VIDEO Fear Factor

Fear Factor

Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. Hebrews 4:1

In Hebrews 4:1 we are told to “fear” and in Isaiah 41:10 to “fear not.” These are not contradictions, of course, but different uses of the word fear. For example, the fear of God is reverence and awe that leads to wisdom (Psalm 111:10). Ironically, it is such a healthy reverence for God that leads us to “fear not” (human emotional fear) in the face of life’s challenges. When we rightly fear God, we will not fear anything the world sets before us.

When the writer of the Hebrews told his readers to “fear lest any of you seem to have come short of [God’s eternal rest],” it is a gentle, but serious, reminder: The entirety of our life, temporal and eternal, is in the hands of God. By failing to live for Him we run the risk of not enjoying the temporal and eternal blessings He has for us. The issue is not loss of salvation, but loss of joy and eternal reward.

How focused is your fear factor? Reverence and awe of God are the beginning of wisdom and blessing.

It is only the fear of God that can deliver us from the fear of man.  John Witherspoon


The Fear Factor in the Christian Life

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Point of No Return

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body. James 3:6

It wasn’t as simple as just crossing another river. By law, no Roman general could lead armed troops into Rome. So when Julius Caesar led his Thirteenth Legion across the Rubicon River and into Italy in 49 bc, it was an act of treason. The impact of Caesar’s decision was irreversible, generating years of civil war before Rome’s great general became absolute ruler. Still today, the phrase “crossing the Rubicon” is a metaphor for “passing the point of no return.”

Sometimes we can cross a relational Rubicon with the words we say to others. Once spoken, words can’t be taken back. They can either offer help and comfort or do damage that feels just as irreversible as Caesar’s march on Rome. James gave us another word picture about words when he said, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:6).

When words become weapons, our relationships soon become casualties.

When we fear we have crossed a Rubicon with someone, we can seek their forgiveness—and God’s (Matthew 5:23–24; 1 John 1:9). But even better is to daily rest in God’s Spirit, hearing Paul’s challenge, “Let your conversation be always full of grace” (Colossians 4:6), so that our words will not only honor our Lord, but lift up and encourage those around us.

Lord, please guard my heart and my words today. May I speak only words that please You and bring health and healing to others.

Read What Do You Do with a Broken Relationship? at discoveryseries.org/q0703.

When words become weapons, our relationships soon become casualties.

By Bill Crowder 

INSIGHT

The very practical book of James contains much instruction about the wise use of our words:

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (1:19). “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless” (1:26). “Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another” (4:11).

Why is James’s teaching to watch our words crucial for honoring God and people?

Arthur Jackson

Truth About the Trinity

John 14:16-20

Does the Holy Spirit seem mysterious to you? While the Bible speaks often of God the Father and God the Son, God the Spirit is not mentioned as much. Yet His personhood and work is just as important as the other two members of the Trinity.

The Godhead is composed of three distinct persons, each fully God with the same divine attributes but different roles. Each one plays a crucial part in the salvation of
a soul.

• The heavenly Father’s holiness and justice demand that the penalty for sin must be paid.
• The Son became the sinless sacrifice that satisfied the just demands of the Father.
• The Spirit convicts and regenerates the sinner to believe and call on the Lord for salvation.

When Jesus was soon to finish His mission on earth, He promised to send the disciples another Helper, the Holy Spirit. God the Spirit is so important to us that Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away … if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). He’s the Spirit of truth who interprets God’s Word for us, and helps us remember and apply it to our life (John 14:26; John 16:13). He’s also our encourager, and He empowers us to obey.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t bring attention to Himself but always seeks to glorify Jesus (John 16:14). Perhaps that’s why He seems harder to know. But if we look closely, we will see how His fingers lovingly mold—just as a potter’s do to clay—guiding us, challenging us, and transforming us.

The Same Jesus

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

When the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, then later ascended into heaven, His body was immortal, no longer subject to death—yet it was a physical body, capable of being seen and heard and touched, even capable of eating with His disciples. He was clearly recognizable, yet could quickly ascend from Earth to heaven and could pass through a solid wall. As He ascended, two angelic messengers said, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). He was immeasurably different after His resurrection, yet Peter could also proclaim “that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

Furthermore, even when He returns and assumes the eternal throne of the universe, He will still be the same. “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: . . . they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:8, 12).

This was the same Jesus whom John the Baptist identified at the beginning of His earthly ministry. “He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost” (John 1:33).

In fact, before His baptism, and even before His incarnation, He was the same. “In the beginning was the Word . . . . The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). This same Jesus who lived among men, identified by John the Baptist as the Son of God, and who died on the cross, is the eternal Word by whom all things were made, as well as the resurrected Savior and coming King. Jesus Christ is truly “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” HMM

Save, Lord

John 6:14-17

John 6:14, 15

He again put away the crown of temporal sovereignty, just as he had done when the devil tempted him in the wilderness.

Matthew 14:24-33

Matthew 14:24

Their sails could not help them, and they made so little headway that by midnight they were only in the middle of the lake.

Matthew 14:25

And in the fourth watch of the night when the morning was drawing near

Matthew 14:25

Trench has beautifully said: “In the first storm (Matthew 8:24) he was present in the ship with them; and thus they must have felt all along that, if it came to the worst, they might rouse him; while the mere sense of his presence must have given them the sense of a comparative security. But he will not have them to be clinging only to the sense of his bodily presence; they must not be as ivy, needing always an outward support, but as hardy forest trees, which can brave a blast; and this time he puts them forth into the danger alone, even as some loving mother-bird thrusts her fledglings from the nest, that they may find their own wings and learn to use them. And by the issue he will awaken in them a confidence in his ever-ready help; for as his walking on the sea must have been altogether unimagined by them, they may have easily despaired of that help reaching them, and yet it does not fail them. When he has tried them to the uttermost, “in the fourth watch of the night,” he appears beside them, thus teaching them for all their after life, in all coming storms of temptation, that he is near them; that, however he may not be seen always by their bodily eyes, and however they may seem cut off from his assistance, yet is he indeed a very present help in time of trouble.”

Matthew 14:29

He gave him permission.

Matthew 14:29

How remarkable his sensations! How joyful and yet how trembling, must Peter have been! What wonders his faith performed!

Matthew 14:30

Where he had half hoped to be distinguished for superior courage he reveals his timidity, and is humbled thereby. Unbelief alone made him sink, he removed his eye from his Lord to the billows. Have we not acted in a similar manner more than once?

Matthew 14:31

Saving him first, and then gently chiding him. If he spoke thus to Peter, what would he say to some of us who are far more unbelieving?

Matthew 14:32, 33

His Godhead was clear to them, and they adored him.

 

“If it be thou”—oh! bid me come,

Dark though the waters be;

I will not fear, if thou art near,

And bid’st me come to thee.

 

“If it be thou,” the storm may swell

Obedient to thy will;

For thou canst all its fury quell,

And bid its waves “Be still.”

 

“If it be thou!” Oh yes, it is!

My Saviour’s voice I hear,

He tells my soul that I am his,

And he is ever near.

 

A Few Questions We Ask

A living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

I am convinced that anyone who brings up the question of consequences in the Christian life is only a mediocre and common Christian!

I have known some who were interested in the deeper life, but began asking questions: “What will it cost me—in terms of time, in money, in effort, in the matter of my friendships?” Others ask of the Lord when He calls them to move forward: “Will it be safe?” This question comes out of our constant bleating about security and our everlasting desire for safety above all else.

A third question that we want Him to answer is: “Will it be convenient?”

What must our Lord think of us if His work and His witness depend upon the security and the safety and the convenience of His people? No element of sacrifice, no bother, no disturbance—so we are not getting anywhere with God!

We have stopped and pitched our tent halfway between the swamp and the peak. We are mediocre Christians!

 

Trust Means Joy

For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name  Ps. 33:21

The root of faith produces the flower of heart-joy. We may not at the first rejoice, but it comes in due time. We trust the Lord when we are sad, and in due season He so answers our confidence that our faith turns to fruition and we rejoice in the Lord. Doubt breeds distress, but trust means joy in the long run.

The assurance expressed by the Psalmist in this verse is really a promise held out in the hands of holy confidence. Oh for grace to appropriate it. If we do not rejoice at this moment, yet we shall do so, as surely as David’s God is our God.

Let us meditate upon the Lord’s holy name, that we may trust Him the better and rejoice the more readily. He is in character holy, just, true, gracious, faithful and unchanging. Is not such a God to be trusted? He is all-wise, almighty, and everywhere present; can we not cheerfully rely upon Him? Yes, we will do so at once, and do so without reserve. Jehovah-Jireh will provide, Jehovah-Shalom will send peace, Jehovah-Tsidkenu will justify, Jehovah-Shammah will be for ever near, and in Jehovah-Nissi we will conquer every foe. They that know thy name will trust thee; and they that trust thee will rejoice in thee, O Lord.

 

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