The "Psalm 37" Series  #2  




TEXT:         Psalm 37:3,10-17;  Matt. 22:34-40


INTRO:       One of the essential qualities of life in all spheres of living is TRUST! Without it we could neither function nor be at peace.


Deals and contracts are made on trust to some degree ... the items we purchase in stores are bought because we trust them; the importance of this reality is not lost on any company that takes seriously their product.  After the Tylenol poisoning many years ago the company that makes Tylenol developed commercials to again build trust in the product.  The banks we put our money in require a certain trust in our part on that bank and our system of government.  We even call them “Trust companies!”  All healthy relationships are built on trust!  Being a Christian, this same ingredient is necessary ... TRUST IN GOD!


Trust is a synonym for faith ... it means absolute confidence in the object of it, in this case God!


ILLUS:      The trend of government is to undergird us with material securities from the cradle to the grave, providing all kinds of insurances -- health, old-age, education, unemployment and so on.  In addition, we insure ourselves against fire, earthquake, hurricane, accident and old age.  These safeguards are not wrong, but they can very easily become a serious hindrance to our complete trust in God.  Undoubtedly, if our debts are paid and our refrigerator full, if we have money in the bank, we have a tendency to feel secure in ourselves and to sense our need of God less.  Herein lies the danger.  My greatest need is to feel and know my need of God every hour. -- C. Stacy Woods in Some Ways of God.  Christianity Today, Vol. 35, no. 5.


PROP. SENT:  The Scripture will teach us that the 2nd step to abundant life in Christ is “trusting in God;” and with this an absolute commitment to God and His kingdom!


I.   TRUSTING IN GOD    Psalm 37:3a, 10-17


A.   Looking to Christ     Psalm 37:3a

1.   The thing we trust in most is where we turn to first!


ILLUS:       For decades, anyone living within five or six miles of the hat factory in Denver, Pennsylvania, set their clocks and watches by the sirens the factory set off five days a week.  At 5:30 a.m., the wake-up siren would begin the day followed by the starting, lunchtime, and quitting sirens at the designated times.

   When the siren system was eventually disbanded, a friend of mine was reminiscing with the timekeeper about his job.  "What did you use to determine the exact time?"

   With a twinkle in his eye, the man reached in his pocket and pulled out a child's Mickey Mouse watch. -- Erma Landis, Lititz, Pennsylvania. Christian Reader, "Lite Fare."


a.   In the moment of crisis, where do you go first?

b.   God's people should turn to God first!

2.   Trust also does not demand!

a.   When you turn to God ... do you let him know what you want Him to do about it? … Or,

b.   Do you trust Him enough to accept what He will do about the situation even if that is quite different from what you want!

3.   Test of Trust:

a.   Reactions: The following are some reactions that reflect a lack of real trust:

(1.   Self pity ... long term.

(2.   Confusion ... long term.

(3.   Frantic attempts to solve the situation in any way possible!

(4.   Broken fellowship with God and man ... long term.

b.   Initial reactions to problems may be those responses sometimes, this is not wrong, just when they continue to be long term responses does it reflect the lack of trust in God.


B.   Lordship of Christ     Psalm 37:13,17

1.   God is in Control!

a.   Of the wicked!

b.   Of the world!

c.   Of the worshipper!

2.   Nothing in our lives is without God's knowledge and God's approval! (accept of course approving sin!)

a.   He is not merely a spectator of our live.

b.   He is actively and personally aware and active in our lives!

3.   We need to submit our lives to His Lordship.


ILLUS:       When my son was a toddler, washing his hair was always a problem.  He would sit in the bathtub while I put shampoo on his hair.  Then, when I poured on the water to make a lather, he would tip his head down so that the shampoo ran into his eyes, causing pain and tears.  I explained that if he just looked straight up at me, he could avoid getting the shampoo in his face.  He would agree; then, as soon as I started to rinse his hair, his fear would overcome his trust, and he would look down again.  Naturally the shampoo would run into his face again, and there would be more tears.

   During one of our sessions, while I was trying to convince him to lift up his head and trust me, I suddenly realized how this situation was like my relationship to God.  I know God is my Father, and I'm sure He loves me.  I believe that I trust Him, but sometimes, in a difficult situation, I panic and turn my eyes away from Him.  This never solves the problem; I just become more afraid, as the "shampoo" blinds me.

   Even though my son knew I loved him, he had a hard time trusting me in a panicky situation.  I knew I could protect him, but convincing him of that wasn't easy, especially when all he could see was water coming down.  His lack of trust hurt me, but it hurt him more.  He was the one who had to suffer the pain.  I'm sure my lack of trust hurts God very much, but how much more does it hurt me?

   Often in the Bible, we are told to lift up our head to God when problems come.  He knows how to protect us if we remember to listen to Him.  Now, when I find myself in a situation where it would be easy to panic, I picture my son sitting in the bathtub, looking up at me, learning to trust me.  Then I ask God what I should do. Sometimes the answer may seem scary, but, one thing I'm sure of -- He'll never pour shampoo in my face! -- Jeanette Strong -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 479.


a.   The good times,

b.   The bad times too ... even those times of suffering!

c.   Jesus suffered ... and in God's will! (And He was perfect!)

4.   Suffering and trials does not mean just passive acceptance on our part, to just sit back and trust God, it means to get going for God and actively live out His will!

a.   For instance: you really can't say He is Lord of your life and not do His will!

b.   An example: If someone isn't a steward of his own money he hasn't really submitted to God's Lordship over his finances!

c.   An example: Christ is not Lord if you hate someone ... you haven't submitted to God's love.

5.   This is why the next phrase in Pslam 37:3 after telling us to "trust in the Lord" is "and do good!"

a.   What is good?

b.   Answer: God's principles and His Word!

c.   It is not a suggestion here, it is a command!


II.  TRYING TO DO GOOD   Psalm 37:3b, Matt. 22:34-40


A.   Laziness Condemned    Psalm 37:3b

1.   It doesn't say -- "Believe the good," it says, "do the good."

a.   God is not just listening for “Amen!”

b.   He is looking for action!

2.   “Doing good” is tied to trust!

a.   Example: You didn't just look at the chair and trust it, you sat down in it and proved your trust in it by the action of sitting in it!

b.   Here is what James is saying: "Faith (trust) & Works go together!"  Certainly not to get saved, but because we are saved!

c.   You not only trusted your gal, you married her! It culminated in committed action!

d.   Action resulted from trust!


ILLUS:        My favorite way of illustrating [trust] is to recount what I'm told is a true story.  I don't know that it is, but I've read in several places that it is.

   A famous tightrope walker once strung a cable across Niagara Falls from the American side all the way to the Canadian side.  To the applause of thousands of people, he would walk across that tightrope right on the very edge of the falls, the rushing, cascading waters thundering underneath him.  He would walk back and forth, people applauding wildly.  Then to further wow the crowds, he would put a blindfold on and go back and forth.  Then he would ride a bicycle back and forth, and then he would push a wheelbarrow back and forth.  Every day, people came out to watch him.  He quite simply was the greatest.

   As the story goes, one day while pushing the wheelbarrow back and forth, he called out to the crowd on one end, inquiring whether or not they thought he could successfully push the wheelbarrow across with a human being riding in the wheelbarrow.  The crowd went berserk: "Surely you can.  You're remarkable.  We've watched you for days.  We understand and appreciate your skills.  We believe in your abilities.  You are the greatest."  On and on they went, to which he responded, "Then someone volunteer.  You come right up here, single file, form a line, and get in the wheelbarrow to prove your trust in my ability."  A deafening silence overtook the crowd.  There were no takers. -- Bill Hybels, "Christianity 101,"  Preaching Today, Tape 43.


3.   If we trust God we will do “good” ... they go hand in hand!

a.   God wants more than pew warmers!

b.   He wants pew fillers!

4.   It is scripturally impossible to trust God and be lazy!

a.   Trusting God doesn't mean to sit down and just let God do it all IF we can do something!

b.   Trusting God means to stand up and do what we can, and God will do what we can't!


B.   Living Commandment    Matt. 22:34-40

1.   Here is how we do good ... by living love!

a.   The law is fulfilled in love.

b.   Ever see love that was passive?

2.   When I fell in love with Bevie Jo it wasn't passive!

a.   I gave her flowers!

b.   I sent her notes, love letters!

c.   I kissed her and held her!

d.   I sent her tapes! (Well, it was over 40 years ago, no such thing as “cd’s” yet!)

e.   I couldn't do enough to show her my love!

3.   John 3:16 ... "when God so loved the world ... He gave!"

a.   He couldn't sit still!

b.   He became active in showing us His love!


ILLUS:       I think about a man I met in Croatia named Bosada.  He was a man whose Serbian neighbor gave him the keys of the house one day and said, "Would you look after my house for me and my pigs and my cattle and sheep?"

   Bosada said, "Surely, you're my neighbor.  You're my friend.  Our families have lived together here for 500 years."  What he didn't know was that every Serb in that Croatian village was doing the same thing.  They had been told by the army to get out; the army was coming to blast them to kingdom come the next day.

   What happened?  The tanks came in and blasted all the houses, leaving just shells.  Only two houses out of 39 were left standing: half of his house and a house across the street (which was then used as a prison to torture people).

   Then a peace accord was signed -- an uneasy peace.  When the United Nations came, this little enclave with Serb houses sitting up on the hillside began to be repopulated by Croatians headed by Bosada.  Bosada is a Christian and was acting pastor of the local church.  He said, "We must show the way.  We must go back and rebuild the church."  And so, he did.  He took his 17-year-old daughter with him.

   Even though the UN was there, the soldiers came out of the forest and took him and his daughter up among the trees.  They took his 17-year-old daughter away and raped and tortured her.  They took a bayonet and thrust it through him seven times, but he just wouldn't die.

   "Well, old man," they said.  'We're fed up beating you.  I think what we'll do is let your own people kill you."  So they brought the daughter back and said, "Now off you go home through the mine field.  If you make it, your own militia people will kill you at the other end because it's after curfew."  Bosada told us how he took his daughter's hand and they set off through the mine field.

   While he was being tortured, he had said to his torturers, "You can kill our bodies, but you cannot kill our souls.  This is the wrong thing you're doing.  I will go to heaven, but where will you go?  I know that my Redeemer lives.  Why don't you turn to my Redeemer?"

   God delivered him that night; the angel of his presence saved them.  As the prophet Isaiah says, "In all their distress, he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them" (Isaiah 63:9).  For Bosada, God saved them out of it in this life.  God could have saved them out of it into the next life, where he will take us in his arms, and all tears will be wiped away, and all hurts healed. -- Jill Briscoe, "In the Father's Arms," Preaching Today, Tape No. 141.


4.   This is the impetus for doing good ... God's love, no substitute will work!

5.   Trust and love go together.

a.   Like coffee and donuts

b.   Like ice cream and potato chips (My favorite!)


III. TOTALLY GROUNDED   Psalm 37:3c,10-11,16


A.   Learning Commitment    Psalm 37:3c,10

1.   “Dwell in the land…”  Psalm 37:3c

a.   The idea is that you will be able to stay put!

b.   Commitment is this idea too, you stay put in a relationship, to God, and His kingdom!

c.   Commitment flows out of love, which flows out of trust.


ILLUS:      Gladys Aylward, missionary to China more than fifty years ago, was forced to flee when the Japanese invaded Yangcheng.  But she could not leave her work behind.  With only one assistant, she led more than a hundred orphans over the mountains toward Free China.

   In their book The Hidden Price of Greatness, Ray Besson and Ranelda Mack Hunsicker tell what happened: "During Gladys's harrowing journey out of war-torn Yangcheng ... she grappled with despair as never before.  After passing a sleepless night, she faced the morning with no hope of reaching safety.  A 13-year-old girl in the group reminded her of their much-loved story of Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea.

   "'But I am not Moses,' Gladys cried in desperation.  'Of course you aren't,' the girl said, 'but Jehovah is still God!'"  When Gladys and the orphans made it through, they proved once again that no matter how inadequate we feel, God is still God, and we can trust in him. -- Jonathan G. Yandell.  Garden Grove, California. Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 1.


2.   Commitment is a key word in the Christian vocabulary.

a.   God is “committed” to you; we need to be “committed” to Him.

b.   The Church is committed to you, don’t be afraid to be committed to it … it makes little sense that any Christian should be uncommitted to a local church … which is Christ’s body!

c.   Your wife is committed to you, don’t be afraid to be committed to her!

d.   Where commitment flows two ways there is great love and joy!

3.   Nothing yet in this passage in how to have abundant life has been about the acquiring of this world’s stuff.  Yet there are some “Christians” today who teach that proof of God’s love and blessings is material prosperity!  Hogwash!

4.   Having an “abundant life” with Christ is not about abundant “things” … it is about His life being abundant in us; and our walking in an absolute trust relationship with Him!

a.   Commitment is a necessity!

b.   God calls us to commitment in every area of our life … and it begins with a commitment to Christ first!  To “trust Him” … to “love Him” goes together!


B.   Living Contented!    Psalm 37:3c,ll,16

1.  "Enjoy"   Psalm 37:3c

a.   Trust, love, and commitment lead to joy!  And, this is abundant life!

b.   "Safe pasture" ...God takes care of us!


ILLUS:       A swallow having built its nest upon the tent of Charles V, the emperor generously commanded that the tent should not be taken down when the camp moved, but should remain until the young birds were ready to fly.  Was there such gentleness in the heart of a soldier toward a poor bird that was not of his making, and shall the Lord deal harshly with his creatures when they venture to put their trust in him?  Be assured that he has a great love to those trembling souls that fly for shelter to his royal courts.  He that builds his nest on a divine promise shall find that it abides and remains until he shall fly away to the land where promises are lost in fulfillments. -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)


2.   "Enjoy"  Psalm 37:11  Here it is again!  We inherit the land and enjoy ... a repeat of Psalm 37:3c.

a.   Contentment is derived from trust, love, and commitment!

b.   "peace" Psalm 37:11 follows joy ... it is the result of trust!

3.   Contentment is not something that comes in acquiring this world's goods, but in acquiring righteousness through Christ!  Psalm 37:16

a.   Righteousness ... right relationship!

b.   This is found when we trust in God!

c.   And now, the stage is set for Psalm 37:4 ... next sermon in series!


CONCLUSION:   God has a plan for abundant life ... it begins by not fretting, and is filled by trusting in the Lord.  Trust involves 3 things: faithfulness to do good, to absolute love, and to be fully committed!