem spiritual pride, that's certainly not true for everybody's going to a depression but for a Lodge. It was huge. Verse four, but he himself wanted Day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a burning tree and he asked that he might die saying it is enough now, Lord, take away my life, Brian no better than my father's. There was a problem in a lodges heart lodges didn't see it as the people in Israel didn't see it.

God saw it no problem spiritual pride verse forces. Look at me. I have made a mistake my faith faltered. How may as well die get this over with because this proves that I'm a man just like everyone else. Less exactly what it proved and he was a man just like everybody else offering a logic a little cocky when he was up on that mountain summit look what I did. I prayed and God said, fire. I prayed and God sent the running something special.

I prayed and God answered me. Philip Brautigan is that was the pastor that that succeeded James Montgomery Boyce and 10th Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He left a little bit later on to go and be the president of Queen College. He also wrote the first Kings part of the reformed expository series commentary series and did a great job with what you listen to what he said about about a lodges Messiah complex.

He said this is another reason for a lodges depression.

Although it is a reason that most commentators have overlooked it may be more important than all his other reasons put together a Lodge he was suicidal because he needed a Savior. Imagine for a moment that the Bible when only at the first Kings 18 if we had only the first 500 pages of the Bible are slowed, which is about what Elijah had what we conclude about the profits identity. Where would we place a Lodge in the history of redemption.

It would be easy to guess that Elijah might be the promised servant God's chosen profit God had promised to send a second Moses to the people of God. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers and I will put my words in his mouth and he shall speak to them all that I commanding Elijah must it seem like an excellent candidate to fulfill the promise role he could shut up the rain and the heavens and bring manager people without bread he could raise the dead, he could pry down the glorious fire of God's presence he could turn the hearts of God's people back to their God. Could it be that Elijah was a prophet like Moses. Could it be that he was a Savior, God promised it would save his people from their sins.

No Lodge was not the prophet is not the Messiah, who was sent to save his people from their sins's depression amounted to an admission of his failure to be that Savior is enough now, Lord, take away my life from no better than my father's when he referred to his father's lodges not speaking about his natural father and grandfather.

Rather, he was referring to his spiritual fathers among the prophets of Israel. Elijah was no better than any of the rest of the prophets like every last one of them.

He was a sinner.

The reason Elijah was depressed about being no better than his father's was that he knew that what the people of God needed more than anything else would he himself needed was a prophet. He was better than his father's.

Is is what the people of God always need a Savior who will not sin a Savior who will never desert us or abandon his calling a Savior who will not flinch in the face of death with the depressing reality for Elijah was he was no better than his father's. He was no better than Moses, or any of the other prophets like all the rest. He was a sinner in need of a Savior and his suicidal depression was a desperate plea for the Savior that God had promised you see that pride and we think of the big sins we usually think of things like murder, theft, adultery, pedophilia, those things but when God thinks of the big sin he thinks a spiritual pride spiritual pride in Proverbs chapter 6. The Scripture says that there are six things that God hates a seven than an abomination under him and the first thing on that list is prod what is prod pride is the assumption that what you are and what you have is a result of your own goodness in your own ingenuity. Pride is a total misunderstanding of the grace of God.

Pride is a slap in God's face with the creation tells the creator. I made myself this way you first begin to study the doctrines of grace, the electing decrees of God. The heart of the total depravity of man.

I Balked at that. I didn't believe it because I said surely that there was something about me that was a little bit different. That made me come to want to know Christ, but it had to be something down inside of me that that that gave me a desire to to to turn from ICANN to turn to Jesus or something in my spiritual reality that did that and what a shock it was to find out that I was spiritually dead and I didn't have any ability of mind to to to even work up anything like that in my life that the only reason I repented. The only reason that I trusted Christ only reason that I came to him in faith was because of the Holy Spirit regeneration in my life that he came sovereignly and did a work that brought conviction in my heart and that drew me to himself. Talk to people who were financially wealthy and they look at themselves as kind of a self-made man and I know that they work hard and that's why they made a lot of money. Also know that they make wise investments and they've made a lot of money and that that's good wanted.

They do that. Deuteronomy chapter 8 verse 18 says when is God who gives you the ability to make whale other that the Scripture says it is God who gives you the ability to make whale and in the book a hagiography interesting as a first layer that says that your wealth is in the hand of the Lord like a a handful of dust. And since God has the ability just reach over and blown it just like that it's gone. Others have prided themselves on their their physical beauty or their physique. So why is it that you have beautiful beautiful blue eyes.

Why is it that you had this masculine physique. God made you that way.

That's why it is even do anything to get that.

What about your mental capacity in the college I got my Masters degree. I'm working on my PhD, I find it very easy to to do to really express my wisdom to other people. Is that right what is it about you that makes you like to study why is it that you're able to make A's and other people just vacancies me tell you what it is. It is God who gave you that capacity.

God didn't just want a lodges boldness, he didn't just want a lodges ability to preach. He wanted a lodges heart, he wanted a lodges heart in a God.

It by breaking his pride.

William McDonnell said we mistakenly think that all people are created equal and we tend to look down on those who don't fit our profile of what equal means. The truth is that not all are created equal. Some have greater intelligence than others. Their differences in physical attractiveness and in differing talents.

Some are born with serious impairments. If I am compassionate, I will make allowance for these differences.

My heart will go out to those that others despise. I will not write people as the world does, but will see them as precious, never dying persons from the son of God died.

I will value them as God does, that is a pride breaker. Dan Nicholas is in our accountability group.

It was seven or eight years ago we were in our group discussing depression and Dan had sermon that was preached by Alastair Bagley have great I have great respect for. It was a sermon that he did on depression. I took that sermon. I took notes from it and I Them and have them for several years and I just wanted to go back in and share with you some things that that Alastair Beck said about depression. I think are helpful.

He said how do you know if you're headed into a depression dengue for things to look for number one, a dreadful problem with frequently wasting time. Number two overworking for no apparent reason number three allowing our work to pile up number four becoming fearful of very simple tasks. I think Meg is right, but I would add something to that that once depression deepens many people shy away from work and they desire to sleep or just do nothing. It's also interesting that after God allowed Elijah to rest. He put them right back to work. I'm not talking about work like workaholism where you're working for no particular reason you're doing it I'm talking about godly work work work that would honor the Lord work that would help your family got put Elijah back to work singing the horrible and that was therapeutic for Elijah had very had much healing power.

Meg also listed for things that you should not do. If you feel yourself sliding into depression. I thought these were good as whale number one while in depression do not make a major decision that will affect you or your family was in seminary we were told never to resign your church on a Monday at Sunday's is a big day for us as preachers. It's a good day it's a day that we look forward to a day where we get to share the word of God in this exciting day. It's also very draining day. And if that church service or that day where you are with God's people. If there were people who were critical if there were situations were problems in the church started to rise. Then you go home that evening you go to sleep you get up the next morning and still all that's on your mind, and it weighs heavy on you and you just get to the point, is a man I'm just ready to throw up my hands and give up my seminary professor said don't do that don't resign your church on Sunday, Monday, years ago, I heard Chuck Swindoll say that if you are doing well as a pastor and you're in a very healthy healthy church. He said then you can count on about 13% of the people in that church would probably rather have somebody else's pastor than you and I thought while and he said don't let that 13% negate the good work that you're doing that other 87% are happy with. I don't know where he got his his statistics from that.

I thought that was pretty good advice. In other words, strive to please Jesus quit worrying about pleasing people because you're not always going to be able to please people. And sometimes you're never going to be able to please some people that truly number two if you feel depressed and not right. Important letters and I would add text or emails when you're sliding into depression. Your perspective gets out of line and you start trying to figure out people's motives start listening to people I start reading between the lines and what they're saying what they're thinking and then you write them a letter or text or an email or something and you say something that's not just wrong, but it might just be down and out weird just strange.

What you say that for or it might be an actual attack on the person because you think they're thinking something they had thought it all.

I can't tell you how many times I've had people come up to me after church service, and there'll be a statement that I made in the sermon and then say what you point me out like that and and also and also what are you talking about and they'll tell me about this and also I had no idea that that was a scene in your life are a problem. Anna said if that's what I say it and I had no idea because I'm not preaching, just that you and I had no idea about it that you can rest assured that maven. The Holy Spirit convicts in you and not me. Number three. Do not judge your own personal spiritual life. If you're slipping into depression Williams or Noll's book the Christian complete armor. Maybe the best book on spiritual warfare outside the Bible that I've ever read and to some great, great stuff onto to listen to your Noll as he talks about fighting depression, which is definitely spiritual warfare is as while Satan is a master inquisitor. We know that not all our rebukes come from him. God's word clearly states that whom the Lord loves he chastens how then can we discern the spiteful accusations of Satan from the loving reprimands of God in his spirit, try this test is such rebukes contradict any prior work of the Spirit in your soul. Their sayings and not the spirits. Satan's purpose in emphasizing your sin is to try to un-St. you and persuade you that you're only a hypocrite hisses Satan. Now you show your true colors see that hard staying on your jacket what others say never committed such a sin. Your whole life is a sham. God wants nothing to do with such a desperately wicked person is you and with a single blow. Satan is all in pieces the whole mansion of grace which God has been building many years in your soul and all the special conference.

The Holy Spirit has brought or blown down by one gust from his malicious mail delays a leisure life a shambles and tenant tells you that it's your fault.

Number four. If you're in depression. Do not judge anyone else's spirituality same reason as number three were slipping into depression are our perspective is skewed and we can unduly be critical and harsh to others why my point is a cure for evangelism only for lodges, depression versus 5K races. This and he lay down and slept under Braintree and holds an angel texting and said him arise and eat and he looked, and behold, there was at his head. A cake baked on hot stones and to draw water and he ate and drank and he lay down again and the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, arise and eat.

The journey is too great for you and he arose and ate and drank and he went the strength of the of food 40 days and 40 nights to horrible amount of God.

This might sound too simplistic, but it worked and it was God's it was God's method. The first thing that God gave Elijah after Elijah was in this deep deep ugly dark depression was rest. He put a lodges sleep when just the nappy took. It was a long, long, deep sleep. Elijah finally woke up from that sleep there was an angel layer. The angel made a big meal forming the ate the big meal then what did he do. He went right back to sleep. He slept another long long nappy work up angel still there made another meal forming and in and ate that great meal and was nourished let's Elijah needed rest. You need to physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally recuperate and he woke up refreshed and God sent him to mount horrible descending back to work. Some look at this. Here's the grace of God is not one word of rebuke from God to Elijah at this time God knew that Elijah was going through depression, hail, lodges that time did not need criticism or chastisement. He needed intimacy with God. God rested him nourished him and then sitting right back to work later on the Lord. Strangely metal a few things Elijah had CN during this time of depression.

He had just gotten mad with life. He got mad at God present awful prayer largest going take my life I will live anymore horrible God dealt with him about that. But at this point in time God does not rebuke just heals. If you're slipping into depression and if you just had enough and let me assure you this, Jesus is more than enough is more than enough. Jesus said this, and the only labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly of heart you will find rest into yourselves. Remember Romans chapter 8 verse one there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. If you've had enough rest assured of this Jesus is more than enough Sprite heavenly father, I thank you and praise you for the opportunity to preach tonight up. Pray father for those here that are struggling with depression that Lord you might do a work in their heart. Pray father that you bring refreshing to their soul. I pray father that you would help them to realize that intimacy with Christ is one of the three great ways. The most important ways to fight depression. Lord you would give them that intimacy, they might experience to stop a wonderful sweet presence of yours.

Heavenly father, we are now ready for another special time in the life of grace churches we have the privilege of baptizing a brother in Christ we pray heavenly father that you would be with Jerry as this baptism takes place today. This will be a meaningful experience for him. And Lord, you would be glorified by through it yes is prayer in your holy and precious name. Amen


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