Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 5 Study # 8
March 28, 2010
Lincolnton, NC

<604> Thesis: The reasons we are as far from God as we are are two: unbelief and fear. Introduction: There are more than 134 texts in the New Testament that address the fact that people are afraid (I just "searched" the verb and noun forms of "fear"). Luke is a primary user of both the verb (37% of the uses) and the noun (27% of the uses) in Luke/Acts. This means that Luke considered "fear" to be a major problem for everyone and particularly for believers. According to 1 John 4:18, "there is no fear in love". Two facts stand out about this text: first, it makes everyone who is afraid of anything deficient in love; and, second, it was written by a man whose own experience with fear was profound even at the end of his exceptionally long life of discipleship -- Revelation 1:17. There is ample evidence in the Bible that "fear" is a powerful driver of ungodliness. Paul had to challenge Timothy to rekindle his spiritual gift because he was giving in to fear and he pointedly told the Corinthians that the absence of love was a sufficient basis to wipe out the "profit" of even the most potent of spiritual gifts. Now, the tension we face is this: there is, apparently, no "final fix" for "fear" in this life, but every time we are afraid we are pushed into doing things we ought not to do. This leads to two possible responses. On the one hand, we can look at the fact that we will never be rid of fear altogether and just give in. On the other hand, we can take the fact that there are buried abscesses of fear in us as a challenge and decide to go forward with God's grace upon us and deal with each of those abscesses as He directs our paths as did the Psalmist in 56:3-5. The text before us this morning is a record of the Father's response to Peter's unguarded outburst as he thoughtlessly demeaned Jesus by making the manifestation of His glory greater than the reality and by making Moses and Elijah His equivalents simply because they were recipients of the impact of that glory. We are seeking to profit from this record of the Father's reaction.