Archive for the ‘ Fear ’ Category

Don’t Fear the Reaper

I am doing a short series! We are going through some of the sayings of Jesus that can be … confusing … difficult … misapplied … whatever!

What does this mean? I will look at passages that I have personally heard misapplied, misunderstood, or simply confusion expressed over what Jesus meant.

Also, one of these should be appearing on The Domain for Truth later this month to help out SlimJim with some coverage of his blog while he travels. (No worries. I will share it here on this blog when it happens!)

Two weeks we looked at blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Last week we looked at Jesus saying Christians should be perfect.

Now, what is our next passage? (Maybe you already have an idea based on the title.)

Fear the One Who Gives a Damn

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 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.

Matthew 10:24-28, ESV

Firstly, thank you in advance for your forgiveness for my play on words, but it is appropriate. Because we are discussing the one who literally damns people to Hell.

Secondly, if you search the simple man of God posts, you will find strong evidence that I am a big fan of – not so much Blue Oyster Cult who sings “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, though I do appreciate their talent – Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. That is the source of my quote for the title of this post.

Why do I like those movies?

I am a huge sci-fi nerd, and I also like making connections with the gospel. And, if you click on the titles of the movies up above you will see how I did that with these movies.

The connection today, though, is that our society has a tendency to misconstrue our fear of death.

Whether it is the personification of Death as the Grim Reaper or some other source, we are often told to have a fear of what is to come after this life if we are apart from Christ.

And the biggest source of fear that even many churches have preached?

Satan.

The Devil.

Lucifer.

Beelzebub.

Choose your name/title.

Perhaps you have heard people speaking of watching out that the Devil could drag you to Hell, or maybe that (like in Bogus Journey) the Grim Reaper will lead you either to Heaven or Hell.

Well, guess what. Neither of those are true in the least.

Firstly, we have two concepts of Hell that we need to deal with:

  1. The idea we have of a malevolent being taking us to a fiery (or frigid) place to be tormented comes largely from Norse mythology. We got a slight glimpse of this from Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok a couple of years ago, when Thor’s half-sister Hela appeared. This was a twisting of the original mythology, because Hel was really the one who was half dead/half alive (look it up, if you can stomach it) who was a trickster and liked to torment people in a place of rivers and fire.
  2. Christianity does have something that we expect to see that is similar yet also quite different:

    2 Peter 2:4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;
    Jude 1:6And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day.

    When Peter said “hell” it was the Greek word “Hades”. The Hebrew equivalent is “Sheol”. So the current place we think of as Hell is a prison for fallen angels. (Think back to Genesis 6, those few verses before Noah is mentioned.)

    And secondly: Revelation 20:7-15 discusses that Satan, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, Death, and Hades are all thrown into the Lake of Fire, the place of eternal torment. Oh, and it finishes with all those who are not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life being thrown in, as well.

What does this mean?

Notice, the Devil is not dragging people into Hell. He, and many others, are thrown in. Either they are in chains now, or they are in the burning lake of fire in eternity.

Who does the throwing?

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 10:29-33

The Lord Himself casts those who rebel against Him into eternal torment.

Therefore, when Proverbs says repeatedly something along the lines of “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge,” it is very literal.

We should begin with a fear (yes, a dread) of God, because we are sinners in need of forgiveness.

Then, our fear can turn to that respect and awe when we realize the Christ was sacrificed so that we could have that needed forgiveness. All we must do is repent (change our entire way of thinking) and believe. (And the Holy Spirit helps with these, too!)

Don’t fear the reaper. Or the Devil. Or anyone else.

Only fear God.

And I pray that fear leads to the knowledge of the Son of God and His work on the cross for your salvation.

VerseD: Psalm 56:3

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
Psalm 56:3, ESV

There is only One in whom we can trust fully in the pains and fears of life: Our Creator, Sustainer, and Savior. The Lord God.

VerseD: Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

We have nothing to fear. Our God takes care of His own. The worst others can do to us is kill us, and that means we join our Lord.

VerseD: Isaiah 12:2

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
Isaiah 12:2, ESV

Many things happen in this world, but through Jesus Christ we know that God is in control and has and will redeem us from this fallen world.

VerseD: Matthew 6:25

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Matthew 6:25, ESV

We should make sure we are good stewards, but our focus in life should be the Lord. What are we doing for Jesus to the glory of the Father?

Look to our Creator and Provider. He alone can calm our fears and anxieties.

VerseD: Philippians 4:6

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6, ESV

It can be hard to NOT worry in life. However, if we continuously draw near God through prayer and thank Him for everything in life – even the hard stuff – we will find His strength keeping us afloat and beyond worry.

VerseD: Isaiah 29:13

And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
Isaiah 29:13, ESV

Do not worry about what the majority says, and traditions can be good. But if anything contradicts His Word or leads people into temptation and sin, it is our fearing men and their teachings.

We must rely on the Word of God.