KEEPING OUR FAITH IN DIFFICULT TIMES
( When Fear meets Faith - May 17, 2020)
Series Big Idea: "Even in the middle of our darkest days, the Church retains its faith in God to carry us through"
Sermon Big Idea: "Unwarranted fear is a liar, but not all fear comes from Satan because some fear is justified"
Key Scripture (1 John 4:18)
There’s a song I heard on the radio a little over a year ago that caught my attention. Some of the attraction was the style of music but much more it was the lyrics of the song. The song is called “Fear is a liar.” Zach Williams wrote a powerful lyric attaching human attributes to an emotion. He was trying to make a point and he succeeded.
The chorus goes like this. “Fear he is a liar. He will take your breath, stop you in your steps. Fear he is a liar. He will rob your rest, steal your happiness.” And then he gives advice on what to do with that fear. “Cast your fear in the fire. Cause fear he is a liar.”
The question I have is this. Is all fear a liar? That’s a huge claim to make because it sounds like it is saying that all fear is evil and should be avoided at all cost. If we consider, Scripture we see that this is not true. Some fear is bad but other fear is good. Should we not be fearful of something that could harm us in some way, like the consequences of drinking and driving; a rabid animal or the consequences of disobeying our parents? This is justified fear because of wisdom. I have a healthy fear of the snake called the Copperhead. I have a justified fear because I have seen the damage it can do when provoked.
The Bible warns us in many passages about the consequences of sin and we will often develop a healthy fear of sinning. God hates sin and He will destroy it one day and that should help us to have a healthy fear of sinning. So let’s look at fear for a moment and see what Scripture has to say.
Not all fear is deception
There are certainly situations in which fear is warranted. These times should help us to run or seek help. Think about this. You are sitting on a beach and you see a tsunami coming in the distance. Is it a sin to fear in that moment? Absolutely not, because it is the fear that will help you seek shelter. The same is true for us as sinners being afraid of hell. That is not a place we want to be; at least not me. This fear is just then. It is biblical. There are times when we should have a certain amount of fear to keep us in check.
So, fear is not always a liar. But it is true that some fear finds it origin in Satan. He will tell you things like God is not as good as He says He is in Scripture. He will tell you God has forgotten you and turned His back on you. This is a lie. This contradicts God’s promises.
God’s perfect love casts out all fear
(1 John 4:18) says that perfect love casts out all fear. The Bible encourages us over and over again to not fear. (John 8:44) tells us that Satan is the father of all lies and (Revelation 12:9) states his is the deceiver of the whole world. So any lie is from Satan because he has not Truth in him. He will try to discourage us with his lies. This is one of the many weapons he has in his arsenal.
Yes there are many lies Satan will tell you and me to keep us in fear but we must understand that in Scripture we are told of several godly men who used fear to turn people to God. Did god not use signs and wonders in the OT to turn the Israelites back to Him on occasion? Think about when Elijah called fire down from heaven so all of Israel would turn back to God from their false gods. The Apostle Paul, when he wrote to the Corinthians threatened them with separation hoping to turn them back to the Lord.
Justified and unjustified fear is equally important. When God uses fear it is totally based upon His Truth. When Satan uses fear it is based on lies. Hell is not a place any of us want to be and when Jesus spoke of Hell He did it to show the truth about God’s punishment of sin. This fear is justified.
Satan will often urge us to fear our fellow man and not fear God. This lie causes us to give more respect to humans than to our Creator. (Proverbs 29:25) tells us that the fear of man is not justified fear. It is a fear that is laying a snare.
Satan will also tell you and me that Jesus’ death was not enough to cover our sin. He tempts us to believe that even if we trust Christ, we are not good enough to be with God and He doesn’t love us. This kind of fear is a liar! Faith in God’s Word will crush that kind of fear. We should never let our feelings cause us to decide between Satan and God.
Sometimes we say things like, “I’m scared so this must be from the devil.” My friends our wisdom and discernment must be rooted in God’s Holy Word. Jesus death was enough to cover all our sin because the Father said it was (Hebrews 10:10/John 3:16). We don’t have to fear meeting God one day because Jesus has given us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God and nothing will ever keep Him from loving us (Romans 8:38-39).
So, is fear a liar? Maybe, sometimes. But Satan uses fear to try and get our eyes and focus off of Christ who is the beginning and completion of our salvation. Let’s chose to fear God and not man!
Pastor Beaver's thoughts and ideals for this message, are inspired by:
Holman Christian Standard Bible
English Standard Version Bible
King James Version Bible
Christian Standard Bible
The Bible Knowledge Commentary by John F. Walvoord/Roy B. Zuck
The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge by Jerome H. Smith
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Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Duane Garrett, and Walter C. Kaiser Jr.
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Hughes, Robert B. and J. Carl Laney. Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1990. WORDsearch CROSS e-book. Revised edition of New Bible Companion.
Akin, Daniel L. Exalting Jesus in 1,2,3 John. Edited by David Platt, Daniel L. Akin, Tony Merida. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2014. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.
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Kruse, Colin G. The Letters of John. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans Pub.; Apollos, 2000. Print. The Pillar New Testament Commentary.
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