Scripture Text: 2 Timothy 1:7
1. All six messages in this current series are going to break down just one scripture passage: 2 Timothy
1:7. We are going to unpack each word.
a. Let’s look at it now. Read 2 Timothy 1:7
b. This week I’m going to focus on the word “Fear.”
2. I’ve participated in three graduation ceremonies in my life (High School, College and
Seminary) – I remember feeling excited, relieved and proud but also a little anxious and scared about what came next.
a. My fear was based on what most fear is based on: the unknown.
The weird thing was that with each graduation my anxiety actually increased – as I got older I knew more about what I didn’t know.
b. Scientific research of human body has revealed that fear is a “cascade of the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine caused by the brain’s activation of the sympathetic autonomic
nervous system in response to a perceived threat or danger.”
It’s a signal which prepares the mind and body to take necessary action.
c. In 1932 Harvard physiologist Walter Cannon studied animal response to threat and coined the term: “Fight or Flight.”
When the brain senses danger and the hormones are pumping, brain is working and muscles tensing – we decide which response is most likely to succeed.
3. When I walked across the stage at my graduations I wasn’t afraid because some guy was going to mug me right after I got my diploma.
a. I was anxious about the unknown, worried that I was unprepared for the new challenges ahead.
I could flee from the challenge, live with my parents and deliver pizzas for the rest of my life.
I could fight my anxieties – look the future straight in the eye and say “bring it! I ain’t scare of you”
b. In practice, though, both responses are doing the same thing: sweeping the fear under the rug.
Both can be a form of hiding, not dealing with the true reasons we are afraid.
c. Paul is writing this letter to a young pastor he has mentored and guided into church leadership.
Some commentators speculate that Timothy, unlike Paul, can be a little timid, unsure of himself, have a tendency to back down (flee) when he’s opposed by older and more headstrong (fight) people.
d. Paul counsels him to not have a spirit of fear.
The Greek word he uses is “Delia” – cowardice, timidity, losing your head. This used is always used negatively.
There’s another word used in the Bible for fear. Phobos. It can mean terror, but also respect, reverence.
4. A lot of times the Bible tells us we should not be afraid. But there are a lot of times the Bible tells us we should definitely be afraid. We should always fear God.
a. Eccl. 12:13, Ps 111:10, 2 Cor 7:1
b. Greek playwright Aeschylus wrote, “There are times when fear is good. It must keep its watchful place at the heart’s controls.”
c. Fearing God is different than fearing the unknown because it essentially is a fear of the known.
I believe that every human has a sense that God is wholly other, yet holy in perfection; and that God is deliberately pursuing you with a transformational love.
So if you know God you know you will be messed with. There’s no hiding from God. There’s no fighting God. There’s no way you leave God’s presence unchanged.
d. The Bible teaches that the best way to Fear God isn’t to flee or fight but to have faith; or stay put in God’s presence.
Matt 17:6-7 says that in the midst of your fear, Jesus comes with assurance
Acts 9:31 adds that the Holy Spirit is a constant source of comfort and power.
5. Can you guess the movie that gave us the famous line, “Be afraid, be very afraid?” (The Fly).
a. It’s a good line when it comes to God, if you define good fear as faith.
b. I would say to everyone, if anxious fear has been
controlling your life, then Jesus invites you to explore an alternative: faith.
c. For Christians, the challenge is to let the Spirit teach you how to be faithful when “near.”
To have respect and reverence for God’s transforming power in your life when you pray, when you worship, when you read the Bible.
To be comfortable, not casual. Expectant, not complacent.
d. Also, the challenge is to be faithful when
“apart” from God, in your daily life.
To have respect and reverence when you speak about God, speak his name in public, make big decisions and everyday choices, and relate to other people as a representative of God.
e. Come next week as we look at the first of three ways to be Fearless and Fearful.