CAN A CHRISTIAN SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION

SERMON TOPIC: CAN A CHRISTIAN SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 26 November 2023

Topic Groups: DEPRESSION

Sermon synopsis: Judging by some of the feedback that I have received, I must say that I am glad that although I am in a rather broken state physically and at times mentally , that God can still use a broken vessel and that my openness about my journey can be of help to others who are going through difficulties of their own.

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CAN A CHRISTIAN SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION?

I want to pick up from where I left off in my devotional about a week ago with regards to depression.

Judging by some of the feedback that I have received, I must say that I am glad that although I am in a rather broken state physically and at times mentally , that God can still use a broken vessel and that my openness about my journey can be of help to others who are going through difficulties of their own.

I want to share a message that I got from a fellow Pastor that I sent the devotional on depression to without obviously mentioning his name.

Thanks Ken. I understand what depression is. in1996 / 97 I went through a severe depression and got to a point of considering suicide. I visited Dr’s to find a solution but all they were able to do is prescribe medication. I eventually got to the point where I cried out to God, WHY? And in an instant God reminded me of my call. He reminded me that I was saved to serve. Do I battle with a reoccurrence of depression, yes, but then I remember what God said to me. Be blessed my brother. We continue to pray for you. As mentioned in my devotional

I recently watched a ministry by Dr. David Jeremiah that was been very timely as I had just been through a week of battling with ups and downs in my own emotions. In the devotional we looked at a couple of Godly men in the Bible who suffered from depression, I will recap them briefly in the following section of how we can avoid falling into the trap of depression.

We have recently seen in ministry that fellowship provides a place of encouragement. This has been one of the things that has helped me overcome my personal battle with depression. My spiritual family and the larger body of Christ have been a constant source of encouragement and support. It was such a blessing to renew fellowship with everyone after my time in hospital. Elijah ended up in the position where he thought he was the only one left serving the Lord as recorded in the following passage of Scripture.

1 Kings 19:3-18  Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. I have had enough, Lord, he said. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors. Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, Get up and eat. He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.

So, he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. The Lord Appeared to Elijah. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus.

When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

Numbers 11:13-17 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me if I have found favor in your eyes and do not let me face my own ruin. The Lord said to Moses, Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

JOB 3:3-22 May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’ That day may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it. May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm it. That night may thick darkness seize it; may it not be included among the days of the year nor be entered in any of the months. May that night be barren; may no shout of joy be heard in it. May those who curse days curse that day, May its morning stars become dark; may it wait for daylight in vain and not see the first rays of dawn, for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me to hide trouble from my eyes.

 Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I might be nursed?  For now, I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day? “Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come,  who search for it more than for hidden treasure, who are filled with gladness and rejoice when they reach the grave?

Job 2:7-10 So, Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die! He replied, You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

1) Systemic 2) Situational

3) Satanic 4) Spiritual (Sin/Guilt) e.g. David unlike Judas repented for his sin and God restored him.

We serve a Gracious GOD

Definition: Systemic describes what relates to or affects an entire system. For example, a systemic disease affects the entire body or organism, *Merriam-Webster

Causes for depression (Systemic)

We are tri-partite beings and what goes on in our bodies affects our minds SATAN IS WELL AWARE OF THIS and that is why he said to GOD that if he was allowed to touch Job in his body that Job would curse God to his face.

Job1:4-5  Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

Psalm 51:1:12 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love, according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so, you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.

Surely, I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb, you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Causes for depression Spiritual (Sin / Guilt)

For Martin Luther (1483–1546), there was always a clear connection between Scripture and congregational song. The Psalter was Israel’s  songbook, not simply David’s. Paul twice commended singing Scripture as part of the ordinary Christian life Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16. Jesus and his disciples sang together after the Passover meal Mark 14:26. (testimony/ myself and Bev)

Even (perhaps, especially) in the darkest hours, God’s people coupled prayer and Scripture with singing Acts 16:25 But, like Scripture, vernacular song had been largely absent among the laity in the late medieval church. While chant survived in German monasteries and choral pieces in the Latin processionals and mystery plays, congregational singing was increasingly rare.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org

Luther not only thought this was unbiblical, he also recognized it removed a major weapon against the enemy. Music was a grace of God because it linked biblical truth with cordial affection. Luther commented: Music is a fair and lovely gift of God. . . . Next after theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor. I would not exchange what little I know of music for something great. Experience proves that next to the Word of God, only music deserves to be extolled as the mistress and governess of the feelings of the human heart. We know that to the devils; music is distasteful and insufferable.

* https://www.thegospelcoalition.org

In the summer of 1527, plague struck Wittenberg. Luther was one of its first victims. Sickness spread with such speed that Elector John of Saxony closed the university in Wittenberg and ordered Luther and his family to leave the city. Luther refused, insisting on the church’s responsibility to care for the sick and dying. Even more threatening was the melancholy that assaulted the Reformer. Spiritual depression and anxiety were familiar nemeses: Luther’s earliest battles with doubt and temptation in the monastery had nearly driven him mad. His discovery of justification by faith alone saved his life.

Luther’s depression was always marked by the same features: a feeling of profound aloneness, a sense that God was singling him out for suffering, a loss of faith that God is good and good to me, and a resulting inward self-reliance. Luther’s depression only intensified under the burden of the Reformation’s unforeseen fruit. The more that regularly hurting Christians sought him as a physician of souls, the more acutely he felt the weight of responsibility for his teaching and writing. He couldn’t shake the notion that the reforms he advocated might destroy, rather than revive the church. Sickness, unbelief, and anxiety conspired and drove him to the brink of despair.

* https://www.thegospelcoalition.org

In a letter to his friend Melanchthon on August 2, 1527, Luther wrote:

I spent more than a week in death and hell. My entire body was in pain, and I still tremble. Completely abandoned by Christ, I labored under the vacillations and storms of desperation and blasphemy against God. But through the prayers of the saints (his friends), God began to have mercy on me and pulled my soul from the inferno below.

Luther understood this to be more than simple temptation. He referred to it as anfechtung, “assault.” Hell, the Devil, the shadow of death, and the forces arrayed against gospel progress all combined in an insidious assault, reducing Luther to unbelief, depression, and despair.

*https://www.thegospelcoalition.org

His response is instructive. He didn’t attempt to decipher the causes of the depression or the source of the attacks. While he recognized emotions were powerful catalysts for reflection, repentance, and resolve, he also acknowledged they were sometimes disproportionate responses to terrifying circumstances.

The Devil, he remarked, was in the habit of turning an insect into a camel:

*https://www.thegospelcoalition.org

It would be neither good nor useful for man to know what great blessings lie hidden under such trials. Some have wanted to fathom this and have thereby done themselves much harm. Therefore, we should willingly endure the hand of God in this and in all suffering.

His exhortation, however, wasn’t to simply endure, but to “thank God diligently for deeming him worthy of such a visitation.” “Do not be worried,” Luther insisted. “Indeed, such a trial is the very best sign of God’s grace and love for man.” His advice? “At such a time it is well to pray, read, or sing.”

* https://www.thegospelcoalition.org

To get out of the pit of depression we need the LORD

1 Sam 30:6  David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.

Job 42:1-6 Then Job replied to the Lord:

I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge? Surely, I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.

2 Timothy 4:16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

2 Timothy 4:16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.

Job 42:10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.

When someone is depressed, they need someone they can go to who will just be a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on, they don’t necessarily need you to analyze the situation and give you, their opinion. Job’s friends tried to analyze what he was going through, and Job had to pray for them that the Lord would not judge them for their bad council.

Job 42:7-9 After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.

Paul had Timothy

2 Timothy 4:16-17 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

God gave us one mouth and two ears and the reason for this is seen in this Scripture

James 1:19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak.

Unlike Paul I have not been deserted but have had so many Christian's supporting and encouraging me, but Paul is teaching Timothy a vital lesson here that even when man abandon’s you the Lord will strengthen you. My fellow pastor who’s message I read earlier has not been so blessed but has continually had leadership who have worked against him causing division and eventually leaving the church even taking others with him. But the greatest encouragement is knowing that we have Jesus’ Himself interceding on our behalf. The Lord will never leave us nor forsake us.

Romans 8:34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died more than that, who was raised to life is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

There was Jesus

What a friend we have in Jesus

Every time I tried to make it on my own

Every time I tried to stand and start to fall

And all those lonely roads that I have travelled on

There was Jesus

When the life I built came crashing to the ground

When the friends I had were nowhere to be found

I couldn't see it then, but I can see it now

In the waiting, in the searching

In the healing and the hurting

Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces

Every minute, every moment

Where I've been and where I'm going

Even when I didn't know it or couldn't see it

For this man who needs amazing kind of grace

For forgiveness at a price, I couldn't pay

I'm not perfect so I thank God every day On the mountain, in the valleys

In the shadows of the alleys

In the fire, in the flood

Always is and always was

No, I never walk alone



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