Sermons

Summary: The Bible says that perfect love casts out fear, and that God does not give us a spirit of fear. Dozens of times we are told not to fear. On the other hand, we are told to fear the Lord.

It was on Oct. 30, 1938 at 8 P. M. when about 6 million people

across the United States were listening to the radio. Orson Wells on

The Mercury Theatre Of The Air presented the War Of The

Worlds. Dance music was suddenly interrupted with a flash news

story. "A series of gas explosions has just been noted on the planet

Mars," said the announcer. He went on to report that a meteor had

landed near Princeton, New Jersey, killing 1500 persons. In a few

minutes the announcer came back to correct the report. It was not a

meteor but a metal cylinder from which poured Martian creatures

with death rays to attack the earth.

In spite of the fact that two announcements were made that it was

only a fictitious story, many people were so gripped by fear that they

did not hear these announcements. Twenty families on a single block

in Newark, New Jersey rushed from their homes to escape what they

though was a gas raid. Their faces were covered with towels and

handkerchiefs. In Mount Vernon, New York an invalid was so

frightened by the invasion that he left his wheel chair and drove

away in his car. Thousands were on the phone saying farewell to

loved ones. Psychologists have used this event as a classic case

history of the power of fear.

It is also a classic study of how poorly people pay attention. Those

who listened did not get disturbed, but those who did not listen went

into a panic stage. It was all unnecessary if people would have just

listened. It is important to take action when danger is present, and

fear is good as a motivation. We need to fear danger, but it is tragic

to fear it when it is not real. Joyce Landorf in The Fragrance of

Beauty says that fear is one of the most destructive forces in the life

of a woman, and it robs her of her beauty. She quotes,

Where worry is a mouse,

A small scampering thing with sharp tiny feet,

That scurries over our souls-

Fear is a roaring lion,

With huge paws, extended claws and teeth

That slash us into strips.

In other words, fear is an emotion to fear. It is like the Devil

himself, and it is a roaring lion going about seeking whom it may

devour. This is not to say with Roosevelt, "We have nothing to fear

but fear itself." The world is full of things that we need to fear.

There are dangers everywhere just as there was in the day of David

when he cried out in Ps. 55:4-5, "My heart is in anguish within me,

the terrors of death assailed. Fear and trembling have beset me,

horror has overwhelmed me." Unfortunately nobody had yet come

up with the comforting statement that we have nothing to fear but

fear itself. So poor David had to have fear, and as you read the lives

of great people of God all through history you discover they had

plenty of fears. It is folly to say to anyone that there is no need to

fear, for fear is real and legitimate in many circumstances. But it is

also true that it is often not necessary and often even folly to fear.

An ancient legend of the Orient tells of a man who met the

Cholera and said to the plague, "Where are you going?" It

responded, "I am going to Bagdad to kill 20,000." Some time later

he met the plague again and cried out, "You vagabond! You killed

90,000." "No, no," said the Cholera, "I killed 20,000, fear killed all

the rest." Trouble has slain its thousands, but fear has slain its tens

of thousands. Earnest M. Ligon in The Psychology Of Christian

Personality says, "...fear is the most disintegrating of all the enemies

of personality. Worry, anxiety, terror, inferiority complexes,

pessimism, greed, and the like are all varieties of this one great evil."

He says fear is involved in every complex, and it is the basic cause of

all repressions.

Fear can produce the very thing that is feared. If you fear you

will get sick, that can lead to getting sick. If you fear you will fail the

test that fear can make you fail it. The fear of failure is the biggest

cause for failure. It is an inside partner with the external forces that

seek your defeat. The evil that you fear gets an advantage over you

when you are full of fear. It has won half the battle by capturing

your heart and mind. That is why in sports the opponent does all he

can to make you fear losing, for if he can get you full of fear he has a

partner inside you that is helping him win.

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