October 17, 2021 Do Not Fear

Do Not Fear

Oct. 17, 2021



Read Matthew 10:26-33.


This passage follows immediately after the warnings of our Lord to his disciples that they would be persecuted. His words are an encouragement to them and an encouragement to us. He says, “Have no fear of them…”


This is a needed encouragement for them and for us. Today, the three reasons disciples have for not acknowledging Christ to others are: fear, lack of preparation, and laziness.


None of these reasons are adequate. Regarding lack of preparation, it is better to be well prepared to defend the faith. We are commanded to be prepared (I Peter 3:14-15).  But, even if we are not well prepared, all we really need to know is the gospel. Every Christian knows the gospel. Every Christian can give their own testimony of how they came to the Lord.


Laziness is a sin. If you are not acknowledging Christ before others because you would rather watch tv, or do a hundred other things, then you simply need to repent and reset your priorities.


So, by God’s grace, let us understand what our Lord had to say about this matter of fear and see how there is no reason to be afraid nor to be timid.


Observe the first reason our Lord gives:


“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.[1]


Jesus says that we do not need to fear people because everything will be revealed. What did he mean by this? He meant two things.


[1] First, all will be revealed on Judgment Day. Every motive will be exposed. This means that the antagonism that others have for you will shown to be driven by sinful rebellion. There will be justice administered by the Lord himself and this justice will be a perfect justice. All will be made right, including any suffering that you experience. The opposers will be silenced and will pay the price that the Lord deems on that great day. More, you will be rewarded for your faithfulness in acknowledging Christ to others. The fact that there will be a judgment that makes all things right will relieve our fears.


Second, when Jesus said that all things will be revealed, he also meant that we are to reveal things in this life. This is also the second reason we should not fear.


What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. [2]


[2] We ought not to fear because fear will prevent the river of truth from flowing. The world is full of lies. The teachings of the Lord Jesus reveals the truth and exposes the falsehoods of society. We are the ones, each one of us (not just elders or teachers), who are to speak the truth to others.


When our Lord says that he speaks in the dark and that he whispers, he is using colorful, poetic language in order to communicate the hidden nature of his teachings when initially given. The Lord often taught his disciples privately, First, he taught them. Then he expects them to take what they have learned and share it with others.


This is still true and has been throughout the history of the church. You see, when you come to the meetings of the church you learn things to which the world is blind. You learn truth in the main meeting. You learn truth in Sunday School. You learn it in the home meetings. And, you learn truth through your private reading of Scripture.


What must we do with the truth that we possess? We must “proclaim it on the housetops!” That is just a colloquial expression meaning to give it a wide hearing. Truth is like a river. It flows. But only if people will speak it or publish it. If it is not proclaimed then it is like stagnant water. Do not keep truth to yourself! Proclaim it from the housetops! That is, speak to as many people as you can about it.


Your fear will prevent the river of truth from flowing. Therefore, do not fear.


[3] Have no fear because your soul cannot be killed.


And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[3]


Here is a third reason not to fear. Our bodies are only temporary. So temporary that both Peter and James (both in chapter 1 of their epistles) liken our physical life to grass, which grows quickly and soon withers and dies. The worst thing that the persecutors can do to us is kill our bodies. This has happened, and continues to happen.


I remember, before I became a Christian and considered myself an atheist (in High School), I used to contemplate dying and ceasing to exist. The thought used to fill me with tremendous fear. The reality is even worse than that, though. The unbeliever, of course, will not cease to exist. Rather, they will suffer in the lake of fire for eternity. That is far worse than ceasing to exist! That is something a person should fear!


Yet, in our country, to be put to death because of our faith is extremely rare. Hence, disciples here in the U.S. aren’t afraid of dying. They are either afraid of being rejected or maybe being called a name.[4]


Jesus was telling his disciples then that, if they are murdered, don’t be afraid. Why? Because the loss of our bodies is only temporary. We will be resurrected. No reason to fear! Think about this! They were not to fear being killed. Yet, some followers today are afraid of just being rejected! Get over it! Don’t be a baby! Be an adult! Be a disciple!


[4] We must not fear because God is sovereign over every facet of our lives.


Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.[5]


God is sovereign. This means that all things are under his power and his control. Nothing happens without his permission. Even the evil things. They are permitted for a short time. The perpetrators of evil will be greatly punished, even eternally. The victims of evil will be made whole and completely healed one day.


Jesus says that not one single sparrow dies without the decree of God. Consider that. There are over a billion sparrows in the world. Yet, not one dies without God’s permission. What is worth less than a sparrow? One of your hairs! Every hair on your head is known by God. He determines how many you have and how good they look. Do you see the complete and exhaustive control that Yahweh has over your life and over the smallest details of it?


It is not only that he is in absolute control. He also is looking out for your best welfare and he loves you. If you belong to Christ, he loves you!


For the mountains may depart

and the hills be removed,

       but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,

and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”

says the Lord, who has compassion on you.[6]


God’s love for you is steadfast! It’s always upon you! This verse in Isaiah is in the context of Israel’s sins. Even though Israel sinned, and would be disciplined for it, the Lord is telling them that he not only loves them, but that his love would not depart from them. He is telling you the very same thing! Despite your sins and your failures, the Lord loves you.


When one realizes that the Lord both loves them and he controls the smallest details of their life, this dispels fear. Nothing can happen to us without God’s loving oversight and protection. Therefore, even the things that are negative and unwanted are, ultimately, for our good. This is a divine fact!


[5] Last, we must not fear because we are of value to the Lord. Not only does he love us, but we are valuable to him.


Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.[7]


We may not feel valuable, especially when we fail someone we love or when we fail Christ. We may feel worthless. But that is a lie. Jesus plainly says that we are valuable to the Father. Hence, it is true that the Lord both loves us and considers us valuable. Deny your lying feelings for they will lie to you often. Believe the promises of God!


The Lord has revealed five reasons why we must not fear:


  • We ought not to fear because of the coming judgment when all will be revealed. We will be vindicated! Even if our speaking is weak and rather poor, we will be vindicated.
  • We must not fear so that the flow of truth will proceed from us.
  • We need not fear because no one can kill our soul.
  • We ought not to fear because God is sovereign over every detail of our lives and he loves us.
  • And, we must not fear because God values us!


So, we are not to fear men. But the Lord did command us to fear God:


And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[8]


God can destroy body and soul in hell, that is, Gehenna.  Destroy here does not mean annihilate. Some people, who do not like even the thought of punishment by God, try to assert that God will annihilate (cause them to cease to exist) some rather than actually punish them in the age to come.


Jesus is telling his disciples to fear God because he can cast into Gehenna. This is a reiteration of what the Lord taught in chapter five. Of course, there is an application to the lost, as well. In fact, every person ought to fear God.


  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10).
  • The wise person fears God (Psalm 25:12).
  • The fool does not fear God (Luke 12:13-21).
  • The one who fears God will be rewarded (Prov. 22:4).
  • The fear of God delivers from the feeling of emptiness (Ecc. 5:7).
  • The fear of God can be and should be our delight (Is. 11:3).


Jesus is teaching his disciples to fear God in the same passage where he is telling them to acknowledge him to others!


So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. [9]


Here, in verses 32 and 33, our Lord reveals both reward and negative consequences for speaking and not speaking respectively. The first part is clear. If we speak about the Lord then he will acknowledge us before the Father. But, the second part can be taken in two ways. What does denying him mean? Does it mean that we actually say, “I don’t believe in Christ?” Or, “Jesus is not the Son of God?” It could mean that. Because the persecution was so bad in the early years of the church, many were compelled to renounce Christ publicly and, sadly, some did.


However, could it also refer to a person denying him by implication, that is, by being silent. Truly, purposely not speaking about something you know to be true is a tacit denial. The only question is what did Jesus mean by using the word “deny”?


The blessed thing about God’s word is that what is sometimes not clear in one passage is made clear by another passage. That is the case here. Only considering what Jesus said here in verses 32 and 33 it is not easy to tell. But when we consider what Mark has recorded regarding this very issue we will see what Jesus meant.


For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” [10]


Do you see that Jesus is just saying that if we are ashamed of Christ then he will be ashamed of us? How does a person express shame about anything? They do not talk about that thing! That is the manifestation of shame --- we hide the thing that we are ashamed of. Thus, to never speak of Christ is to be ashamed of him.


Therefore, to deny Christ includes not speaking about him to others.


Our Lord tells us not to fear men. He gives five reasons for this.


He tells us to fear God. The fear of the Lord is a good thing, a blessed thing. It motivates us to obedience when our love for him is lacking. The majority of Christians do not love the Lord as much as they think. This is why we need to fear the Lord. Allow the healthy fear of the Lord to motivate you to acknowledge Jesus before others. Even this week!







[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:26). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:27). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:28). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] In some situations, like street preaching at a godless event, a person may risk assault. But even this is rare.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:29–30). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Is 54:10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:31). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:28). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:32–33). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[10] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mk 8:37–38). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.