The Love of God and Fear Overcome

Bible Book: 1 John  4 : 16-19
Subject: Fear; Love, God's
Series: God's Dear Children
Introduction

What is the source of fear? The Bible states, “God has not given us a spirit of fear.” If fear controls, intimidates, manipulates your life, it is not from God. Fear torments as John tells us! God does not want us to live in fear.

Did you know that there are 79 different classifications of fear.

There is the fear of life and the fear of death.

There is the fear of sickness and the fear of success.

There is the fear of the past, fear of the present and the fear of the future.

There is the fear of poverty and the fear of rejection.

Many kinds of fear exists. Fear can cause people to do unusual things. A man picked up a body of a rancher while working for a funeral home. He had a partner with him who fell asleep as they drove back to the funeral home. As they drove along, the driver saw a hitchhiker and decided to pick him up. He told the man he would have to ride in the back with the body since the two seats upfront were occupied. The partner in the front of the hearse was never woke up when the hitchhiker climbed in the back of the hearse. When the sleeping partner woke up, the driver forgot to tell him that there was a man sitting in the back with the body. After a few moments, the man in the back opened the curtain in the hearse and asked, “Hey, do you mind if I smoke?” The story is that the partner jumped out of the hearse doing 40 miles an hour.

We fear most the things we do not understand. One man had a wreck because he had never seen a tumble weed, mistook it for a boulder and drove off the road and ran into a tree.

A preacher once drove to a neighboring town to order a mural for a stained glass window. He forgot the size of the window and called his wife to get the dimensions. He drove on the store where he was to order the window. He talked for a few moments with the ladies behind the counter before beginning to place his order. He told the ladies he was very excited because he and his wife were expecting their first child. Just then his wife faxed him the dimensions of the window. The lady saw the fax, noted that it was addressed to the preacher but suddenly she screamed and fainted. The second lady saw it, screamed and fainted. The manager ran out from the back, and he passed out. The preacher leaped over the counter, read the fax as follows: Unto to us a Son is born … Eight feet tall and four feet wide. We fear what we don’t understand.

We hear noises in our houses at night and you just know someone is there? One man had a wife who had heard sounds in the house for 20 years. One night she told her husband for the thousandth time, “I heard someone in the house, go downstairs and check it out.” He went downstairs and found a burglar in the house. He said, “Look pal, you can have anything you want, just come up stairs first and meet my wife, she’s been looking for you for 20 years.” Fear makes us do strange things.

God does not want us to live in fear. He wants us to live in joy. Jesus prayed that we would have joy, His joy, in us! So let’s look at just two things today. First, we shall examine the damage of fear and then we shall consider the defeat of fear.

I. The Damage of Fear

Fear harms us. In the passage before us, we are told that the person who fears is not made complete or perfect. The person who fears cannot ever become that which God intends. Fear holds you back.

John Matuszak was a 6-foot-8, 280-pound football player for the Oakland Raiders. His public image was that of a havoc-wreaking, heavy-drinking, hard-hitting player who was as much of a threat off the field as on. Friends, however, knew "Tooz," as he was called, as a 280-pound puppy dog just begging to be stroked.

According to Los Angeles Times writer Mark Heisler, John Matuszak was "beset by fears he couldn't acknowledge." As a young boy, he was ridiculed for his gawky, beanpole appearance. Two brothers died of cystic fibrosis. The image of Tooz was a fortress he had created to hide in. But he got trapped there. He died at 38 of a massive heart attack. His body had been weakened by years of alcohol and drug abuse.

The story of King Saul bears some striking similarities. He too was a monster of a man, a fighter. He was also driven by fears. Because he tried to cope with them in his own strength instead of turning to the Lord for help, his life came to an untimely end.

How and why does it hold us back?

A. Fear Distrusts God

All fear is a matter of distrust of God. Look at Adam in the Garden of Eden. He ate of the forbidden fruit and then he ran to hide from God. He feared God! Note that fear was the opposite of trust. Fear is the opposite of faith. Faith in God overcomes fear.

Fear not death, for He is life.

Fear not disease, for He is the one that healeth thee.

Fear not hunger, for he is the bread of life.

Fear not life, for he has overcome the world and in Him we overcome.

Fear not poverty, for He has made us rich in all things.

B. Fear Deters Growth

Fear destroys your potential with God. It creates an emotional prison in which you must live. Fear can destroy your health. Fear can destroy your marriage. Fear can destroy your career. Fear can destroy your children. God has not given us a spirit of fear. The Spirit produces growth, but we do not have a spirit of fear. So when we fear, we are defeated. We cannot grow while we are afraid. Faith leads to growth and fear and growth are enemies.

C. Fear Defeats Grace

When Adam and Eve sinned, they feared and hid from God. God’s grace could not be given them as long as they hid. Many are unsaved because they are denying their need of God.

II. The Defeat of Fear

You can overcome! The Bible is full of “fear nots” spoken to those who will trust Him. Jesus often said that His disciples were not to fear. Fear not life, for He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Fear not life - He is One who was dead and He is alive forevermore. God told Abraham to fear not for He, the Lord, was His shield. God told Moses to fear not. God told Gideon to fear not. God told Joshua to fear not but to have courage. Jesus told those in the storm to fear not! The disciples had been on that lake many times. They knew how to sail the waters. But their own ability failed them. At some point in your life, all your skills will fail you. That which you trust most will fail you. All this will happen in order to get you to trust Him! If you fear, you will fail God and yourself, but if you trust God, you will grow and develop into all that God’s wants you to be.

How can one overcome fear!

A. The Word Love

Rely on the love of God. Trust the heart of God. Believe in the grace of God shown in His love. Fear will flee when you truly trust Him!

B. The Word Live

Live in Him. Don’t live in yourself. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding and He will direct your paths! You must walk in Him.

C. The Word Like

Act like Jesus. That is, love like Jesus. Relying on Him, and loving as He loved, destroys fear.

"HIDE NOT THY FACE"

A. D. Martin has written this poem of assurance:

A wee voice from the nighttime called,

"Tell me, Daddy, are you there?

Is your face still looking my way?

If it is, I will not care

That the night is dark and fearsome--

I will go to sleep again."

And the voice trailed off in slumber

With never a care or pain.

And we who are growing older

As we face life's greatest tests,

With minds that are sore distracted

And our hearts with cares oppressed;

We can still be brave in darkness

When we know our Father's near;

With His face turned ever toward us,

We can sleep without a fear.

In his book None of These Diseases, Dr. S. I. McMillin points out that experience confirms the testimony of Psalm 91. Quoting an eminent psychiatrist, he said, "No one can appreciate so fully as a doctor the amazingly large percentage of human disease and suffering which is directly traceable to worry, fear, conflict, immorality, dissipation, and ignorance - to unwholesome thinking and unclean living. Sincere acceptance...of Christ...would at once wipe out more than half of the difficulties, diseases, and sorrows of the human race."

An old man was asked what had robbed him of joy the most in his lifetime. He replied, "Things that never happened!" All of us can recall needless burdens that we have put on our own shoulders by anticipating the worst. Certainly the Lord does not lay such burdens on us.

Someone has cited these three keys to happiness:

1. Fret Not - He loves you - (John 13:1).

2. Faint Not - He holds you - (Psalm 139:10).

3. Fear Not - He keeps you - (Psalm 121:5).

Conclusion

W. B. Davidson wrote, "When just a small child, I accompanied my father on a short trip to see Grandmother, who lived 3 miles from our home. We remained longer that we should have, and night overtook us. Between our home and Grandmother's house was a swamp. That night the frogs' croaking and the crickets' chirping, together with the darkness and the shadows of the trees, frightened me. I inquired of my father if there was any danger of something catching us, but he assured me there was nothing to dread. And so, taking me by the hand, he said, 'I will not allow anything to harm you.' Immediately my fears passed away and I was ready to face the world, for my father had me by the hand."

During the American Civil War, Morefield, West Virginia, felt the force of the fighting. Because it was close to the border, one day it would be controlled by Union troops, the next by the Confederates.

In the center of the town an old woman lived alone. According to the testimony of a Presbyterian minister, one morning several enemy soldiers knocked on her door and demanded breakfast. She asked them in and said she would prepare something for them. When the food was ready, she said, "It's my custom to read the Bible and pray before breakfast. I hope you won't mind." They consented, so she took her Bible, opened it at random, and began to read. "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" She read on through the last verse: "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart." When she finished reading, she said, "Let us pray." While she was praying, she heard sounds of the men moving around in the room. When she said "Amen" and looked up, the soldiers were gone.

Instead of the expected intellectual monologue on the various ramifications of the question, Dr. Rogers gave this simple reply: "Love makes for mental health. Fear erodes it."

Montgomery countered, "But haven't you found that lots of people who fall in love still struggle with self-doubt, frustration, and fear?"

"I'm not talking about mere human love," said the famous psychologist. "The kind of love I'm referring to is the love that God has for people." [Pursuit, Vol 70, No 2, 1996. Page 10.]