Luke 12:4 ¶ “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.
Luke 12:5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!
Luke 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.
Luke 12:7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Luke 12:8 ¶ “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, Luke 12:9 but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
Before this, Jesus was talking about all of the Pharisees and their rules. They were staunch in their delivery of dos and don’ts, but not very quick to hold a sinners hand and walk through their troubles with them.
That would put all kinds of fear into a person, right? How many of us have that friend or family member that won’t come to church because they are afraid the roof will cave in? Or what about the astonishment I heard from a kid before church one day when she said “They don’t care how you dress at your church?!”
The pressures of right and wrong from our fellow man can be pretty strong. I’ve been pressured by church people to not be so holy and I’ve been pressured by worldly people to uphold my religion. It’s a wonder any of us can figure out a clear course.
But Jesus lays it out. Don’t worry about the onlookers and the critics, fear the Lord. In such and such a scenario, am I more concerned about my boss or my neighbors, or do I fear the Lord?
Fear of the Lord isn’t very popular these days, but it’s never been more important. Sure, He’ll welcome any one of us into His family. Romans 10:13 says that “All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” And all means all.
But it’s all who call on the name of the Lord. A most dreadful fear is the default setting for anyone who refuses to call on His name. For any that call on His name in appearance only, but still strive to earn His love and forgiveness by their own works, their fear is deserved.
We each desperately need the Lord and His mercy. He cares about us more than a sparrow, and those suckers are out there — even today in 36-degree weather — living it up.
So our fear isn’t horror movie fear. It’s the most complex and simple fear all at the same time. God is for us. He is caring for us and helping us. But His main goal is that we would depend on Him and call on Him for everything.
Being ‘for us’ doesn’t mean He’s going to let us lead ourselves into selfish destruction. He’s going to lead us into dependence and intimacy with Him. The world has nothing so full to offer.
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