Sermons

Summary: Fear will keep the church for being what we are called to be

INTRODUCTION

• SLIDE #1

• Fear, fear can do some bad things to us.

• In the first inaugural address in 1933, Franklin Roosevelt said, “First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

• These words were spoken during the most profound depression this nation had faced.

• People were fearful of the future that did not look very good.

• When things look scary, we tend to get fearful.

• Here are some images of what fear can look like.

• SLIDE #2

• SLIDE #3

• These images from the stealthy cameras at Nightmares Fear Factory in Niagara Falls.

• In October, fear is one of the themes that is tied to the month because of Halloween.

• Scary movies are the theme. Feat abounds.

• Today we begin a new four-week series entitled Haunted House.

• This four-week series guide considers the ineffectiveness of fear.

• When we live in fear, we can become a church that is like a haunted house.

• We become stuck inside with the shutters drawn, haunted by fear that jumps out at any corner.

• Fear makes the church an inward-focused house rather than an outward-focused sanctuary.

• We can become dim, dark, and closed off, the opposite of what the church should be.

• In this series we will see examine purpose, specifically, the of the church,

• Overcoming fear of the unknown.

• Overcoming fear of pain because of persecution and overcoming the fear of taking up our cross.

• If we are paralyzed by fear in these areas, that fear will cause a negative impact on what we are called to do for Jesus.

• We cannot let fear keep us from fulfilling our purpose in Christ.

• We need to remember that Jesus came into a dark, scary world to save it.

• One of the ways we can defeat fear and overcome the ineffectiveness of fear is by setting our hearts on God’s purposes and unfailing love.

• Let’s turn to a very familiar passage, John 3:16

• SLIDE #4

John 3:16 (CSB) — 16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

• SLIDE #5

SERMON

I. God’s purpose.

• We need to grasp God’s purpose because we live in a scary, haunted world.

• The context of our text is Jesus talking to Nicodemus. Nicodemus was seeking answers from Jesus.

• Jesus talked to him about being born again, which confused Nicodemus, then Jesus talks about the serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness.

• This is found in Numbers 21:1-ff.

• You want to talk about fear, this story would be scary to live through.

• The people were grumbling against God and Moses because they did not feel that God was moving fast enough for them, so God got tired of it and sent some poisonous snakes to the people to bite them.

• After many people died, the people decided they might want to consider repenting, so they go to Moses.

• Moses goes to God, and God tells Moses to make a snake and put it on a pole.

• Anyone who would look upon the snake would be healed.

• In verse 14, Jesus then he says He will be lifted up, and people will be saved when they believe in Him.

• We think the world is a dark place today, and it is, and at times, it is much darker than others.

• Sometimes we just want to stay in the safety of the church, and just be around our brothers and sisters in Christ.

• Here is something we need to understand, the world BEFORE Jesus was a MUCH darker place.

• When God created things, He meant for them to be eternal and perfect.

• Sin destroyed that intent. During the days of Noah, the world was so bad that God basically wiped it out with a flood.

• It breaks god’s heart to see what we allowed sin to do to us. Sin is literally killing us, and it keeps us from the presence of God.

• None of this was a surprise to God, God knew what was going to happen.

• From John 3:16 we learn that God is driven by love, in spite of the fact we are marred with sin, God still wants to be with us, and He provided a way for that to happen.

• God loves the unlovable!

• He loved people so much He sent His one and ONLY Son.

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