Hey everybody. Welcome back. We’re here at session seven on the all series a we’re going to change things up a little bit in a couple of minutes. Um, but I’m excited about this study tonight. You know, the goal of this series is to help. Us be awed by God. And I’ve been presenting seven different things, truth that God reveals about himself that are the basis of all knowing us.
Uh, we talked about the fact that God is stronger than anything you might face that God is sweeter. Then anything you might lose that God is sovereign over any situation you might be in. And all of those are designed to help us, uh, overcome our fears and replace fear with love. Tonight. I want to switch things up a little bit as far as how we’re doing this and what I’m going to do in a moment is I am going to ask the facilitator to stop the tape because I have a little exercise I’d like you to do and all do with each other.
And, uh, But let me just jump right in. Uh, what I’d like you to think about is what if those things were not true, God is stronger than anything you might face got a sweeter than anything you might lose. God is sovereign over any situation you might be in. What if God. We’re like Thomas Jefferson’s God, Thomas Jefferson actually put together.
What’s known as the Thomas Jefferson Bible. It’s a Bible where he basically took out anything that he wasn’t comfortable with. And so what he did was he took all the teachings of Jesus, which he was very comfortable with. He liked the moral code of Jesus, and he put them into his own book, which became known as Thomas Jefferson’s Bible, but he took out all the miracles.
He took out of the resurrection. He took out any of the supernatural. It was a moral code book and it basically his view of Christianity was, yeah, Christianity is something that’s a good way to raise your family. It’s a moral way. I like the people that are there. I’d like to my kids to turn out like those kinds of people.
And he gave them moral code of teaching. That was presented by Jesus. The second thing he did was he presented a worldview. Uh, he had a worldview which was basically called Diaz in which meant that God had, uh, basically had started the world and wound it up like a clock. That’s the analogy, but he uses and he just let it run.
You know, he just hands off, uh, do your own thing. Live your own life. Make your own choices and hopefully you’ll follow some of the teachings I’ve given you through Jesus and that’ll be good. But as far as supernaturally being involved, as far as God’s power being relevant in a person’s life, as far as God doing life with you, talking with you, caring for you now, this was not the view of, of God, and God was not overseeing what’s going on in your life and your world.
And what’s coming next. You made your own way. You were the master of your own ship. I’d suggest to you is a lot. We do a lot more of that than we realized, but the question that I have, if God were not stronger sweeter, standing with you, sovereign,
what would change for you? But would it be different? And here’s the question it’s on the handout. If you have a handout, it basically says this, I would be blank. Now. I recognize it’s hard to do a hypothetical because we don’t think this way. And I don’t really know. I mean, what would be all around figures, but I want you to think about it because, and honestly, I want you to answer, honestly, I mean, there’s no yes or no right or wrong.
Uh, we’re looking for honest reactions. Your answer might honestly be. If God, you know, if I just had Christianity as a moral code and God wasn’t actively involved, you know, I guess, honestly not much would change. I guess I would be the same. Um, others might respond. I would be terrified or someone else might say I would be fine.
Maybe you’d say I’m pretty sure I would be. And alcoholic. I mean, whatever, this I’m just going all over the place here, but I want everybody in the group to take a minute. Think about it. Process. If those things weren’t true that we’ve been talking about, how would it affect your life? The way you live? I would be blank and I’m going to have everybody in the group share.
So you’re going to have to suck it up and come up with something. Okay. And we’re going to turn off the camera and off the video and you got five or 10 minutes as a group to get all the way around the group. If you want to explain your answer, that’d be great. Um, but we’ll leave it up to your leader, how you handle.
Okay. All right. I would be blank if those things were not realities. Okay. I’ll see you back in a few minutes.
Okay, welcome back. We’ve talked about these things. You’ve you’ve, you’ve given your responses, thinking about it, all these attributes of God that are in this series of seven things that I think the scripture say are the means of offering us with God, have practical value. And we’re highlighting in this series of, of studies.
The fact that all enables us to replace fear with. Love our fears, whether they are of people’s opinions, whether we fear failure, whether we feel scarcity or, or losing something, whether we fear being, uh, physically or emotionally in danger, uh, all of our fears. Have the impact of making us self-absorbed.
Let me, let me just try to present this suppose you are in a scenario or when you were in a scenario where you really feel you’re in danger of losing your job. How dominating an experience was that for you in your fears, if you’ve heard a medical report, a serious medical report about you or somebody close to you, if you’re trying to, uh, if your sale, the big sale, uh, in, in your, in your career is now, it looks like it’s not going to come through.
You’re buying a house and you might lose it. You might not get the deal, or you might not get the mortgage. Or maybe worse, you are going to get the deal. And now you’re not sure you can pay the mortgage or you are a news junkie right now. And you’re upset with all the things that are going on and the confusion and the chaos.
And you say, well, Mark, I’m not really, uh, I I’m just mad. Well, I’d suggest to you that fear is one of our greatest triggers for anger, frankly. All those fears are practical ways. Things can control our thinking and our responding and our way of doing life. Our emotional responses to life. We tend to become self centered.
We tend to become self absorbed, consumed with guarding ourselves, from what we dread. The result of fearing God, though, is exactly the opposite. It is freeing. It frees us to get outside of ourselves and to be able to be others centered. We talked about that earlier sessions. Our focus tonight is on the attribute.
The characteristic of God that is most often mentioned in the Bible to people that fear and. My question is we look at this and the fact that God is with us, that God is standing with you. Any place you might go, how can knowing God is with you, help you to replace fear with love. And there are three answers.
I think biblically number one, knowing God is with you can give you courage to trust God. The constant refrain of the Bible. Whenever God asks somebody to do something for him, that’s a big thing. Or whenever he sees them in the midst of, of what they perceive as something coming at them, and they’re scared, his God constantly says I’m with you.
I’m with you, just some passage as quickly, Isaiah 41 10. Fear not, I will be with you. He’s talking to Joshua. Don’t be afraid for the Lord. Your God will be with you wherever you go. He’s talking to the people of Israel is there. They’re getting ready to go into the land and they’re going to face the giants.
He says don’t be strong and courageous do not be afraid or terrified because of them for the Lord. Your God goes with you. He won’t leave you or forsake you Psalm 23. I will fear no evil. Why for you? Are with me, you’re standing with me in the new Testament. It says the Lord is near, do not be anxious about anything in Philippians four or five and six,
knowing God is with us, knowing God is watching us caring for us. Overseeing us is the greatest inducement to overcome fear in our lives. Because we all struggle with fear because you stand in front of people and. Preach with conviction. It can seem like, or a strong leader in an organization. It can seem like th the fear is not really something that a person is dealing with.
I was speaking a couple of years ago, I was speaking to the board of the organization board and the staff of the organization that I served on the board with for a number of years. And as I was speaking, I was speaking on the subject of fear. And how God fearing God can displace our fierce. And I got done in a president who was on the board with us.
So another organization he got with me and he pulled me aside and he said, Mark, do you, do you struggle with fears? Because you’re the kind of a person I don’t picture dealing with fear. And I honestly, I was flabbergasted and I was reminded that having a public persona. Can sometimes not present reality.
And I thought of the night that I had laid awake in genuine fear in my life. And even my role as pastor of the conflict of a conflict, I knew I had to live through of a family situation that was eating me up of, of something I did not see how it could end in anything, but disaster fear is real for all of us.
And I’ve in my own journey. The biggest thing to help me overcome fear is this reality that God is with me. So. Okay. So what does it mean Mark? W w the God is with your courses with these, with everybody’s everywhere. Now, when I know God is with me. Is when God has personally specifically spoken into my life.
It is why the passage in Ephesians six warfare, it’s one of the most important passages to me in the Bible. It’s where God gives ramus R H E M a is the transliteration of the English of the Greek word. He says, take the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. He’s talking about warfare when you’re under attack.
When you’re overwhelmed with, with, with the sense of, of opposition and fear. And he says, take the sword of the spirit. And though the word used, there is not the big, broad sword of the soldier. It’s actually the little dagger. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a short thing. It’s for hand to hand, I mean, the only thing that’s going to do, you’re not going to do anything with anybody with that thing.
It’s it’s when you’re grappling and you’re, and you’re fighting is hand to hand. And he says, this is the Ramo of God. The word of God. It’s not the, the word that typically is used to talk about the scriptures, uh, it, where God says the word of God, many times in the scriptures. That’s the word log us. It’s talking about the over the overall scriptures.
The Rayma here is talking about specific statements of God that he gives you as a dagger to fend off the enemy. It is the specific promises, the specific truths that he gives to you. And I almost cannot think of a time in my life where I have been in deep waters personally, or when I have been led to lead our church into something that was scary for me, that God has not, that I’ve not leaned into the reality that I knew God would be with me because he gave me a Raymont.
I remember years ago when the nativity was this in its fledgling state. And we’d had, I think we got over probably about 1,501 year, and it was just this home run and everything. And then we had really expanded things and we’d put a lot of money into it. And, and I, and we were really trying to call people to get involved and I was praying a lot about it.
And. I was reading in the old Testament and God just laid on my heart, this passage where, uh, Elijah was feeling like he’s the only one he felt all alone. And I was sort of feeling that way about the negativity at that time. Just how do we get this giant thing? Really rolling. We need so much staff. I don’t know how to publicize.
And the Lord says to Elijah, he says, uh, I have 7,000 profits. 7,000 people that have not bowed in a you’re not alone. And I don’t, I can’t exegetically say how I got from here to here. I just know the spirit said to me, the number 7,000 and thought 7,000, you can’t be serious. You’re asking me to trust you for 7,000 people that come through the negativity.
I mean, I, again, I’m just telling it, I’m confident to this day, God laid that on my heart, but he made it worse. He says, I want, I want that out there. I want people praying for this. I want this to be your challenge. So I got up on Sunday morning, just scared to death. I started this. I’ll never have anybody trust me as a leader again.
And I said, you know what? I feel constrained of God that we ask God to give us 7,000 people come through the negativity. And I did. We actually had almost, uh, we had about 7,800 come through. And was, uh, a moment for me when we bought our house, it was a house that had been vacant for three years. It’s the only way we could buy a house with what we had in this area, in the area of Mount Laurel.
And we had one thing after another fall. Apart with that thing, it just, uh, it was, it was, uh, from a human perspective, you would say it was a nightmare. My wife says it’s when I actually got my, my hair. I used to have Brown hair, believe it or not. Um, but. The Lord gave us a passage. And he said in Psalm 34, I will give you the desires of your heart.
We almost put a sign out in front of our house. So it almost became a, like a, what we would call our property was desire because, but we just held onto that thing that the Lord, Lord, we don’t say, how’s it gonna work out? It just seems one nightmare after another. And yet he gave us a Raymont. And I want to just encourage you senior saints, middle aged, young people.
let God affirm to you how personal he wants to be in your life, especially in the things he asks you to believe him for in the things that are scary to trust him about let his word. Speak into your life personally, that he can personally say. And what you’ll find is you will have a courage. It doesn’t mean you won’t feel fear, but you will have a courage to overcome those fears because you’ll say, you know, this wasn’t wasn’t my son.
I didn’t create all this. Wasn’t my idea. God spoke this into me. He’s affirming. He’s going to lead me through this. God is standing with me. It gives you courage. Secondly, it gives you confidence that you matter if God is standing with you, there’s an old Testament story. It Proverbs 14. First of all, it says this in the fear of the Lord, one has strong confidence.
There’s a confidence you gain in knowing that the Lord is with you. I mean, the Lord sees everything, right? He’s he’s, he’s everywhere. He sees everything. And so when he says, I see you, it doesn’t mean that much until you realize what he’s saying is I see everything, but man, I’m watching you. I’m with you.
I’m I’m, I’m standing with you. My eye is on you. Genesis 16. That’s a story of Abraham’s. Uh, she was a servant concubine in his household. She was not a wife, uh, at the prompting of his wife, Sarah, they jumped ahead of trusting God to give them the promised air. And he slept with Hagar. She bore him a son and, and naturally as the mother of his child, Hey, the guard began to act like she sort of had it over.
H Sarah, who was the wife and Sarah got ticked off. And basically she went to Abraham and she said, it’s her and me, you know, uh, you either get her out of here, banished her from our household or I’m out. I mean, this has got to happen. And so not one of his greatest moments. Abraham did have Sur Hagar leave Hagar leaves with her son.
Now, when you. Went out into the, the wilderness in that day, there were no social services you could call on no rescue missions. There was no, um, monthly check that would be coming from the government to help you. There was nothing. And so she’s out there and she’s with her son and, and basically she’s just expecting to God to die.
If there was ever a woman that felt wronged, rejected, ostracized alone. It was Hagar. And God appeared to her, says the angel of the Lord, which in the old Testament, that was a reference most theologians believe to meaning and actual, um, visit by Jesus himself. Jesus visited Hagar and basically told her, do not fear I’m with you.
And she gave him a name. It’s the name? Ellroy here’s the verse Genesis four 16, 14. So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her. You are the God who sees me four. She said truly here. I have seen him who looks after me. God’s appearance. Her you matter? Or you may feel like Hagar. You may feel like a rejected, wronged, very alone person.
As you’re listening tonight. It’s a scary foreboding place to be, to feel that alone, God standing with, you says this, you matter to me, I’m with you. So when God says I’m with you. What he’s saying is you matter, the third thing is knowing God is with, you can give you a kick in the rear. We have seen that we can only love to the degree that we are freed from fear.
We have seen that we can only love to the degree. You know, you are loved that you matter to God in these first two things, but sometimes knowing God is with us, helps us. Remember that our choices matter, which leads us to love. Here’s what I mean. You are still left with constant choices every day. People from very loving families who feel very loved, uh, who have been loved by God can still become, self-centered jerks people with great theology and a big God can use that to pummel other people and show unkindness.
Some of you listening to this series need to hear the last part of tonight’s session. God, being with you is an incredible encouragement, but God being with you is also a warning. It should be a motivation to die to yourself and to live for Christ to live as a surrendered follower, not as a self-sufficient onlooker, a surrendered follower, not a self-sufficient onlooker.
Okay. We read this job feared. God. job. One, one, two beginning of the book is how he’s identified in Proverbs 16, six. The fear of God causes people to depart from evil and the summary of the book of Ecclesiastes. He’s this great book on what’s life about and, and what, what does it really mean? Solomon summarize the very last two verses of the book.
He says this the end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear God. And keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man for God will bring every deed into judgment with every secret thing, whether good or evil, this series has largely focused on how you can benefit by the fear of God, but it is never designed to end there.
God says to be awed on him. So you are freed. To love others. It’s possible that you hear all this about God being stronger and sweeter and, and standing with you and sovereign over all things. And your responses will sure. This is, this is awesome. You know, it works way. It should God supplies and I, the servant receive, uh, he helps me.
I’m happy. It’s a wonderful scenario. But God being with you also means that he desires and expects choices towards him. It means that he sees you, right? It means not only that you matter to him, it means not only that you have courage because he is, he is with you, but it also means that you recognize that.
Holiness matters. Righteousness matters that he sees you. He sees what you watched on TV yesterday. He sees and on the internet, how you spoke to your kids, whether you are tithing your income. Whether you lie when you come, he sees, when you lie sees, when you complain, he sees, when you act like he’s just a backup for your plans, rather than the Lord of your life, reflecting on God, being with him for you might need to be a jolt of reality.
Holiness matters. Obedience matters. Loving God is evidenced by yielding to him. All of these aspects are involved where God alls us and frees us from fear by standing with us, by being with us for some of you, that reality is needed to give you courage for some of you. That reality is needed too. Remind you that you matter to God for some of you, it may be needed to remind you to take your faith seriously and, and quit playing with the living God.
But that God is with us, should change us. And God is standing with you any place.