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Summary: Sermon for fearful christians

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August 22, 2004 12th Sunday after Pentecost Genesis 15:1-6 God Calms all Our Fears "What are you afraid of?" says your father as you try to muster up the courage to put that leech on your fish hook for the first time. "What are you afraid of?" says your date as he tries to coax you into the back seat with him. "What are you afraid of?" says your co-worker when you refuse to stay out all night with the guys. Oftentimes, those words, "What are you afraid of?" are nothing more than a putdown, a way to make someone feel bad for not living up or down to someone else’s standards. And yet, if you think about it, that question, is still a valid one. What are you afraid of, I mean besides spiders, snakes and big, black leeches? Deep down, what are you afraid of? Maybe what you’re afraid of is that you won’t be able to handle the workload this school year, or wont’ live up to people’s expectations. Maybe you’re afraid that this years harvest will not be as plentiful as you first thought, or the price of beans and corn will be so low that you will loose money. Maybe the fear that grips your heart is the dread of hearing the doctor say "You have cancer." Or the fear of losing a loved one. Maybe you’re afraid that the relationship that you’ve really tried to cultivate, really hoped would bear fruit, instead will wither on the vine and become a thorn in your flesh, sapping your energy, leaving you lying awake at night. And finally maybe your greatest fear in life, the one that is always there in the back of your mind is the idea that on the Day you stand before the Lord on his throne, God will say to you, "You hypocrite. You thought you were a Christian. But I know you’re not. You talked the talk, but you never walked the walk. Away from me, you evil-doer." Chances are, you and I all have certain things we’re afraid of. We all have to deal with a certain amount of doubts and uncertainty. Even the strongest Christian still struggles with his or her private fears. And yet, God know that and God helps us deal with that. In fact, here in our text for today we have an excellent example of who God helped his servant Abram deal with his fears. This morning we want to put ourselves in Abram’s sandals as we consider that God Calms all Our Fears. First, Abram’s fears were natural. Our text begins with the words, "After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision. Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield and your very great reward." The Lord begins by saying, "Do not be afraid." Now why would the Lord say that? What was Abram afraid of? Maybe he was afraid because of the vision he was receiving from God. I mean, down through the centuries, there have been a lot of people who have been frightened by the sudden appearance of God. God often has to quiet their fears with the words, "Don’t be afraid." Or maybe Abram’s fears stemmed from what had happened immediately prior to this vision from God. Abram had just returned from routing the armies of four different kings. Maybe Abram was afraid that those kings were now planning a retaliatory attack. Maybe that’s what he was afraid of. Or maybe Abram was afraid of something much less violent, much less dramatic. Maybe Abram’s fear was not the kind that had his knees knocking and his teeth chattering. Maybe Abram’s fear was that kind of sick feeling that just sits in the pit of your stomach, the fear that God was somehow going to let him down. Or more specifically, the fear that God was not going to keep his promise to give him a son. In fact, we know that’s what Abram was concerned about because he says to God, "O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus? You have given me no children; so a servant of my household will be my heir." My friends, can you put yourself in Abram’s situation? Imagine, when you were 75 years old, God promised that you would have a son. In fact, God promised that your descendents would form a great


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