Chris then "flip-flopped" so clearly that I though I was listening to a political speech rather than a sermon! He said that fear is actually a bad thing. He spoke of how Peter, out of the fear of man, denied the Lord three times (Jn. 18:17-27), and then, in Acts 5:29, we find a 'new' Peter, for Luke wrote, "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." The fear that had crippled Peter's witness, was replaced by the faith he had gained through seeing the resurrected Lord! So, fear is the opposite of faith then, and it is a bad thing, right?
What Chris said next "turned on the light bulb in my head." He said words to the effect, "The fear of God brings one to a place where the Holy Spirit can convict him of his sin, of Christ's righteousness, and of God's certain judgment (Jn. 16:8-15). When we believe the Spirit's revelation of Christ to us, we place our trust in Him, and we are born again of the Spirit (Jn. 3:3-8). Once we have faith that God loves us and all that He does for us is ultimately good (Jn. 3:16; 17:23; Rom. 8:28; etc.), we cease to fear Him. And, because we trust the One who is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent, why would we need to fear man, who is none of those things? If God be for us, why should we fear those who are against us (Rom. 8:31)!
Fear and faith do not coexist; fear brings one to faith and fear disappears!