Session #077 Do Not Fear
Scripture Matthew 10:26-31
Summary After warning the disciples of possible persecution, Jesus tells them not to fear. This teaching of Matthew 10:26-31 explains why there is no need to fear men or even death. More easily said than done? The key is to have the reverence of the fear of the Lord, and also the assurance of the love of the Father.
Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:26–31
After warning the disciples of possible persecution, Jesus tells them not to fear. This teaching explains why there is no need to fear men or even death. The key is to have the reverence of the fear of the Lord, and also the assurance of the love of the Father.
There Is No Need To Fear Because “Everything Will Be Revealed” (Matthew 10:26-27)
Everything hidden will be revealed, every thought, intent, and motive will be revealed. Men’s evil deeds will be exposed, and justice will prevail. The same will be applied to You, everything about You will be revealed as well (Luke 12:1–3).
Since everything is going to be revealed, then there is no need to keep anything hidden. Therefore, be bold in proclaiming the gospel. These are Jesus’ instructions, “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.” Matthew 10:27
Personal instructions for us become public influence or action. As we receive in our devotions, shout it out. As we learn at cell or Bible study, live it out. As we receive in the Lord, fulfil it (Colossians 4:17).
Do not fear the consequences, we can be bold in sharing the gospel. Since everything is going to be revealed, everything will be judged. God will judge (Romans 2:11-16, 1 Corinthians 4:5 and 6:2). Be faithful; rule and reign with Christ. Justice will be served.
Do Not Fear Men or Death. Fear God. (Matthew 10:28)
Beware, be wary of men, be careful; and be prepared. But Do Not Fear.
We have already died with Christ (Colossians 3:3). Even if we die, we shall live. As such, physical harm or death should not be a threat to us.
Body and Soul
The body is temporary. The soul is eternal. Body and soul are separated at death but reunited in the resurrected body (1 Corinthians 15:42-44; 1 Corinthians 15:19, 15:30-32)
Men can destroy the body but only God can “destroy” the soul (James 4:12).
What does it mean “to destroy”? The soul is eternal, if there is eternal life, then there is eternal death. To “destroy” does not mean annihilate, but eternal torment. It is not because God wants to give long torture, but because the soul is eternal, its consequence is eternal (Matthew 3:12). Jesus warns through the book of Matthew that there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30)
The Destruction Of The Soul Is In Hell
The Hebrew term “Gehenna.” means valley of Hinnom. The transliteration from Hebrew, “valley of Hinnom”, a ravine on the south side of Jerusalem, the centre of idolatrous worship in which children were burned by fire as an offering to heathen god Molech (2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6).
In the time of Josiah, it became a place of abomination, polluted by dead men’s bones and the filth of Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:10–14) and by garbage and rubbish dumped there. A fire burned continuously in this valley. It became a symbol of unending fires of hell and torment. A symbol of judgment (Jeremiah 7:31–34; 32:35).
Jesus’ metaphors of eternal punishment were taken from this burning, stinking, worm-infested dump. He mentions hell more than others, 11x in the gospels, 7x in Matthew, Furnace of fire was used in Matthew 13:42 and 50, everlasting fire in Matthew 25:41 and 46. Make no mistake, Satan is not in charge of hell, God is.
Is this Applicable to Believers? Since We have Eternal Life?
This passage was spoken to disciples who are asked to fear God. Why is there a need to fear Him if there is no possibility of being destroyed by Him? In Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches the disciples about destruction and rejection. The broad gate will lead to destruction in Matthew 7:13-14. Jesus warns those who practise lawlessness to depart from Him (Matthew 7:21-23).
Hearing but not doing will bring disaster as written in Matthew 7:24-27. Is this warning for believers and disciples too? We are not to be afraid of declaring our faith in Jesus Christ, through our words, actions, and lives (Matthew 10:32-33).
It is understandable to have fear of men but the fear of God must be greater.
Our focus is not on hell’s fire but God who is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29). It has been said that the saints of old feared so little because they feared God so much. “The fear of God is the fear that cancels fear.” Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary.
If we have the right fear of God, we will not have to fear men, nor the torment of hell (1 John 4:17-19). Fearing God means loving Him, and loving God means obeying Him, no matter the outcome. We are prepared to face any challenge and even death because we fear and love Him.
The sad truth is that there is very little reverence and awe for God these days. God is made out to be a nice big teddy bear that grants all your wishes. Awesome is used to describe anything and everything. God is lumped with anything nice and cute. We forget that God is still God. The original meaning of awesome, dating to around 1600, is “filled with awe, profoundly reverential”; by the end of that century it had come to mean “awe-inspiring”.
To be filled with the Spirit is to have the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2). Jesus’ prayer was heard in the garden because of godly fear. Jesus’ submission to the Father’s will was because of godly fear.
Godly fear is what must keep you and also move you (Hebrews 11:7).
You Do Not Have To Fear Because You Are Worth More Than Many Sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31)
Sparrows are a common marketplace commodity which is a copper coin (about 1/32 of minimum daily wage or 22 minutes of work) for two; two coins for five (Luke 12:6). They are not worth very much, yet God values His creation. This is the second reference to birds, and the first mention was in Sermon on the Mount teachings (Matthew 6:26). You are worth much much more than many sparrows. Worth or value comes from the root word that means to be different or to be distinguished. In other words, there is no comparison at all. Your value surpasses that of an entire flock of sparrows.
Do not miss the drastic switch from God who destroys, to your Father who watches over you. Apart from your Father’s will means that nothing happens without His knowledge and permission. You are His child, and He will take care of you.
Whenever we die, that is the right time! We do not need to fear premature death. In the original text, there is no word for “will” which is knowledge. From the next verse, God knows and numbers our hairs, it refers to intimate knowledge of us. God knows every strand. God knows when any sparrow “falls to the ground” and dies.
The Father knows every detail, however small or seemingly insignificant. We apply this to our little requests, from a car park lot to being upgraded to business class for a flight. However, that is not what Jesus is referring to. In context, our heavenly Father knows every single saint and disciple who “falls to the ground” for the sake of Jesus. Our Father knows every bit of injustice done against His people and children, and they will not go unnoticed. He is just and righteous, He will vindicate. Do not fear.
When you are on kingdom assignments be prepared for opposition. Beware of men but there is no need to fear them. In the face of challenges and persecution, two truths keep us on track,
Reverence of the Fear of the Lord for God as Judge
Assurance of the Love of the Father for God as Abba
Whether we live or die for Jesus, Do Not Fear, God will take care of you.