Sunday 27 June
Fear and God
This week we are having another topical message. Today’s topic is fear! So, I began to wonder what fears or worries you all might be carrying.
I suspect most of us are not afraid that we will starve to death anytime soon, or that we will be evicted and made homeless, or lose all our financial securities – but people in every country are afraid of these things. So, what might you be afraid of? According to research, here are some of the most likely things.
Last week we talked about being in God’s family and the fact that this was the best way for us to live by giving Him His rightful place in our lives. Paul in Romans 8:15 says “The Spirit you received (when you become a Christian) does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. [Full rights of family] And by him we cry, “Abba Father.”
So, if God is our daddy as the word Abba asserts, should we fear God? He holds our lives in His hands. He can take away our loved ones at any moment. He can permit storms and floods or other so called natural disasters to occur and cause us great misery or even face death.
Our reading from Proverbs 1:7 says, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools [the morally deficient] despise wisdom and instruction’.
This fear is not dread, but reverence and respect for God.
Fearing God here is not a scary matter. It actually says we are onto something educationally beneficial when we fear God. The verse also offers a contrasting perspective that if our morals are deficient, and we do not fear God, then we are foolish.
For those of us who are on the path to this spiritual knowledge we not only have assurance that is certain, both in this life and in the next, but we will get some answers as to why we exist, who made us in His own image and to a whole array of spiritual mysterious that many people seek answers too.
Since the gospel message is that we can have all our shame, guilt and sin paid for by Jesus, our need to worry about these things is taken away.
Our reading from 1 John 4:18 says, “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.”
John was the disciple noted one Jesus loved. Here he articulates that faith in Jesus is all about love; perfect love, and that this perfect love has no room for fear. We have no reason to worry about being punished because Jesus bore all our sin.
This is why Christianity offers freedom rather than oppression. We are no longer slaves to the old human nature which is ignorant. Christians instead truly know better as they come to understand God’s Holy word and ways and by living within God’s ways, we are safer and wiser and are driven by hope and blessing rather than fear.
The prophet Isaiah in chapter 41 verse 10 says, ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand’.
Even back in Old Testament times, those who were spiritually wise knew what it is like to have God with them. As well as assurance being evident once again, Isaiah tells us that God will both help and strengthen us for whatever we will face in life and that our just God will be behind us always because we acknowledge that He is our God.
The reading from Matthew 6 leads us further. It’s saying it is daft worrying or being anxious if you are a child of God. For the life He offers is more than food and your body or person is more than cloths or other apparent necessities verse 25.
‘Just like the birds, we too are His creatures but we are of greater value that they are’ verse 26.
He then presses home the true reality that fear or worry or anxiety does nothing positive for us verse 27 This passage concludes with fear stemming from a lack of faith. Essentially, we are placing too little trust in God and too much in our human understanding of our circumstances.
None of these things are mentioning specifically spiritual matters though. Spiritually some fear of speaking publically about their faith or fear praying out loud in front or along with others? Do any of us ever fear we will falling short and fail our God?
Paul gives us further encouragement in Romans 8:15 ‘The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. [Full rights of family] And by him we cry, “Abba Father.’
Fear is a state before we become Christians and we need not go back there. The Holy Spirit within us is a clear and wonderful sign that we are God’s children.
Finally, Matthew 10:28, ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell’.
The soul is our spiritual core. It is where our identity can commune with God. Once we operate knowing this, we realise that worry is for those who do not know this.
Many people don’t want to think about hell or God’s judgment and as we said earlier, God’s children need not worry about these things for themselves. However, if we have compassion or any sense of love towards others, we must be rightly concerned that they too should have the opportunity to become God’s children too. Hell is a Biblical reality. It is the place where people cannot enjoy the presence of God and the place where Jesus descended into, cut off from God, but emerging having conquered sin and death. Having made it possible for us to avoid hell altogether, it is up to us all individually to choose God and to enable others to learn from our new spiritual knowledge that fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and a great journey on wards towards eternity.
So, what have you got to fear, when nothing can separate us from God when we ARE in-Christ Jesus, children of the one, true and amazing God?
The only question really is, are we a child of God and if so, are we willing to help others to find this freedom and knowledge for themselves too. Let’s prove we trust in our God and pray all our burdens into His safe hands.