Today we are looking at John 6:16-21.
This is the third part in a Mini-series on Fear which we have been doing together.
Jesus used the situation of a storm to teach His disciples about dealing with Fear.
Let’s look this passage together.
It is I; don’t be afraid
Jesus wasn’t even in the boat and He knew they were afraid.
He knew them.
He knew the circumstances.
He knew their hearts.
He saw their fear and did not condemn, but sought to bring hope and comfort.
“It is I; don’t be afraid.”
This gives me hope.
Jesus knows my fears, and He does not come to condemn me, but to bring comfort.
He comes to show me how to overcome the fear that grips me, cripples me, and steals my life away from me.
How does He want us to deal with our fear?
Let me summarize what we have found before we move on to the final part of dealing with our fear.
The first week we saw how this was not the first occasion on which Jesus was with his disciples in a storm at night.
On that first occasion, Jesus demonstrated His care for them by miraculously stopping the storm!
Then, He asked them,
Why are you so afraid?
We took that week to examine our fear.
If we take the time to consider Jesus’ question, we can learn a lot about our fear, and ourselves.
Of what exactly am I afraid?
Why do I fear that?
What do I think is going to happen?
What is it that I care about here?
What has become the most important thing to me at this time of fear?
Our fear shows what we are truly loving in the moment.
Whenever I am afraid, and I take the time to consider what I am truly desiring/loving in the moment, it is not God or His Kingdom purpose.
It is typically something to do with me in this world.
As we examined that, we found that the first step away from fear is to:
Desire His Kingdom Purpose More than Our Own
So, To deal with our fear, first we want to know why we are so afraid.
What is it we care about more than we care about God in the moment?
Then, we need to confess to God that we are seeking this instead of Him and His Kingdom.
We need to ask for Him to change our heart to desire His Kingdom purpose more than our own.
The next part of dealing with our fear is to:
Trust Him (not ourselves, or someone/something else)
After Jesus tells the disciples to not be afraid, Matthew records in his gospel how Peter walked on the water.
He started out well, but then started to sink when he saw the wind and the waves.
Jesus asked Peter, “Why did you doubt?”
When dealing with our fear, we need to recognize that we we are putting our trust where it does not belong, we are putting it in something, or someone other than our God and Savior.
We need to confess that, and ask God to change our hearts to trust Him.
Then, after confessing our misplaced desires and trust, and asking Him to give us hearts to love and trust Him, from when Jesus cried out to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid,” we see that the final and crucial step in dealing with our fear is to:
Be Still and Know He is God
Fear is the enemy that comes and hijacks our minds.
Like the raging fire that consumes acres of the forests, it starts as a small spark, but quickly flares up, and as it takes over our minds, it begins to rage as it predicts what is going to happen.
Not what might happen, but what is going to happen; and it is never good.
Then those thoughts lead to more thoughts of dreadful consequences which add more full to this raging fear within us.
IT demands our attention.
It demands action!
It makes us want to flee… But to where can we run?
We are trapped...
And into that raging fear, God calmly speaks
The answer to our fear is not an action plan.
The answer to our fear is Him!
It is God!
When we are afraid, we need to take time to be still, to derail the fear train in our minds, and remember Him, He is GOD!! What has He done for us so far in our lives?
What has He said about what He will do?
This past week, our homework was to look at the 114 verses in which God tells His people to not be afraid.
Did you notice the reasons He gave for not being afraid?
Did you notice that He always spoke specifically to the fear, to the need of His people?
He does not generically say, ‘don’t be afraid.’
He speaks specifically, and gives reasons for them to not fear the way their heart is leading them to fear.
What were some of those reasons?
Do you remember?
Give me a few...
Here is a list I made:
He is our deliverer
He is our refuge and defense
He holds our hand, and strengthens and helps us
He redeemed us
He will save us and we will be a blessing
He hears our cries and prayers
He values us!
He will give us what we need (food, clothing, words)
Our King is coming
He is with us
Peace of God will guard our hearts and minds
The Lord is our helper
Our Hope is Christ
Perfect love drives out fear which has to do with punishment
Jesus is the Living One; he was dead and now look he is alive for ever and ever!
And he holds the keys of death and Hades
He will give us life as the victor’s crown
God has told us to not be afraid.
But He doesn’t just give a command, “Don’t be afraid!”
No, he tells us to not be afraid out of love and concern for us.
We see that because He always speaks into the situation, and gives us the reason we do not need to be afraid.
He is always the reason.
He will act on our behalf!
What a great God and Savior!
Fear makes us want to run.
Let’s learn to run the right way.
Let’s learn to run to Him!
He is God.
And He will deliver.
that is what happens at the end of the passage we started with.