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Summary: Our three enemies -- the world, the flesh, and the devil – work together to intimidate us, often successfully.

The Intimidated Christian

(I Peter 3:13-17)

1. By ANICK JESDANUN, AP Internet Writer Fri Jul 7, 2006 6:28 PM ET

NEW YORK - Some questions even stump Stephen Hawking.

The famed British astrophysicist and best-selling author has turned to Yahoo Answers, a new feature in which anyone can pose a question for fellow Internet users to try to answer. By Friday afternoon, nearly 17,000 Yahoo Inc. users had responded.

Hawking’s question: "In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?"

Some of the answers were short — "get rid of nuclear weapons" — and others vague — "Somehow we will." Many were doubtful: "I don’t think it is possible unless we expand into space," one user wrote.

…In a June 13 speech in Hong Kong, Hawking said the survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there’s an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy Earth.

He said that if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, they should have space settlements that can continue without support from Earth.

2. If this sounds a bit extreme to you, I agree.

3. But, from a prophetic viewpoint, even lost society is recognizing that we are potentially approaching the end.

4. Life is such that there is always a lot to be afraid of.

5. When we think of fear, we need to think of the family of fear-related terms: fright, alarm, losing courage, dread, terror, panic, horror, scare, aversion anxiety, cowardice, trembling, faintheartedness, shyness, and apprehension, to name just some of them.

6. But another word in the fear family is "intimidation." It is something that someone or something does to us. It is a victim word. It means, "inducing fear or a sense of inferiority into another."

7. Because it is a victim word, that does not mean that we are not sometimes both victims and perpetrator; we can intimidate ourselves by our own imaginations. Many of us are intimidated, at times, by our own ideas and fears, apart from an intent to intimidate on the part of others.

8. But often times, intimidation is intentional. Every human being experiences intimidation. But the Christian, by virtue of taking a stand for the Lord, is asking for it. The

Main Idea: Our three enemies -- the world, the flesh, and the devil – work together to intimidate us, often successfully.

TS --> Peter warns us that we can be intimidated by about four sources.

I. Intimidated by HIGH Standards (13)

A. Not sinless, but doing GOOD

1. Frank Gabelein points out, "The use of this construction (optative) points to the fact that suffering is not the expected outcome of zeal for good."

2. God is concerned about our behavior, our actions; but his concern goes much deeper

B. Not perfect, but an EAGER attitude

1. I often do good grudgingly

2. God loves a cheerful giver, and He also loves a cheerful woker of good

3. In the world, the bottom line is all that matters; but not so with God; the process and our attitudes are as important as what we do…

3. But such high standards are intimidating; I have already confessed that I am not always eager to do good; but I am never going to be perfect

4. God has high standards that serve as a target to aim for, not to put us on a constant downer…

5. What matters most is "Do we have an eager attitude? Are we growing? Do we learn from our sins and mistakes?"

Our three enemies -- the world, the flesh, and the devil – work together to intimidate us, often successfully.

II. Intimidated by PERSECUTION (14)

A. Consider it a BLESSING

• this is counter-intuitive

• it does not feel like a blessing now, that’s for sure

• but the reward thing is real

• the strengthening of our faith thing is real

B. Do not give way to FEAR

1. Matthew 10:28, " Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

2. When it comes to destiny, we have nothing to fear; but everyone is afraid of pain and misery…don’t fear that God has forsaken you, though it seems like it…

3. The fear of the Lord helps reduce all other fears

"The Voice of the Martyrs’ New Book, IRAN: Desperate For God, Released

June 28, 2006

For decades, Iran has been a hotbed for terrorist activity. Little do most people know that Iran also houses the fastest-growing Muslim movement in the world: Muslims converting to Christianity. In IRAN: Desperate for God, seven Iranian Christian converts from Islam unveil their testimonies of courageously sharing Christ in a nation ranked among the top 10 persecutors of Christians in the world.

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