BE NOT AFRAID
A. Introduction: Jesus said there is a faith that can move mountains and kill fig trees, a faith to which nothing is impossible (Mark 11:23; Mark 9:23). We are taking some time to talk about that kind of faith. We are currently focusing on the fact that, to walk in this kind of faith, you must learn to deal with fear.
1. Fear is an unpleasant, often strong, emotion that comes from an awareness of danger or an expectation of danger. We fear what life will do to us (circumstances, other people, the devil). We fear what God will do to us.
a. Fear was not and is not part of God's plan for man. As we study scripture we see that our destiny (God's plan for man) includes removal of all fear. One of the blessings of righteousness is freedom from fear, freedom from terror. Isa 54:14
1. Fear is in the world because of sin. The first time the word afraid appears in the Bible is right
after Adam sinned. Gen 3:10
2. The wages of sin is death. Jesus died for us so that we could be delivered from fear of death, the consequence of sin, in all its forms. Heb 2:14,15
b. As a Christian you have a right to be free from fear. Jesus bought it for you at the Cross. Perfect love casts out fear. Rom 8:15; I John 4:18
c. What is wrong with fear? Fear has torment and God does not want any one of His children in torment. Fear works against faith and it is through faith that we access the power, protection, and provision of God's kingdom.
2. Fear does not automatically stop, does not automatically go away, just because you are a Christian.
a. Fear is based on your perception of reality. It is based on the way you see things.
1. Two people can see the same thing, one of them be afraid and the other not be afraid.
2. If you believe the power that is coming against you is bigger than the power that is for you, then you will be afraid -- even if your perception is not accurate.
b. For a Christian there is never any reason to fear. Perfect Love and All Power is our Father and His love and His power has already given us a salvation which fully provides us with everything we need to live this life and the life to come.
1. It may look like something has come against you or is coming against you that is too big for you. But, reality is, it's not too big for God. And, reality is, He has already demonstrated His willingness to help you through the Cross of Christ.
2. It may look like something has come against you, but reality is, it is temporary and subject to change by the power of God.
c. However, if you become a Christian but your perception of reality does not change, you will still be subject to and bound by the same fears you had before you were a Christian.
3. To be free from fear you must see reality as it truly is. Reality is everything as God sees it. Your perception of reality must be accurate to be free from fear. In this lesson we want to talk more about reality as it truly is to help us deal with our fears.
B. We want to begin by making clear several things about fear.
1. When we say there is no reason for a Christian to fear we are not denying the fact that there are fearful things in this world, things to be afraid of.
a. Adam's sin in the garden unleashed death in this earth (Gen 2:17; Rom 5:12). The death that is in the earth takes many awful forms (Deut 28:15-68). Adam's sin gave the devil dominion in this earth (Luke 4:6; II Cor 4:4) and he goes about seeking whom he may devour (I Pet 5:8).
b. However, none of that is bigger than Almighty, All powerful God who is now our Father.
2. When we say there is never a reason for a Christian to be afraid we are not saying that it is wrong to feel fear, that it is a sin to feel fear, or that if you feel fear there is something wrong with you.
a. Fear is an emotional response of your soul to your situation, your circumstances. Emotions are the reaction of your soul to what is going on around you.
1. If you hear a funny noise in your car it can stimulate fear as your soul reacts to the noise: Something is wrong with my car! How am I going to pay for it? What am I going to do? 2. You will feel anxiety even if nothing is wrong with your car.
b. Emotions are involuntary. That means you cannot will yourself to feel something or to not feel something. Even though you are a Christian you are still going to see things that stimulate a reaction of fear in your soul.
3. Looking at what you see only in terms of what you see produces fear. The solution to fear is to change your perception of reality or learn to see things as God sees them. II Kings 6:15-17
a. When Elisha's servant saw the city of Dothan surrounded by the Syrian army he was afraid, and,
according to what he could see with his eyes the servant had every reason to fear.
b. Elisha was not afraid because he looked past what he could see to reality as it truly is -- Almighty God, perfectly present, loving and reigning. He was able to do that through the word of God.
Ps 91:11; Ps 34:7; Ps 68:17
4. This is reality: We have no reason to fear because God is for us and, if God is for us, nothing can be against us. Rom 8:31
a. But that brings up an apparent contradiction: Things have come against us in the past, in fact things are coming against us right now. We have plenty to be afraid of, plenty to fear.
b. Are we just playing with words? Are we refusing to face reality? How can something clearly be against you and yet not be against you?
1. In a sin cursed earth things really can and will come against you. But none of it is bigger than God and all of it is temporary and subject to change by the power of God.
2. “But”, you may say, “God probably won't help me after all the mistakes I've made, after all the bad things I've done.” Through the Cross of Christ God has clearly demonstrated the fact that He is for you.
c. I can't tell you that bad things are never going to happen to you. Jesus said that in this world we will have tribulation. John 16:33
1. Why do bad things happen? That's a whole lesson for another night but we can briefly say: That's life in a sin cursed earth, an earth dominated by the god of this world. We sometimes make poor choices or people around us make poor choices with serious ramifications. We are dull of hearing and miss the warnings of the Holy Spirit.
2. You need to know four things as you face the hardships of life and the fears they engender. One, bad does not come from God. Two, God can cause everything to serve His purposes and bring genuine good out of genuine bad. Three, all of this is temporary and subject to change. Four, in comparison to eternity this life is nothing.
C. Rom 15:4 says that the things which are written in the Bible are written to help us, to give us reason to hope. Let's look at God's word and consider some examples of things coming against the people of God to help us see why we have no reason to fear no matter what comes our way.
1. The Red Sea and Pharaoh's army were against Israel but, in the end, they could not come against Israel. a. Pharaoh had let the people of God go. But, they came face to face with the Red Sea and were afraid. According to what they could see they had good reason to be afraid. Ex 14:10-12
b. Moses' his first words to the people were: Fear not. Deal with your fear. If they don't deal with fear they will miss God's solution which is: Walk into the Red Sea. And, they won't be able to obey the next instruction: Stand still -- station yourselves (Young's Literal); wait (Lamsa); be steadfast (Berkely). And they won't see the salvation of God.
c. The Red Sea and Pharaoh's army were against Israel for a time, but it was a temporary situation. And, in the hands of God, the very problem (trapped by the Red Sea) became the solution.
2. Jacob's father-in-law, Laban, came against him but in the end was not against him.
a. Laban tricked Jacob, giving him his daughter Leah instead of Rachael as promised, and he got fourteen years of servitude from Jacob Gen 29:15-30
b. When Jacob threatened to leave after his years of service Laban offered to pay Jacob a salary. Laban then changed Jacob's wages ten time to cheat him out of his rightful pay. Gen 31:7
1. But God was at work. If Jacob's wages were spotted cattle, the cattle bore spotted calves.
2. In the end Jacob was able to say: Gen 31:9--God has made me wealthy at your father's expense. (Living)
c. When you serve the God of Jacob, although it may look like you have been cheated, you cannot be permanently cheated.
3. In Heb 10:34 Paul made reference to the fact that these Hebrew Christians had suffered the loss of their material possessions. Lack came against them but it was not against them. Notice two key points.
a. These people took it joyfully not fearfully. That does not mean they felt good about what happened or were happy about it (II Cor 6:10). It means they responded to their loss by praising God.
b. They were able to do that because they saw past what they could see to what was ahead for them.
“You took it cheerfully because you knew you have something better that is permanent.” (Beck)
c. Where are these people now? What are they doing? They are in heaven enjoying fellowship with God in the midst of full provision (Luke 15:31), awaiting their return to this earth with the Lord Jesus Christ when He renovates this earth, removing all trace of sin, corruption, and death.
4. Even in the face of death -- the devil's biggest gun, the last enemy to be put under foot -- it looks like it is against us, but it is only temporary and subject to change.
a. II Sam 12:14-18--David's newborn son became gravely ill. David sought God for the boy's healing, but didn't get the outcome he wanted.
1. God did not make the baby sick. This is not proof that it is not always God's will to heal. 2. That is a whole lesson for another night. But it shows the importance of getting teaching so you have all the “bricks” so you can build your foundation on the rock of God's word.
b. There is nothing more hopeless than losing a loved one, than burying a loved one's body.
1. Notice how David responded. v20--He worshipped the Lord. That doesn't mean he wasn't sorrowful. It means he chose to look past what he could see to reality as it truly is.
2. My son can't come back to me but I will go to be with him. David knew his son had not ceased to exist, and, although they were temporarily separated, David knew they would one day be reunited.
c. Job 19:25-27--Job, for all his flaws and lack of understanding of some things, had a tremendous revelation about the powerlessness of the devil's biggest gun.
1. He knew that even though his flesh would one day be destroyed (disintegrated in the ground), he knew he would see his redeemer in his body on this earth.
2. v27--Whom I, even I shall see for myself and on my side! And my eyes shall behold Him, and not as a stranger. (Amp)
5. If God is for you nothing can be against you (permanently against you) because God is able to bring genuine good out of genuine bad. Therefore you need not fear. Rom 8:28
a. Notice where Rom 8:28 is located -- right before God's expression of His plan for us (v29,30) which is followed by the statement that if God is for us nothing can be against us (v31).
b. Why can you be not afraid? Because the very thing that has come against you to destroy you can, in the hands of God, become the vehicle of your deliverance. It may appear that you are harmed.
But God is the Divine Recycler. We serve the God of Jacob.
c. I Pet 3:13--Who can harm you if you follow what is good? We follow God who is good. Despite how it looks nothing, no one, can permanently harm you. Be not afraid.
D. Conclusion: Hard, painful things will come our way in this life and we will feel afraid. How do we deal with fear?
1. David and Moses both give us a good examples of how to deal with fear.
a. David said: What time I am afraid I will choose to trust God and praise His word. Ps 56:3,4,10,11
1. What does that mean? It means you have to make a decision to look past what you see to reality as it truly is. You do that by remembering the word of God.
2. It means you have to deal with thoughts that contradict God's word and meditate on reality as it truly is according to God while you are in the midst of trouble. While David was hiding in the Judean Desert he meditated on the Lord and praised him for his help before he saw it, confident that he would see it.
b. David had hosts of enemies surround him numerous times in his life. Yet he boldly declared: I will not fear. I will be confident. Ps 27:3
1. David was able to say that because he knew God was for him (Ps 56:9) and God was his light, his salvation, and the strength of his life. Ps 27:1
a. Strength comes from a word meaning a fortified place, a defense. God is the refuge of my life (Rotherham); defender of my life (Septuagint); fortress of my life (Jerusalem).
b. Salvation has the idea of liberty, deliverance, prosperity, welfare, rescue. Light comes from a word meaning illumination in every sense including lightening and happiness. 2. David knew that because God was for him, when an enemy came against him that enemy would ultimately be defeated. Ps 27:2
c. Moses said: I will say of the Lord: He is my refuge (Ps 91:2). To deal with fear you must agree with God even if you don't feel like what He says is so.
1. He is your hiding place, your place of safety, but you must believe it before you see it.
2. You must take control of your thoughts of fear and answer them with the word of God. Jesus said: Let not your hearts be troubled. John 14:27
3. Jesus gave His disciples words to bring them peace. You must choose the word of God over your circumstances, over your feelings. John 16:33
2. The solution to fear is learning to see reality as it truly is, learning to see everything as God sees it with the help of His word, the Bible.
a. Reality is: This situation may look like it's against me, may truly be against me.
1. But, it is temporary and subject to change by the power of God. God is at work behind the scenes. What the devil means for evil, God will work for good.
2. You must learn to speak the truth to yourself in the midst of your situation.
b. You do not have to fear what looks bigger than you, what is bigger than you, because it is not bigger than God. Num 14:9