Friday, December 10, 2021

The Vision (12.10.21): Fear them not


Image: American sparrow in winter (courtesy of Google images)

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 10:26-31.

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31).

In Matthew 10:26-31, Christ tells his disciples three times some variation on “fear them not” (cf. vv. 26, 28, 31). This was his historical word to the apostles, but what is his word to us? We are not to be filled with fear as we live out our faith and obedience to Christ.

We are not to fear men who might slander us (v. 26):

If we suffer insult and defamation for the cause of Christ, we are exhorted not be filled with bitterness and resentment. We are servants who are not above our Master. We can endure all insults with patience, knowing that one day justice will be done. One day what has been hidden will be made plain. If not in this age, then in the age to come.

We can, therefore, be content. We do not have the take things in our own hands. We don’t have to set all things right. That’s not our job, but his. Consider Paul’s words in Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

We are not to fear them which kill the body (v. 28):

Christ's words emboldened not only the original apostles but a whole line of men who came after them, from Stephen (Acts 7) and Antipas the “faithful martyr” of Pergamos (Revelation 2:13), to the Marian martyrs of England, to a host of modern pastors, missionaries, and evangelists who have gladly laid down their lives for Christ.

We can say with Paul that for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). In other words, there are worse things that can happen than physical death. Worse is spiritual death, dying apart from faith in Christ.

Finally, we are not to fear, because just as Christ cared for the apostles, so he cares for and governs us (v. 31).

If the Lord so cares for the sparrows, so that not a one of them falls to the ground apart from his will and knowledge, will he not also extend such care to us, who are made in his image? Every hair on our head is known by him (v. 30).

It is often the parents who know the bodies of their children best. They saw them come into life. They bathed them and fed them and cleaned them. They know every bend, every birthmark. Not only does a parent know her child’s body, but she also knows the personality, spirit, and temperament.

If a human parent knows such things about a child, how much more does our loving heavenly Father know and care for us. Therefore, we need not fear anything.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle


Unknown said...

Woke up in the middle of the night and read this and it was just what I needed.thank you.

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...

Unknown, Glad you found some profit in this post. SDG.

Unknown said...

When I found out you were coming to the Metropolitan Tabernacle, a church I attended when I lived near London, and still attend on line now I live too far away,I went to your website and listened to your whole series on Ecclesiastes and was blown away! So then I followed your sermons at the Met Tab with great interest, it was like a breath of fresh air. So now I am listening to you as well as Peter Masters all the time and it's like a feast! I am elderly now and don't get out so much and looking after my adult disabled son who is a joy.Your church in Virginia looks very dynamic! Just wanted you to know how you are appreciated, as pastors need encourage ment too. It's a lot of work. Marylka