The King Comforts | Matthew 10:26-33 (Mville)
July 6, 2014 Series: Mission of the King | Matthew Part II
Topic: New Testament Passage: Matthew 10:26–10:33
Mission of the King - The Book of Matthew Pt. 2
Wk7: The King Comforts - Matthew 10:26-33
Good morning, and welcome to Damascus Road Church this morning. My name is Randy, and I am one of the pastors here. We are currently working our way through the book of Matthew as a church, and today we are going to look at Matthew 10:26-33 together.
At this point in the book of Matthew, Jesus is in the middle of the second of five large blocks of teaching. Jesus’ sermon, if you will, is on the Mission of the Kingdom. Chapter 10 is specifically directed at the 12 disciples, whom Jesus is preparing to go on mission for the sake of the gospel. Last week, Pastor Chris preached on the cost of discipleship. Jesus spoke of beatings, persecution, fleeing from people that would want to cause them harm.
On the heels of that message is the text we have for this morning, and I do believe it is a text of great comfort. General Jesus is reminding the disciples of where their focus should be. It would have been a comfort for the disciples then, and is should be a comfort for us today. It might also kick us in the pants a little bit.
Mat 10:26-33 "So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. (27) What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. (28) 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. (29) Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. (30) But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (31) Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (32) So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, (33) but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Fear that stifles faith in God (v26-27)
(26) So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. (27) What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
The basic point I am going to try to make in this section is this… We, as the result of our fallen nature and our sinful choices, are prone to fear in such a way that it drives us away from the Father and greatly reduces our effectiveness in bringing the truth of the Gospel to the world.
Genesis 3:6-13, Let’s go back to the first time that the bible mentions fear.
(6) So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (7) Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. (8) And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (9) But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" (10) And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself." (11) He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" (12) The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." (13) Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
We see plainly the progression – All is good in God’s creation. Satan shows up and deceives Eve and Adam. They sin – breaking the one rule they had. It says their eyes were opened and they suddenly realized they were naked. So what do they do, they try to clothe themselves – with leaves. This is a sign of fear – they’re afraid of being seen naked. Things are falling off the rails quickly.
God then comes looking for them – what do they do? Rather than respond to God like they would have done every other time, they do what? They hide – they distance themselves from God. They then start blaming eachother, and Adam even blames God for his sin. We see the first effects of sin here: fear and relational distance. Also, God gave Adam and Eve work to do… how effective are they in doing this work now that they are so busy making loincloths and hiding in the bushes? They are off mission, not living out their purpose.
There are many ways that fear that can be sinful… but not all fear is sin. It’s important to know that it is not a sin to simply be afraid. The fear being addressed by Jesus here is having a heart opposed to acting in obedience to God when it is perceived that that obedience will come at a cost or threaten something you hold dear.
In Matthew 10, Jesus has just informed his 12 disciples about his plans for them in their first missionary journeys. He has given them specific instructions about what to do and has also warned them about some of the sufferings that await. He speaks of beatings, hatred, and persecution. He makes it clear – they will endure significant pain as the result of being Jesus’ ambassadors to the Jews.
Despite that, Jesus says in verse 26… “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” Look at the word ‘them’ in v26. When Jesus says ‘them’ in v26, it is plain that he’s referring to those who would be persecuting them as they went out. He says: have no fear because all that is hidden will be made known. Have no fear because he sees into eternity and has all of it figured out and under control… and has from eternity past.
Jesus is pointing us to a perspective that is eternal rather than temporal. There will come a day when God will judge the works of man and will ‘bring to light the things hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation. (1 Cor 4:5).
Jesus also makes a clear connection of the ‘have no fear’ mentality to faithful preaching of the gospel. V27 says, “What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.” The roofs of houses in that day were commonly used as platforms for delivering messages to large groups of people. Jesus is telling the disciples – do not be afraid, preach faithfully and preach boldly.
Perhaps the most significant barrier to our effectiveness in spreading the gospel is fear. Pro 29:25 The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe. Fear is a snare, something that traps us and entangles us. It keeps us from moving down the path we were on.
Jesus tells us about the extent of his control over his creation… to the point where a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground without his knowledge… or a hair doesn’t fall out of your head without him knowing it. Just imagine that… how many hairs have you lost this week? You have no idea, but he does. Does that bring you any comfort? It should. Romans 8 says that God works out all things for the good of those who love him. Can you believe that? Remember that Jesus is saying this to a group of 12 men… 10 were martyred, one committed suicide, and the last was exiled on an island as an old man.
The point is not that we should expect things to go the way we want them to. The point is that things will go how God wants them to.
So I ask you an important question regarding personal evangelism… what are we so afraid of? I have to admit – I have done a poor job of sharing my faith with friends and family. I have not been bold in opportunities to express myself. The reason is that I am fearful. This last week at work, there were at least three occasions where I felt the need to identify myself with Jesus. If I had not been working through this text, I probably would have kept quiet.
We do a poor job of fulfilling the mission that we have been given by Jesus as his disciples. I think we all want this church to grow, we all want the kingdom to increase… but how many of us are willing to preach the gospel to a lost and hurting world. Sometimes I think we all assume someone else is doing it, and so nobody really does. The role of the church is to equip the saints for ministry… the ministry of evangelism happens organically through relationships and one-on-one conversations. If you love Jesus, and you’re still breathing – he has a unique mission for you, and it’s not to sit on the sidelines.
Pray about who God would have you be more bold with. Maybe it’s a family member, or a friend, or that co-worker who is always telling you about how miserable their life is. Pray. Be bold. Plant seeds and see what happens when we stop being afraid of our mission.
What are we so afraid of?! Perhaps the key isn’t just lacking a fear of ‘them.’ Perhaps it is more about being afraid of God.
Fear that Fuels our Faith (Fear of God)
(28) 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.
Here Jesus tells us about a type of fear that we should have… he says to ‘fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.’ The question is, who is this referring to? The two obvious options are God and Satan. The same teaching is also recorded in Luke 12:4-5:
"I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. (5) But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!
The passage in Luke makes it clear – Jesus is saying we are to fear God. Only God has the authority described in this passage. Ephesians 1 says that God ‘chose us in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world.’ We know from Revelation 12 that Satan himself faces eternal punishment and torment in hell. Satan can only do what God permits him to do. The scriptures never once – as I read them – instruct us to fear Satan or demons.
Exploring fear of God…
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. (2) Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. (3) And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" (4) And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. (5) And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"
Psalm 2:11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Even in rejoicing, we should have a reverential fear of God that would cause us to tremble a bit.
Philippians 2:12-13 - …work out your salvation in fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Psalm 119: (v114) You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word… (v117) Uphold me according to your promise that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope! (117) Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually! … (v119) All of the wicked of the earth you discard like dross, therefore I love your testimonies. (120) My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.
These verses should be keying us into something significant: the fear we should have toward God is categorically different from the fear we have toward anything else. Notice the pairing of fear with terms like “Uphold me,” “I love your testimonies,” “hiding place,” “shield,” “hope,” “rejoice.” We typically don’t rejoice in the things that we are afraid of. We typically don’t seek refuge in the things we are afraid of.
Okay, so you’re probably wondering what the point of all this is. You’re thinking, “I get the fear of God, but why should this matter to me.”
Two Implications of fearing God:
1. Fearing God affects the way in which we worship him. We approach God with reverence, with an appreciation of who he is. This applies to how we sing, how we work, how we give, how we preach, etc. God’s love for you is immeasurable, but He is not your homeboy.
Numbers 3:4 – But Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD when they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children. So Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests in the lifetime of Aaron their father.
2. Fearing God causes us to think and care more about the eternal state of those around us. Having even a hint of what it means for God to exert his wrath upon a soul should make us shudder. If we fear God, we will pray more for those who need him, we will risk more to preach to those who need him, we will be willing to die if it meant our loved ones would be saved.
John 3:36, Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Acts 9:31, So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
Revelation 12:10-11 – And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death…”
Fear God, but do not be Afraid
The overarching point of this passage is that Jesus is providing comfort in the face of adversity that comes with faithful preaching of the gospel. We’ve talked a lot about fear, but let’s examine the last few verses as we draw to a close. We should find a great deal of comfort in them.
(29) Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. (30) But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (31) Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (32) So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, (33) but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Jesus is providing comfort, but the source of the comfort is not circumstances. The source of our comfort is faith. Jesus is reminding us of the following things in these last few verses:
1. God is COMPLETELY Sovereign. He’s not exaggerating or using hyperbole when he says that he knows if a sparrow falls to the ground. He really does know how many hairs you have on your head (if any). We can’t even wrap our minds around this idea… My wife Kari has been telling me for a long time that my hairline has been shifting for years. I was certain she was wrong… until I saw my twin brother for the first time in a long while recently. I noticed he was balding, but didn’t say anything so as to be polite. His first words to me were – ‘hey, you’re losing hair just like me!’ The point is: I didn’t even know how much hair I had on my own head, much less could I actually attempt to number each hair.
2. God Values You (and me). Maybe it’s obvious, but Jesus makes a point of mentioning that we are of special value to God. Satan would have us think otherwise. Know that you are valued, and that you matter to God.
3. God is not Wasteful. You may suffer, but your suffering will be for a purpose. It is a mistake to read this text and find comfort in knowing that everything will be happy, or that God will give us what we want, or that we won’t experience pain. Remember the 12 disciples again… 10 executed, 1 exiled, and 1 committed suicide.
There are always numerous possibilities of why you might be suffering, but Romans 5 promises that your suffering is a mechanism for hope as you receive a better understanding of the assurance you have in things not yet seen.
Romans 8:5:3-5 - …we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
4. Jesus is our REPRESENTATION before God (for those who acknowledge him).
• He is our Justification. Justification means that we gain the legal status of being just, or right before God. He no longer sees us as guilty sinners who should receive his wrath. Romans 3:22b-24. For there is no distinction: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by HIS grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…
• He is our Propitiation. We don’t receive that wrath because Jesus did. He is our ‘wrath sponge.’ Romans 3:25 [we are justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus] whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by fath.
5. Jesus is NOT the REPRESENTATION of those who don’t acknowledge him. Jesus makes it clear. Acts 4:12, And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
There is a day of judgement coming. If you are here this morning and Jesus is not your representation before a holy God, all that it takes is for you to have faith and believe that Jesus Christ is LORD and that he has died for you. In so doing, you become justified instantly. It is not too late, but one day it will be.
READ 2 Corinthians 5:6-15, then PRAY
2Co 5:6-15 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, (7) for we walk by faith, not by sight. (8) Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (9) So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. (10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (11) Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. (12) We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. (13) For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. (14) For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; (15) and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
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