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2-1-23 - Fear God - Not Man

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist
The Truth Network Radio
February 4, 2023 2:00 pm

2-1-23 - Fear God - Not Man

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist

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February 4, 2023 2:00 pm

February 1, 2023 – Message from Steve Schulze

            Main Scripture Passage:  Isaiah 41:8-14; Luke 12:1-7

            Topic: Fearing God


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At this time, I'm going to have Brother Steve Scholze come up. He's preaching for us tonight, so make Brother Steve feel welcome as he comes this evening. Thank you, brother.

Appreciate it. Good evening, everyone. Can you hear me okay? It's good to be here tonight. Pastor Josh asked me to fill in for him tonight while he's on vacation, and it's a blessing to be able to be here. So thank you, Braden and Pastor, for those opportunities. Before we begin reading a passage of scripture, let's have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you for this opportunity again tonight.

Come into your house in the midweek service. Look into your word. We just pray that it be a blessing to everyone here. Father, I pray that you would just speak to the hearts of those that are here, Lord, that might be dealing with things in their life that are difficult.

Maybe they're dealing with some fears right now. Father, we just ask your blessing upon us as we're assembled together. May your name be glorified this evening in Jesus' name.

All right. Well, who remembers? It's been a while since I've been up here, but there were some rules that my youngest daughter Emma gave me for public speaking. Anyone remember those rules? One of them was don't talk too fast, don't go past the time limit, don't tell embarrassing stories about mom and the kids, and don't tell these rules to the church.

So I have already failed in that, and I'm in trouble for it. Before I begin, I do want to wish happy birthday to Cameron. I don't see him. Today's his 21st birthday. There he is right over there. And it's also the one year anniversary of Cameron dating my daughter Mary.

I had to throw that in there. Well, as I normally do when I write repair messages and things like that, presentations that I've done, I often have my wife Karen proofread things for me. So I asked her after she proofed this message, I said, since now you know what the message is all about, are you just going to sit and crochet? And he said, no, I don't think so this time. I think I'll just bring a book to read.

Thank you, dear wife. And I should have had Eric Johnson up here with me. I told him he's wearing a sweatshirt today that it says faith over fear. That's the subject of what I want to talk to you about. I said, Eric, come up and stand on the stage and be my billboard for me.

He said he'll need a seat to sit on. So anyway, I want to speak to you tonight on the subject of fearing God and not fearing man and what God's word has to say about this. Lately, the Lord's impressed us upon my heart with two passages of scripture.

One of them I read in my morning devotional a few weeks ago, and the other one was doing my hair journal with our D group. And it was also even related to a passage the pastor had preached on out of Matthew, where he's gone through the Sermon on the Mount. So those things all kind of combined together and I'd like you to turn your Bibles and read along if you would in Isaiah 41.

And you can stand as we read. I'm not going to read the entire passage of the chapter here. It starts in verse eight and runs down through 14.

But I do want to read a portion of this, and it's verse 10. It says, Fear thou not, for I am with thee. Be not dismayed, for I am thy God. I will strengthen you. Yea, I will help thee. Yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

And be seated. This is a passage of scripture that Matthew Henry, in his commentary, he summarized the context of this chapter and it was basically twofold. First of all, he's showing conviction and admonishing the idolaters at this time, specifically the Babylonians. And second of all, he was consoling and encouraging the faithful worshipers of God who were the Israelites.

And I want to focus specifically on the words from God to his people, especially the words that God uses to calm your fears and to encourage you in the faith. The second passage of scripture I'd like you to turn to is in Luke, in Luke chapter 12. And without reading the entire context of this, I'll just basically tell you that this is Jesus preaching in Luke 12 to a very, very large group. It says an innumerable multitude. They could not be numbered.

It was so many people. And he was telling them first to be aware, beware of the Pharisees, but most of all to fear God. And reading in Luke 12 verses 4 to 5, and I'll just read this here. He says, and I say unto you, my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear. Fear him which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell. Yea, say unto you, fear him. So these two passages of scripture related one about the fear of man and the other one about who we should fear and that is God. Fear him. So I've broken this message down into seven points and hopefully we'll be able to get through these tonight and they should appear up on the screen.

The first one is a question. I have a question for you and I want you to think about this for a minute. What's your biggest fear? What is your biggest phobia? The number one fear in the world that has been this way for many years has been the fear of public speaking. Anybody afraid of getting up in front of an audience and speaking?

I see a lot of heads moving up and down, hands. Yea, well the word comes from glossophobia. It comes from the word meaning your tongue, glossa, and phobia being you fear it or you dread it. Getting up in front of an audience and I've said this before, no matter how many times I do this, I always feel that nervousness even before I come up.

Once I get up here, I feel fine but there's always this feeling of something impending or something looming here that I'm going to mess up or I'm going to say something wrong. So that does affect a lot of people. Now, according to a Gallup poll back in 2001, this was right prior to 9-11, about 40% ranked this fear higher than the fear of death. More people were afraid of public speaking than dying. The National Institute of Mental Health believed that it affects 75% of the people in the world. I said wow, that's 3 out of every 4 people have some fear of getting up in front of a group and speaking.

That's a lot. So continue to pray for me as I'm up here tonight. Emma, my youngest daughter, our youngest daughter, she has this homeopathic remedy and she said, Dad, this will cure stage fright.

So I took a few of them and I didn't really notice any difference but she's really good at that. And I was talking at the dinner table last night and Elizabeth said to me, she said, Dad, you don't get stage fright. You're going to be talking about overcoming fear. You shouldn't even be talking about that.

It doesn't seem to go together. I said, yeah, that's true. So here are, there have been listed 125 different phobias that people have and that's a lot. But actually the list is immense. It's exhausting.

You couldn't even begin to go through it without page after page. So not joking in any way but you name it, somebody is afraid of something. And as you're sitting here thinking about that question, you're probably thinking of some of them come to your mind right away. Well, people are afraid of everything from balloons to taking a bath to belly buttons to their beards to boogeyman, you name it. There's a fear of just about everything that people have. There's even a fear actually documented where you can have a fear of everything. Some people suffer from this or having a fear of being afraid.

That's how bizarre this can be. But it's amazing what these people have listed. So I'm going to ask you what's your biggest fear.

What have you experienced over time and every one of you has experienced. Anybody want to shout out a fear? What? Clowns. What else? Snakes.

Anybody else have a fear of something? Failure. Excellent.

People are afraid of failing. I had somebody tell me that just recently. What's another one?

What was that? Tornadoes. Yeah. Living here in Xenia. Yeah, especially.

Yeah. There are people that are frightened of every storm that comes along. They're looking to the sky. They're looking to the radio. What's going on?

Dean, you were going to say? Tight spaces. Yeah, confined spaces. Nobody wants to get in that closed environment.

Those are all very good. And some of the symptoms that people experience is just getting sweaty hands. They'll start to tremble. They'll be nervous. Their heart rate will increase. Their breathing will be rapid. Muscles will tighten up when they're faced with a fear.

So I was curious. In the last couple of weeks, I took a sample poll of about 25 or 30 family friends in our D-group and I found these fears. Some of you have named them already. Snakes, confined spaces, heights, spiders, cockroaches, bed bugs, bees, wasps, mice, the government, thunderstorms, failure, betrayal, choking, tall grass, murky water, elevators, raw chicken, parking lots, large bodies of water, abandonment, imperfection, not being good enough, fear of crowds, long backseat car rides, crying kids, the unknown, live chickens, I think that was one of my kids, the dark, an unfulfilled life, not hearing well done, now good and faithful servant, physical impairment. There's a lot. People are afraid and I could go on and on, but I was just shocked in that small group how many things came out.

Overall though, snakes, was that Jeff over there? Snakes and spiders were the top two that people mentioned to me that topped the chart. Most fears come from something you've seen, heard or read. It could be real or imagined.

It's from something you may have experienced in the past such as a traumatic event, a loss, a hurt. My personal fear has been going to the dentist. I've always been afraid of that. Even to this day, and it's not as bad as it used to be, but I was afraid of dentists and needles and it stemmed from extensive dental work I had done when I was a very small child and it just left a lasting mark on me.

And other people in my family don't think anything of it, but to me, it's a lot to go, but I still do. There are also some quite humorous fears that came up in our little survey. You've got to bear with me on some of these. The fear of polka bands and my mind went to other places on that. The fear of Chinese restaurants, small children, getting my wife's angry eyes, not having enough snack foods in the house.

Sketchy white vans in parking lots. This one's my son, Jacob. Dad, I have a fear of getting a hole-in-one at golf and nobody witnessed it.

That's Jake, yeah. One of Emma's fears was confined spaces and she said, that's why I want an open casket. I said, Emma, by then your fears will be long gone. Anyway, there are actually two types of fears defined in Webster's dictionary. The first is the fear of man. The Hebrew word for this type of fear is called pakad. It's a sudden, startling fear, an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. Basically, a fear of man, places, events, material objects. Related words to this type of fear are what one author describes as the FUDs of life, F-U-D. That stands for fear, uncertainty and doubt. We could also include things like worry, anxiety, apprehension or dread. All are brought on by an uneasiness in the mind, thoughts of some evil or hurt that's about to befall us.

Something is looming. It can stem from the loss of control, being manipulated, self-reliance, the loss of a job or income, a family crisis, health emergencies, chronic illnesses, addictions, a difficult worker, even parenting or marriage issues or a childhood event. I recall a friend of mine saying to me, I've never really been afraid of much until this surgery and all of a sudden things changed.

Another family friend that we know in our family would literally lay on the floor of the back seat of the car when they had to cross the Mackinac Bridge. Tremendous fear of bridges and heights and being over large bodies of water. While many, many fears are very irrational, some are extremely debilitating.

They will bring people down like this man into the floor of the car and they can cause intense anxiety and even panic. The second definition of fear is the word Yira in Hebrew and it means a profound reverence and awe toward God. Having godly fear provides peace, assurance, confidence and it is shown by someone having courage, boldness, bravery, valor and great faith to stand where other people won't.

It is the exact opposite of worldly fear. This fear of the Lord causes us to love God so much that we want to please him in all things and not grieve the Holy Spirit. It was also the type of fear seen in Genesis 3.8.

There it says Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord amongst the trees in the garden. They were afraid of God. They knew something was wrong.

They knew they had done something wrong that broke God's commandment to them. So during the dramatic changes that we have all seen in the past few years, especially since 9-11, it has become evident that people are becoming more afraid. We seem to have more doubts, apprehension, distrust, anxiety, shyness, terror and uncertainty. I hear people saying things like, what are we going to do? Where has all the common sense gone?

How could this happen so fast? But in truth these concerns are not much different than the murmurings of the children of Israel. In 2022, a survey done by found that Americans are now afraid of living in their own neighborhood. 42% fear living alone. 46% now have home security systems in their houses. 52% feel on edge every single day.

56 share their location online just in case something happened. This wasn't like this 20 years ago. Irrational fears due to lockdowns, closures and mask mandates have led to an increase in depression and suicide. 84% of Americans, now listen, 84% of Americans are afraid to exercise their freedom of speech. Our mouths have been closed. We've been knocked down by fear.

Fear of what other people think. It's a high number of people. US gun sales doubled during the pandemic.

45% of US households now own one or more firearms. People are afraid and fearful hearts are not the will of God. It's interesting that the CDC just reported that the leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease. One person dies every 36 seconds of heart disease. But in Luke chapter 21, 25 to 26 it says men's hearts will fail them for fear. Maybe it's not all from physical disease, you think? Maybe some of this heart failure could be caused by stress. And it could be playing a big part in our lives, this fear. I saw that happen to my dad when he was 41 years old, going out the door to go to work, to a job he never liked and was heavily stressed and he collapsed and had a heart attack and that was it. It has an impact on me that changed my life forever. Thank the Lord for the way he works.

Even through difficulties and trials. Number three on our list today is fears change. Let's first consider the different fears of men. Here are the top 12 fears in America according to what was reported prior to 9-11.

This is over 20 years ago. Number one was snakes, somebody mentioned that over here. Public speaking was number two.

Tights, somebody mentioned that. Confined spaces, spiders and insects, needles and shots, mice, flying in planes, dogs, thunder and lightning, doctors and dentists in the dark. It was interesting to me to see the folks I surveyed in my small group, we matched 8 of 12 of those and that was done over 20 years ago. Those fears are still going up today. But according to a recent Gallup poll, 2020 was listed as the most stressful year in American history since they've been tracking this.

2020. It was driven by the COVID pandemic, a contested election, the economic recession and military conflicts. People experienced a record setting high of negative emotions such as worry, stress, anger, sadness, depression and PTSD from traumatic or violent events in their life. Anxiety has recently become a national mental health emergency and it has not improved. Another recent survey of people in the United States listed the top 40 fears in this year, looking now 20 years from the ones I just listed. To listen to the shift and the fears of today, number one is death, two serious illnesses, three mass shootings, four the cost of living and debt, five terrorism, six government corruption, seven terminal illness, crime, high medical bills, civil unrest, car crashes and snakes is 12 now where it was number one. Things have taken the place of those fears that people had. And in my survey, now only two of the 12 fears, government and snakes, from my sample survey matched the results. I don't know if there's a hidden meaning there or not. Some fears from 20, 2001 were now ranked way down the list.

Spiders was 28, needles are 38, storms 39 and public speaking didn't make the top 40 and have been there for many, many years. Number four, the hold fast. In the first text in Isaiah 41, God speaks to the children of Israel, words of comfort and assurance that they really needed. He reminded them that he chose them and he's not going to leave them. He tells them not to be dismayed, don't be afraid or fearful as he will take care of them and strengthen them, uphold them and bring them back to the homeland. Even though the Israelites have been through the worst of times, from slavery in Egypt to their own rebellion, wandering in the desert, God tells them he is still with them. He shows them how he used every trial for their good to strengthen them.

The Hebrew meaning of the word strengthen means to grow and to develop, to prevail, to have courage, seize, grasp and to take hold of. God has taken hold of them with his right hand and would not let them go. God's right hand symbolizes the power and strength that he has as he holds on to us. He holds on to you and me with his right hand. He wants us to move on, not be afraid. He wants us to hold fast to the promises of his word. And Titus 1, 9 says, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gains there.

This is extremely important folks. When I preach this, teach it to people, I'm preaching to myself because I need this. I need to keep reminding myself that God is holding on to me tightly. He's holding on to you, every one of you, no matter what's going on in this world or in your life. That brings me to this word. It says in the scripture, it has two words, holding fast. But when you put these two words together, it forms a biological term.

Rhonda may appreciate this. I need some biological help here. But the meaning of the holdfast, it's a root-like structure that plants and animals have.

Things like kelps in the ocean, lichens, plants on earth, animals like mussels and sponges. They have what is called a holdfast that they can grab onto a piece of structure or substrate and live up a rock or something like that in the water. They attach themselves and they hold firmly to that. And these structures serve as an anchor for the organism to literally sustain life. The holdfast to the rock, even in the most turbulent times. It's amazing when hurricanes hit the coast, many of these organisms remain firmly attached to the pilings, the docks. They don't move.

Everything else is blown away. But this meaning of holdfast helps me to put that in perspective, how God holds me in his hand. The holdfast in scripture means to cling to. It was the charge given by Joshua from Moses to the people in Joshua 1, 7 to 9. It says in this passage, and I'm just going to paraphrase, to turn not from it, to not let it depart out of your mouth, to meditate therein in the word day and night, to be not afraid and neither be dismayed.

That is powerful. It means not to compromise on God's word, but to hold it firmly. It means to persevere through life even in all the trials and wickedness that we see.

Paul said it well in Philippians 2, 16, to holding forth the word of life that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. Holding on. God wants us, like he holds on to us, he wants us to hold on to his word. Don't let it go.

Don't compromise it. We need to remember this. It's there we get the strength, the power, and the direction for God to accomplish his work in us. Some other verses that help explain the meaning of scripture, that we are to holdfast, to minimize fear, are these.

And I've just listed a few of them here that will come up on the screen. Job 27, 6, and it says in this verse, My righteousness I holdfast and will not let it go. In 1 Thessalonians 5, 21, it says, Prove all things. Holdfast to that which is good. In 2 Timothy 1, 3, holdfast to the form of sound words. In Hebrews 3, 6, if we are to holdfast the confidence and rejoicing of hope firm to the end, that's not letting go. We're not to give up.

We're not to give in. Hebrews 10, 23, let us holdfast the profession of our faith without wavering. In Revelation 2, 25, it says, holdfast till I come. Holdfast till I come. Pastors mention that it may not be too far away. We may see that in our lifetime.

We don't know. But whatever time God comes, he says to us, holdfast to my word till I come. Don't let it go. No matter what the world says, what the world might do, it's like in the verses of a song that I like by Keith and Kristen Getty, the song is, he will hold me fast till our faith is turned to sight when he comes at last.

For my Savior loves me so, he will hold me fast. You'll never forget that, even when things are really rough. And I know people are struggling today. I hear it every day. I hear it from people that I work with, even people that are doing well in their jobs and they're fearful. Number five on our list is the fear of man. A recent article asks this question, do any of you fear Mondays? 75 to 80 percent of Americans experience what is called Sunday scaries, the overwhelming dread of the weekend being over and they need to go back to school or work on Monday morning. It is caused by the fear of failure, an intense dislike of the job, feeling inadequate, the dread of the five day work weekend, maybe the exhaustion of the weekend, whatever it is, they don't want to get up and go to work. You ever had that?

I think a lot of folks have. The solution to this is given to overcome these Sunday scaries that this article writes was written this way. They said to do these things. Number one, structure your Sundays, relax with meditation, take a hot bath, go to a movie, watch football, read a book, get a facial, etc. But the bottom line in the article was this, and I quote, get over this scared feeling, do your best to honor this time and make Sundays all about you.

Wow, how sad. What about God who gave us this day to rest? Here are a few more fears you might have. Listen, a fear of what others might think of me, a fear of sharing my faith, a fear of taking decisive action when I need to or being vulnerable and open, a fear of reaching out to others for help or overthinking the small stuff. Some people are afraid to confront sin, error, afraid to talk to the boss or a co-worker, even a friend, a coach, a family member or even their spouse.

They hold back. There's a fear. These fears, if some of these fears, if they're acted upon, can actually motivate us if you do something about it toward God. But other fears often debilitate us. They tie us in knots.

They drive us further from God. And to get entangled from this, I need to remember his promise to provide. I can learn to cast all of my fears and worries on God, as it said in 1 Peter 5.7, casting all your care upon him for he careth for you. That doesn't just say some of your fears. It says cast all your fears, everything. Tell God what's bothering you. Tell God what you're struggling with, what you're worried about. The most common phrase in the Bible, the most commonly repeated phrase in the King James Bible is to fear not, to be not afraid.

It occurs over 117 times. So why is this phrase, fear not, be not afraid, why is this repeated so often? It's because what God said in 2 Timothy 1.7. He said, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. It doesn't come from God. Fear does not come from God. The fear of God is there and that should be there, but the fear of man is a sin. It comes from Satan himself.

He plants the sin in us. To be afraid of all these things, we have to be on guard. Proverbs 29, 25 says, The fear of man brings a snare, but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. In our text verse, Jesus was preparing the disciples for the persecution that would come after he was gone.

The physical torture they would have to endure as well as the mental abuse from the world. Peter saw this in Acts 5 29 when he was told to stop teaching about Jesus. His reply was profound. We ought to obey God rather than man. While we should always pray and respect those in positions of leadership and governing authorities, we should be on guard to watch for the violation of God's word that says in 1 Peter 2 17, Honor all men, love the Lord, love the brotherhood, fear God and honor the king. We're to fear God. In 2022, another research poll that I read said it found that in 1972, 50 years ago, 90% of Americans identified as being a Christian. Today, 50 years later, it's 64%.

And it's dropping rapidly. Social issues, the need to be liked, the desire to be accepted, political correctness have all replaced biblical conviction. While many have caved into the snares of Satan, others stand true. Praise God.

Christianity remains the most persecuted religion in the world with hostilities rising every day. May God help us to be courageous in our faith while showing kindness and the love of Christ toward others without giving in to the fear of man. The children of Israel feared the news of giants in the promised land when they went in, but Joshua and Caleb calmed them. And he encouraged the people who murmured in fear in Numbers 14 9, it says, Only rebel ye not against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land, for they are bread for us.

Their defenses departed from them. The Lord is with us. Fear them not.

They thought that they could walk right in after years in Egypt. But God had to teach them to depend not on themselves, but to depend on him. What often causes us fear are things that seem impossible, things that might seem insurmountable. Like, maybe you said this, we'll never get out of this mess. Our family trials are too great. My employment situation is beyond hope.

Woe is me. But what we think to be unsolvable and impossible is really easy for God to fix. Oh, we've got to remember the words from scripture that are often said, I will help thee. God's words, I will help thee. Don't ever forget those four words.

You go on with life and through difficulties. Most fears occur when we seek to control or try to fix someone else. Often we think we know what's best. This is a false belief. The truth is we don't possess control.

God does. I remember a friend telling me a simple truth that applies. He was a former Air Force pilot and he now flies transcontinental flights for a major airline. He said to me once, he said, you know, Steve, I asked him how hard it was to fly one of those big 737s or whatever it was, he was flying to Europe. He says it's really not that hard.

If you can land them and take off, it's really pretty easy after that. And he said, when I reach 30,000 feet across the Atlantic, I just switch on the autopilot and I can relax. I can even pray. He's a brother in the Lord. I talk to people.

I get up and move around the cabin. And recalling this helps me remember that God is in control. I should relax more, not be so tense, worried, and fretful. He also told me never repeat that to anybody. I couldn't help it. But he said when people will be afraid to fly, they'll think there's nobody there at the controls anymore.

He says, I got a copilot in there too. Everyone deals with fear, even the great saints of old. John 20, 19 described the disciples. They feared the Jews. 1 Samuel 21, 12, David feared the king. Psalm 56, 11, he said, in God I have put my trust. I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. David, after all he went through, boy, he put his trust in the Lord. In Psalm 23, verse 4, he says, yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear.

We shouldn't fear, even when it comes to difficult times. And I remember I was thinking about Pam, Ping, and John recently and the funeral. And I thought of my mom who passed away this year. And she had me do her funeral for her. And I had only done a couple funerals before.

But she said, I want you to do it. I'm thankful that my mom was a Christian. She went to heaven. And that whole room was full of Catholics in my family. And I took the opportunity to share the gospel with them.

And I don't know what might happen there. But our role is to plant the seed and let others come along and water that and watch what God does with his grace in the lives of folks. Number 6, the fear of God. In our second text, in Luke chapter 12 that we read earlier, Jesus said to the crowd to be aware of the Pharisees but mostly to fear God. Don't be afraid of them who can kill you. But fear him who has the power, life, and death.

Fear him. Proverbs 1 17 states, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 9 10 says, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 10 27 says, the fear of the Lord prolongeth days. Proverbs 14 26 says, in the fear of the Lord is strong confidence and his children shall have a place of refuge. We're to have confidence in our God and not to be afraid, not to cower. Proverbs 16 6 says, by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.

Who would not want these treasures in their lives? Fearing God means reverential awe for his power, his glory, and respect for his wrath and anger. He gives total acknowledgement of all he is and motivates us to tell others. It also means to stand in wonder, to tremble at the majesty and grandeur of our God. And like us, nothing has ever surprised God.

Nothing has ever caught him off guard. Nothing has ever scared God. So why do we fear? Some people think when they read these verses of fearing God, why should we be afraid of him? We shouldn't be afraid. He's our friend.

He's someone not to be afraid of. Well, the world does not fear him like Christians do. But sadly, many Christians take godly fear very lightly. It's the Christian's lack of awe and reverence and respect for God that has impacted generations.

And some of that we're seeing today. Jeremiah 32-39 states, I will give them one heart and one way that they may fear me forever for the good of them and their children after them. We're to teach these lessons to our kids.

We're to live it. It's not just the words but how you're conducting your life. People see how we act, what we say, our attitude, the things that come out of our mouth. Number seven on our list is overcoming fear. Some keys to overcome the fear of man are, and these got something to write these down, it would help, but there's just four of them.

I want you to remember. To overcome the fear of man, read your Bible. Get a habit of reading your Bible every day.

I like to do it in the morning. It helps me. But the more we learn about God, the more faith we gain. Number two is pray. Having a closer walk with God. It calms the soul.

He's the God of the universe. Number three, have fellowship. Be with Godly believers. It will strengthen and encourage you. Be part of the church.

Consider your responsibilities here at Lighthouse. And number four, seek Godly counsel because Godly counsel brings safety and wisdom. The Psalms reflect how we overcome our fears by trusting God. One of my favorite life chapters is Psalm 34. And in verse four of that chapter, David says, I sought the Lord, and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.

This is having confidence even in the toughest of times. David knew the Lord was his helper. I found it interesting to note the phrase, help me, appears 21 times in the King James Bible. And most of the time, the words help me are in the Psalms. Something about that connection David had was help me to not fear these things and help me to trust you. Like David, I find myself using this phrase often in my prayers. When I pray, I'm often finding myself saying, help me with this. Help me, Lord, with this.

There's nothing wrong with that. David said that a lot. Psalm 30 verse 10 says, hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me. Lord, be thou my helper. Psalm 46 one to three says, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof, seal them.

Pause and think on that a minute. Psalm 109 26, help me, O Lord my God. O save me according to thy mercy. And it was great to hear what Braden said. The number of people that have cried out for salvation just this past week.

It's a blessing. 1 Samuel 22 one, we see David was afraid. He felt abandoned and was alone and he escaped to a cave of Adam. And though God is near me all the time, sometimes we have to go through deep valleys or even hit bottom to really see his hand at work in our lives. We all experience fear. And one of the reasons why there are fewer men serving in churches today than women, it's about a 60-40 split, mostly women. One of the reasons given for that is that men are afraid to commit their God-given talents and services to a local church. I ask you guys, how are we doing? We need to overcome some of that fear.

Take some responsibility. Worldly fears are the fiery darts Satan uses to make us lose confidence in God and his word. He brings the spirit of fear that binds people. In Mark 9 24, the man who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus was afraid. He doubted and lacked confidence. But he expressed it to God and said, Lord, I believe. Help down my unbelief.

The bondage was broken. In Luke 1 12, Zacharias was troubled and fearful when told he was going to have a son in older age. In John 20 29, Thomas spent three years watching Jesus.

Yet he was weak, and he doubted him. We are no different than these saints of old, when we allow human reason to overtake our faith. Maybe you're struggling with personal fears or spiritual fears in your life. Maybe it's sharing your faith, standing for moral principles, not ministering to the less fortunate, or fearing to follow your calling, your God-given calling, on what he's laid on your heart to do. There are some people, and I deal with these folks quite often, that don't know what they want to do. They don't know what God's leading them to do. They need to trust in God for the direction that they need. So, sometimes, when we're afraid, we need to be able to reach out to others.

Talk about this. The fear of man robs us of peace. Isaiah 26 3 says, That will keep him at perfect peace, whose mind has stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee.

So I ask you, are you at peace in life tonight, in your heart, in your home? Another favorite verse, Proverbs 3 5 and 6, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him. He will direct thy path. Are you truly trusting in Jesus?

You're relying on yourself to figure life out. Psalm 56 3 reads, What time I am afraid I will trust in thee. If you are afraid tonight, time you get together with God. Time that you seek God, and ask him to help you to overcome the fear. Believer, God is speaking to you.

As you sit and listen to this, you have no need to fear the future. We rest in the palm of his hand. You are a new person.

The new birth has transformed you from the inside out. In John 19 39 to 40 we see the story of Nicodemus. One of the Pharisees, he was afraid. So he came to talk to Jesus secretly at night.

He didn't want to be seen. But God began to work in his heart. Joseph of Arimathea had the courage to approach Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus.

Interestingly, the Pharisee Nicodemus came along too and brought spices to prepare the body for burial. Here Nicodemus is moving from fear to faith. See that in his life. As we travel down this path of life, there should be trail markers in your life. That show things like a decrease in faith or a fear and an increase in your faith. If you read 1 John the two chapters 2 and 3, they provide a really good checklist to assure you of your salvation in your life. Your life as a believer should demonstrate things like increased righteousness and godly living. A decrease in sin. Increasing love for believers.

A concern for the lost. As it says in John 4 18, perfect love casts out fear. So increasing faith in Christ is one of those markers. The evidence then is the fruit in your life and the lives of others.

Those markers should be seen. Worldly fear, folks, will shackle you. It will keep you stuck, living in the past, with what I call the coulda, shoulda, wouldas of life. Fear can freeze you to where you can only think the worst.

It grips you with stinkin' thinkin'. You forget how to be grateful and then you begin to stew rather than do. So lift up your head, believer, and be more of a doer than a stewer.

Worldly thinking programs our minds to become victims of our surroundings. We begin to blame others and we recall all the negative events of life but we forget about the blessings. One thing that's really helped me is keeping a focus on right thinking and victorious living has been keeping a prayer list. But not only a prayer list but I keep a list of answered prayers. And when I look at that and I see the hundreds of times God has answered prayers, it just lifts me up to remind me of the God that I serve, that he's on the throne, he's in control, he's answering prayers.

Don't forget, our prayer list may seem long but God, he's not too small to answer those prayers for us. It can be hard though when your minds are consumed with fear. In Genesis 20-11, Abraham feared for his life after lying about his wife, Sarah, being his sister. There are many more examples of great leaders in scripture who were fearful. Moses was afraid to speak. Gideon felt weak and feared the Midianites.

Jonah feared his ministerial call to Nineveh. Even in the gospels, the disciples feared for their lives in the storm on the Sea of Galilee. They were not alone. I recall some folks who were scared in my life.

One I mentioned was my mom. She was always scared even after she became a Christian at age 58. She was scared of storms, afraid of the stove, the furnace, the air conditioner, the water heater, smoke alarms. She would literally put her hand over the burner to check it each night to make sure they were off.

She would check all the faucets on the sinks to make sure they were off. A man I once hired to work for me didn't get his driver's license until he was 40 years old. He told me he was afraid to drive, and his wife took him everywhere. Thank God that we talked, spent some time together, and he went and got his license while he worked for him. And he was the happiest man you could ever imagine. It just freed him up.

He never imagined what it would be like. In college, I vividly remember distinct fears of three semesters of organic chemistry, which I literally hated. I see heads bobbing on that. Some of you had that, too. I said, yuck, I just want to be a fisheries biologist. I don't want all this stuff, but I had to take it. All I wanted to do was give me a 60% to pass the course.

Thank God I got through them all. Sometimes it works like that. There are many business leaders that I coach that are afraid of things like other employees that work for them. They own the company, and they're afraid of the people that work for them.

Insecurity, finances. I had one client. He's a CEO of a multimillion dollar company. He was intimidated by another coworker. Another was afraid of the economy.

While working in my former job, I was a laboratory manager for about 16 years. I remember a very scared water utility director calling me on the phone. His voice was in panic. He said, you've got to help me. I need you to test the water for this. I said, well, what is it you want me to test the water for? He's responsible for 250,000 people that this water supply goes to. He said, well, there's dihydrogen monoxide in the water.

He was quite serious, and he had been told that it was in the water supply. Now, he was an engineer. He wasn't a chemist or biologist.

He didn't really put two and two together. But I graciously bit my tongue, and I explained to him that dihydrogen monoxide is H2O. Water. That's all it is. Water.

And you were pranked. But he bit that. But the fear that came over him, this is in our water supply. So some of our fears are because we accept an alternate reality.

Much like children do when they see monsters or they see shadows and they're afraid. There's not really anything there. It doesn't really exist. And even as adults, we can get caught up in those kind of fears.

They don't exist. We really are like weak, helpless, fearful sheep. We need a shepherd. Now, in conclusion, many Christians remain bound up by fear, sadness, depression, despair. We have let the enemy make us victims rather than rejoicing in Jesus Christ, who gave us our victory over sin. He is our help in time of need. Many see the devil having his way in our world today, but God is telling his people in his word, don't be overwhelmed. I'm in control. Don't be so afraid.

He's promised to keep his people safe from harm. Psalm 62 2 says, When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Amen. 4E 10 Boom said, If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. But if you look to God, you'll be at rest.

And I thought that was very good, very applicable. If we can only do that. This reminds me of Isaiah 45 22, Look unto me, for I am God, and there is none else. Paul said it well in Philippians 4, 6 to 7, Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication. With thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.

We need to do that. Basically, he's saying, don't worry about anything, just pray about everything. Pray about it. The truth is, we as Christians tend to worry more than we pray.

It's just the way it is. It's the natural man. But we need to remember that God is in control and he wants us to come to him. The problem with fearing man is that it becomes sin when we let the emotions rule us. We tend to run from God in reality.

Hebrews 4 15 states that Jesus was touched with the feeling of our infirmities and was in all points tempted like as we are. Yet he was without sin. He wept. He was angry.

He sweated drops of blood in the anguish in the garden, feeling the weight of sin and separation from the father upon his death. Yet he never let emotions of fear rule or control him. He wants us to be reminded of that. He's in control.

He became a man, yet he is the sovereign God of the universe who controls all things, even the great tempter himself. He knows our weakness and what you and I struggle with. I need to remember to simply go to him first before the fuds, fear, uncertainty, and death enter my mind. In times of fear, we should all recall the first stanza of John Newton's 1779 hymn, how sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer's ear. It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, and drives away our fear.

Lighthouse, let us not be gripped with fear and afraid of what man can do, but let us be beacons of hope and truth, shine a light on the darkness of our fears and to rest in his promises. Charles Spurgeon once said, our salvation does not depend on our feelings. Instead of complaining about how little faith we have, thank God that you have faith at all. Remember, God is with us, and he never forsakes his own. Let us then be more like Noah, who believed what seemed impossible, was moved by godly fear, and acted on faith to save his family from what he could not yet see.

The preacher said in Ecclesiastes 12.13, let us hear the conclusion of the matter. Fear God, keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. God bless you all. I'm thankful to be a part of Lighthouse, and I'm thankful that you are here tonight for listening. I pray you have a great week, and don't fear.

Our musicians would come at this time. Brother Steve, thank you for that message very much, so much appreciated. And fear does grip us, and we all struggle with that. And we're going to have a time where maybe you would like to come to the altar, pray, maybe lay some things down before the Lord this evening.

And fear is a liar, and Satan is the father of lies, and so we need to be those that are turning to Christ. If we often talk more to others about our problems than we do God, we need to come to the Lord first and seek Him. So if you would, stand with me, and heads bowed and eyes closed. Maybe you say, Braden, I don't know that I've handled things properly. I've let fear overcome me and cripple me in many ways. Would you just pray for me with heads bowed and eyes closed if you'd lift a hand up to that? Like, Braden, would you pray for me? There's many areas or some fears that I've been struggling with.

I see those hands. Thank you. Maybe you're here tonight, and you don't know if Heaven would be your home. Maybe there's some uncertainty, some doubt there. Ask this question tonight. Do you know for sure that if you died today that Heaven would be your home? Anyone say that I don't know that Jesus is my Lord and Savior with an uplifted hand tonight?

Anyone at all? Okay. Lord, we come before You. Lord, we thank You for Your word. We thank You for the truth that is in it. Lord, we thank You that You will never leave us or forsake us. Lord, that greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world. So, Lord, may we turn our cares and our burdens upon You, as 1 Peter 5.7 tells us, because You care for us. And, Lord, we just pray that You would allow us to seek You first, to seek You early and often. And just turn this invitation over to You, Lord, this altar call, and You do what You would. It's in Jesus' name that I pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-04 15:40:05 / 2023-02-04 16:01:04 / 21

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