Facing Our Fears in the Traumatic Experience

Bible Book: Matthew  10 : 25-31
Subject: Fear; Halloween
Series: Facing Our Fears

During the month of October, in the weeks leading up to Halloween, our society capitalizes on a fascination with fear. Whether it is the horror films that are shown in abundance or the seemingly innocent practice of letting children put on a scary costume, the things that are fearful and frightening take center stage.

But fear is nothing to be trifled with. And this thing called “fear” has grown to the point in today’s culture so that it rules our emotions, not just for one month but year-round.

I recently read the book Fearless by Max Lucado in which he said…

They’re talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare-ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market, upswings in global warming, breakouts of al Qaeda cells. Some demented dictator is collecting nuclear warheads the way others collect fine wines. A strain of swine flu is crossing the border. The plague of our day, terrorism, begins with the word terror. News programs disgorge enough hand-wringing information to warrant an advisory: “Caution: this news report is best viewed in the confines of an underground vault in Iceland.”

We fear being sued, finishing last, going broke; we fear the mole on the back, the new kid on the block, the sound of the clock as it ticks us closer to the grave. We sophisticate investment plans, create elaborate security systems, and legislate stronger military, yet we depend on mood-altering drugs more than any other generation in history. Moreover, “ordinary children today are more fearful than psychiatric patients were in the 1950s.”

Someone has said that “Courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of fear.” And the one that brings mastery over our fears is none other than the Lord Jesus.

In the previous passage, in Matthew 10:16-24, Jesus is certainly speaking of fearful times for believers. As He describes a world that is hateful and antagonistic towards His people, He paints a picture of a dangerous world; a world in which His flock is threatened by wolves (vs. 16), persecuted even in the ranks of religion (vs. 17) and government (vs. 19). He mentions being betrayed by family (vs. 21) and hated by society (vs. 22).

But He says in the face of such persecution, that the believer should…

Maintain Their Wisdom (vs. 16-b)

Maintain Their Witness (vs. 19-20)

Maintain Their Walk (vs. 23)

Some writers suggest that the things that Jesus describes here must refer to the saved of the Tribulation period. However, such antagonism towards true Christianity is certainly a reality in this present, evil world.

In writing of the passage before us today, Warren Wiersbe said…

While the truths in this section would apply to God’s servants during any period of Bible history, they seem to have a special significance for the church today. The emphasis is, “Fear not!” (Matthew 10:26, 28, 31) The particular fear Christ discussed is explained in Matthew 10:32-33: the fear of confessing Christ openly before men. God has no “secret service.” The public confession of faith in Christ is one evidence of true salvation (Romans 10:9-10). Several reasons show why we must not be afraid to openly confess Christ…

Suffering is to be expected (vv. 24-25).

God will bring everything to light (vv. 26-29).

We fear God alone (v. 28).

God cares for His own (vv. 29-31).

In this message that brings peace to our panic…

I. Jesus Addressed The Fear Of Being Maligned

(Matthew 10:25–26)

To “malign” is to make evil, harmful, and often untrue statements about someone. It is to speak evil of someone. The one who maligns another is evil or injurious in their disposition, their nature, or their intent. They are showing ill will and malice and malevolence towards another.

A. Vituperation When Hostile Things Are Expected

There Will Be A Time Of Vituperation When The Hostile Things Are Expected

(Matthew 10:25) It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

(vituperation – an outburst of violently abusive or harshly critical language)

When He said “It is enough,” He meant that this is satisfactory. He said that they would call the master (speaking of Himself) Beelzebub. And Albert Barnes said…

By giving the name to Christ, they poured upon him the greatest possible abuse and contempt.

John MacArthur wrote…

A disciple’s single, overriding purpose is to emulate his teacher. It is enough for him to become as his teacher, not only in the teacher’s wisdom and character but also in the teacher’s treatment. … The logical result of being like Christ is being treated like Christ. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household. … Beelzebul (sometimes found as “Beelzebub” or “Baalzebub”) was originally the name of a pagan Canaanite deity. … Because he was an especially despicable deity, his name had long been used by Jews as an epithet for Satan. Jesus’ point was that, if people called Him Satan, they would surely call His disciples the same thing. The Pharisees had already done precisely that when they accused Jesus of casting “out the demons by the ruler of the demons” (Matthew 9:34), who was often referred to as Beelzebul (Mark 3:22; cf. Matthew 12:24). Jesus repeated this general warning to the disciples many times. … In one of His last discourses He told them, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).

B. Vindication When Hidden Things Are Exposed

There Will Be A Time Of Vindication When The Hidden Things Are Exposed

(Matthew 10:26) Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says…

The day is coming when all hidden things shall be disclosed, everything seen as it is, and everyone have his due.

The final verdict is not in yet. Listen to what Paul said…

(1 Corinthians 4:3-5) But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. {4} For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. {5} Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

Craig S. Keener wrote that…

Everything would come to light on the day of judgment, as was widely agreed; there was therefore no point in concealing anything now. The flat rooftops (vs. 27, cf. Luke 12:3) provided the best place for shouting messages out over the crowded streets. (From the IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament)

Cf. (Luke 12:3) Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

The primary application is that the truth of the saints’ integrity would be revealed. But it is also true that the deceptive, destructive things of those who hinder the cause of Christ will be made public. The truth will all come out one day.

MacArthur said…

Believers should never be afraid of the world because they know God will one day vindicate them.

Barnes said…

It is probable that the declaration, There is nothing covered, etc., was a proverb among the Jews. By it our Saviour meant that their “innocence,” their “principles,” and their “integrity,” though then the world might not acknowledge them, in due time would be revealed, or God would vindicate them.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the world thinks about me, or what you think about me. Jesus said…

(Matthew 5:11-12) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. {12} Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

II. Jesus Addressed The Fear Of Being Murdered

(Matthew 10:27–28)

A. Notice That The Message Must Be Proclaimed

(Matthew 10:27) What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

John MacArthur wrote…

There are to be no secrets in Christianity. What the Lord has, in effect, revealed to us in the darkness we are to speak in the light; and what has been whispered in [our] ear we are to proclaim upon the housetops.

Fraternal orders and lodges that have secret rites and ceremonies have no part in the work of Christ’s kingdom, no matter how much they may try to defend their religious purposes and standards. All spiritual and moral truth that man needs to know and can know God has already fully made known; and His desire is for that truth to be proclaimed, not hidden. Christians are not elite defenders of man-made secrets but bold proclaimers of God-given truth. Secrecy has no part in the gospel.

As His followers study, meditate, and pray over God’s Word in solitude and in the company of fellow believers, God opens up His truth to their hearts and minds. But what is learned in those places of figurative darkness, hidden from the world, the child of God is then to speak in the light of open proclamation. What we figuratively hear whispered in [our] ear we are then to proclaim upon the housetops.

During New Testament times Jewish rabbis would often train their students to speak by standing beside them and whispering in their ears. What the student heard whispered he would then speak aloud. What the Lord has, in effect, whispered in our ears through His Word we are to speak aloud to the world, holding nothing back. What the Lord has made known to us, we are to make known to others.

B. Notice That Martyrdom May Be Possible

(Matthew 10:28) And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

kill – Greek 615. apokteino, ap-ok-ti'-no; from G575 and kteino (to slay); to kill outright; fig. to destroy:--put to death, kill, slay.

It was A. T. Robertson who said that the mention of the “soul” speaks…

Here of the eternal spirit, not just life in the body. “Destroy” here is not annihilation, but eternal punishment in Gehenna (the real hell).

MacArthur said…

There may be a price to pay for speaking God’s truth in the light and proclaiming it from the housetops. As Paul determined to go to Jerusalem despite many warnings from his friends, “a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us,” Luke reports, “he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, ‘This is what the Holy Spirit says: “In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles’” (Acts 21:10-11). When his friends began crying at the news, Paul said, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 13). Paul had no fear of those who could only kill the body.

MacArthur further said…

Fear is used here in two senses. The first has to do with fright and terror, while the second has to do with awe and veneration. But this fear (the second) is not that of terror or fright, but of reverential awe and honor. It is not that a believer is in danger of having his soul and body cast into hell, because his eternal destiny is heaven. God’s ability to destroy both soul and body in hell is mentioned here only to contrast His unlimited and permanent power with Satan’s limited and temporary power. God is the only One who can determine and bring to pass the destiny of souls and bodies. Reverence of God in His sovereign majesty is a powerful motivation for Christians to serve Him and to be fearless of any earthly, physical consequences that service may bring. The power of human threats seems rather puny in comparison to the power of God’s promises.

The 17th century English author William Gurnall said, “We fear men so much because we fear God so little.”

In his Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations, Paul Lee Tan includes the following story…

Hugh Latimer, one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation in England, was appointed a royal chaplain to King Henry VIII. His bold and uncompromising preaching finally brought him into disfavor, and he was subsequently executed. One day, at the beginning of a sermon before the royal court, he exclaimed to himself: “Latimer, Latimer, thou art going to speak before the high and mighty king, Henry VIII, who is able, if he thinks fit, to take thy life away. Be careful what thou sayest. But Latimer, Latimer, remember also thou art about to speak before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Take heed thou does not displease Him.”

Let us fear God alone.

III. Jesus Addresses The Fear Of Being Meaningless

(Matthew 10:29–31)

A. Notice The Comparative Analogy That Is Mentioned Here

(Matthew 10:29) Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

Again, let me quote John MacArthur who wrote…

An assarion (farthing or cent) was the smallest coin in circulation in Jesus’ day and was worth one-sixteenth of a denarius, the average daily wage for a laborer. One such cent would buy two sparrows, which were as common and relatively valueless in New Testament times as they are today. … Yet not one sparrow will fall to the ground apart from your Father, Jesus says. This most insignificant of little birds cannot even fall without God’s knowledge. In some Greek usages, the word for fall is translated as “hop”—in which case a little sparrow cannot even hop on the ground without God’s knowledge!

Albert Barnes said…

He encourages them not to fear by two striking considerations: first, that God takes care of sparrows, the smallest and least valuable of birds; and, secondly, by the fact that God numbers even the hairs of the head. The argument is that if He takes care of BIRDS of the least value, if He regards so small a thing as the hair of the head, and numbers it, He will certainly protect and provide for you.

B. Notice The Comforting Assurance That Is Mentioned Here

(Matthew 10:30-31) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. {31} Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

MacArthur notes that…

God’s knowledge of us is so detailed and His interest in us is so keen that the very hairs of [our] head are all numbered. The average hair count on the human head is said to be about 140,000, which means that some people have many more hairs even than that. God, who has all knowledge of every person, illustrates that omniscience by this mundane and spiritually inconsequential bit of information pertaining to the number of hairs on a person’s head. If He takes notice of such things as that, how much more is He concerned about spiritual matters of far greater consequence?

He says the sparrows matter to God, but you matter so much more.

are of more value – Greek 1308. diaphero, dee-af-er'-o; from G1223 and G5342; to bear through, i.e. (lit.) transport; usually to bear apart, i.e. (obj.) to toss about (fig. report ); subj. to "differ," or (by impl.) surpass:--be better, carry, differ from, drive up and down, be (more) excellent, make matter, publish, be of more value.

Max Lucado writes…

Do we matter? We fear we don’t. We fear nothingness, insignificance. We fear evaporation. We fear that in the last tabulation we make no contribution to the final sum. We fear coming and going and no one knowing. That’s why it bothers us when a friend forgets to call or the teacher forgets our name or a colleague takes credit for something we’ve done. … They are affirming our deepest trepidation: no one cares, because we aren’t worth caring about. For that reason we crave the attention of our spouse or the affirmation of our boss, drop names of important people in conversations.


Max Lucado shared the following in his book Fearless…

Every year tens of thousands of women attend the Women of Faith conferences. One reason they do is to hear words of comfort. After hearing one speaker after another describe God’s compassion for each of his children, an attendee sent this e-mail.

In the movie Hook, Peter Pan had grown up, become old and overweight, and looked nothing like the Peter the lost boys knew. In the midst of the boys shouting that this was NOT Peter, one of the smallest boys took him by the hand and pulled him down to his level. He then placed his hands on Peter’s face and proceeded to move the skin around, reshaping his face. The boy looked into Peter’s eyes and said, “There you are, Peter!”

(This woman wrote) I brought a lot with me to Women of Faith, things that only God could see. But throughout the weekend I could feel God’s hands on my face, pushing away all of the “stuff” I had brought. And then I could hear Him say, “There you are. There you are!”

You matter to God! And don’t let circumstances or people convince you otherwise!

Because of this truth, can I just repeat what Jesus repeated three times in this passage?

Fear … not (vs. 26).

Fear not (vs. 28).

Fear … not (vs. 31).