Summary: A sermon about how God helps you deal with fear.
So, what are you afraid of? Certainly in your life there is something. Yeah, there’s something. For some, it’s heights. For some, it’s spiders. For some, it’s snakes. For some, it’s germs, for some, clowns, flying, public speaking.
Do you know what I’m afraid of? I’m afraid of people who aren’t afraid of anything. Why? Because I know they’re going to hurt themselves and I know there is not enough insurance coverage for that thing they’re going to do that will cause my insurance rates to go up. I’m afraid of that, I really, really am--afraid that my insurance premiums will go up.
No, no, no, no, what I have learned is that there are some people who aren’t really afraid of anything but they should be, and then there are other people who are afraid of things they shouldn’t be. Researching the word “fear” for this study, I discovered there are many people who suffer from bewildering phobias.
“You’re afraid of what?” Listen, there’s a literal fear, a group of people out there who are afraid of chins, a phobia of chins. How can you be afraid of a chin? I don’t understand it! On the internet, I also discovered that there are people who are afraid of cats--afraid of cats? You’re afraid of a kitten? They’re afraid of cats.
There are also people who are afraid of, chop sticks, a literal fear of chopsticks. “I’m thinking, who’s afraid of a chop stick?” Listen; there is a phobia, a literal phobia, a fear of sermons! If you aren’t here today and you’re someplace else, you must be afraid of a sermon. Some are afraid of string. “I see string and it just—just, tangles me up. I just, I don’t know what happens in me, but I’m afraid.”
As I review this long list of things that people are afraid of, listen, if you’re a note taker, truth one: Fear is an emotion you can’t trust. Don’t trust fear, anymore than you trust anger or lust or guilt. Do you understand that there are some emotions, if you let them lead you in life; you’re going to make mistakes? You can’t let fear lead you; it’s an emotion you can’t trust.
Here’s what else I discovered, I discovered, truth number two: Fear is a tool that God can use. Now wait a minute; you’re saying it’s an emotion we can’t trust, but it’s a tool God can use?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah because you’ll agree, there is good fear and then there is bad fear. There is good fear that is holy and helpful and then there’s a bad fear that is unhealthy and certainly debilitating, incapacitating. The bad fear can do those things to you and it doesn’t let you be who you’re supposed to be.
For instance, how many of you know that there are bad drivers in South Florida? Can I see your hands real quick? Okay, okay, you know that, I know that, I know that. I know that from experience. I’ve never been one of those bad drivers, of course, but I know other people out there that are, just bad drivers.
Now what do you do with that information? For some of you, that healthy, holy, helpful fear causes you to buckle up your seatbelt, why? It just makes sense to do that where there are bad drivers so strap yourself in!
But other people, with unhealthy, and not so helpful fears, you stay inside, you’re so afraid that you’ve actually let that fear keep you off the road completely. You see, it’s good to buckle up but it’s bad if it stops you from going anywhere. So, many of you are not growing because where you’re supposed to be is not where you are. I also see, in the Word of God, that there are examples of good fears and bad fears.
Exodus chapter 20, I’d ask you to turn there. Most of you, whatever version it might be have a subtitle that starts the chapter and it reads, “The Ten Commandments.” Now if you didn’t know where the Ten Commandments were in the Word of God, this is one of two places, the big ten. I’m not drawing your attention to the big Ten Commandments, what I’m drawing your attention to is the first verse that follows the big ten. In verse eighteen we read: Now all the people witnessed the thundering, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we’ll hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” And Moses said to the people (note this) “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was… Pause right there your attention please, what do we see?