Here is a sermon that my Dad preached at the church he pastored, First Assembly of God, Dumas Texas on October 10th, 2004.
Don’t Be Afraid
John 14:25-27 NKJV – 25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Intro: If I may, I want to draw your attention to verse 27 of my text, which says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” Now I have preached from this verse before, but in that message, when I preached from this verse, the main thrust of the message had to do with peace, and I talked about the peace that Jesus gives to His people.
But in this message I want to take my thought from the last sentence of verse 27, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” and I want to preach to yhou from teh subject of, “Don’t be afraid.” Now being afraid is the same thing as being fearful. Now there is a lot in this world that invokes fear within people’s lives. The world within which we live is a dangerous world. For the first time in our nation’s history we are faced with the very real threat of some terrorist that would smuggle in some type of nuclear weapon, or biological, or chemical and explode then in one of our major cities. Of course, we are not the only nation that faces this threat, but I believe that we in particular a target of terrorist. So you see this is a fearful hour within which to live. Is it any wonder that we seeing Luke 21:26 being fulfilled right before our eyes, which says, “Men’s hearts will fail them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth.” Because of the conditions of this world, it is no wonder that so many people wrestle with fear in these days. Fear is damaging to ones life. It affects different people in different ways, but I have always noticed that fear has a negative affect almost 100% of the time on people.
I want to admonish you, as children of God, not to allow fear to enter your life, for it will only result in mental torment and agony. Now as I stated earlier, fear, or the act of being afraid, affects different people in different ways.
1. One way that at affects some is it causes paralysis.
Among some people, when they become afraid they freeze up. Fear paralysizes them. I will never forget years ago when we were pastoring in Waurika, Oklahoma. My wife pulled out from an intersection, she thought that she had looked both ways before pulling out, but about the time she pulled out she was terrified to see a car barreling down the street. Now she had plenty of time to get out of the way, all that she had to do was step on the gas and she could have gotten out of the way. However, seeing the car speeding towards her, caused her to freeze. She took her foot off the gas pedal and just sat there, and the car came crashing into the side of our car.
Well, friend fear in the spiritual arena does the same thing. It paralyzes people so that they cannot do what God wants them to do.
Matthew 25:14-15 NLT – 14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.
Now you all know the story of that parable, the one who had received the 5 bags of gold invested his master’s money and gained 5 more bags. Likewise, the one who had received 2 bags of gold invested this also and gained 2 more bags of gold.
But the one that had the one bag of gold took his bag of gold and buried it into the heart of the earth.
Now why did he do this instead of investing his master’s money like the other two had? The answer is found in verse 25 of my text. For when the master of the house had returned home, and had a reckoning with his servants as to what they had did with his money, the servant with the one bag of gold said, “I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hit it in the earth, here it is.”
Fear paralized him. So he did nothing with the money but hide it becausee he was afraid that he would lose it. And fear does the same thing today among many of God’s people. They are afraid and fearful that they will fail, and it freezes them inot inactivity, making them afraid to take a step of faith to do what God wants them to do.
2. Fear also prevents others from being as effective as they normally would be.
It reminds me of a story that I read not long ago about a bank robber. It seems that this man had fallen on hard times, adn he needed money terribly bad to get himself out fo the hole that he was in. So this man decided to rob the bank because he couldn’t think of any other way to get the money he needed. He didn’t know anything about robbing banks so he practiced what he would say over and over. He got a revolver and a sack for the money. Then he practiced sticking the sack over the counter and pointing the gun in someone’s face saying, “Don’t mess with me, this is a stick up.” When it came time for the real thing, he was actually nervous but he was confident he had it down pat. However, when he got in the bank, fear took over and he handed the teller the revolver, pointed the sack at her, adn said, “Don’t stick with me, this is a mess up!”
Friend, fear can keep you from doing your best for the Lord.
I can remember in my early ministry preaching some fellowship meeting. I had such an inferiority complex that I hated preaching to a bunch of preachers. I would put myself under so much pressure in trying to do good, that inevitably I would never reach my potential while preaching to them. Why? Because of the fear I had of preaching to preachers. I always had a hard time collecting my thoughts, and just could not get across the message the way I wanted too. My fear kept the anointing from flowing as smoothly as it normally did when I was preaching. And friend, preachers are not the only ones susceptible to this kind of fear.
Remember whatever you do for the Lord, you are doing it for Him, and not trying to impress anyone. When you realize this, it removes the fear of failure, and you care less as to whether or not you impress anyone.
When your upmost desire is to please Him, it removes all those fears and apprehensions that paralyzes you and makes you ineffective for the cause of Christ.
3. Being afraid and fearful will cause you to take the easy road so that we never take a chance by taking a step of faith to do something for the Lord. Fear keeps us in our comfort zone.
In Exodus chapters 3 and 4 we read where God was dealing with Moses about leading the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt.
In Chapter 4:2-3 it says, “What do you have in your hand? A shepherd’s staff, Moses replied. Throw it down on the ground, the LORD told him. So Moses threw it down, and it became a snake! Moses was terrified, so he turned and ran away.”
Here we see that Moses was afraid of the very thing that would be an instrument in his hands to bring deliverance to the children of Israel.
And we are often the same way. We let our minds be filled with all the negative ways in which we might fail, and it causes us to flee from the very thing God wants to do within our lives so that we can be mightily used of the Lord. In our minds we see all the imagined mess-ups and ways that wemight fail, without seeing the potential of what God can do through us if we would but conquer our fears.
I read the story of a football player who He received the opening kick-off and dropped the ball. He quickly picked it up, broke through in the open, and raced down the sidelines with nobody after him. But as he was running, he glanced to his right and saw the shadow of somebody chasing him. He ran faster, but the guy stayed right behind him. He didn’t want the guy to catch him so he dived into the end zone. He looked back and there was no one behind him. The shadow he had been running from was his own.
Often times the very things that we fear the most really doesn’t have much substance, but have let oru own insecurities cause us to flee instead of achieving what God wants us too.
Oh listen friend, Don’t be afraid! Don’t allow fear to paralize you and make you ineffective in the things of God. God wants to use you. Overcome your fears by taking active steps of faith. God will not disappoint. God is saying to us just as He did in Isaiah’s time, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
Our church needs those who will take courage and rise up to do what God wants them to do. But fear of failure has paralyzed some of you. We need you, and the Lord needs you to take the bold steps of faith and become clay in the Master’s hands to mold and shape. There’s ministries in this church that are in need of some taking that step of faith to overcome their fear and become involved in the ministries of this church. God wants you. He’s calling you. Don’t be afraid to respond to His call.