Fear not!

by Mike Ratliff

4 “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One 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 cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. Luke 12:4-7 (NASB) 

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 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 “Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 10:26-33 (NASB) 

When I post about things some find hard to accept things can become tense. I find it amazing that those who will not accept the truth never try to challenge the exegesis from which that post came. All of their challenges are based in ad hominem or church tradition or outright false doctrine. While processing the comments and emails when this happens I must start by turning to God first asking for wisdom and discernment. I do not let fear find a place in my heart. It is then that I am able to handle each comment and email one at a time with total peace. This 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 said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to 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 soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Matthew 16:24-27 (NASB) 

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? 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.

Soli Deo Gloria!

3 thoughts on “Fear not!

  1. Amen 🙏🏾
    I never thought the Word of God applied to me when He told us that His word would separate our unbelieving relatives from us that whole heartedly have been given Gods grace of belief and faith.
    The more I meditate on His Word ,my mother,father
    Sisters ,and even their children have stopped communicating with me .
    I know it all started when my niece told me she was in a relationship with a woman,and I told her she was a temporarily confused child of God I also told her to read Romans 1-and bow the knee to Christ before it’s to late, that day I was cast out from my relatives,even though in the past I have bent over backwards to help my niece and her girlfriend,financially;they have since then gotten married…. I love my niece and I like the woman she married,so I told them Gods truth ,now I’m learning to be ok with being put out ,because I did it for love ,just the thought of my niece and her women going to hell makes me very sad ;I’m learning to pray and cast my cares on the one that loves them all more then I could ever know .🙋🏽Sis KK
    God is gooood and He will always be on His the throne!

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  2. Regarding Luke 12:5, am I to take that verse to mean that Christians are to be afraid of God? Does the word fear as used in that verse carry the same definition as we commonly think of as fear, i.e. to be terrified of, to be afraid of, to be apprehensive of, to live in fear of, etc? I have heard several different explanations of that word as it is used in Luke 12:5 (and elsewhere), and I would like to know definitively what that word means in the context in which it is used here. Thank you.
    Yours in Christ,
    Bob Tuttle

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  3. The root word translated as “to fear” is the verb φοβέω or (phobeomai). Here is Bill Mounce’s expository explanation of the usage of this word in the New Testament: Verb: φοβέω (phobeomai), GK 5828 (S 5399), 95x. phobeomai is used in two main senses in the NT. It means to be “frightened, alarmed,” or to “respect, stand in awe of” someone. The first sense is common throughout the NT, and the objects of fear are numerous: angels (Mt. 28:5; Lk. 2:9-10), Jesus (Mt. 14:27; 27,54), the crowds 14:5; 21,26, 46), political leaders 2:22), John the Baptist (Mk. 6:20), the elements of nature (Mt. 14:30), and Paul (Acts 9:26). One of Jesus’ most memorable teachings on fear comes in Mt. 10:28, where he tells his hearers not to fear those who can kill the body, but rather to fear God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Here God is to be feared because of his power to judge and punish. Paul sometimes mentions his own “fear” or “worry” for the congregations to whom he writes (2 Cor. 11:3; 12,20; Gal. 4:11) and these passages function as powerful appeals to those congregations to continue walking with God. An anxious fear of people or circumstances is not good, however. Heb. 11:23, 27 suggests that trusting in God conquers such fear (cf. Heb. 13:5-6). In 1 Jn. 4:17-18, the author asserts that love for God and others conquers fear of future judgment.
    In most cases where God is the object of “fear,” the sense seems to be more of “awe” or “respect” than terror or alarm. The centurion Cornelius is described as a man who fears God (Acts 10:2, 22; cf. 10:35; 13:16, 26), and fear of God is commended and commanded throughout the NT (Col. 3:22; 1 Pet. 2:17; Rev. 11:18; 14,7; 15,4; 19,5). Paul suggests that fear of God is necessary for those who are conceited (Rom. 11:20). See NIDNTT-A, 591-92.
    Noun: φόβος (phobos), GK 5832 (S 5401), 47x. phobos in the NT can mean “fear, fright, alarm,” but also “awe.” Jesus occasions fright and alarm in the course of his ministry, both among his disciples (Mt. 14:26) and others (Lk. 5:26). The presence of angels almost invariably evokes a terrifying reaction of “fear,” as we see in the shepherds on the fields of Bethlehem (Lk. 2:9). John mentions that the crowds, Joseph of Arimathea, and Jesus’ disciples were in “fear” of the Jewish leaders (Jn. 7:13; 19,38; 20,19). We in fact derive our English word “phobia” from phobos.
    But phobos can also mean “awe,” and the early church as described in Acts can aptly be referred to as a “fearful” church, for they are characterized by a continual “awe” of God’s presence and power among them (Acts 2:43; 5,5; 9,31; 19,17). Paul encourages believers to have a proper fear of God (Rom. 3:18; 13,7). The fear of the Lord’s coming to judgment and our standing before him to give account of our lives serves as a powerful motivation for Paul to keep preaching the gospel of salvation (2 Cor. 5:11). Moreover, fear of the Lord is a powerful means of producing holiness in the life of the believer (2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 5:21; Phil. 2:12; 1 Tim. 5:20). In the NT, an undue fear creates bondage (Heb. 2:15; 1 Jn. 4:18), but proper fear of God promotes holiness (1 Pet. 1:17). See NIDNTT-A, 591-92.

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