Faithlife Sermons

Overcoming Fear

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I want to discuss how to overcome fear.
How many of you have read Ann landers or Dear Abby? These are newspaper columns where people write to them for advice. They face all sorts of problems but the # 1 problem is fear.
People are afraid. They are afraid of losing their health… wealth… friends… family… they are afraid of their enemies… of failure… of speaking out against the craziness going on because they will follow you home… afraid of their house burning and the police not protecting them. People are afraid of all sorts of things.
We are going to talk about how to overcome fear, but not from Dear Abby, but from the Bible.
Before I do that, let me take a close look at fear.
In 1933 FDR said,
We have nothing to fear but fear itself. FDR
That sounds good, but it’s just not true. There are some things that we need to be afraid of. Rattlesnakes… drunk drivers… New Orleans drivers…
Fear is a productive mechanism that God placed in each of us to prepare us to fight or flee to preserve us and to protect us. Thats a good kind of fear.
Then there are others kinds of fear. Jesus actually tells us to be afraid in one instance.
Matthew 10:28 NLT
28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, you better be afraid. Don’t mean to scare you but I would rather scare you into heaven than lull into hell.
We need to have a healthy fear of the Lord
Proverbs 9:10 NLT
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
IOW, you have lost your mind if you don’t fear the Lord. You need to have a holy respect for the Lord. You don’t need to be afraid of him, but you do need to have a healthy respect for Him.
An electrician has to have a fear of electricity if he wants to have a lot of years doing his job. That doesn’t mean that he trembles every time he sees the wires. But it does mean he knows what’s in those wires.
You can love the Lord and “fear” or respect him at the same time. The man who fears the Lord loves him the most. This is a good kind of fear. We are not talking about that kind of fear today.
Negative fears are called phobia’s. There are hundreds of phobias.
Acrophobia - fear of heights.
Claustrophobia - fear of closed places.
Agoraphobia - Fear of open places
Pathophobia - fear of disease
Ergophobia - fear of work
Photophobia - fear of light
Phobophobia - fear of fear. Some people are afraid of being afraid.
These fears are not productive fears… Let me give this a name… a spirit of fear. When people struggle with a spirit of feat, it can be damaging, destructive, and debilitating.
2 Timothy 1:6–8 NLT
6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 8 So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.
I want the Lord to deliver you from the spirit of fear.

1. Let’s look at the destructive power of Spirit of Fear.

Fear is destructive.

Fear causes Forgetfulness

2 Timothy 1:6 NLT
6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.
Timothy was gifted and talented, but he wasn’t using his gifts and talents. Paul is saying that he has forgotten who he is… what God has done for him and in him.
What caused him to forget who he was? FEAR
The very next verse says…
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Fear had caused him to forget who God made him to be… what God had done in him and through him.
When you focus on fear, you forget who you are … who God is, and what God has done in you. And fear will cause you to forget who you are and the gifts God has given you. At this time, Timothy didn’t have anything to be afraid of… Paul did.
2 Timothy 1:8 NLT
8 So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.
Paul was in prison… he was a prisoner. But Paul wasn’t afraid...
2 Timothy 1:12 NLT
12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.
Paul had not forgotten who he was and what God had done in and through him. If you are afraid today, it’s because you have forgotten who God is and what he has done for you

Fear leads to Failure

2 Timothy 1:8 NLT
8 So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.
What had happened was that Timothy had failed to share the Gospel and stand up for Paul. Why? Paul was in prison and Timothy may have been afraid that the same would happen to him. Fear of what might happen shut his mouth.
JOKE - There was a farmer whose wife needed a surgery that he could not afford. He finally decided to rob a bank. So he worked up his courage and finally after walking around getting up his courage, he walked in to rob the bank… He gave the teller the gun and pointed the bag he bought for the money and told her… Don’t stick with me, this is a mess up…
That’s what fear will do to you. There are people hearing me right now that fear is keeping you from fully committing to the Lord… from stepping into something the Lord is urging you to do… lead a group… share your faith with someone...
In the parable of the talents, one person took the talent and hid it.
Matthew 25:25 NLT
25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
I wonder how much buried talent is listening to me right now? You will never succeed until you overcome fear. The main thing that holds us back is FEAR OF FAILURE.
Fear of failure becomes a self fulfilling prophecy…
Job 3:25 NLT
25 What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true.
You don’t have to be a weak person to be a fearful person… Julius Caesar was afraid of thunder. Peter the Great was afraid to cross a bridge. Ordinary people, in some areas of their lives, can be possessed by fear that will keep them from becoming what they ought to be. I wonder if some of you might be in bondage because of fear.

Fear causes sickness

Fear can actually make us physically sick.
1 Timothy 5:23 NLT
23 Don’t drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often.
Timothy was sickly. He may have been sickly because he was afraid.
Several years ago, a physician said this
90% of the chronic patients I see today no matter what the symptoms have one cause - fear.
Worry and fear can cause all sorts of physical ailments.
Worry is like sand in an engine… faith is like the oil in your engine...

2. Let’s look at the Delivering power of the Spirit of Faith

Paul now will give us the answer to fear… to exchanging fear for faith.
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Here are three things the Lord said he gives us to fight fear… power, love and sound mind. With these three things working in you, you can and will enjoy a life free of the bondage of fear.

God has give us power

2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Luke 24:49 NLT
49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
Both are referring to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Do you know why we are afraid when we are afraid? We are afraid that we don’t have the talent or the resources to complete the task. When you understand that you are more powerful than the thing you are afraid of, you will defeat your enemy - fear.
ILL - Imagine you are younger and you are walking home and a bully picks on you… day after day. You begin to walk home afraid and looking for other routes home. Then one day your dad walks home with you… are you afraid now? Of course not. Your daddy is right there with you…
Listen, greater is he that is in you than whatever you are afraid of…
1 John 4:4 NLT
4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
That’s why the psalmist wrote,
Psalm 27:1 NLT
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?
God has given us a spirit of power instead of fear and he removes all fears. Remember this,
The man who can kneel before God can stand before anyone.
You need to know how great your God is…
Glimpse at your problems and stare at your God
The fear of man made Saul a coward. The Fear of God made David a hero. God has given us power.

God has given us a spirit of Love

Love is a mighty force to deal with fear. How does love help to overcome fear?
1 John 4:18 The Living Bible
18 We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly; his perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what he might do to us. If we are afraid, it is for fear of what he might do to us and shows that we are not fully convinced that he really loves us.
We don’t have to be afraid of God because he loves us perfectly. When you see God’s mighty power and His mighty love, fear will melt away. Rest in that love.
Romans 8:28 NLT
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
When you know the love that God has for you then you understand this verse… and he is always working for your good.

God gives us a sound mind

Sound mind means we have self control. We need a sound mind because of one of Satan’s tactics… deception.
Zig Ziglar always used to say,
Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.
The devil will cause us to be afraid when there is no reason…
Proverbs 28:1 NLT
1 The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.
ILL - When I was little and would take out the trash, I would walk out there but it seemed that walking back, I would always think something was following me. Nothing was… but fear will make you think it is.
God gives us a sound mind so that we can look at these things we are afraid of in the light of the WOG. You have to choose to focus on the greatness of God and that he will win.
2 Timothy 1:12 NLT
12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.
Paul was bold because he knew the one he believed in and he was persuaded that God could take care of him.
Conclusion...
There was a Japanese soldier during WW2 that when the tide turned and it became evident that the Japanese would lose, he went a lived in a cave … for 28 years and would only come out at night. He at whatever he could catch. For 28 years he lived as a POW to his fear.
Listen to me, the War is over and Jesus won. It’s finished and our sins are paid for. It’s time to come home. We can all come home… but the devil doesn’t want you to know it.
A lot of people will not commit to the Lord because they are afraid. We don’t have to be afraid.
2 Timothy 1:12 NLT
12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.
Have you committed everything to him?
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