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Have no Fear, God is Near

(11)

Sermon shared by Jonathan Russell

March 2011
Summary: This sermon examines the fear that we encounter in life, and how we can overcome it, knowing that God is with us
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
INTRODUCTION
* Fear: the natural feeling of alarm caused by the expectation of imminent danger, pain or disaster
* Fear is common and widespread: over 500 documented phobias (and some are pretty funny)
- cacophobia: the fear of ugliness
- dentophobia: the fear of dentists
- gynophobia: the fear of women
- mageirocophobia: the fear of cooking
- octophobia: the fear of the number 8
- scolionophobia: the fear of school
- phobophobia: the fear of phobias
* Fear has a more sinister nature: it is one of Satan’s tools that he will use to try to defeat us
- in and of itself, fear is amoral (neither good nor bad); how we respond to it is important
- some people get a handle on fear, while some get handled by fear
* If fear is not defeated, faith cannot flourish and trust in God cannot be established and strengthened
* The Bible speaks of overcoming fear often: over 300 times the phrase “fear not” or “do not fear” is found
- Matthew 10:31
- Romans 8:15
- 1 John 4:18
* The world today contains a lot of fearful things (natural catastrophes, economy, government, sicknesses, etc.)
* Undefeated fear can cause good and godly people to do ungodly things (i.e., Y2K); fear must be kept in check
* Background of our text: the prophecy concerning Judah caused fear; the people would lose everything
* Against this background of fear God gives his people hope and comfort; he gives them a reason NOT to fear, even in a fearful situation
* Their situation might be different from ours, but the existence of fear is constant: the reasons they have for not fearing are the same reasons we have
* Why should the people of God have no fear?

1. We should not fear because we belong to God (v. 1)
* God was their God - they belonged to him because of the covenant God made with Abraham
* We belong to God because of the covenant God made with us through Jesus Christ
* “You are mine” = belonging to God implies ownership; since we are God’s, no one else/nothing else can have us, hence there is no need for fear
* God went to great lengths in order for us to belong to him:
A. He made us: “created and formed”
- since he is the originator of life, he’s also the sustainer of life (Ps. 139:16)
B. He saved us: “redeemed”
- God called Israel to look back at their exodus (redeemed = to purchase out of the market)
- we look at the cross: the price paid to purchase us out of sin (Gal. 3:13)
C. He called us to himself: “called you by name”
- since he has chosen us no one else can have us
- 1 Peter 2:9
* Because we belong to God, we are off limits to the power of fear (Heb. 13:6)

2. We should not fear because God is with us (v. 2)
* A specific promise is made by God to be with his people (note v. 5a)
* God’s presence did not mean that they would not encounter fearful moments, but that the fearful moments would not destroy them
* God is not just with us, but within us - the presence of God implies the protection of God
* Romans 8:31, 37
* Isaiah 54:17
* Psalm 23
* God’s presence is guaranteed, 24/7. Therefore, we have a constant presence and protection against fear (Heb. 13:5).

3. We should not fear because God is passionate about us (v. 3-4)
* Impossible to adequately define/describe the passion God has for us
* Just as Israel was the object
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