Let me share with you some personal fears of mine, rational or otherwise. I have a fear of wasps. After doing a little yard work, it seems that Northwest Arkansas (or at least Bethel’s property) is infested with the big red angry ones. My Dad once told me “If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you.” Yeah right, Dad…
I’m also afraid of embarrassing myself in a softball game. Though I’ve proven to be mediocre at best, at least I did not do any belly-flops-while-rounding-the-bases this past Tuesday night. Another fear for me is oversleeping and missing something important at church… like church! If you haven’t heard already, I arrived at our Tuesday morning Men’s Bible study 25 minutes late after a sunrise panic attack when my alarm clock did not go off. We all have to face most of our fears sometimes. Now let me share a wonderful word with you…
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” -1 John 4:18
In context, John is describing the wonderful effect of God’s love upon us as we face the inevitability of standing before God someday. His point is that God’s love frees us from the fear of God’s judgment. God’s powerful love throws, with intense violence, our fear to the side and allows us to live in boldness.
When you are afraid, whether it be of wasps or witnessing, rest in the love of God for you. If you’ve received Jesus Christ as Savior, God’s wrath toward your sin was abated when Jesus died on the cross. You are forgiven! The truth of His love sets us free.
If you’ve never been saved, then you need to fear God, to fear death, and to view eternity with trepidation. Thankfully, God offers freedom from fear to all who will place their full trust in Jesus alone as Savior. You need only to turn to Jesus and ask Him to save you once and for all to have your ultimate fear eternally laid to rest.
“Moreover brethren, I declare unto you the gospel… Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose the third day according to the Scriptures.” -1 Corinthians 15:1-4
I can still remember pacing back and forth down the long dirt pathway behind Scottsville Road Baptist Church the night I preached my first sermon before the small crowd of family and friends. My hands were sweating, my voice quivering, and I ran through my notes in less than fifteen minutes (oh for those days again, huh?). Out of that humiliating moment which all new preachers must endure came three enormous blessings.
One, a lady responded by coming to the altar for prayer. Two, my uncle Glenn commended me for preaching the simple gospel of the cross and admonished me to keep doing that, expecting that God would always bless me. Three, God gave me a passion for the gospel of Scripture and I’ve yearned to preach it over and over since that night. I thank God for saving me, for calling me to ministry, and for assigning me to be His undershepherd at Bethel Baptist Church. But I’m thankful most of all for the gospel, His good news, as told us “according to the Scriptures.” May His gospel reach our world today through our lips and through our lives!
“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.” -1 Timothy 6:20-21
Have you noticed how often the world throws curveballs at conservative Christianity? In the “search for the historical Jesus,” the late Peter Jennings sought to dig up evidence that Jesus’ personal claims were misunderstood and the beliefs of the disciples were sorely mistaken. More recently, Dan Brown’s bestselling book The Da Vinci Code has ruffled feathers among Christian leaders. Within the last week, The National Geographic Society has released news of its research on a recently discovered ancient text known as “The Gospel of Judas.” But none of these things move me. Why? Because there have been challenges to the Christian faith for nearly two millennia now and not one has toppled the church.
Let me warn you, there will be many more challenges. Though we must be on guard, we must not allow the enemy to stage the battle. Our ultimate battle is not with flesh and blood, be they reporters, authors, or professors. Our grand war is with Satan and the resurrection of Jesus has secured our victory. The church will triumph as Jesus promised! Just as Jesus has risen, so our faith will stand.