Sermon:
FREEDOM FROM FEAR – Get Out of Your Shell!
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJ) For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
INTRODUCTION:
A little 2 year old girl stands at the edge of a swimming pool frozen. Her daddy is in the water with his arms raised up toward his little angel saying, “Jump; it’s okay princess, daddy will catch you.”
In that moment that little girl feels for the first time the inner conflict that we have all felt time and again through out our lives. On the one hand fear tells her to stay put; the water is cold, deep and dangerous. She can’t swim. She has never done this before. She is the one being called on to risk her life. What if something bad happens?
On the other hand it is not a stranger calling her to jump; it’s her daddy in the water. He is bigger and stronger than she is. So far he has been trustworthy. Daddy who helped her learn to walk; he has always been there to pick her up when she falls, and to wipe away her tears. The smile on his face says he is confident in the outcome of her jump.
What is a two year old to do? The battle between trust and terror, faith and fear has begun. Trust says, “Jump!” Terror shouts, “Don’t do it!” WHEN FEAR SAYS “NO” FAITH SAYS “GO!”
ILLUSTRATION: John Ortberg writes in his book, If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve God to Get Out of the Boat:
“What would you guess is the most common command in Scripture?
“It is not for us to be more loving. That may be the core to God’s desire for human life, but that is not his most frequent instruction.
“Writers about spiritual life often speak of pride as being at the root of human fallenness, but the Bible’s most frequent imperative does not have to do with avoiding pride or gaining humility.
“It is not a command to guard sexual purity or to walk with integrity, important as those qualities are.
“The single command in Scripture that occurs more often than any other-God’s most frequently repeated instruction-is formulated in two words:
“Fear not. Do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous. You can trust me. Fear not. Why does God command us not to fear?”
If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve God to Get Out of the Boat, page 117-118
Ortberg asks a good question, “WHY DOES GOD COMMAND US NOT TO FEAR?” What do you think? Why has God repeatedly told us throughout to not be afraid?
“Lloyd Ogilvie notes there are 366 ‘fear not’ verses in the Bible-one for every day of the year, including one for leap year!” Get Out of the Boat, page 118
Many reasons can be offered as to why God tells us to not be afraid. However, I don’t think God’s primary motivation is to spare us emotional discomfort and pain. No pain—no gain! Often our faith grows the most through difficult circumstances—circumstances we fear. Once more, if you think about it, God does not say “fear not” to people and then remove the cause of their fear. More often than not God takes them through the very situation that caused