Summary: Examines five ways in which fear demonstrates a lack of faith. (This sermon can’t be properly understood without part 1).
Life’s Too Short To Fear The Future, prt. 2
Part 8 in series, “Life’s Too Short To…”
Wildwind Community Church
May 22, 2005
Nenien C. McPherson, Jr., says that the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises are the only fears that are natural to us. There are only two, he says, and all the rest are learned. McPherson then quotes well-known psychiatrist Dr. William Sadler who said that "the only known cure (for fear) is faith."
What fears have you learned? How much fear has been added to your fear-repertoire since you were a child? Do you think it could be true that the only cure for fear is faith?
If that’s true then why do you think it is that so many people of faith are so fearful? If you were here last week you know the answer to that question. The reason so many people of faith are so fearful is because many who call themselves people of faith are not really moving faith to the center of their lives but are instead adopting faith to use it for their own purposes. Remember last week we said that the way our faith helps us with fear is not by reassuring us that things are okay, and not even by reminding us of God’s love for us. The way faith helps with fear is that through faith we learn to live in a different world spiritually from the world we live in physically. Through faith we begin to slowly grasp a world Jesus taught about called The Kingdom of God. And as we learn to live in that kingdom, our fears slowly subside because there is no fear in that kingdom.
Matthew 7:24-27 (MSG)
24 "These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock.
25 Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.
26 "But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach.
27 When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards."
Jesus used this metaphor of a house built on rock or sand, and it is one of the most popular things he said. But let’s look at it for a minute. The life built on Jesus’ teachings will be “fixed to the rock.” In other words it will begin with the words of Jesus, and then everything in that life will be built on that foundation. No matter how tall the structure gets, it must always be built on that foundation. We can’t live our lives for ourselves fundamentally, then simply add a new floor to our house and have that be the “religious” floor.
What made the strong house strong? What kept the strong house from falling? The foundation it was built on. It wasn’t the furniture in the house, or the number of Bibles in it, or the paint on the walls, or the food in the refrigerator, or the amount of money it cost to build it. What kept that house standing was its foundation – in other words, it’s starting point.
We can’t fail to see Jesus’ overarching point here. Ultimately what matters most is your starting point – what your foundation is. Many people want to have themselves as their foundation – their own subjective opinions about what’s right and wrong, usually using no standard other than their feelings. If we base our lives on our own opinions, our own feelings, we are building on sand.
Matthew 5:18 (MSG)
18 God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.
The reason we must build on the foundation of what Jesus teaches us is not because they are ethereal, tripped-out spiritual principles for us to use to convince ourselves that we’re other-wordly but because God’s Word, Jesus’ teachings, God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground under our feet. How could a life built on this foundation not be unshakeable?
Psalms 1:1-4 (NIV)
1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.