Good morning everyone. So for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the MCU, the name Loki may be familiar to you. In mythology, he is the Norse god of mischief but on cinema, played by Tom Hiddleston, Loki turned out to be one of the most well-known and well-loved characters in the MCU. And the second series of his Disney plus show just ended and without spoiling anything for those who have not watched it yet, in the finale episode, Loki finally embraces what may be termed as his glorious purpose.
Like Loki, believers in Jesus have been entrusted with a glorious purpose and that is to be His witness and to proclaim the gospel to the world. Please open your Bibles with me to Matthew chapter 10. We’ll be reading from verses 24-33. Again, it’s Matthew 10: 24-33. We’ll be reading from the English Standard Version. Hear now the words of our true and living God. “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. 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.
Let him who has ears hear what the spirit has to say to the churches. Let’s pray. Our great God and gracious Father, we thank You for this morning that You’ve gathered us once again to worship You in spirit and in truth and to ascend your Holy Mountain of Zion to be fed by You and to just spend the day in worship and in fellowship with one another. Lord, thank You so much for everyone who’s here and we also lift up in prayer even those of our brethren who have been providentially hindered. I pray that they’ll be able to partake of the private means of grace even today. Lord, thank You so much as well for our study this morning about what it is that we ought to fear and what we ought to be bold about. Lord, speak into our circumstances and I pray that Your people would not be hindered from hearing your message for us for this morning. We give back all the glory, praise and honour in Jesus’ Name, amen and amen.
So we’re in our series of the Gospel of Matthew. By way of recap, if we’re dividing Matthew’s presentation of the life of Christ by theme, we would view this section which begins in this chapter, chapter 10 as presenting the King’s agenda. So the first section which dealt with the genealogy of Christ and His birth would be something along the lines of the King’s arrival and then the next section which included The Sermon on the Mount would be something along the lines of the King’s announcement . That’s where the sermon of the mount happens and there’s also a demonstration of Christ’s sovereignty: sovereignty over sickness, sovereignty over nature, over the spiritual realm and even more importantly His absolute authority over sin and death.
Now in our current study, He commissions His disciples for the first time tearing them up and giving them instructions as to how to do ministry for the very first time. This would be their on the job training so to speak. As prior to this, they’ve been learning from Jesus and have not done any kind of ministry like this before. And after giving them specific instructions as to where to go and where not to go, what to proclaim, who to heal, what to bring, what to leave behind, where to stay and how to leave if they’re not welcomed. Jesus tells them what will most likely happen to them when they undertake this mission for that first time and also in the future, okay. He doesn’t want them to go into this without knowing what awaits them so He warns them you will be persecuted. The obeying Christ would result in their persecution but that they would not be alone — the Spirit of the Father would speak through them and of course we now know this is no less than the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit. And so the call for them is to be faithful in this task, no matter the discouragements, no matter the setbacks no matter the outcome because the results are in God’s hands and all God needs them to do is for them to be obedient and to be faithful. And this was what we discussed last week. And our passage for this morning continues on this trend. Now today we find that this glorious purpose that God has prepared for His disciples to participate in, is something that may trigger fears in them.
And so Jesus goes to great lengths to quiet their fears by repeatedly telling them do not fear and also by telling them fear no one else but God. Because if they rightfully fear God, then and only then can we live life fearlessly which is why our message is this: Fear God Then Live Life Fearlessly, Secure In The Knowledge He Deeply Cares For You. Again fear God, then live life fearlessly, secure in the knowledge that He deeply cares for you. Katakutan mo ang Diyos at mamuhay ka ng walang takot, panatag sa kaalamang lagi Siyang nagmamalasakit sa iyo. And we’ll be discussing this in two points. The first one is Terrible Times Ahead. And it will answer the question what awaits those whom God appointed to proclaim His gospel, what happens to those who will undertake this glorious purpose, and this is what we will answer in the first point.
And our second point is this: The Fear That Frees. Now the statement may sound paradoxical after all, to be gripped by fear is to be prisoned by it. To have fear is to be enslaved by it and yet in our passage is found a Biblical principle that teaches us who or what to fear and then by doing so, we would then be enabled to live fearless. And that is what we will look into the second point the fear that frees.
So let us begin. In verse 24, we find 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 here we find that how the world treated Christ will be how they will also treat his servants. Jesus in commissioning His 12 Apostles gives them a magnificent purpose and that is to serve serve as witnesses to His excellencies, His mercies, His grace, and to proclaim citizenship into His kingdom that is not earned by generation or by being born to a certain nation or ethnicity. But it’s proclaiming a citizenship that is gained by regeneration, by repentance and faith to the person and work of Jesus. And it is a wonderful and worthwhile mission to spend one’s life on. To declare to people of all nations tribes and tongue, that even though sin separates humanity from a thrice holy God, there is a guaranteed way for humanity to be reconciled to Him and to have peace with Him. However, it does not involve our own merits or our own good works, but complete faith and trust in Someone else’s work and that is of course Jesus Christ. And what honour was given to them in being commissioned to do so. Imagine this: on the one hand, they were granted authority to cast out demons, heal the sick, raise the dead and even cleanse lepers. But while this is happening, on the other hand, they were also instructed don’t bring money, or don’t receive pay, don’t bring a bag or extra tunic, don’t even have a staff to help you walk or defend yourself, no extra sandals, but you have to rely on people’s generosity and hospitality which paints a picture for us that even as Christ empowers His disciples and His Apostles to do special work to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom, it is still a lesson on complete dependence on God because they would have to rely on the providence of God on where God would allow them to rest, to sleep, to take refuge and to preach. However, this glorious purpose will put them at odds with the world’s systems and even the world’s values and ultimately its authorities, right. These authorities and worldly powers do not welcome what they will deem as a usurpation or an encroachment to their hold on power. And therein lies the conflict. Imagine the full weight of the world’s systems and beliefs being brought to bear in opposition to you? Imagine trying to persuade people who are in their natural state are hostile to your message even though the message that you bring is a message of peace and reconciliation and goodwill toward men.
Imagine the difficulty of that. And that is what the gospel message is. It is a beautiful message and yet the opposition of the world is strong. The gospel is the greatest good we can proclaim to rebellious sinners who will one day face the just Creator. And the gospel is the greatest good we can do to the world that will have a lasting legacy and eternal ramifications. But again, the world will not be welcoming to it. And so Jesus is telling them the world will oppose you, the world will persecute you, the world will malign you as they did me. Slander, lies and libel are in the cards for Christ’s followers. Jesus, the begotten Son of God, the second person of the Trinity and the promised Messiah had a perfect ministry, right. Everything that Jesus set out to accomplish for our salvation, He accomplished the first time that He came here. And when I say perfect, I also meant the fact, by the fact that Jesus was a perfect Teacher. He knew exactly what to say to people at any point in time. He can see through their hearts their intentions. Nothing was hidden from His sight. All of their hidden motives, all of the sins that they were hiding in their hearts, even the reasons that they had for asking Him questions, He knew all of them. And Jesus spoke the words that they needed to hear the most at the perfect time that they needed to hear it. And what was their response? They slandered Christ, they rejected Christ and they even said that Christ was able to do all of His miraculous works because of the demonic. Jesus warned His disciples of what’s to come but Jesus still expected their complete obedience to do the task He set out for them. And so we have to understand that believers are expected to follow Christ even through ridicule and persecution. Now this is surprising because Jesus could have said when things get too difficult, when things become too uncomfortable, when things get too hairy for you and you start to fear for your life and your safety, you have my permission to abandon the mission. He could have said that. But that’s not something that we find here in scripture. No such statement was made to them, no such out was given to them. Jesus’s description, rather Jesus empathically tells them I am sending you out a sheep in the midst of wolves. Imagine that description: sheep versus wolves; that’s predator versus prey rather predator versus prey. Wolves are the predator, sheep are the prey. It’s not even an equal footing. It’s not as if oh this is your strength and you have comparative strength and then if you have a collision, if you clash against each other, you’ll have a fighting chance.. no! You’re sheep and then you’re being sent out to wolves. And yet they’re not even allowed to defend themselves physically but the weapons that they had were to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. I mean it’s not a fair fight. In a clash between prey and predator, there will be a massacre of prey if they do not manage to run away. And yet that’s the picture that Christ paints for them. It’s a very stark, it’s a very horrible picture. Jesus continues to paint a picture of worst case scenarios to prepare them for the worst that could happen to them. Yet Christ’s expectation in saying this is not to dissuade them from the task but He is giving them so that they can count the cost of what it means to be Christ’s follower. All of the things that Jesus told them, He said not so they can choose to abandon Christ and walk away from Him, but so they will enter into the mission and the ministry with eyes wide open. Mulat yung mata nila. Hindi sila magugulat kung ano’ng mangyayari sa kanila. Because Jesus already outlined the worst that could happen to them. It could result in their safety being taken away from them, it will result in them being placed before authorities, being persecuted, being beaten and even death and martyrdom. This was not a glamorous assignment. This will not bring them wealth or fame or make them establish their brand or bring them social capital or currency that they can trade upon. Jesus also told them you will be hated for my sake. When this happens, take note, it’s a question of when not if…when this happens to us now. What do we do? Brothers and sisters I would like to challenge you that when we are persecuted, that we rejoice that we are found worthy to suffer for the gospel and for Christ. Now we have to understand this is not a call for us to be masochists. Christians are not called to be seekers of suffering, rather we are called to be witnesses of Christ nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. However, it does not mean that we are to shy away from from that calling when there is the possibility of persecution. Even in the face of persecution, we must still move forward and obey. This is also not about having a victim mentality that we always see ourselves as the oppressed just because we follow Christ. True, the world hates God; true the world is very, very, very tolerant and accepting of all sinful lifestyles and world views and philosophies and religions except for Christianity. If you are a Christian you will likely be labeled as a bigot, a hypocrite, a hater, on the wrong side of history, stuck in the past, intolerant, sexist and other choice words. But just because the world freely welcomes and embraces all other viewpoints except the Christian world view, does not mean we get to wallow and feel sorry for ourselves because boohoo, the world is against us, okay. We’d like to offer a reality check as well. We must be careful to identify if we are facing opposition because of our witness of the gospel and our faithful proclamation of it or because we’re being jerks and difficult people. We must be sober enough to assess if the reason why people avoid us is simply because we are unpleasant to be with. And that is why they’d rather not spend time with us. It may be people just don’t like you because you’re rude, insensitive or have an abrasive personality. Huwag naman natin isipin oh, I’m being persecuted because of my faith. Hindi! Pangit lang talaga ugali mo, okay. And if you discover that, brethren and friends, mortify that sin and ask God to make you a better witness for Him.
That you would not serve to shame the gospel but that you would be able to shine Christ’s light to others. When we are called to rejoice in suffering, it is in the understanding that all these things are not purposeless and that they are not useless. For all of God’s beloved: trials are a crucible for us to be refined and conformed more to the image of Christ. It is God’s tool to strengthen our dependence on Him to strip us of our pride and self dependence, to reveal the hidden and remaining sins and besetting evil desires in our hearts. And is also a way for us to glorify God more in our lives when we respond in faith and not resort to our own wisdom and devices. A God-glorifying and edifying response to persecution would show that whatever our “God ordains is right”, is an actual reality to us and not just a platitude we sing about.
What is beautiful about Christ’s command for us to follow Him even through suffering is that Christ Himself demonstrated His resolve to go through suffering by willingly obeying the Father and dying on the cross for the sins of those who will have faith in Him. You remember Christ’s prayer? If possible, take this cup away from me, yet not My will but Your will be done. And then Christ obeyed.
Christ experienced fear and extreme anxiety so much so that He sweat a drops of blood. I mean no other human before or after experienced that in history, at least not in recorded history. Yet, and again, Christ prayed if possible Lord, alisin Niyo… but He knew He had to and so He did. And so Christ command that we follow Him and suffer with Him is not something that He gives lightly but something that He understands deeply and it’s something that He also experienced and He undertook. And if our Lord and Saviour Christ did that, can we do anything less? But incase when something is as extreme as death, we would be forgiven if fear suddenly gripped our hearts which brings us to our next point the Fear That Frees.
Verse 26 of our passage and the succeeding verses tells us “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. 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. In Psalm, Jesus is telling us do not fear men who can only harm you physically but fear God who can cast you away eternally. Now let’s talk about fear for a moment.
Fear is a very powerful emotion. It’s raw, it’s primeval and it’s actually an instinctual response that is linked to our fight or flight instinct or behaviour, right. It is a very fundamental response that is triggered when there is a perceived threat or danger that may threaten our life or safety. That’s how fundamental it is. Fear is something that we deal with from childhood to adulthood… it’s not something that you can shed at a certain age in your life. It doesn’t matter if you present yourself as confident, mature, cool, calm and collected, if something you fear crosses your mind or catches the attention of your senses, it will trigger a response from you, okay. Thought experiment, what if biglang may ipis na lumipad dito? I’m sure may titili; I’m sure may tatayo, may tatakbo sa exit, either way, may response na mangyayari, okay. Walang matigas na lalaki sa lumilipad na ipis. So in short, everyone experiences fear in some level or to some extent. For sojourners who do not belong to this world, facing the world’s continued hostility to the gospel may trigger fear of opposition, the fear of man or the fear of uncertainty. For followers of Christ who still have to contend with the presence of sinful, selfish desires, there will always be a battle within against our own fears. Fear is not just something that’s triggered from outside. It can also happen inside. So the question is how do we deal with it?
Now Jesus rightly recognises the very real threat that fear can present to people. Even absent threats to safety. If you’re like in the most secure room in the world, a person that is gripped by fear will be ineffective in obeying Christ’s mandate to proclaim the gospel. That’s how powerful fear is. Even if you’re just frozen and paralysed by your own thoughts, real or imagined, it will have real world consequences to your thoughts and your actions. Again, fear can be real or imagined, but once it takes hold of us, it can be difficult to shake off. That’s why Jesus addresses their fears with repeated reassurances and it is one of the reasons why Jesus enumerates the possible horrors that they may face. By naming them out loud, Jesus is bringing them to light and it is the first step of freeing them from the grip of fear that they may experience. Do you realise how unburdening it is to say things out loud, to acknowledge that these are actual fears, to acknowledge that these are actual threats that could happen to you, instead of just imagining them in your mind. That’s what Jesus was also doing here. Jesus is reassuring them: I am very much aware of what’s going to happen to you guys and you don’t have to worry, I am on top of it and I am in control.
These are things that Jesus has a solution for, these are problems that Jesus has an answer for. So Jesus tells his Apostles and disciples in three different ways, have no fear.
Now we know if something is repeated in Scripture, it is of utmost importance. It’s scripture telling us pay attention to this; take note of this, listen carefully to this, obey this. And Jesus is saying to the apostles and even to us today in not so many words do not fear. And the first fear that He addresses is the fear of failure, right. Why should we not fear? And Jesus’s answer is because no one can stop the proclamation of my gospel. The things that are covered in hidden, speak of the things that Jesus has been teaching them in private. How do we know this? Because we are told: what I have told you in the dark, see in the light. What you have heard in whispers, shout from the housetops… meaning the private and secret things they’ve been learning from Jesus are the things that they will be proclaiming when they are sent out. Jesus was telling them no one will be able to stop you from proclaiming my message. Not Satan, not demons, not hostile people, not religious authorities, not civil authorities, no one. My word shall be proclaimed and my word shall not return void. Only be bold and be faithful. You have to understand the gospel proclaimed and lived out will act as a very powerful testimony to the life-changing… life-saving and life- changing transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus. And no lies or opposition from the world can overturn that.
Another fear that Jesus addresses is the fear of man. Jesus solution to this don’t fear man, fear God. I mean if we really think about it, it is freeing to realise that we only need be afraid of God. That we only need to have reverential fear of the Lord. God is the absolute authority over all the universe and over all creation. He’s the Sovereign Ruler of all and nothing, absolutely nothing happens without His say so and without His permission. So really… our fears whether they are real or imagined, they fail in comparison to a real God. If we are in Terror of offending a holy God, if we have careful and proper reverence for the Creator, we are better off than those who live as if there is no God and they have no one to answer to come Judgment day. To fear God is to know wisdom. Scripture tells us the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fearing God is the key to being fearless. If we have a proper re reverential fear of the Lord, then knowing that He holds everything together and that history unfolds according to His plan and purpose and that nothing can thwart His plan or stay His hand, it will give us the confidence to obey Him. Knowing that if something would ever happen to us, it happened because God allowed it, because God permitted it. Nothing touches us and reaches us without God allowing it and nothing happens to us, except that which accomplishes God’s intended purpose in our lives. That is the reason why we can say “walang tapon yung lahat ng nangyayari sa ating buhay. Hindi natin pwedeng sabihing…we cannot say that things happen by accident, the things are happening without purpose, that things are just happening to us. No! Everything happens because God says so. Imagine how freeing is that.. how great a burden is taken away from us. You don’t have to fear humans anymore.
You don’t have to fear facing people of different social standing because you’ll know and understand kahit gaano kataas, kahit gaano kababa yung kanilang posisyon sa buhay, every one of them needs the Lord. Knowing that God’s eye is upon us and that everywhere we are, everywhere we may be, we are Coram Deo, in the presence of God. How would that transform the way that we live? How would that make us careful in our undertaking and in our actions?
We are told to fear God because He can destroy both body and soul. In saying this, God’s power is presented as surpassing those of the world who have the power of the sword, and yet it’s also presenting the power of God as similar in kind to how the world builds it, okay. But then Jesus says in the gentlest way that God is not like human authorities which is how the third fear is addressed:
The Fear Of Uncertainty. We are told God cares for even the most insignificant things on this world. The example of the sparrow was given: a bird that is so cheap that either five of them or two of them are sold for a penny. And sparrows are what the poorest of the poor can buy that will serve as their offering during the time of the temple sacrifice. And yet we are told not one of those sparrows die without God’s say so. Even the hairs on our head, God knows the exact number which speaks of the intimacy that God knows His beloved people. Sa sobra yung pagkakilala ng Diyos sa iyo na higit pa sa pagkakakilala mo sa sarili mo. Violence and death are real threats to the disciples during their time and it may become a real threat to us in our time. That is not something that we should be burdened with the most because the one who has the ultimate authority over our lives is concerned for us and He loves us with an everlasting love. Totoo, there’s a possibility of dying or suffering for the faith. Maybe not now, but in the near future. But the reality is this: even as these threats are real, it is equally true and even better that the Creator God set His affection on His people. He’s concerned for our well-being and He’s watching over us closely.
And so understanding all of these things, may all of us be willing to suffer everything for the sake of the Gospel knowing that Christ Himself suffered death for our salvation. Brothers and sisters, are you afraid to proclaim the gospel to others because you may fail? Jesus says do not fear, my word will not return empty. And Jesus is saying don’t worry about the outcome; your job is to proclaim the gospel, my job is to call people to myself. Are you afraid of men about what they can do to you? Fear God and be fearless. Scripture tells us “if God is for us, who can be against us?” The implication being the world may stand against us and indeed the world stands against us. But in light of our Ally, the God of the universe Himself, God Himself, what threat can the world pose against us? Are we afraid because of uncertainty for the future because everything’s getting harder and we’re not sure what the future holds? Then find comfort that God is the God who ordained history. And if you are in Christ, His love, His affection, His care, and His concern is directed towards you as His beloved child. You don’t need to know the future for yourself when you very well know who holds the future in His hands. I believe it is God’s providence that we are discussing, the necessity of the proclamation of the Gospel in a season in our country where we celebrate the birth of Christ, right. It’s providential. There are opportune moments when talking about Jesus and the gospel is amenable to people and this is one of those times to do so. After all, pinangangalandakan naman natin, the reason why you have Christmas is because of Christ. And so it’s easier for us to talk about these things to our loved ones, to our friends.
Brothers and sisters, I’m encouraging each one of us, especially in the coming days and weeks…when we have our family reunions, when we have our gatherings, when we have our parties, use this time to speak about Christ. Invite people to church. If they’re not available on a Sunday, do personal evangelism, ask how people are, kamustahin mo sila and then ask how you may be able to pray for them. These people usually are open when you ask them how you may pray for them. And in all this, don’t let fear stop you from speaking out. Instead, be bold, knowing that God will be the one to work in in people’s lives when they hear His message of salvation. Friend, if you’re listening today and even now, you are unsure about your standing with God, listen carefully God is a holy God who will one day call everyone to account for all of their deeds. Now, you may have done some good in your life, I will not discount that ,but even on your best day, even presenting all the best works that you have done in your life, it will never be good enough to make you stand before God’s holy judgment. After all, when you are faced before the holy Judge, you are judged not on your good works, but because you have broken a law. You cannot come before a judge even on our Liv and tell the judge: I know I’ve done wrong. But maybe in light of everything else that I’ve done that’s good, you can just dismiss my case. The judge will laugh at you because the reason you’re put before them is if you’ve done something wrong. And it’s also the same with the righteous Judge. You’ll be judged not on the good that you have done, but on whatever offense you have committed before a holy God. And so abandon your hope of being able to stand before God on your own merit. But rather cast yourself humbly before Jesus. Repent of your sins and trust that Jesus is the only one who can reconcile you to God. That Jesus is the only Mediator between God and man. And He’s the only one who can bring peace to you and to God. There are two paths and choices open for us today. To fear God as in try to run away from Him all the days of your life. But one day, you will be face to face with Him and you will be naked with your sins. The other is to fear God reverentially, acknowledging that it is He who can forgive you of your sins and make you live fearlessly. Friend, the choice is yours. I implore you and I encourage you, choose wisely and choose to reverentially fear God and thereby gain wisdom, mercy and life.
In talking about people who are willing to suffer for the gospel, I’m reminded of a story of John Gibson Paton. Gibson Paton was a Scottish missionary of the Reformed Presbyterian Church to the South Pacific island of New Hebrides or present day, Vanuatu. So if you’re familiar with the map, it’s found in Melanesia somewhere off the coast of Australia. So his life was marked with pain and suffering and yet he continued to serve the Lord faithfully through all of life’s seasons. Let me share a little bit about him. So when he first arrived in Vanuatu or New Hebrides, as it was called then, his wife Mary was pregnant. So you can imagine the joy that they had in, you know, arriving in a new place with an upcoming blessing, okay. But their happiness and their Joy was short-lived.
His wife became sick and died a few weeks later. And here’s what he said and I quote: “Then in a moment altogether unexpectedly, she, talking about his wife, died on March 3rd. To Crown my sorrows and to complete my loneliness, the dear baby boy whom we had named after her father, Peter Robert Robson was taken from me after one week’s sickness on the 20th of March. Let those who have ever passed through any similar darkness as of midnight feel for me. As for all others, it would be more than vain to. paint my sorrows. Ramdam niyo lang ho yung pighati niya, the grief that he’s feeling. There’s joy and then a short live time later, his wife succumbs to illness and then the son also succumbs to illness and they both die. After he buried his wife and baby, he said, this is what it says: stunned by that dreadful loss in entering upon this field of labour to which the Lord had Himself so evidently led me, my reason seem for a time almost to give way. The ever merciful Lord sustained me. But for Jesus and the fellowship he vouched safe for me there, I must have gone mad and died beside the lonely grave. Grabe ano ho? Ramdam niyo ho yung lungkot niya. If it were not for the mercy of the Lord, namatay na lang ho siya dun sa kung saan niya nilibing yung kaniyang mag-ina. And then a few months later, this is what he wrote: feeling immovably assured that my God and Father was too wise and loving to err in anything that He does or permits. I look up to the Lord for help and struggled on in His work. You have asked me why was it that after trial, after trial, after trial, heartbreak after heartbreak, problem after problem, he was able to continue serving the Lord amidst all of those things? You know what his simple answer was? He believed with all of his heart what Christ promised in the Great Commission: “behold I am with you always.” Through the death of his wife, through the death of his son, through the depression and continuing to labour for the work of the Lord, he was able to soldier on because he understood and he held on to the promise of Christ “behold I will be with you always.”
Brothers and sisters, if we fear God, then we can truly live fearless. We have to be bold in acknowledging and in proclaiming Christ in His gospel knowing that if we do so, Jesus will also acknowledge us before our heavenly Father. In this, may God cause us to be faithful.
Let us pray. Our great God and gracious Father, we thank You once again for Your reminder to each one of us of the glorious purpose that You have entrusted to us and that is to extol the excellencies of Christ and to proclaim His gospel to this dying world. Lord, I know that our fears can be real or imagined but whatever they may be, You have an answer to them and I pray that we would truly take hold of Your promises and take comfort in what You said not to fear because we will never be alone, because you’ll always be with us. And even in times when we will be pushed to the breaking point, we will still not be alone because Your Spirit will be there to minister to us and You’ll be the one to empower us to speak Your words of truth to people. Lord, I pray for each one of us even as we continue to worship and fellowship today, that You’ll be the one to sustain us. Lord, thank You so much because we know that where Your presence is, there is freedom. We give you back all the glory, praise and honour in Jesus’ Name we pray, amen and amen.