Have No Fear

by Mike Ratliff

4 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:4-7 ESV)

We are told not to fear earthly things or other people no matter how evil or violent they are. However, we are told to fear God. Much of the fear Christians have, however, is not based in their fear of God, but in the fear of their own failures being exposed or their own spiritual deficiencies being exploited by the devil’s seed. Of course some of that fear comes from the spirit of fear that dominates some Christians.

When I wrote and posted Are people saved by making decisions for Christ? I had no fear or trepidation about it at all. However, the next day when the comments and emails started coming at me from every direction I began to experience a great deal of unease and a leaning towards outright fear. Why? I was not afraid of anyone or their comments. Where was this coming from? I believe that God uses our obedience to create points of contention to bear in our’s and other people’s lives. These points of contention are His truth that we either believe and obey or we disbelieve and disobey. Our enemy keeps people blind to these truths and, therefore, in bondage and in darkness. When we are obedient in telling the truth in the face of those who hate the truth and love the darkness, our enemy attacks us with things like fear. God creates these points of contention and everyone who reads what we write or hears what we preach or teach are brought to that point. How they respond to these truths is of eternal consequence. Many respond in anger and unbelief. Many respond in repentance and faith by obeying the truth. How should we respond when the fear grows and we see that our obedience will certainly bring conflict?

26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:26-33 ESV)

That is what I did. I simply told the truth from God’s Word. I found it amazing that those who would not accept that truth never even tried to challenge the exegesis from which that post came. All of the challenges were based in ad hominem or church tradition or outright false doctrine. While processing the comments and emails that morning I simply turned to God and asked for wisdom and discernment. I did not let fear find a place in my heart. I handled each comment and email one at a time with total peace. Of course I believe that God gave me that peace because it is part of the fruit of the spirit. When we are Spirit-led we are controlled by the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit is manifest in our hearts in abundance. When we are obedient this way fear is cast out. We can obey our Lord in anything and in any way He commands. We love not our lives even unto death. We have taken up our crosses and followed our Lord out of the city. As A.W. Tozer said, “You know one thing about a man carrying his cross out of the city. He isn’t coming back.”

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. (Matthew 16:24-27 ESV)

So what will it be? Are we going to believe God and obey Him or are we going to continue to live half-hearted, so-called Christian lives safe from the real battle in our country club churches that are nothing more than entertainment venues? Rick Frueh wrote a post the other day called Two Tragedies. In it he said something I will never forget. He said, “Why does the world ignore us and count our belief system as nothing but sounding brass and tinkling cymbal? Why don’t they believe what we believe? Because we do not believe it either. If we really believed it we would live differently and our demeanor would be much more passionate than the “blend in with the neighbor’s” life we now enjoy.” He is right, but God is calling each of us to repent of playing it safe with innocuous lives that never count for anything in the Kingdom of God. It’s time to get into the battle folks. You may not want to right now, but I promise you that a point of contention from God is headed your way soon and you had better be ready to respond with godly courage and resolve because if we do not confess our Lord before men, He will deny us before the Father in Heaven.

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18 thoughts on “Have No Fear

  1. I’ve been called ‘fanatic’ and ‘arrogant’ when sharing the gospel to outraged unbelieving relatives. I’ve been called ‘legalist’, ‘unloving’ and several other things, by Christians, when simply trying to contend for the truth against false things. The first thing I expected, at some point, if I preached the gospel. The second thing was a shock to my system(I was not expecting this) and fear & confusion (attacks from the enemy) followed. But God triumphed in my life. Praise God. If you don’t play it safe, you’ll catch some heat.

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  2. Mike,

    Amen!!

    You are aware of the battle I am in…and today the Lord used Joshua 24:15 to remind me – “…choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…” – Along with many other passages God put on my heart to do away with unwarranted fear, He replaced it with reverence to His word… healthy fear…that can only come from Him,thus, leading to a peace that only He can provide.

    Praise God!
    Sherry

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  3. Dear Mike,

    Hold fast to the truth that is within you, Father have mercy upon them all for they know not what they are doing in Jesus Christ we Pray.

    1Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God,[a] we do not lose heart. 2But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants[b] for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor 4:1-6 ESV

    14The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16″For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Cor 2:14-16 ESV

    25At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[g] 27All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him Mt 11:25-27 ESV

    10Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

    “‘You will indeed hear but never understand,
    and you will indeed see but never perceive.
    15For this people’s heart has grown dull,
    and with their ears they can barely hear,
    and their eyes they have closed,
    lest they should see with their eyes
    and hear with their ears
    and understand with their heart
    and turn, and I would heal them.’

    16But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. Mt 13:10-17

    Amen

    With the Love in Christ Jesus
    David

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  4. Loretta,

    All who seek to live godly lives (and that means obeying Him) will be persecuted. Your testimony here is being recorded in Heaven sister. What we do now has eternal consequence. All those things we suffer for being obedient are going to be considered in our reward when we stand before our Master. Never stop being what God has called you to be.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  5. Sherry,

    Yes, I am aware of your battle. You are not alone. We are praying for you and you have more with you than those who try to withstand you have with them. Obey the Lord and fear not!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  6. Some of my strongest opposition, serving as an Elder in our local Church, has been by so called “Christians” who have been hornswaggled by the Word- Faith movement or the New Apostolic Reformation powermongers. The main effort of a believer is to become more like his Rabbi (that would be Jesus) , not just be busy to try to do something for his Rabbi. We don’t have to go looking for battles to get into, they arrive on our doorstep continuously. Our character is constantly being challenged.

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  7. Rich,

    I agree completely! The points of contention find us, we don’t have to go searching for them. Nor do we have to look for things to do. Instead, we just need to obey our Lord.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  8. Is it not obvious that when a believer reads and is challenged by a Word/post such as this that our spirits come alive? When a hear someone’s testimony, when I read a sermon by Spurgeon, when I read a post like this, and when I read the Word itself I am transformed from glory to glory. What does that tell us?

    Read, listen, speak, and study more Word. The truth is, more Word = more Jesus.

    “but God is calling each of us to repent of playing it safe with innocuous lives that never count for anything in the Kingdom of God.”

    God grant us the power we do not have in and of ourselves!

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  9. Dear Mike,
    As always you have written an excellent post that is encouraging and enlightening. I know that I have experinced fear when I have stood boldly for my Lord and I have also experinced the weight of oppression while repenting from the choices I have made out of my flesh. My question is with the phrase “the spirit of fear” that dominates some Christain, that you have written. Where are the scriptural references that support that phrase?
    I am not trying to be knit-picky here. I came out of the word-faith movement and other heresies that revolved around with it and one was a very wierd teaching about deliverence from “spirit of —–” (fill in the blank). They did not recogninze “sin” or that someone could be walking in the flesh. Everything to them was an evil spirit that needed to be exocised. I know that I am being over sensitive in this area and I apologize for that. It is just that the phrase “spirit of fear” brought back all of those memories and I was wondering where in scripture is that found?

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  10. Faye,

    Thanks. Here is the scripture reference you were asking about.

    6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  11. Mike,
    I just read you post. This is my first time here. I must say that I have enjoyed what I have seen thus far. I hope to read more.

    Grace to you,
    Richard

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  12. Let us, God’s own children, regularly pray for all the saints about this matter of fear. Increasingly I am aware of how much fear directs my day to day living. It is not a conscience fear. It is just a way of life, that seems normal; self evident, one may say—self-evident that saying this or that or doing this or that and not saying or doing this or that is just the way things are done. It is subtle and pervasive. It is cultural and so insiduous to our way of life here in North America and in the North American Evangelical church that it is quite difficult to sift out. And cannot be sifted out at all in the flesh.

    How we need to earnestly pray for the Spirit to show us our wrong ways of thinking and interacting through life. How we need to be soaking in and memorizing God’s Word, allowing HIS truths to take deep root in us that they may be our “default” ways. And that HIS Word deeply rooted in our hearts and mind would cause us to challenge our current “default” ways”; examining ourselves.

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  13. Kim,

    I believe that that fear is one of “offending others.” It is the Satanic lie of political correctness. The gospel is offensive if it is preached in it’s entirety. That fear is coming from oppressive and deceiving spirits. That is why we must be Spirit-led in these last days.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  14. You wrote:
    I found it amazing that those who would not accept that truth never even tried to challenge the exegesis from which that post came. All of the challenges were based in ad hominem or church tradition or outright false doctrine.

    I just had a LENGTHY email discussion with my older sister who seems to be caught up in churchianity. I was talking to her about my everyday witnessing for Christ and that I like to use Bible verses (Not that I hit people over the head with them). I figure, if I dont use verses then its just my opinion on life against theirs. My sister told me that she didnt want to use Bible verses with some people right away, and some for a VERY long time because she doesnt want to offend them. I told her that I would rather someone be angry for a little bit than have them go to hell. Also who knows when ones last day is? We arent guaranteed tommorow.
    Well, I thought we were just having a nice discussion about this. Only, I used Bible verses to back my opinion and her thoughts were of the “I think” nature. With each email, (in which I still thought we were doing okay) she started to get angrier and angrier. Then she told me that it was a good thing that I lived long distance or she would slug me. I was SO suprised and could not figure out where it was coming from. I wasnt saying “Sister, dont do that, or do this” just was explaining why I thought the way I did.

    So, now she has “given up on me” so to speak. Good thing Jesus is still my Brother! Jennifer

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  15. Jennifer,

    Welcome to the foxhole. Those in churchianity are blind to this. They have bought the lie that we must be inoffensive at all costs. Jesus was extremely offensive. Paul got stoned and beaten. John and Peter were flogged. All because they offensively told the truth from God’s Word to those who didn’t want to hear it.

    You are doing far more in your witnessing than those who try to be inoffensive. Never stop!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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