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Summary: This sermon examines the fear that we encounter in life, and how we can overcome it, knowing that God is with us

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INTRODUCTION

* Fear: the natural feeling of alarm caused by the expectation of imminent danger, pain or disaster

* Fear is common and widespread: over 500 documented phobias (and some are pretty funny)

- cacophobia: the fear of ugliness

- dentophobia: the fear of dentists

- gynophobia: the fear of women

- mageirocophobia: the fear of cooking

- octophobia: the fear of the number 8

- scolionophobia: the fear of school

- phobophobia: the fear of phobias

* Fear has a more sinister nature: it is one of Satan’s tools that he will use to try to defeat us

- in and of itself, fear is amoral (neither good nor bad); how we respond to it is important

- some people get a handle on fear, while some get handled by fear

* If fear is not defeated, faith cannot flourish and trust in God cannot be established and strengthened

* The Bible speaks of overcoming fear often: over 300 times the phrase “fear not” or “do not fear” is found

- Matthew 10:31

- Romans 8:15

- 1 John 4:18

* The world today contains a lot of fearful things (natural catastrophes, economy, government, sicknesses, etc.)

* Undefeated fear can cause good and godly people to do ungodly things (i.e., Y2K); fear must be kept in check

* Background of our text: the prophecy concerning Judah caused fear; the people would lose everything

* Against this background of fear God gives his people hope and comfort; he gives them a reason NOT to fear, even in a fearful situation

* Their situation might be different from ours, but the existence of fear is constant: the reasons they have for not fearing are the same reasons we have

* Why should the people of God have no fear?

1. We should not fear because we belong to God (v. 1)

* God was their God - they belonged to him because of the covenant God made with Abraham

* We belong to God because of the covenant God made with us through Jesus Christ

* “You are mine” = belonging to God implies ownership; since we are God’s, no one else/nothing else can have us, hence there is no need for fear

* God went to great lengths in order for us to belong to him:

A. He made us: “created and formed”

- since he is the originator of life, he’s also the sustainer of life (Ps. 139:16)

B. He saved us: “redeemed”

- God called Israel to look back at their exodus (redeemed = to purchase out of the market)

- we look at the cross: the price paid to purchase us out of sin (Gal. 3:13)

C. He called us to himself: “called you by name”

- since he has chosen us no one else can have us

- 1 Peter 2:9

* Because we belong to God, we are off limits to the power of fear (Heb. 13:6)

2. We should not fear because God is with us (v. 2)

* A specific promise is made by God to be with his people (note v. 5a)

* God’s presence did not mean that they would not encounter fearful moments, but that the fearful moments would not destroy them

* God is not just with us, but within us - the presence of God implies the protection of God

* Romans 8:31, 37

* Isaiah 54:17


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