Saturday, June 21, 2014

Proper 7

Proper 7
Matthew 10:21-33
22 June 2014
Fear that chases away fear

O Lord, whose gracious presence never fails to guide and govern those whom You have nurtured in Your steadfast love and worship, make us ever love and adore Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who livers and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Fear. What is it?  FEAR is "False Evidence Appearing Real". And Courage?  Courage is fear that has said its prayers.    In most marriages, there is the need for both the nerd and the free spirit. The Free Spirit will jump without thinking, The Nerd is always thinking, always double-checking, always asking questions. “And then what?” “And what if that doesn’t work?’ “Have you ever considered this happening?” “Or that happening?”  

There is much for us to fear these days. Farmers got a late start planting this spring. Now we wait as crops mature and grow. But how about the weather? You cannot control it. And then the markets. You cannot control them either. Whether it’s the student starting out for the first time to new ventures or the couple contemplating the next phase of their lives the future can be a little bit scary, a lot more scary - a combination of frightening and alarming.   

Some of our fears are legitimate and justified. You can fret and worry about your family, your health, your employment, your future. Other times, our fears are unreasonable. Paranoid.  Irrational. Uncalled-for. Fear can make us feel powerless. You can talk all you want about the futility of fear. It does not make fear go away.

Your feelings are sometimes deeper that any rational arguments. So how do we deal with this emotion of fear? Faith that deals with this basic feeling is the cure for fear.  Address your fears. But trust also in Christ. It is faith that conquers fear. Faith conquers fear because…

1.            Faith is certain we shall overcome – Fear God and you lose the fear of judgment for sin. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant[a] above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. Vv. 24-25  

Pain, prison, and death are not the greater dangers after all. But fear, and disobedience and conformity to this age are the great dangers. Jesus loves you so much He was willing to suffer for you, that you might have faith to suffer with Him.

When He suffered for you, He gave what you needed to suffer with Him. He gave you forgiveness for your sins. "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:28 Your guilt before God is gone. God is on your side as long as you are trusting Jesus. And, since God is on your side, what can man do to you? Jesus has loved to suffer for you, that you might have faith to suffer with Him.

2.            Faith in God rather than in man – Fear God and the lesser fear of people disappears. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  v. 28 Trust not in princes they are but mortal. Do not conform your life to the appeasement of those who may threaten you. What’s the worse they could do to you?  

Even in a worse case scenario, if you die at the hands of men, it will be only a temporary death. If God kills a man, it will be for eternity. May we have the strength of faith when Peter and the others apostles said in Acts 5:29: “We must obey God rather than men!

3.            Faith in God’s care for us – Fear God and you lose the fear of failure. People may ask. “What if I fail?” “What if it all goes wrong?” What if it doesn’t work?” The Father loves you. He’s concerned for you. He’s by your side. He’s in your corner. He’s got you back.

He took the lead. He sent Jesus to the cross. To be you substitute.  He lived a perfect life. For you. He suffered and died at the cruel and bloody cross. For you. He broke down the door of death. He ascended into heaven. He prepares a place for you. He is with you at this very moment. In His Word. In His Sacraments. To strengthen and preserve you.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Vv.29-31

The Father loves you. You are His. He sustains, directs, supports you. He leads you through troubled waters. He points you to His promises, which will calm your fears and turn your anxieties and suspicions into a quiet confidence. It is well with your soul when Jesus guides and leads you.

So trust in His timing. Rely on His promises. Wait for His answers. Believe in His miracles. Rejoice in His goodness. Relax in His presence. Come near to Jesus and He will come near to you.  James 4:8

If we take these words of Jesus seriously, we have to come to this conclusion; your heavenly Father is completely fascinated with you. He’s taken the time to count the number of hair on your head. Who else would do something than that other then He who is in love with you! So be rational with you fear. 

Fear cannot be totally eradicated. It cannot be stripped from the human psyche. Fear is a part of our make-up. It’s a question of what and whom do you fear. Trust Christ not man. When Christ is feared, all other fear disappears.

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