Hurting Alone

Posted on 10/01/2006 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT:

Good morning! It's a joy to see you here on this first day in October. And it's an honor to worship together with you and learn from God's Word with you today.

Please stand to your feet this morning as we begin this service with prayer.

Our Father, thank you for a brand new day in a brand new week in a brand new month. Thank you that you give us a brand new opportunity to be right with you and to walk together with you every single morning.

Thank you for my brothers and sisters who are here today, and for those who don't yet know you. I pray that you touch hearts and lives today by your Holy Spirit. Let the Living Water of your Word be refreshing to the thirsty, and new life to the dry. And give each one of us a deeper hunger and thirst for you.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Click-touch the pulpit for a notecard, and let's enter his gates with thanksgiving in our hearts, and then enter his courts with praise. This is the day the Lord has made, and as we focus our hearts and minds on him, he can fill us with gladness, and with the fullness of joy of his Holy Spirit and of a heart that is at peace with God.


HE HAS MADE ME GLAD

I will enter your gates with thanksgiving in my heart
     I will enter your courts with praise
I will say this is the day that the Lord has made
     I will rejoice for you have made me glad

You have made me glad, you have made me glad
     I will rejoice for you have made me glad
You have made me glad, you have made me glad
     I will rejoice for you have made me glad


MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE UNTO THE LORD

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord
     for he is worthy to be praised
Shout with the spirit, clap with your hands
     our God is worthy to be praised

Hallelujah - our God is worthy to be praised
Hallelujah - our God is worthy to be praised


COME INTO THE HOLY OF HOLIES

Come into the Holy of Holies
     enter by the blood of the Lamb
Come into his presence with singing
     worship at the throne of God

Lifting holy hands
     to the King of Kings
Worship - Jesus
Worship - Jesus


Thank you Lord for your presence with us today. Thank you for sending your sweet Holy Spirit to strengthen and comfort us. Thank you for your Word, and for teaching us how to live in peace, joy, and victory. And thank you for spilling your own blood so we can have fellowship restored with you, and finally be made whole and complete.

Amen.

You may be seated.

The name of my message today is "Hurting Alone." And our main Scripture verse is found in Galatians chapter six and verse two, which says,

"Bear one other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

In today's busy world, with life flying by and everyone around us so preocupied with other things, it's easy to feel as though we're all alone. And since every one of us goes through struggles, temptations, sorrows, disappointments, and heartaches in our lives, it's all too often we bottle those up inside, bearing the burden alone.

But does this really help? Do we find comfort in our lonely solitude? Do we find relief from our burden by hiding it under our garments? Are we really better off hurting alone?

In the Scripture we just read, we're instructed to "Bear one another's burdens." And this morning we're going to take a closer look at what this verse tells us, open up a few other Scriptures, and then close with prayer, ministry, and fellowship.

"Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

First of all, what is this "law of Christ" we will be fulfilling if we bear one another's burdens? I believe Jesus summed up this law very clearly in John chapter fifteen, beginning with verse nine:

9 "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.

11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.

So we see that the law of Christ we are fulfilling by bearing one another's burdens is this: "Love one another as I have loved you."

He goes on to say, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." And if we love one another with Christ's love, so much that we are willing to lay down our lives for one another, bearing one another's burdens will be a small thing.

Jesus also says that he is telling us these things so that our "joy may be full." Does joy come from loving one another with Christ's love? And does joy come from bearing one another's burdens, even though we have enough burdens of our own?

When we forget about our own problems and help someone else, we indeed find a joy and a strength that otherwise would not be ours.

But bearing one another's burdens goes both ways. If we are to truly bear one another's burdens, we must allow our own burdens to be shared with someone else.

When you hold something inside, perhaps a fear, or an addiction, or a struggle, or a heartache, or a disappointment; when you bottle that up and keep it to yourself, it drains your life, it steals your joy, it becomes a heavy burden that pushes you lower and lower until you've forgotten how it feels to stand tall and fly free.

And while the enemy is weighing you down with unshared burdens, he is effectively slowing down or even stopping what God has gifted you to do.

Let's read more about this in Romans chapter twelve, beginning with verse one:

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
  
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

This tells us that we are one body with many members, and every single one of us has an important function -- particular giftings, purposes, and callings.

For some, it is prophecy. For others, it is teaching. Perhaps it is exhortation, giving, leadership, or mercy. No matter what it is that God has gifted within you, it is important. And our enemy will do his best to weigh you down, convincing you to keep your burdens to yourself, and thereby weaken or stop your important function in the Body of Christ.

So it is obeying Jesus' command to love one another not just by bearing the burdens of others, but by opening up and sharing your burden as well.

John Donne correctly stated that "No man is an island unto himself." When one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers with it. And when we allow others to bear our burdens with us, we become able once again to use our gifts to bring life to those around us.

So does this mean we should send out an announcement on an international news network telling the whole world our problems? Or is there some wisdom we can use when sharing our burdens with others?

The first person with whom we should share our burdens is the one who already knows them. He understands.

We read in First Peter five, verses six and seven,

6 Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.

If Jesus loves you enough to suffer torment, torture, brutal beatings, having his blood spilled in the streets where his own creation is cursing him and spitting on him, and then be hung on a splintery cross to die in your place; if he loves you enough to do that for you, do you believe he cares about your burdens, your weights, your struggles, your pains, your heartaches, your addictions, and your fears?

"Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you!"

Pour out your heart to the Lord. He wants to hear your problems. He wants to hold you in his arms and tell you it's okay. He wants to give you strength, courage, and wisdom. And he wants to fill you with joy.

So cast your cares upon the Lord, crying out to him, pouring out the deepest cries of your heart. And he will help you carry your burden.

So is that all? Do we share our burdens with God and no one else? If that were the case, he would never have told us to "bear one another's burdens."

God gives gifts to us so we can use them to build up his Church, and to reach out to those who are lost.

God most certainly is all you need. He will provide ALL your needs, physical, emotional, and spiritual. But keep in mind he won't always answer your prayers in some invisible, supernatural way.

You've probably heard a variation of the story of a man who was in the mountains, and fell off the side of a cliff. On his way to the sharp rocks below, he grabbed a tree limb growing out of the side of the mountain, and prayed for God to save him.

After some time, he heard a voice from above, and a rope appeared next to him. "Can you grab the rope?" the voice called.

"No, I will not grab your rope," the man answered. "I am trusting in God to save me." After exhausing all pleas to accept their help, the person pulled up the rope and left.

After another hour and having received a call from this helpful person, a helicopter appeared, trying to save the man from certain death.

"Grab this ladder!" came the voice. "Thank you for your help, but I must decline. I am trusting in the Lord to save me." And although this second rescuer pleaded, the man stood resolute in his refusal for human help.

After a very long time, many prayers, and very weak and sore hands and arms, someone appeared beside the man.

"Wow!" the voice exclaimed, "I like scaling the sides of mountains, but have never tried it your way! How long have you been here?"

"Just as long as the Lord saw fit," the man replied. "I have prayed and am trusting in God to save me."

The rock climber was silent for a moment, then said, "Well I'm not God, but I have a strong rope, and if you'll just grab hold of me, I'll pull you to safety.

"Thank you young man," came the reply, "but I will not rely on the strength of ropes or mortal men. My hope is in the Lord, and I will wait for him to save me."

As soon as he finished these words, the tree limb snapped, and the man fell to his death on the sharp rocks far below.

In heaven, the man was bewildered that he was there and not back on earth. "Why didn't you save me?" the man asked God.

"I tried," came the reply. "I tried three times to save you, as a matter of fact. But you foolishly refused all three times. I sent a rope, which you ignored. I sent a holicopter, which you sent away. And at the last moment, I sent a rock climber to whom you muttered something weird, and refused once again to be saved."

"But Lord," the man said in defense, "I was trusting in YOU, not in flesh."

"I see," the Lord replied. "My flesh was not good enough for you."


Of course this story sounds absurd to most of us. And yet, we often do the same thing. We fail to realize God will often use the things of this earth, and men, women, boys, and girls in this earth to answer our prayers and give us the strength, joy, and peace we need and desire.

"Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

In the verse before this one, we read a very important warning which we will be wise to heed: "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him  gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."

So men, if you are struggling with pornography or some other type of sexual addiction, don't go ask a woman for help. Rather, seek a strong Godly man who can help.

Women, if you are feeling lonely and need to share your sorrow with someone, find a Godly woman to listen to your pain.

And if you don't know to whom you should speak, tell someone on the ministry team the burden you want to share, and he or she will connect you with others who can help.

If you're listening on the Living Sounds website, click  the Contact Us button and connect with us in that way. If you're listening by podcast, go to www.livingsounds.org.

If you have a local church, this is the best place you can go. There is nothing to compare with being able to share with someone face to face, to be able to hold their hands in prayer together, and to be able to give a hug, helping the tears to flow and the wounds to heal.

And if you don't have a local church, I strongly urge you to find one.

And we're here for you in the virtual world, and are right there with you by the Spirit of God.

Always remember, no matter how tall the pedistals are on which you've placed people, they're human just like you. They understand heartache, doubt, fear, disappointment, addictions, struggles, and burdens. And those who are truly walking with God are there because God has placed them in the body, just as he has placed you in the body, and we are all to bear one another's burdens.

The ministry team can come to the front now as we prepare for a time of ministry and prayer.

No one leave. After this time of ministry, we will meet in the room to your left, and we want to be able to meet you and get to know you.

If you don't know if you're right with God, let's get that cleared up right now before we go any further. Getting things right with God isn't something that takes weeks or months of planning. No, getting things right with God is only a breath away.

Just a moment from now, you can have peace with God. You can know that you are right with him. You can know that your sins are forgiven. You can know that your slate is wiped clean.

Just ask him for forgiveness, ask him to give you a new start with him, and tell him you choose to turn away from your sins, whether or not you believe you're able, and that you put your trust in him to empower you to walk with him.

It's not tomorrow or next week or next month you need to worry about right now. Rather, it is this moment -- this moment of turning, this moment of reconciliation with God.

Pray with me, let's get things right with God together.

"Lord God, forgive me for my sins. Forgive me for the distance between me and you. Wipe my slate clean. I choose to follow after you, even if I think I don't know how. I choose you, Jesus, and I choose to walk in daily fellowship with you, trusting you to empower me to do things your way, not my own. Thank you Jesus! Amen."

There are those of you who, even though you're not perfect (and none of us are perfect), you walk with God every day. Those who have that type of right relationship with God, I'm going to ask you to come to the front.

If you are born again, and right with God, and you walk daily with him, please come to the front now.


Now for those of you still seated, there may be many reasons. For some, you're not even in front of your computer. For others, you may be struggling with something.

Perhaps you have not yet given your life to Jesus. And if this is you, come talk with someone up here. These are the hands, feet, arms, mouths, and heart of God. He is here right now in his people, reaching out to you offering peace, joy, and true, unconditional love.

Perhaps you are born again, but you have strayed from the path. It may be the cares of life. It may be an addiction. It may be something you can't identify that's keeping you away from a right relationship with God.

Perhaps you simply don't feel worthy. You don't feel as though you can come to God, as though either he would reject you or you could not face him because of shame.

But I'm here to tell you today that it's a lie from the enemy that God doesn't want you to come to him, or that your shame will cause him to look at you with reproach or disdain.

God loves you! He has been waiting for you to have your fellowship with him restored! He has been calling your name, holding out his arms to you, calling for you to run back into his arms and let him take care of all the mess.

If this is you, come talk with one of the believers up here.

And finally, if you have burdens you need to share, talk with someone up here. Whether you're still in your seat or you're at the front, bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Lord God, thank you for your body of believers, the people through whom you have chosen to share your love, your wisdom, your kindness, your compassion, and your forgiveness. Thank you for bringing us here together today so we can share one another's burdens and thereby find peace, joy, and strength to rise up into the man or woman you have created and gifted us to be.

May your Holy Spirit with us today be present in a strong measure with each of us through the coming week, drawing us to spend time in your presence at the beginning and througout every day, as we walk in sweet, unbroken fellowship with you.

And it's in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen!