“WISDOM OF LIVING (35) FEAR”                          By Pastor YAU

Text: Matthew 14:22-33                                          September 25, 2005

 

INTORDUCTION:

1)   To have fear is being human: Fear is part of life. We were afraid to enter a dark room when we were small. Some people fear of height while others fear large bodies of water. Some may be afraid of seeing a dentist when others are frightened to board an airplane.

2)   Fear is a natural response: One of the four basic needs of human survival is security or safety. People have fear when they feel their safety is being jeopardized. It is a natural response to be afraid when you don’t have the sense of security in a situation in which you have little or no control.

3)   Fear comes in different sizes and shapes: No two persons have the same level of fear in a same situation. We all are different in our emotional and mental energy which reacts to environment in different ways and degrees. Comparing one person with another in terms of fear is not wise or intelligent. 

 

WHY DO WE HAVE FEAR?  I don’t think if there is anyone who may give us all the reasons why we have fear. Yet, our experience being human living in this society gives us the opportunity to observe some of the reasons that cause us to have fear. We have fear because…

1)     We are finite beings: Regardless of how some insane people may think of themselves, human beings are finite, fragile, not that intelligent and mortal. There are too many things and situations we just have no way to know, no power to overcome and no chance to avoid. We live on this planet earth basically on the mercy of the balance power of the universe and nature. Far too many things are beyond the capacity of the human brain.

2)     We live in an unfriendly environment: After the Great Fall by Eve and Adam, this planet earth and everything else in it were under the curse of God. (Genesis 3:17-19) God took away His presence and blessings from the couple who supposed to enjoy all the good things God had provided. Natural disasters still is the most fearful and powerful dread of all time. There is no hope in the future that man may find ways to counter nature. There are so many unpredictable disasters that cause millions to have fear.

3)     We live in crime infested communities: Because of the sinful and selfish nature of man, sin and crime are part of human existence. No one may find a spot in this planet earth where there is no sin or crime. Not all of us are criminals but we all are sinners. Sin and crime cause harm and fear to fellow human being at home, in school, at work and in the community. Sin and crime are not just personal problems. They are also social problems that affect people around them. Many of us have fear of going out at night in some neighborhood is a vivid scenario.

4)     We can’t see tomorrow: You may be well prepared for tomorrow and the day after but we all know that no one will ever know for sure what may happen when tomorrow comes. Our job, family, health, the economy, even our own safety, we have no control at all and inside we have fear.

 

THE HARM OF FEAR: Fear is more than a just negative feeling it is a destructive power which could cause us a lot of suffering if it is not properly handled or harnessed.  Let us see what fear can do to us:

1)   Fear robs us the peace of mind: When we have fear, regardless of how strong or light, fact based or imagined, it robs us the peace of mind we have. When we allow fear to take control of our mind, it takes away the sense of security we have and the peace of mind.

2)   Fear paralyzes our intelligence: People who are under the grip of fear can not function properly on their intelligence or intellectual power. They seem to lose direction and are confused of their options. All they have is fear often times without concrete reason or basis.

3)   Fear cripples our normal functioning:  Fear causes malfunction of our physiological, digestion, circulation system and many other functions for normal life. People who suffer from fear cannot sleep have indigestion, head ache and many other symptoms of physical and emotional disorder. Physical and mental sickness may develop.

4)   Fear casts doubt on God: Since fear is a destructive emotional condition, it causes us to doubt the goodness and greatness of God. Fear could blur or block us from trusting God and His power because they just can’t co-exist. Fear and doubt are natural twins.

 

THINGS WE NEED TO KNOW: (Read Matt. 14:22-33) No one may list all the possible lessons from this story, yet we may try to see some of the more obvious ones.

1)    Fearful things could happen anytime: The story in the text is about a huge storm that almost sank the boat packed with the disciples of Jesus. It happened right after a huge success in the ministry of Jesus, His feeding of the 5,000 in a miraculous way. Before they could stage a real celebration of that success, here came that violent storm that could bury all of them alive in the bottom of the Sea of Galilee. No one may predict if fearful things would come.

2)    Danger is real and fear is inevitable: Most of the disciples were fishermen and had seen many violent storms in their life. But this one was just out of the ordinary that they were so frightened. Not all fears are man made. Many of the fears we have are results of real danger in the environment where we live.

3)    Fear creates illusions: While Jesus was walking toward the boat in the storm, the disciples mistakenly assumed that it was a ghost even though they had spent all those years with Him day in and day out. There wasn’t any ghost. It was their fear that created the illusion in their mindset. Fear distorts truth.

4)    Fear may bring us down: (14:30) It was not the storm or the waves that cause Peter to sink. It was his fear. When he fixed his focus on Jesus, he walked on the waves quite well. But when he fixed his eyes on the waves, he sank. What had changed was not the storm or the waves. It was his faith and focus that had changed.

5)    Divine comfort in time of fear: (v.27) Instead of rebuking His disciples on mistaken Him as a ghost, Jesus assured them of His presence to give them assurance and comfort that may subdue their fear. God knows our weakness and will bring us closer to Him through His words   in time of fear and doubt.

6)    Divine rescue in desperate situation: (v.31) Jesus won’t allow Peter to sink and die. He delivered him from danger. He will do the same to anyone of us if we will call on Him for help as Peter did.

7)    The antidote for fear: (v.31) Faith and fear could not coexist. Each will eliminate the other. That is why we need to build our faith in God instead of on the environment or things around us. Fear will not find any ground in our heart when faith in God is a full time resident.

8)    After fear is gone: (v.33) After Jesus and Peter boarded the boat and the storm died down, the disciples recognized Him as the reason for the peace they had. They also fell to their knees and worshipped Him. That’s what we all need to do: recognize the power of God in delivering us from fear and devote ourselves more in our dedication to God. Never claim any credit nor forget the grace of God in restoring peace.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)   Fear is like a shadow: We all have fear even when you can’t see it or deny its existence. There will be times and places when we will feel very much afraid. Acknowledge your vulnerable nature and learn to handle fear the right way.

2)   Seek God in time of fear: Nothing is better than faith in fighting fear especially faith in the all mighty God. Trust in His greatness and goodness. He can and will deliver you from all fears if you allow Him to work in your life.

3)   One thing you need to be afraid of: That is eternal loss without salvation from Jesus Christ. This is real and you need to tackle this fear seriously when you still have a chance. To ignore your need of eternal life through Jesus is the most fearful loss you may have to suffer.  Accepting Him as your Lord and Savior, confess your sins and ask for His forgiveness is the sure way to have eternal life. Then you have nothing to be afraid of.