Summary: Everyone faces fear in their lives. When we do God has some important things to help us not only cope with them, but overcome them in His name.
A young college student had a summer job as a welder’s assistant, building a hospital. He had never welded before in his life. He was afraid of heights, and wouldn’t you know it, they put him to work welding on the seventeenth floor! Vast sections of steel beams were jutting out over nowhere. He worked, almost immobilized by fear from day to day. Finally, an “incredible hulk” of a welder he was working with looked at him and asked, “What’s the matter, son? Are you scared?” The young fellow said, “S-s-scared? I’ve b-b-been t-t-trying to t-t-tell you for t-t-two weeks ‘I q-q-quit!’ but I c-c-couldn’t get it out of m-m-my m-m-mouth!” He was scared to death. And so are a lot of people. Fear immobilizes. It also intimidates.
Look with me at our first Scripture passage tonight. It is the Lord’s Day. John the apostle is an old man now. The Scripture says, he was in the spirit and suddenly he has an experience with Christ ... the living, risen Christ.
READ Revelation 1:17-18
Are you ever afraid? Can you remember a time in your life when you were afraid? When the overwhelming feeling totally engulfed you?
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, knew about fear. They had sinned. For the first time in the human race sin had come. And after they had sinned, the became afraid of God. God had been coming in the cool of the evening and would spend the ultimate in quality time with them. But this time they hid. God came into the garden and asked, “Adam? Adam where are you?” Adam said, “I was afraid and I hid myself.” And so sin the experience of fear was introduced into the human race.
Everyone experiences fear at some time. All classes ... rich and poor, high and low, young and old, educated and ignorant. We have all felt a sense of fear at some time. And the fears we have experienced cover a range from the fear of ourselves or others ...
the fear of the past, the present, or the future ... the fear sickness, death, poverty and many others. What is your fear?
An article in McCall’s magazine several years ago made a statement about little children going to school and dealing with the fear of a new experience. I believe it is as valid a statement today as it was back then. The children made statements like, “I’ll miss you mommy.” “No one will like me.” “My teacher will hate me.” “The bully is picking on me.”
Some of you may have to reach back a long way to remember what it was like going to a new school. I never attended the same school for more than two years until my high school years, simply because they kept changing the school districts, or building new schools. We only moved once in my lifetime.
Some of our children know the experience of fear at going to a new school. But fear not only come to children. It is also common to adults.
In Luke 21:25 Jesus is talking about what is expected in the last days. We are always intrigued by what He said about the last days. “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves. men fainting from fear.”
We live in a time of fear. Many of you can remember the assassination of John Kennedy.
The World War II, Korea, Viet Nam and Desert Storm. I grew up in the cold war era, and can remember atomic bomb drills that we went through. Knowing what I know now, I think today how futile it was for us go through those kinds of drills. If the blast didn’t kill us, the radioactivity would eventually. We live in a world filled with fear.
Jesus knew that and he came to speak a word of good news, of encouragement, about fear. This is what we read in verse 17. “Fear not!” Jesus is speaking and is using a theme that is woven all through the Bible.
In all the relationships between God and man, God was continually saying, “Fear not!” He said it to Abraham. He said it to Isaac. He said it to Jacob, thinking about his son lost in Egypt. He said it to the children of Israel as they stood at the edge of the Red Sea. Moses said, “Don’t be afraid! Stand by and see what God is going to do!”
If we really examine ourselves we will discover we are basically afraid of three things. We are afraid of life. We are afraid of death. We are afraid of eternity. What Jesus is telling us is we do not have to be afraid. It is not a new thought or statement. FEAR NOT! It is a theme that encompasses the whole of the Bible. Fear not! Jesus has come to John in a special revelation to say it one more time. Fear not!