Word for Word 8/19/20

Pastor Steve Oden

“Fear Not!”

Hello Friends. Today my message is entitled “fear not!” In Luke chapt 21, one day towards the end of His life, Jesus, Who was the greatest of biblical prophets, gave His disciples a discourse on how to discern the signs of the times and the end of the age. Just as there were signs accompanying Jesus’ first coming to earth, there will be perplexing signs leading up to Jesus’ second coming or return. Jesus likened the signs to birth pangs; the closer a woman is to delivering her baby, the more intense and close the birth pangs. So it will be with Jesus’ return. Jesus said no one would know the exact day or hour of His return - He doesn’t even know - only His Father, but we can know when that day is drawing close.

In Luke 21:25-26 Jesus said this to His disciples, “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity the sea and the waves roaring, men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the power of the heavens will be shaken.”  As you read all of chapter 21, there are many more signs, warnings and exhortations Jesus gives to us to heed.

But in the above verses Jesus prophesied that men’s hearts will literally fail them for fear of what’s happening and the expectation of what’s coming on the earth - fear of the unknown of what lies ahead. Because God knows man’s tendency to fear, we must remember that there are at least 365 verses in the Bible where God mercifully commands us to “fear not” or “do not be afraid,” one for each day of the year!  As Joshua was commissioned by Moses to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land to conquer all the giants living there and possess the land, God had to send messages to Joshua numerous times to not be afraid but to be strong and courageous.

So too, God does not want His children living in fear!  The only fear that God commands and commends in a Christian’s life is a reverential fear of God. Fear is not of God, but we as humans struggle with fears of all kinds and on all levels. This is why He has given us so many precious promises to stand upon to conquer fear. Remember, Jesus warned us that in the last days, of which we’re living, men would literally have heart attacks because they were so afraid. When the covid virus initially broke out, more of the 911 calls in California were for people with panic attacks than anything else.

I’d like to share just two of the great “fear not” promises the Lord has given us to trust and stand upon as we face uncertain times.  I John 4:18-19, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” Fear is torment. Fear is a liar. It paralyzes a person spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically, making one weak and unable to function. Fear robs us of our peace. But as we meditate on and believe and receive the perfect love of God which can be trusted (His care, His help, His presence with us), the fear will be replaced with the sustaining love of God. God’s love and the opposite - fear - cannot co-exist side by side. We need to trust God’s love and let the peace of His love calm and steady us.

A second great “fear not” promise is 2 Timothy 1:7.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind (sound judgment).”  Our imagination, along with fear, can magnify problems until they seem insurmountable. We need a sound mind or judgment to see things in proper perspective, God’s perspective. God’s promise  here is that He’s given us the power, His love (which casts out fear) and a rightness of thinking to overcome and see things in His perspective. Fear enslaves, but Christ’s truth has come to set us free. God’s promises do us no good if we do not appropriate them by faith, and we won’t know God’s promises and will if we do not study the Bible.

In these uncertain days we’re living and the days ahead, we must stay close in our relationship with Jesus and learn to stand upon, to trust His word, His promises, so we do  not succumb to fear. As we examine the signs, we know His return is imminent. We must be ready, for we know not the day or hour of Jesus’ return. Are you truly ready? Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and He earnestly wants you to experience His salvation and peace as you come to Him and trust Him as your Lord and Savior. He alone has the true answers we’re all looking for.

Pastor Steve Oden
New Life Christian Church Waukon

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