9.28.22

Living a Fearless Life

 

1 Peter 3:14-16 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

Is 8:12-14 12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he will become a sanctuary…

Team I am very thankful to get to come together this Wednesday.  What a blessing it is that at the mid-point of every week our company takes time to encourage us to hit the reset button and remember where our help comes from.  This is a beautiful time to pause, meditate on truth, learn, and be strengthened by God for the good He has left for us to do today and every day.

            I had a completely different message I was meditating on this morning until I heard this encouragement from Dr. John Piper on living a fearless life on his Ask Pastor John daily podcast.  I would highly recommend this to you as a 10-15 min brief message answering practical daily questions on the Christian life.  The question he was answering was concerning how, as some translations say it, we are to “sanctify Christ” in our hearts from 1 Peter 3:15.  His joy and zeal over addressing this issue inspired me so much I pivoted to wanting to share it with you today!

            As Pastor John pointed out, the 1 Peter 3:15 phrase honor Christ the Lord as holy is a direct translation from Is 8:13 (it is easier to see this in the original manuscripts) where Isaiah says to not be in dread of the world but instead to honor the Lord as holy.  Peter takes the same passage and where in the OT it has the official name of God, he inserts Jesus. This is a beautiful picture to us of the trinity of the God head and of the continuity between the OT and the NT.  And the point of the message in Peter to his audience, the point of the message of Isaiah to his audience, and both of their points to our audience today are all the same!  The command to not fear is given more than any other command in the Bible (365 times exactly-one command a day for us to hold onto!), and these passages tell us how!!

            When we honor Christ our Lord, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit (the one true God) in our hearts as holy, when we fear Him and highly esteem Him in our deepest parts of who we are, the dread of man disappears.  When Is 2:22 says Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?” it is not disregarding the value of humanity.  No, the Bible highly values mankind more than all of God’s creation.  What it is doing is HIGHLY valuing God.  The answer to not fearing man does not look like putting man down, but instead rightly realizing how mighty, how magnificent, how powerful, how beautiful, how wise, and how omnipresent our God truly is.  This is seeing the world and reality rightly.  When we do this, the fear of man falls away!  Jesus tells us in Matt 10:28 not to fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Jesus is doing the same thing that Peter and Isaiah are!  Our lives are extremely valuable, but how much more valuable is our eternal soul??

            So, when we feel the fear of man coming on in a way that makes us want to cower or lose heart, we need to remember how mighty is the Lord who we serve!  The one who promises to never leave us nor forsake us, the one who commands us to abide in Him and as we do He will indeed indwell in and strengthen us, is the mighty one of old.  Jeremiah 20:11 says But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.”  Romans 8:31 asks an appropriate question here, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”  I say amen!  When we have trusted in the good news of the Lord Jesus’s sacrificial death and triumph over death in His resurrection and ascension, His many promises to be with us become a reality.  When we honor Him in our hearts as holy and fear His commands greater than man’s threats, He becomes our sanctuary to where no persecution, even if it is to death itself, can touch us. 

            Let us walk in the fearless communion with our Lord today.  Let us be ready with kindness to look into the face of any adversity or persecution and live in such a way where people will have to ask, where do you get this hope of yours??  Then let us boast in the name of the Lord our God with gentleness and respect.

            Amen, let us pray: