Summary: “But immediately Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘be of good cheer! It is I: do not be afraid’” Matthew 14:27.
Theme: Fear not, the Lord will not forsake you
Text: 1 Kings 19:9-13; Rom. 9:1-5; Matt. 14:22-33
Today we are celebrating Health Sunday to climax the 2005 Health week celebration of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the theme for today’s sermon is “Fear not, the Lord will not forsake you”. This is a call to the believer not to be afraid because the Lord controls everything and He has promised never to forsake us no matter the situation we find ourselves in. The reality, however, is that in spite of this assurance many believers are living a life of fear instead of living a life grounded and rooted in the love and Word of God. They are afraid of sickness, disease, hunger and poverty. They are afraid of thieves and armed robbers and of loosing their possessions. They are plagued by a thousand and one unnecessary fears, unnecessary because God has already provided the solution. And this solution can only be found in Jesus Christ. We can do nothing about our fears but He can and He has constantly demonstrated that He cares about us. We should always remember His words “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly”. He is able to provide for us and His will for us is “to prosper and be in health, even as our soul prospers”. In today’s gospel reading the disciples, usually witnesses and helpers are themselves the recipients and the beneficiaries of a miracle. Today let us not only be witnesses to what Christ is doing and to the healing of the sick but let us also experience His intervention in our lives and let us experience His healing. Let us fear not and believe that the Lord will not forsake us and let our lives testify that indeed Jesus cares and acts on our behalf.
Responding to fear is to believe and act contrary to the word of God. Fear is directly opposed to faith, as faith believes what God has said. This is the reason why a child of God must grow to spiritual maturity. As he grows spiritually he will increase in faith and grow in love and “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” 1 Jn. 4:18. Fear believes not only what is contrary to the Word of God but also what is contrary to the nature of God. The Scriptures reveal that God is a good God who loves us and has a good plan for our lives and His will is to fulfil those plans. He can certainly do so because He not only sees and controls everything but also is willing and able to meet every need. We often portray God in ways that conflict with the nature of God portrayed in the Scriptures.
Every life consists of a series of experiences and encounters and a series of challenges and tests. Sometimes after living for a period, experiencing the ups and downs, the joys and sadness of life, we often ask the question how we came to be so far from where we were supposed to be. It happened to Elijah who after experiencing a great victory at Mount Carmel had to run for his life from Jezebel. It may have happened to you or it is yet to happen to you. It happens because we are much more concerned with the physical than with the spiritual. We equate those things that are visible with the truth and often forget that it is the spiritual, those things that are not visible, that really matters. What we see and feel are a response that links us to our circumstances or situations whereas what we accept by faith links us to God and that is the best thing that can happen to us. If we are going to live a successful life we cannot afford to rely on our flesh. We need to be ready to step outside the boat and walk on the water with Jesus if He commands us to. Just as God met the need of Elijah and the disciples when they obeyed Him so He continues to our need today if we also will trust and obey Him. Just as Jesus saw his disciples struggling in the storm and came to help them so He sees us during our storms in life and comes to help us. God knows everything about us and sees everything that we are going through and it is His will to be with us and see us safely through whatever we are going through.
The only way to overcome fear is to respond with faith for “the just shall live by faith”. How can we do otherwise when we believe that the Lord is our Creator who knows what is best for us? How can we not believe that He created us for a purpose and that He has given us the blueprint of His plans for our life in His Word? Not only did the Lord create us but demonstrated how valuable we are by redeeming us. How can the Lord who paid a very high price for our redemption forsake us? How can the Lord who made us righteous with His own righteousness so that we could become the temple of the Holy Spirit forsake us? We need to believe the Scriptures that because the Holy Spirit lives in us we are no longer our own but the Lord’s.