Fear-FilledSeries: Voices. James Dewhurst January 18, 2021
21 Days of Fasting & Prayer – Starting today, Sunday, January 10th, and ending on Sunday, January 31st, our church will be fasting and praying together. What is fast? It is the voluntary abstinence from food or drink, for a spiritual purpose. While we never tell people what to fast, we encourage you to fast something costly. Why are we fasting? We are fasting for God to bring a refreshing and revival to us personally and to our church and nation as well. Our private disciplines will bring heavenly rewards!!!
Reading Plan – Along with our 21 days fast, we have included links on our website (realchurchohio.com) and the Live Notes section of our App, for you to follow. This reading plan is designed to take our church through the entire Bible this year. We feel an urgency like never before to make sure the church is reading God’s Word!
*This Bible reading plan includes videos, visuals, and Scriptures to help us learn!*
Someone once said – “A head full of fear leads to a life full of limits!”
Winston Churchill – “Fear is a reaction, while courage is a decision.”
Another person said – “When fear comes knocking on your door, send faith to go answer it.”
Unknown – “We don’t fear the unknown. We fear what we think about the unknown.”
The truth is – Monsters don’t sleep under your bed, they sleep inside your head!
There are two reactions we will have to fear in this life: Forget Everything And Run (Or) Face Everything And Rise!
39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (ESV)
1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion. (ESV)
2 Timothy 1:7
7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (ESV)
+The word used for Spirit in Greek is Pneuma, and means Breath!
+What Paul was telling Timothy in this passage, was that God didn’t breathe fear into his body. He breathed into him, HIS power, love, and a sound and healthy mind!
15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (ESV)
If God didn’t breathe fear into us, then it’s something we learned along the way!
-We weren’t born with the fear of failure – We learned it!
-We weren’t born with the fear of rejection – We learned it!
-We weren’t born with the fear of disease – We learned it!
-We weren’t born with the fear of the future – We learned it!
Fear – Is defined as a feeling of dread, alarm, panic or anxiety caused by the belief that something might be dangerous.
While God commands us over 100 times in Scripture to “Fear Not”, the most faith-filled among us, still wrestle with fear. Since fear is an emotion, there are certain triggers that set in motion feelings and behaviors, even if they don’t match all of the facts. Mental health professionals tell us that some of the greatest triggers of fear and anxiety change, loss of control, tragic events, unpredictable or unknown circumstances, and of course, perceived threats. Now consider the current landscape of America, as we are still in the thick of a deadly virus, processing a toxic and divided election, witnessing ongoing social and political riots, and contemplating an unfamiliar vaccine. Not to mention the endless gas-lighting of the 24 hour local, cable, and social media news cycle with its monolithic ideology. As we take in these life-altering changes from a fire hose, our minds are overwhelmed and our emotions are running wild with fear!!!
Allostasis – is a process that our bodies jump in to, in order to adjust to new threats or hazards. The goal is to get our bodies back to a stable equilibrium called homeostasis.
When there is a constant barrage of stressors, our bodies can never adjust to a normal.
This is when fear starts to become costly! While short-term fear serves as a built-in defense mechanism, long-term fear leads to a weakened immune system, ulcers, heart disease, memory loss, and wreck-less decisions!
The Roman philosopher Epictetus said almost two millennia ago: “Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the view which they take of them.”
While one side of the political spectrum is dancing up and down, doing cartwheels right now over their recent victories, the opposite side of that spectrum is gripped with fear:
> What’s going to happen to our individual freedoms?
> What’s going to happen to our children’s futures?
> What’s going to happen to our religious rights?
> What’s going to happen to our free speech?
> What’s going to happen to our country?
Can I just say, the same God who was in control when your pick was in power, is the same God who will be in control when they leave!
Candidates come and go, but the King of Kings reigns forever!
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (ESV)
4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” (ESV)
13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. (ESV)
22 You shall not fear them, for it is the LORD your God who fights for you.’ (ESV)
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” (ESV)
Jesus walked right through a locked door, to unlock the power of fear over the disciples!
The Bible records one of the most vivid pictures about the power of fear in the book of Kings! Ahab became king over Israel and married a wicked woman by the name of Jezebel who worshipped the false god Baal, and Ahab followed suit. As king, he tore down the altars of God and built new altars to worship Baal. Elijah, who was a righteous prophet, challenged Ahab to a public duel of altars to see which God was real. They agreed to pray to each of their “Gods” to send down fire and burn up their altars. After praying from morning until night, the secular pretend god Baal was unresponsive, but Elijah’s one true God sent down fire on a triple-soaked altar and burnt up everything.
This not only lead to massive public repentance in Israel, but Elijah also proceeded to kill every false prophet in Israel. This embarrassed King Ahab so badly, that he ran home to his wicked wifey and told on Elijah. This is where fear entered the story:
1 Kings 19:1-12
1 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” 3 Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 5 And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” 8 And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God. 9 There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. (ESV)
No one is immune to the effects of fear! One of the boldest men of God in all of the Bible found himself paralyzed by fear, right after he stood up for God and witnessed one of the greatest miracles in biblical history. He went from a spiritual giant to a fragile fugitive in a matter of moments. The threats of tomorrow erased the victory of today.
Defeated in mind and body, he laid down under a tree and begged God to end his life!
The spirit of fear caused Elijah to forget yesterday’s miracle and fear today’s message!
Instead of scolding Elijah in his moment of great fear, God gracefully did 3 things:
1.God pursued him!
2.God protected him!
3.God provided for him!
Jezebel made a lot of threats, but no weapon formed against Elijah prospered!
3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. (ESV)
Fear is caused by our perspective of the circumstance!
(God will provide and protect!)