Listen to sermons at








Sermon #110 — Isaiah Series


Title:                 A Fearful Heart


Text:                 Isaiah 35:3-4

Subject:            Faith and Fear

Date:                Tuesday Evening — November 19, 2019

Reading:     Lindsay Campbell and Rex Bartley



I have come here tonight with a message for you who are of “a fearful heart.” You will find my text in Isaiah 35:3-4.


(Isaiah 35:3-4) Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. (4) Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.


This is God’s command to his prophet. He tells his messenger to deliver this message to those who are his people, saved, believing sinners, saved, believing sinners who are “of a fearful heart.


(Isaiah 35:3-4) Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. (4) Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.


We know that this is a message to God’s saints because God the Holy Ghost tells us in Hebrews 12 that that is the case. This is not a message to unbelievers, but to believers, believers who are “of a fearful heart.”


(Hebrews 12:1-14) Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (3) For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. (4) Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (5) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: (6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (8) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. (9) Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (10) For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. (11) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (12) Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; (13) And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. (14) Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord


(Isaiah 35:3-4) Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. (4) Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.


Yes, many of God’s dear children have weak hands, feeble knees, and fearful hearts. If those words describe you, this message is for you.


Fifty years ago, my friend, Bro. Harry Graham said to me, “I’ve never had a doubt about my salvation since the day God saved me, never a doubt.” If I had heard those words from most any other man, I probably would not have believed him. But I believe Harry was telling me the truth. Yet, when he made that statement, my astonishment must have been evident, because he repeated himself, “Never a doubt, not once!” I was only 19 years old and Harry was already in his fifties. I had just begun preaching the gospel. Bro. Harry had already been preaching for many years. Here was a man who had been walking with God for years, who never had a doubt. — But I had so many! How could that be?


Not all of God’s saints are so full of confidence and assurance as my friend, Bro. Harry Graham. Most of us are like John Newton. One day our hearts soar to heaven singing —


“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found,

`Twas blind, but now I see!”


The next day, we sigh, with deep bass notes of sorrow, concern, and grief —


“`Tis a point I long to know,

Oft it causes anxious thought,

Do I love the Lord, or no?

Am I His, or am I not?”


My message tonight is especially intended for Bro. and Sis. FearHeart. The Lord God says to his prophets and preachers, “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, Fear Not!


God’s saints in this world need continual comfort and encouragement (Isaiah 40:1-2). And this command is God’s word to all his prophets.


(Isaiah 40:1-2) Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. (2) Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.


God commands his servants to comfort his people with the gospel. And God takes great care to supply us with comfort (Isaiah 43:1-5).


(Isaiah 43:1-5) But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name thou art mine. (2) When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (3) For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. (4) Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. (5) Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west.


The word “fearful” in our text is translated “hasty” in the margin of your Bible. Fearful men and women are always hasty. They jump to conclusions. Fear is never wise, patient, or reasonable. The fearful heart says with Jacob, “All these things are against me.” Bro. FearHeart forgets the promises, the providence, and the power of God. Sis. FearHeart forgets the truth, wisdom, and faithfulness of God. Acting on impulse, they get into trouble.

·     They judge the Lord by feeble sense and fail to trust him for his grace.

·     They see the cloud of providence, but not God’s smiling face.

·     They taste the bitter, bitter bud, but not the sweetness of the flower.

·     Fear and unbelief their hearts flood, increasing hour by hour.

To you especially, Bro. and Sis. FearHeart, this is my message tonight.


(Isaiah 35:4) Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.


Proposition: I do not say that fear and faith cannot live together in the same heart. I know they do (“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” — Psalm 56:3). But I do say that fear is terribly inconsistent with faith and robs the believer of much joy.


Tonight, I want to share with you some of the experiences I have had with fear. Some of them I had as a young believer. Some of them I still struggle to overcome. As I talk about my experiences with these things. I am sure I will be talking about some of yours too.


Election and Faith


1stI know the Bible teaches the sweet gospel doctrine of God’s Sovereign Election; and I love it (Matthew 22:14; John 15:16; Ephesians 1:3-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).


(Matthew 22:14) For many are called, but few are chosen.


(John 15:16) Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.


(Ephesians 1:3-6) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.


(2 Thessalonians 2:13-14) But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (14) Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.


And I know that all of God’s elect shall be saved (John 6:37-40; Romans 8:28-30).


(John 6:37-40) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (39) And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. (40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.


(Romans 8:28-30) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.


And I know that only God’s elect shall be saved (Romans 9:11-13).


(Romans 9:11-18) (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) (12) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. (13) As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (14) What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. (15) For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (16) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (17) For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. (18) Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.


Now, here is a question that caused me much fear as a young believer. — What if I am not one of God’s elect? That is the wrong question. Do I believe? That is the question. Do I trust the Lord Jesus Christ? — Faith is the fruit of election. And you cannot have the fruit if you do not have the root. The evidence of election is faith in Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:4).


5 Marks of Election — Read the first chapter of 1st Thessalonians and you will see how God’s elect are identified.

·     Hearing Ears (v. 5).

·     Following Feet (v. 6).

·     Serving Hands (vv. 3, 7, 8).

·     Converted Heart (v. 9).

·     Waiting Hope (v. 10).


(1 Thessalonians 1:4-10) Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. (5) For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. (6) And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: (7) So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. (8) For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything. (9) For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; (10) And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.


I know that my name is written in the Book of Life, that I am one of God’s elect, because I trust Christ.


Redemption and Faith


2ndI know that the Lord Jesus Christ effectually redeemed his people by his great blood atonement, and that not one of those for whom Christ died shall ever perish (Isaiah 53:9-11; John 10:11-18; Romans 8:32-34; Galatians 3:13-14; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:12).


(Isaiah 53:9-11) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.


(John 10:11-18) I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (12) But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. (13) The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. (14) I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (15) As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (16) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.


(Romans 8:32-34) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (33) Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.


(Galatians 3:13-14) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.


(Titus 2:14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.


(Hebrews 9:12) Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.


·     The Bible teaches Particular Redemption. (Isaiah 53:8). Rejoice in it!

·     The Bible teaches Effectual Redemption. (Hebrews 9:12). Rejoice in it!

·     Universal Redemption is universal nonsense!


But what if I am not one of those for whom Christ died? That is not the question. The question is — Do I trust this Redeemer?


If the blood has been applied to me, I am redeemed. If God has purged me with the hyssop of Immanuel’s sacrifice, I am redeemed. The blood cannot be applied in the wrong way! The fruit of redemption is pardon. If I am pardoned, I am redeemed. If I believe that Jesus is the Christ, if you believe that Jesus is the Christ, we were redeemed by him at Calvary (John 10:26).


(John 10:26) But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.


I know that the Lord Jesus Christ died for and redeemed this sinner at Calvary because I trust him as my Redeemer.


Effectual Calling and Faith


3rdI know that no man can come to Christ unless he has been called by his Spirit (John 6:44-45, 63). Have I been called by the Spirit? If I have come, I have been called!


(John 6:44-45) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (45) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.


(John 6:63) It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.


Illustration: The woman with the issue of blood came to the Savior, though she perceived no call from him at the time.


Listen to this.


“You may never know exactly how you were convinced of sin, nor how you were quickened by the Holy Spirit, but if you have really come to Christ, that is enough, for you would never have come to him unless he had drawn you.”

 — C. H. Spurgeon


It is only by the work of God the Holy Ghost that Christ is revealed. It is only by his work that sinners come to Christ. If you come, you’ve been called (John 16:7-16).


(John 16:7-16) Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (8) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (9) Of sin, because they believe not on me; (10) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; (11) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. (12) I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. (13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (15) All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (16) A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.


I know that I have been called by the Spirit because I come to Christ.

·     I have come to him.

·     I am coming to him.

·     I shall come to him.


Perseverance and Faith


4thI know that only those who preserve unto the end shall be saved (Matthew 10:22; Hebrews 10:38-39).


(Matthew 10:22) And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.


(Hebrews 10:38-39) Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (39) But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.


But how can I hope to preserve? I fall a thousand times a day! (Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; Hebrews 13:5; John 10:28; Jeremiah 32:37-41).


(Philippians 1:6) Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.


(Hebrews 13:5) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.


(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (24) Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.


(John 10:28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.


(Jeremiah 32:37-41) Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: (38) And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: (39) And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: (40) And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. (41) Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.


Illustration: Someone said, “Salvation is like the those three fabled blind men looking at the elephant. Each one thinks of it differently.” — One thinks it is very soft like an elephant’s ear. Another thinks it is very hard like an elephant’s tusk. The third thinks it is, like the elephant’s tail, a rope. So you just have to tie a knot and try to hang on. — But God’s salvation is not an elephant and I am not blind!


Salvation and our blessed security in his salvation is by

·     The Purpose of God.

·     The Purchase of God.

·     The Promise of God.

·     The Power of God!


I know that I shall persevere unto the end, that I shall continue in the faith, because I am not moved away from the hope of the gospel (Colossians 1:23). — I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.


“When any turn from Zion’s way,

(Alas! what numbers do!)

Methinks I hear my Savior say,

‘Wilt thou forsake me too?’


Ah Lord! With such a heart as mine,

Unless Thou hold me fast;

I feel I must, I shall decline,

And prove like them at last.


Yet Thou alone hast pow’r, I know,

To save a wretch like me;

To whom, or whither, could I go,

If I should turn from Thee?


Beyond a doubt I rest assured

Thou art the Christ of God;

Who hast eternal life secured

By promise and by blood.


The help of men and angels joined,

Could never reach my case;

Nor can I hope relief to find,

But in Thy boundless grace.


No voice but Thine can give me rest,

And bid my fears depart;

No love but Thine can make me blest,

And satisfy my heart.


What anguish has that question stirred,

If I will also go?

Yet, Lord, relying on Thy word,

I humbly answer, No!”

      — John Newton


Sin and Faith


5thHow can I be a child of God when my comforts are so few and my conflicts are so many, when I am so cold, so fickle, so indifferent, so hard, so sinful? — The conflict itself is the result of grace (Romans 7:14-25; Galatians 5:19-22). — “I sleep, but my heart waketh!” — I am, “as it were, the company of two armies!

·     Flesh and Spirit

·     Partakers of the divine nature!


Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” — That is really the only question. I know that I am a child of God because I believe on the Son of God.


(Hebrews 11:1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.


(John 3:36) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.


(1 John 5:1) Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.


(1 John 5:13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.


Illustration: Happy Jack — “I am a poor sinner and nothing at all, but Jesus Christ is my all in all!


This is the cure for all fear. — “Be strong, fear not: Behold, your God...He will come and save you!


·     The Lord God is your God!

·     Your salvation is accomplished!

·     Your Savior rules the universe!

·     The glory of God (your desire and concern) is certain!

·     Your troubles will soon be over!





Don Fortner








Pastor Fortner’s


Audio Sermons

Video Sermons