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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1064. Fear God rather than people (27/5/24)


This week in our Luke series, we are focussing on Luke 12:4-12, where the theme is on how we are to deal with the pressure to hide or compromise our faith. Today, we see that we are to fear God rather than people who pressure us to compromise. 

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”’ (Luke 12:4-5) 

Lesson: We must overcome our fear of people with the friendship and fear of God.


You can listen to this devotional at:



Fear is something that we all have to deal with. Maybe you’re scared of spiders, of flying, of something bad happening to those you love… We all have to deal with fear, and God wants to help us to do so in the right way. Here, Jesus commands us not to fear those who persecute us for our faith. The devil, working to inspire evil people, wants to silence us, and cause us to compromise and nullify the power of the gospel. So how are we to overcome fear of any and every kind?


i. Overcome fear with God’s friendship

Jesus begins with the words, “I tell you my friends, do not be afraid…” What wonderful words, that Jesus calls us His friends. However, it’s interesting, to say the least, that Jesus’ friendship to us does not mean that He keeps us from persecution and difficulties! Rather, as our friend, Jesus is with us, sustains and transforms us in suffering. 


ii. Overcome lesser fears with the greater fear of God

Jesus wants to ‘show you’ something that will help you to put the things that you fear into perspective. We are to allow a greater fear to nullify the lesser. Fear of God is to trump lesser fears. For example, if our house is on fire, we will run out into the night without worrying about our fear of the dark or embarrassment of being seen in our bedclothes! Lesser fears are conquered by greater fears. Likewise, Jesus wants to show us the fear of God, and He tells us: 

‘“But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”’

The fear of God is a big subject, but, in essence, we are being commanded to reverence, worship, trust and obey God over any lesser things that put pressure on us. 


This is a message to non-believers 

Let’s not forget the context and principle audience for this teaching. Jesus is teaching those who are not coming to Christ because they are intimidated by the religious leaders. He is warning those who will fear the religious leaders over God that they must fear God’s judgement rather than men’s judgement so that they can come to Christ to be saved. Likewise, anyone who is dithering about paying the price for becoming a Christian needs to be warned about the danger of rejecting Jesus out of fear of people. This text is a warning to all non-believers that they should come to God regardless of the cost or go to hell! (Harsh but true!) 


This is a message to Christians

To Christians, this is an encouragement to allow a vision of God to expel the fear of man. To us, we are being taught that those who truly know God will not be afraid of any person. A Christian who truly knows God will be brave in sharing their faith.  We will openly confess our faith and seek to help others to come to Christ when we overcome the fear of people. Added to this, we will pray and seek to bring others to Jesus because we fear people going to hell over our own comfort. 


Response

We must overcome our fear of people with the friendship and fear of God. Are we allowing a vision of God to cast out the shadows of fear? Are we allowing the fear of God to free us to help others to come to faith and escape judgment? May we all do as this Psalm exemplifies:

‘When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’ (Psalm 56:3-4) 
 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News. 

  • Please ensure that everyone is aware of our week of prayer next week (3rd-9th June) and how to get the Zoom Link. 


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

Our message from our series in Luke on Sunday was based upon Jesus’ teaching from Luke 12:4-12. Here, Jesus is teaching Christians on how to deal with fear, and the pressure to keep silent about our faith. There is a lot in this short text and you may not have enough time to cover it all. However, our devotionals this week go into more details so please use these so as to think more deeply about these challenging words. 


Please read Luke 12:4-12, and discuss: 

  • What would you say is the main message and application of Luke 12:4-12? 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • How do verses 4-7 teach us to overcome fear of people? 

  • Verses 8-10a, warns us against allowing fear to keep us from sharing our faith. Do you allow fear to stop you from sharing the gospel? 

  • Continuing from the last question, if we have failed to ‘publicly acknowledge’ Jesus, what is the promise for us who have, in being ashamed,  ‘sinned against The Son of Man’? 

  • In verses 8-10, Jesus compares sinning against ‘The Son of Man’ (Jesus) and The Holy Spirit. What is the sin against the Spirit and how can you help someone who is worried if they’ve committed it?

  • In verses 11-12, What is the promise and how does believing this help us to overcome fear of sharing the gospel?  

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • SIV - Spend some time together talking and praying about who and how you are seeking to bring your community to Jesus. 

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that's come out of our time in God’s Word.

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