This is the Sermon for Sunday morning, June 21st, 2009.
THE FEAR FACTOR
John 14:26-27 TNIV – 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
How many of you remember the stunt/game show from a few years back “Fear Factor?” It was a show where the contestants had to face common fears that all of us have while performing stunts, and the last stunt basically who could finish or finish first would win the money. I used to watch the show pretty regularly. It was fascinating to watch people be squeamish, which I was myself just watching.
Now, why did I entitle my sermon “Fear Factor”? Well, we live in a time that for the Believer, and all people in general, there is a lot of fear. Our economy makes us fearful. For some of us, the direction our government is headed (more socialist) is making us fearful. Maybe you have been diagnosed with a physical ailment or someone close to you has, and you are panicking over it. Or maybe, like us, you have children that will start college soon, or a year or two, and you are worrying how in the world you will pay for it.
The point is, in our society, there are many things that can make us panic and quake in fear if we were to think about it.
Now, this morning, our Scripture text deals with fear. I want us too look at the context our text is found in, for just a few moments before we really begin to look at fear.
• First off in Chapter 14 verses 1-5 here Jesus tells the disciples not to fear but trust God and Him. He is fixing to go away to prepare a place for them, and then come back for them. This is referencing His ascension after His resurrection and His second coming.
• He goes on to tell them that He is the way and the truth and the life; if you want to know the Father, you must know Jesus and come through Him. This is my synopsis of verses 6-11.
• In verse 12 Jesus states that His disciples will do greater works than He. By the way, in Greek, this seems not to be talking about the miracles so much but it seems to suggest the work of the Gospel – they would have more conversions than Christ had during His earthly ministry.
• If they ask the Father anything in Christ’s name, He will do it in order to glorify the Son. This doesn’t mean that we can ask selfishly. In fact the next verse (v.15) says that we must love Christ with an unconditional love (Greek definition) and obey His commandments.
• Then, Jesus would ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to be with His disciples forever.
Now we want to begin looking into the text, but before we do let’s look at our first point this morning.
Results from allowing fear to be a factor in our lives.
• Fear can paralyze. I remember the time that I stayed at church late one night and leaving the church in the dark a gentleman approached me, asking for money, and then said something about getting his gun out of his pocket to show me, and he pulled out a little green Gideon’s New Testament. I don’t mind telling you I was fearful, and I froze in fear, and then sighed in relief when I saw the Bible. Well, fear can paralyze us. We see what needs to be done, or what we are going through, and we get so fearful that we wind up doing nothing. What is the result and reward of doing nothing? Well, nothing produces nothing. Remember the parable of the talents, the man with one talent was fearful of his master, so what did He do? Nothing; and he buried his talent instead of making a profit. What was the result of him doing nothing? Well, he lost even the coin he had.
• Fear can make someone less effective because they are timid. They may do something, but they are fearful to fully commit themselves so they become timid and standoffish. One result of timidity is it can prevent you from doing your best for the Lord.
• Sometimes fear will cause us to take the easy road, and keep us in our comfort zone. We may feel that maybe God is calling us to take a step of faith and maybe help in worship, help in Sunday School, Children’s Church, Outreach, or whatever else it might be, but because we are fearful, we decide not to step out, and may say something like, “Well, if it is God’s will, the preacher will come up to me instead of me coming up to him.”
Now we have looked at a few things that happen when fear becomes a factor. What does our Scripture passage say about the subject of fear? Is there anything within the text that can be an encouragement for us during fearful times?
The Scripture tells us not to be troubled or fearful.
John 14:27b TNIV – Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Let’s look into the Greek for a moment:
• “Do not let,” in Greek Grammar is called a PRESENT PASSIVE IMPERATIVE with a NEGATIVE PARTICIPLE. This means to stop an action that is already taking place.
• Troubled in Greek means, “To become stirred up and agitated.”
• Afraid in Greek means, “To be fearful, timid and afraid.”
So this could be translated, “Do not continue allowing your hearts to be stressed out and agitated, making you timid.”
We know for the believer, there will be persecutions, pains, and trails in this life. Their purpose is to hinder us in our walk with God. But here Christ is basically saying “do not allow them to stress you out and hinder you.”
How is this possible? Well the good news is Christ Jesus has given us help. Let’s look.
The Holy Spirit has been sent to help us.
John 14:26 TNIV – But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
The Holy Spirit is sent to help us by the Father in Christ’s name. Before we look at His work, let’s look at what Advocate in Greek means:
• Consoler or Counselor.
These are some wonderful truths aren’t they? The Holy Spirit helps us. He intercedes for us. He consoles us. He comforts us.
How does He do this?
• First off, He teaches us all things. This does not mean that the Holy Spirit will teach us about every single event, or act, or knowledge about everything. We must understand in the Greek, sometimes the word “all” is quantified by the text. In this case it is. It is quantified by both the context and the word Jesus phrase Jesus uses “will remind you of everything I had said to you.” The Holy Spirit will teach us everything concerning Jesus Christ, His character, His work, His relationship with us and the Father, and the Gospel message itself. In other words, we may not ever understand why we are fearful over something or go through some things, He just may not reveal that; however, He will teach us to be obedient to Christ’s words and that God is working things out for our good.
• Next, the Holy Spirit will remind us of what Jesus has spoken. I don’t believe this is only the words of Jesus in the Gospels, but I personally believe it means the entirety of Scripture. Why do I believe this? Well, Jesus is the revelation of the complete Scripture – Genesis through Revelation. The Holy Spirit will remind us of what Scripture says during times of fear.
Now one thing we must remember, it is important to be studying Scripture, or at least really listening to the Word as it is preached. In order for Him to remind you, you have to have learned what He is reminding you of. Not only is this true in life, but in the Greek that is what the word, “remind” suggests.
Jesus Himself gives believers peace.
John 14:27a TNIV – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Jesus says this is not peace that the world gives. This means the kind of peace that Jesus gives does not come from a bottle, or a pharmacist, or a Psychologists. It doesn’t come from thinking yourself into some type of positive, peaceful state. It doesn’t come from doing hours of yoga or meditation to clear your mind. It doesn’t come from positive confession or a lack of negative confession either.
The type of peace that Jesus gives comes from Him alone. Notice He calls it “my peace.” Think about this for a moment. It is the same kind of peace that Jesus had when He was giving over to the mob by Judas. It was the kind of peace He had before His accusers. It was the kind of peace He had when He was before Pilate. It was the kind of peace He had when He was own the cross, being ridiculed and dying. This is the type of peace that He gives us.
By the way, this peace doesn’t come and go. It is an eternal peace that for the believer is there, no matter what we may face.
Satan wants fear to be a factor in our lives. Jesus gives us peace to be the factor that all things are filtered through.
As we close, if fear is factoring in your life strongly at this moment, let this sermon be an encouragement for you.
• You have the Holy Spirit. He is teaching you things and He will remind you of Scripture during fearful times.
• Jesus has given us peace, and fear cannot overpower the peace that Jesus gives.
• Cry out to God and ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus on God and not on the things that are bringing fear in your life.
• Then be obedient to God’s word. Determine with the help of the Holy Spirit you will not become stressed, nor agitated, and neither will you become afraid.
Let peace, not fear be the factor leading your life this morning.