A Proper Fear!
We were talking a few weeks back about having a proper fear of the Lord. We saw that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7) and we saw Job’s instruction in this regard. I said then that I wanted to consider what Jesus had to say on the topic of fear and so we begin reading Jesus’s words in Luke’s gospel, “And 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. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has the power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows,”(Luke 12:4-7 NKJV). This passage is in the context of being witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ. The verses that precede this have to do with the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the verses that follow have to do with us confessing the Lord Jesus Christ publicly. We are not to be afraid of what man may do to us because of our testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus speaks in this passage about surrendering our lives for our witness for Jesus Christ. That is exactly what all of the apostles, except the apostle John, did in their testimony for Jesus Christ. They were all martyred for the cause of Christ. Jesus’s words in verse eight of this passage would have been a great comfort to them, “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God,” (Luke 12:9 NKJV). Losing our lives for the Lord Jesus Christ will result in the Lord Jesus Christ confessing us before the Heavenly Host. What great words of comfort these must’ve been to the apostles as they gave up their lives for the Lord Jesus Christ. Today there is truly a danger that fear of opposition and ridicule can result in silencing our witness for Christ. This is especially true in our day and age where toleration is considered the highest virtue (as long as you are not espousing eternal truths). Jesus is teaching us here that we should not allow merely temporal consequences to stop us from being a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. God alone is the one who has the power to cast us into hell and keeping that in its proper perspective should help us to be bold in our witness for Jesus.
The concept of fearing the Lord as the beginning of wisdom is stated many times in the Old Testament and is also demonstrated in Jesus’s words here in the gospel of Luke. We should not allow a person or group of people to keep us from speaking up and standing for the truth of Jesus Christ. We are living in a day of great lying and deception. The Scriptures teach us that the devil is the father of lies and so his influence in our world is very pronounced at this moment in time. To stand and speak the truth for Jesus Christ in the cause of righteousness should be of great value. Jesus also demonstrates in His words our true value in God’s eyes. We have been created in the image and likeness of the Godhead and that makes us of great intrinsic worth, way more valuable than sparrows.
So, we see Jesus’s instruction is very helpful when it comes to understanding a proper perspective on what we should truly fear. It’s interesting to me that one of the most frequently used statements in all of the Word of God is the statement, “Fear not”. It was stated by the angel to Zacharias when he announced Elizabeth’s pregnancy, to Mary when the angel announced Jesus’s pregnancy to her, and then also at the angel’s pronouncement at the birth of Christ and stated by the Lord Jesus Christ when He appeared to the apostles after His resurrection. There are many other illustrations where the statement “Fear not” appears and it is one of the statements that remind us of the importance of how having a balance in our view and understanding of God’s work in our lives. In all things let us realize that it is God’s desire for us to represent the Lord Jesus Christ and “to let our light so shine before men that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven,” (Matt. 5:16). Let us shine our light in this day of great darkness without fear or intimidation, for the greatest need of our world is the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Shining for Jesus,
Pastor Rich Sivo