Summary: This is a sermon dealing with the issue of fear in a believer’s life, understanding that God did not give us a spirit of fear.
I want to turn in your Bibles to 2 Timothy 1. I want to read to you this morning the verse that we are going to focus our time on this morning—READ IT and PRAY.
I want to tell you about someone I know, and his name is Roddy. Roddy went to BBC, and he didn’t always abide by the rules. In fact, one of his favorite things to do was to sneak out at night, when he wasn’t supposed to be outside of his dorm, and go to the kitchen to get some milk and cookies.
Well one night, he got in there, was eating his cookies, when the security guard came into the kitchen. And you have to understand, this is a good sized kitchen, not what you would find in your homes. It feeds over 600 people a day for lunch and dinner, so it is a good size to get them all thru. So Roddy hid under one of the tables.
Well, Ben thought he got his man. He started searching the kitchen, but he did not turn the lights on. Instead, he walked around with his flashlight, saying with a loud voice, "I know you’re here, you might as well come out now." He continued to wander around the kitchen, until he came to the table where Roddy was hidding.
And to Roddy, all he saw was Ben’s exposed ankles. So, he thought he’d have fun--he grabbed those ankles and screamed, "Gotcha" at the top of his lungs. Ben, scared to death, cried out and ran from the kitchen, leaving Roddy, laughing on the kitchen floor.
Later in the day, Roddy went up to Ben and said, "I heard you had a rough night." Ben’s face turned pale, and he asked, "How’d you find out?" Roddy grabbed him by the shoulders and screamed, "Gotcha!"
2 Timothy 1:7 says, For god did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.
Paul is writing to Timothy to encourage him. This is his second letter and his first dealt with how the church should be run—and we will look at that in the coming weeks. But today we are looking at Paul’s second letter, a letter which encourages timothy to continue to work, to be strong and courageous, to not lose hope. And here, he encourages Timothy to not be timid.
The word timid here in the Greek is the word deilia. Now there are 2 greek words for fear: deilia and phobos. Phobos should sound familiar to you; it is where we get the word Phobia from. Phobia’s are fears of certain things, and generally, they can be either good or bad fears.
For example, if a bear suddenly walked into the church, I would be afraid for my safety, as I’m sure most of you would. It’s not an irrational fear in that regard; I know what bears can do, and since I have nothing to defend myself with, I fear that if I got into a tusel with it, I would lose.
By the way, that reminds me of a story of someone who was being chased by a bear. He knew he was about to be caught and eaten, and he prayed in desperation to God, “Oh Lord, please let him be a Christian bear!” And to his astonishment, the bear stopped, bowed his head and clasped his paws and began to pray. “Oh Lord, thank you for this food that I am about to eat…”
It’s a fictional story, of course, but descriptive of the kinds of fear in this world that is okay to have. We teach children to have a healthy fear of fire, why? So they don’t burn themselves. We do the same with knives and other dangerous objects and people. We should instill in our children, and ourselves, a healthy fear of God. Jesus told us that we should fear the one who can destroy both the body and soul in hell.
But here, this is not a healthy fear. This is not a rational fear. The word translated timid here means a timid, cowardly, shameful fear that is generated by weak, selfish character. It is a fear that renders one unable to do what he should do. It’s a debilitating fear that renders us incapable of doing the right thing, standing up for God.
The apostle Peter experienced this kind of fear before. ON the night that Jesus was betrayed, Peter tried to find out what was going on, and in the midst of the group of people where he was, they spotted him, and asked him, “Aren’t you the one who was with Christ?”
Peter, gripped by a fear that rendered him incapable of doing the right thing, denied Christ 3 times; cursed his name even. And after the third denial, as the cock crew and Jesus words came back to him, Peter realized how far his fear had carried him.