Sunday, January 29, 2006

Afraid So!

Intro.: Have you ever noticed how often we associate colors with our emotions.

  1. Green - jealousy

  2. Blue - depression

  3. Red - anger

  4. I can think of two colors that can be connected with today's emotion - “Fear”

  5. Negatively, we often associate “ YELLOW ” with fear. Sadly, we use the term “yellow” or “yellow bellied” as a put down for someone who is scared. It's one of the ways that we use to discourage people, and particularly men, to express their emotions.

  6. But there is another color associated with fear – white. We might say a person who stuck through a difficult circumstance “white knuckled it through”. Or have you ever looked at a person coming off of roller coaster. They are white with fear – though I suppose it could be their stomachs. That doesn't deter them from asking mom and dad, “Can I do it again?”

  7. Fear is one of those emotions that we don't like to feel. We want to avoid it if we can.

  8. We will fear most often when life feels “out of control”. I suppose that I am like a lot of you. I like to be in control of my life. It can be stressful for me when I am in a situation that leaves me feeling lost or alone. I don't like feeling scared.


Trans: I began to build this series of sermons last November. I built the calendar that laid out the six sermons that are allowing us to look at our emotions as Christians

  1. And then it happened. The very thing I feared the most. I stumbled onto a conversation in the church between a couple of friends that centered on one the emotions in my list. And, you guessed it, that emotion was fear.

  2. Let me make it clear, that if you have been dealing with fear this week, or with any of the emotions that we are discussing this month, I have not chosen to address that emotion because of you. Rather, go back two or three months and know that God was more aware of what might be coming your way, than I ever could be.

  3. In the next few minutes, I want to take a look at three principles that can be illustrated by the events in Jesus life.

  1. Fear is a natural consequence of the unknown

(Ill.) It is reported that the newspaper counselor, Ann Landers, receives an avenge of 10,000 letters each month, and nearly all of them from people burdened with problems. She was asked if there was any one of them which predominates throughout the letters she receives, and her reply was the one problem above all others seems to be fear.

People are afraid of losing their health, their wealth, their loved ones. People are afraid of life itself. i

    1. Somehow I would expect that Jesus' birth would be rather solemn, holy event. And when I think of solemn and holy, I think quiet and relaxed.

    2. But when I look at the events surrounding the birth of Christ, I see lots of people who are afraid.

    3. I guess I am not surprised that the shepherds were afraid, they had to hear the angels calming voice. Look at Luke 2:10: But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.ii” It got their attention, they were ready to listen. And it gave them what they needed to obey.

    4. But it wasn't only the angels who were afraid, there were others. There was Zechariah. We don't hear much about Jesus' uncle. We know much more about his son – John the Baptist. And when the angel steps in front of Zechariah to explain his role in the events that are about to transpire Zechariah is said to be gripped with fear. Luke 1:13 tells us that the first words from the angel are “Do not be afraid ...”iii

    5. The shepherds, Zechariah – they needed to hear the message, “Do not be afraid.” But there was one more person that had to hear the calming words of the angel on that first Christmas morning. It was Mary. Here was a girl of 15 to 18 years of age. And suddenly an angel appears. The first words out of the angel's mouth - “Do not be afraid, Mary...”iv

(Appl.) It is something we all need to hear. There are times in all our lives when we all experience fear. And when we do, we need to hear the calming voice say, “Be not afraid.”

  1. Sometimes fear is the correct response.

    1. Jesus sums it up in Luke 12:5 - But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.v

    2. One of the great dangers for us as believers is to focus so much on the love of God, that we forget that He does hold our future in His hands.

    3. We begin to take our faith for granted – we begin to take God for granted. Yet Jesus makes it clear we must never forget to fear God

(Ill.) I think Daniel Webster understood this truth when he wrote: If we work upon marble, it will perish; if on brass, time will efface it; if we rear temples, they will crumple into dust; but if we work upon immortal minds, and imbue them with principles, with the just fear of God and love of our fellow men, we engrave on those tablets something that will brighten to all

  1. Even as God is to be feared, He is also to be loved

    1. I lied to you. Well, actually I did not tell you the whole story.

    2. You see, Jesus continues His words in Luke 12 with some that bring some balance to what he had just said.

    3. Luke 12:5-7 says “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”vii

    4. The very same God whom we are to fear, knows you and cares for you more.

    5. Life gets tough, there are times when life seems uncertain.

    6. And fear is a part of that life.

    7. Yet we have a God who is willing to see us through the fear. I Peter 5:7 reminds us, “Cast all your concerns on Him, for he cares for you.” Are you willing to do that this week?

Conclusion: I am always leery of preaching a sermon like this mornings'.

  1. I expect that there were some that came this morning with some real loads. I did preach it for them.

  2. But then there are some whose current life seems far removed and today's topic seems far removed from their current expereince.

  3. And there is the danger – because maybe God is ready to teach you something, and now that you have some of the tools, He can do so.

  4. Let me leave you with the words of the Angel, spoken three times during that first Christmas -

Be not afraid.”



iTan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : [a treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers]. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

iiThe Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Lk 2:10-11). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

iiiThe Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Lk 2:12). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

ivThe Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Lk 1:50). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

vThe Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Lk 12:5). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

viTan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : [a treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers]. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

viiThe Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Lk 12:5-7). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Just A Little Doubt?

Intro.: “Doubt”

  1. It's one of those things we don't like to talk about.

  2. The Church's hidden secret – we don't want anybody to know that we have doubts.

  3. Yet I know that I do on occasion. I know that each of us also experience those times in our lives when we have to face the confusion that doubt can bring.

  4. As I began to thing about this thing called doubt, one of my favorite hymns started going through my head. You probably have experienced the same thing – a tune starts dancing around and it just won't leave. The tune that I kept hearing was that song that we just sang, “Joyful, joyful, we adore thee”. Listen to the words of the first stanza again:

    Joyful, joyful, we adore thee,
    God of glory, Lord of love;
    hearts unfold like flowers before thee,
    opening to the sun above.
    Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
    drive the dark of doubt away.i

  5. In fact as I began to gather together the pieces of this sermon, I was amazed to find that the one song that we all associate with the Billy Graham crusades, Just As I Am, reminds us that God takes us as we are:

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

  1. Though we may feel uncomfortable expressing our doubt, it is part of who we are members of the human race.

  2. One way we can understand what doubt means is by looking at the words used in scripture for a term. I want to spend the next few minutes looking at seven terms that are in the NT which will help us understand “doubt”.


  1. aporew -aporeo

    1. The word is composed of two parts - “a” meaning not or without; and “poreo” meaning a way or journey. Literally it means “to be with out a way”. Having said that, it is almost always translated as “perplexed.”

    2. Paul uses this word in his second letter to the Corinthians. He realizes that God is in control, but but is at a lost to understand all that is happening to him. II Corinthians 4:8 reads, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;ii

(Ill.) Vance Havner tells the story of a shop owner who really knows nothing about running a store. He knew nothing about buying or selling. The store is in a dreadful mess. So he turns the whole business over to another person – who will be responsible for running the entire enterprise. The former shop owner now takes over the role of clerk. He is as busy as ever, but his responsibility has changed. The care, the upkeep, the management, all are now the new owner's concern; the shop owner must only be a faithful clerk.

Now why do I tell this story in the midst of discussion of a Greek word meaning “perplexed”. You see, as we live our Christian life we are like that original store owner. Running that store, Rev. Havner says, is as perplexing as living the Christian life. And we have turned our life over a new owner. Christ becomes our owner, our manager, our overseer. Our part is to ba faithful clerk, a steward of the grace of God.

  1. Doubt is not necessarily a bad thing – it becomes a reminder that we must continue trusting God to control our lives.

  1. meteorizw“ meterwrizo

    1. This is the same word that has become our word meteor.

    2. It refers to being up in the air, to be hesitant, to fluctuate, to have one's faith waver as if tossed about in the wind.

    3. Jesus uses the word in Luke 12:29. The NIV reads “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.iii” But in the KJV, the same text reads “And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.iv

    4. Worry and doubt are not so different.

  2. (Ill.) John Wesley was walking one day with a troubled man who expressed his doubt of God’s goodness. “I don’t know what I shall do with all this worry and trouble,” he said.

    At that moment Wesley noticed a cow looking over a stone wall. “Do you know,” asked Wesley, “why that cow is looking over that wall?” “No,” replied his troubled companion. “I will tell you,” said Wesley—“because she cannot see through it. That is what you must do with your wall of trouble—look over it and above it.” Faith enables us to look over and above every trouble, to God, who is our help.v

    1. diakrinw” diakrino-----------------------------------------

      1. Our final word is rarely translated “doubt”, but you can see it used in this way in Matthew 21:21 “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.

      2. Thomas Merton said, “True faith is never merely a source of spiritual comfort. It may indeed bring peace, but before it does so it must involve us in struggle. A “faith” that avoids the struggle is really a temptation against true

      3. It is not unusual for a believer to have doubts, we saw that even Paul occasionally had doubts. But when we begin to let those doubts control our lives, then our spiritual lives are effected.

      4. Christ makes it clear that we can accomplish a great deal when it is rooted in Faith without Doubt – but doubt can hinder the effective practice of our faith.

    (Ill.) A brief poem helps us see the difference between faith and doubt:

    Doubt sees the obstacles.

            Faith sees the way!

    Doubt sees the darkest night,

            Faith sees the day!

    Doubt dreads to take a step.

            Faith soars on high!

    Doubt questions, “Who believes?”

            Faith answers, “I!”

    Conclusion: Let me conclude by asking you this question: If you had to measure your faith this morning on a scale of 0 to 10, 0 being no faith and 10 being faith to move mountains, where is your faith? Let me encourage you to find something to move your faith up a point or two -

    1. Decide to read your Bible each day

    2. Decide to attend join us in Bible Study this Wednesday.

    3. Remember your family and friends in regular prayer this week.

    What will you do this week to remove the dark of doubt away?



    iiThe Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (2 Co 4:8-9). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

    iiiThe Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Lk 12:29). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

    ivThe Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Lk 12:29). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

    vAMG Bible Illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.

    viMerton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation. 15:1961, quoted in Frank, L. R. (2001). Quotationary. New York: Random House.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Feeling Disappointed?

Intro.: I want to start with a true story.

The lanky, quiet boy never had much of a chance. He had to work from the age of seven, when his family joined the homeless. His mother died two years after that.

As he grew to adulthood, the young man held a series of small jobs until his twenties, when he was fired as a store clerk. But the idea of operating a store appealed to him. At age twenty-three he took out a loan that would enable him to buy into a small business. But the run of bad luck continued; his partner died three years later. Now the young man’s debt was more than doubled, and it looked as if he’d spend years just repaying it.

He fared no better at relationships. Approaching his thirties, he was still a bachelor. He proposed to one young lady after four years of dating, but she turned him down. It was just another failure; he was used to that.

Twice he ran for Congress, and twice, unsurprisingly, he lost. To put it kindly, his credentials were unimpressive. But at the age of thirty-seven, with more than half his life over, he was finally elected to an office—only to be subsequently voted out! He failed in two separate runs for the Senate. He failed in a vice-presidential try. No one was more conscious of his legacy of failures. “I am now the most miserable man living,” he said. “Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell.”

Some would say he didn’t know when to quit—and most of us are glad he didn’t. For at the age of fifty-one, Abraham Lincoln became perhaps the greatest of all American presidents.i

Disappointment was not limited to Abraham Lincoln. It is a common part of much of our lives.


T.S. Today I begin a series of sermons that will look at our emotions. Disappointment is only one of the seven emotions that we will examine in the next few weeks.

  1. Scripture's Examples of Disappointment

    1. When I feel disappointment, I feel very alone.

    2. Yet Disappointment is not something unique to me
      It is not even unique to the 20th century.

    3. I don't know where we might find the first case of disappointment. But if I were to hazard a guess, I would be willing the very first example of disappointment would not be human. Rather, I would suggest that the first example would be God.

      1. His creation – no pollution, no erosion. The sunsets were unmarred with airplanes, roads did not dot the landscape. And the most remarkable part of his creation was the man and woman He created. Adam and Even had everything they could want.

      2. But they chose to disobey. Oh, Eve tried to blame the serpent and Adam tried to blame Eve. But they disobeyed.

      3. God handled it – there were consequences. But I can't hope thinking that God was disappointed in his creation.

      4. God knows what disappointment feels like.

    4. But disappointment is very human experience.

      1. Can you imagine the pain that Ruth felt when her father-in-law and her husband died. Her mother in-law was traveling back to Israel?

      2. Loss brings disappointment – we'll have more to say about grief in a few week, but I would be totally unfair if we did not connect the two.

    5. And sometimes disappointment is misplaced.

      1. Jonah did not want to follow God's instructions to go to Nineveh.

      2. But after an adventure in a big fish, Jonah goes. And after he delivers God's message,

      3. Nineveh repents - exactly what Jonah is afraid he will happen.

      4. It was what God wanted, not what Jonah wanted. Too often we get ourselves confused – We want what we want, regardless what of what God wants.

      5. Sometimes we get these wonderful insights that stick with us for a long time.

(Ill.) One of those time was when I was in ninth grade biology. We had just done an experiment. We set up three experiments – one with sugar, one with starch, and one with water. After the experiment, we tested the solutions and found that the sugar and the starch had produced exactly the same result. The class turned in our write-ups. And no one got it. The teacher gave us one day to make changes to our write-ups. I agonized about it all day and as I lay in bed that night. And suddenly it came to me – sugar and starch were the same thing – they were both carbohydrates. Now, having figured it out, you might think I am smart. Not so. You see, as a ninth grade young man I wanted to impress that cute girl that in the next row. Rather than just modifying my write-up, I went to school and started to tell casually tell someone next to me that I had figured it out. But I said it loud enough that so that girl would hear. Oh, by the way. That girl never paid attention to me. And I do think I was the only person in class to really figure it out.

    I had another of those insights this past week. It dawned on me that when we too often are not are not honest about our disappointment. We say that we are disappointed with our spouse, or with our co-workers, or our neighbors. What we really are is disappointed with God. Jonah was disappointed with God. You see, I may say, I am disappointed with Sandra, but really, I mean really, what I am saying, why didn't God ... Now God can talk it, probably better than Sandra.

  1. Disappointment in my life

    1. Disappointment is real – for those in scripture, in my life, and in your life.

    2. Let me make some suggestions for handling emotions -

    3. Get the feelings out.

      1. First to God. Seems like the simplistic answer, but prayer is the means that God has for us to communicate with Him. Use. I Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray continuously.” Not “Pray continuously unless you are disappointed.” Take it first to god in prayer.

      2. Then to others. As the church, we are a family. Find someone in the church that will listen, not someone with answers. As the church, the writer of Hebrews tells us, “ But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.” Let us to that.

    4. Find the balance – is the thing in which you are disappointed, really worth the depth of emotion you are feeling. I in no means want to minimize your feelings. They are very real – but too often we respond to the emotions we feel, rather than the events themselves. A very real example is the very common threat called “Road Rage.” Nothing that happens in traffic is worth taking another's life. This is the extreme – but we each must find the balance. Respond to the event, rather than respond to the feelings.

    5. Finally, respond to the event not the person. There are some people that are truly evil, but not many. Once we begin to respond to the person, we are becoming their judge, jury, and executioner. Regardless of how disappointed we are in a particular person's behavior, we are still called to love them. Paul writes, “Faith, hope, love, but the greatest of these is love.” Even in the midst of life's disappointments, we must demonstrate God's love to a broken world. And in doing that, we are testifying to the presence of God's grace in our lives.

    Conclusion: Let me conclude by saying this – I have no secrets for avoiding disappointment.

    1. The principles this morning can help you get through those times you are disappointed.

    2. I don't spend a lot of time talking about the Pastorfloyd web site, but if you want to review the principles given in today's message, Let me suggest you take time to review them their.


    iJeremiah, D. (2001). Slaying the giants in your life (Page 172). Nashville, Tenn.: W Pub.