TRANSCRIPT | Sun, August 30, 2020 | Faith Over Fear

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So, so good to see you this morning. We're so grateful to have all those folks that are joining us in overflow. Would you just let them know how appreciative we are? We love you guys. Praying heaven comes down. Praying heaven comes down.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Whether you're in the auditorium or you're in overflow, you may be seated. Look over to somebody, let them know you are in the right place at the right time on a Sunday morning. I know that we're privileged today to have a lot of our Lindsey Wilson and Campbellsville University college students and faculty, and even parents with us today. Would you help me to welcome all of those college students? So grateful to get to be a part of your journey with God and to be a part of your church home, maybe away from I'm home. And we don't take it lightly that you're here with us. It really is a big deal for us to get to be a part of your journey with God. 3trees Church exists because everyone needs Jesus. And for us, it's about Jesus. It's all about Jesus, and it's going to always be about Jesus. And so, that's our hope is to just enhance, equip, empower your relationship with the Lord Jesus.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Today, I get the privilege of preaching. And I'm going to be, I think, this morning taking as an anchor text Second Timothy chapter 1, verse number 7. And I don't know if they even have that to put on the screens because it's a little bit of an adjustment to my previous plans for starting the message. But I'd like to use that text just as an anchor, maybe even a better stated, a platform to launch from this morning. It's a familiar passage. Many of you can quote it. Once I begin to state it, even if you don't know where it's recorded in the New Testament, you're going to recognize, "Yeah, I'm familiar with that one."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

It says this. "For the Lord has not given us the spirit of fear, but he has given us power and love and a sound mind." First thing I want you to notice is that God identifies fear to be a spirit. And that means that it is something that the enemy brings to try to use against us. It's a part of his arsenal. It's a part of Hell's army. But in its place, God intends to give us power, intends to give us love, intends to give us a sound mind. And one of the things about Second Timothy 1:7 is that the Greek actually tells us that where that word is interpreted as fear, it also could be interpreted as timidity. So, we know that fear and timidity go hand in hand, that one of the ways that the enemy tries to stop our forward progression, to keep us from advancing is by making us timid, as he paralyzes us with fear. I want to talk to you this morning about the importance of faith over fear, faith over fear.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Father, I ask you to help me to deliver the word, to help me to teach, to preach, to give me a special unction and a special grace for this moment that, Father God, each of us would be provoked by your Holy Spirit to take our next step in you, whatever that might be, for whatever you've got planned for us, Lord. In Jesus' name. The church said...

 

Congregation:

Amen.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Amen.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Think about an avalanche for a moment. Somebody's walking along a mountainside, or maybe even trying to ascend up a mountain. And they perceive that for the most part, they are on fairly stable footing. But then the ground beneath them begins to give way. Beside them and even above them, everything is collapsing. They are experiencing an avalanche. That avalanche then has the impending result of covering them. They are just bombarded with the onslaught of the effects that come from that avalanche. They thought they were stable or they wouldn't have probably been there to start with. They wouldn't have anticipated that this was coming in this moment or they would have tried to have gotten out of the way, but it just happened. Beneath them, beside them, above them, everything seems to be collapsing. Have you ever had an avalanche moment with fear?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

One of the moments in my life and honestly, I think there's probably been several. I remember, in 2012, I started to go through some battles with my health. And they were struggling a little bit with my diagnosis, and trying to figure out what the right treatment plan would be for me. As I was going through different testing and meeting with different doctors and even different surgeons, I remember on one occasion going to visit with a GI doctor and they shared with me pretty good news. It was actually some of the best news that I had had up to that point in meeting with that specific doctor. Then, I went home and the next morning, I got a call from that doctor's office. And they began to share with me that, as they were reviewing some of the results and going over some of the tests, that it was a little bit outside of their expertise, but they noticed something extremely troubling, and they wanted to refer me on to a couple of other specialists, one of them being a hematologist.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I began to inquire of the nurse who was on the phone with me. And I said, "Wait, can you explain to me just a little bit more of what you're saying?" As we dove into the conversation, I finally just bluntly asked her, I said, "Are you saying that you think I might have leukemia?" And she said, "Yes, sir." I remember like the world standing still. I remember exactly where I was seated. I remember what I was doing at the moment the phone call came in. I remember feeling like an absolute avalanche was coming over me. I began to think about all the negative things that were surely about to take place. And I began to have all of these what-if scenarios in my mind, and to think about what I was going to maybe lose out on with my kids or the ministry, or even in our marriage. All these things just literally feeling like I was having life collapse around me, like it was an avalanche.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

It's possible that you are in the middle of an avalanche of fear right now. It's possible that you have had an avalanche of fear. You're trying to climb your way out of, dig your way out of an avalanche of fear. I wonder what is it that you wake up thinking about every morning? Is it connected to fear? What is the last thing that you think about at night before you go to bed? Is it connected to fear? Is there some kind of future event that you're just frantically preparing for? And if you really think about it, is all of that preparation motivated somehow by an overwhelming sense of fear?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

If you're dealing with this state of fear, I wonder if there's even certain things that your body is saying to you about that fear. Do you have some kind of nervous twitch? Has your brain started to get a little bit foggy? Are you having trouble sleeping? Are you constantly wrestling with upset stomachs and fear-induced high blood pressure? Are you wrestling with lots of tension headaches and just moments of even unexpected anxiety, maybe moments of panic that attack you? Some kind of fit of rage or fit of anger that when you trace it back, it's because you're so frustrated, you're so stressed out by these feelings of fear that you're wrestling with? Have you reached a point where you're fantasizing about suicide or even death? Is it possible that you are wrestling with an avalanche of fear?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I think it's good for all of us to know, regardless of where we find ourselves out at in a battle with fear, that fear is one of the major topics of the Bible. It is talked about over and over again in scripture. In fact, you're not even out of Genesis chapter 3 before the first mention of fear comes about. It happens as Adam and Eve have sinned against God. As God is addressing Adam about some things going on in his life, Adam expresses, "I was afraid." And from that moment, when fear entered in humanity, until now, every single person has dealt with fear, and very likely is in some way even dealing with fear now.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And one of the ways that the enemy just heightens that attack of fear, that avalanche of fear in our life is through what I guess you could call traumatic events, that some event happens in our life that could only be labeled as traumatic. We unexpectedly lose a job. We unexpectedly get some kind of diagnosis about our health. We unexpectedly have some kind of a loss in our life. And from that, there is this traumatic experience. That's why I really feel like that it's important for the church, for believers in God, followers of Jesus, to have an understanding about strongholds.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I want you to see this passage of text in Second Corinthians chapter 10, verse 3. It says this. "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons that we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, we have divine power to demolish strongholds." Want you just to read that part of the verse out loud with me beginning with "on the contrary." Ready, begin. "On the contrary, we have divine power to demolish strongholds." Verse 5 goes on to say, "We demolish arguments and every pretense that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Here's what the enemy wants to do in your life. He wants to establish a stronghold. Come up here for just a second. Where's Dawson? Has he left me? Dawson, my son's traveled with me this morning and he's went outside to play basketball. Dawson. There is a running theme in our house. Where's Dawson? If his grandmother was here, she could say it for us. Is he still here? I left the keys to the truck with him. Oh, he's in so much trouble. I know what it is. He's in the green room playing PlayStation. I'm joking. There's no PlayStation in the green room. All the kids got up and got ready to leave.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

He's in the other building?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And all of the impressions of my parenting just went... Dawson, how you're doing in overflow, buddy? God bless you. Hunter, come here.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So, in case you couldn't tell, I didn't do this in the first service.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Hey, son.

 

Dawson Gilbert:

Hey, dad.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

You know that prophetic gift we talk about? How that we just know you're somewhere you're not supposed to be?

 

Dawson Gilbert:

Yeah.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

This is it, in front of all these people.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Oh, I can't use you for the illustration now.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Here's the thing.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

You good?

 

Dawson Gilbert:

Yeah.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

We good? All right. I don't know what I was preaching about. It was really good until we couldn't find you.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Here's the thing. The enemy tries to bring a stronghold into our life. And so, the thing of it is, is that if Dawson was trying to just go about his life, not be in service when he's supposed to be there and all those things, what could happen? The enemy could get a stronghold on it. And Dawson, try to pull away from me. No, you got to really try. Get your hands out of your pocket and act like we're playing... You're going through the gauntlet of life. Dawson, try to pull away from me. And try to pull away from me.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

This is exactly what the enemy tries to do in your life. You are trying to make forward progression, and the enemy crawls out of Hell with a spirit called fear, and tries to get his deep fingernails down into the core of your soul and try to hold you back. And ultimately, if you don't fight hard enough, the next thing you know, he's got a little better hold of you. Try to get away from me, Dawson. The next thing you know, if you don't really, really try to push back and fight back, he's completely got you wrapped up. And the next thing you know, it's not just that he's got a hand on you, it's that, literally, he's got you in a stronghold. If you let him, he'll really...

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Because he literally wants to suck the breath out of you. He does not want you to have a life worth living. He wants you to be completely miserable, complete...

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I feel like right about this moment, I probably should invite the national champion wrestler to the stage, show you what a stronghold really looks like.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But the enemy. Thank you, son. You can sit on the front row for the rest of the service.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Stronghold.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Look at somebody and tell them, "Stronghold."

 

Congregation:

Stronghold.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Stronghold. It's what fear does. It's not that you want to be held by fear. It's that it grabbed a hold of you. It's not that you don't want to not move forward. It's that something got a hold of you. And sometimes, you don't even know how to explain it. Sometimes, you don't know how to describe it. Sometimes, you don't know how to articulate it. You don't know why you're waking up in the middle of the night with cold sweats. You just know that you are. You don't understand why it is that every time that one of the people you really care about leaves your presence, you're all of a sudden overwhelmed with anxiety, all of a sudden having all these doomsday thoughts, all of a sudden contemplating the worst-case scenarios.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

You don't even really know how it got there. You just know that it's there, and it's literally taking life experiences away from you. You don't even really know how to describe how you got to the point that you don't want to go to the doctor because you're absolutely convinced they're going to tell you that you're dying. You just know you're there.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

You don't talk about it. And you really don't want to discuss it with anybody. You just know that there's some kind of a stronghold. And it used to not be what it is now. It used to just kind of be like it had its hand on you. But now it's like, it's literally got itself wrapped around you to the point, sometimes you are thinking about death, and sometimes you are thinking about, "I'm just going to pull the blinds. I'm not even going to go out today. I'm not going to go for a walk. I'm not going to really go hang out with any friends. I'm not going to go enjoy anything. I used to go out to dinner. I don't do that anymore. I don't much feel..."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Am I making sense to anybody?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Now, I understand right now that I'm probably not talking to everybody, but I am talking to somebody. There is something about fear that becomes like a stronghold in your life. And you're pulling and you're tugging, and you're convinced that it's bigger than you. It's why you can't get out of the addiction. It's because there's this fear in you that, how do you cope without the addiction? That's how you wrestle with every bad day. That's how you deal with everything that goes wrong in your life. That is your self-medication. And it's this fear of, "How do I cope without this thing holding me?"

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

We get accustomed to the stronghold. But you were never called to live in a stronghold. In fact, you were called to demolish a stronghold. You were however invited to live in a strong tower. The strong tower is the presence of the Lord God Almighty. What he says to you, if you will step inside of his presence, then all those things that are trying to hold you...

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And I get it. When I'm making statements and I'm describing things, I don't mean to speak in absolutes because what I'm describing may not describe the way that you wrestle with what you're wrestling with. But there are some folks under the sound of my voice this morning, whether you're in this building or you're in overflow, you know exactly what I'm talking about when we describe the stronghold. And I just feel like that I am on a mandate this morning, even in prayer, getting ready for today, I felt like there was a mandate on my life, to come let somebody know, don't settle for the stronghold that feels like it's sucking life out of you, almost like a python would wrap itself around its victim, its prey. And with every time there's a breath in, it goes tighter. A breath in, tighter. That's what you feel like is happening to you, that you're spiritually suffocating as you wrestle with the avalanche of fear.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

One of the things that I think maybe you got to get into your spiritual knowledge base is that when it really comes down to it, most of the strength associated with fear is fraudulent to begin with. Most fears are frauds.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Most fears are frauds.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Here's one of the ways that you can know that you're settling for something fraudulent in your life. Fear ignores God.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I'm going to say that again. Fear ignores God. Fear compels us to look into the future and see the worst possible outcome, ignoring that God will be there, and likely have a different plan for our good. Because when we start wrestling with fear and we say, "Oh, my goodness, I can't believe that this just happened, and they just told me this, and that now it's going to unfold in this particular way." You start creating all of these scenarios in your mind that sometimes, you forget that God is already in your future. And if God is in your future, I can make this promise to you. It may not look like you want it to look, it may not look the way that you would have preferred it to look, but we have a promise from God that any person that loves him and is called according to his purpose, he will cause those things to work for our good, and the ways of God are mysterious.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

That's why we can't lean to our own understanding. We will never be able to add it up. We will never be able to size it up. We will never be able to put pen and pencil and paper and calculator and figure it all out. But I can tell you this. If your thought process is ignoring that God's already in your future, you are settling for a fraudulent strength of the enemy. It is a fear that is becoming a stronghold in your life. God is already in your future. And if he is there and you love him, then you will serve according to the purpose that he's designed for your life, and acknowledge the calling that he has on your life. I promise you, his word is not a lie. It will wind up working to your good.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

There's another thing that I think you have to realize about the fraudulent strength of fear. And that is, fear creates a false reality. See, fear, it's kind of like, you look in binoculars and everything that you see is magnified. It's far off, but it looks closer. It's not as big, but it looks bigger. Now, when you look through the lens of fear, it does that. It magnifies things in a negative way. And I want you to see this passage of text. It's from Proverbs. It's Proverbs 22:13.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

It says, "The sluggard says, 'There is a lion outside. I'll be killed in the public square." Now, think about it. The Bible says in the New Testament that our enemy operates like a lion, and he seeks whom he may devour, and even roars to announce his arrival. But that verse goes on in context to tell us that we overcome, if we are sober and we are vigilant in our relationship with God. In other words, if faith overcomes fear, that lion does not defeat us.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So, you need to know this. The Bible does say that there is a lion outside, but it also says it is a sluggard who settles for that lion being their excuse for not progressing, for not advancing. So, there is a lion and he does roar and he does desire to devour, and you got to be smart and you got to be wise, but you don't have to be paralyzed by fear. Some of us, our homes have become like a stronghold, as the living room is a place where that we war with the fears of divorce. We war with the fear of our children's future. And we're held up.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

There's some negatives that come with fear that, man, they're so frustrating. I get so frustrated with myself when I realized that I've settled for fear. Anybody ever been there? When I've accepted the fraudulent strength of the enemy. When I found myself in his stronghold. One of the things about fear is that it makes us unstable. This verse in James chapter 1, verse 6, it says, "Because the one who doubts is like the wave of a sea. He is blown and he is tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord." What a strong verse. "Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So, it happens to us. We come to church on Sunday, or we're hearing the word of God and man, we're getting faith, and we're feeling like we're filled up and we're 10 foot tall and we're bulletproof. Then we start scrolling through the Facebook feed, and we start strolling through the newsfeed, and we're flipping through the channels to see the current events of the day. And the next thing you know, we're overwhelmed with doubt. We're overwhelmed with confusion. We're not even for sure what we believe anymore, and where we once were just for a moment so stable, so firm in our footing, now we're backing up, and we're being tossed this way and tossed that way. And man, we believe what the word of God said, but then we got this report and then we got that. We wind up just feeling so unstable when we deal with the traumatic events of life and sometimes, just the events of life. And I get so frustrated with myself sometimes in those moments where I feel like my stability is faltering as a result of double-mindedness. Anybody ever been there and done that?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Another thing that is just frustrating about fear is that it makes us selfish. You go into burning-house mentality, that "I'm in here and everything around me is burning, and I'm just going to get out." And your mind is not on, sometimes, the needs of others, finding that need and meeting that need. Sometimes, we just fall into that place of self-preservation because after all, everything is ending.

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Another thing that's frustrating about fear is that it buries our gifts and talents. Jesus tells a story of, he goes to a group of men and he gives them an allotment of talents. One guy got five, one guy got two, one guy got one. He comes back, the guy who had five gives five. The guy who had two gives two. The guy who had one, he's got nothing, except the one he had. And Jesus starts to drill down into like, "What's up with this? Why have you not produced anything?" He said, "Well, I buried the one you had." "Well, why did you do that?" "Well, I didn't want to lose it." "Well, why did you not want to lose it?" "Because I was afraid I might, and you'd be upset with me."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Isn't that how fear operates? How many people have buried their gifts and buried their talents? God intended to use that gift to help somebody else. God intended to use that talent to be a portal he can work through, to touch somebody else's life, but fear stepped in. And we buried it.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I think it also speaks to what can happen when we get afraid, our generosity, the gift of our generosity. We start thinking about, "Man, I don't want to lose what I've got, and I may not be able to get more in the way that I presently possess it. So I'm just going to go over here and I'm going to bury it. And that way, at least I can know that that will be safe." But that's not what scripture says. The gospels, according to the word of Jesus, is that if you don't give what you have, you won't even keep what you currently possess. The scripture teaches us that it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. That you're not blessed so you can be blessed, you are blessed so that you can be a blessing. God intends to move through you. Don't settle for burying what it is that God has put in your possession. Don't settle for burying what it is that God has entrusted to you.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

You got to make that decision, "I'm coming up out of here. And if God intends to use me, he can have whatever I've got." Live open-handed, not close-fisted. Because when you live open-handed, not only can you give, but it gives an opportunity for something to get back in. And so many people settle for stagnancy. I've learned when fear starts to come over me in a financial way, and I really start to think in terms of financial fear, I've learned in that moment that I have to operate generously. Otherwise, I'll start burying everything.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Fear or faith. Fear or faith. Don't let an avalanche of fear bury your gift, bury your talent, or bury your generosity. Am I making sense to anybody this morning? I just, I'm going to give you just two or three things that I think will help you to continue to overcome fear with faith. The first one is this. Focus an eye on each track. "What do you mean, preacher?" Well, we talk in seasons a lot in the Christian world. Like, "Oh, I'm in a bad season, but well, I know a good season's coming." I don't think there's anything wrong with that. There's scriptural evidence that can back up that maybe that's a cycle that we experienced in our lives.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But there's one student of the word, a great pastor in fact, who believes that theologically, a better view of the whole context of scripture would be to almost see it like two train tracks. And on one train track, the enemy is bringing all the bad stuff and trying to pull into your station. But on the other set of train tracks, surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And so, you might have one thing in your train station right now, but all you got to do is look up to the horizon with eyes of faith and you will realize God is on the way with everything that I need and more too, because he shall supply all of my needs according to his riches in glory.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And I don't know what's pulled into your train station. You might be in a moment where it feels like traumatic event after traumatic event after traumatic event. And you're literally at a place, "I don't know how much more I can handle. I don't know how much more I can deal with this." Some days is good. Other days, it's like the enemy's just literally got his hands all over you. I just want you to look up with faith and just believe, "Wait a second. If God be for me, at the end of the day, who or what can be against me?" Demolish the stronghold. There's an active element of your faith that has to be put into motion, of "I'm going to start tearing this thing down that the enemy is trying to chain me in and imprison me with." In Jesus' name.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Second thing I would say to you is, replace the panic with prayer. I was with somebody recently, and they literally just had a panic attack. Out of nowhere. Totally fine, and then the next moment, freaking out. They didn't know how to explain it. I didn't know how to explain it. Just panic. Maybe that's something that you can relate to, but you need to know this. When you start feeling panic, it's time to pray, because prayer transfers the burden to God. And not only that, but it gives you the ability to verbally process in a private setting. We are really good at calling somebody up and "man, I just got this news and oh my goodness, you're not going to believe what they said is going to happen next." And you verbally process it, but do you ever really have a verbal conversation with God?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Silence in prayer is great. In fact, I think it should predominantly be the majority of our prayer. God probably should do most of the talking, but don't miss this part. That in your prayer times, there is the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man that avails much. Sometimes, you got to verbally get stirred up before the Lord. And you got to get that boiling hot petition going inside of you where it's like, "God, I just got the news. God, today, I'm wrestling with this. God, today, I'm battling that. I invite you, God, to step into this. And I thank you. You've given me a community of believers that I can turn to, to join me in prayer. But God, I'm starting this thing going to you."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

That that day when I was seated and I got the phone call and they said, "We believe that you have the signs and the symptoms of this, so we want you to go get checked out." And they weren't even saying I had it, but my mind convinced me, I was done for. I remember finding Mandy and I'm like, "Mandy, you're not going to believe. Do you remember how good the doctor's visit was yesterday?" I said, "They just called me back. And Mandy, what..." I remember pouring my heart out in fear. I remember calling my dad and pouring my heart out in fear. And after I'd contacted all these other people, I realized I hadn't even talked to God about it. I mean, I had sat and licked my wounds for a minute, but I hadn't really had that verbal moment with God.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And some of you know what it is to get a doctor's report like that. You know what it is to go get tested and be confirmed and have that... But I remember as I would go through those tests and I would go to those doctors, and God was beginning to kind of teach me some things about how I would-

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