Summary: 1- Fear not the birth 2- Fear not the angel 3- Fear not the announcement
INTRO. - ILL.- Charles Sawyer, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce (under Harry Truman), told about the planeload of people flying across the Atlantic. A voice came on the intercom: “We are now flying at 35,000 feet. If you will notice, out the right window, the two engines on that side are on fire, and the engines on the left had to be stopped. If you look directly below, you will see a yellow sea recovery raft with six small dots on it. The dots are the pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, navigator, and two hostesses. This is a recording.”
What do you fear the most in life? I think most people fear something: loss of life, loss of health, loss of family members, etc. These are probably the most feared things in life. Fears grabs us all.
ILL.- Christianity Today recently had an article entitled, "Fear Not the Compass." What was this about? It’s about the new movie entitled, "The Golden Compass," which has many people talking about its atheistic emphasis. The film is based on the first book of a trilogy by Philip Pullman, an atheist who has expressed his disdain for Christianity and who, in the course of his three books, has a young girl named Lyra join with people who are trying to kill God and the Christian faith … and they succeed. (in the movie) Many Christians have expressed their concerns regarding the film.
Should Christians be afraid of The Golden Compass? Mercy, no. Discerning, yes. But not afraid. God is not threatened by Philip Pullman. And people who stop to think through Pullman’s story, and how he "refutes" Christianity, will see what a feeble "attack" against Christian belief really is.
It’s interesting to note that Pullman’s dismissal of Christianity skips over one big detail: Jesus. Pullman’s story never makes any attempt to explore or refute the claims and ministry and person of Christ.
As people who believe in the all-powerful God of the universe should fear cloud or cover our lives? Of course, not!
Some people do, however, fear the thought of becoming a Christian and following Christ in life. How could that be? Why would anyone be afraid to become a Christian?
ILL.- When I worked for Safeway in the early 1960’s in Joplin, MO, I tried to witness to most of the other employees about Christ because I was a new convert and fired up for Christ. DO WE EVER LOSE OUR FIRE AFTER A PERIOD OF TIME?
The meat department manager was Duane Morris. Duane didn’t go to church but his wife was a faithful and committed Christian. And even though Duane didn’t go to church I was not afraid to talk to him about Christ. So I asked him why he didn’t go to church. He plainly but kindly told me that he was not a Christian. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe in Christ, because he did. But he said he didn’t want to become a Christian because he knew that he would have to change his life.
Ah ha! He knew that there were some things in his life that were not right or not in keeping with the Christian life and he wasn’t ready to give them up.
But listen to this: He also said that he had noticed that his wife had gone through some difficulty as a Christian, which he didn’t specify. And he wasn’t sure he wanted to endure that!
I never did ask him what he was talking about but it was some trials or difficulty that she experienced because of her faith. And he feared that. He didn’t want any part of it.
Even as Christians there are times when we fear certain things in life. That’s because of our human nature. However, I believe that faith is the victory that overcomes the world.
Now what about Christmas? This is supposed to be one of the most joyous times of the year for the Christian. We believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world! And we honor Him by involving ourselves in Christmas activities: church, singing carols, giving gifts, etc. So what is there to fear about Christmas? There may well be some things that certain people fear about Christmas.
PROP.- As we think consider the Christmas story, let’s consider the thought of fear.
1- Fear not the birth
2- Fear not the angel
3- Fear not the announcement
I. FEAR NOT THE BIRTH
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.