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!