Sermon at First Presbyterian Church Lockhart

"No Fear With The Father"

I Kings 19:1-15,  Psalm 42,  Galatians 3:23-29,  Luke 8:26-39

June 20, 2010

by James Greene

 

           Today is Father's day in our culture.  Today, we reflect upon our fathers and their influence in our lives.  They help us to learn about life, about responsibilities, and about choices.  In the readings this morning, we see how God, our Father, demonstrates to us life standards and gives us vision of what it is to be in His Kingdom.  Thus the reason for the title of “No Fear, With The Father”.   It is the central theme of our readings today.   

 

In the reading in I Kings we again see Ahab and Jezebel in the life of Elijah.  Jezebel sends him a message that swears to him that he will meet the same fate as her prophets of Baal.  Remember that, Elijah was the prophet who killed all of the prophets of Baal after his demonstration of the Lord’s power on Monut Carmel.  He is the last prophet for the Lord.  Sometimes we give into fear in the presence of earthly power.    Elijah gives into that fear, when he realizes thatSometimes running is a good strategy” 

It is, what we call today a “Dadism”.  Those are the ‘pearls of wisdom’ and ‘bits of advice’ that Dad’s like to give out again, - and again, - and again.

When I was about 8, and getting into trouble with a bunch of kids who were engaged in a mud fight, I took this lesson to heart, when a big kid came after me.  I ran as fast as I could for the house, and used my hand to stop myself, before ducking in the front door, which left a muddy hand print on the wall on our front landing.

When we moved out of that house a year later that hand print was still there as a reminder that it pays to learn how to run fast, and stop faster.

The Dadism for that   Sometimes running is a good strategy” (especially if they are bigger than you)

 

So, Elijah does just that.  He leaves northern Israel near Mount Carmel and goes to the town of Beersheba in southern Judea.  He leaves his servant there and goes further into the Negev Desert.  He runs in fear for his life.  He eventually, after being refreshed by an angel, goes to the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula and hides in Mount Horeb. (Southern Lebanon – Mount Sinai) 

He really wanted to get out of town.

He experiences on the mountain- a great wind - an earthquake, - and a fire.  God is not in any of these.  Then he hears a “gentle whisper” and knows it is the Lord, and goes out to meet God.  He covers his face. 

Realize - there is no fear when he meets and stands in the presence of God.  There is “no fear with the father”.  He is then told to go all the way back to Damascus and anoint as King, the servant of the king of Aram.   

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In Psalm 42 we see a thirst for God, the God of our life.  We also see our desire to meet with God, like Elijah.  We also see how important God is to us.  It is revealed when our longing to worship God is intensified, when we are not able to worship.  It effects our outlook, and it effects our motivation, because we place our hope in God.  This hope in God reduces fear, because we like Elijah know that God is greater than our deepest fear.

It’s like tackling in little league football, when you are 4’ 10” and weigh 70 pounds, and you get to tackle the kid 5’4” and weighs 145 pounds.  The first time there is no fear, until that 145 pounds lands on top of you.

 

The Dadism for that - “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”… just make sure they don’t fall on top of you.

 

In the Galatians, we see how the Law restricted the Jews, but through faith it was used to help lead us to Christ.  It is through our faith in Christ that we are the sons of God  (the Children of God).  The Law is there to instruct us how we should behave, and Christ has come showing us what that behavior looks like.  There is no fear in our faith in Christ.  I’m talking about the regular kind of fear that Elijah experience.  (Not the fear that is associated with the awe and wonder at the Power of God.)   It is with, and in Christ, that we are freed from The Law’s supervision.  We are to apply The Law in it’s heart and intent. 

Not that people are separated from each other and God, “because” they are Jew –Greek,  male – female, or slave – free, but that in Christ they are all one. 

They are all part of the children of God, and the people of God.

 

The Dadism for that “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”.  You can read, and learn The Law, but like the Pharasses you may not know how to apply the heart of The Law as it was intended.  It is only through faith, and in Christ, that we are engrafted into God’s family, and are a part of Abraham’s offspring, and inheritors of the promise of The Covenant.

 

In Luke we see Jesus allowing demons to leave a man possessed who is living in tombs outside the town of Gera-senes.  Tombs were understood to be the dwelling place of demons.   Those who were out casts of the society, lived in caves, just as we see in Elijah’s example in the Old Testament reading.  Jesus frees the man from the power of evil.  He removes the fear, from this deeply disturbed man.  Faith is a trust in the Providence of God.  The bizzar behavior, or frenzy seen in this behavior is not the works of God.  The people were afraid of the man, and they were still afraid even after they see him “in his right mind”.  It is part of our nature to fear the bizzar, and the unknown.  But it is through our faith in Christ that our fears are relieved, and there is no fear of the father, because of our faith, like that of Elijah.

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  So how does this apply to us today? We can through our faith in Christ, have “No fear, with the Father” because he comes to us, and redeems us, if we but believe in Him.  The fear in The Law is removed because we, as the Children of God, are covered by God’s Covenant.  The Law is a lot like Dadisms.  It is the wisdom passed down to instruct us,   to keep us out of harm,   and to help guide us, in life, as the people of God.

Since it is Father’s Day, - I’d like to share some of the Dadisms that help guide us,  - that we have heard, - more often than we would like to hear:

 

Work

I used to go to have to walk to school, in the snow, up hill both ways.

Do your best, that is all that I ask.

Don’t be so serious, life is too short.

A little hard work never hurt anyone.

Performance

You could mess up an Iron ball with a rubber hammer.

You couldn’t pour water out of a glass if the instructions were on the bottom.

Doing that will make you short.

Talking to you is like talking to a brick wall.

The reason you make mistakes is so you can recognize them again.

Act your age.

Life is tough, but it is tougher if you’re stupid.  -John Wayne

–The Sands of Iwo Jima

Fighting

You want to fight … Join the Marine Corps.

Because you’re small, 98% of the guys you come up against are going to be bigger

than you, so pick up and equalizer and use it.

You can run, but you can’t hide.

Relationships

You show respect to your elders.

Go ask you mother.

What part of NO, do you not understand?

If I catch you doing that again I’ll…. _____

Don’t you look at me that way.

You can’t live long enough to learn everything the hard way.

 
Just like Dadisms, we are called to faith in Christ, to reflect His character and faithfulness as those who follow Him….  Not because it is The Law, but because it is His intent for us, and for our salvation…

 

           In the Name of    the Father,   the Son,   and the Holy Spirit.  Amen

 

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