Summary: This is the second sermon in the series - Dealing with Depression It is followed with a deeper look at depression that is designed for an evening class
Scripture: 1 Kings 19:1-18
Theme: Following Jesus: Caring For One Another - Galatians 6:2
Sermon # 2 - Winning the Battle of Depression
Last week we started our new sermon series called: Caring For God's People, by looking at the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18:21-35, and examining how Jesus can help us love one another and assist one another in the area of forgiveness. We looked at what forgiveness means, what it involves, and how you and I can better learn the ministry and grace of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the hallmark of the Christian Faith and as forgiven people we are called to forgive others.
This morning, I would like to draw your attention to another area in which we can also help one another as disciples of Jesus. I would like for us to look this morning at what God's Word says about helping one another in the area of Depression, sometimes called melancholy, sadness or gloominess.
One of the true joys of knowing Jesus as our Lord and Savior is to be able to enjoy the Abundant Life. To be able to live a life as a whole new creation. A life that is above the power of sin and is free from the penalty of sin. As Christians we are radically different than those who live in the world and live by the world's principles. Our minds, our hearts and our souls have been delivered, redeemed and are being restored into the image of Jesus Christ.
This is something that we need to better understand and praise God. This morning, if you have allowed Jesus to save you, to redeem you, then the Bible says that you are a whole new creation. You are no longer like the world. You have been transformed by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Your mind is being right now renewed and rewired through God's Holy Word and prayer. Your goals, your priorities and how you want to live are being each day brought into alignment with God's plan and desire for your life.
Paul reminds us that once we were like a caterpillar living in sin (Romans 6). But through Jesus we are now a new creation - we are like a butterfly - we have been transformed. And we must learn how to live this new life, or else we will only be sanctified worms when we can be transformed into the very image of our Lord and Savior Jesus.
Another joy is being able to help one another in Christ. We all know that the Christian Life is both individual and communal in nature and essence. Each of us are called by the Lord as individuals to follow Him and receive His redemption, renewal and restoration. Likewise, each of us are called to be an integral part of the communal Body of Christ, called the Church, locally and globally.
We all know that the LORD guides us in our individual walks with Him. However, we also must understand that God does not work with us in a vacuum. It is not God's intention that we experience simply a one-on-one relationship with Him. We are to be Christ followers in community. In Christ we are called to be the Body of Christ. Our Lord calls us to be a part of one another in what the Bible wonderfully calls "Koinonia".
For example, when God called His People out of Egypt to experience freedom it was not just an individual call. Moses was called to go and free God's People. They were not a gathering of individuals who happened to be leaving Egypt at the same time. They were God's Community. They were to love the LORD with all their heart, soul, and strength not just as individuals but as a community. In Acts 2 we read about the Spirit of the LORD falling upon the 120 with the idea of the tongues of fire being both individual and communal. Acts 4:32-33 gives us a perfect picture of this communal nature God is seeking for all of us -
"Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostle's gave their testimony to the resurrection." (RSV).
Jesus died for us to experience oneness with Him and oneness with one another. And one of the ways that we can experience that oneness is to do what Paul shares in Galatians 6:2 - "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." (ESV).
This morning we want to look at how we can help others during a time of depression, sadness and gloominess. We do this because of this heart wrenching reality: Depression is one of the most prevalent and serious mental illnesses in the United States. Depression is so common that it has been called the common cold of emotion illness and appears to be rising in frequency. Leading doctors tell us that almost 20% of the United States population will at some time be affected by a time of depression that will be debilitating. This is more than just being sad for a few moments. This is having to deal with a sadness, a melancholy and an overwhelming feeling of despair that lasts for days, weeks and even years. That 20% represents over 64 million people in our country. More Americans will suffer from depression than coronary heart disease and cancer combined.