Do Not Be Afraid
I hope you’ve been enjoying working through the book of Nehemiah as much as I’ve enjoyed preaching on it. Several of you said you found yesterday’s sermon timely. God does encourage his people not be afraid. I’ve commented before that it “do not be afraid” is the most frequent command in Scripture. In his first letter, Peter quotes the book of Isaiah, “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.’ But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:14-15, NIV 2011). As Peter makes clear here, the opposite of fear is making sure that Christ is truly Lord of our life. When we submit ourselves to him, and trust him there is nothing left to fear.
The larger passage from Isaiah that Peter quotes says this:
“The Lord spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said:
‘Do not call conspiracy
everything that these people call conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread,
and he will be a sanctuary. . . .” (Isaiah 8:11-14a, NIV 2011)
This message again is clear. Even if we see the people around us being afraid, as people who have placed a deep trust in God we need to ask the question, “What is there to fear?” God is the one who holds us and has our future—he is a sanctuary to us. Given all of that, what is it that God would have us to do? What vision is he calling us to? What would we accomplish for God if we weren’t afraid of failure, or were guided by some other fear?
I mentioned Haiti in the prayer time. As we continue to pray for those on the East coast of the United States, let’s also pray for the people of Haiti who were severely affected by this hurricane. Let’s especially be in prayer for our brothers and sisters in the churches there. Pray that cholera is reduced, and pray for the massive number of Haitians who are attempting to flee into the Dominican Republic across the border at Dajabon.
I want to highlight the “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” evening which is scheduled for November 13th. I hope you’ll all consider signing up. This is a great opportunity that the Fellowship Team puts together for us. It’s important for us to get to know one another more deeply. While it’s a lot of fun, I believe it’s an important thing we are doing as well. Fellowship with other Christians is an important part of the way that God unifies us, and also that he shapes us through our interactions with our fellow believers.
Hope to see you all Sunday!