Apprehending Apprehension

Bible Book: Isaiah  43 : 1-7
Subject: Faith; Promises of God; Worry; Fear
Introduction

Through Isaiah God sent a message which He echoed fifteen times, an average of almost one repetition of the same theme every four chapters. The Lord sent a word of comfort and encouragement urging His children to “fear not.” This communiqué from Glory was one often repeated in other parts of the Bible. In fact, no less than one hundred times God tells us to Apprehend Apprehension, using the words “fear not” or “be not afraid” or “do not fear.” If we include the times God sought to eliminate worry from His children, the actual number of times He broadcast the blessing of the freedom from fear would most likely double that number of one hundred occurrences. What does this tell us? God does not want His people to live in a state of anxiety, agitation or trepidation.

Fear, however, is a real problem in life. It stretches across all age groups. From a child who fears things that go bump in the night, to senior adults who fear losing their savings, fear is a dreadful enemy. Even David new fear at one point in his life (Psalm 55:5).

Dr. George W. Truett was one of the greatest preachers in American history. He pastored the great First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, from 1897 till 1944. Under his leadership the church grew from 700 to more than 10,000 members. On one occasion he was asked to preach at one of America's premiere colleges. He wrote to the president and asked that the students choose the topic which interested them most. A survey was done and the result surprised Dr. Truett. The students said, "Tell the preacher to tell us how to deal with our fears." (20 Centuries of Great Preaching, vol. 8, p. 160)

Most of you are familiar with the former CBS football commentator John Madden. A former player and National Football League coach, Madden is afraid of flying. When he had to travel from New York to California to do commentary of a game, he left a few days early and rode on a special bus. Someone asked him why he was so afraid of flying. In true Madden style he answered, "At an airport one day I was standing in line to buy some flight insurance when I noticed that there were three airline pilots waiting in the line in front of me (related by Paul Harvey, "For What It's Worth," p. 86.).

God does not want his children living in fear. Apprehension among the redeemed reflects badly on the Redeemer. The state of high anxiety among the Saints tends to indicate that God has given us reason to doubt His promises or to wonder if He will keep His Word. He wants us to know and to act like we know that that all things work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). The Lord would have us to overcome anxiety and, thereby, to exhibit our confidence in God's goodness and grace!

In the passage before us today, we note that God gives us sufficient reasons for placing our trust in Him and His promises. Isaiah was inspired to tell us exactly why fear is nothing more than…

:

F ... False

E ... Evidence

A ... Appearing

R ... Real! (First heard used by Adrian Rogers)

God would have us to Apprehend Apprehension. We must have faith in God and in His Word (Proverbs 1:33 tells us that we can overcome fear by listening to God). Faith is…

F ... Fixed

A ... Assurance

I ... In

T ... The

H ... Heart!

When we have that assurance, we possess a peace that goes beyond understanding (Philippians 4:6).

Does God tell us in His Word how to combat fear? Yes, He tells us plenty! There are seven truths which God declares to help us apprehend apprehension.

I. He Created You (Isaiah 43:1a)

Carl Sagan, the late evolutionary spokesperson admitted: "The information content of a simple cell has been established as around 10 to 12th power bits, comparable to about a hundred million pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica." (Impact January, 1992  Dr. John D. Morris (Inst for Cr Res))

In other words, you are too much complex to have arrived at this point in time by accident. God made you, and He did so with a system so complex the greatest minds in the world find it hard to fathom. Since He Created you, don’t you think He can take care of you. He doesn’t leave you alone – in fact, He sent His Savior to redeem you and removed fear from your life.

That leads us to the thought…

II. He Redeemed You (Isaiah 43:1b)

On a day in May in 1779, three soldiers of the "Black Watch" ‑ then known as "The 42nd" ‑ were condemned to die for mutiny. Three empty coffins, behind which the men were led blindfolded with shackled hands, were slowly borne in the presence of the regiment, assembled in front of Edinburgh Castle. The firing party raised their guns awaiting the word to "Fire." Sir Adolph Oughton stepping forward drew a paper from his breast, and read aloud: "In consequence of gallantry displayed by the 42nd Regiment, it has pleased His Majesty to pardon the rebels." The men were released, in virtue of the gallantry of their comrades. So sinners are freed from sin's condemnation, on account of Christ's obedience unto death (Rom. 5:19). (Adapted from https://macalisterhistory.com/2014/05/06/culture-clash/)

III. He Called You (Isaiah 43:1c)

God called you by name. In Matthew 10:31, we are told that God knows the very hairs that are upon our head. Let me clarify that, God actually has the your hairs numbered! So if number 1,001 falls out, he knows the day and hour it happened. He knows you that well!

The Lord cares about you as an individual. The Lord knows more about you than your neighbors, more than your parents ever knew, even more than you know about yourselves. I mean, how many of us know the actual number of hairs on our head? Well, a few of us might but that is beside the point. Seriously, God called you by name because He is intimately involved in your life.

When God called you, He knew exactly who you were, where you were and what you needed. If you loves you that much, do you think He will desert you in a time of trouble? No, my Christian friend, He will never leave you nor forsake you.

IV. He Promises You (Isaiah 43:2)

In Bible Study Tools I read an interesting illustration of why it is important for us to believe and follow the Lord’s promises. The writer stated that he was driving down a bumpy country road when he saw a bag of cement beside the road. It appeared to have fallen off a delivery truck as it hit one of the bumps in the rough road. This person, “being an individual who does not like to see anything wasted, stopped to pick up the lost bag of cement. When he reached down to pick up this heavy bag, to his surprise, he discovered it was not soft and limber, but solidified into an immovable piece of cement. Often our lives are like that bag of cement. They take on shapes that were not intended and become hardened in that shape. That bag of cement was meant to become a part of some beautiful structure but, because it did not reach its place of service, it became a useless rock in the form of a bag of cement. God wants to make something beautiful of your life. Don't let this purpose be thwarted by a bump in the road of life. (adapted from www.biblestudytools.com)

God’s promises to be with you, guide you, counsel you, help you, protect you and take you to be with Him one day are not empty words. You can never be what He saved you to be, if you are worried all the time about the circumstances in your life or those in the lives of those you love. If you lack faith, you become like a bag of cement that has hardened into uselessness. Trust God. Serve God. Love God. Believe God. Keep reading His promises and put them to work in your life.

V. He Adores You (Isaiah 43:3-4)

One of the most important truths we can ever inculcate into our hearts and minds is the fact that God really loves us. He loves you as if you were the only one to love and He loves me the same way!

An elderly couple who had been married for sixty years were rocking on their porch. The husband looked over at his wife and thought of all the happy days they had together and said, "Honey, I'm proud of you." His wife who was hard of hearing said, "What did you say?" He said a little louder, "Honey, I said I'm proud of you." Again his wife could not hear what he was saying so she replied, "What did you say?" So this time the husband in a rather loud voice said, "HONEY, I SAID I WAS PROUD OF YOU!" His wife looked at him and said, "Well I'm tired of you too!"

God is never tired of you! In every situation He is trying to tell you that He loves you!

VI. He Accompanies You (Isaiah 43:5)

God will not leave us. He is with us, even when he cannot see Him or even feel that He is there.

When I was in college, many years ago now, I had an experience which has remained vivid in my mind. It was the first week of a new year and the student body had gathered in the gym for a special chapel service. Students were hustling into the hall, trying to find their seats. Each student had been assigned a seat according the alphabetical order of the first letter in their last name. I found my seat sandwiched between a young man on my right and a young lady on my left. I introduced myself to the young man and asked where he was from. He told the story of being reared in a children's home because his mother and father had not wanted him. He told how he had been loved and cared for in that Baptist institution. I was touched with his story. I turned to the young lady on my right and noticed that she was crying. I told her that I was a pastor and asked if something was wrong. She told me that she had come all the way from New Jersey to attend college in North Carolina. It was the first time she had been away from home and she felt she did not have a friend in the world. Then she told me to listen to the song the pianist had begun to play on the piano. I listened and caught the tune immediately, it was ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus.’ Then she added, "I was sitting here thinking that I didn't have a friend in this place when I heard that song. I realized I had the best Friend in the whole world, Jesus is with me!”

In less than two minutes I had heard two young students describe the friendship of Jesus in their lives. One, deserted by his parents, had been loved by the Lord through the people of the Lord. The other, far from home, family and friends, had just found Jesus to be with her in that seemingly faraway place.

You are never alone if you belong to Christ. He is present. He is with you. He will not leave you. You may forget He is there, but that does not remove His presence. You may ignore Him, but you cannot remove Him. Open your spiritual eyes right now and you will see Him. He is a Friend closer than a brother.

VII. He Will Gather You (Isaiah 43:6-7)

One day the Lord is going to call us home. One day He will beckon to us and we will fly away. Fear not little child, God is coming for you and He will take you to a place He has prepared for you. Whether in death or in the rapture, He will gather us to His side. We have a great, marvelous future awaiting us.

Conclusion

Of course, there are some people here today for whom fear will result in eternal separation from God. We see this truth recorded in the Bible. Revelation 21:8 records that the timid will perish forever. This is speaking of those who will perish because they feared coming to Jesus for salvation. If you do not know Christ as your Savior, it is time to cast off the fear by coming to Him, repenting of your sin, and trusting Him as Lord and Savior.

Psalm 27:1 is the confident message of a saint who asks, "Whom shall I fear? The Lord is my light and my salvation."

John 14:27 Christ stated plainly that He left us His peace so that we would not have to fear.

If there is a Christian in this place who is going through some trying times, or perhaps it is a family member or friend who is doing so. You are troubled – even worried about it. Come to the Friend that is closer than a brother. He loves you. He will comfort you. He will give you His peace!