Singularly Fearing Christ

Every child of God knows what it is to be tempted and troubled by the fear of man.  Threats real and imagined abound, and the fear of man can wreak great havoc in our souls if it is allowed to penetrate.


How kind and good of God to speak to these very fears, and to make so clear how they are to be resisted.  The answer is as profound as it is simple: “fear God, not man”.  Quoting from Is. 8:12-13, this is Peter’s main point in 1 Pet. 3:14-15, “…have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy…”.


G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945), British pastor, and predecessor of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel in London, provides these helpful insights:


“The simple meaning of the injunction is that at the very centre of life there is to be but one Lord, and that is Christ. To do this is to ensure the unification of being, consistency of conduct, and accomplishment of purpose. We are divided in our own life, inconsistent in our conduct, and ineffective in our service, when our loyalty is divided. This is so self-evident a truth that it hardly seems necessary to argue it. Nevertheless, while holding the truth theoretically, how constantly we are in danger of failing to live by it!  Other lords are permitted to invade the sanctuary of the heart, and to exercise dominion over us. Our own selfish desires, the opinion of others, worldly wisdom, the pressure of circumstances, these and many other lords command us, and we turn from our simple and complete allegiance to our one Lord, and give ourselves up to the false mastery of these things.  The results are always disastrous. We become storm-tossed and feverish; our conduct is not consistent; our work is spasmodic and devoid of power. Therefore the urgency of the injunction. To hallow the heart by excluding all other lords save Christ Himself, is to be strong, true, and effective. His knowledge is perfect, of the heart, of the circumstances, of the true way of life.  To be governed by many lords is to be in bondage to them all, and to be desolated by their conflicting ways. To be in bondage to Christ, is to be released from all other captivity.” (from Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)


What comfort and courage is found in singularly fearing Christ!


Because He lives,


Trusting Him with Our Hurts and Fears

Here’s a couple of questions:  what do you do when you are deeply hurt by others?  Or, what do you do when you fear being deeply hurt by others?


Think about the potential dangers that lurk behind any relationship with other humans:  abuses of various forms (physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, spiritual), rejection, misunderstandings, betrayal, slander, disappointments, broken promises, unmet expectations, sins, and on and on.  Further, we all know by painful experience that such hurts can come from both Christians and non-Christians alike.  So what do you do, both with the fact, and the fear of being hurt by others?


Our answer to these questions reveals everything about how we view and trust God.  If we are trusting God’s sovereign rule and care, we learn to take our hurts and fears to Him in faith.  Then we are freed to obediently forgive and bless those who hurt us, imitating the reaction of our Lord Jesus to His enemies.  But if we are not trusting Him, we sinfully take out our hurts and fears on those who hurt us.  We do this either by actively seeking revenge and retaliation, or passively avoiding our responsibility to fervently love others.  In both instances, we greatly dishonor Jesus Christ.


Beloved, such are the very issues that Peter addresses in  1 Pet. 3:8-12.  And as Peter’s exhortations are so deeply grounded in the same from King David in Psalm 34 (especially vs. 12-16), we see that this fundamental matter of trusting God with our troubles – with our hurts and fears – is at the center of everything.  So David says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”  (Ps. 34:8)  Peter echoes this thought (1 Pet. 2:1-3), and also says, “…casting all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7)


May the Lord give us ongoing grace to magnify the excellencies of Christ by trusting Him with our hurts and fears!


He is all we need,


Growing Together in Christ-Exalting Attitudes

As we saw this last Lord’s Day from 1 Pet. 3:8, true people of God long to grow with each other in the Christ-exalting attitudes of unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, tender hearts, and humble minds.  Our longing in this is for the excellencies of Christ to be more fully displayed and proclaimed through us 1 Pet. 2:9-12.  We are to lovingly work for each other’s joy in Christ (2 Cor. 1:24), so that He would be exalted.


This implies, of course, that there is to be a tenacious, sacrificial, unquestionable loyalty between believers, especially in the local church.  Referring to the special bonds of biological families, we often say, “blood is thicker than water.”  If this is true, how much more should it be so for the family of God in a local church, purchased through the precious blood of Jesus Christ?


With this in mind, what a rich and special time we shared during our Members’ Meeting last Sunday evening.  It was encouraging to be with so many of you (we missed those who couldn’t make it!), and sense the active attitudes of 1 Pet. 3:8 as we considered the Lord’s work among us.  One tangible evidence of overflowing hearts, and an eagerness to practically love each other, occurred with our Benevolence Offering.  Almost $3800 was given!  What a kind and generous expression of care, indicative of Christ’s love growing among us, and being proclaimed through us!


Beloved, we are imperfect people, who are a part of an imperfect local church.  But our supremely perfect Chief Shepherd is working among us for our eternal good in Him.  We sometimes experience His painful pruning care, but always with the joyful assurance that His design is to bring forth much fruit for His glory ( Jn. 15:1-8.)


I love you in Christ, and count it a great privilege to share life in Him with you at RCG!