Summary: The 2nd sermon in the Series, "Untying What’s Tying You Up", this sermon deals with fear, examining legitimate fear (fear of God, fear of snakes, etc.) and and a "spirit of fear" and how to conquer a spirit of fear.

Untying the Knot of FEAR

Series – Problems: Untying What’s Tying You Up

Chuck Sligh

April 21, 2013

NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation of this sermon is available upon request by emailing me at

TEXT: 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”


John Hunter in his book Knowing God’s Secrets writes: “Medical science now recognizes that between 60 and 90% of our sicknesses are caused by such emotions as fear, sorrow, envy, resentment, hatred.” I don’t know his source for such figures, but I’ll say that if these figures are even close to accurate, then we need to learn how to deal with how we feel. As believers we need to learn how to untie the knots we’re tied up in—such emotions as fear, worry, depression, bitterness, anger, stress, loneliness, and guilt. That’s what this series on “Untying What’s Tying You Up” is about.

Last week we looked at how to untie the knot of WORRY. Today I want for us to learn how to untie the knot of FEAR in our lives.

Illus. – One night in a severe thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small son into bed. She was about to turn the light off when he asked in a trembling voice, “Mommy, will you stay with me all night?”

Smiling, the mother gave him a warm, reassuring hug and said tenderly, “I can’t dear. I have to sleep in Daddy’s room.”

A long silence followed, at last broken by a shaky voice saying, “The big sissy!”

All of us have experienced fear. Clarence Macartney said, “From the cradle to the grave, fear casts its baleful shadow.”

Let’s talk about fear today and what the Bible might say about it to help us.


In preparing for this sermon, I noticed that the Bible speaks of fear in three different ways:

• First, there is a HOLY fear.

We read in Deuteronomy 6:13, “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve Him.” We’re commanded to fear God and serve Him.

We’re to fear his wrath on sin if we do not accept his free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, but if we’ve been saved, we have a natural fear of disappointing our wonderful, loving Lord. That is, we no longer have a fear OF Him, but a fear of hurting our heavenly Father.

Illus. – A young girl was out with some friends and they were tempting her to go to the bar and get drunk; but she wisely refused to give in to the temptation.

One of her friends taunted her, “What’s the matter? Are you afraid your parents will find out and hurt you?”

She said, “No, I’m afraid my parents will find out and I will hurt them.”

• There are also HEALTHY fears.

During the Great Depression Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That’s sounds good, but there’s one thing wrong with it: IT’S NOT TRUE!

Jesus taught us that there are some things we OUGHT to fear for survival. He said in Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

In addition, there are always certain normal things we need to fear in life.

> As long as there are rattlesnakes, poisonous spiders, scorpions, murderers, drunk drivers, terrorists, politicians, and other things that can hurt us, fear can be a HEALTHY matter.

> A SMART ELECTRICIAN better have a healthy fear of electricity if he’s going to be around for supper.

> An EXPLOSIVE ORDINANCE TECHNICIAN better have a fear of explosives if he wants to see another birthday.

> As PARENTS, we teach our children to have a fear of certain things that can burn, that can shock, and that can cut.

There are some legitimate fears that are HEALTHY and there is a HOLY fear.

• But there are also HURTFUL fears.

Paul told Timothy in our text in 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” There’s the FEAR OF THE LORD and there are NATURAL FEARS—two types of fear that are holy or healthy.

What is hurtful is a “spirit of fear”…when fear controls us instead of us controlling our fears. The spirit of fear is when we allow ourselves not to trust in God as we face the future, and is the cousin of fear is worry.

WHY do we worry?—Because of FEAR of something in the future that we’re not sure of the outcome.

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