Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool (January 2, 2023)

Happy New Year! I pray that God will bless you all in this upcoming year.

In this world of shifting sand, it seems like fear rules the day. Everywhere we look there is danger, both physical and spiritual! So how are we to approach a world that by its very nature invokes our fear? In this message by Elder Michael Ivey, we learn that God’s will for us is NOT that we live in fear, but that we live in holy boldness before Him! I hope this article helps us all as we venture into the new year!

May the Lord bless you is my prayer!

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor

“Fear Not”

An Encouraging Exhortation in the Gospel Narratives of Christ’s Birth

by Elder Michael Ivey

Contained in the gospel narratives of Christ’s birth we find the simple, encouraging phrase “fear not” stated repeatedly.

It was said to Mary when informed she would conceive and deliver God’s Christ: “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.” Luke 1:30

It was said to Joseph who was troubled that Mary was with child: “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21

The same was told shepherds when an angel announced God’s Christ who is their Savior was born: “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

Even Zacharias was told “fear not” when the Angel of the LORD appeared to tell him Elizabeth would have a son he was to name John; and, who would go before Christ preparing a people in the spirit and power of the prophet, Elias. “But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. …. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:13-17

It is certain from these passages God did not want any of whom he first revealed the appearance of Christ on Earth to be afraid. It is also likely that the repetition of “fear not” in the Gospels and its placement at the beginning of announcements of the birth of Christ the Savior is intended to encourage a sense of security and confidence in believers. From this we can infer that believers “fearing not” is in keeping with God’s good will (see Luke 2:14). As such, it is part of God’s desired response from believers to Jesus’ birth, and (by logical extension) His finished work at Calvary; which was the reason for His birth.

From the Angel’s statement to Joseph “fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife” we may also infer “fear not” was not limited to addressing fear that might occur from seeing an angel. Just so, the Angel exhorted Joseph to not be afraid of sinful things others might think, say, or do in reaction to Mary being with child. Also, including “fear not” in statements to the shepherds and Zacharias extends its application beyond Jesus’ immediate family to other believers.

From this we understand a “now salvation” effect of God’s goodwill toward believers is that we not live in fear. It is his loving desire that we be and feel safe; that we not be afraid of perilous circumstances nor uncertain outcomes in this life. This we may do through God given faith in Christ. Therefore, a God pleasing daily reaction from believers to the fact of Jesus’ incarnation and finished work of salvation is: We should “fear not;” but, instead we should worship and praise God by rejoicing as happy recipients of His goodwill and glad tidings.