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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1206

Don’t Be Afraid, Just Believe
Part One

November 15, 2015

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1206 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: You know, I’ve had thoughts that are related to last week, and related to Wednesday night, and related to what Ron said. You know, one thing that is an obstacle, in every one of us, to real faith, is fear. And, some things were said Wednesday night, some things were said since then and I’ve had a lot of thoughts about that. And it comes down to what Ron said. But you know, we, everyone, have fear, don’t we? We deal with it every day. And it’s real.

And I’m just thinking about what the scripture helps us to understand about fear. You know, we go back to the beginning and we see where it really began in the human race and it was our first parents, wasn’t it? And, after they had sinned and they felt the shame and they went…what happened when the Lord came looking and said, Adam, where are you?

( congregational response ).

The first words out of his mouth, “I was afraid.” Fear entered the human race and the human heart. But you know, when you think about fear, why are we afraid? Where does it really come from? You know, the human race fell for the lie that they could achieve a kind of godhood by taking an independent course.

Well, you think about a god. A god is somebody who has some power, some ability to control things, ability to rule. And all of a sudden, they found out that it was exactly the opposite. Instead of gaining control, they became slaves. And so, all of a sudden, now they are feeling this powerlessness. Stuff happens and I can’t control it, and it’s bad and it affects my well-being.

And there’s this inward sense…and particularly as we live in a world today that’s full of people, and everybody’s trying to serve themselves in one way or another, and stuff happens, doesn’t it? How many of you just feel like you’re absolutely in control? You get up in the morning and you have the power to turn every light green.

( laughter ).

You know, no matter what happens you are in control. You’ve got an app on your phone that can control everything and everybody around you. No! We feel that powerlessness. And it fills us with a sense of frustration and fear! And it’s real!

You know, Hebrews…it kind of expands into this. Hebrews talks about how the Lord came to free those who, “...were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (KJV). Or slavery, what? “…Through fear of death….” There’s this sense that…it’s not just that I’m gonna die and they’re gonna put me in the ground one day, but it’s that there are things that I want, things that I feel that are important to my well-being, and I can’t let them go! This is all I’ve got! It’s the fear of…I realize that I’m powerless, but this is all I’ve got, so I’ve got to hang on to that! And so, you have this bondage of the inability to let go and trust.

Now, doesn’t that kind of run in the face of faith, which is just the polar opposite? And then, on top of that, you’ve got the fact that people, deep in their hearts, know there is a God to whom we are accountable and yet we feel the separation, we feel that distance. And we know, oh my God, I’m gonna have to answer to Him. What’s He gonna do with me? There’s this sense of dread. And so, people live in a state of fear in one degree or another.

Now they may choose, as I said last week, to hide and pretend and fantasize it away. You know, a lot of people, intellectuals, will try to convince themselves there is no God, therefore, there is no one to be accountable to. And, they try to get through life that way. That’s just a form of fantasy. But, people are trying to somehow cope with this reality.

And you know, the world has a reason to fear, doesn’t it? You think about the verse in Hebrews 9. I’m gonna refer to a lot. I’ve got some scriptures here that I can refer to if I want to actually open…but a lot of this you know. What does the scriptures say about man’s destiny? In Hebrews chapter 9, I believe it’s verse 27. God’s made an appointment for every person. What is that appointment?

( congregational response ).

“…It is appointed unto men once to die…” And that’s the end of it? No! It says, “…but after this the judgment.” So, I don’t care what people do in this world, if they live for this world, it doesn’t matter, that appointment is still there at the end of your list of “to do’s.” Talk about a “bucket list”! God has one item on it…or two items. Die and face the judgment. It’s real! And so, there’s a very good reason for the world to have the kind of fear that they experience.

But you know, Jesus talked about the times of the end and what was going to be happening before His coming. And boy, do we live in that world? It said, “Men’s hearts…” This is Luke 21, if you want to write this down and look it up later. “Men’s hearts…” are, what?

( congregational response ).

“…Failing them for fear….” What is causing that fear? They’re looking at the things that are happening and they’re sensing the insecurity of the world. They’re seeing the danger. I mean, I don’t ever remember a time…obviously I’m not thousands of years old, but I don’t ever remember a time in my life where there was more sense of danger in the world. You know, the end of the world, as we know it, could happen in so many different ways. And people are out running, preparing, they’re worrying, they’re trying to…you know, what can we do?

We’ve got so many radical things going on, so much violence, so much crime and hatred and division in the world, and there are environmental issues in the minds of some. There’s the threat of nuclear war, and people have their hands on that kind of power. I mean, there are just incredible things that could happen. And then you just deal with natural disasters. You know, how would you like to be living in a house in Florida somewhere and, all of a sudden, have the earth open up under you without any warning? I mean, this is a world full of very real danger!

But you know, you look at the pictures of the world and its situation. In 1st Thessalonians 5, “For when they shall say…” What? “…Peace and safety…” What happens?

( congregational response ).

“…Sudden destruction….” And you think of the emotions that are gonna be there when that happens, when all of a sudden the Lord appears in the air, and they suddenly realize, ‘I’m not ready, I’m on the wrong side, I have no hope.’ I mean, there is no wonder as to why it’s described in Revelation as people hiding in caves, calling on the mountains to fall on them. I mean, ‘Just hide us, we know judgment is coming! Anything to escape that!’

Folks, there’s reason to have a lot of fear. Obviously, the Lord doesn’t want us to be in that condition. But you know the fact is, everybody experiences it, don’t they? This is part of the human condition and it’s not just limited to people of the world. We, as God’s people, feel it.

And you look at the heroes of faith in the scriptures, and sometimes we’re tempted to look at them as different from us. They didn’t feel...they were somehow able to rise above all this, and just float over life, and conquer everything, and praise God…’God is God and I’m His servant!’ But I’ll tell you, they lived with genuine fear. The same kinds of things you and I feel when we get up and face the issues that we face in our lives. And you can trace that right through the whole Bible.

Ron mentioned Abraham. What happened when he felt the need…I guess there was a famine or something like that. I didn’t look up all these. But he went down to Egypt for a while, and his wife was beautiful, and he was worried. Well, worried is another word for afraid. And so, he told a half-truth, so they wouldn’t kill him and take his wife. Isaac did the same thing later on.

And Jacob. He had a reason to be fearful, didn’t he? He was a kind of a guy who was a manipulator. He was gonna find a way to get his way, and all of a sudden, he came up short and realized, hey, I’m in trouble. Esau’s coming to meet me with 400 men. I’m gonna do everything I know, but I’m scared to death, if you want to just know the truth. And that was when the Lord appeared to him. And he said, what is your name?

You know, I heard Ravi Zacharias point this out and I thought it was a very, very good insight. What did he answer when his father asked him, when it came time for the blessing and he said, who are you? He said, I’m Esau. And now the Lord comes to him and says, what is your name? And finally he comes to a point of honesty and he says, I’m Jacob. He says, you’re right. But from now on, you’re gonna be called Israel. There was a desperation that reached out to God. But it was fear. He was just brought down to reality. God, I am genuinely afraid. I have reason to be afraid. And he reached out to the Lord, didn’t he?

I mean, you go on through the scriptures. Joseph, Joshua was mentioned. He said, don’t be timid, don’t be afraid, basically, is what the Lord’s telling him. Over and over again, don’t be afraid. Well, why would He tell him that, if that wasn’t a real problem? Don’t you look at the enemy and be afraid, or be intimidated by the enemy.

And, a lot of us…suppose you were suddenly put in a wrestling match and you didn’t know who your opponent was, and then you show up and the guy is 400 pounds of muscle, and 7 feet tall, or 350 pounds and just solid muscle, and been wrestling for years and years. Do you think you just might be a little bit intimidated? Dismayed?

That was what the Lord told Joshua. Don’t be dismayed. Well, ‘dismayed’ is when you’re beaten before you ever start because fear just simply takes over and you know you can’t, there’s no hope here. How many of us approach our spiritual lives like that more than we might want to admit? There’s opposition, there’s resistance, we feel weaknesses on the inside, on the outside and we just are dismayed in the face of all that! And God wants to get us to the point where we’re not dismayed, we’re not defeated by the reality of our own weakness and our own need! And that’s what fear…fear is a summary of what’s wrong with us, in this regard.

But you think about David. Oh Lord, there were times he was running for his life. He was scared to death. And oh, just…oh, God, I’m overwhelmed with fear! Some of his Psalms you read that reality. Thank God you read the other side of it. But I mean, he was a man who understood it. In fact, he was so scared one time when he had to run over to the Philistines, and they bring him in before the king and suddenly he realizes, my God, I was the champion of Israel against these guys and all of a sudden, here I am and I have no power. What did he do? He acted like a madman, acted like he was insane. What was causing him to do that? Fear! Yeah!

When you go on in the prophets and the Lord is constantly having to tell them, don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid! They had reason to be afraid. They were killed! There was a prophet who was a contemporary of Jeremiah saying the same things and he got scared. He ran off to Egypt. They sent down and got him and brought him back and killed him. This was all while Jeremiah was prophesying. I mean, they had reason to be concerned. Just like this brother, that was mentioned this morning, in Kenya. There’s a lot to be afraid of in this world. And boy do we need the Lord! Paul! Do you think he was a stranger to fear?

( congregation inaudible ).

Yeah. He talked about his ministry. He said, “I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.” I can identify with him. I’ll tell you, there’s an enemy that opposes everything that we would do that has to do with God! And he would absolutely fill our minds with stuff that would be a hindrance if we believe that and not God. That’s what it really comes down to. That’s exactly what Ron was saying.

But you go on and you see Paul talking about, in that one place where in 2nd Thessalonians, or 2nd Corinthians…I’m sorry. We refer to it many times where he despaired of life. He refers back to that in chapter 7 and he talks about the fact that he was in a bad place. Outside it was fightings, there was just conflict! Everywhere he looked it was fighting. But what else was going on? Fears on the inside. Fightings without, fears within! And he was in a really difficult place. He had to…fear is real!

You don’t think Jesus felt fear? You know, feeling it is one thing, allowing it to rule and control and cause us to not believe God is another! But do you not think that Jesus felt fear when He went to the Cross? He was tempted and tested in every way, just like you and I.

What about the scripture that talks about Him as the Son of God, crying to His Father, calling upon His Father with, what? “…Strong crying and tears.” That’s not just some little ritual prayer, that’s a heart that’s just crying, oh God! I need You! I’m in a weak place. I need help.

You want to be able to identify with the Savior? He felt what you feel. The fears that you’re wrestling with, right here this morning, He knows what they feel like. He was, “…a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” And all that He went through, thank God, was for us! Praise God!

You know, I was thinking about, why are we afraid? Fear, to a large degree, is something we’ve sort of learned. I mean, I know there’s an instinctive fear. But when it comes to us as individuals, a lot of it has to do with our past experiences, doesn’t it? You know, ‘I’ve been hurt, I’ve experienced disappointment, I trusted somebody, I really believed in them, I put my trust in them and they let me down and they wounded me in some way. I’ve experienced something bitter, something wrong, something….’ You know, you name it. ‘I was in an abused relationship where I felt powerless and somebody was doing things they shouldn’t have been doing.’

It’s getting quiet. But every one of us has a past. Every one of us has experiences that have caused us to react in the present. We bring forward with us that body of experience that causes us to be tentative, causes us to be afraid…what if, what if this, or what if that? ‘Oh God, I’ve been down this road and now I’ve got to build a wall to protect myself. I’ve got to build this emotional little kingdom in here that can kind of wall me off, protect me from the danger of this world.’ Oh God, break down our little defenses and lead us into a place where we can be free. Praise God!

( congregational amens ).

So many people are prisoners of their past and habits we develop! We become fearful, and some people more than others. But everybody experiences this! I don’t care if you’re one that appears to everybody to skate through life and have a smile always. When you’re alone, with your thoughts, there are things that make you afraid. Every one of us deals with it. Everyone has to cope with it in some fashion or another.

And of course, you might be in some present situation and you feel powerless, and…you dread going to work tomorrow because of this or because of that. You’re looking at your bank book and your statements, or your bills, and they don’t match up. And that, of course, feeds right into the uncertainties about the future.

And oh, does the Devil love to fill our minds with ‘what ifs’! And he’ll match them up with our worst fears and we will think about all the things that are gonna happen or might happen, and I’ve got to defend against this, and I’ve got to…but fear is just driving and controlling so much of our lives. God help us! You know, this stuff is real, isn’t it?

( congregational response ).

Anybody here doesn’t know anything about what I’m talking about? You’re just clueless here? Yeah. This affects every single life here. I don’t care whether you’re young or old. You know, when you’re young you’ve got your own set of issues. But when you get old, believe me, you’re gonna have issues. Just like Ron said. All of a sudden, you start getting afraid of physical things. ‘Oh, my God, I’m losing my ability to do this, and I’m getting old. I’m getting sick. I’m getting…things are breaking down, and what’s gonna happen to me?’

All of a sudden, our sense of well-being that we craft in our own minds gets threatened by something. And so, there we are. We’re trying to cope with it and we’re trying to deal with it. But oh, I am so glad that we don’t have to deal with all this stuff in our own strength, in our own wisdom, in our own resources! Thank God!

And I was just thinking about this, as I was just meditating on the subject. But how have God’s people dealt with fear? You look in the scriptures. They were just like us. But yet, we have examples of people who dealt with fear. You know, I just mentioned Jesus,’ “…strong crying and tears.” He didn’t allow it to control Him but He also knew that within Himself He didn’t have everything He needed. He needed His Father. He needed divine strength and help. And His Father, who lived in Him, was able to enable Him to rise above that.

But you think about David. There’s a scripture…let’s just turn…I don’t want to just refer to some of these. I’ll turn to a few of them, anyway. But Psalm 34 is a pretty good example of David, in a time of challenge. And he says, just the beginning of this, “I will extol…” (NIV). That’s, ‘I’m gonna talk about how great He is.’ “…the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.”

So David has been through something, he’s experienced something and he’s wanting to encourage others who will find out about it. “Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.” All right, what’s behind this? “I sought the LORD, and he answered me…” And what did He do? “…He delivered me from all my fears.”

Think about what he’s saying. He’s not just talking about the circumstance! He’s talking about the fear that came from the circumstance! He did a thorough job! He brought me to a place where I was under the circumstances, as we say. I was experiencing the fear that came from it! He not only dealt with that, but He dealt with the fear in my heart, and He set me free, and He put me in a place where I can lift my heart to Him and praise Him and I’m not carrying that burden anymore! Anybody here want to be in that place?

( congregational response ).

Yeah! Well, the Lord wants you to be there, too! Praise God! But the one thing that I see, and this is part of what Ron was talking about, is that we need…and God’s people through the scriptures, reached a place where they had a conviction. A conviction is an inward belief that something is true. I am persuaded that something is true and it is the conviction of my heart and it governs how I see things, how I react to life.

But they developed, because of God’s dealings, they developed convictions that came from God and from His Word. It has to begin…before we can act, we’ve got to have a real belief! I mean, this book…this is not just a formula book where you just say the magic words and something happens. Like Ron said, this is something you’ve got to have on the inside. God wants to implant His Word in our minds, and then move them into our hearts so that they become life guidance. They become the wisdom we observe. They become what we go by instead of the other stuff that wants to flood into our minds.

But you think about what God wants. If you look through the scriptures, you will see over and over and over and over and over again, one theme. God is encountering people and the first words out of His mouth are, don’t be afraid. Oh I’ll tell you, it’s a good thing to go back and look at these truths. These are real. This is not just a bunch of religious doctrine. This is the Word of the Living God, who cannot lie. That’s His desire. That’s God’s heart.

And it’s part of what I’ve sensed in the last few days. Different conversations that have come up, different thoughts in my own mind. There’s something on God’s heart right now that He wants to convey to us, that He wants to deliver us from the fears that have bound us. And He wants us to be able to serve Him without fear!

Now that’s not talking about reverential fear, the kind where we respect Him. But this is the kind where we’re not just under this, ‘Oh, my God, if I just look cross-eyed He’s gonna get me’ kind of thing. It’s not that kind of a relationship. Thank God it isn’t! Oh, He loves His children!

You know, I was thinking about scriptures where He said, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” John saw this incredible figure, supernatural vision of Jesus, and he was terrified, just like you and I would have been! First words, don’t be afraid.

“Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,” through the prophet Isaiah. Here you are! I know you’re just like a worm! You’re as helpless as a worm, but don’t be afraid! Don’t be afraid! Constantly that message.