The Fear Cure

April 22nd, 2018

David Sorn



Every year Americans become more and more fearful. What’s the remedy? How do you get some sanity back in your life?



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TRANSCRIPT


INTRODUCTION

Morning.  Good to be back together this week.  My name is David Sorn, lead pastor here at Renovation.

What are you afraid of? 

We have all sorts of fears

Snakes, heights, the Dentist

And fascinatingly, most of the things we’re afraid of…we shouldn’t really be afraid of.

You’ve probably heard that you’re about 90 times more likely to die in a car crash than a plane crash

In fact, before the tragic events of this past week on Southwest Airlines, literally zero people have died in crashes of commercial jets on U.S. soil in the past 4 years”

Or…many Americans nowadays are afraid of at terrorist attack.

And yet in the last 15 years, an average of 6 Americans per year have died at the hand of terrorists, but about 36,000 Americans die from the flu each year.

What about sharks?

Anyone afraid of getting eaten or killed by a shark?

You have a 1 in 300 million chance of getting killed by a shark.

In fact, statistics show that you are much more likely to be killed by…your spouse… (1 in 135,000) than getting eaten by a shark J

Go ahead…questionably glance at your spouse if you’re married J

As we continue in our “Overwhelmed” series this morning, we’re going to take a look at our second topic:  Fear.

In general, FEAR is a response to an immediate and known threat

Most of the time, it’s a bad thing.

But it can be a good thing.

If someone pulls out a knife on you, you should feel some level of fear.

And ANXIETY, in contrast, is a response to the possibility that something might happen

Anxiety is exponentially on the rise in the U.S., and so don’t miss next Sunday when we talk about it

So what are the things that we most commonly fear?  

Sure, you might be claustrophobic or afraid of spiders, but what are the things that you and I are more commonly afraid of?

where are you experiencing fear right now in your daily life?

Is it the fear of failure?

And remember, fear (unlike anxiety) is where you’re worried about something specific happening.

Are you worried about losing your job?

Is it the fear of rejection?   An ended relationship?

Is it the fear of what might happen if you actually step out and do what God’s calling you to do?

Start a new business

Challenge something unethical at work

Share your faith 

Related to that, is there something socially you’re afraid of?

Maybe it’s just stepping out and joining a House Group

Or, a having conversation you know you need to have, but haven’t had

What are you fearful of?

And how do we deal with our fear?

Well, the culture tells us that we start by looking within.

We’re all supposed to look inside of ourselves and see how amazing we are!

So we follow that advice…and we look inside.

But, what we find inside…….…isn’t all that amazing.

Now, the Bible has said this all along.

This is the doctrine of original sin.

That since Adam & Eve, we have been hard-wired to sin.

It’s what’s most natural for us.

And the only way to begin to rewire ourselves, is to give your life to Christ, and let God begin working in us.

And without that spiritual change, “looking inside” leads to a shocking dissonance for most Americans.  

We’re told that we’re amazing and kind…and yet, we live with our own thoughts…we know that we think terrible things sometimes.

We’re told that we are #Strong and #Brave…and yet, most of the time, when we’re alone…what we really feel…is scared out of our minds

And when you’re supposed to look within and find beauty, kindness, and strength…but don’t find those things.

You feel worse than ever about yourself.  

This is one of the great ironies of our time.

“As a society, never have we ever been told to love ourselves more, and yet, never have we ever, hated ourselves more. 

And so what do you do…when you look inside…but you can’t find anything there to help you conquer fear?

What if the cure for fear isn’t within us?

Then it’s time to stop looking within, and start looking outside of ourselves.

 

                                                 

GOD IS IN CONTROL

So let’s look to God and His Word. 

What does he say about fear?  

What you’re going to see, once again in Overwhelmed Series, is that God paints a totally different picture than the world does on how to deal with this.

As our current cultures drifts farther away from Christian values, Biblical solutions end up looking vastly different.

As we study this topic of fear, I want to take us to one of the letters in the Bible: 

(Page 988)

(renovation app)

It’s a letter written by one of Jesus’ disciples, John. 

I encourage you to keep it open as we talk through this.

 (1 John 4:17-18) – NIV

17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

John makes some pretty amazing statements here.

He says there is NO (zero) fear in love.

In fact, perfect Love (this is Christ’s love for you) actually drives out fear.

He’s giving you “The Fear Cure”

Letting you know that there is a remedy for the fear you’re facing in your life right.

That thing you know if coming your way, and you’re fearing it, stressing over…

The Fear Cure is his Perfect Love  

Now, if there’s a part of you that says, “That’s too simple…”…then let’s walk through this.

Because you’re right, it’s certainly not as simplistic as feeling fearful about your health, and then saying, “God loves me.”

It’s not 3 magic words; and then you’re cured!

The cure is more of the idea that when you face fear…there is a way for you to drive it out!

So I want to show today 3 different ways that the Perfect Love of God drives out fear

The Scriptures are not lying to you.   

This works.

3 Ways the Perfect Love of God Drives out Fear

1: It Reminds me that God is in control 

By the way, you can take notes on our app if you want.

Just tap messages, tap today’s message, and then “take a note.”

The Bible is chalk full of stories where people face fearful situations.

How do they overcome it?

With right thinking about God. 

King David, when he’s fleeing the rebellion that overtook his kingdom, writes this when he begins to feel fear:

(Psalm 3:5-6) – NIV

5 I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.

If the God of the Universe is my ally, then what am I afraid of? 

You know, this is kind of an interesting topic for me.

I don’t generally consider myself a fearful person.

The #1 fear in America is public speaking…so I beat that one at least

I’m more of a risk-taker than the average person

Entrepreneur, Started a church from scratch, etc.

And yet, if you would have known me as a teenager, you would have said, “That kid is kind of a scaredy cat”

Many of my friends in high school called me “dad,” because I was always the one who said, “I’m not sure if we should do that…it might not be safe”

I remember, when I was 17 years old, I was hanging out with 3 of my high school guy friends…and they all had their girlfriends with them that night.

And one of the guys said, “The 7 of us ought to sneak into the old state hospital.”

Now, I grew up in Cambridge, Minnesota.

Back in the day, Cambridge had an enormous state hospital which served epileptics and others with disabilities

(Show State Hospital photo #1)

This is a picture of when it opened back in 1925, and there had to have been 7 or 8 buildings like this one.

At its peak, it served over 2,000 people with disabilities…and unfortunately, didn’t serve them very well back in the day…as was the case w/ many “state hospitals”

By the time I was in high school, almost all of the buildings had closed down

And they all looked as if they were right out of a horror movie.  

In fact, I found a picture online of what the buildings looked like inside before they tore them down a few years ago

(Show State Hospital Photo #2) – Keep up to end of State Hospital story

And so when it was suggested that we sneak into the old building, of course, all the guys (in front of their girlfriends said), “Yeah, let’s do that.”

I said, “Uh…guys I don’t know…”

But I got in the car anyway.

We got to the old State Hospital and drove around to the back of the building.

It’s a creepy building on one side and a dark forest on the other.

We get out of the car, and it’s pitch black.

I said, “You know what, you guys go in.  I’ll wait outside and watch the car.” J

But when everyone snuck in though a broken window, I remember thinking, “Wait, it’s way creepier waiting here by myself in the pitch black.  The person who stays by themselves is always the one that gets killed in the movie”  

And so I remember yelling, “Wait for me!” 

We went in, the place was creepy as all get out, and we left.

But what I remember about it…was that it was much like the rest of my youth…

…I was always the fearful one in the group growing up

Fast forward about 15 years later, and I’m in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (poorest country in the western hemisphere) .

I’m leading a group of about 15 people from our church.

We just got out of the airport

If you’ve ever been to an airport in a developing country, you know it’s an insane experience.

People are telling you go to here and there, asking for this identification and that identification…

They’re speaking in a different language, others are grabbing your suitcase…saying they’ll “take” it to your car for you…

It’s nuts.

I led our group out of the airport and to our transportation…which was a huge “tap-tap”

(SHOW Haiti2014TapTapTrip PHOTO)  - Keep up until end of Haiti story

That’s a picture of us out in the countryside…it’s just like a large open truckbed that you stood in.

And as we began riding on that truck, through the chaotic streets of Port-Au-Prince and everyone is silently gawking at the trash filled streets and poverty stricken people…

I had this private, but powerful moment with God…one of the more memorable moments of my life.

As I was looking at nervous faces of my team members who were there for the first time…I thought:

“David who are you?!?”

I thought, “God, this is absolutely incredible.  I can’t stop smiling.  I’m having a blast.  I LOVE this kind of risk & adventure… and I’m not fearful…AT ALL”

And right then…I thought about my 17-year-old self, and started to have this emotional moment with God.

And I thought, “God, you have a done a work in my life!”

“I didn’t do this.  I didn’t look deep within me in find the courage.”

It wasn’t there. 

But God did it in me.

(Back to Fear Cure Slide)

But how?

It was Him moving in me.

It was His perfect love driving out fear.

I’ve now had 18 years of walking with God…

With plenty of screw-ups, and plenty of fearful weeks and months…

BUT…each day, I learn a little bit more…that I’m not in control.

But there is one who loves me…that IS in control.

If the God of the universe loves me, then I don’t have to fear what might go wrong in Haiti right now.

I don’t have to fear getting a flat tire in a dangerous spot or any of that stuff…

God is big enough to handle this…no matter what happens.

I’m learning…that my fear…is a waste of time…because God loves me. 

If I get back in a spot, or face another challenge where I let fear start taking over my life again…

I have to admit…that when I do that…I’m not just fearful…but I’m letting my fear cloud out God.

I’m blurring his powerful presence out of the picture.

And instead, I’m picturing new future scenarios where He’s not in control.

This is why John says in our passage in verse 18, “The one who fears is not made perfect in love”

But if I bring God back in the picture…And I see that he’s in control…and I see that He loves me…

It drives out fear.

Let the TRUTH sink into your heart this morning: The God who loves you is in control!

Not you… let go of this worry…this fear…

You’re not in control

 

 

GOD IS FOR ME

So let’s keep looking at the relationship between fear and perfect love

Because you and I want this fear cure…we need it.

We need direction for what to do when those fear clouds start creeping back into our lives.

3 Ways the Perfect Love of God Drives out Fear

1: It Reminds me that God is in control   

2: It assures me that God is for me

This is the next step…not only is He in control…but he loves you and is FOR you. 

Think of it this way:

My son Lincoln is 2.

Like most kids, he doesn’t really love the dark.

Doesn’t mind it too much at night when he’s sleeping, but if one of his older siblings shuts the door to the bathroom, while he’s in there alone, and it becomes pitch black…

He’ll scream.

And yet the other evening, I was playing hide and seek with all 3 of my kids

Which every time, they say to me, “Dad, you’re not very good at hiding!”

“I’m 6 times bigger than you!”

But anyway, the twins were counting, and Lincoln and I were hiding.

I took Lincoln up in my arms, and I carried him into that very same bathroom, shut the light off, closed the door, and went into the shower…and we sat down on the little seat in there.

And he sat on my lap and giggled as we waited to be found.

What’s the difference?

Why no fear this time?

Same room…just as dark!

The difference is… He knows this time that:  

1) His Father is with him this time.

And 2) He knows that I love Him!

And IF I love Him, then I don’t have plans to hurt him.  

I’m FOR him!

So He can relax and trust me.

And let the FEAR go!!

LOVE drives out fear!

Listen God is FOR you.

Do you believe that??

Friends, even if your life feels like it is falling apart right know…you’ve got to trust in this.

God LOVES you.  He is FOR you!

(Romans 8:28) – NIV

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

God is working for good in your life right now…even if, to you, it looks like someone just shut the door and turned out the light.

He’s working for good, and you can know that… because He loves you.     

And perfect love drives out our fear even if our health fails, and our lives fade away. 

Because isn’t that the counterexample our fear gives to us??

Our fear says to us, “God is NOT working for your good…think of ‘so and so,’ they got sick and even died!!”

Well, first of all, everyone dies…so take that into consideration J

And John is saying that God’s FEAR CURE is so strong…that it even applies to your death. 

What did he say in verse 17…look at it:

He says, “His love is made complete among us so that we will have CONFIDENCE on the day of judgment”  

He’s saying, the Christian will be incredibly confident on the day of judgment.

Why?  Because (he says) FEAR has to do with punishment…and the Christian doesn’t fear that on the day of judgment.  

Do you remember when people used to watch American Idol?  J

And in the early Hollywood Episodes, they’d put the groups of people into different rooms…

And they’d all sit their biting their fingernails together until Randy Jackson would come in and say, “Yo Dawgs, you didn’t make it…”

Now, imagine the real judgment day.

I don’t know exactly what it will look like, but can you imagine being in a line?

And watching one person come out of the great courthouse of God…

And they’re pumping their first and walking towards the door to heaven.  (“I knew it!”)

While the next person comes out sobbing…and is promptly escorted towards hell? 

If people are nervous about getting on to a reality television show, that feels like absolutely nothing compared to waiting in line to find out where you’re going to spend the next 10 trillion years.

And YET, Paul is saying, if you’re already walking in the love of God, and you know Christ has PERFECTLY paid for your sins, then you’ll be standing in line on that day, thinking, “I am fully confident about what’s going to happen in that room.  Perfect Love Drives out Fear.  Because fear has to do with punishment”

And Paul uses that as an example…because he wants you to see the depth of God’s love for you.

If God has already saved you, rescued you, and is preparing a place for you…for the next 10 trillion years…

If he’s showed you that his love for you is truly that enormous…

Isn’t he worth trusting for what’s going to happen this week?   

It’s the fear cure.

Perfect LOVE drives out fear.

 

 

FREES ME FROM LIVING FOR THE APPROVAL OF OTHERS

Let’s look at one more way that perfect love drives out fear

3 Ways the Perfect Love of God Drives out Fear

1: It Reminds me that God is in control   

2: It assures me that God is for me

3: It frees me from living for the approval of others

If God loves ME…sinful, crazy, little me…than what does it matter what other people think? 

For a lot of people, we’re fearful because we don’t (deep down inside) trust God is in control…or we don’t trust that his plan is good for us.

But for others, our fear, truly, is from what others might think of us.

You can trace about 90% of all fear back to these 3 things were talking about today

This is why the Scriptural fear cure is so effective

And so what if God is calling you to do something a little scary…will you put your fear aside?

What’s the worst that could happen?

I read this week about Gary Haugen, who was the founder of International Justice Mission, a large Christian organization that frees people trapped in sex trafficking.

He was writing about how God was nudging him to start this organization back in the day, but he was resisting out of fear.

As he talked about the fears of leaving of his job to follow this call, he writes, “What was I really afraid of? As I thought about it, I feared humiliation. If my little justice ministry idea didn't work, no one was going to die. If International Justice Mission turned out to be a bad idea and collapsed, my kids weren't going to starve. We'd probably just have to live with my parents for a while until I could find another job, but with my education, odds are I would soon find a job. The fact is, (what I feared was that) I would be terribly embarrassed. Having told everybody about my great idea, they would know that it was a bad idea or that I was a bad leader. Either way, it would be humiliating.” 

And a lot of our fear about what might happen comes from a similar place.

What we really fear…is looking stupid, failing, being rejected, ridiculed, embarrassed…  

But what if we truly remembered His perfect Love? 

And we really lived like it was true? 

Look to His WORD

(Proverbs 29:25) – NIV

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

If the Creator of the Universe truly loves me, and sent His own son for me, and never stops thinking about me…

Then why am I all worried and living for what my neighbor or parent thinks?  

Listen to me, SO much of our fear can be traced back to this.

You’re worried about what might happen…but really, you’re worried about what people might think…if that terrible thing were to happen!

But let go of that!

Let it go!

You already have the perfect love of God!

I sometimes wonder if so many in this “fearful generation” will get to the end of their life and think, “God was calling me to have this conversation, to change this, to start that, but I was so afraid of getting embarrassed…that I never even tried”

What if Rosa Parks had been too afraid to sit down in the back of the bus?

What if Billy Graham had been too afraid to stand up and preach for the first time?

What if Martin Luther King would have been too afraid to march…too afraid of going to jail?

At some point, we have to stop being afraid of the people who only like us conditionally

And start following the one loves us unconditionally  

Perfect love drive out fear

Let me pray.   


Copyright: David Sorn

Renovation Church in Blaine, MN



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