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Be Not Afraid

This is our last day together for morning worship and I wanted to leave you with some thoughts about two concepts – Hope or faith and Fear. Let’s talk about Hope first, Hope is easy, we always like to talk about hope. Hope is of the world; it originates in us. When we reach out to God with our hope through His Grace it is transformed to faith. It is no longer of us; it is of God. Faith is hope with certainty, you intuitively KNOW IT, because we know our Lord. He is steadfast, unwavering, unchanging, and all powerful. Hope through grace becomes faith so, for ease of use, I’m going to use the terms interchangeably. As Christians, we live in perpetual hope because death and sin have been defeated for us by Jesus Christ. We know that we will be welcomed in our Lord’s Kingdom through our relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is our only mediator between humanity and God. This is clearly stated in John 14:6 when Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Our time here is fleeting but through our faith in our Lord and Savior we know that we will have life eternal in heaven. This knowledge gives us great comfort and quietude during this life’s trials.

Now let us speak about fear. It is uncomfortable to speak about fear. Because it is uncomfortable it is important that we do so. Fear is a tool used to separate us from God. Fear comes from Satan. It is a universal experience. It creeps into our lives in various forms holding us back from pursuing our dreams, robbing us of joy, and hindering us from embracing God’s plan for our lives. Fear manifests itself through worries, anxieties, and uncertainties. It often tempts us to dwell on the worst-case scenarios, causing doubt and distress. We must remember that fear is not from God. In the 2nd book of Timothy chapter 1 verse 7 (2 Timothy 1:7) it states, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.” So why am I talking about fear? Because we must understand our enemy to defeat it. What fear do we have? The fear of being cancelled. The fear of being called a racist, homophobe, transphobe, or xenophobe. The fear of losing your job. The fear of being ostracized. The fear of being ridiculed. The fear of being discriminated against. The fear of being persecuted for your beliefs.

We must overcome fear – we are called to. To overcome fear with hope, we must cultivate and nurture it in our lives. Firstly, we must immerse ourselves in God’s Word; for it is God’s Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:105). Secondly, we must maintain an attitude of prayer. In prayer, we cast our fears upon God and experience His peace. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7) Lastly, we must surround ourselves with a community of believers who uplift, support, and encourage one another, for we a called to carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2) As followers of Christ, we are called to live in hope and radiate it to a world shrouded in fear. Our hope is not self-centered but extends to others, inviting them to experience the transformative power of God. We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ, bringing hope to the hopeless, comfort to the broken hearted, and a light to those living in darkness. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Let me remind you of a few Biblical examples in the Scriptures where hope, rooted in faith and trust in God overcame fear. I hope that they will encourage you to anchor your heart in the promises of God, knowing that He is faithful and will provide comfort, guidance, and deliverance in times of trouble. In Mark 4:35-41 Jesus and His disciples were caught in a violent storm while crossing the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were filled with fear for their lives, but Jesus, with a single command, calmed the storm and restored peace. This event demonstrates how faith and trust in Jesus can replace fear with hope.

In the first book of Samuel Chapter 17 (1 Samuel 17), When faced with the giant Philistine warrior Goliath, the Israelites were filled with fear. However, David, a young shepherd boy, approached the situation with hope and confidence in God's deliverance. His trust in God's power and promises enabled him to conquer his fear and face the giant, ultimately leading to victory.

In Romans 8:15, the Apostle Paul writes, "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!'" Here, Paul contrasts the spirit of fear with the hope and confidence that comes from being adopted into God's family.

I think that the most powerful example is Psalm 23 which shows how the presence of God brings comfort, dispelling fear and instilling hope.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not [a]want. 2 He makes me to lie down in [b]green pastures; He leads me beside the [c]still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will [d]dwell in the house of the Lord [e]Forever.

God expects Christians to stand against evil and to actively resist it. Christians are encouraged to live righteous lives, adhere to moral principles, and promote justice, compassion, and love in the world.

The Bible teaches that Christians should not only avoid evil themselves but also actively confront and oppose it. In Ephesians 6:11-13, the Apostle Paul writes, "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground."

Christians are called to resist evil and injustice by following the teachings of Jesus Christ, who emphasized love, forgiveness, and justice. They are encouraged to speak out against oppression, defend the vulnerable, and seek to bring about positive change in the world. Not to put our heads in the sand.

Hope is a powerful force that emanates from our faith in God. It is the confident expectation that God is faithful to fulfill His promises and that He is in control of our lives. Remember, Hope is not merely wishful thinking; it is an anchor for our souls in the midst of life's storms (Hebrews 6:19). When we have hope, fear loses its grip on us. It transforms our perspective and enables us to see beyond our current circumstances, knowing that that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28).

So, go out boldly into the world and be a beacon of hope, have courage, and be not afraid knowing that God has his hand on the steering wheel and He is in control.

I would like to end with a prayer.

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