Bible Faith Fellowship: Substance Over Form

Be Not Afraid

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Joseph Tokar

Be Not Afraid Be Not Afraid

Date 2008-06-15
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Document (PDF) BFF-20080615-BeNotAfraid.pdf

Be Not Afraid

Anybody here, besides me, ever been afraid? What are some of the things we are afraid of? Failure? Embarassment? Getting beat up? Losing our shoes? Getting old? My personal fear, the one I struggle with more then any other: the fear of success. Although I am also struggling with a little bit of stage fright the last week or so.

I have spoken twice before about fear: The first time I talked about fearing God, the second I talked about not being afraid and how we deal with our fears. Today, the Holy Spirit has directed me to talk about what happens when we are afraid. What happens to us when we live in fear, afraid of the repercussions of what we do, or what we say. The dictionary defines fear as

  • an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger
    1. an instance of this emotion
    2. a state marked by this emotion
  • anxious concern : solicitude
  • profound reverence and awe especially toward God
  • reason for alarm : danger

Synonyms include fear, dread, fright, alarm, panic, terror, trepidation mean painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger. Fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually loss of courage (fear of the unknown). Dread usually adds the idea of intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety (faced the meeting with dread). Fright implies the shock of sudden, startling fear (fright at being awakened suddenly). Alarm suggests a sudden and intense awareness of immediate danger (view the situation with alarm). Panic implies unreasoning and overmastering fear causing hysterical activity (the news caused widespread panic). Terror implies the most extreme degree of fear (immobilized with terror). Trepidation adds to dread the implications of timidity, trembling, and hesitation. Afraid:

These words appear in scripture a bunch:

  • Afraid: 189 times (Job 17 Psalms 14)
  • Fear: 501 times (Job 21 Psalms 75)
  • Terror: 44 times (Job 9 Psalms 5)
  • Dread: 18 times (Job 3 Psalms 0)

752 times God's word speaks about fear or being afraid. Anybody else think He is trying to tell us something? I watched (finally) the movie "Facing the Giants." Great movie, made me cry. I'm not sure what others got out of it, but I got this: When we live our lives in fear, God can't help us, but when we walk away from our fears God can do things that are miraculous, time after time. I'm pretty sure this is scriptural, let's turn to Jeremiah 42 please. This is a great passage that illustrates how God wants us to deal with our fears. The leaders of Israel have come to Jeremiah and asked him to pray to God for them.

And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah. Then called he Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest, And said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before him; If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you. Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand. And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land. But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the LORD your God, Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; and there will we dwell: And now therefore hear the word of the LORD, ye remnant of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there; Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die. So shall it be with all the men that set their faces to go into Egypt to sojourn there; they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: and none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring upon them. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As mine anger and my fury hath been poured forth upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so shall my fury be poured forth upon you, when ye shall enter into Egypt: and ye shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach; and ye shall see this place no more. The LORD hath said concerning you, O ye remnant of Judah; Go ye not into Egypt: know certainly that I have admonished you this day. For ye dissembled in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us unto the LORD our God; and according unto all that the LORD our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it. And now I have this day declared it to you; but ye have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, nor any thing for the which he hath sent me unto you. Now therefore know certainly that ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go and to sojourn.

Pretty clear message here – Fear God, if you don't fear God, but instead fear the sword, or famine, or pestilence, then those are the things which will have power over you. Hmm, fear gives power? Why is that? If we fear something other than God, and God tells us to only fear Him, does that mean that we are making a god or an idol out of the very thing we fear? We place our fear in front of God and remove ourselves from his covering, allowing that thing that we fear to come to pass.

Turn to Matthew 14 please, let's see what Jesus says about it. Jesus has just fed the multitudes and when He went up to the mountain to pray, He sent his disciples across the sea.

But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

What was it that Peter feared? Christ was with him on the water, yet he doubted, and the instant that he did, he began to sink. 752 times ... God tells us about fear, Christ tells us about fear and we've talked about the consequences of fearing something other then God, so what does God say will happen when we are not afraid, when we really believe His word? Remember what was promised to the Israelites in Jeremiah? Turn to Psalm 91 please.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Psalm 91 is a direct answer to Jeremiah 42, when we are NOT afraid, when we believe with our whole hearts, amazing things happen. "Facing the Giants" is a great illustration of that, Kyleigh is an amazing illustration of that. When we have faith, believe God and His word, He becomes the thing the only thing that has power over us. But when we don't fear God and God only, the very things that we fear begin to overpower us, and like Peter, we sink.

Read Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 KJV:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.