Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Many of us may be fearful or even afraid of the future and what it holds for us ... God’s Word continually reiterates “FEAR NOT” which is a commandment and also gives us the reasons to fear not …

Opening illustration: Columnist George Cantor told how he dealt with a childhood fear. Almost every night he would wake up in the darkness and imagine scary creatures lurking outside his room. Often he would be too scared to go back to sleep. Sometimes he would go and lie down by his parents’ bedroom door, figuring that as long as he was near them, nothing would hurt him.

That child’s need for some physical evidence of his parents’ presence reminds me of the young servant of Elisha. He woke up early one morning and found that the Syrian army had surrounded the city. Alarmed and afraid, he cried out to Elisha, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” (2 Kings 6: 15). After Elisha prayed, the Lord opened the young servant’s eyes. What he saw must have filled him with awe and wonder. The Bible says that “the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (v.17). The Lord’s army was there to protect them.

We too at times long for God to give us some kind of reassurance that He is near, and sometimes He does. But that’s the exception. He wants us to learn to trust His promise that He is with us. No matter how frightening the situation, God’s people always have more on their side than the enemy has on his. (Illustration by Mart DeHaan, Our Daily Bread)

Let us turn to Deuteronomy 31 and catch up with what God is telling the Israelites and their leader ‘Not to Fear.’ Apparently the same passage it reiterated a couple of times in ‘God’s Word.’ It also shows up in 1 Chronicles 28: 20.

Introduction: Notice if you will, how close these six Scriptures are huddled together, like a cluster of fruit from the vine of God. Time and time again, God is building Joshua up, encouraging him, stirring him up inside, fanning into the flame the gift from God to be strong and courageous, for God was with him just as He was with Moses.

We may face new ground in our walk with the Lord; we may be on the threshold of stepping into a battle for lost souls, or even a new direction. Never fear, take heart, for God is saying to you today, “Be strong and courageous,” for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Moses assures Israel of the constant presence of God with them. This is applied by the apostle to all God’s spiritual Israel, to encourage their faith and hope; unto us is this gospel preached, as well as unto them; he will never fail thee, nor forsake thee, Hebrews_13: 5. Joshua is well pleased to be admonished by Moses to be strong and of good courage. Those shall speed well, who have God with them; therefore they ought to be of good courage. Through God let us do valiantly, for through him we shall do victoriously; if we resist the devil, he will flee from us. Fear Not is not a choice but a commandment and God gives us the reasons for us to be fearless …

Word Background: The Bible uses words like fear, afraid, terror, dread, anxious, tremble, shake and quake over 850 times to portray this core human emotion. Healthcare professionals use terms like fear, anxiety, panic attack and phobia to illuminate the spectrum of our fears. For our purposes we use fears and anxiety interchangeably.

Fear is an immediate and intense internal alarm system that alerts us to the presence of danger. It revs up our whole being – body, mind and emotions – and rivets our focus on one primary goal: protection. It prepares us either to flee from or fight against the perceived danger.

Who did God tell ‘Fear Not’ and why?

a) Abraham - for an heir

b) Jacob – to go down to Egypt

c) Israelites – as they ventured into the wilderness and faced many -ites (enemies)

d) Moses – the enemies were given into their hands

e) Joshua – while encountering the enemy

f) Elijah – king Ahab and his wife

g) Daniel – in order to strengthen him in a foreign land

h) Zacharias – his wife shall bear a child (John the Baptist)

i) Mary – favored to bring forth Christ into the world

j) Joseph – to take Mary as his wife

k) To us in Hebrews – not to fear man

l) To us in Revelation – to encourage and tell us that He is the beginning and the end

Why should we be fearless? Because the Lord your God will …

1. Not walk off/out on you (go with you) v.6a

Expanding the Hebrew terminology ~ He will walk to and fro for you and make sure that you stay strong and of good courage …

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