The right kind of fear

A popular American preacher made a great point in a sermon this week – we should fear God, not man-made horrors such as terrorism.

Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Church in Atlanta, Georgia, highlighted Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:28: “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul.  Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Followers of Christ, who put their faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for them, need not fear hell.  But they must have a holy awe and respect for the Lord who is master of the universe and mankind.

God loves us and cherishes us like a father loves his children.  But he is not a teddy-bear.  He is God the Almighty.

Stanley was dealing with world concerns with terrorism – specifically radical Islamic terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere.

He said he raised this issue because some people are preoccupied with the terrorist threat and others who dismiss it will face it in the future.  He wants all to remember Jesus’ words.

Christians should not fear terrorism, he said, because their eternal future is assured – they will be with God forever.

You can find Stanley’s full sermon at

Quite naturally, most of us do not want to suffer and die.  But are we afraid of death?  If so, why?

For people who do not know Jesus, there are good reasons why they should fear death.

But for believers, we should ponder the words of the apostle Paul who says in Philippians 1:21: “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.”

He adds that he wants to live so he can do more fruitful work for Jesus.  And yet he desires to be with the Lord in heaven.

That should be our way of looking at things, too.

Stanley noted the words of a second century Roman doctor who met Christian martyrs.  He marvelled that these Christians were not afraid of dying.

As I said in my post “Radical Islam” last week, Christ has won the victory over evil and Satan on the cross.  Roman emperors did not crush the Lord.  And neither will modern-day terrorists.

Fear God – not men.


2 comments so far

  1. Judith Starr on

    Great blog, Bob! Thanks for the link to Andy Stanley’s series.


    • Robert Douglas on

      Thanks, Judy. Taber pointed me to the link so he deserves the credit.

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