Sunday, February 25, 2018 - FACING YOUR FEARS
Pastor Roger C. Marcos
February 25, 2018
As in Biblical times, fear is one of the major causes of failure and disobedience among God’s people. In fact, fear can keep us from being used by God because fear paralyzes its victim.
Studies have shown that over 90% of our fears are not grounded or valid. Only about 4 % of all the fears that you will experience in your life is valid. I have come to realize that FEAR is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real.
Fear-Is an unpleasant emotion or thought that you have when you are frightened or worried by something dangerous, painful, or bad that is happening or might happen
WHAT FEAR DOES?
1. It causes you to see your problems as bigger than God’s ability to solve them.
Fear magnifies itself as well as the problem and diminishes God within your situation. God knows this and therefore He tells the Jews to keep their eyes on Him and not the present and coming circumstance.
2. Fear causes you to resist positive Change
Fearful people seek the easy way out of a situation instead of the right one. The fear of change also causes them to resist important and often positive change because they fear uncertainty. For this reason, God told the Jews that He would strengthen them (v10).
3. Fear paralyzes you so that you cannot make the right decisions.
People who are passive or paralyzed by fear will often refrain from making a decision that will steer them towards facing their fears and therefore they would rather pull back from life. Fear not only causes you to choose the way of least resistance, but it is also one of the major causes of disobedience among Christians.
Isa. 41:10Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
The Red Sea Crossing
Text: 1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.’ 4 Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.
5 Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” 6 So he made ready his chariot and took his people with him. 7 Also, he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them. 8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness. 9 So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon.
10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”
13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
15 And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. 16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
Today God brings to each of us a choice - we can live by fear or by faith. If we choose fear we will live our entire lives never fully experiencing the great satisfaction of taking a risk for God.
If we choose to walk in faith we will experience a newfound freedom that will lead to a personal assurance that we are living life to its fullest. Now I know that some of us here today are still living by fear even though we want to live by faith.
I. FEAR IS A FORMULA FOR FAILURE. “Fear not,” is in the Bible 365 times. They teach, preach
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isa. 41:10
Steps on how to take risks in faith.
- But, before I do, I want us to look at an example of people that should have been living by faith, but instead they gave into fear.
- The book of Exodus tells us about the Israelite people leaving the bondage of Egypt for the freedom God had planned for them.
- They have just seen God’s hand work in a mighty way - they have witnessed the ten plagues - they have experienced the first Passover - they have just been released by Pharoah after 400 years of bondage.
- You would think that they will be filled with faith, but instead they are crippled by fear.
- I think you will remember when Moses, was leading the people away from Egypt and to get away from Pharoah’s army they would have to cross the Red Sea -
- We’re going to let the Israelites stand as an example to show us what fear can do to us if we let it replace faith in our lives.
1. It makes us SKEPTICAL Not Easily Convinced; having Doubts or Reservations.
- Then they turned against Moses and complained, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves in Egypt ? -- Exodus 14:11a (NLT)
When we are afraid, we begin to doubt.
- We doubt ourselves, we doubt God, we doubt other people, we become skeptical.
- Studies have shown that cynics, at the root, have basically a problem with fear.
- We often ridicule what we're afraid of.
2. It makes us SELFISH
When I'm afraid, the only thing I can think of is myself.
I don't think about you, I don’t think about God, I don't think about anybody else, I'm just focusing in on me.
- Let’s look at the rest of v. 11 Then they turned against Moses and complained, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves in Egypt ? Why did you make us leave?
- What are they saying? Look what you've done to us!"
- When we're afraid, we accuse others, we excuse ourselves, we pass the buck, we blame other people, we run from responsibility.
3. It makes us STUBBORN
- We resist change when we're afraid.
In v. 12a, they said, “Didn’t we tell you to leave us alone while we were still in Egypt ?”
- And fear keeps people from growing, it keeps businesses from growing, it keeps churches from growing, because it causes us to be stubborn.
- God is ready to set them free from 400 years of slavery and the Israelites say, “Leave us alone!”
4. It makes us SHORTSIGHTED
- When the Israelites were confronted with the Red Sea , they said, (v. 12b) “Our Egyptian slavery was far better than dying out here in the wilderness.”
Nearsighted A short-sighted person can only clearly see objects that are close to them.
- They wanted to go back to the "good old days" in Egypt - They wanted to return, they wanted to retreat, they wanted to go back.
- They had so little faith that God would come through for them and grant them freedom that they preferred to return to bondage in Egypt .
- And you know what? Many people today are living the exact same way.
- They would rather live in the bondage of their own sin, rebellion, and guilt, than be set free by risking it all for Jesus Christ.
- Actually, I don’t think that they really prefer living in bondage, they are just so afraid to let go and let God that they really don’t know what else to do.
- Perhaps some of you have been living in fear for so long that you really don’t know what it means to live by faith.
- Well, let’s see what we can do to rectify that this morning - let’s answer the question in point number two of your outline:
II. HOW CAN I REPLACE FEAR WITH FAITH?
Now, how do you take risks in faith rather than caving in to fear?
- Whether we’re talking about that first step of faith of becoming a Christian, or perhaps you’re already a believer ready to step out in another area of faith, we all need to learn how to move on to the next level.
- There are five principles that God teaches us in His word.
1. Information: GET THE FACTS
- If you're going to take risks, God wants you to get the facts.
- Anything that requires faith is going to have some element of risk in it, but God says, "There's a right way and there's a wrong way."
God doesn't want you taking foolish risks, that's not faith.
-So He says, "First off, get the facts. Find out all you can first.
Pro. 13:16 Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly.
Pro. 23:23 LB Get the facts at any price, and hold on tightly to all the good sense you can get.
- When you're going to make a major decision that involves a risk in your life, talk to people who've already done it.
- What is God saying to you today? He's saying, "Quit running and face the issue. Face it in faith. Move against your fear. Do the thing you fear the most."
- God told Moses, "Quit praying and get the people moving!" What is it you need to stop praying about and start doing?
- You say, “I’ll get around to it one of these days.”
- But you and I both know, that "one of these days" is none of these days.
- You say, "One of these days, I'm really going to get serious for God. And really put Him number one in every area of my life."
- When are you going to do it? Move against the fear that says, "You'll be a fanatic. It won't work. You'll regret it." Move against the fear.
- "One of these days, I'm going to find a church family I'm going to join." When are you going to do it? What are you waiting on? Move against your fear.
- One of these days I'm going to develop my talents that God's given me and I'm going to go after the dream I know He's put in my heart." Why not now? Move against your fear.
Quit praying - Start acting.
Please, that thing that's out there, that has you most afraid, in Christ's name, go for it.
You’ll never want to turn back again.