Summary: The devil wants us to be afraid. He does not want us to have healthy fear of events and our environment around us. He wants us to be debilitated by fear of life and living. What will set us free from this. Realizing that God does not give a spirit of
Intro: We began our study of the devices of the Devil with deception. Satan is the father of lies and wants to keep you from the truth of salvation in Jesus finished work on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Deception is his chief device and he has had at least thousands of years to ply his trade. Remember the Devil comes as an angel of light to persuade you with half-truths and false promises to seduce you away from the full life promised in Jesus Christ. The second device we focused on was apathy. We found that apathy is the opposite of love. This is the attitude that of the seven churches in Revelation that makes Jesus sick. If we are deceived about the life available to us in Jesus then we won’t know and certainly won’t care about the Kingdom of God. Apathy cares nothing for the plans of God or the people of God. Apathy cares nothing for the hungry, homeless, helpless. Apathy cares nothing about pleasing God but spends all its energies on the pleasure of men. If apathy is the opposite of love then fear is the opposite of faith. The next of the devils powerful devices is fear. 2 Timothy 1.7
A) The reality of destructive fear
Paul said it clearly “you have not been given a Spirit of fear” Scholars debate whether or not Timothy was timid or fearful of situations at the Ephesians Church. Throughout both of these letters Paul seems to be encouraging Timothy to be courageous. Timothy possibly had some dangerous and destructive fear in his life. How do we know? Paul goes on to tell timothy to take a little wine for his stomach. From all information we have it seems that Timothy was a naturally timid man.
There is healthy fear that keeps us away from rattlesnakes, hot stoves, highway 40 drivers etc. However what Paul is talking about is not healthy.
What types of fear are there that are truly destructive?
Zig Zigler said it very appropriately “FEAR is False evidence appearing real” What was the first response after the fall? Adam said I saw that I was naked and was afraid. Fear rises from our natural fallen condition. As a result we:
1) Fear causes us to over exaggerate our problems
It makes us believe the worst and not the best. Especially when it comes to people.
2) Fear causes us to miss out on the joy of life
Spanish proverb “He who fears death cannot enjoy life.” Anxiety and fear rob you of Joy. Remember the thief comes to steal. If he can he will crush the full life God intends for you with fear and worry.
3) Fear hinders our service to God
E. Stanley Jones said “Fear is the sand in the machinery of life.” Fear of what people think, rejection, failure, can keep you from serving in the local church, sharing Christ, helping people, giving, worshipping etc. All of these fall under service. In Matthew 25 you can read the parable of the talents. Why did the one servant hide his talent? He was afraid. This is the Greek word from which we get phobia. It can also mean reverence.
This was a fear that moved him to disobey his master. Do you face fears on a daily basis fears that will cause you to disobey God?
In a poll given to teenagers among other things this is what they feared.
1) Failing in School – 44% 2) Loneliness – 33% 3) Not having a boyfriend/girlfriend – 30%
4) Rejection – 28%
These types of fears can lead you to cheat, give in to peer pressure, give in to improper sexual advances. They can lead to adultery, unscriptural marriages, unhealthy choices.
What is the biggest problem with all of these fears? They make way too much of man and way too little of God. Fear is the opposite of faith. Remember last week. If we really believed God caused or allowed everything that happened to us it would change our attitude, and then our actions.
B) The remedy of delivering faith
Three aspects of delivering faith
The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” Oswald chambers.
If you read the gospels they recognize our tendency to allow legitimate human concerns to lead to a loss of perspective. Fear forgets God’s faithfulness, His nearness, His Power and Promises. How do we fight this fear? We orient our life around God and His Kingdom. Jesus tells us in the Sermon On the Mount do not worry, do not fear. Why? Truly seeking God’s rule in our lives leads to a different perspective. No longer will you hunger and thirst for the things of the world you will hunger and thirst for God’s presence. It is in His presence peace comes.