Strong In The Face Of Hypocrisy 2 — Fear No Man
Updated: Apr 5
Chan Gin Kai
Jesus warned his disciples to guard against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and that same warning applies to us as well. As disciples of Christ we will alway need to need to watch out for hypocrites and persecution. But how do we handle them?
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 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. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Luke 12:4-7)
What can man do to us?
They can insult us and tear us down emotionally. They can seduce us and pull us down spiritually. They can assault us and beat us down physically. They can hurt our body, and even kill us. But they can never destroy our soul.
At death, man has no more power over us. They can never touch or harm us again. Yes, man may be scary, but we should fear God instead. When we die, our fate rests in God’s hands… for better or for worse.
We labour so hard on the physical that we neglect the spiritual; we obsess so much with the temporal that we ignore the eternal. We forget that our time on earth is but a transient journey to our everlasting abode, in heaven or in hell.
Yes, Jesus said it… he said God “has authority to throw you into hell.” And he added, “Yes, I tell you, fear Him.”
Jesus also assured us that if God cares for comparatively insignificant sparrows, He cares even more about us.
Many in modern Christendom talk so much about God’s grace and compassion, but not about His righteousness and justice. It’ll be wrong to do the reverse too. It has never been an "either or" situation — mercy and punishment are not mutually exclusive. It is immature to believe in one aspect of God’s character without believing in the other. But hasn’t this always been one of humanity’s biggest problems? We love to pick and choose what truths to believe in, and we often prefer lies.
We need to approach God with fear and faith.
“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (Luke 12:8-10)
I hope we will never be forced into a position where we’re threatened to publicly disown Jesus. Throughout the centuries, especially during the early days of the church, Christians have faced persecution, even to the point of imprisonment and death. This is still true in modern times in some countries.
Most of us are fortunate that the persecutions we face are relatively far less intense. But what if we’re ever put in worse situations?
Sadly, many of us do not even need to be put into really dangerous positions before we disown Jesus. Have you ever felt afraid to admit you’re a Christian while hanging out with friends who deem Christianity “uncool”? Have you ever felt afraid to talk about your faith with irreligious bosses, clients and business associates in the fear of losing business? I’ve got to confess I’ve failed on both counts. If you’ve failed like I have, the good news is we can repent.
Jesus then went on to explain the different consequences between one who “speaks a word against the Son of Man” and one who “blasphemes against the Holy Spirit”. The former will be forgiven while the latter will not.
The former refers to a moment of weakness when we deny Jesus because of fear or temptations. But what does “blaspheme against the Holy Spirit” mean? The Holy Spirit’s main purpose is to testify about Jesus (John 15:26). To blaspheme against the Spirit is to outrightly reject the Spirit’s testimony about Jesus, it is a conscious decision to reject Christ.
But is there a sin that is too big for God to forgive? It is not about God’s refusal to forgive, but the person’s refusal to seek forgiveness. God wants to show us mercy, but He gives us freewill too. He will never force us to follow Him.
We may fall, but as long as we choose to believe and trust in Jesus, we can always find our way back to him.
Feel The Holy Spirit
“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Luke 12:11-12)
Jesus warned the disciples that they would be persecuted in both the religious (“synagogues”) and the civic (“rulers and authorities”) arenas. These are oppositions we will have to face as his disciples too.
Are we prepared to defend our faith and guard the gospel? We are assured that the Holy Spirit will teach us what to say in the face of persecution. The question is not whether we are intellectually prepared, but if we are spiritually ready.
The Holy Spirit will guide us. But if we become anxious, fear overcomes us, and our minds tune-off the Holy Spirit. We cannot hear the Spirit when our minds are engrossed with worries. When confronted with opposers, we should turn to God in prayer and feel the Spirit work in our lives. He will provide us with the answers we need.
As disciples of Christ, we will have to face hypocrites and persecutors. But we need to fear no man as God is with us.
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Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry of the Central Christian Church. He describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.