Summary: What are you afraid of? Fears attack the most precious parts of our life and keep us from living the life meant for us. God wants to help us overcome our darkest fears as we learn to Fear Not.
Opening illustration: (Our fearless covert evangelism in the Middle-East even when we had fear at the back of our minds of being found out and possibly face dire consequences)
Introduction: We are fragile mortals, given to fears of every sort. We have a built-in insecurity that no amount of whistling in the dark can mollify. We seek assurance concerning the things that frighten us the most. Why? Perhaps God’s predilection for those words grew out of His acute sense of the thinly veiled fear that grips all who approach the living God. We fear His power, we fear His wrath, and most of all we fear His ultimate rejection. What are you afraid of? Fears attack the most precious parts of our life and keep us from living the life meant for us. God wants to help us overcome our darkest fears as we learn to Fear Not. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Our theme for the night is “Fear Not! For Immanuel.”
Why should we (believers) be Fearless?
1. Fear Not, for I AM with you (Isaiah 41:10-13)
The people of Israel needed a word of comfort and encouragement right then. God had just given the dreadful news to them, through the prophet Isaiah that they were going to be captured, taken from their homeland, and sent into captivity to Babylon. There, they would be held in exile because of their sins. Historically, they were in exile for seventy long years. And it's with this sad note that the first half of the book ends. Can you imagine what a discouraging word that was? They were faced with a prospect that was overwhelming and hopeless.
The battle can be difficult and hard and we grow weary so easily. In fact, we are often surprised by how weak we actually are and this can contribute to our frailties and fears, drawing the life out of our prayers and good intentions to live for Christ. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us (Immanuel), who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) He is a God who doesn’t leave us or forsake us …
• At one time or another, most of us have been gripped with fear.
• We have been afraid that things which happened in the past can hurt is in the present.
• We have been afraid of what people think.
• We have been afraid of what people would do.
• We have been afraid of the future.
• We have been afraid of circumstances.
• We have been afraid of ourselves.
• We have been afraid of any number of things.
• One of the forms fear takes is that of worry. When we are afraid of something, we worry over it. As we continually worry, we make life miserable for ourselves, and for those around us.
Illustration: During the past few months you all must have watch the news to see terrifying events happening around in our nation and the world. However, in spite of all this, God’s people are called to live fearlessly. How can we remain calm and confident in the midst of it all? We must remember that the Lord has promised to strengthen, help, and uphold us, and He always keeps His Word.
Application: What are you going to do with your fears? You can either keep them and suffer the negative consequences, or you can trust the Lord and place them in His loving hands. Although God doesn’t say in Isaiah 41:10 that He will remove you from fearful circumstances, He promises to strengthen and sustain you through them. I can't express enough what a word of encouragement this passage has been to me over the past month. I believe God would have us think through the promise He gives us in them; and to grow in our trust in Him in the midst of every trial.
Are you facing a trial right now, dear brother or sister? Would you please join me in claiming this as your and my promise from the living God? “Fear Not for Immanuel (God with us)!”
2. Fear Not, Mary, for you have FOUND FAVOR with God (Luke 1:30)
The last utterance by any prophet came from the mouth of Malachi. He was the last prophet before the 400 years of silence. The people would have read this text and waited for an amazing event. At the announcement and birth of Jesus to the favored Mary there would be so much joy that God’s people would leap for joy like a calf comes out of the pen.
Our default way of thinking and believing is that if it feels right, it is from God. God doesn’t run His world according to our feelings and emotions. Many a times the things don’t seem right in our eyes but in the eyes of God they are the perfect thing for us.