On Dec 28, 2014, Josh Olson preached a sermon from Matthew 10:24-33 entitled Fear Not! Fear can often be a controlling element in our lives. But God answers our fears through the person and work of Jesus, who came to set us free from ungodly forms of fear so that we could fear God and have relationship with Him. So, the main point of the text is God sets us free from ungodly fear and calls us to fear Him—to worship Him alone with reverence through faith in Jesus. In this text we will explore three questions related fear:
1. Why do we fear?
a. At the root of our fears is a belief system that is founded not upon God and His Word, but our own ideas of truth and reality—our sinful unbelief.
b. Verse 26: the reality of God and His kingdom, has been revealed in Jesus and will be fully revealed and proclaimed.
c. Dig deeper: Jesus calls us to believe His message that kingdom of God is at hand. (Matt 10:7)—God is invading the world so that we can be rescued through the perfect life and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. This truth corrects our wrong ideas and beliefs which lay at the heart of our ungodly fears. Read and reflect on Psalm 1.
2. What do we fear? There are three key things we fear:
a. Fear of what others think about us: the fear of man is common. It has a controlling power over us that often influences us to do things.
1) Prov 29:25 – “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” The fear of man captures us and leads us away from the Lord and into trouble.
2) The root of this is an unbelieving belief system: we allow others to have authority over our lives. What they say becomes the truth that we believe in our heart. But Jesus wants us to believe His message even though others will hate it. We need to allow His Word to have proper authority over our life. Dig Deeper: Read and reflect on Galatians 1:6-10; 2 Cor 4:8-18.
b. Fear of death: we all fear death, so we distract ourselves (family, hobbies, career, etc.).
1) At the heart of our fear of death is sin. James 1:14 – 15, Romans 5:12 – 19, Romans 6:23.
2) The lesson from death is that we must learn to hate sin more and more. It’s the reality that is behind physical death–– sin––that causes also spiritual death. Fearing physical death alone is shortsighted because of that. Jesus then calls us to hate sin.
c. Fear that I am unloved (v. 29ff): This gives power to the first fear (of man). It can overwhelm the fear of death in that some people say they’d rather die than feel unloved. Dig Deeper: if you are struggling with feelings of depression or despair and feeling unloved, recognize that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) and that in Christ you are deeply loved, and God wants you to have life, and that more abundantly. Preach the Gospel to yourself. Let what God says about you in Christ be the thing that defines you as a person. Let someone know if you need help.
3. How does God answer our fears?
a. God answers our fears in the person of Jesus by showing us that we are loved more deeply than we ever imagined.
b. This love was demonstrated when Christ lived and died for us. Jesus humbled Himself by becoming a man, and faced all the fears that we faced.
1) He faced the fear of man: He suffered utter humiliation, mocking, the ruin of His reputation, all because of His love for us.
2) He face the fear of death: He went to the cross to taste physical death, and He faced the ultimate sense of death: bearing the infinite weight of sin and God’s curse upon Him.
3) He faced the fear of being unloved: He knew what it was to be rejected and unloved by people. And on the cross God’s hatred of sin came crashing down upon Him and He felt the gravity of feeling eternally unloved. He did this so that we would know the love of God as an attentive, loving Father (all our hairs are numbered!) and be welcomed into His household.