Summary: An Easter message: the courage to go on despite our fears comes from the resurrected Jesus dwelling within us.
Conquer What You Fear
You understand the relationship of cause & effect. If that happened, then this results.
When you enter a dark room and flip a light switch you expect the room to brighten. If you flip that switch and the windows open, you’re pretty surprised because the two aren’t related.
When you get in your car and turn the key, you assume the engine will come to life. If instead, the tires fall off, that’s an odd coincidence. I had a car like that.
You can have a cause & effect response to your environment. Picture yourself on beautiful tropical beach, feeling the warm breeze, hearing the gentle surf and distant gulls. How do you feel? Does that feeling change if I tell you there’s lightning striking nearby, the wind is carrying away your beach umbrella and the driving rain stings your skin?
You may feel happy on a sunny, mild day. But feel blue if it’s dark and rainy. If you find yourself in total darkness, you may be fearful, like…
Susie was helping her grandma prepare dinner. Grandma asked her to go to the pantry and bring a can of tomatoes. It was a big walk-in pantry and the light bulb was burned out. Susie stood at the door, looking in but afraid to enter. When her grandma asked again for the tomatoes, she said, “But the light doesn’t work and it’s so dark in there.” Grandma said, “Don’t worry dear, Jesus is in there, now go on and get my tomatoes.” Susie wanted to but just couldn’t find courage to go in. So she leaned in and whispered, “Jesus, if you’re in there, please hand me a jar of tomatoes.”
Look at these verses in Paul’s great chapter about resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:
Let me remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then and still do now, for your faith is built on this wonderful message. 2 And it is this Good News that saves you if you firmly believe it… [see the cause and effect? Believe the gospel, receive salvation.]
3 I passed on to you what was most important… that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said. (1 Cor. 15:1-4, NLT)
Notice the centrality of Jesus’ death & resurrection to the gospel & our faith. They are symbolized by the cross & empty tomb. Here again, is cause and effect. The cross; effective for atonement, forgiveness. The empty tomb; effective for promise, hope, life.
Here’s what I want you to take home today:
Because Jesus lives you can have courage to conquer your fears.
We live with all kinds of fears:
- Will I have enough money to pay all the bills this month?
- Will I have enough to retire?
- Will I outlive my money?
- What will the doctor find in this test?
- Will I be okay after surgery?
- Will I be accepted into the college and program I want most?
- Can our relationship survive this crisis?
- How secure is my job?
Name your fear. Maybe you most fear being
…humiliated in front of others
… a failure
… rejected by someone important
… rejected by God himself.
Perhaps you live in fear of losing something or someone; of suffering pain; of dying.
What is it that you fear? Can you name it?
It’s likely that you have more than just one?
The phrase “don’t be afraid” is found in some form more than 350 times in the Bible. And it often appears with these words of encouragement, “for I am with you.”
Jesus’ disciples, who gave us Scriptures with so much encouragement to stand strong, to live with courage, to count on Christ, to live optimistically… these people knew our fears first-hand.
Let’s read Matthew 28:1-10
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ’He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him…’" 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."