God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:6 NKJV
They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid of____. Mark 16:8 NKJV
There are two kinds of fear: natural fear and spiritual fear. Natural fear happens when we are walking down a path and we stumble upon a rattlesnake. We flee to safety. Fear = flight. But spiritual fear is more than adrenaline. It is a Spirit of fear that does not go away when we take flight. It is not common fear. This kid of fear is what grips America now. It is fear that leads to paralysis. And it is hindering the church today in a big way.
There occurs such an incident in Mark 16:8. In fact, most Bible versions include a marginal note to explain the truncated, chopped sentence there in Mark, to wit, “They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid of____.” Thank God there is actually a dynamic ending supplied in later ancient manuscripts. Perhaps a page was lost in the original. We don’t know. Another ironic fact, this short verse follows the grandest news in all the Gospels,
Jesus has been resurrected and seen by many disciples. So why now slink away and hide?
I believe this verse merely illustrates what the Believers were like before they went to the Upper Room and received the Holy Spirit’s baptism of power on the Day of Pentecost. (See Acts 2:4) They were afraid. The Greek word phobos frequently implies “afraid of____.” Afraid of what? Only after Pentecost was the fear dispelled by the Holy Spirit’s power. The disciples were then emboldened to preach repentance and the Gospel of the Kingdom throughout the world. Their words were followed by signs, wonders, and miracles:
“For the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20 NKJV
Without the Holy Spirit’s presence, the modern church is left with only drab words of a social gospel; no power to change the atmosphere in the culture. If you shut out the Holy Spirit, the spirit of fear sweeps in to dominate. The church needs Holy Spirit power, which comes through prayer. Jesus declared that we have a choice: “Men ought always to pray and not faint.” (Luke 18:10 KJV) The choice is simple–pray or faint. Pray or give up!
Many people give up too quickly. Some civic leaders have mocked the church during this time by declaring it “nonessential and should be shuttered.” Warning, attend the assembly and go to jail! Yet they declare liquor stores, casinos, and abortion clinics are “essential.” Where is the church’s peaceful outcry against this bias? “They said nothing to anyone for they were afraid of____.” So hostile, evil forces swept into our city streets when the churches were closed, shut down by hare-brained mayors. They sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind.
Today the church is in dire need of power and passion. We’ve lost courage. Pray for fresh fire to fall so that we may boldly proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom. No more fearful church. we say, “Holy Spirit, You are welcomed in this place.” Without Him our work is like an unfinished gospel.
The work of the Holy Spirit should be present with power in our church gatherings. Signs, wonders, and miracles will accompany our preaching the Word if we let the Holy Spirit have His way. In these last days, the church is destined to shine through the gross darkness that shrouds the people.
Instead of ending the Church Age with a weak, intimidated company, saying nothing for fear, let us pray to finish strong, fearlessly full of the Spirit’s power. If we do this, we will then line up with the longer ending to Mark’s gospel: “And the disciples went everywhere and preached, the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.” (Mark 16:2 NLT)
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