1. Fear of Death — The Need for Security
2. Fear of the Outsider — The Need for Community
3. Fear of the Future — The Need for Clarity
4. Fear of Chaos — The Need for Authority
5. Fear of Insignificance — The Need for Respect
The question we must ask in regards to these universal fears and needs is what do we do about them? How does everyone overcome their fears? How does each culture meet their need for security, community, clarity, authority, and respect?
Notice the question regarding our fears and needs is not “Are we going to do something?” but “What are we going to do?” Everyone has a plan. “Everyone is trying to find salvation,” writes Tim Chester. “They might not ask, What must I do to be saved? But everyone has some sense of what it is that would make them fulfilled, satisfied, and accepted.”
If one believes that to gain respect he or she must make millions of dollars or hold a high position of leadership, then he or she will do anything necessary to make money or attain power. If one holds that to achieve security he or she must obtain a certain college degree, then he or she will work towards his or her degree of choice.
Though everyone has a “salvation story” they trust in to be saved from their fears, we must inquire as to the validity of each story? In other words, do they work? Does the one seeking security receive it by developing a great retirement plan? Does the one seeking significance find it by having a “prestigious” job?
I am not going to delve into and expose the inadequacies of the variety of ways that fall short of eradicating our fears. Instead, using verses from the first couple of chapters of Ephesians, I want to show how the glorious power of the gospel is THE SOLUTION. These verses should speak for themselves!
Fear of Death — Need for Security
He chose us in him before the foundation of the world (1:4).
In him we have obtained an inheritance (1:11).
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory (1:13-14).
Fear of the Outsider — The Need for Community
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone (2:19-20).
Fear of the Future – The Need for Clarity
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (2:4-6).
Fear of Chaos — The Need for Authority
And what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all (1:19-23).
Fear of Insignificance — The Need for Respect
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (2:10).