Summary: A sermon based on the four "fear not"’s of the nativity story.
A Year Without Fear
INTRO.: As a new year begins, there is much uncertainty in each of our lives. We don’t know what the new year will bring.
As I read the Christmas story, I was impressed with the number of times the phrase “do not be afraid” or KJV’s “fear not.” appears in the story.
As we begin the new year, let us look at some of the “fear not’s” in the story of Jesus’ coming. I believe the defeat of fear is one purpose of the coming of Christ.
I. The first occurrence of the phrase is in Luke 1:13:
A. It is the “fear not” of unanswered prayer:
1. Zechariah and Elizabeth were both old and had no doubt prayed many times for a son.
2. Their prayers must have seemed unanswered.
3. On duty in the temple, Zechariah saw an angel and was “gripped with fear.”
4. The angel began with the words, “do not be afraid. Your prayers have been answered.”
5. Everything had to be done on God’s timetable. Gal. 4:4
B. Do you have prayers you feel are unanswered?
1. God may be waiting for the right time.
2. Don’t be afraid. You are not alone. God does hear and answer prayer.
3. “Pray continually” I Thess. 5:17
II. The second occurrence is in Luke 1 30:
A. A young lady in Nazareth is frightened by an angel.
1. After calming her fears, the angel tells her she is to have a son.
2. She considers it impossible and says so. V. 34
3. The angel tells her “nothing is impossible for God”
4. Mary’s response: “I am the Lord’s servant.” 38
B. Nothing is impossible for God:
1. If you feel God’s leading, do not be afraid to attempt things that seem humanly impossible.
2. His power works within us. Eph. 3:20
3. Illus.: 84-yr. Old grandmother.
4. When faced with the impossible, put the fears and doubts in the closet and trust God.
III. The third is in Matt. 1:20, 24
A. Joseph is about to marry Mary when he finds out she’s pregnant.
1. There is much to fear; evidently she has been unfaithful to him.
2. He has no idea who the father is.
3. He fears the embarrassment of a public divorce for both Mary and himself.
4. An angel appears and allays his fears with the words "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
5. Joseph’s response is obedience. V. 24
B. We should never be afraid to obey God:
1. Sometimes we fear we are not good enough, gifted enough, or strong enough.
2. Consider some of those who did serve Him. Illus.: God’s People.
3. During the coming year, God can use you if you will allow it.
IV. The final “don’t be afraid” came to shepherds on a hillside in Judea the night Jesus was born: Luke 2:10, 11:
A. These men were terrified:
1. Their peaceful night was interrupted by a blinding light and the appearance of an angel.
2. Having never seen such a sight, they are understandably terrified.
3. The angel speaks; “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
4. A Savior is born, so they no longer need to fear death.