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The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
From the week ending 03/02/03

The Angelic Conflict
Part 17
The Doctrine of Fear. Part 2
Philippians 1:12-14

In our ongoing study of the Satanic Game Plan for Church-age believers, we have begun a study of the Doctrine of Fear, and we have seen that Satan's second strategy is to sponsor fear to distract the believer from the predesigned plan of God. But as the Scriptures teach, the believer has no reason to be distracted by fear.

PHI 1:28 Likewise in no way be intimidated by your enemies which, not being intimidated, to them is a manifestation of their destructive ways, but with reference to you, deliverance, in fact this is from the source of God.

MAT 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

Fear and the faith-rest drill struggle for control of the baby believer's soul. Fear is a part of the emotion complex of sins, which is a whole system of sins that includes worry, anxiety, insecurity, and incapability of doctrinal application, and therefore inability to use the problem-solving devices. If a believer has fear, worry, anxiety, or insecurity in he life, he is sinning in those areas.

ROM 14:23b Whatever is not from faith is sin.

Often, fear of one evil drives us to live in an even more destructive evil. It is fear that defeats more people than any other force in the world. In fact, in both the natural realm and the spiritual life of a believer, it is not until we face our fears that we begin to live the life God has intended. Overcoming fear is a test of maturity. Fear is crippling and it shackles those who could do great things and prevents them from even attempting those accomplishments. It chokes and kills dreams and creativity. The unfortunate aspect of fear is that it is a learned behavior; it is something we choose to allow in our soul. Many believers discover that once they face their fear, it turns out that it was not such a serious threat after all.

PSA 53:5 There they were in great fear where no fear had been; for God scattered the bones of him who encamped against you.

PRO 28:1 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.

To face one's fear and not be afraid is the final test of maturity.

The first point in our study of the Doctrine of Fear was the Definition of fear. We are now ready for Point 2.

Point 2: The Snowballing Principle of Fear. The extent to which you surrender to fear is your capacity for fear. We have been studying the "snowballing" principle of fear and the different types of phobias. The more of these phobias or fears to which one surrenders, the more new things he will fear. Fear only leads to more fear, including fear in the lives of those around us.

DEU 20:8 "Then the officers shall speak further to the people, and they shall say, 'Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that he might not make his brothers' hearts melt like his heart.'"

Increasing fear means increasing insecurity, which destroys your capacity for love, life, happiness, and blessing. It not only affects you, but others in your periphery as well. We are designed by God to be rational creatures, but fear makes us irrational. Irrationality means loss of identity, which means the accumulation of fear until you are afraid of life. Only when we are no longer afraid do we really begin to live. Where fear is, happiness is not.

It has been said that "fear gives the wolf the strength of the bear." The greater your capacity for fear, the more you increase the power of fear in your life. When you are afraid of something, you give it power over you. Likewise, when you are afraid of a person, you give that person power over you. The more you increase the power of fear in your life, the stronger your mindset as a loser believer.

Fear can produce sickness and depression; in Gen 21:17, Hagar was worried sick and ailing physically because of fear. Fear can even result in suicide; in 1KI 19:4, Elijah was so afraid of a threat from a woman that he wanted to die. The more things that acquire the power of fear in your life, the more punitive suffering and self-induced misery you bring on yourself. The greater your mindset as a loser believer while living, the greater the intensification of your fear when dying. The mature believer, however, remembers and applies scriptures such as PSA 23:4, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me." For the believer, the fear of death is more to be dreaded than death itself.

The greater one's capacity for fear, the greater his capacity for arrogance. You can not be afraid without putting an abnormal emphasis on yourself. Fear makes you totally preoccupied with you. Fear then results in three very destructive things-the arrogance skills, the arrogance complex of sins, and the emotion complex of sins. This includes:

· Jealousy. If you're afraid of losing someone, you become jealous when they show favoritism toward anyone else.

· Bitterness. You become bitter toward that person because they don't give you the affection and attention you think you deserve.

· Vindictiveness.

· Implacability. 

· Revenge motivation. 

Fear cannot coexist with the plan of God in your life, and it eliminates your personal sense of destiny. Fear of death will never prevent your dying, but it will prevent your living.

Point 3: The Solution to Fear. The predesigned plan of God is designed to remove all the cobwebs of fear in your soul and replace them with confidence in doctrine, which leads to confidence in the Lord.

Philippians 1:12-14">PHI 1:12-14 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

The motivational virtue of confidence towards God results in the functional virtue of courage towards people and circumstances. The more doctrine we know, the greater is our confidence in God.

HEB 13:5-6 Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?"

ROM 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Here the Apostle Paul uses the doctrine of eternal security to give us comfort and confidence, as he lists all the things that could cause us fear, and reminds that none of these can ever affect our salvation or separate us from the Lord.

ROM 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

Fear is met and destroyed with courage, which is the ability to think properly under pressure. It is not some instantaneous physiological rush followed by macho ravings. True courage is lived by the Christian hero who thinks and applies doctrine day by day, moment by moment, under all circumstances.

2CO 5:6-7 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord-for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Fear has many eyes. The more "eyes" we have, the more fears we will see (real or imagined). Therefore, we walk by faith and not by our human sight.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the decision that something else matters more. The greatest example of this is our Lord as He faced the Cross.

JOH 12:27 "Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour."

HEB 11:24-27 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.

When you decide to face your fear, most of the time you will discover that it was not really such a serious threat after all.

2TI 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity [fear], but of power and love and discipline.

Fear always springs from ignorance. If we had enough understanding, we would never be afraid. The worst fear in life is fear of the unknown.

JOH 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

The Greek verb translated "take courage" is "tharseo," which means to be cheerful, courageous, confident, of good comfort, of good courage, or of good cheer. It is also used in MAR 6:50. In this passage we see the ignorance and lack of faith in our Lord's own apostles, which reminds us that there is always hope, no matter how we have failed in the past.

MAR 6:48-52 And seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were frightened. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, "Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid." And He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were greatly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves [the miracle the Lord had performed to feed 5,000 people], but their heart was hardened.

In Act 27, which is great illustration of how one believer can make a difference, we see the Apostle Paul encouraging the men he was sailing with, after a storm had hit their ship, and they feared for their lives.

ACT 27:21-26 And when they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, "Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete, and incurred this damage and loss. And yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there shall be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.' Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God, that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on a certain island."

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.

2CH 15:6-7 "&ldots;And nation was crushed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress. But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work."

The brave man is the one who masters his fears and is willing to face his problems head-on.

PSA 3:6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about.

True courage is found in virtue-love, meaning personal love for God the Father, impersonal love for all mankind, and occupation with Christ. The believer who learns to love according to God's Word is not susceptible to fear.

1JO 4:18 There is no fear in virtue-love; but mature love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not matured in love.

Winner believers are those who make a habit of doing what losers are uncomfortable doing. One man with courage can affect the majority around him, who are under the bondage of fear. The solution to fear is to grow up spiritually and learn the spiritual resources necessary to live a lifestyle of courage. Spiritual self-esteem and the confidence that comes with it solve can solve all problems related to fear.

Comfort for fearful circumstances can be found in the omnipotence of God, ROM 8:11, "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."

For a more detailed study, order last week's tapes, 1846 to 1848.

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