Fear Fight

Posted: October 6, 2016 by keystoneyouth in Peace In The Storm Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Name that Fear

 Introduction:

  • One of my favorite stories of Jesus’ miracles is his calming of the storm.
  • Let’s read it and then I’ll tell you why it’s one of favorites.
  • Read Mark: 4:35-41
  • This story shows the disciples being afraid for their lives. Jesus is asleep in the boat and seems to care less about what is going on.
  • Isn’t this a good picture of how we feel sometimes in life…
    • “Jesus, I’m facing _____________ and you seem to not care at all. You seem to be asleep in the boat.”
  • The disciples desperately wake Jesus up and inform them that they are about to die. They are terrified, in over their heads, about to drink a stomach fool of the Sea of Galilee.
  • And Jesus stands up and speaks to the storm.
  • And then something wild happens… THE STORM LISTENS TO HIM!
  • Like a little child who has just been rebuked by his Dad for being out of control, the storm slumps in stillness as it obeys the Creator.
  • And then something interesting happens with the disciples. They don’t wipe their brows in relief. They don’t high five and fist pound each other in celebration.
  • THEY STAND IN FEAR.
  • No longer afraid of the storm… they are now fearful of the one who stands before them: the one who commands the wind, rain, and sea as if it were his servant.
  • In this story we see the disciples start with one fear and end with another. They no longer fear the wind, waves, and sea because they fear the one who has power over them.
  • Tonight I want to talk a little bit about fear… specifically the fear of other people (fear of man, people-pleasing, peer pressure, etc).
  • And I want us to walk away with this big idea:

 Big Idea: We fight fear with fear.

Main Points:

  • Everybody fears somebody.
  • The fear of man is a trap.
  • The more we fear God… the less we will fear people.
  • The bigger the fear, the better the gospel.

Everybody fears somebody.

  • This may seem straightforward to you. You may easily agree with the fact that everyone fears someone because you personally recognize your own fear of other people.
    • Or you may push back against that statement thinking, “Who me… I ain’t never scared of nothing… especially not other people!”
    • Wherever you stand I want to drive this home… because there is no use fighting fear of people if we don’t think we have a fear of people.
  • To do this I want to define fear, give an example of fear in the Bible, and then diagnose what it looks like for us to fear other people.
  • Definition: Fear may include terror (I.E. Someone makes a threat against you and fear that they may carry it out) but is also means to have a sense and awe and reverence for someone.
  • Or in other words – Fear is to say that you and your opinion matter most to me.
  • Examples in the Bible:
    • Saul… Saul was the first King of Israel. He was said to be a foot taller then anyone else and was a warrior. If you think your tough… Saul was tougher.
      • God called Saul to destroy the Amalekites and all their property. It was God’s judgment against the Amelekites for their sins.
      • Instead, Saul left alive the king and all the animals that were valuable.
      • When Saul was confronted, he said the reason he had disobeyed God was because he feared the people.
      • Saul wanted the people to like him and approve of him as King so he did what would make him look good with people rather then doing what was obedient and pleasing to God.
    • Saul wasn’t the only one who struggle with this issue… Lest we think, well Saul was a bad guy in the Bible. We don’t have time tonight, but we would be able to see fear of other people in Abraham, Moses, David, Jonah, Peter, and Paul.
  • Let me ask you some questions to convince that everyone fears someone.
    • Have you ever not said something that you were thinking because you thought other people might think you were dumb?
    • Have you ever thought, if I could just get that person or group of people to notice and like me, then I would feel good about myself?
    • Have you ever done something that you thought was wrong because you didn’t want people to think you were weird?
    • Have you ever not done something because you didn’t want people to think you were weird?
    • Have you ever been jealous because someone else received recognition or a compliment that you thought you deserved?
    • Have you ever sent a text or SnapChat only to think afterward, “I wonder what they though about that… they probably thought it was stupid… what a stupid thing to say… they probably think I’m so stupid… Stupid!”
    • Have you ever spent excessive time on your phone looking at what other people are doing because you’re afraid of being left out?
    • Have you ever left a time of being with friends pondering and worried about what they must think of you because of something you said, did, or just because?
    • If you are a Christian, have you ever refrained from talking about Jesus or God because you thought people would think you are a fool?
  • I don’t mean this all to be discouraging… I just want us to have a proper diagnosis.
  • “Fear of man is such a part of our human fabric that we should check for pulse if someone denies it.” –Ed Welch

 The fear of man is a trap.

  • Read Proverbs 29:25
  • No animal walks into a trap thinking this is a trap. They walk in because it is hidden or because it looks good.
  • Fold Guys Catching a Groundhog in a trap.
  • No animal walks into a trap thinking this is a trap. They walk in because it is hidden or because it looks good.
  • How is the fear of people a trap?
  • We can never get enough of other people’s approval.
  • There will never be a spot that we get too where we think, I don’t need any more people to like and approve of me.
  • Rather we will always need people to like and approve of us more… and we will need more people to like and approve of us.
  • In high school, I would say fear of people ran my life for the most part. I remember most vividly in High School that there were always one or two people who I really wanted to notice me and like me. But the problem was if I got them to notice and like me, I had to keep that approval. And then there was always someone else who popped up who I wanted to notice and like me. Never did I get to a point where I could say… that’s enough… I’ve had enough approval… no more… I can’t handle anymore. I always needed more.
  • No one seeks for other people’s approval because it looks like a trap, but because it looks good: If I have that I’ll be happy.
  • But living for other people’s approval is a trap that ensnares us and won’t let us go.
  • Apply:
    • To root our worth in the approval of other people will never be enough. We will always long for more.
    • And because we will long for more, we will be willing to make more and more compromises and decisions focused on getting more approval.

 The more we fear God… the less we will fear people.

  • You probably think you know what I’m going to say next… you don’t need other people’s approval because you have God’s approval in Jesus.
  • You don’t need to have other people like you, because God already delights in you through Jesus.
  • While this is true if you are a Christian… I don’t want to jump there next.
  • Here’s why… because we may know that God approves of us while still caring much more about what people think of us.
  • The person that we fear in the sense of holding them in awe and reverence… is the person that we really care about and therefore the person that we need to like us.
  • Jesus in the middle of giving his disciples the mission of spreading the gospel… and warning that people will hate them, reject them, and even persecute them because they are his disciples.,. says this:
  • Read Matthew 10:28-31.
  • Jesus says, “Don’t fear people, even though they have the power to reject you, hate you, and even kill you.”
  • That seems crazy… Why shouldn’t I fear people if they have that much power over me??
  • Because you should fear Him, God, who has power not just over all those things, but also what happens after you die.
  • I love that Jesus doesn’t say, “Don’t fear people because they can’t do anything to you.” That would be unrealistic.
  • We’ve all probably felt the sting of being left out, going unnoticed, getting rejected, or even being threatened and physically harmed by other people.
  • But he says, despite how big people seem because of the power that may have (including the power to kill you!), God is far bigger and has far more power.
  • God spoke you and the whole world into existence. God rules over the entire galaxy. Nothing happens that he doesn’t allow to happen.
  • Here Jesus says, “He is the one who has power over your life not just here on earth, but also after you die when man can no longer do anything to you.”
  • The Bigger that God is in our eyes… the smaller people will be.
  • Isaiah
  • I’m afraid of snakes… and so often when I’m out in the woods I’m thinking about and watching out for snakes. But I can tell you that if I happened to see a bear, a snake would immediately become the last thing on my mind. All my attention is now focused on that bear because it can do me much more harm then any snake… even a poisonous one.
  • I want to show a quick video before we get to our final point… it’s a video that shows just how small we are… and in light of what we believe about God as the creator of the universe… just how big he is.

 The bigger the fear, the better the gospel.

  • The video is meant to show how small earth is, and therefore just how small we are. The video says this make us insignificant, which would be true apart from God.
  • But the God who created everything we just saw in that video is the God who came to earth to die for us…
  • It’s that God who says in Matthew 10:30 – “Even the hairs on your head are numbered.”
  • It’s that God who has the power over our life here and now and has the power over our life after we die, as Jesus points out.
  • The bigger God is in our eyes… the bigger the gospel will be.
  • And the smaller God is in our eyes… the smaller the gospel will be in our eyes.
  • When we grow in our awe at who God is… the more we will be amazed that he has chosen to forgive us our sins in Jesus.
  • The more we fear God… the more we will revel in the fact that he loves and delights in us because of what Jesus has done.
  • The less we fear God… the less we will care about what he’s done for us.
  • God’s approval of us in Christ should cause us to be dumbstruck. Why would he care for me so much that he would send his son to die for me??
  • And when that approval begins weak and meager… it’s because our view of God is small – we don’t fear him.

 

  • Apply:
    • So how do we grow in our fear of God?
    • By getting to know him… by marveling at all that he has created, by reading the Bible where He tells us all about Himself, and by praying to Him – praising him for how great he is and asking Him to help us grow in our knowledge and fear of him.

So What??

  • Recognize where you fear people in your own life. Who is it that you really want approval and recognition from? What are some of the ways your fear of other people shows up?
  • See that fear of man is a trap. When you are worried and working for other people to like you… tell yourself that people’s approval will never be enough – picture buckets with holes.
  • Spend time reflecting this week on how Big God is… read Job 38-41; or Isaiah 6; or Exodus 3-10. Ask God to help you grow in your fear of him.
  • When the gospel seems small and insignificant to you, ask that God would give you a fresh glimpse of Him and His power.

 Questions:

  • How are you most likely to see the fear of other people pop up in your own life?
  • Are there things that have happened to you in the past that have caused you to be more worried about other people and what they think?
  • What are ways that you witnessed God’s “bigness” in the past? Are there any books or passages of the Bible that really have grabbed hold of you and helped you to fear God more?
  • Why do you think the gospel can become “old news” rather then good news to us? What are ways that we can prevent this from happening?

 

 

 

 

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