Persecution can be a scary thing! Is is any wonder then that Jesus tells us to not be afraid three times in our text from Matthew 10. But what exactly is it that you’re afraid of?
There are all kinds of fears in this world. The fear of spiders, the fear of being alone. I had the privilege to be at the beach this last week. My niece who is going into 4th grade has a little bit of anxiety when mom’s not around. One evening before they were going to go out, her dad said, “Don’t worry honey, what’s the worst thing that could happen? We’re only going to be gone for a couple hours.” Right then the five-year-old piped up, “You could die in a car crash!” Thanks, little brother.
I’m not the only one who has asked the question what are you afraid of? A 2017 poll found that death was the 48th worst thing. Here are a couple things that are more terrifying than death.
37 Devastating Drought
26 Oil Spills
16 Credit Card Fraud
4 Pollution of Drinking Water
1 Corrupt Government Officials
Jesus has a thought or two on the topic. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 1st who is the one who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul? That would be Satan – and all the enemies of the cross. Physical persecution was and still is a real thing. 2nd Who is the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell? That is Jesus. Your God is in control of all things. That being said – what are you afraid of? Are you afraid of kids laughing at you? Are you afraid that your peers will think less of you at work? What will the rest of your family think? What are you afraid of?
Fear is not the most powerful motivation – it is a powerful motivation, but I think if you have a child, you know very well that love is far more powerful. So is the love of Jesus – he gave everything for us. Even if the enemies of the cross demand your life, in that moment you would win eternal life in Jesus. If you’re willing to do that, would you be willing to lose a few friends – who might not be the best choice of friends to begin with? Want to hear more – including an accounting of the hairs on your head? Watch this week’s sermon – Witness Despite Persecution – the final in our series Witness for Christ.
Series: Witness for Christ
Speaker(s): Fred Guldberg