Sermon Series: “Zechariah: Looking for the Shepherd”

Sermon Titles / Texts


Feb   6

 

“A Call to Return”

 

Zech. 1:1-6

Feb 13

 

“A God of Love”

 

Zech. 1:7-21

Feb 20

 

“Thinking Outside the Box”

 

Zech. 2:1-13

Feb 27

 

“Defeating the Accuser”

 

Zech. 3:1-10


Fear not... I bring you good news!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

 

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11, ESV)


     Our text for my final sermon in the series “Prepared for Action” and the last sermon I shared with those present on December 22, 2019 included the words “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7a, ESV).  As we closed the year celebrating the birth of Jesus we were reminded of the words of the angels (above), “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy…”

     “Fear not…”  [Cast] all your anxieties on him.”  The message seems rather clear!  Yet, the statistics for Christians vary little from those of the world.  In an article I read this morning it was stated that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.  That is 18 out of every 100 and very close to one out of every five!  Unfortunately, the ‘problem’ increases: “…people with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.”  This means that money desperately needed for basic needs is being diverted to doctors and hospitals.

     According to my computerized Bible study program, the specific phrases “fear not”, “do not fear”, and “be not afraid” are found 74 times in 71 different verses in the English Standard Version of the Bible.  In other words, there is a verse containing the basic message not to fear for each and every week of the year.

     Fear can be uncomfortable and crippling.  But feeling fear is neither abnormal nor a sign of weakness!  It is an important part of normal brain function. But fear can also become disabling, developing into either an anxiety or a phobia.  That is not God’s desire!

     One of the verses that I have highlighted in my Bible is Isaiah 41:9-10: “You  are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”;  fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

     My prayer for the coming year is that we will experience the peace (Shalom) that God offers as a part of His covenant relationship with us.  I pray that we will become ‘fearless’ is the spreading of the “good news of great joy that will be for all the people…”, proclaiming that Jesus, the baby born in the manger, is none other than Christ (the Messiah) the Lord.  My prayer is that during the coming year we will proclaim Jesus to be not only our Savior, but the Lord of our lives!

     Hope to see you soon!  Let’s reach out to plenty in the year 2020! (I know it’s corny.)