“phobos” – terror, dread, intense fear, or a state of mind which arises on the conception of approaching danger.

I.  What or who we Christians should not fear.

Matt. 10:22-28            Jesus’ enemies (Matt. 12:24-27) had called Jesus Beelzebul (the devil) and would slander and maltreat Jesus’ disciples even more.  But what are Jesus’ disciples told not to fear (be terrified about) in Matt. 10:26, 28, and why?

[“nothing hidden” – who the enemies are, what they’ve done, and their punishment, and who the righteous are, what they’ve done, and how they’ll be rewarded – Matt. 13:41-43].

Are you or would you be terrified of these people if they were after you to slander or even kill you, and why?

 

Lk. 12:22-23, 30-32               What are Jesus’ disciples told not to be afraid of, and why?

Are you afraid that if you gave God first place in your life (by giving Him all of your time, talent, and treasure, or being in full time Christian work) that you’d starve and wear rags?

Why (Phil. 4:19)?

 

Rom. 8:15       What should the Christian never fear again (Rom. 8:15), and why (Rom. 8:1-4, 12-14)?

[“spirit” – disposition/mentality or frame of mind].

As a Christian, are you ever terrified of being a slave to sin or of having to keep the Law (the commands of the Old Testament) and being condemned to hell if you don’t, and why (Rom. 8:1; 7:4-6; 6:14)?

 

Rom. 13:3       Who shouldn’t Christians have to fear, if what conditions exist?

When you see a police car behind you, do you get terrified?

Or, if a policeman is walking behind you, and why?

 

Phil. 1:27-30       Who were these Christians not to be alarmed (terrified) by, and why?

[“opponents” – probably both Gentiles and Jewish people as well as carnal religionists from Christendom].

[“A sign of…” – each time a fearless, uncompromising stand is taken against evil, there is at that point a demonstration of the ultimate doom which awaits the sinner and of the ultimate victory awaiting the Christian.].

Are you or have you ever been terrified by people who oppose you as a Christian and for the things for which you stand?

When, and why?

 

Heb. 13:3, 5-6              What and/or who shouldn’t we be afraid of, and why?

Have you ever dreaded being jailed because of being out-spoken for Jesus and your faith?

Or of being mistreated, yelled at, beaten, or laughed at because of your beliefs?

Why?

 

1 Pet. 3:13-17             What shouldn’t Christians fear (be terrified about)?

What should we do instead?

[“sanctify” – set apart or put first].

Have you ever been intimidated by anyone for your Christian life or beliefs?

How, and by whom?

 

1 Jn. 4:16-18              When we are abiding (dwelling or living) in love (have the love that God is in His nature to its full capacity of operation, “perfected”, by the Holy Spirit in our lives), what won’t Christians have to fear, and why (1 Jn. 4:18)?

[“Perfect” – complete or mature].

[Perfect love casts out fear because the Christian who’s living this kind of loving, Christ-like life won’t have to dread punishment (loss of rewards) on judgment day.  If you’re fearing punishment from God on judgment day, it only means that you’re not perfected in love (living a life of love toward God and others like you’re commanded to).]

Are you fearing punishment (loss of reward) on judgment day, or are you living a life of love, and why?

 

“deilia” – timidity or cowardice, never used in a good sense in the New Testament.

Mk. 4:37-40; Matt. 8:24-26         What circumstances caused Jesus’ disciples to be timid?

What was the source of their timidity?

When you know you’re in God’s will and that God is right there with you, should you be timid about unpleasant circumstances?

Why?

 

II.  Examples of the detrimental consequences of fear.

Jn. 9:20-23         Who feared?

What did they fear?

Because of fear, what did they fail to do and then do instead, and why?

 

Do you ever lie because you fear that telling the truth will get you into trouble, and why?

 

Jn. 12:42-43           Who feared?

What did they fear?

Because of fear, what did they fail to do and then do instead, and why?

 

Do you ever fail to do what is right because you fear losing important people’s approval more than you do God’s?

Why?

 

Jn. 19:38         Who feared?

What did he fear?

Because of fear, what was he?

Are you ever secretive or silent about your Christianity because you fear what people might think of or do to you?

 

Mk. 14:66-72; Lk. 22:55-60; Jn. 18:16-18, 25-27            Who feared?

What was he probably afraid of?

Because of fear, what did he fail to do and so do instead?

What sins did his fear lead to?

Do your fears ever lead to other sins?

If so, which sins?

How will you deal with this from now on?

 

Gal. 2:11-14          Who feared?

What did he fear?

Because of fear, what didn’t he do, and what did he do instead?

 

How did his fear affect others?

What sins did his fear lead to?

Has fear ever influenced you to be a hypocrite (i.e., acting oppositely to what you really believe), and why?

 

Gen. 12:10-19; 20:2-12          Who feared?

What did he fear?

Because of fear, what didn’t he do and so do instead?

 

What sin resulted from his fear?

Does fear ever influence you to not trust God, and why?

 

Gen. 26:6-9            Who feared?

What did he fear?

Because of fear, what didn’t he do and so do instead?

 

What sin resulted from his fear?

Do you think his father’s fear and resultant action influenced Isaac?

Do other people’s fears influence you?

How, and why?

 

Ex. 32:3-5, 21-25        Who probably feared the evil that might befall him by the mob of Israelites if he didn’t comply with their request?

What did Aaron give in to and do?

What did Moses accuse Aaron of doing (Ex. 32:21, 25)?

 

Have you ever brought great sin upon others because of your fear of what people might do to you and also let people get out of control and sin because, as a leader, you were fearful of confronting their sinful ideas?

If so, why?

 

What did Aaron’s fear lead all the people into?

 

III.  How to overcome fear (“phobos” and “deilia”).

Rom. 8:28-39          What does God cause to those who love God and are called according to His purpose?

 

If God is for us, who can be against us (in actuality), Rom. 8:31?

If nothing can separate God’s love (unconditionally seeking our best welfare) from us, then is there really anything we need to fear since God’s in control?

So why should Christians be terrified of any person or thing?

[This doesn’t mean that we should stand in front of a speeding car or not remove ourselves from dangerous situations as God directs – Acts 9:25-30.].

 

2 Tim. 1:7-8            What has God not given us?

What has He given us instead?

Therefore, what wasn’t Timothy to be ashamed of?

What was Timothy to join?

Are you a coward when it comes to witnessing of your faith in Jesus Christ, being vocal and known as a born-again Christian, or standing up for the truth?

Why?

The next time you’re tempted with being timid, will you claim God’s promise here and act upon it, and why?

 

IV.  What or who we should fear (“phobos”)?

Matt. 10:28            Who should we fear?

[“Phobos” – in relation to God, it is a reverential respect.  This fear of God – as a controlling motive of the life in matters spiritual and moral – is not a mere fear of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him, a fear which banishes the terror that shrinks from His presence, Rom. 8:15 and which influences the disposition and attitude of one whose circumstances are guided by trust in God, through the indwelling Spirit.].

Do you have a reverential respect for God and a wholesome dread of displeasing Him?

When, and why?

 

Rom. 13:1, 7            To whom should we render fear (respect) because of their office?

Do you respect your governing authorities?

How, and why?

 

[This does not mean you can’t criticize corrupt leaders (e.g., Lk. 13:32; 3:19).].

 

1 Pet. 2:17         Who are we told to fear?

How or in what way does a person carry this out (Prov. 8:13)?

Are you hating these things?

In what way do you demonstrate this (Prov. 14:2), and why?

 

Rom. 13:3-4       Who are we to be afraid (in dread) of if we do what is evil?

Is this true of you, and why?

 

Jude 1:22-23          With what are we to have mercy on some people?

While having pity upon even the most abandoned heretic, we are to exercise great care while getting alongside them, lest we become defiled in trying to save them with our witness.  Are you cautious when evangelizing to not fall into the lifestyle of those who are greatly polluted by their sin nature?

Why?

And how do you show it?

 

Heb. 4:1          What should these Christians do lest (for fear that), while a promise remains of entering His rest (salvation), any one of them should seem (think) to have come short of it (God’s rest/salvation by trusting in Christ alone)?

Do you believe and so act upon God’s promises because of your reverential respect for God?

Why?

 

1 Tim. 5:20     Why should we rebuke spiritual leaders who persist in their sin?

Have you ever been terrified of sinning because you saw another Christian rebuked in your presence?

 

2 Cor. 7:1        How are we to perfect holiness?

Are you progressively becoming more holy (Christ-like) because of your reverence for the Lord?

 

1 Pet. 1:17-19         How should we conduct ourselves during the time of our stay here on earth, and why?

 

Are you living your life in reverential respect of God, and why?

 

Eph. 5:21          How are we to be subject to (willingly cooperative in humility with) one another?

Because of your reverential respect for Christ, do you cooperate in humility with other Christians who are in charge of some project or responsibility that you’re a part of?

Why?

 

Acts 9:31          In what did the church go on in?

Is your church going on in reverential respect for the Lord by hating sin and living holy lives?

Why?

 

Phil. 2:12-13         What were these Christians to work out (not “for”) with fear and trembling (with serious, reverent concern or conscientiousness and a sense of insufficiency because of the great import of the task)?

How are you living out the salvation that you received at conversion, and why?

 

1 Cor. 2:1-3         Who was in fear and in much trembling?

Do you ever witness to people with great concern and conscientiousness that arises out of a sense of your insufficiency to minister and because you view the task as being of great importance, and why?

 

2 Cor. 7:15          How did the Christians at Corinth receive Titus?

Do you receive missionaries or spiritual leaders into your church or house with great concern arising out of a sense of your insufficiency in ministering to them?

Why?

 

V.  Benefits of Fearing God – What are they?

Prov. 1:7

Prov. 10:27

Prov. 14:26-27

Prov. 16:6

Prov. 19:23

Prov. 22:4

Prov. 28:14

Psa. 34:7

Psa. 147:11

 

VI.  Examples of a godly person who feared.

2 Cor. 11:3-4           What did Paul fear?

Do you have a fear of (a great concern for) your converts or Christian friends being deceived by some cult, liberal or neo-orthodox theology, or carnal religionists, and why?

 

2 Cor. 12:20-21          What was Paul afraid of?

Do you ever fear (have a great concern) that Christians you know and love may be in sin and not dealing with it, and why?

 

Gal. 4:9-11          What does Paul fear?

Are you ever fearful (greatly concerned) that the time and effort you put into helping some Christian may have been wasted because the person was falling away from an obedient Christian life, and why?

 

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