Summary: Fear can have a tight grip. Will we allow the grip of fear to keep us from growing in God?
TEXT: Matthew 1:18-25
TITLE: Growing Pain #3 - Growing through Fear
TOPIC: Spiritual Growth
SERIES: The Growing Church
OCCASION: Burnside Christian Church, April 20, 2008
PROP.: Fear can have a tight grip. Will we allow the grip of fear to keep us from growing in our trust of God?
INTRODUCTION: Good morning & welcome! Today we are continuing to become the GROWING CHURCH! That is what we are really about here at Burnside. This is our top priority! We trust that if we are faithful in training up Godly men and women, that God will faithfully entrust us with more! We want you to know is that YOUR SPIRITUAL MATURITY is something that we take serious here at Burnside!
We want you to mature and become a grown up Christian!
In regards to SPIRITUAL growth, everyone here falls into one of two categories:
1. I am Growing!
Hallelujah! Praise Jesus! God is good!
2. I am NOT growing!
And maybe you aren’t growing because of these two things:
I am not growing because I don’t want to.
We all know we are supposed to continue growing spiritually! But how many of us are? I think sometimes we expect to stop growing spiritually. I’ve reached my limit. I can grow no more. I’m an adult Christian. Is THAT the message that Paul had? “I’ve all ready obtained perfection so I’m gonna stop pressing on toward the goal.” Philippians 3:14 NO! He continued to grow.
Or maybe this is you:
I want to grow, but I am not sure if I am.
How do you measure spiritual growth? There is no scale. There is no tape measure. Well I think it’s kind of like losing weight. You might be the last to notice if you lost weight because as you look at yourself in the mirror, you see that you have sooooo much more weight to lose. You focus on all there is left to do instead of seeing the improvement! I think the first people to notice if we grow spiritually are those we see day in and day out. Our growth can be understood by the way we respond. By our daily attitude. By the words you use. By the choices you make. By the activities you involve yourself in.
We are specifically looking at stretching through tough times that will allow us to grow! Even through the tough times in our life, growth can still take place! So far, we’ve realized that we can grow through our failures…we can grow while we wait on God to enter triumphantly in our lives…and today, I want to challenge you to:
GROW THROUGH FEAR
Whether your fear is a rational or irrational fear or phobia, I want to tell you that each fear you face, is an opportunity to mature spiritually…to grow up a little bit!
Our text is Matthew 1:18-25 so please be turning there.
In this familiar story, our main character is dealing with fear. This fear is so controlling that it could very well possibly stop him from doing what God has called him to do! And because he is faithful to God, he is going to obey even when it gets hard…
Let’s read our text:
18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
Why was Joseph going to divorce Mary? Because he was afraid!
T.S.: Contained in this passage of scripture, are the principles of HOW TO GROW THROUGH A FEAR!
The question is not are you afraid? The question is are you GROWING through the fear?
The first principle is:
I. Address the FEAR!
See, Joseph was scared. What was he afraid of? The baby inside her! He had it in his mind to divorce Mary! He didn’t know how it got there and rather than facing all the questions and doubts, he was going to take the coward’s way out. And it was during a dream that his fear was addressed!
A. Joseph’s fears And I have a feeling that whatever fear you are facing the route can be derived from one of these three sources:
1. Afraid of the unknown
--Joseph’s fear: What will the future hold?
Raising a kid? What a responsibility!
--Would he be able to love this child that wasn’t his?
--Would he have the wisdom to raise this child?
--Your fear: Afraid of what this life has in store for you!
2. Afraid of embarrassment (or failure)
--Joseph’s fear: Afraid of what his friends and family would say. How would he explain to people that Mary was pregnant?