Not A Spirit Of Fear!

Bible Book: 2 Timothy  1 : 7
Subject: Fear; Faith; Deliverence

A young bride heard a knock at her door. She opened it, and a stranger with a knife in his hand pushed her into her living room. He bolted the door, closed the drapes, and barked, "Take off your clothes."

With calmness and courage, the Christian wife said, "I'm a Christian. The Lord Jesus Christ is watching over me right now. He's not going to allow anything to happen to me He doesn't want to occur."

Stunned, the stranger listened in silence. The housewife continued, "Jesus Christ loves you. He wants to come into your life and become your Lord and Savior. Have you ever heard the Gospel?"

"No," he answered, and he put his knife into his pocket. As he sank into a chair, the courageous Christian said, "Just as I opened my door to you, so you must do the same. Jesus awaits your decision to let Him in."

Bowing their heads, the would-be rapist received the Lord Jesus as his Savior, then left; and he never laid a hand on her.

How could she do that? Our text, 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind."

I. Mark The Courage

The Contemporary English Version puts it like this: "God's Spirit does not make cowards out of us." Many dangers lurk just around the corner of your life and mine. With the Spirit within him, the Son before him, the Father above him, and the angels around him, it's not surprising that he isn't afraid.

A. He Does Not Fear Disease

A healthy fellow was walking to town and he met a friend who said, "You don't look well." Going a little further, another asked, "What ails you?" Frightened, he hurried home and went to bed.

There is a legend that says a peasant was driving into a European city, and was stopped by an old woman who wanted a ride. "Who are you?" he asked. "A plague," she replied. "I'm going to the city to kill ten persons." As proof of her statement, she gave him a dagger and said, "Kill me if I kill more."

On reaching the city, more than a hundred died. Angry, the peasant drew out his dagger to kill her. But she stopped him says, "I killed only ten. Fear killed the rest."

Victory over sickness isn't always possible, but victory in sickness is possible. Paul suffered terribly with his sickness. He begged the Lord to make his suffering go away. But the Lord said, "My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness." The Lord Jesus, even in your sickness, is ready to give you His grace for your grief, and you will find His power is strongest when you are weakest. In your weariest day He will be your stay, and in your darkest night He will be your light.

B. He Does Not Fear Destitution

Money can't buy heaven, health, or happiness-or what it did last year. And it's like a New Year's resolution-you make it, but you can't keep it. Like Job we must confess, "I came naked from my mother's womb, and I shall have nothing when I die."

That delivered Sir Walter Scott from the fear of poverty. When he was at the pinnacle of his fame his business failed. He wrote in his diary, "Naked we entered this world and naked we leave it; blessed be the name of the Lord. I have walked my last in the domains I have planted-sat the last time in the halls I have built. But death would have taken them from me if misfortune had spared them."

Better than having fear over poverty is having faith in the promises of God. He promised in Isaiah 46:4 TLB, "I will be your God through all your lifetime, yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will carry you along and be your Savior." And it is promised in Philippians 4:19, "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

C. He Does Not Fear The Devil

The Savior was tempted, and so will every saint and sinner tempted. But just as Christ triumphed over Satan and sin, so can every Christian. Here are so Don'ts and Do's.

1. Don't Entertain Sin

A pilot was asked by a drug dealer to fly cocaine into the states. He offered him a tempting price. He felt the pull to get out of debt, and his evil desire was about to lead him to an evil deed. Pulling a pistol out of his pocket, he said to the drug dealer, "Get off my plane!" He got off in a hurry, never to tempt him again.

2. Don't Excite Sin

Don't read anything, don't look at anything, don't listen to anything, don't go with any person or to any place that will excite sin. A boy came home carrying a wet bathing suit. His father said, "Didn't I tell you not to go swimming today?"

"Yes, sir," he answered.

"Then why did you go swimming?"

"I didn't intend to," he replied, "but I had my bathing suit with me, and I couldn't resist the temptation."

"Why did you take your bathing suit?" demanded the father.

"I knew I'd pass the swimming hole," said the boy.

Elude temptation, don't invite it.

Do Turn to the Savior

When tempted, turn to the Savior. He said, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you." Every temptation is an opportunity for prayer. Power to overcome the temptation will come when you pray. Thanks be to God, you may pray at any time and in any place. Victory will come just in the nick of time.

Do Turn to the Scriptures

When tempted, turn to the Scriptures. That is what the Lord Jesus did. The tempter said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." But He answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God'."

Before my conversion I played for night clubs, and the dirty stories that were told made a way into my mind. Every time Satan would suggest a sinful story after my conversion, I would call upon the Lord and think on His word. The Lord, with His word, gave the victory!

"But," you say, "I'm so afraid of my past sins and the coming judgment." 1 John 1:9 assures us, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." There was a girl who didn't wade in sin, she wallowed in it. One day as she faced her sins she became terribly frightened. She called a man of God who read this Bible verse to her. She listened intently and asked pleadingly, "Did God say 'all' my sins?" "Yes, ma'am," said the preacher. "Bless His name," she cried.

Here is an interesting thing. Not only is the blood of Christ competent to cleanse, but it is continual in its cleansing. It keeps on cleansing. There is an initial cleansing when we first come in confession. And there is a continual cleansing as often as we come. Because of faith in Christ, there is no fear for the Christian.

II. Mark The Coping

In your stress, your struggles and your storms you cope or you cop out. There is power to cope and conquer for the Christian. For our text says, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power."

God give Strength for Stress. Pastor Pat Shaughnessy was standing in the Los Angeles Airport, waiting to board a plane for a preaching mission in Korea, and a bomb exploded. His left leg had been blown open at the knee and his right leg was practically gone. Few thought he would live.

In his intense pain it seemed the Lord said to him, "Pat, you don't need a right leg to preach the gospel. You never preached with your leg and you never will."

Pat was never angry with God. He testified, "God knew the bomb was there and He knew I was there. It was not an accident, it was an incident. And through this incident God had expanded our ministry in a wonderful way. I was not the victim of that bomb blast, I was the victor.

God gives Strength for Storms. Victor Hugo told of a ship that was caught in a storm. When the storm was at its worst, the crew heard terrible crashing sounds below. A cannon had broken loose and was hitting the sides, tearing awful holes. Two men, risking their lives, secured the cannon. Even though the storm tossed them about, the cannon could no longer sink.

Are you going through a storm? The outside storm isn't your real trouble. It's self loose on the inside. Why suffer danger and destruction by depending on your own strength when the power of God is available to you? It is as you submit to the Savior that you will be able to subdue self.

God gives Strength for Struggles. You enter this world crying, and you leave this world with others crying. You will never be without any struggles, but you will never be without the Savior in your struggles. In Him there is strength for your struggles, the strength to stand erect in the face of your shattering situations. God will enable you to pass the breaking point without breaking.

By every standard you can think of, a certain black girl who was conceived in a rape should have been an emotionally deprived and mentally defeated person. Born an illegitimate child, raised in poverty, she had her struggles. Pressed on every side in the ghetto, but not crushed. Perplexed, she didn't know why things happened as they did. Knocked down, but she would get up. Constantly facing death, she kept going. When asked how she did it, Ethel Waters answered, "Because Jesus is in my heart."

III. Mark The Compassion

Our text says, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love."

There is no way of telling what a tree is other than by its fruit, and there is no way of telling what a man is other than his fruit. What is the fruit of a Christian? Love. It is written in 1 John 3:14, "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren."

No one ever knew what love was until it was revealed from heaven and recorded in the Bible. It is here and no where else, for only "God is love."

This love is more than an emotional thing, it is a "motional" thing. It will bleed in order to bless, sacrifice in order to serve. It loves the lovely an the loveless, it gives and it forgives, and it keeps on giving. You can't love without giving.

How does one get this love? Is it produced by man? No, it is poured out by God. It is written in Romans 5:5, "The love of God had been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit."

The town's drunk said to his friend, "Sam. The boys threw stones at me last night." "Maybe," he replied, "they were trying to make a better man out of you." "Well," he said, "I never heard of Jesus throwing stones at a man to make him better." No, it's not lashing that saves, but loving.

A Hindu manufacturer came to a gospel meeting in India one night and was wonderfully converted. One asked him, "Why did you come tonight?"

"Because," he said, "when I was a boy we heckled a missionary preaching in the bazaar. We threw tomatoes at him. He wiped off the tomato juice from his face and then after the meeting took us to a store and bought us candy. I saw the love of Christ that day, and that's why I'm here now."

Why don't you open your heart to the God of love and let Him give you His love?

IV. Mark The Control

2 Timothy 1:7 say, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." The expression "sound mind" speaks of self-mastery or of self-control.

Look at it like this: here is a horse, a wild horse, but it has been tamed. It still has all of its fire and fury, its strength and speed, but it is now under control.

What is true of the horse is true of a human. Here is one who is dominated by liquor or lust, money or might, position or pleasure. He lets go and his passions run riot, destroying himself and his loved ones. But he receives the Lord Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Cheerfully and completely he yields himself to the Lord. He tames him, giving him the gift of a sound mind or of self-control, and he becomes a glad and God-honoring Christian.

Colonel Gardiner turned himself heartily and wholly over to the Spirit of God and had a life-changing experience. He said, "I was effectually cured of all of inclination to the sin of sexuality. I was so strongly addicted that I thought nothing but shooting me through the head could have cured me of it; and all the desire and inclination to it were removed as entirely as if I had been a little child, nor did the temptation return to this day."

Russell Conwell, an atheist, was the leader of a regiment during the Civil War that was called the Berkshire Boys. He led these young volunteers from victory to victory, until one night they found themselves at the edge of a stream where they were caught off guard by the Confederates. Escaping across a bridge, Colonel Conwell discovered that he had left his sword on the other side. One of his boys, a teenager named Johnny Ring, volunteered to get it for him. Johnny found the sword, and running back to the bridge, he saw that it was on fire. Without any hesitation he ran through the flames. When he reached Colonel Conwell he fell at his feet, badly burned.

"I'm sorry, Johnny," said the Colonel, "very sorry."

"Don't be sorry," answered the soldier. "I'm not afraid to die. I know Jesus Christ. He is my Savior. I'm going to be with Him. It's all right, Colonel." With his last breath Johnny looked at him and asked, "Are you afraid to die, sir? Do you know Christ, sir?"

Johnny Ring died. Kneeling beside him, his commanding officer received the Lord Jesus as his Savior. Then he prayed, "Dear God, I give my life to You. I feel your presence I felt You come into my tent tonight. I know You are real." That night the Colonel made a vow, saying, "Dear God, I'm going to be the person that Johnny Ring wanted to be, and I'm going to work sixteen hours a day, eight hours for me and eight hours for Johnny Ring to live out his life through me." Russell Conwell became a mighty minister, pastoring a great church and building Temple University of Philadelphia to train young men and women. He put over two thousand students through college, medical school and seminary, and when he died he left only the house he lived in. He had given all that he was and had to the Lord. Won't you?

Just now call upon the name of the Lord. Let Him give you faith for your fears, and yielding yourself to Him, let Him give you power, love and a sound mind!