Summary: Jesus Four-step Approach to Fear
John Ortberg in his book- If You Want To Walk On Water You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat notes this about fear:
- The single command in Scripture that occurs more often then any other-God’s most frequently repeated instruction-is formulated in two words:
- Fear Not. Do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous. You can trust me. Fear not.
- Why does God command us not to fear? Fear does not seem like the most serious vice in the world. It never made the list of the Seven Deadly Sins. No one ever receives church discipline for being afraid. SO why does God tell human beings to stop being afraid more often than he tells them anything else? My hunch is that the reason God says “Fear Not” so much is not that he wants us to be spared emotional discomfort. In fact, usually he says it to people to do something that is going to lead them into greater fear anyway. I think God says, “fear not” so often because fear is the number one reason human beings are tempted to avoid doing what God asks them to do” (117,118).
- Fear can be defined with a long list of synonyms, such as alarm, care, despondency, dismay, dread, fright, gloom, horror, panic, or terror.
- As children many of us were awakened from sleep by the terror of a nightmare.
- There are adults today who look upon life as a continuous nightmare because fear has captured their soul.
- “Fear Not” 81 x in Scripture
- Starts in Gen 15:1 with Ab
- Ends in Zech 8:15 - to do thee well
- NT begins - Mt. 1:20 - to Joseph
- Ends Rev 1:17 - Jesus the first & Last
- The disciples experienced that
mouth-drying, heart-thumping, knee-buckling kind of fear on the mountaintop at the Transfiguration.
- After rejoicing at the presence of Elijah and Moses,
- Now a mysterious voice brought fear
- This mystery was way beyond their understanding
- No wonder they reacted by curling into defensive little fear-balls at Jesus’ feet.
- Current problem for many of us.
- We fear disappointment by others.
- We fear situations we are in that cannot be controlled
- We fear trusting the unknown so we do not make commitments
• Job changing
• Relationship with Christ.
- We fear the possibility of a dreaded disease or an untimely accidental death.
- We fear the possibility of an international catastrophe.
- We fear financial insecurity.
- Some of us fear the approach of death and what is next
- Fear is a thief of happiness.
- Fear-robs us of the possibility of achievements in life.
- Jesus did not explain the meaning behind the Transfiguration
- The sudden death of a loved one
- Or how can death stalk us and life and God still be good?
- Or the recessive economy strikes home and suddenly we have no job, no career, no self identity
- Even positive experiences confuse and confound
- We respond by quitting dropping out and curling up into a shall of our making
- Ps 27 - Note the feelings that grip David
v. 1 - I fear
v. 2 - wicked, enemies, foes – eat up my flesh
v. 3 - host encamped against me, war riseing against me
v. 5 - time of trouble
v. 6 - enemies round about me
v. 7 - I cry
v. 10 - parents forsaking me
v. 11 - enemies
v. 12 will of my enemies, false witnesses, breathing out cruelty
v. 13 - I had fainted
- How can we find a new path for life?
Mt. 17:1-9 Guides us
1. Get Up: Mt. 17:7
- Jesus’ first directive was simple and clear:
- While still overwhelmed and fearful Jesus specifically told the disciples, "do not be afraid," for he knew the unpredictable nature of a fearful heart.
- To lose fear get up
- Mt. 17:8 - Gives the ability to look outside of self
- Jesus IS near.
- Look to the promise of his word.
- Ps 27:1-2
2. Come Down: Mt 17:9
- Out of the fear position get up (Arise)
- Be not to be afraid,
- He immediately gets them moving.
- They do not stand around contemplating what they have just experienced.
- They are instructed to "come down."
- We all know how to run away from frightening or overwhelming situations
- We’ve all done it.
- Jesus’ counsel not to flee
- Avoidance is not adjustments.
- Don’t lock yourself away with fear and
- Ps 27:4-5 - To come down out of fear focus on the Lord