Faithlife Sermons

Fight Fear with Fear

Notes & Transcripts

Title: Fight Fear with Fear

Text: Deuteronomy 5:29

Theme: Fight fear with fear

Proposition: Because Yahweh is your God, you must fight fear with fear

Speaker’s Purpose: I will motivate my audience to overcome unbiblical fears with a fear of God.

Interoggative: Why must you fight fear with fear?

Transition: You must fight fear with fear for the following reasons.


“I can’t explain what it was like. I broke out in a cold sweat, my vision became cloudy and I just couldn’t think. I even thought that I might die.” Phoebe is a 28 year old mother of two. While at the mall with her children she suddenly had a series of what she referred to as “dizzy spells.” The thought that she might pass out or otherwise leave her children unattended so terrified here that she became nauseated. “At first I was only afraid to go to the mall. Then I quit going to any large store, and now I’m even afraid to go to any social gathering—including church—whether the kids are there or not.” Phoebe’s fears keep her home constantly. “Now I start to get anxious even just thinking about leaving the house. Everything else is fine—I’m just afraid of leaving the house.”

Fear can be appropriate to experience in many situations. Fear can help us from making unwise choices, like standing near the edge of the cliff at the Grand Canyon. Fear, though, becomes unbiblical when it interferes with performing God’s will. The children of Israel experienced unbiblical fear at Kadesh Barnea when they refused to go into the land promised to them. In the plains of Moab across the Jordon River from Jericho Moses prepared the Israelites to cross the Jordan and take the land. Moses’ spoke words about their fear were to give them courage and strength to do what their fathers and mothers would not. gave the The message of Moses to the Israelites that week. Because Yahweh is your God, you must fight fear with fear.

I. Because Yahweh is your God, you must not fear man.

A. God is always present—always!

Explanation: On the other side of the Jordon river the Israelites were going to meet “seven nations more numerous and mightier” than themselves (7:1). The opposition would have “horses and chariots and an army” much larger than their own (20:1). Israel on the other hand only had unskilled infantrymen. What were they to do? Their fathers, who found themselves in the same situation 37 years earlier, trembled, panicked, and did not obey God. They saw a people greater and taller than themselves who lived in cities that were great and fortified up to heaven—and they feared and refused to take the land that was before them (1:28). Perhaps the next generation was thinking like their fathers did, “These nations are greater than [us], how can [we] dispossess them?” (7:17). In Deuteronomy God gave the Israelites, and to you, two truths about Himself to help fight the paralyzing fear of man.

First, God is always present—always! When they were going to look their enemy in the face, God says, “be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (20:1). God’s presence was to be a comfort to them because God is omnipotent. The phrase, “which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt,” was to remind the Israelites that God was strong than any army they would face (20:2). Moses says in 7:21 “Thou shalt not be afrightened at them: for the Lord thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.” God is the strong God who causes enemies to tremble, panic, be alarmed, shake, and be paralyzed. This kind of God would be the Israelites in battle. He is mightier than their enemy.

God’s presence would always be with Israel. Twice in chapter 31 God promised His continual protective presence. In verse 6 he told the nation, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not…for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” In verse 8 Moses tells Joshua, “he will never fail thee, nor forsake thee.” God would never leave them in battle; He would never shrink back from His promise.


B. Victory is always sure—always!

1. God gives His people victory

Explanation: The knowledge that God is all-powerful and will never leave them would not be words of comfort if victory were not sure. Four times, though, in Deuteronomy God assures the Israelites that as He fought for them in the past, He would fight for them in the future. In chapter 7 and verse 18 Moses tells the Israelites to remember the great power God displayed in rescuing them from the Egyptians. Then he says, “So shall the Lord thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid” (7:19). God would “destroy them with a mighty destruction” until they were all destroyed (7:23). When Moses gave his last exhortation to the nation Israel and Joshua he reminded them of God’s promise to fight for them. He said, “The Lord thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee” (31:3) and “The Lord shall do unto them as he did to Sihon and to Og…whom he destroyed” (31:4). There was no reason to fear. With God victory is sure.

2. God gives victory through human effort

Explanation: Victory would not come to the Israelites while they sat sat on the bench and watched God fight in their place. Moses tells them in chapter 7 verse 24 that God would deliver the kings unto them, but it was also their responsibility to “destroy their name from under heaven” (7:24). God told them that they must “consume all the people which” He would give over to them (7:16). Moses balances the divine and human effort in chapter 31 and verse 5 when he says, “And the Lord shall give them up before your face, that you may do unto them according unto all the commandments which I have commanded you.” In chapter 20 the priests words before battle stressed the divine side when they were to tell the Israelites, “Fear not…The LORD your God is he that goeth before you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you” (20:4). But in verse 12 and 13 the Israelites were the ones who would “besiege” the city and “smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword.” The Israelites had to fight—no question about it. But they did not have to fear because when they went into battle God would “go with [them]” (31:6). God gives the victory through their effort.

Illustration: The family of Dr. John Vaughn, former pastor of Faith Baptist Church, experienced a house fire that put his wife and child Becky in the hospital. In their autobiography, Brenda Vaughn tells about the fear she experienced while in the hospital. To bring comfort to his wife, Dr. John Vaughn would remind his wife that God was with her and that He “would never leave [her], nor forsake [her] (Hebrews 13:5). Brenda tells about how she repeated those words to herself often and how it drove away her fears and calmed her heart.

Application: There are many things that can cause paralyzing fears because we do not want them do to us the harm that we think or know that they are capable of doing to us. We can fear specific objects, such as snakes or dogs. We can also fear the unknown and call them “panic attacks”. We can also fear our enemy the flesh, the devil, or even the other men. These people, things, or circumstances become sinful fears when we fail to do God’s will. But God tells us that we do not need to fear. Rather, we can face our fears and be courageous because our mighty and fearful God is with us, He has promised to fight for us, and victory is always sure when cooperate with Him.

Transition: A fear of man that keeps us from doing God’s will is unbiblical. This is an unbiblical fear. But fear is not always wrong. There is actually a fear that God desires. Because Yahweh is our God, we must not fear man. Yet, because Yahweh is our God, we must fear Him.

II. Because Yahweh is our God, you must fear Him.

Explanation: Turn to Deuteronomy chapter 5. Moses is recalling the experience on Mt. Sinai where God spoke to the Israelites out of a fire accompanied by thunder. It was a fearful experience. In verse 24 it says the Israelites recognized God’s glory and greatness as represented by fire and thunder. They also understood His authority to command obedience and to take their life. Because they knew no other man to hear from God and live, except Moses, they request to have God speak to them through Moses. They would obey God, but they did not want God to speak to them directly. What was God’s response to their fear? Look down in verse 29. Do you see the emotion as well as God’ expressed desire. God wanted them to fear Him. He wanted them to fear Him “always.” But notice the next phrase, “that it may go well with them and their children for ever!” So fearing God is a good thing. But what does it mean to fear God? I will define it more fully as we go, but for now let me give you several definitions. It can mean simply a reverential awe for God. Deuteronomy 6:13 says, “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him.” When Christ quotes this verse in Matt. 4:10 He says, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” So fear contains the idea of reverence. Fear also contains the idea of “awe.” Deut. 10:17 says that God is a “great God, a mighty, and terrible,” or aw-inspiring God. The “fear of God” can also be so closely tied to obedience that you could express it as “reverential attitude of submission.” In this sense obedience is the necessary result of reverence. We can see this sense in Deut. 6:2, “that thou mightest fear the Lord,…to keep his statutes.” “Fear of God” can also be a fear to disobey, either because God would chasten them or because it would mar the relationship.

What would you tell your children if they asked, “Dad, why do we respect God?” Is it enough to say, “Because God wants us to?” It would be enough, but is that all God gave you to tell your children, or even yourself? In Deut. 6:20-24 God gives us 2 reasons why you should fear Him.

A. Because of who God is, you must fear Him. (Deut. 6:21-23)

Explanation: In verse 20 the son asks the father the meaning behind all the commandments of God. Since the father equates obedience with fearing God, the father also answers the question, “Why do we fear God?” We fear God because He is our redeemer. In Christ we have redemption (Eph. 1:7). God redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt. God is also their sovereign. Deut. 6:22 is a demonstration of God’s sovereignty. Because God is sovereign, the Israelites were to give to him alone due reverence coupled with obedience. In Deut. 6:13 Moses warns the people to not forget God and go after other gods because, he says, “It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name shall you swear.” “The Lord” is first in the sentence to communicate his sole right to our complete devotion and allegiance. No other god gets our allegiance. Jesus quoted this to Satan in the wilderness when He told him, “For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve” (Matt. 4:10). God is also our provider. The conversation between the father and son is as though they were in the promised land and the father tells his son that they should fear God because He provided the land for them. This land described in chapter 8 would be a fruitful and rich land.

B. Because of what you can expect, you must fear Him. (6:24)

1. You can expect blessing

Explanation: In verse 24 the father says that God wants them to fear Him for their “good always” and then identifies that good as preservation of life.

2. You can expect chastening

Explanation: We saw in the first half of this sermon that the word “fear” actually contains the idea of real fear. “Don’t fear those Cananites.” That is real fear the Israelites experienced. Therefore, unless the context suggests only “reverential awe” or “reverential attitude of submission” or something other than real fear, we must assume then that real fear is expected when God is the object. The Israelites could expect two things from God. They could expect blessing if you feared God and they expect chastening if they despised God. According to Deut. 13:12, if a man presumptuously disobeyed the priest he would die. Why such a horrible punishment? The next verse answers that question, “And all the people, shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.”

3. You can expect a marred relationship

Explanation: I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” A mature love that fears God does not fear torment. Rather the real fear is a fear of a marred relationship.

Illustration: A contrast between a fatherson realationship with a husbandwife relationship illustrates well the distinction between fearing to do wrong because of chastening or a marred relationship. A young son will obey his father because he does not want a spanking. This fear is fine but it is not the ideal kind of fear. The ideal fear is that of a husband and wife. The husband will either do or not do certain things because of what it will do to the relationship between him and his wife.

Application: Because Yahweh is our God, you must fear Him. You must reverence him and keep his commandments with a reverential attitude. Reverential awe and a reverential attitude of obedience toward God is to flow out of heart of gratitude for who God is and what he has done for you. God has chosen you and redeemed you through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. Christ died for us that we no longer serve ourselves but Him who for our sakes died and was raised. You were once alienated from God but now you are brought near to God. God has also provided for you an eternal home that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that will not fade away. God has also promised that He will reward those who diligently seek Him. But God has also promised to chasten his as children if we are proud and go your own way. As a Father He will chasten you to bring you back into a relationship with Himself because that is the best thing for you.

Conclusion: Christians are to be known for their fear. Not for the kind of fear that paralyzes them and keeps them from obeying God. Christians are to be known for the kind of fear that recognizes God as Father and Lord and has a deep reverence for Him that necessarily results in giving Him alone your praise and obedience. Because Yahweh is our God, you must fight gear with fear. When you are known for this kind of fear, then you will be called righteous and the world will know that you belong to fearful, wonderful and righteous God.

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