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3 18-21 Overcoming The Fear Of The Dark

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                                                  liberty bible church          1/13/08 a.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“Overcoming the fear of the dark”

John 3:18-21


Illus. of the challenge of keeping groomsmen under control just before the wedding ceremony begins. I.e. Ben sprinting in the back halls of the church. Turning out the lights can calm things down. Once, one of the groomsmen said, “Oh, the lights are out!!!” I asked if he was afraid of the dark. He said, “It’s not the dark that bothers me. It’s what’s in the dark that bothers me.” Fear is sometimes a good thing. It protects us from doing things that are foolish to ourselves and others around us. But, sometimes fear can become irrational and paralyzing and can grip the heart of even the best Christians. Overcoming fear of anything is not easy for us to do. There is a whole list of phobias that the psychological world diagnoses and treats as if their roots were physical. But, fear is much more than that. Fear is something that Biblical characters had to deal with and so God’s Word addresses fear, in many passages of Scripture. How can we overcome not only the fear of the dark, but any fear that would keep us from fulfilling God’s will in our lives?

 OPEN to passage.                                       

Prop. In this passage, we see how to overcome the darkness.   

Open in PRAYER.

PREVIEW the passage. Once again, Jesus is in the midst of a personal encounter with one of the top religious leaders in the nation. Jesus has explained what it means to be born again and how one can experience such a birth. READ 1-17 to get the context. Now, Jesus concludes this narrative by showing us how to overcome the darkness and the fears that accompany it. First, if you want to overcome the darkness, you must…

 i. love the light vs. 18-19

Illus. of they say that 10 minutes of exposure of our face or arms will give us enough vitamin D to keep us healthy. Yet many suffer from a lack of vitamin D in the winter because they fail to get out in the proper light enough.

The same is true is the spiritual realm. Many lack proper spiritual nourishment because they fail to be exposed to the proper light. What is the light we are to be exposed to and why is it so important? 

a. The light protects us from COndemnation

V 18a   1. “Believing” in the finished work of Christ is the only way to escape the condemnation that awaits all sinners. Cf. v 16-17 The world was already condemned when Jesus came into it.

V 18b  2. The only way to not go to Heaven is to not believe in Jesus for your salvation. To believe once again means to trust in. All who don’t trust in Jesus are self-condemned. It doesn’t matter how they live. They can be a good person, a sincere person, a loving person; but, without believing in Jesus, they are condemned already. There is no need to judge them. They are like the Israelites in the illustration from Numbers 21:4-9. If they failed to trust in Moses’ staff with the serpent around it, they would die.

            3. One who believes in Jesus is under no condemnation. Cf. Rom. 8:1 They are identified as those who do not walk according to the flesh. Those who walk in the flesh are suspect as being condemned as rejecters of Jesus. Cf. John 5:24 The light protects us from condemnation.

b. the light protects us from the darkness

            The light and darkness refers to spiritual light and darkness, but you’ll see at the end how this can protect us from the fear physical darkness as well.

V 19a   1. In other words, this is how we can tell if someone is condemned.

V 19b  2. Darkness is not loved for darkness’ sake, it is loved because of what it does. It hides their evil deeds. “evil” means wicked. Works of sin that violate God’s holy standards.

            3. Cf. John 1:4-5; 12:46 Jesus is the light of the world. When a sinner is exposed to His light, through the Word, they can respond in repentance and belief or they can reject the light and continue to live in spiritual darkness. To live in spiritual darkness is to not understand sin. Illus. of our world living in spiritual darkness today. We will have an example of that tonight. The fact that some men love evil deeds with no conviction is self-condemning.

            4. For believers the light shed by Jesus and His Word is what protects us form evil deeds. The light warns of dangers, exposes evil deeds and evil doers, and shows us the path of escape. Cf. 1 Cor. 10:13 That’s why the world hates the light.  

  Trans. For believers, the best protection form darkness and the fear of darkness is to LOVE THE LIGHT. But, loving the light is just the start. Next, we have to…

ii. come to the light vs. 20-21

Illus. of “Light to Light” It’s not enough to know about the light or say we believe in the light. We have to come to the light for the light to really help us overcome.

a. are you a light hater?

V 20a   1. People that live in sin don’t like to be confronted with that sin. They don’t like to see me on their doorstep because I represent the light. I’m not perfect, but I represent the perfect one. Their lives condemn them for hating the light. “evil” here is different from verse 19. It means worthless. They’re not necessarily bad people, they just are not involved in anything of eternal significance.

V 20b  2. They don’t come to the light. Illus. of why people that are living in sin avoid churches that preach the Truth. They don’t want to be exposed to the light and have their evil deeds revealed. Like cock roaches, they scatter when the light is comes on. They don’t want to change.

            3. Light haters are characterized by habitual, unconfessed sin. They live worthless lives, from God’s perspective. They not only hate the light, but they love the darkness. There is another option.

b. Are you a light lover?

V 21a   1. To be a light lover, one has to be a truth doer. They have to be one who is obedient to the Word of God. Obedience is the key factor in us being closer to Jesus Christ. When we desire to be obedient, even though we still sin, our love for the light causes us to repent and like a magnet, we are drawn to Jesus.

V 21b  2. We’re not ashamed to have our deeds exposed to the light because our goal is to conform to the image of Christ and the will of God. We desire to change and we want to rid our lives of evil, worthless deeds. Our lives in the darkness are gone and we now live by faith in Jesus and His Word. We are brand new. Cf. 2 Cor. 5:17

V 21c   3. What we are able to do now is by the power of God. Cf. Gal. 2:20 It is by God and for God that we are able to live in and love the light. Are you a light love or a light hater?


Here’s the dilemma. Many want it both ways. They want to love the light and the darkness. They want to live in darkness and not be condemned. They want to come to the light and bring the darkness along. And you can’t. We can’t live in the light and dark at the same time. If you want to overcome your fear of the dark, you must LOVE THE LIGHT and COME TO THE LIGHT. Let’s make this practical. There may be people here that deal with real fears. Can this help me with those? Absolutely!

1.      It begins with believing in Jesus. GOSPEL Without this, there is no hope of overcoming fears. You are now no longer condemned by God. Why allow people or Satan or even your own mind to instill fear in you.

2.      Come to the light. Live in obedience to God’s Word. Confess any sins that you are convicted of. Along with this one, hate the darkness. Hate your past sins and the sins you see tempting you. Don’t hate sinners, but hate sins.

3.      Avoid the darkness. Be careful what you expose your mind to. What you read, watch, listen to, or who you fellowship with can affect your mind.

Illus. of “Misdirected Comfort”

We don’t need to fear anything because God is in control. We don’t have to fear the dark or anything else. If we know Jesus and walk with Him, the light will guard us from anything outside of God’s will for us; and we never have to fear God’s perfect will. Love the light of Jesus and come to that light through obedience and you will overcome any fear the enemy can throw your way.


“Overcoming the fear of the dark”

John 3:18-21


Fear is sometimes a good thing, but, sometimes fear can grip the heart of even the best Christians. How can we overcome not only the fear of the dark, but any fear that would keep us from fulfilling God’s will in our lives?

 i.                                                              the light vs. 18-19

a. The light protects us from ___________________

                Cf. Numbers 21:4-9; Rom. 8:1; John 5:24

b. the light protects us from the ______________

                Cf. John 1:4-5; 12:46; 1 Cor. 10:13

ii.                                                              the light vs. 20-21

a. are you a light ___________________________?

b. Are you a light ___________________________?

                Cf. 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 2:20


Can this help me with real fears?  




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