Summary: Reaching the lost is no easy task and tactics have changed even though the Truth remains the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

What Ever Happened to Fear?


A. What is fear?

1. Encarta: an unpleasant feeling of apprehension or distress caused by

the presence or a perception of impending danger.

2. Fear is an emotion.

3. What scares you? Animals, people, situations

4. Biblical fear (Heb. 11 entries & Gr. 8 entries)

a. Eccl. 12: 13 (Read) fear means, “to revere or show respect” Heb.

b. Mt. 10: 28 (Read) fear means, “to be alarmed” Gr.

c. Rev. 21: 8 (Read) fear means, “to be timid” Gr.

d. God does not intend for us to be cowards nor does He intend us to provoke cowardice in others.

B. Can we scare hell out of someone?

1. Discussion

2. Did Jesus?

a. He warned (especially the Pharisees) about the results of sin.

Mt. 23: 15

b. All the parables.

c. Jo. 4 “The Woman at the Well”

3. Should fear be a tool of motivation?

a. Jesus used it sparingly and not with the struggler!

b. I believe we motivate with fear because of our fearful mindset.

d. Prevalent in years past; now many feel we make it too easy, not so!

1. Constant fear provokes conviction; only love can sustain it.

2. We need to promote long term Christianity not short/long time

“’fraidy cats”!

4. When God resorted to real scare tactics it was usually too late for


a. Pharoah

b. Ninevah in the time of Nahum’s prophecy/God gave them their chance through Jonah’s prophecy.


A. Fear plays a part in conviction.

1. Acts 2: 38

2. The same Spirit that gave Peter the words on the Day of Pentecost convicted the hearts of the 3,000 converts.

a. The Spirit did not lead Peter to brow beat and berate because He

(the Spirit) did not have to.

b. In true conviction, fear and shame quickly turn to love.

3. Do we have to be afraid to be convicted?

a. Eunich Acts 8

b. Cornelius Acts 10

c. God knows what makes each of us tick because He made us.

Some have to be more frightened than others BUT that’s God’s

call, not ours! I.e. Paul’s conversion was different from John’s

but that was God’s choice, not Annanias’.

B. Undue fear destroys faith.

1. Peter walking on the water.

2. Mk. 4: 40 (Read) Jesus rebukes His disciples because of their fear.

3. Refer back to Rev. 21: 8

a. fearful means, “timid”

b. II Tim. 1: 7 – a true Christian walk is not conducive to weaklings.

c. Look at the company fear keeps.

4. Scare tactics can be deadly for all parties involved. Lk. 17: 1-2.

Job didn’t allow his friends to scare him into repenting of something

he was not guilty of.

C. Unhealthy fear causes paralysis/departure/death.

1. No one stays in a scary situation for a long period of time.

2. Fight gives way to flight!

3. We can go into spiritual shock and virtually shut down.

a. The One Talent Man (Mt. 25: 14-30)

b. What was his sin? FEAR caused his poor stewardship!

4. Biblical examples

a. Remember Elijah in I Kings19?

b. What about Jonah?

c. Gal. 5: 1 & 13 we are free of the fear because we are saved.

1. Fear can cause us to fall from grace because it tends to make us obsess with the observance of the letter of the law, whether it is O.T. or N.T.

2. Heb. 10: 1-22 “Note vs. 22”

5. In reality, we should fear ourselves and not our God because God is

constant and man is fickle.

D. Questions to ponder

1. Are you as afraid of your father today as you were 40 years ago?

2. Are you afraid when you disappoint your father?

3. Even though we are called children of God, we are commanded to

grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!

E. Recap

1. Fear which comes from inside a person is more effective than fear and

guilt poured on that person by someone else.

a. I’d rather the Spirit convict than me. I could be too harsh and come across condemningly.

b. If I shame/scare someone into being baptized, have I gained a soul for Christ? Mt. 23: 15

c. Fear is part of becoming convicted.

2. Fear cannot sustain a proper relationship with God.

3. Fear hinders a Christian from living the abundant life Jesus promised.

a. There are those who will live their lives in fear and go to heaven.

b. There are those who will not let fear rule and will also be in heaven.

4. At some point, we as Christians have to grow up and not be afraid of

light! (Not the dark)

5. Godly fear equates to reverence not timidity/paralysis


A. If not fear, then what? Love!!!!!!!!!!!

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