Summary: Fear is a big part of life. To understand fear and overcome it, we must look to God's Word in the Scriptures.
“The Origin of Fear”
Your Greatest Fear Series – Message One
Gages Lake Bible Church
Sunday, March 29th, 2009
Pastor Daniel Darling
Fear is a big part of our national experience. Fear is on the lips and in the hearts of nearly everyone in society. Fear is what keeps radio talk show hosts and cable news hosts gainfully employed.
If you Google the word, “fear,” it brings up 231 million web pages that mention it. Type in “phobia” and you get another 1 million web pages. In fact, according to phobialist.com, there are 530 phobias people experience.
Fear leads the headlines on the Drudge Report, in the Chicago Tribune, and on the Nightly News.
Fear is the topic of conversation at nearly every dinner table. Fear is the subject at the water cooler and in the cubicles at work. Fear is the emotion expressed in our songs and our movies.
Fear is a great motivator. It guides our politics. It informs our decision-making. It infects our relationships.
The dictionary describes “fear” this way:
1. A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.
2. A state or condition marked by this feeling: living in fear.
3. A feeling of disquiet or apprehension: a fear of looking foolish.
4. Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a Supreme Power.
5. A reason for dread or apprehension: Being alone is my greatest fear.
I think that’s a pretty good definition, except it doesn’t offer a solution. Most of us know what fear is. We’re just wondering, though, how to manage fear, how to battle fear, and if possible, how to overcome fear.
If we really want to overcome fear, we have really only one place to look. The Scriptures. If you believe that there is a God and if you believe there is a Creator and if you believe there is a truth—one universal truth—then perhaps it’s time to consult this Creator and discover the answers.
Interestingly, the Bible talks a great deal about fear. In fact, 411 times the Bible mentions “fear.” While the Bible only mentions the word “love.” Why? Because the Creator knows that we as humans are fearful. Psalm 103:14 in the New Living Translation, says this, “For He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.”
Of the teachings of Jesus, twenty-nine of His direct commands say to “fear not.” While in only nine, Jesus says to love.
So fear is not an incidental topic in the Bible. It’s not one of those ideas that Jesus got to in the appendix or filled in later at the end. No, God, when penning His divine love letter to mankind, specifically addressed the topic of fear.
And what the Bible says about fear has never been more relevant than it is today.
Today it seems like every single advertisement on radio, in print, or online carries a lengthy, legal disclaimer. Well, here’s my disclaimer.
First of all, fear itself is not a sin. Fear, like anger, is amoral. It is neither good, nor bad. It’s what you do with your fear, the actions you take, that can lead to sin or be sin.
There is actually a good kind of fear. Listen to these words of Scripture:
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. Job 28:28 (KJV)
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. Psalm 19:9 (KJV)
Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Psalm 34:11 (KJV)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His Commandments: His praise endureth for ever. Psalm 111:10 (KJV)
I think, to understand fear and God’s plan for overcoming it, we have to go back to the origin of fear. Where did fear begin?
Audience Question: Where did fear begin?
Turn in your Bibles to Genesis Chapter 3. When God created the world, the Bible says that everything God created was good. Everything in Eden was idyllic, perfect, luscious, beautiful, and wonderful.
Then God created man. What was God’s purpose in creating man? To bring glory to Himself. Mankind was created, crafted, and molded in the image of God. Man would be different; prized above all the rest of creation.
Man was created, not robotic in its obedience to God as the animals. Man was also able to reproduce “after their own” kind, unlike the angelic host.
The biggest difference was this. Man was given, endowed, with a free will by God. This was the divine risk. Man could choose to love God, but man could also choose to reject God, to sin against God.