Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 5
Thesis: Jesus' "deliverance" of Simon et. al. consisted of two issues: the removal of "fear" and the reorientation of "labor".
Introduction: This morning we are going to revisit an old theme: the problem of "fear". In Luke's record, he tells us that the words of Gabriel to Zacharias in 1:13 were "Fear not...". In 1:30 Gabriel says the same thing to Mary. In 2:10 the shepherds were told to "Fear not...". Now, in 5:10 we read that Jesus' words to Peter, James, and John began with the command: "Fear not." Clearly, "fear" seems to be two things at once: in the first place, it is a knee-jerk reaction by men when they are confronted by "heaven"; and, in the second place, it is an attitude that must die if the fearful one is to ever become an expression of God's true intent in the creation of man.
February 18, 2007
- I. There Is a Problem.
- A. In spite of Luke's recurrent focus upon the divine imperative "Fear not...", Luke 1:50 very clearly excludes everyone who is not afraid from the mercy of God.
- 1. Paul, Luke's mentor in the faith, clearly denounces men in Romans 3:18 for the absence of the "fear of God".
- 2. Yet John, Simon's "partner" in the text before us, wrote in Revelation 21:8 that the "fearful" were among those who would be cast into the Lake of Fire.
- B. The resolution of this problem is found in the "timing" issue.
- 1. In Psalm 111:10 we are told that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" and in Proverbs 1:7 we are told that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" and that "fools despise wisdom and instruction."
- 2. But in 1 John 4:18 we are told that "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear...".
- 3. So that we have to conclude that "fear" is a divine "prod" to move us to consider where we are headed without God and "love" is a divine characteristic that those share who have let "fear" do its legitimate work.
- II. There is Also a Process.
- A. Jesus' words to Simon Peter indicate a significant problem.
- 1. First, in our text the man is not "Simon", nor is he "Peter"; he is an amalgam.
- 2. Then, in every "Simon Peter" there is a fundamental "tri-plex" of fear because they are not "perfected in love".
- a. The "tri-plex" is a set of three roots which each have a "paired" set of characteristics.
- 1. The first root concerns the physical nature of man; and its "paired set" is the fear of pain on the one hand and the fear of the absence of pleasure on the other.
- 2. The second root concerns the spiritual nature of man; and its "paired set" is the fear of humiliation on the one hand and the fear of the absence of accolades and recognition on the other.
- 3. The third root concerns the emotional nature of man; and its "paired set" is the fear of destruction on the one hand and the fear of the absence of security on the other.
- b. This "tri-plex" is absolutely dominating in every human being who has not been turned from a viper into an heir of the Kingdom of Light.
- 1. There is no escape by vipers from this "tri-plex" even though there are some ways to "minimize by shifting" -- i.e., one can minimize the fear of pain, for instance, by shifting to a greater focus upon gaining status in the eyes of those who greatly fear pain (this feeds the ego at the expense of the body).
- 2. The heirs of the Kingdom of Light, on the other hand, once "perfected" will be completely free from this "tri-plex" so that it has no ability to control them.
- 2. There is a secondary plethora of fears that grow out of the roots of the "tri-plex".
- a. There are "fears" and then there are "fears".
- 1. This means that "fears" are "tiered" in terms of what is driving them and what they drive.
- 2. This means that though there are many individual fears, they all have the same root and roots.
- b. Humanity experiences a vast array of "fears" which affect individuals differently and to different degrees.
- B. Jesus' words to Simon Peter also indicate a pretty straightforward solution.
- 1. The command, "Stop being afraid," seems on the face of it to be pretty much useless, but actually contains the solution to fear.
- a. Simply telling someone to "stop being afraid" is like spitting into the wind.
- b. But, telling someone to "stop being afraid" while revealing the absence of threat is very productive.
- 1) The sticky wicket here is convincing the fearful that there really is an absence of threat when all appearances are that there is a huge threat.
- a) All people know that there is real pain, real grief, and real humiliation.
- b) These realities make fearful people very reluctant to admit something else that they know : that pain, grief, and humiliation are relative to "proximity" (the closer one is to the situation, the greater the impact; the more distant one is from the situation, the lesser the impact).
- c) This is the reason that people who refuse to admit their "other" knowledge in favor of their fears are in danger of the final judgment of God (Revelation 21:8).
- 2) God's revelation of the absence of threat is both personal and rooted in eternity.
- a) Jesus proved to Simon that his fears were ungrounded as He took him into His circle of friends.
- 1) This is the heart of "fearlessness": acceptance by God and provision from God.
- 2) There is no pain, no threat, and no humiliation that is greater than God and His personal involvement.
- b) Jesus ultimately proved to Peter that his fears were ungrounded because Eternity triumphs over Time to an "nth" degree.
- 1) The resurrection of Jesus demonstrated to Peter how fruitless are the fears.
- 2) The "Spiritual" revolution within Peter demonstrated the sufficiency of the provision of God.
- 2. The promise, "From henceforth you shall catch men," redefined Peter's entire way of looking at life.
- a. It reoriented Simon's "fang" mentality to Peter's "love" mentality by making men Peter's future "fish".
- b. It reoriented Simon's "career" mentality to Peter's "life" mentality by turning "career" into "service".
- 1) Here we must be very careful: simply "baptizing" my "career" into "Jesus" is not what happened (people do this all the time because they refuse the promise).
- a) There is a reason Paul began his instruction on Christian living in Romans 12 by telling us that "sacrifice", not "baptism" is the pre-requisite.
- b) People who cannot "sacrifice" their dreams/lusts are simply living out their bondage.
- 2) Men actually became, by promise (not demand), Peter's focus as he began to share in God's focus.