Summary: This sermon gives ways that we can overcome fear and replace that fear with confidence in God.
October 14, 2001 2 Timothy 1:7
“Moving from fear to confidence”
One February evening, Louise Degrafinried heard the rustling of leaves outside her Tennessee home, and she cautiously peered out the window. She knew that five men had escaped from the nearby Fort Pillow State Prison, less than twenty-five miles away. They were armed and considered dangerous. “Nathan” she said to her husband, “what would we do if those men came here?”
“Honey, we’d do just what they said.”
Louise didn’t like that idea at all, but she wasn’t afraid. She had learned about God as a child and firmly believed her grandfather had been right in saying, “If you trust in the Lord, then he will take care of you.”
Nevertheless, she was glad the next morning when the sun rose. But as she was cooking breakfast and chatting with a friend on the phone, she heard Nathan shout. Louise quickly told her friend to call the police, then she hung up the pone and went to the door. There stood a tall man, covered with mud, jabbing a shotgun into Nathan’s side. They stumbled into the kitchen, and the man threatened to shoot them if they didn’t let him use their truck.
Nathan went outside to crank the truck as the escapee kept the shotgun trained on Louise. As soon as her husband was out the door, Louise took a few steps forward and said, “Young man!” He pointed his shotgun at her, but she seemed unafraid.
“Young man,” she said again, “I’m a Christian lady. We don’t have any violence in this house. This is God’s house. Put down that gun.” The man hesitated. “I said to put the gun down!”
Slowly he bent over and leaned the gun against the couch. Then he slumped in the couch himself and said, “Lady, I’m so hungry. I haven’t eaten in three days.”
“Then I will fix you breakfast,” she said, cracking some more eggs into a bowl. She began talking to him learning his name, age and background. After saying grace over the food, she fixed a solution to help his ailing throat.
“You sound like my grandmother,” said Riley, and over breakfast, he started talking sadly to Louise about his dead grandmother who had loved him.
“Well, I love you,” said Louise, “and I’m not dead. Jesus loves you, too. He died for us all. That’s the way that I know He loves you.” Riley didn’t say much. He just kept eating, and Louise just kept giving him the Bible. Finally she said, “Young man, you’d like to give yourself up, wouldn’t you?”
“Oh lady,” he replied, “They’d kill me in a minute.”
“No they won’t. Not here. There won’t be any violence in this house, by anyone.”
Riley paused. Slowly he nodded his head. “Okay.”
Within minutes, Riley was in handcuffs and headed back to prison, having gained a new prayer partner. As for Louise, she reports, “Things are pretty much back to normal now, except that I’ve gotten a little more attention than an old country woman should expect.” – Nelson’s complete book of illustrations p. 300-301
1. Move from fear to confidence by resting in God’s power.
It’s the power that saved us. (vs. 8)
It’s the power that overcame death. (vs. 10)
“death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?”
2. Move from fear to confidence by living in God’s love. (1 Jn. 4:16-21)
Love reminds me that I am unconditionally accepted by God. (vs. 16-19)
Love prevents me from reacting toward people with fear. (vs. 20-21)
3. Move from fear to confidence by exercising self-control.
Evaluate your fears.
– Is it based on something that is true or false?
– Is it something that I can do something about?
– Is it worth the time and energy that I am putting into it?
Downsize your fears.
– Don’t allow a headache to become a tumor.
– Don’t allow a careless comment from a friend to become a vicious attack.
– Don’t allow a fight between mom and dad to turn into a divorce.
Evict your fears.
– Fill up your mind with thoughts about good things.
– Those fears will want to come back especially if they have been tenants in your mind for a long time.
– Take thoughts captive if they refuse to leave you alone.
Eliminate your fears.
– Attack them head-on.
– Keep your focus on Jesus.
– Call out to Jesus to deliver you.