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Sermons

Sun, Apr 19, 2020

Managing Fear - Part 1 of 2

Welcome video:

Songs:

To listen to the sermon use the Audio links below (when viewed on our website).

Duration:28 mins 43 secs

Introduction …

  • We are living in scary times …

    • There are so many things going on all at the same time …

      • Crime continues …

      • Gender based violence … thousands of reported incidence every day

      • Racial incidence reported every day

      • Unemployment on the increase

      • Corona virus …

        • Lockdowns extended … increasing death rates…

        • Vaccines still months away… projections say it will peak in S.A. in September only.

      • Financial disaster/depression post corona.

        • Pensions seeing the value of their pension funds decimated.

      • It’s all a bit much is it not …

    • Maybe you are thinking this is the end its never been worse than now …

      • Well that’s not quite true …

        • My grandfather died in the trenches in 1914-18 war…

          • Where millions of men just waited to die …

          • He left a family of 7 children with very little.

          • Estimated deaths … 20 million

        • My in-laws were in Hengeloo , 11miles from the German border during the 2nd world war …

          • Every night for years they heard the bombers flying over on their way to sow death and destruction.

          • Estimated deaths …70-85 million.

        • Recently fear has caused panic buying …

          • In those days for many there was nothing to buy.

            • The lasting impression left on mother-in-law was there until her death

        • Lockdown … Ask Ann Frank and others who were in hiding for months and years what lockdown was like.


    • Am I saying that we are not in the end times … no, not at all.

      • It could be … I don’t know, because the Lord chooses not to let us know.

  • So what am I saying …

    • Our situation is inconvenient and for many very tough

    • The steps our government are taking are good and necessary …

      • We need to obey them…

    • But …Not anywhere impossible …

      • My father and in-laws got thru the 1914-18 war, the great depression, the Spanish flu (50 Million deaths), the 2nd world war …

      • And we will get thru the corona virus.

    • We may suffer some hurt …

      • Certainly for some time … even years of hardship and inconvenience

    • Our problem right now is the fear that it generates for all of us.

      • There is a massive unknown element …

        • And the unknown is the breeding ground of fear.

Fear … Real and Imagined …

  • So the question that I am asking you today is …

    • Are you experiencing some sort or degree of fear …

      • And if you say to me …No not at all …

        • Then I won’t call you a liar but I will raise my eyebrows.

    • You see fear is the emotion that is common to all.

      • It can be real or imagined…

        • When we are confronted by a real life threatening situation the fear is real …

          • And fear is a God given emotion that enables us to cope.

        • But all too often it is imagined.

          • The doctor’s appointment tomorrow …

            • What will he find… can’t sleep …heart starts to race.

        • Many of our advertisements rely on imagined fear.

  • The problem is it matters not whether real or imagined fear impacts our performance…

    • Fear comes in different shades from …

      • Mild anxiety to paralysing dread …

        • And it can be very detrimental to our health …

          • Both physically and mentally.


Challenge …

  • Where are you right now … in the situation we find ourselves in …

    • Anxious … very concerned … scared ... in a panic

    • Don’t know how you are going to manage financially, medically.

    • Being locked down with too much time to think … thinking the worst.

  • The threats we face are very real … {25 deaths, 2000 positive.}

    • But are they as real as we think …

      • T.B. deaths in S. A. per annum …78,000 … 2017

      • Road deaths per annum …15,000

      • Murders per annum … 20336 … 2018

      • Aids …270,000

    • Corona 19 has the potential to be devastating …

      • That is why we must co-operate with the authorities.

      • But we need to keep things in context .

Psalms …

  • We have recently seen in the Psalms of Ascent a number of threatening situations and how the writers managed them.

    • They detail their fears and distresses …

    • And they highlight that the solutions to each problem are found in the Lord.

  • As we turn to Psalm 46 we find a similar situation …

    • We are not privy to the exact nature of the troubles in verse 1, but we are given a detailed account of how and why we need not fear the circumstances …vs 2

      • And that is what we need to learn from.

  • In verse 1 alone we see 4 reasons why we should not despair…

    • God is …

      • A refuge

      • Strength

      • Ever-present

      • Help.

    • It is important to notice that none of these things takes us out of the situation …

      • They enable us to cope in the situation.

      • We said earlier that fear can paralyse us …

        • But the Lord is a refuge, strength, ever-present and a helper who enables us in the circumstances.

  • Maybe you have viewed or read about great courageous people in history …

    • Douglas Bader who lost both his legs in a flying accident but still manged to fly a spitfire with distinction in the Battle of Britain.

      • You are not courageous like him …

    • Courage is not the absence of fear … but the overcoming of fear.

      • And to overcome fear you must have a reason.

        • And that is what Psalms 46 and the Psalms of Ascent are about.

    • David was a man who knew extreme danger in his lifetime …

      • From Goliath , Saul, his many enemies and Absalom his own son.

        • They all wanted him dead .

      • Yet he could write and say …

        • Tho I walk thru the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil …Pslm 23;4

      • Did that mean he knew no fear …

        • I don’t believe so …Pslm 18;4-5

          • But he had a reason which enabled him to overcome fear

            • For you are with me Lord …Pslm 23;4

    • Jesus on the Mount of Olives and is praying …Luke 22;42

      • This is the most intense of scenes …

      • Jesus falls down and is speaking to the Father …

        • If it be possible take this cup of your wrath that I must endure away.

        • In this act we see the absolute humanity of Jesus manifest.

      • But he was facing Gods judgement …

        • Heb 10;27 we read of the fearful expectation of judgement and raging fire that God pours out on sin filled man…

        • Verse 31 says it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

      • As Jesus anticipates the judgement due to us being poured on himself we find him on his face …

        • Jesus is displaying all of his humanity and experiences a justifiable dread

          • God does not take him out of the situation

          • But sends his angel to strengthen him.

    • Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to manage fear…

      • David says …Psalm 18:1-2

        • I will not fear … I will be courageous

          • I will not let the circumstance overwhelm me … cause panic …

          • Because Lord you are my strength, my rock, my fortress …


      • Where did Jesus go in his moment of extreme distress …

        • He went to his source of courage and strength … the Father

          • Father sent an angel to strengthen him.

    • Deliver/deliverance is a massive subject in the Psalms …88 uses

      • In most cases it does not mean …

        • Take me out of the situation …sometimes only

        • But take me thru the situation.

          • That is why David refers to the Lord as “My strength”

          • Tho I walk … as I am walking … you are with me.

Application …

  • So here we are today …

    • Each one of us in our corona induced situation …

      • Lonely, frustrated, fearful, in need of help and support.

    • How are you doing …

      • I’m doing great … not so well … falling apart.

  • Maybe you have prayed …For deliverance …

    • But the government has imposed an additional 2 weeks of isolation …

      • And maybe there is worse to come …

        • You or one of yours contracts the virus.

    • And you are wondering … where are you Lord.

  • Come with me to Jerusalem where Jesus has been crucified and buried …

    • Where is Peter … who promised his presence … but succumbed to fear

    • James and John the sons of thunder … real men’s men

      • Locked away for fear of the Jews … John 20;19

  • Come with me to the courts of the High Priest and the rulers and elders …

    • Peter and John are called upon to give account for their healing of the lame man …

      • This they do fearlessly …

    • At the end of it all the Scripture tells us that the powerful authorities that Peter and John previously feared concluded …

      • These men have been with Jesus … Acts 4;13

  • What caused the change of heart in these men …

    • Their encounter with the risen Saviour…

    • Who by His Spirit now dwelt in them.

  • How are we going to cope … not fear filled but courageous …

    • Psalmist says … Be still and know I am God … Ps 46:10

      • As we are still he reveals himself to us as the almighty fortress … vs 11

    • Draw near to God with a sincere heart, in FULL assurance … Heb10:22

      • For he who promised is faithful … Heb 10;23

    • Sons of Korah … We will not fear tho the earth give way … Ps 46;2

      • Because in God we have a refuge, strength, a helper and fortress.

  • So we are able to manage our fears as we draw close to the Lord Jesus …

    • Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS …The Lord is near

    • Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God… Phil 4:6

  • The result …

    • And the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus… Phil 4:6-7

    • All this …As we are still and know that God is our deliverer.

  • Next week listen again as we continue to look at this Psalm 46 …

    • And see him the ever present one as our refuge, strength, helper, fortress …

Doxology …

  • Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence faultless and with great joy—to the only wise God and Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, thru Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forever more. Amen.