Luke 2:8-15 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (9) And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. (10) And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. (11) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. (12) And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. (13) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, (14) Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (15) And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
The title for today’s message is “Fear Not.” There are four “fear nots” that appear in the chapters of the Bible that center around the birth of Jesus Christ. Each of the “fear nots” are uttered by an angel and were a source of comfort to those being spoken to. And truly what does any believer have to fear when they realize that God is with them? What can any man do to us that God cannot deliver us from? God is able to deliver believers from anything and what a blessed thought that is! 2Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
The only fear that any believer should have is the fear of God as the Bible says in Proverb 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. The proper fear of the Lord is what helps believers to respect Him and revere Him and follow Him. Other than the fear of the Lord, the believer in Jesus Christ should “fear not” because of Jesus Christ and His promises to every believer. As it is written in the Book of Hebrews: Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (6) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. We all need to remember that declaration by Jesus Christ that He will never forsake His children and He will never leave them. People can abuse believers verbally or physically, but Jesus Christ is always there for the believer. He does not give believers a spirit of fear, believers do it to themselves because they do not trust God enough. If the Lord is my helper, then what can any man do to me? If God keeps all of His promises and He has promised to never forsake me, then why do I not trust Him more?
Pastor James Brown wrote: There is no situation I can get into that God cannot get me out. Some years ago when I was learning to fly, my instructor told me to put the plane into a steep and extended dive. I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen. After a brief time the engine stalled, and the plane began to plunge out-of-control. It soon became evident that the instructor was not going to help me at all. After a few seconds, which seemed like eternity, my mind began to function again. I quickly corrected the situation.
Immediately I turned to the instructor and began to vent my fearful frustrations on him. He very calmly said to me, “There is no position you can get this airplane into that I cannot get you out of. If you want to learn to fly, go up there and do it again.” At that moment God seemed to be saying to me, “Remember this. As you serve Me, there is no situation you can get yourself into that I cannot get you out of. If you trust me, you will be all right.” That lesson has been proven true in my ministry many times over the years.
An unknown author wrote this about Jesus Christ:
Trust Him when dark doubts assail thee, – Trust Him when thy strength is small,
Trust Him when to simply trust Him – Seems the hardest thing of all.
Trust Him, He is ever faithful, – Trust Him, for his will is best,
Trust Him, for the heart of Jesus – Is the only place of rest.
The first “fear not” is found in Luke 1. Luke 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
This “fear not” is about unanswered prayer and the fear that God has not heard our prayers. God hears His children when they pray to Him. However, believers may not be properly praying to God or praying for something that is good for them. James wrote: James 4:2-4 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. (3) Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (4) Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
When we pray we need to pray about our concerns and our needs, but we should also examine ourselves and our motivations behind our prayer. Even though I may be praying for someone else, am I really praying for something for me? For example: Do I pray for someone to get saved because I think that it may make my life easier? We should examine our motivations and be honest with ourselves about the things we pray for and why we pray for them. What a wonderful promise Jesus Christ gives us in John 14: John 14:13-14 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (14) If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. But when we are praying in the name of Jesus Christ, make sure it is worthy of His Name.
In Luke chapter 1, Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth, were older people and had been praying for a child for quite some time. God chose to wait before blessing them, for reasons of His own, but the birth of John the Baptist was an event that glorified God. The implication in the Bible seems to be that Zacharias and Elizabeth were past the normal child-bearing years, when means this answered prayer brought all the more glory to God. God still answers prayers, it may not be in the way we expect or when we expect, but God is in control and knows what is best for us.
The next “Fear Not” was spoken to Mary. Luke 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. Luke 1:35-37 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (36) And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. (37) For with God nothing shall be impossible. This “fear not” is of the humanly impossible. What is impossible for man, is not impossible for God. The miracles recorded in the Bible all happened because of God. After all, He is the Creator of all things, so He should be able to do anything He wishes. If He wants to make a day run extra long to help the Israelites in battle, then He can choose to do that. If He wants Abraham and Sarah to have a baby at their advanced years, then He can choose to do that. If He wants Zacharias and Elizabeth to have a baby, then He can choose to do that. And if God determines that Mary, as a virgin, will give birth to Jesus Christ, then He can choose to do that.
J. Vernon McGee wrote: There is nothing impossible with God when He has determined to do it,But He will not necessarily do the impossible we ask of Him. Many people use this verse as a cliché to cover up the fact that they want their own selfish desires. Anything God determines to do He can accomplish, because there is nothing impossible with God. But that does not mean He will do everything Believers want Him to do, because somethings are not included in His plan.
The next “fear not” is found in Matthew chapter 1. Matthew 1:18-20 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. (19) Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. (20) But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 1:24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, This “fear not” is of immediate obedience – we never fear to be immediately obedient to God. If God has directed us to do something, then we should do it, without question, and when He tells us to do it. Joseph was within his rights under the Law to put Mary away for being with child, but he chose to obey God instead. Mary was chosen by God to bear the baby Jesus, but remember that Joseph was also chosen by God. Joseph was a just man and sensitive to the situation he found himself in. Before the angel of the Lord appeared to him, Joseph could have had Mary stoned to death. In verse 20, we see that Joseph was level-headed, taking the time to think things through rather than simply reacting to the situation. Joseph was able to immediately obey God, because he knew God and knew he could trust Him. Joseph spent time God was sensitive to His calling and direction.
When we get in the car, I always make Aubrey and Linda have put on their seat belts. Not because it is the law of the land and I fear getting a ticket, but because I want them to be safe. They obey because they know I have their best interests at heart.
We should obey God because we love Him. We obey because He has done so much for us and we have done so little for Him. We obey because love is never content to accept but must always give. Jesus said, John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. We then come to realize that our disobedience not only breaks the laws of God, it also breaks the heart of God. Psalm 78:40 tells us: How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! We should obey God because we should know that He has own best interests at heart.
Such obedience is far fuller, richer, and freer than can ever come from a legal motivation. Imagine a woman who is a nurse and a mother. She may work at a hospital all day caring for the sick. When she has worked eight hours, she goes home. Upon arriving home, she finds her child is seriously ill. She will then give her child the same care she gives the hospital patients. However, when she has cared for her child for eight hours, she will not quit. She gives care no one can buy. The difference is the motivation.
“What is your major motivation? Seek to know God better, and you will find yourself obeying out of love. It will become ‘richer, fuller, deeper’ and will become ‘sweeter as the years go by.’”
The last “fear not” is found in Luke chapter 2. Luke 2:8-11 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (9) And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. (10) And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. (11) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. This “fear not” is about salvation. The salvation that can only come from Jesus Christ. Those shepherds were in the field with their sheep when suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared and the glory of God shone all around them. What a magnificent sight that must have been for the shepherds! To see the heavenly host and hear them praising God was a sight that believers look forward to seeing in Heaven, and these shepherds were blessed to experience it here on Earth.
The Saviour is born! The Messiah has arrived! The angels told the shepherds to fear not and come and see the Christ! Today is the day of His birth! Do we remember that? Do we remember what the meaning of this holiday season is? Two women who were having lunch in an elegant hotel were approached by a mutual friend who asked the occasion for the meal. One lady replied, “We are celebrating the birth of my baby boy.” “But where is he?” inquired the friend. “Oh,” said the mother, “you didn’t think I’d bring him, did you?” What a picture of the way the world treats Jesus at Christmas. People would rather think about Santa Claus than think about Jesus Christ. People celebrate His birthday, but do not invite Him to the party! Contrast that with how the shepherds reacted: they ran to Bethlehem to see the Christ child and then they went out and told others about Jesus Christ.
Luke 2:17-20 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. (18) And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. (19) But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. (20) And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
It is very easy to get caught up in everything else this holiday season, but believers should never forget who this season is about and be ready to let others know about salvation through Jesus Christ, the greatest gift of all!
|When darkness lay upon this earth,
A glorious light did shine,
God sent a Gift of priceless worth
And showed His love divine.
|How wonderful that God’s own Son
Should so Himself abase!
He thrust the mighty from their throne,
And gave the lowly grace.
|Glory to our God, we sing,
Glory to our Lord and king;
Peace, goodwill with all abide
This holy Christmas tide.
By Andrew Skoog