If I were to ask, “What scares you most,” what would your answer be? Fortunately, most of us do not wake up each day fearing the possibility of bodily harm or of being killed, although some of you might. Most people contend with some type of fear. Fears, real or perceived, paralyze and cause inaction. Now, if I ask, “What fears keep you from sharing your faith,” how would you answer? Let’s take a closer look. Please read more……
In Psalms 27:1 David asks these two questions, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” Both questions focus on the word “whom.” For our purposes today, I will expand the question to include of whom and of what should I be afraid.
Today’s message is part two of a three-part series. Last week, I wrote about the importance of preaching the radical message of Jesus Christ. I also stated that fear is what often holds us back. We not only worry about how the message will be received but we worry about how we will be perceived when we share it.
When you feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to share your faith in Jesus Christ with your children, siblings, extended family, friends, work colleagues, or just someone you meet at the supermarket, what fears hold you back? Does your list include some of these?
- Fear that others will talk about you behind your back
- Fear that someone might be offended
- Fear that others will think that you are a “Jesus freak”
- Fear of causing family disharmony or causing conflict
- Fear of not having adequate training to talk about Jesus
Perhaps you fear that you are not worthy enough to share your faith with others. Maybe, some of your fears come from this list:
- Fear of your own shortcomings and past sins
- Fear, that in order to talk about Jesus, you must first conform your own life to His teachings
- Fear about what your life might be like if you more closely follow Jesus
- Fear of talking to others and then falling short of God’s expectations
- Fear that you don’t have the power to change your bad habits and overcome your addictions and that people will think you are a hypocrite
- Fear that if you talk about Jesus you will have to face up to your own dark side and take your mask off
- Fear of being vulnerable
The list of potential fears in endless. There is one fear that all of us should have! We should have the fear that there are people out there, that we know and care about, who don’t believe in Jesus. We should fear our own inaction. If we fail to share the good news of Jesus, some people may miss out on the eternal life He came to offer them. If we don’t act today by sharing the good news of salvation with someone, who will? This fear should cause us to tremble!
I love the readings during Easter Season. Between Easter and Pentecost, the liturgical readings come from the Acts of the Apostles. The story of these early Christians should inspire us to action.
We read about the earliest Christians standing up to Saul’s persecutions. We read about the martyrdom of Stephen. We read these words from Stephen as he was being stoned, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:59-60)
Through our Christian baptism we have been commissioned to share the Gospel. Countless martyrs have paved the way. They stood tall in the face of death. Most of us will never face death because of our faith. Acts 5:41 tells us that the Apostles left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name of Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:12 says this, “In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
We owe our faith, at least in part, to those brave men and women who over the ages, inspired by the Holy Spirit, bravely endured persecutions to pass on their faith to us. Through them, we received knowledge of Jesus Christ, Holy Scripture, sacred traditions and theological doctrines. Now it’s our turn to be brave. We must overcome our fears and place our trust in the one who says, “Be not afraid.” We must be bold as we now in turn, pass on our faith to others.
I began by asking you, “What scares you most.” Fear of sharing our faith should be the least of our concerns. Sure, sharing our faith comes with a cost, yet we need not fear these risks because it also comes with the promise of salvation. I will conclude with this reassuring verse from Matthew 10:22. Jesus said, “You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved!”
Next week, in part three we will examine further what it means to live in a radical way.
Heavenly Father grant me the courage of the martyrs of long ago. Help me to remember that life is fleeting and if I hesitate to share the Gospel message, someone else’s eternal salvation may be in jeopardy. Amen!
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