Fear the Right Thing
In Luke 12, Jesus tells us to “fear God, not man, because God has the authority to throw you into hell.” We take an in-depth look at this very intense statement from Jesus and what judgment day will look like.
Series: “Lost & Found”
Title: “Fear the Right Thing”
FAMILY FUN DAY (Family Fun Day Slide)
This is a church that cares immensely about reaching people for Christ.
We’re sending people to Haiti
We just sent 22 of people to plant another church
And WE want to reach people…right here…in our neighborhood.
So on September 22nd, we’ll be doing a huge outreach event called Family Fun Day
This is an event that we’ve been doing for a few years that has been incredibly fruitful for us.
We’ll have a row of food trucks, a field of inflatables, face painting, games, you name it.
But in order to get a ticket to do all of that, we require people to attend the service first…and we tell them about Jesus…and the Gospel.
Last year we had over 1,000 visitors at our services that Sunday! 1,000!
And we had many, many people make first-time commitments to Christ!
Some of you in this room met Jesus at that event last year!
But to do this event…to host 1,000 visitors, to put on 4 services, to put on a massive, highly-functioning event outside, it takes, not only over 200 of our regular volunteers inside to do our 4 services, but an ADDITIONAL 100+ volunteers to pull off the event outside.
We need you that day. It’s all-hands-on-deck.
Your work is so important. It will change lives.
I want a number of you to consider even serving all day that day.
Or for most of it.
I guarantee you there isn’t a more world-changing, eternity-changing thing you can do with your life that day. Seriously.
SO…you can sign up in the hallway to help.
Or get out of your phone, and open up the Renovation Church app (go ahead, you can even do it right now)
Tap on Connect…and then volunteer at Family Fun day
We need people to help at the inflatables, do face painting, serve cotton candy, work in the parking lot, all sorts of stuff!
If you can serve in one of those ____ volunteer spots outside, please sign-up today.
If you can fill 2 or 3 slots or all day. Even better!
And begin praying about who you can invite that day to hear about Jesus.
One more quick thing on that event…as we’ve mentioned a couple of times this summer…our attendance is growing very fast here…17% year to year (would be close to 30% if we hadn’t sent away 43 people to church planting)
But even though the attendance has grown quickly, our giving has only grown by 3%
So one of the things we’ve had to cut this year was free food at Family Fun Day.
The Food Trucks will still be there…but people will have purchase food this year.
God is still…God will move…
But it what it is given the situation.
All right, we are continuing on in the book of Luke this morning.
That’s one of 4 books in the Bible about the life, death, resurrection, and teachings of Jesus Christ.
As I mentioned last week, we are in a section of Luke, where many of Jesus’ teachings are quite intense.
This is not the section of the Bible where you find Jesus forgiving the prostitute, or Jesus hugging little kids, or even Jesus feeding the 5,000.
And today…Jesus is going to speak very straightforwardly on things like heaven, hell, and judgment.
These are the types of things that people often don’t prefer to think about
We just all want to assume the best and not look into it
I read a study the other day that said only 1% of Americans think they might be going to hell.
Everyone just ASSUMES the best, and ASSUMES they are fine.
But I assure you, this topic is worth you understanding better than absolutely everything else in your life.
EVERYTHING WILL BE EXPOSED
(Luke 12:1-2) – NIV
Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
This is, in part, a continuation from last week.
At the end of chapter 11, we saw Jesus pointing out the vast hypocrisy of the Pharisees
The Pharisees pretend to be holy and Godly on the outside, but inside they are full of greed and wickedness.
And like any modern-day hypocrite (which we all are in some sense, right), hypocrisy depends on concealment.
People don’t know what our thoughts are really like…they don’t know our inner feelings of hate, or jealously, or judgmentalism, or lust, or greed.
Almost ALL of that is entirely concealed from other people.
And so is much of our private lives.
People don’t know what you do in the privacy of your home…or what you do on your phone…or on the internet…or whatever
So what is Jesus saying about the hypocrisy we conceal?
He’s saying, hypocrisy will be impossible on judgment day.
There is nothing in our lives that will not be disclosed or made known when it’s time for us stand in front of God.
That’s intense…but true.
FEAR THE RIGHT THING
Let’s keep reading.
(Luke 12:3) – NIV
3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
Here Jesus is saying that since the lives of those who persecute you will be exposed for what they are (evil)…don’t fear them.
In fact, because you shouldn’t fear them, you should instead be proclaiming this Gospel (this good news that Jesus can save people no matter how sinful they’ve been)…
You should be proclaiming that from the rooftops!
It’s that good of news!
Verse 4 now:
(Luke 12:4) – NIV
4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
Jesus is saying you shouldn’t fear people who persecute you for following Him because even if they kill you, all they are doing is sending you to heaven!
In other words, there will come a day (at judgment) when you’ll be surprised that you ever feared being socially ostracized for your faith
And for us, in America, we’re not afraid that we will be killed…
But many us fear that our friends, or coworkers, or family members might perhaps mock us for our devotion to Jesus.
Or, I have a friend who’s in the House Group I go to, whose boss asked him last year to “tone down the Jesus talk” with his coworkers
And for a lot of us, that would scare us silent.
We could lose our jobs, right?
Or, maybe a family member has lashed out at you for talking about Jesus to them…
And you’ve vowed to never bring it up again.
We FEAR what they think…we fear the possible consequences of being bold with our faith.
But Jesus tells us to fear something different…to fear the RIGHT THING.
(Luke 12:5) – NIV
5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
And I think some of this talk of judgment and hell that we’ve seen from Jesus lately is harder for us as modern-day Americans to fit into our version of God.
But remember, your version of God is influenced by your culture.
Everyone’s is…that’s why we need to always be on a quest to figure out who the true, Biblical God really is.
Remember, God is all of those things…love, and truth, and power, and grace, and judge.
Maybe this makes more sense if you think of it as a parent.
Those of you w/ young kids/ You ever wrestle with them?
Sometimes I get on the ground and wrestle with my kids and we’ll play “bull”
I get on my hands and knees, and we put our heads together and try and push the other one over.
And 9 times out of 10, I’ll say, “Oh, you’re so strong…and I’ll fall over.”
And they laugh…and jump on me…and hug me…and they enjoy their father’s love and affection.
But sometimes, to mix it up, I’ll transform into the strong bull…and say, in a loud voice, “I’m getting stronger!!”
And I easily can move them backwards.
And when I turn on my strength…every once in a while, for a split second, you can see this look of terror in their eyes.
When they realize that their father’s strength is 10 times that of theirs…
But they quickly remember, that I love them, and their facial expressions return to joy.
And I think there’s something in there.
Yes God is love, but He is also a God of incredible strength and power.
And so, we should both love AND fear God.
Because, yes, He loves you and can hold you and comfort you.
But, as Jesus Himself says in our passage, God also has the power to send you to hell.
We are then, as Jesus said, to fear God, not man.
And fascinatingly, the fear of God influences your fear of man.
Spurgeon said it this way:
“There is no cure for the fear of man like the fear of God.” – Charles Spurgeon
Oswald Chambers, who wrote the phenomenal “My Utmost for His Highest” once said a similar thing:
“The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else.” – Oswald Chambers
While it may feel like safer path to never let anyone know that you follow God……
That’s actually a path that is covered in fear…because you’re always thinking about what others think of you.
If you want to actually cast off fear…you should fear God.
And one of the ways you do that…is you think often on spiritual truths.
Think of it this way: When your life is over, and you stand in front of God for judgment…
And you watch, with eyes wide open, some of the people who are in front of you in line…being cast into hell…
Standing in that line…when you actually see life for what it really is…what you will regret, are the times you when were fearful to share the truth that you knew all along.
Standing in line for judgment, you won’t regret the times you were bold…even if it didn’t work out…even if you were mocked for it...or suffered for it.
If your apartment building was on fire, and you ran down the hallway trying to save people by telling them to flee…
But one person cursed you out and scolded you for saying such nonsense.
As you saw the fire coming, would you feel regret for warning them?
Would you continue to fear their reprisals?
And on judgment day, when this part of life is over, and you see that people are literally being sent to the flames, I guarantee that you will feel not an ounce of regret for any syllable of boldness you ever uttered.
When I can’t get up the courage to say anything, “I think often of those days to come…and I say to myself, “Fear God, not man”
YOU ARE SO VALUABLE TO GOD
And Jesus tells us we can train our minds on another truth.
(Luke 12:6-7) – NIV
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
When you fear God and trust that He is in control…no matter how bold you are for Him…no matter how much you step out in faith…
You don’t need to have worry, fear, and anxiety in your life.
Because he said…you are of infinite value to Him.
God knows and cares for even the sparrows.
And He cares infinitely more for you.
God cares for you so much that He knows even the number of hairs on your head.
Now, admittedly, for some of you there are less to count.
But the average person has 100,000 hairs on their head.
God knows them all.
And if that’s true, if God knows you with such intricate detail, surely He is watching over you…surely He has a plan for you…surely He will be with you as you go out boldly for Him.
Friends, no matter what is happening in your life right now, God is in control.
If He knows there are 97,138 hairs on your head, do you not think He’s aware of the difficulties you are facing?
Do you not think He is present in them?
God is with you. He loves you.
Do not fear.
IF YOU DENY HIM HERE, HE WILL DENY YOU THERE
Jesus continues his message by getting us out of the present and again, thinking of the judgment that will come.
(Luke 12:8-9) – NIV
8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.
Again, this is a really tough word for Americans, because so many of us have this odd belief that faith ought to be a private thing.
As if it makes any logical sense to keep the most important part of your life private
As if it makes any logical sense to keep the very knowledge that could save another person from hell…private.
But what does Jesus actually say? We have to look at the very words of Jesus…and not just be satisfied with our culture’s version of religion.
Jesus, the Son of God, says, “whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before the angels of God”
We’re back to that theme of judgment again.
You have died…you’re in front of Jesus for judgment…
And there’s a public nature to your judgment.
The angels are there as well…
And to the people who never talked about Jesus to anyone…to the people who always shirked back…and played down their faith if anyone ever questioned them about it…
To the people who said, “Well, I’m not really sure I follow ALL of the Bible…or I don’t know if I’m like a “Christian” Christian….
He’s saying, “If you’re ashamed of me…if you disown me in front of others, then I will disown you”
Friends, never be ashamed of your Jesus…who died for you and had his blood spilled for you.
Never be ashamed of him, for the fear that He may be ashamed of you.
I want you to put all of these verses together now and think critically about what Jesus is talking about…your judgment day.
Because it will come.
Every single person in this room will one day die…and they will stand in front of God to be judged. Every single one of us.
Look to the book of Revelation, which describes judgment in more detail
(Revelation 20:11-15) – NIV
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Do you know what this is saying?
It’s saying that when you die, Jesus will be seated on the throne…and the angels will be there, and multitudes of people will be there.
It’s all very public
And the books will be opened.
This is what Jesus was talking about in verse 2 of our passage.
There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed…or nothing hidden that will not be made known.
NOTHING. All of your life will be laid bare.
Can you even imagine that?
There’s no rush for Jesus to quickly summarize your life.
He’s got all of eternity.
Can you imagine the reading of your life at judgment…………….?
I can hardly bear to think about it.
Seriously, I tremble thinking it.
And there will be no good deed that can save any of us.
When the books are opened and your life is actually read…
And every evil thought is read out loud…
Every thought of jealousy, of bitterness, of greed.
Every look of lust, every look at pornography, every sexual sin…
Every single lie, every drunken night, every prideful moment…
Friends, listen to me…I guarantee you, when the books are opened…and your life is actually read…
There is not a person in this room…who could hear Jesus read through their life at judgment and then say, “Sounds good enough to me…you can let me into heaven now”
If you are counting on your own good deeds to save you, by the time God is even 5% through reading your life, you will feel completely and utterly hopeless to save yourself.
But the Bible says, “if your name is in the book of life”…
The names in the Book of Life are that of those who have believed that Jesus died for them on the cross.
His true followers.
The ones who haven’t believed that their own deeds and good works could save them…
But the ones who believed that, because they are such a mess, that Jesus died for them on the cross…and took their punishment for them.
When they believed that, God wrote their name in the book of life…
Now imagine this.
Imagine sitting through your own judgment…
And the weight of your sin is so heavy, especially as you sit in front of a holy God who saw all of it with his own eyes.
There’s sweeping it under the rug anymore…
There’s no rationalizing that you can do….
In front of Almighty God, you’ll be speechless
The weight of your sin will feel so heavy, it will feel like it could physically crush you.
And imagine Jesus, with his blazing and beautiful eyes, imagine He looks at you (after you hear your sins read…and says, “But you my daughter…you my son…”
“your name is in the book of life”
“I have covered you with my righteousness”
“For all of those sins I just read through…I died for you…in your place…
“And you will not be punished for them…I already took the punishment for your sins on the cross…because I love you that much”
“Come and enter my rest and enjoy my presence for all of eternity”
I promise you…I promise you…you will feel never greater joy than what you will feel in that very moment.
When you FULLY realize what Jesus Christ actually did for you in dying for all of your sins.
Imagine watching people in front of you being cast into hell…
And then you hear your sins being read, and the list is just as bad, if not worse…and you hear that Jesus has covered you with his blood.
If you get that…if you truly get that…
You won’t fear men anymore…I promise you that.
And listen to me, if you’re here this morning…and you haven’t turned your life over to Jesus.
You haven’t believed that He died for you on the cross to cover your sins.
And you haven’t started to follow Him…to surrender your life to Him.
Because that’s what this is.
There’s no cheap grace where you get forgiven and then go live your life how you want
That’s still denying Him, and if you do that, He will deny you.
But if your body is shaking with an uncertainty that someday the books will be opened…and as things stand right now, you will not be covered by Jesus’ sacrifice…
But instead…at judgment…you will be condemned…
I pray that you let God save you.
Because He’s willing to.
Let that sink in.
He’s willing to.
He’s seen everything. All of it. Every hidden action. Every thought.
And He still sent Jesus for you.
Will you let Him forgive you?
Will you let Him cover you?
It’s time to surrender to God.
Because if you don’t…
If you don’t let Jesus save you…you will not be able to save yourself.
Here’s what we’re going to do.
I’m going to call the band back up now…and we’re going to sing a final song of worship.
If you want your name in the Book of Life…if you need to believe that Jesus died for you and surrender your life to Him for the first time…
At any time during this last song, I want you to walk up to the front, face the stage, and then we’ll pray with you as we close the service.
I get it, that’s kind of a public thing to do.
But one day, everything will be disclosed and made known.
Whether you believe in Jesus or not…your life will be made public.
Better to acknowledge Him in public now and let Him save you…
Then to deny him in your heart now, and have Him deny you in public later.
He loves you…He died for you…come to Him and turn your life over to Him
(If people come forward)
(ASK EVERYONE TO STAND)
If you’re standing up here with me, would you pray this prayer with me?
This is not a magic prayer…but just a prayer to tell God where you’re at… the Bible says, we 1) believe in our hearts and 2) confess with our mouths.
So I want you to say it out loud with me. Repeat after me
IN fact, there are a lot of other believers already in the room, and this is what we believe.
So, let’s all say it together with these new believers.
Repeat after me
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
For those of you up here, we want to give you a Bible and give you just a few minutes of next steps…but for the rest of you…the service is over.
Have a great week
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.