How To Face Your Fears

Bible Book: 2 Timothy  1 : 3-7
Subject: Fear
Series: A New Year Without Fear

We have been learning this month from the Word of God how to have a new year without fear. We began in Isaiah 43 talking about the Fear of Uncertainty. There’s just something about the unknown that tends to drive fear deep into our hearts.

Do you remember what God told us in Isaiah 43 to enable us to overcome the fear of uncertainty? “Fear not … I have redeemed You, You are mine.” The second Christ steps into your life … you become His purchased possession. And He tells us that He purchased us in order to release us from the burden and bondage of sin.

“Fear not .. I am with you.” Isaiah 41.10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

What a promise! What a presence! And to know that through Him … we can have assurance and peace during those times of uncertainty. And we all have them .. don’t we? That would be a good message to pick up today in the Crossing to give to a friend.

And then from Psalm 91 .. God explained to us how to be free from fear. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High …. Shall not be afraid.” And from Psalm 91 we learned about that secret place that leads to the securest place. Thank God for the security we have in Christ.

Then last time together we were in Hebrews 13 learning about the Fear of Loneliness. Thank God for that Friend that sticks closer than a brother. Now that brings us to the final message of this series of messages: A New Year without Fear.

So join me in 2 Timothy 1 as we consider today How to Face Your Fears. There was a child who was afraid of storms. One night .. a big storm came up and he asked his Mother to stay in his room that night because he was afraid. She said, “honey, you’ll be all right without me. I have to stay with Daddy.” As she turned to leave his room, she heard her son say under his breath, ‘Daddy, that big sissy.”

You may feel like the man who wrote this honest confession: “Whenever thunder splits the air, My dog gets quite unsteady; He dives beneath the bed to find, that I am already there.” Well .. fears have a way of paralyzing and immobilizing us. We can all identify with the man who said that he didn’t have any problems with fear when it came to eternal life and salvation … but it was the 24 hours that scared him.

Keep in mind that God never intended for His children to live with unholy .. unhealthy .. and unhelpful fear. That’s why He reminds us over and over in His word to “fear not.” I was reading recently through Jeremiah’s book of Lamentations where he cried out to God in chapter 3.55-58, “I called on Your name, O LORD, from the lowest pit. You have heard my voice; do not hide Your ear from my sighing, from the cry for help.’ You drew near to the day I called on You, and said ‘Do not fear!” O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul; You have redeemed my life.”

So how do you Face your Fears? Well .. according to 2 Timothy 1 … apparently Timothy had allowed his fears to prevent him from serving God. Perhaps it was the fear of failure … fear of rejection … fear of persecution … fear of people. Perhaps it was a combination of several fears. At any rate .. his fears had crippled and paralyzed the fellowship and Paul attempts to encourage him.

Well .. let’s look at a couple of verses out of this first chapter as we consider today: How to Face Your Fears.” And let’s see if we can determine what these passages meant back then .. what they mean today and what they mean for us personally.

How To Face Your Fears

2 Timothy 1.6-7

“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Verse 6 begins with the word “therefore” which ties it to what Paul had just finished talking about. So let’s keep this in the context. If you back up a few verses you will find that Paul had been thinking back over his relationship with Timothy. He tells him in verse 3 how he had remembered to pray for him. And then in verse 5 he tells him how he had remembered the genuine faith that was in them.

Now having said all of that .. he then says in verse 6, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you …” Now here’s the good news: God had given him a gift that was in him. The bad news was that it was in need of being stirred up.

To phrase “stir up” was used to describe the stoking of a fire. When the flames of a fire settle down no longer giving off much heat .. you take the poker and poke at the logs to reignite the flames. Let me ask you a question: does the gift God has given you need stoking? You say ,”Pastor, what gift are you talking about?” That spiritual gift He’s given you! That gift! That gift you once used to help build up the body of Christ. That gift!

Have you neglected your spiritual gift? By the way .. the longer you neglect using your spiritual gift … the harder it is to rekindle it. Just like a fire! It’s time to stir up your gift! I believe we’re on the brink of some wonderful days as a church. We have sacrificed these last 3 ½ years to get to where we are. And I believe that all of the sacrifice is about to pay off as we move into our new schedule.

But I want to warn you: we can have multiple services and multiple styles and multiple speakers wrapped around a single Sunday School hour … but we will never maximize our ministries as long as your spiritual gift goes unused. Just imagine what all God could accomplish over the next few years through our fellowship if every partner of this fellowship discovered their gift and developed their gift but then deployed their gift through this fellowship. And often times … it is F E A R that causes us to neglect “the gift of God which is in you.”

Some of you are sitting in the congregation who ought to be singing up here in the choir. Some of you are sitting in a Sunday School class who ought to be teaching a Sunday School class. Some of you are remaining silent every week rather than sharing Jesus because of Fear. You’ve been crippled by fear.

The fear of failure. The fear of rejection. The fear of persecution. The fear of letting somebody down. You can be so afraid of making a mistake that your entire life will be a mistake. Hey … you don’t have to always succeed. Paul had failed on certain times.

Walt Disney got a job as a cartoonist for a newspaper and they fired him. Did you know that Napoleon Bonaparte, that great general, went to a military school and out of 43 students, he was next to last? You’re going to fail if you try anything. But God deliver us from a spirit of failure because Satan uses that spirit of failure in us to cripple and paralyze the fellowship.

Perhaps like Timothy … it’s time for you to “stir up the gift of God which is in you ..” Look what he says in verse 7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear …”

That fear you have concerning using that gift God has given you is not from God. God didn’t put that in your heart. Now if God has not given you a spirit of unhealthy … unholy .. unhelpful fear then who has? Satan has … that’s who. And it’s time that you face your fears.

You say, ‘Pastor, how can I face my fears? They have paralyzed my life for years. They have limited me in my church life. They have haunted me in my personal life. They have crippled by spiritual life. How can I move out from under this cloud of fear?”

Well … here’s what Paul had to say to Timothy who had perhaps let his gift slide: it’s found in verse 7 , “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Here is what God has given us: He has given us POWER … He has given us LOVE …and He has given us A SOUND MIND. In other words .. God has given us everything we need to overcome every fear that Satan has put in us keeping us on the sidelines rather than in the game.

He has given us POWER … He has given us LOVE … and He has given us A SOUND MIND.

(1) He has given us POWER.

You say, “Ernest, what kind of power has God given us that will help us stir up our gift but then to also start using our gift within our church? Well .. I think I’ll let Dr. Luke answer that question. It’s found in the book of Acts. You know where the book of Acts is found in your Bible, don’t you?

Acts 1.8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” Do you have the Holy Spirit within you? If so .. then quit feeling sorry for yourself. Fear is evidence that you don’t trust God to see you through the problem you’re in. You have the power of God in your life. Resurrection power.

“Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4.4) “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27.1) He purchased me. He released me. He guides me. He protects me. He saves me. So what’s there to fear?

Yet you say, “Pastor, I understand that. But I’m hesitant about getting involved in church again. I have before and I got hurt. People disappointed me and I decided that I would never again let that happen to me.” Oh you did .. did you? Now I wonder who influenced you in making that decision? I can tell you who didn’t influence you in making that decision: God didn’t! Learn this: people will always disappoint you. And if you do what you do for people … it’s just a matter of time before you crash. But when you do what you do unto Jesus … for His glory .. as service unto Him .. even when people disappoint you or hurt you .. you can just continue serving and using the gift God’s given you to build up the fellowship.

What makes that possible? Hey .. you’ve got the power! By the way … do you know what fear eliminates all other fear? The fear of God! Proverbs 1.7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 10.27, “The fear of the Lord prolongs days, but the years of the wicked will be shortened.” Proverbs 28.14, “Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord.” Psalm 147.11, “The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.” Proverbs 19.23, “The fear of the LORD leads to life ..”

Those who fear God .. fear no man. I’m afraid that we’ve raised a generation that does not fear God. No .. I know that we’ve raised a generation that doesn’t fear God. When the Bible talks about “fearing God” … it’s not referring to shaking in your boots kind of fear. It’s referring to having a holy reverence … a holy awe of All Mighty God.

You say, “Pastor, how can I know today if I truly fear God?” That’s easy. By the choices that you make. You tell me the choices you make and I can tell you whether or not you fear God. I have stayed faithful to Julie as my wife for nearly 30 years because I fear God.

I’ll tell something else. I’ve remained faithful to the call God has upon my life for one reason: I have a holy fear of God. Over the years when I had had enough and Satan whispered in my ear “you don’t have to put up with this … walk out”… the two things that have kept me in the saddle was the fear of God and the call of God.

That’s not only true for a pastor .. it’s true for every believer as they use the gift that God has given them within the fellowship.

(1) He has given us POWER.

(2) He has given us LOVE.

Verse 7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love …” 1 John 4.8, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

In other words .. you don’t have to fear anything because God loves you. Again .. here’s what your unhealthy, unholy fear says to God: “God, I’m not sure You love me and want the best for me.” Your fear says to God, “God, I’m not sure I can trust You with this one.”

Remember .. Fear and Trust cannot reside in the same heart at the same time. You won’t find fear in a trusting heart. And you won’t find trust in a fearing heart.

Do you remember what Jesus said to His disciples that night when they found themselves in a storm while boating on the sea? Matthew 14.27, “Be of good cheer. It is I; do not be afraid.” Spend time with Jesus and see your fear begin to fade. The love Jesus has for you is perfect. He really loves us. And when we finally start believing that .. that He really loves us … His perfect love will casts out all our fears.

God has given us a wonderful fellowship here at Roswell Street Baptist Church. A fellowship that is incomplete without you. Don’t let fear prevent you any longer from getting involved and once again serving God! It’s as you serve and use the gift God’s given you that our fellowship will be maximized for the glory of God!

(1) He has given us POWER.

(2) He has given us LOVE.

(3) He has given us A SOUND MIND.

Verse 7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Now this should be reassuring for many of you. When Paul speaks of God giving us “a sound mind” .. he means to be in your right mind .. to think sensibly.

He’s talking about people who are level thinkers. And when a crisis comes .. when you face difficulty .. you need to be a level thinker.

And that kind of thinking comes from God. He settles you down mentally. He keeps you calm. The word Paul uses here speaks of discipline .. self-control.

God’s given us a sound mind so that when Satan comes trying to deceive us and confuse us with what is true and what is false .. that we can discern the difference. We need to stop letting Satan intimidate us with a spirit of fear.

Psalm 118.6, “The LORD is on my side, I will not fear, what can man do to me?” Psalm 27.1, “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?”

Is the LORD your light? What about your salvation? How can the LORD be your salvation? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. That’s how. When He becomes your salvation .. you can say along with Paul in Romans 8.38, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

One day a man walked up to his pastor and said, “Pastor, I have found a wonderful verse on fear: Psalm 56.3, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.”

The Pastor smiled and said, “That is a wonderful verse on fear, but I’ve got a better one: Isaiah 12.2, “I will trust and not be afraid.” Do you hear the difference? Better than being afraid and then trusting in the Lord is trusting in the Lord and not being afraid.

He has given us POWER.
He has given us LOVE.
He has given us A SOUND MIND.

Now lets decide to serve Him with gladness this year using the gift He’s given us to not only to strengthen our fellowship but to bring Him glory.