Summary: Jesus teaches us valuable lessons about fear.
WORTH MORE THAN SPARROWS
1. Matthew 10:26-33 (NKJV) "Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 27 "Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 "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. 29 "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 "Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 "But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
2. Jesus warned the apostles that as they preached the gospel, they would encounter opposition. They would be persecuted. They would be arrested and brought before authorities. They would be hated. They would be betrayed even by members of their own families. But Jesus says, "Do not fear them." [Matthew 10:16-26]. This seems a startling statement in light of what Jesus has just said. People are going to do all these bad things to you . . . but don’t be afraid of them.
3. We need to spend more time studying what the Bible teaches about fear. It is summed up by Jesus words in Matthew 10:28 (NKJV) "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.
I. DO NOT FEAR MAN.
A. Man can kill the body, but has no power to kill the soul. Whatever happens to us in this life is temporary. The worst your enemies can do is put you to a painful death. Other followers of Christ have experienced terrible deaths. There is no guarantee that will not happen to us if we stay faithful to Christ [Revelation 2:10 (NKJV) "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.] Cf. Luke 21:16 (NKJV) "You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death."
B. It seems very difficult to consider all these possibilities and obey Christ’s instructions "Do not fear. . . ."
1. He does not tell us to ignore danger. It has been said that the difference between bravery and foolishness in war is that a brave soldier understands the danger, counts the cost, and decides that it is worth any price -- even death -- to accomplish the objective. So he goes ahead and does what needs to be done.
2. The spiritual warfare we’re fighting with Satan is even more important than any earthly military conflict. The Lord needs heroes in His army . . . men and women who will pay any price in order to be counted faithful to Christ.
3. Fear of pain and suffering can be a powerful force which causes many to forsake the Lord.
a. The apostles did not stand firmly behind Jesus while He was being crucified.
b. Many Christians compromised their faith and worshiped the emperor during times of Roman persecution. If our understanding of the book of Revelation is correct, this is the mark of the beast [Revelation 16:2 (NKJV) So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.]
c. Today the fear is often more psychological than physical. Some believers do face physical danger in the 21st century because of their faith in Christ. However, more often it is the fear of being outcast. What will people think of me? [1 Peter 4:4 -- some "think it strange" when you behave as a Christian].
C. Fear is overcome by perfect love [1 John 4:16-20 (NKJV) And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?]