Summary: Fourth message in series of Unwrapping Christmas. In this we learn that God moves people from fear to faith.
Title: Unwrapping Christmas - From Fear to Faith
Theme: To show how during Christmas there is a transition from the fear of God to “trust” and faith in God.
During the last few weeks we have been talking about Unwrapping Christmas.
A Wrapped Present
1) Wrapping of a present is designed to hide what is on the inside. There is a mystery there. The person is not suppose to know what is in there.
It believe this is also true when it comes to Christmas. There is a lot of mystery that surrounds it. Which brings me to my second analogy.
2) The wrapping is not what is most important. No matter how beautiful the package is. It is not about the package.
This morning as we look into scripture I would like us to take a look at the third mystery to unwrap. It is found here in Matthew 1
This season as you look through the Christmas stories you notice a common theme. I noticed this in every one of the introductions. Either it was directly mentioned or just implied. That is that each one was afraid and they were comforted to “do not be afraid”. Yet this is more than just words but what they did with this.
Not just talking about faith but having action
Fear is a very powerful tool
Fear of the Dark
5-year old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn’t want to go in alone. “It’s dark in there and I’m scared.” She asked again, and he persisted. Finally she said, “It’s OK—Jesus will be in there with you.” Johnny walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it. He peeked inside, saw it was dark, and started to leave when all at once an idea came, and he said:
Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?” — 10,000 Sermon Illustrations
There is a supportive story in 2 Kings. Samaria, where Elisha and his servant lived, was unexpectedly surrounded by the enemy. Ben-hadad besieged the city by night. When the servant of the prophet saw the army round about the city the following morning, he exclaimed: "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" Elisha answered: "Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them" (6:15-16). - 1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching.
MOST of us have experienced our children's dependence on us to face their fears when they have nightmares or when it's thundering and lightning during a storm. They'll wake up, scream, and jump out of their bed. They will walk through the valley of their bedroom, down the valley of the hall, to the valley of your room. They jump in your bed, because what they need is somebody to be with them.
Your hugging them doesn't stop the rain, the thunder, or the lightning, but it changes how they face it. They'll fall asleep in your arms. The fear that they have alone, they no longer have, because Mama or Daddy holds them. You help them face their fears in the midst of their struggles. This is exactly what the heavenly Father does for us when we face our own fears and insecurities. [God's Presence] Ps. 23:4; Isa. 66:13 Tony Evans' Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking.
Faith is more than words
This is important. It is more than just words that are spoken. Some people teach that faith is just words we say. They claim to have faith and look for more faith by their words when their heart is far from it.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Now I know we need to be careful about our words. The Bible plain tells us in:
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Matthew 12:36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
So how and what we speak are important. But we are also reminded that
Matthew 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart,
Then he reminds us that “they defile a man.”
Yet James keeps us balanced by stating:
James 2:17-20 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (18) But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (19) You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! (20) But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?