Summary: When we are faced with giving in to fear we need to be reminded of how our Lord met fear head on.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 37
“First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - . . . fear which paralyzes our efforts to convert a retreat into advance.” Those words were spoken by President Franklin Roosevelt in his first inaugural address, to a nation whose economy and morale had been sapped by a national financial depression. [www.douglass. speech.northwestern.edu/ roos_a76). Those words seem very appropriate to a nation that is still reeling from the sniper attacks in and around Washington D.C. Until the snipers were caught people living in Maryland and around the Washington area were afraid to even leave their homes. Many times in life we can become so consumed by fear that we are unable to even think straight. We make rash decisions or refuse to make decisions because of fear. We become so focused on what we perceive as our problems because have taken our eyes off of Christ. When we are faced with giving in to fear we need to be reminded of how our Lord met fear head on.
As Jesus was making his way to Jerusalem, someone had asked whether there would only be a few people saved. Jesus had responded with some very disturbing words about the narrowness of the way leading to the kingdom of heaven saying (13:24),“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Now, further along on his journey yet on the very same day, some Pharisees came to pay Jesus a visit. In verse thirty-one we are told, “On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, "Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You."
People sometimes seek to frighten us to deter us from fulfilling God’s purpose in our life. But Jesus didn’t let the Pharisee’s warning deter him from following what he knew was God’s will for his life. How about you? Are you trusting the Lord and his purpose for your life, or are you running away in fear all tied up in knots?
Jesus demonstrated Four Crucial Truths Concerning Giving In To Fear.
1. Fear Will Be Victorious If We Allow Ourselves To Be Frightened Into Silence. (v. 31)
When the Pharisees appear with what seems to be some friendly advice “Leave this place and go somewhere else because Herod wants to kill you,” Jesus was not fooled. “He was the gentle Lamb of God but even a lamb is suspicious of wolves who feign concern for its safety.” [Hughes p. 104] Were some of the Pharisees really sympathetically trying to protect Jesus? Or were they in fact acting as Herod’s messengers? Or was this a part of a plot to lure Jesus into Judea where the Sanhedrin exerted more power than in Herod’s territory? Whatever their motivation may have been they hoped to frighten Jesus away with a threatening message. While their statement looks like one of concern it is more likely just expediency. If they can get Jesus to leave then it will eliminate Jesus’ call for repentance without anything more drastic having to be done.
The enemies of Christ are still trying to silence his followers. These efforts range from simply implying that Christianity is outdated and on the way out, to outright persecution in Third World Countries.
A classic example of this attempt to silence the church is that this coming Tuesday, November 5, many believers will stay at home rather than exercising their privilege to go to the polls and cast their vote. Some in our country would have us to believe that as Christians we must separate what we believe as followers of Christ, from who and what we vote for, that we really can’t expect morality and integrity from political leaders today. I have one word for that, hogwash. This country has yet to see what influence the church can have if we ever get to the point that we vote our conscience and not our pocketbook. Unfortunately many have been convinced that whether they vote or not is unimportant. They have in effect allowed themselves to be silenced.
2. Fear Will Be Diminished If We Realize That Our Lives Are In God’s Hands (v. 32)
Jesus responded to just that kind of challenge in verse thirty-two, “And He said to them, "Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’ Jesus laughs and says, “You go and tell that old fox. I was casting out demons yesterday, I’ll be healing the sick today, and tomorrow. And the third day, I’ll finish my course.” Jesus knew that his time had not yet come to leave this world. His work was not yet completed. Until that time came, it was not within the power of his enemies to stop him.