Hi everybody. I’m pastor Mark, Willey, and I welcome you to this video series entitled all fascination with God, leading to love over fear, really excited to journey with you in the sessions together in a subject that I just feel is. Incredibly important. It has certainly been. So in my own life, I want to talk to you today very simply about why are we doing it?
A series on all I like to give three reasons, first of all, All is the path to trusting and enjoying God. All of us have experienced moments of all, whether it is a mountain top experience where you’re looking over the peaks and a beautiful mountain range, whether it is a captivating, theatrical, or musical experience to be awed takes us outside of ourselves.
God wants us. To be awed by him to have our experience with him to engender similar feelings that the, the presence of God, the reality of God, the nature of God, the attributes of God would stun us, that we would be struck. With the greatness of God, with the goodness of God and to experience all of the amazing byproducts that God has designed for us in our humanness, as he has created the engine of our life to move and to run most effectively when we are living in the all of God.
A second reason we’re going to be looking at this series is because. All is God’s method for overcoming our fears. The premise of the Bible and this series is that we fight fear with fear, Isaiah chapter eight, verse 12 and 13 says this do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy do not fear what they fear and do not dread it.
The Lord almighty is the one you are to regard as Holy. He is the one you are to fear. We fight fear with fear. We replace fear with all that. This is the means and the method that we find our own fears, dissipate in their control and influence in our lives. When we are awed. But the greatness of God and the word in the scripture often use is the word to fear him.
And I don’t run from that word, but I think that the, the translation of all is the best translation of the concept of fearing God. It is to be OD. Bye God. The third reason that we’re doing this series is that all is needed because we all struggle. With fear. Now, some of you might find that statement somewhat of a reach.
You might be out there saying fear doesn’t seem to really be my big issue. I mean, lost maybe pride. Okay. Okay. Anger. I’m working on it, but fear doesn’t seem to be factor in too much to my life Mark, to which I will only respond. We’ll see the second thing, the second group of people out there might be those of you that are saying on the other end of the spectrum.
Look, I don’t, I don’t just struggle with fear. It’s sucking the life out of me. And what I’d like to say to both groups and everybody in between is whether you are a skeptic of the universality of fear impacting your life or a victim of innumerable phobias. I think you will find that this topic of all applies to you.
I want to start with a couple of important questions as we think about this idea of fear in awe. And very simply a definition. What is fear and fear is the emotional response to threat. Fear says, I am in danger. If you’ve dealt with worry or anxiety, you know, that it doesn’t feel that different than fear, fear, and anxiety are sisters of the same family, but there is a difference.
Anxiety is a general vague sense of apprehension. It is often an unsettled sense of vulnerability. One has, but fear is specific. There is a definite object that provides the danger we feel in fear. So what are those things that are dangerous to us? And the Bible is very clear on this, and I would suggest that human experience affirms what the Bible says.
And there are two broad categories of things we fear the first I would just say, are those momentary or personalized fears? I mean, these are the kinds of fears that, that show up on fear factor. People bring these, these crazy specific fears that are real to them, this specialized fears, and whether it’s snakes or spiders or elevators, or, or being devoured by fire ants.
They’re they’re real things and they’re specific things and they’re, they’re very, very personalized for me growing up. Mine was the octopus. At six years old, I went to Coney Island aquarium with my parents and somehow got separated from them momentarily and ended up in front of the larger corium exhibit where the, the.
The octopus was, I was going to say giant octopus. I’m guessing you probably wasn’t giant. He just seemed that way. I remember him actually coming up to the window, uh, of the glass window and there’s nobody else in there. There’s Mark and the octopus and this guy is waving his arms and I’m seeing these tentacles and all these, the suction cups.
And I actually could see right into his face. And there’s this, this, this. This mouth with it, with what they call the beak that devour said, man, it was nasty. Soon after that, I was watching a Tarzan movie and tars in one of the scenes is fighting this, this giant octopus. Now I have no idea. I mean, he’s shooting the black ink and so parsing, can’t see him and he’s wrapped up and.
Now I have no idea how a giant octopus got in a Lake in central Africa, but I’ll leave that to the director of the film to figure out. But if you were to ask me, Mark, what is your greatest fear? Well, I could have said something and maybe I could say today, my greatest fear for a fear factor type thing would be to be put into a, uh, a giant aquarium and I am in a death struggle.
With a 16 foot Pacific, giant Pacific octopus, but I’d be wrong because I don’t think about octopus or octopi almost ever. And I find they really don’t have any impact on my life, my daily existence. I don’t even think about them down at the ocean. Maybe I would, if I was out there far enough or something where they hang, but.
There are other fears, much more relevant in my daily life. And just like you, there are fears that influence us regularly, and it is those fears, those life influencing fears that the Bible is constantly talking about. That the fears that we live out of, because they’re usually attached to, to something of great personal value to us and.
And I believe there were five and I’d like to just share those very quickly. Now, five primary life influencing fears in our lives. The first is the fear of physical threat or danger. It can be to ourselves or to those. We love second Samuel 28 verse five and six says when King Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart trembled greatly.
An army of oversized warriors can, can do that to you. We don’t face this in our lives, in our culture to the degree, this fear of physical threat to the degree that many cultures do both current and certainly in world history. Uh, most of us do not face the threat, the ongoing threat of starvation or genocide or lack of water or invading armies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a little taste of, of the fear of physical danger on a macro level. But when somebody gets a cancer diagnosis or their child is an ICU or a spade of robberies, the senior neighborhood, those are the kinds of things that are needed to really escalate the fact that I feel a life threatening.
but most of us don’t live our lives continually influenced by that kind of danger. But to those that have it. It’s real and it’s powerful. The second kind of fear is the fear of scarcity or loss as a life influencing fear in his book, the escape from hunger and premature death. Robert William Fogel writes about the astonishing changes in the modern world.
He talks about the fact that that after millennia of chronic malnutrition around the world, The last three centuries have seen the average lifespan of humans doubled and the average body size of individuals, 50 cent percent increase, but increasing physical safety and prosperity do not reduce fear. He writes this in his book.
We are the healthiest wealthiest and longest lived people in history. And we are increasingly afraid. This is one of the greatest paradoxes of our time medical. These are all his quotes, medical, advanced, modern technology, and wealth comparable to that of Royal families in past centuries has not removed the fear of scarcity in many people’s lives, even in affluent cultures for some scarcity is a looming threat.
Scarcity can impact us in many arenas. And an unexpected job termination, a stock market dip, a reduction in your sales record is scary. First Timothy chapter five commands and says don’t love money. It says because the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, but you don’t have to love money and be dominated by it with greed to feel fear.
When you sense scarcity because our lives depend on finances to provide the things that we need. There’s a scarcity that many people fear, but the scarcity is not just financial. It can be social, social scarcity is where people live in fear of, of, of not having certain things in their lives, whether it is not finding a mate.
Or having a child or ever having real friends, social media of course has, has spawned a whole new genre of social scarcity. People watch each other’s posts and pictures of trips and, and experiences and parties and are fearful. They’re missing out on what life could be. There’s a whole title for this now in the acronym.
FOMO. F O M O which stands for the fear of missing out, which is so prevalent that it’s actually a word now in the new Oxford dictionary, fear of scarcity for people is real the F the third case, characteristic of fear, or type of fear that influences our lives is the fear of inadequacy. Many of you identify with the prophet.
Jeremiah. God came to the prophet, Elijah, Jeremiah, and said, I want you to be my prophet. And this was before he became a spokesman for God and Jeremiah responded in prov in Jeremiah chapter one, verse five. Well, God, I don’t know how to speak. And God said to him, do not fear the prophet feared. He did not have the goods for the job.
Many of us relate Susan Jeffers in his inner book, fear the, feel, the fear and do it anyway, says this at the bottom of every one of your fears is simply the fear that you can’t handle, whatever life may bring you. And if you feel that way, this actually goes all the way back to the first humans, Adam and Eve, where they.
Rebelled against God. And the immediate result was they were struck with, because of their change status because of sin, a sense of unworthiness, a sense of unacceptability. So they immediately hide from, from, from God and from each other, they put fig leaves on because they’re, they’re now ashamed of what they are.
They felt the verdict of unacceptability and unworthiness. One of the driving fears in the lives of. People today is the fear of not measuring up of not being adequate of failing. Jr. Rolling spoke at Harvard university at their graduation and told a little from her own life. She had come up from poverty and she made this statement when she was speaking to them.
She said, what I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty. It was failure. Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves. She said what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria. If you let it two things that she says they’re about failure. First of all, she reminds us of how the fear of failure is such a prominent fear of people, of being inadequate of not measuring up a failing.
Right. But she also reminds us that we all have our own criteria that different people have criteria. Is she speaking to Harvard grads and probably their standard of failure is going to be different than, than most of ours. But the issue is many of us fear the verdict of unacceptability of failure.
Taylor Swift said it this way. I am intimidated by the fear of being average. Madonna, my drive in life is from this horrible fear of being mediocre. And that is always pushing and pushing me. My struggle has never ended and it probably never will. Now we often honor people that push themselves that are driven, but behind the drive and behind the push is often fear.
It is the fear of inadequacy, the fourth fear and the fifth fear are both related to the same, most commonly emphasized biblical fear, which is the fear of man or the fear of other people. The fourth is the fear of contempt from people in Isaiah 51, the sense that people will reject me, that I will never receive the respect and or love that I, that I will be viewed with contempt by others, Isaiah 51 verse seven and eight says it this way.
Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults. Even the great man job felt this. In job, 31 verse 34. He says this, I stood in fear of the multitude. The contempt of others terrified me. So I kept silence and did not go out of doors. People’s contempt. The fear that, that, that we will live being looked at.
Yeah. Contemptuously without respect, without love by others is it’s powerful. Some are you, have, you are wondering if you will ever really be left. You’re fearful that no one will ever want you as a life partner. You may have been a marriage that contributes to that fear. You may fear that your children will never really want you.
Some of you fear how people will look at you and it is limiting your obedience to do what you know is right to. Do the things that God is asking you to do, because the fear of people’s contempt is real. And the last form of contempt of fear is the fear of conflict with people. The other form of fearing man is fear and conflict from them in Nehemiah six, 19, uh, Nehemiah is his.
Prompted by God to go back and build, rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, the surrounding governors that are against it. And they’ve begun an intimidation campaign. They had done this with the previous guy that had tried to do something and had been successful. But now Nehemiah’s tried and they are writing letters and they’re talking about rooms that they themselves are stirring up at the same.
We’re hearing this, we’re hearing this. And he says this, they wrote these letters to me. They did this to make me afraid. Nehemiah six, 19 David, one of the great men of God in the Bible was a people person and a sensitive man. Many of his songs are him dealing with his fears from his enemies. He calls them things like lions lurking to ambush me and Psalm 10 hunters who spread their net for my feet and Psalm 31 snarling dogs in Psalm 59.
In Psalm three, verse six, he says his struggle with these people is that they set themselves against me. Many people, fear, conflict. It’s particularly fearful to do life with people that have a higher tolerance for conflict than you do.
Makita Khrushchev illustrated the PA Nikita Khrushchev illustrated the power of the fear of conflict. He was one speaking now the premier of the Soviet union and was speaking of the atrocities that had happened under Stalin and condemning them. And there was a heckler in the crowd and he actually yelled out during the speech by Khrushchev.
You were a colleague of Stalin. Why didn’t you speak out? And Khrushchev actually stood up and looked out in the crowd, which was now stunned in silence by this guy’s, uh, heckling. And he looked out and Khrushchev said this, who said that?
And after waiting a little while in this stunned silence to which there was no response, he said, Now, you know why I was afraid,
no matter who you are listening to this video, you’ve struggled with fear. There are life influencing fears in your life. The antidote to fear is all living our lives in the stunned enjoyment of the beauty and wonder of our mighty God. It enables us to trust him, to rely on him, to hope in him in the most fearful of circumstances we’re going to see.
And with this, I close the seven realities of God and I I’ve gone longer with this one than I hope to and others, but these seven realities and they’ll form seven of the sessions, we can be stunned into all. By these realities of God. Number one, he is stronger than anything you might face. He is sweeter than anything you might lose.
He is safer than anything you depend on. He is surrounding you in anything you encounter. He is standing with you anywhere you might go. He is sufficient for any insufficiency. You might feel he is sovereign over anything. You might endure