Sunday, 29th April 2018
Rev Daniel Poon
What is fear? It is something people try different ways to get away from. Starting from the garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve ate that fruit, they feared to see God face to face. God knows and acknowledges that we have fear in us, and He has also given us the solution to our fear.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:1-6 )
1. To overcome the fear of shortage
We often have the fear of shortage, we don’t know what will happen in our future but we try to control it. Rev Daniel shared with us that money can’t buy us everything, but it is our education and lessons of life that give us success in the generations to come.
Glory and gold come from God alone, we cannot earn it. We can see it from the lives of Abraham, Moses and David. They chose to leave the worldly success and follow God, they learnt to rely on God when they were in a lowly position, when they were still in the desert, and God will lift up the ones who stay humble in front of Him.
The earthly way tells us to do whatever we want and to seek our values from others, but it is opposite to the Biblical way. Fear is rooted deeply in our lives and only God can take it away. In Psalm 23:1-2 it says, “The Lord is my Shepard, I lack nothing.”
David wrote this when he was in a miserable situation, yet he was without fear because he fully relied on God. A good shepherd knows every little detail of their sheep, whether good or bad things about them. David knew that no matter how good or bad he was, God would look after him no matter what.
It also says in John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” Jesus also said that a good shepherd would leave the 99 sheet in order to search for that one lost sheep. John 10:3 says that “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”. God knows us by our name. We should never fear about our shortage, because God is the source and the fountain of our life, moreover the good news is, He will never dry out.
2. To overcome the fear of unknowing
“he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:3-4
Every day we are facing the unknown things and we will never know what is coming at us. But here David said that the rod and staff are comforting him. What is the rod and staff? They are what the shepherd used to pull and redirect to save the sheep. Sheep may not like the guiding actions of the rod or staff, but all these actions are for the safety of the sheep.
We should not fear the unknowing, but to have patience and faith. Because when God closes one door, He will open another door for us. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we live by faith, not by sight.” The sheep don’t know what’s gonna happen in front of them, they only see the fresh water and beautiful pasture, but only the shepherd knows when the sheep are in a dangerous situation and can stop the sheep. We should be thankful to God when He stops us, because greater blessing will come.
Rev Daniel shared with us the story of Saul and David, one followed his own heart whereas the another one always seek for God’s guidance. Unknowing is prepared by God, and we should not fear it. Instead we should seek the favor of God, and favor from God comes from our close relationship with Him.
Rev Daniel shared that we should have the right focus, to be the favored child of God, above all other positions we hold in this world. Of course we also need to receive the favors of people, as Jesus Himself set the best example of having the favors of God and of men. God guides us on the right path for His name’s sake. We need to know and remember God’s Name, because when we call out His Name, He will heal our emptiness with His eternity.
We should keep our minds away from the busyness, there are too many messages and information from social media and through the technology. Our focus should be this, the rod and the staff will guide us and we will no longer fear the unknowing.
3. To overcome the fear of suffering
There are sufferings in this world, that’s why Jesus came down to save us. He shared in our humanity and completed the salvation. In Hebrews 2:14-15, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too share in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
As Christians, we are not afraid of death because we are certain of our destination after we died. We follow Jesus, not this world; the world’s way is easy but God’s way is not easy. A lot of time the way God has set before us seems hard and impossible, but that’s God’s way! Nothing can stop our God, He’s the King of kings and Lord of lords. Because through suffering we experienced God and rely on Him more! Suffering might seem scary but when we have faith in God, when we look back, we don’t see suffering, only blessings. So don’t choose the easy way but to have faith in God. God’s journey for us is the most adventurous way that we won’t experience in this world.
4. To overcome the attack of the enemy
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:5-6)
Who is our enemy? Our boss? Our spouse? Or our parents? No! Our enemy is the devil! Devil knows his destination – hell – and he has no second chance, so he’s jealous of us. We must find out who is our enemy, it’s not our boss or parents. We need to see things more clearly from a new angle! Little boy Jesus wanted to stay in the temple but his parents stopped him. Jesus didn’t treat parents as enemy but obeyed.
In the present day, our enemy is the so call “freedom” of this world. The freedom recognized by this world is no longer the true freedom. In the Bible, it never talks about protecting our freedom, it only says that when we believe in Jesus, He will set us free. Freedom has nothing to do with what we do in this world, but about the desires in our hearts.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
“No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 54:17)
The enemy tries to fight us, God doesn’t stop our enemy from preparing weapons against us, but He said even when the weapons are against us, they have no use because He is on our side. That’s also why Joshua asked the angel before the battle which side he was on. If God is on our side, He will deal with the enemy, so we don’t need worry and we don’t need to fear!
God prepared a table for us before our enemy, there is no need to complain why bad things happen to us but only to ask God what blessings and favors we will receive from Him. Our enemy actually helps us to seek God more and to dig out the treasure that God prepares for us. So let us get favor from God first then He will give us favors of others.
In conclusion, Rev Daniel shared with us that F-E-A-R has 2 meanings:
1. Forget Everything And Run
2. Face Everything And Rise
Which one would you choose today?