Summary: A look at the things we fear and how the Bible addresses our fears.
The Enemy Within: Fear.
I Jn. 4:18
INTRO.: August 14, 1941, F. D. R. and Winston Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter, by which they stated they wanted to provide the people of the world four basic freedoms.
Among them was freedom from fear. Four short years later, the atomic bomb was dropped, ushering in an era of unprecedented fear and anxiety. The efforts of men to free from fear are futile. Only God can provide this freedom.
Fear is a great enemy. It can cripple and even kill. Sometimes we are faced with a sudden threat to our lives and we experience fear that leads to fight or flight. That’s good in most cases. But the nagging fear we call worry or anxiety has no benefit. Unless properly faced, it can destroy our spiritual life.
No one had more reason to fear than King David. He faced a lion, a bear, the giant Goliath, and the wrath of King Saul. Yet he was able to write Psalm 91. Read 1-12.
Let’s consider some of the things we fear and how God addresses our fears.
I. We fear an uncertain future:
A. This is valid cause for alarm if we are looking for one:
1. The future is unknown.
2. A feeling of uncertainty makes the future seem insecure. We try to prepare for emergencies.
3. In the final analysis, we have no control.
B. How shall we overcome this fear?
1. The obvious: trust in God. “Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day” 2 Tim 1:12.
2. Rest in His love. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Rom 8:35
3. Use today to the fullest. Jas. 4:13-17
II. Sometimes we fear other people:
A. Peter’s fear: Matt. 26:69ff.
1. Peter denied Christ because he feared those around him.
B. There may be many reasons to fear people:
1. They may have the power to harm us and they may threaten us.
2. They may rob or deprive us of something we need.
3. They may reject us in some way.
4. Early Christians faced persecution because of their faith in Jesus. They had reason to fear.
C. God addresses this fear:
1. He asks us to put our trust in Him. Phil. 1:27,28
2. Ps 23:5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” He will take care of us.
3. 2 Tim 1:7 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity”
4. He says, “Trust Me and be bold to speak the truth.”
III. Often we fear poverty:
A. Poverty is a frequent fear for many:
1. It involves our sense of worth. One motivational speaker said, “Carry a $100 bill. Having it will give you a sense of self-worth and confidence.” Only if your self image involves having money.
2. Sometimes it involves social standing. We like to feel important, respected.
3. Sometimes it actually involves survival, family stability. A real threat.
B. God’s Word on this fear:
1. Heb 13:5 :Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
2. Be content with what you have: I Tim. 6:6-10
3. Stewardship of what you have is important. God will bless the faithful. Luke 16:10-12
4. Remember the sacrifice of Jesus. II Cor 8:9
IV. Many fear death:
A. This is the ultimate fear:
1. We respond to threats to our lives. We may even be enslaved by it.
2. ILLUS.: At one time, 2500 slaves working the sugar cane farms on St. John were controlled by 10 foremen who had the power of life and death.
3. As a child, an older boy threatened to shoot me as he pointed a rifle at me. I experienced real fear.
B. Jesus conquered death.
1. Jn. 5:24-26 The Father gave Him power over it.
2. He offers freedom to those enslaved by fear of death. Heb. 2:14
CONC.: Heb 13:6 - So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
For the sincere Christian, the love of God has cast out all fear. He expressed His love by giving us the ultimate victory in Jesus.
Fears will overtake us. Satan is alive and well. But, to the extent we can trust God, we can overcome all fear.