Fear and love do not walk together.
AUGUST 8, 2023
Fear and love do not walk together. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
This is Key Life with our host, author, and seminary professor, Steve Brown. He’s nobody’s guru, he’s just one beggar telling other beggars where he found bread. If you’re hungry for God, the real God behind all the lies, you’ve come to the right place.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, turn to the 21st chapter of Acts as we continue with our study in Acts. And we’re talking about the Apostle Paul facing a very horrendous situation in Jerusalem. A lot of the prophets had prophesied that he was going to get into trouble in Jerusalem and might even be killed, and they begged him not to go. And he said, what’s wrong with you? I’m willing to give my life for Christ. And so, we’re looking at the four things that the Apostle Paul did when he was afraid. And as a matter of fact, when we’re afraid, and we saw yesterday that if you’re not ever afraid, you will never experience courage because courage only manifests itself in the presence of fear. At any rate, we saw first that Paul sought out his brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes I’ll say to somebody in a difficult situation, Are you afraid? And if they say, nah, not me, I’m going to find somebody else, I want to get somebody who says, you too, and then we can stand together and it makes a whole lot of difference because we’ll remind each other of God’s presence and his promises. And then secondly, we’ve seen that Paul, when he was afraid, he conquered fear with prayer. And if you’re looking for a verse on that first point, it’s Acts 21:4 and Acts 21:5. And in Acts 21:5, he says.
And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed.
Abraham Lincoln said.
Sometimes I got on my knees because there was no other place that I could go.
That’s bad? No, that’s good because that’s the place you ought to be when you’re afraid. I can’t say that my fears calm every time I pray, but they’re better every time I pray. There’s something about the early morning and I’m an early morning riser that is calming and peaceful when I stand in the presence of God who has no perspiration on his upper lip. And then we saw yesterday, and just mentioned it that Paul had a cause that was bigger than himself, and it dealt with his fear. I do a lot of things that scare me to death. Students always ask me, are you nervous when you get into the pulpit? I say, yes. And I’ve been doing this before you were born, thousands of times and if there are three people, or three thousand, it scares the spit out of me. And the fact that I get into the pulpit means that I have a cause that’s bigger than I am and I’ll do it for him. I tell students about preaching, before you get into the pulpit, be a little bit arrogant and say, get out of my way. Say it to yourself, get out of my way. I am God’s anointed servant and he has called me to bring a message of major importance to your life. And you will, by God’s grace, listen to what I have to say. Students will say, I can’t say that. Yeah, you can. You may have to repent after you preach, but it’ll get you through it because it will remind you that you have a cause that is bigger than you. There are a lot of things in my life that scare me to death, but I do them anyway. And you know why? Because it’s not about me, it’s about him. I’d do them anyway, you know why? Because it’s a cause that sometimes overwhelms me. When Paul said.
Woe unto me if I preach not the gospel.
I get that. And you should get it too. Have something in your life that’s bigger then your dinner. Have something in your life, that is bigger than a job. Have something in your life, that’s bigger than your needs, something that is so big that it causes fear to make an obscene gesture at the world and you do what you’ve been called to do. And then there’s one other thing, and we have referred to it as we’ve gone along. You should notice in this text that in the midst of Paul’s fear, he trusted in the absolute sovereignty of God, look at the 14th verse.
And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “The will of the Lord be done.”
I, it’s not in the text, but Paul’s a good friend of mine, and I know that he said maybe out loud, but he certainly thought, well, finally, you understand what this thing is all about. God is sovereign. R. C. Sproul used to say.
That if God isn’t sovereign over every molecule, he’s not sovereign over anything.
I agree with that. I was telling you about my fear of flying. I pretty much, I mean, I still don’t want to die on an airplane, but I pretty much dealt with the, my fear of flying. You know, you do it so often, you kind of get used to it and then you start doing something you’ve never done before. And that’s putting all of your weight on an airplane when it takes off. But you know what I do? I love to watch the, I make sure that I’m there early so I can see what the pilots look like when they get on the plane. And when the pilots get on the plane, they look confident and together. And do you know what I do? When I, when I’m flying and we get into trouble and the plane starts shaking, I look at the flight attendants. And if they’re not bothered, then I’m not bothered. If they look scared, then I’m scared. Well, it’s the same thing with God. Every time I look at Him, there’s no perspiration on His upper lip. My prayer is often, you still there? And his answer to me often is, of course I am. And I say, are you afraid? And he says, are you crazy? Never afraid a sovereign God who’s got your back, no matter what happens, who knows your name and who’s given you promises to get you home before the dark. And so, belief in the sovereignty of God makes all the difference in the world. Listen, I think that God’s in charge of this whole mess, and he’s in charge of your whole mess too. Pascal said this.
There is a virtuous fear which is the effect of faith. And there is a vicious fear which is the product of doubt. The former leads to hope as relying on God in whom we believe. The latter inclines to despair and not relying on God in whom we do not believe. Persons of the one character fear to lose God. Persons of the other character fear to find him.
That’s so good. If you’re a believer, sit down sometimes and in your devotional time, set aside all of the whining, and that’s okay in prayer, by the way, set aside all of the formal liturgy you use and the normal things you say and say, God, today I want to concentrate on you and who you are. And then spend some time looking at the attributes of God. Spend some time checking the Scriptures and what they say about a God who is never lost, never confused, never surprised, never away. And involved in every aspect of your life. All right, that’s everything I know about fear, at least from the 21st chapter of the Book of Acts. Now, we’re going to turn to a whole new subject. And, you know, it’s not a happy one either. We’ve just been talking about what you do when you’re afraid. Well, what do you do when you’ve failed? And we’re going to be looking at Acts 21:17 through the 23rd chapter in the 11th verse. And if you think I’m going to read all of that to you, you’re crazy. I’m not going to do it. But it is where the grand finale begins. In that 17th verse of the 21st chapter of Acts and it starts with failure. One of the most important events in the life of the apostle Paul. Something that changed the entire world begins with a failure. You think about that. Amen.
Fear and love do not walk together, what a great reminder. Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown teaching us from Acts 21 about the four things Paul did when he was afraid. We’ll continue from here tomorrow. Please join us for that. Well, if you’re looking for a great late summer read, you could read that new self help book or that juicy mystery novel. Or, you could dive into the latest edition of Key Life Magazine. It features articles from Steve, Chad West, Jenni Young, and Kendra Fletcher. I’ll tell you about how to get that print magazine in a moment. But listen, we now have our summer digital magazine available, that new edition has articles from Steve, David Johnson, Alex Early, and what’s this? Oh, me! Check that out at keylife.org/magazines and to get our print magazine for free call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the magazine and to mail your request go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of Key Life Magazine. Finally, would you prayerfully consider partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or just pick up your phone, you know it’s right there, and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter, text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.