The Fear Factor
The Fear Factor
Words of Faith 8-27-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.  Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
As Jesus moved toward Jerusalem, the crowd around Him was growing, and more varied. Jesus had spoken seven strong criticisms to the "religious people" that peppered the crowd. Now there were thousands of people pushing in to hear what Jesus would say next. This was a rabbi who told the truth, so there were several warnings and promises.
The first warning from Jesus was to the circle of disciples (12:1-3). This group may have numbered 72 or more because this was the number that Jesus sent out to minister back in chapter 10. Jesus warned this circle to be on guard against hypocrisy or "religious mask wearing". With this warning came a promise that the time of justice would come in which all secrets would be disclosed.
Now Jesus set forth a broadened second warning to include His "friends." Some interpret this as the same circle, but this could also include almost anyone who was listening as a seeker and who was clearly not an enemy of Jesus. The warning was simple. Be afraid of the God who determines your eternal destiny.
Don't be afraid of those who can only kill the body. Only God has the power to determine eternal destiny. The Greek word is interesting because it does not imply that God will kill the body as the King James translates, but it does state that the body is mortal and can be killed. Don't be afraid of this.
These were people living in very frightening times that would soon get more frightening. The threat of crushing Roman force was always in the air under the Pax Romana. The threat of persecution by religious authorities in Jerusalem was also a frightening reality. But Jesus was clear. In the big picture those are not the ones you need to be afraid of. You need to fear God alone.
Jesus was speaking a powerful word for all of us. We get too wrapped up in fearing enemies. Those enemies are powerless in the larger scheme of things. Even Satan does not have a breath of power in comparison to the Lord God Almighty who created the entire universe. So whom should you fear? Fear the Lord God who has the power of life and death and eternal destiny. Fear Him… but don't miss the promise.
And what is the promise? It starts with a question. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Hmm? Did you hear that? Did we read that right?
Fear God, but don't be afraid. You heard it right. It sounds confusing be really it is not. We need to have enormous reverence, a holy respect called “fear of God.” In fact, He is the only one we should fear. His power overwhelms any fear that we have of an earthly enemy. He has the keys to eternity, but… He loves you so much that He has numbered the hairs on your head!
No one will harm a hair on your head that it does not offend God and draw His wrath. Nothing will come against you that He will not settle in eternity. In fact, a sparrow does not fall that the Lord does not know and care and take account. You are of more worth than many sparrows. So fear God, but don't be afraid. Fear without fearing.
"Fear without fearing" is the essence of our relationship with God. We are to called to reverence the awesome majesty and holiness of God, and in doing so discover the perfect love of God which casts out all fear.
The Apostle John declared that there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18). Apparently there is a place within the experience of God that we are aware of His awesome power but at the same time we feel absolutely secure in Him knowing that He loves us perfectly. Wow. Fear without fearing.
And how do we get there? It would seem that the only way is a path that leads through the cross. At the cross, we see the wrath of God that was deserved by us poured out upon Jesus. We see the awesome holiness of God satisfied and His righteousness made available to us by faith. That love was there the entire time but God demonstrated it for us in that when we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
So how is your fear factor? Are you afraid of some earthly enemies? Afraid of circumstances in the world or the economy? Jesus says we are to fear only one person and that is God Almighty, and we are to discover how His perfect love casts out all fear. His mighty power is watching over you.
Father God, Your power and love are overwhelming and wonderful. Thank You for offering such amazing grace to me. Thank You for Your careful watch over me and those I love. Teach me the joy of fearing You without fear. Teach me Your careful and tender mercy. In Jesus' name.