I. In preparing His disciples for His imminent arrest, trial, and crucifixion, Jesus sought to reassure them by expressing His own confidence.
"Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye
shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am
not alone, because the Father is with me".
II. Though troubling days were ahead, Jesus offered them the joy that in Him they too could have peace, for He had overcome the world.
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye
might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world".
III. Jesus demonstrated through His death and resurrection that He had indeed overcome the world, and now this joy is offered to His disciples.
I John 5:4-5
IV. Such joy includes overcoming fear. I John 4:18
A. Whether real or imagined
B. Which like some forms of anxiety (e.g., panic disorders), can have a debilitating effect on peoples' lives
V. Not all fear is harmful, however; there is to be a place in the heart of the Christian for the right kind of fear.
A. Jesus taught us whom to fear Matthew 10:28,
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not
able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul
and body in hell".
B. Paul wrote of the need for a "fear and trembling" -
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed,
not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own
salvation with fear and trembling".
[When we properly understand Whom to fear, and how faith in Jesus dispels the wrong kind of fear, then we can overcome any fear or phobia that would rob us of the joy Jesus offers. With that in mind, let's examine the subject of fear...]
I. Understanding Fear.
A. Fear Defined.
1. According to Webster's Dictionary:
a. The instinctive emotion aroused by impending danger, pain, evil.
b. Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power
2. As the above definition suggests, there are two different kinds of fear.
a. One is wrong, which we are addressing in this lesson
b. The other is necessary, as stressed in the Book of Proverbs
1) The "fear of the Lord" is the beginning of knowledge - Prov 1:7
2) The "fear of the Lord" will cause one to hate evil - Prov 8:13
3) The "fear of the Lord" will prolong life - Prov 10:27
4) The fear of the Lord provides strong confidence and is a fountain of life -
5) The "fear of the Lord" prompts one to depart from evil - Prov 16:6
6) The "fear of the Lord" leads to a satisfying life, and spares one from much evil -
7) The "fear of the Lord" is the way to riches, honor, and life! -
B. The Wrong Kind Of Fear.
1. Fear which is groundless.
a. Many social and specific phobias fall into this category
b. Here is a list of the most common fears, and the percentage of people which fear them.
Top 12 Fears: Charles J. Givens, Super-Self (Simon & Schuster,1993) p.288.
1) Speaking before a group (40%)
2) Heights (30%)
3) Insects and bugs (20%)
4) Financial problems (20%)
5) Deep Water (20%)
6) Disease (20%)
7) Death (20%)
8) Flying (20%)
9) Loneliness (15%)
10) Dogs (10%)
11) Driving/riding in a car (10%)
12) Dark (10%)
c. Such fears are often the result of misinformation
d. FEAR is False Education Appearing Real
2. Fear that makes problems seem greater than they really are.
3. Fear that prevents us from enjoying the blessings we have.
4. Fear that hinders our ability to be of service to God.
5. Fear that motivates us to disobey God.
a. Certain fears often prompt us to do things which are displeasing to God
b. For example, in a poll of teenagers, among other things they feared:
1) Failing in School - 44%
2) Loneliness - 33%
3) Not Having a Boyfriend/Girlfriend - 30%
4) Rejection - 28%
c. Such fears have often led young people to cheat, get in with the wrong crowd, give in to improper sexual advances
d. Similar fears have prompted many adults to lie, cheat on the job, commit adultery, enter unscriptural marriages, etc.
e. Fear of rejection, fear of persecution, etc., has led some Christians to denounce their faith in God
[Unless we can overcome the wrong kind of fear, the devil will have many weapons in his arsenal to use against us. If we are going to be victorious over him and HAVE JOY in this world, then we will have to understand how that...]
II. Faith in Jesus helps us to overcome fear.
A. Jesus taught that fear is indicative of little faith.
1. When His disciples were fearful of the storm at sea - Mt 8:23-27
2. When Peter faltered as he went to Jesus walking on the water - Mt 14:25-33
3. As Jesus taught them not to have fearful anxiety concerning the necessities of life -
4. As someone put it: "Fear is simply unbelief parading in disguise."
B. Jesus addressed our worst fears.
1. The fear of what we might face in this life
a. Jesus promised, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." -
b. With such a promise, we can take courage, as Joshua was encouraged to do -
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you
c. With the Lord at our side, what can man do? Hebrews 13:5-6.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
d. The worst that can happen is death, and Jesus addressed that.
2. The fear of death
a. His own victory over death frees us from the fear of death Hebrews 2:14-15,
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he
also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might 1destroy
him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who
through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage".
b. Thus Paul could face death with great confidence, even anticipation
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live
in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I
wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to
depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better".
3. The fear of what comes after death
a. Jesus comforted His disciples with the promise of lies ahead -
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in
me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I
would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go
and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto
myself; that where I am, there ye may be also".
b. Thus Paul could look forward to what he would receive - II Timothy 2:4-6,
"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this
life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he
strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first
partaker of the fruits".
[When we've overcome these fears through faith in Jesus, other fears will seem petty!]
I. Where there is faith, fear cannot abide.
II. "Fear imprisons, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages; fear sickens, faith heals; fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable and, most of all, fear puts hopelessness at the heart of life, while faith rejoices in its God."
III. If anyone gives us reason to have faith in God, it is Jesus.
A. Through His signs and wonders, which God worked in Him
"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his
B. Through His own resurrection from the dead, proclaiming Him to be the Son of God,
Romans 1:4, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
C. Through the words of His inspired apostles, whose overwhelming testimony gives us reasons to believe in who Jesus was and what Jesus taught,
I John 1:1-4,
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We write this to make our joy complete".
IV. So if we wish to overcome fear and have joy in our lives, faith in Jesus Christ is the victory!