January 10, 2019
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32
Fear is an interesting emotion. It can be bad, or it can be good. Fear can cripple us and ruin our lives if we have phobias towards things that we don’t need to be afraid of. For instance, a fear of meeting people can make it difficult to hold a job or have friends. On the other hand, fear can also stop you from petting a rattlesnake. The most positive fear you can have is fear of the Lord. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7. If you fear the Lord you’ll respect Him and honor Him. Fear of the Lord puts all other fears into their rightful place.
God loves us and has given us Scripture to be our guide to following His ways. Most people have heard of the Ten Commandments and studying them is a good place to begin to learn to follow God’s will. As you mature in your walk with the Lord these Commandments shouldn’t be forgotten. They are a solid foundation on which to build a God-fearing life. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them. nor serve them…Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Exodus 20:3-5a & 7. These first few commandments make it clear that we are to honor God. If you honor and respect Him you’ll have a healthy fear of Him.
Fear of the Lord is a simple concept. He loves us and we love Him. Because we love Him we need to respect Him and be obedient. A child will learn to stop lying because he fears the punishment he will face if he disobeys. His parents discipline him because they love him and he learns to obey. Make no mistake, the punishment you bring on yourself by disobeying God is worse than having a time out. It’s a sad comment on humanity that we’re more afraid of offending our fellow man than we are of offending God. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1.You may worry about what others will think if they find out that you’re a Christian. Then, not wanting to be “holier than thou”, you stop being offended by sin and begin to participate in it. Then you feel guilty and because you don’t want to be accused of being a hypocrite you withdraw from fellowship with other Christians. “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25. It’s Satan who rules the worldly people and he lays a snare to draw us deeper into sin. Living a worldly life will take a toll. The stress of a guilty conscience will cause many health problems, such as high blood pressure and ulcers. A promiscuous lifestyle will lead to disease that will destroy the body. You’ve chosen to follow the world, so you have chosen the consequences. On the other hand, a healthy fear of the Lord and being obedient to Him is a much safer way to live.
Too often we let the opinions of others get in the way of our faith. When Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem and the shores of Galilee He did many miracles. The people who saw those miracles were amazed. They had been looking for their Messiah to come, but were divided as to who Jesus really was. The Pharisees were blind to the truth and the people were afraid to follow Jesus because of the threats made by the Jewish leaders. “And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.” John 7:12-13. Fear stopped many people from following their Messiah. People today haven’t changed. Today there is still division as to who He really was and fear of what friends and family say still stops many people from turning to Jesus for salvation. Maybe it’s not what people say that you fear, but you’re afraid to turn loose of a favorite sin. Don’t let fear stand in the way of you coming to salvation through Jesus.
If you’re afraid to accept Jesus now, you haven’t seen anything yet. We are swiftly approaching a time which will bring fear unlike anything ever experienced before. Scripture is very clear about the period of time known as Daniel’s 70th week. This is also called the time of Jacob’s trouble and the Tribulation. No matter what you call it, it’s a seven year period of time when Satan’s hatred brings the ultimate terror upon the earth. You do not want to be left on earth to experience it. Many prophecies in the Old Testament describe the signs to watch for and Jesus confirmed them. If you don’t study prophecy you may be very afraid of the things you hear on the news. Wars and rumors of wars fill the headlines. The wickedness in this world is growing stronger and more violent, just as Jesus said it would. Even the “advances” in science are frightening. Genetic tampering, artificial intelligence, and much more are all in direct opposition to God. If you pay attention to the events in Syria and compare that to the war described by Ezekiel you’ll see that the end of time is rapidly approaching. There’s much going on in the world that can bring fear, but it will get much worse. “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” Luke 21:26. Is there any hope? Of course, there is. There’s the Blessed Hope through Jesus Christ. Although Christians face the daily challenges of life as well as persecution, we won’t face the Great Tribulation. Because of our faith in Jesus Christ we will be “snatched away” from that reign of terror. We will be Raptured and not face that period of time when Satan unleashes his demonic hoards. Brothers and sisters, this fact alone should encourage you to get busy sharing the Gospel with everyone. Time is very short.
A fear that is shared by many people is the fear death. This is really the fear of the unknown. Most religions have come up with stories of what happens after death. Mormons teach that you will become a god of your own planet as long as you’ve done enough good works (there’s only one God and works will never bring salvation). Muslims believe that a man will be rewarded with 72 virgins if he’s done enough works to make Allah happy (Allah is a demon and never can be happy). Catholics teach that if you follow the rules and all of the works and rites required then you’ll get to Heaven, but if you don’t quite make it then there’s a place called Purgatory and you can work your way out of there (not a Biblical teaching). Many religions teach reincarnation (no, this is another story out of someone’s imagination). Scripture teaches that there is a real Heaven and a real Hell and only faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ will allow you into Heaven. You have a choice to reject Him or accept Him. This is why you need to fear the Lord. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.“Matthew 10:28. The body is going to die. Whether you die at the hand of someone acting on behalf of Satan or because of disease, death is certain. Even though bodily death cannot be avoided, don’t be afraid of anyone or anything that can kill only the body. It’s God that you need to fear. There’s only one way to gain eternal life and that’s through faith in Jesus Christ. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. Jesus Christ, God Almighty, shed His blood to purchase your salvation, but the Muslims believe that Allah will allow them into heaven if they sacrifice themselves for him. That’s misplaced faith. You will not be reincarnated and get a second chance to be a better person. The only way to be assured of eternal life with God is to accept the sacrifice that Jesus made on your behalf. It’s a free gift, but like all gifts it has to be accepted. Accept His gift and then begin to conform your life to His example. Repent and turn from sin. Fear the Lord and let that fear lead you to obedience.
As Christians we need to stop being afraid to share the Gospel. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.This is the only verse where the Greek word “deilia” is used. It’s translated “fear” but means timidity or cowardice. If we only understood the power (dynamis) that is available to us through the Holy Spirit our fear would fade away. Don’t let fear stand in the way of serving God. Instead let your fear of Him show in your obedience and love as you share the Gospel with your friends and loved ones.
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at our Home Page under the Newsletter Archive tab.
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