In previous blogs I have covered the top ten teachings according to the frequency with which Christ taught (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). Continuing now with Christ’s additional teachings. The next of which is ‘Fear God’.
We are a sedated society
Fear and its associated minions include anxiety, dread, distress, worry, concern, unease, apprehension and nervousness – all of which is a plague in itself today. In May 2020, the Telegraph led with an article entitled, ‘We are a sedated society’ declaring that one in six in the UK are on anti-depressants, a figure that steadily rose throughout lockdown. In the US anti-depressant scripts increased by a third during this period. This is an alarming fact in itself.
Many openly profess that they struggle with anxiety. Anxiety is a type of fear usually associated with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future. But it can also arise from something happening right now. Without the security of God in our lives there is much to be anxious about, there is much to fear.
In the last days people would faint from fear
This was foretold in Luke 21:26, that in the last days people would faint from fear and expectation of the [dreadful] things coming on the world. This is only the beginning.
What is the opposite of fear?
In 2 Timothy 1:7, it says, ‘For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].’ This is the promise to all who would turn their lives over to God and have faith in Him. The opposite of fear is faith.
We are engaged in a war
We are on this earth for a short span of time. Whether we know it or not, we are engaged in a war. A war between good and evil. We have been given the opportunity whilst walking this earth to prove our allegiance between two warring factions. Good or evil. There is no middle ground. We are on one side or the other. And the difference is between life or death. Eternal life or eternal death. Yet there is one fear that will keep us alive.
In the opening chapter of Luke, we have Mary’s song. She had been told by an angel that she would give birth to the Saviour of the world. She had gone to stay with her cousin, Elizabeth who had also conceived a unique baby who would go before Jesus and prepare the way for Him. On entering her house, she gave a song. In the middle of this melody were the words, ‘For He who is mighty has done great things for me. Holy is His name [to be worshiped in His purity, majesty, and glory]. And His mercy is upon generation after generation, toward those who [stand in great awe of God and] fear Him.’
The Strong’s here denotes fear as φοβουμένοις (phoboumenois) to be in awe of, to revere.
Stand in great awe
Jesus told us who we should fear, But I will point out to you whom you should fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority and power to hurl [you] into hell; yes, I say to you, [stand in great awe of God and] fear Him Luke 12:5
John 9:31 We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone fears God and does His will, He hears him. To be heard by God is a very great reward indeed. For we know if He hears us then He will undertake whatever we are petitioning Him for and we can have faith that He will answer according to His time and in His perfect way. But the conditions are that we fear Him alone (in reverence and awe and that we do His will (covered in a previous blog)
Peace to you
After Jesus had been killed by the Romans, the disciples were huddled together in Jerusalem behind barred doors ‘in fear of the Jews’. Jesus had many enemies and as a result so did His followers. But Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” John 20:19.
If we have nothing to fear, but God, and we place our wholehearted trust in Him and follow His path for our lives, then Jesus says to us ‘Peace to you’ and all our anxiety melts away.
Do not disquiet yourselves
Henry says – The power of your enemies is a limited power (Luke 12:4): “I say to you, My friends (Christ’s disciples are His friends, He calls them friends, and gives them this friendly advice), “be not afraid, do not disquiet yourselves with tormenting fears of the power and rage of men.” Those who Christ owns for His friends need not be afraid of any enemies. “Be not afraid, no, not of them that kill the body, let it not be in the power of scoffers, not even of murderers, for you that have learned to triumph over death. Let them do their worst, after that there is no more that they can do. For the immortal soul lives, and is happy, and enjoys itself and its God.
God is to be feared more than the most powerful men: “I will forewarn you whom you shall fear (Luke 12:5): fear man less, fear God more. Moses conquered his fear of the wrath of the king, by having an eye to him that is invisible. By owning Christ you may incur the wrath of men, which can reach no further than to put you to death (and without God’s permission they cannot do that). But by denying Christ, and disowning him, you will incur the wrath of God, which has power to send you to hell, and there is no resisting it. “It is true,” said that blessed martyr, Bishop Hooper, “life is sweet, and death bitter; but eternal life is more sweet, and eternal death more bitter.”
Under the care of Divine Protection
The lives of good Christians are the particular care of Divine Providence, Luke 12:6, 7. A firm belief in this will be satisfying to us when at any time we are in danger, and will encourage us to trust God.
Jesus showed how the Father provides even for the sparrows. “Though they are of such small account that five of them are sold for two pennies, yet not one of them is forgotten of God, but is provided for, and notice is taken of its death”. But you are of more value than many sparrows, and therefore you may be sure you are not forgotten, though imprisoned, though banished, though forgotten by your friends. “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Luke 12:7); much more are your sighs and tears numbered”. An account is kept of all your losses, that they may be, and without doubt they shall be, compensated unspeakably to your advantage.
Whatever it may cost us
We will be owned or disowned by Christ, in the great day, according as we now own or disown Him, Luke 12:8, 9. To engage us to confess Christ before men, whatever we may lose or suffer for our faithfulness to Him, and whatever it may cost us, we are assured that they who confess Christ now shall be owned by Him in the great day before the angels of God, to their everlasting comfort and honour. Jesus Christ will confess, not only that He suffered for them, and that they are to have the benefit of His sufferings, but that they suffered for Him, and that His kingdom and interest on earth were advanced by their sufferings. What greater honour can we earn?
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Perfect love casts out fear When love flows out, fear flows in There is nothing for you to do But realise this moment How much God loves you. Once your soul detects His Presence That your Creator is near Then it responds to it with faith And not with fear. The answer to the problem Of where fears lie Is not to be found in self-centred efforts of conquering them They are only doomed to die. The answer is found in focusing On the fact that God loves you And has control of your whole life Faith knows that this is true. The more you focus on that fact The more this love will flow into your heart And the more fear will flow out Watch it hurriedly depart. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, forgive me for fearing anything other than You. May I have a full reverential fear of You and may I be so enveloped in Your love that all fear is cast out. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.
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