Summary: Since fear is a natural human response to the unknown, as well as to threatening circumstances, God reassures His children of His constant Presence in life, in death and in the great beyond!
FOUR GREAT FREEDOMS IN CHRIST SERMON V: FREEDOM FROM FEAR
When our country’s beloved four-term President, affectionately known as FDR, said in his declaration of war speech prior to involvement in World War II, he sounded the clarion call to courage in one exclamatory sentence: “We have nothing to fear except fear itself!”
Courage was to become the hallmark of a nation that did not ask for war but had no choice but go to war when the storm clouds of evil hovered on the horizon to threaten our peace and security.
Indeed, one of the freedoms secured by our nation’s victory over the tyrants of the world was freedom from the fear of being conquered by them. Yet, we live in a day when we are faced with the threats of terrorists who, if they had their way, would destroy freedom-loving people of all nations.
Not until the Lord returns will we experience real freedom from evil forces that would use whatever means available to them to attempt to bring nations to their knees and under their rule of hatred.
In America, we depend on government to keep us safe from enemies.
In the Christian life – whether in America or anywhere else in the world – we who belong to God, the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, depend on a higher power - one that is not of this world - to keep us secure and safe from the Evil One identified in the Bible as Satan.
There is no doubt in my mind that Satan the enemy of God is at work in an all-out crusade to “bring down” all who name the name of Christ and seek to do the will of our heavenly Father. If allowed to do so, Satan our enemy will instill within each one of us a kind of FEAR that can paralyze us and cause us to be afraid to go through any experience in life.
Some folks are afraid: to go to sleep at night . . . to wake up in the morning . . . of what tomorrow might bring . . . to go see their doctor . . . to eat certain foods . . . to touch certain things – and some of these fears are real.
Many folks are gripped by fear of the unknown . . . fear of germs . . . fear of getting sick . . . fear of life . . . fear of death and dying . . . fear of the future – and some of these fears are real.
Fear is a natural human response that we all experience from time to time when faced with uncertainty – and I can tell you from personal experience that certainty is a whole lot better to deal with than uncertainty. Tell me “what’s what” - and then help me deal with it as best “we” can.
If I have cancer, I want to know about it; if I am suffering from an incurable disease, tell me; if I have only a short time to live, don’t try to make me think otherwise; if something dreadful has happened, don’t play a game of “keep away” as if I am too weak to know about it.
To want to know is not because of any superhuman bravery on my part; I am human like everyone else – and I have feelings; sometimes my feelings need to be expressed; at other times, they need to be soothed; always, my feelings need to be dealt with.
Fear is one of those emotional responses that none of us ever escapes – and for that reason, the Bible speaks to this oftentimes dreadful emotion with words of wisdom and reassurance.
In the Bible, most of the references to fear have to do with those times in our lives when we ought not to be afraid.
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, the Bible says: There is no need to fear when God leads us to do something – as was the case when God led His people toward God’s goal for their lives; in that instance, spies were sent to check out the Promised Land; they returned with these challenging words:
“See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your Fathers, told you; do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 1:21)
There is no need to fear when God makes His presence known to us – as the psalmist said so poetically in the most well-known Psalm in the Bible: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me . . ..” (Psalm 23:4a)