Fear, Anxiety, and Jesus (part 3)

This is the last of three post that covers that last part of Sunday’s sermon on fear and anxiety:

What Fear Reveals: Fear reveals our values, our loves, our priorities. We only fear losing what we love. We only fear getting what we hate. It reveals a lot about what’s essential to us.

Fear can be vision without optimism: You know where your life is going and you have plans, but you fear all the possibilities of your plans going wrong. “What if this happens? “What about the economy?” “What if I get hurt?” You have vision but the cup is half full.

Fear can be not getting what you want: “I want to graduate from GCU? I don’t think I’m going to graduate. I can’t do homework! I’m a slacker! Oh no!!” “I want to get married. I’ll never get married. What if I don’t? I’m fearful!” “We want to have kids. I don’t think we’re going to have kids. We can’t have kids. We’re fearful.” “I want to serve God. I want to go into ministry. What if I can’t find a ministry position?” I, I, I, I!!

Fear can be getting what you want and losing it: Sometimes success is more fearful than failure. “She said yes! What if she changes her mind? What if he stops loving me?” “I’m graduating! What if I trip in front of everybody when I’m getting my diploma?” “The child was born! What if they die? Or what if they don’t love God?” “I got the job! What if I get fired?” This is fear of getting something your heart longs for and losing it.

Fear can be getting what you don’t want: “I got fired. I didn’t want that.” “My husband had an affair. I must not be lovely. I don’t like that.” “My kids hate me. That was my worst fear. That’s not the way I thought it’d go!” “I’ve got cancer. That’s not what I wanted!” And fear comes. Do you feel that? It’s real. It’s powerful and it will consume you.

This is not something you’re going to learn today and then be fine for the rest of your life. This is something you’ll learn today work on for the rest of your life.

Jesus Gets This About Us: Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus goes here with us. How cool! God comes into human history. His name is Jesus. He gets us. He knows us. He has felt our pain. He can fix us. Jesus knows all about fear & anxiety. Who’s ever had greater fears available to them than Jesus? Jesus is going to the cross to atone for the sin of the world. Jesus is going to endure the full wrath of the Father for our righteousness. We see Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He is sweating drops of blood as he’s anticipating all this!

– Jesus knows what it’s like to have people destroy your reputation.
– Jesus knows what it’s like to have your family think you’re crazy or disown.
– Jesus knows what it’s like to have friends you can’t depend on.
– Jesus knows what it’s like to have someone you love sabotage their own life.
– Jesus knows what it’s like to have someone steal from you, betray you, and commit
suicide. His name was Judas and Jesus loved him and served him.
– Jesus knows what it’s like to be single and alone.
– Jesus knows what it’s like to be homeless.
– Jesus knows what it’s like to be abused, mocked, beaten, spit on, and called names.
– Jesus knows what it’s like to lose someone you love and to face certain death.

Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus isn’t just another religious guy with a picture perfect life, who can’t relate to us, giving us principles that He Himself has no need of! That’s not our Jesus! Don’t you love this Jesus! Let’s turn to Luke 12:22-32 to see what Jesus has to tell us regarding fear and anxiety.

Anxious about life
22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life. Remember, Jesus is not a disconnected God who is clueless to your pain and hurt and unable to sympathize with you: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses” Heb. 4:15.

So when He says do not be anxious about your life, He has earned the right to speak to us even if we don’t believe Him to be our Savior. But the fact that He is God in the flesh, our Redeemer, He not only has the right to tell us this, but He also has the power to help us walk this out.

Jesus goes on: Don’t be anxious about what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food (in other words, don’t let your stomach become your God; comfort eating), and the body more than clothing (but please, wear clothing, don’t abandon clothing; just don’t let your life be consumed with what you wear and stress about not being hip or a means to cover up how you really are; comfort shopping)

How much time do you put towards presenting yourself as someone you’re not? You want to look like you’re together; like you’re fine. You want to look like you’ve nailed it and you’re lying. If someone comes up to you and asks, “How are you?”, you say, “Great.” They say, “Well you look great.” You get convicted, so you say back, “No, actually I’m freaking out inside, but I was hoping you’d look at my new kicks and not my face.”

24 Consider the ravens: (ravens are nasty, dirty, below pigeon level birds; they are like the bottom suckers of the air…you don’t normally eat bottom sucking fish, and you don’t eat ravens; they’re nasty birds!) they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

We believe in the sovereignty of God and we’re hypocrites because our fears and anxieties are betraying our theology. He takes care of the birds, even ravens! He will take care of you!

25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? (just a little question for application and to check where our hearts are at this point in the conversation; What are “YOU” gonna do by being anxious…?)

27 Consider the lilies, (now Jesus is getting weird on us here…where’s he going with this one; ravens, now lilies?) Consider how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Lilies aren’t freaking out looking at each other saying, “What if I get a whole in my bud? Then everyone will see!! Oh no!!” They don’t toil, yet they are beautifully clothed.)

28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.

How much more does God love you compared to ravens and lilies? How much do you actually believe what you just said? Does your life betray you belief?

Here’s the key: 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

“Fear not little flock and seek God’s kingdom, not yours” Little helpless flock standing in the midst of wolves, don’t be afraid, for I am with you and my kingdom is yours. Flocks here is referred to sheep. I’m sorry, but the implication here is a helpless, dirty, smelly, dumb, stubborn, unimpressive sheep. You can’t do anything apart from me, but fear not and seek my face. Treasure me. If you treasure anything above Jesus, you’ll live in a perpetual state of fear, worry, anxiety, pain, loneliness, confusion, or arrogance.

Ultimately, fear comes from putting other people or things on God’s throne and looking to other things to save you. Fear comes from not seeking God’s kingdom, but seeking your kingdom or the temporary kingdom you’ve created on this earth. Jesus says in v. 31: “Instead, seek his (God the Father’s) kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”

Who’s on God’s throne in your life? What is it that matters more to you than Jesus? Repent of it tonight, get them off the throne, receive Jesus, acknowledge that He is the only One who is worthy. He is the only one who can protect you, deliver you, redeem you, reconcile you, make you whole. No man or created thing can do this.

WE WON’T BE FREE FROM FEAR UNTIL THE OLD CLICHE “THIS IS NOT OUR WORLD” BECOMES REAL TO US! AND THIS CAN ONLY HAPPEN TO THE DEGREE THAT THE ATTRACTION OF JESUS AND THE ALLURE OF HEAVEN BREAKS THE SEDUCTION & LOVE OF THIS WORLD.

IF WE CAN ADMIT THAT OUR DEEP DESIRES WON’T BE FULLY MET UNTIL WE SEE THE FULLNESS OF WHO CHRIST IS, THEN WE CAN EMBRACE THE REALITY & PAIN OF THIS LIFE WITH OUT FEAR AND ANXIETY. THEN WE CAN LIVE AS SOJOURNERS WHO ARE NOT YET HOME.

THEN WE WILL FINALLY HAVE THE FULLNESS OF JOY HERE ON EARTH, WHEN JESUS AND HIS KINGDOM ARE EVERYTHING. WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF OVER TO THE KING TONIGHT? WOULD YOU LET HIM REDEEM YOUR BROKEN, COLD, HARD, FEARFUL HEART.

LET’S PRAY!

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