SERMON ON MATTHEW 10:28
Lessons: Ps.34; Matt.10:24-39; A.C. 6071:2-5.
Rev. Theodore Pitcairn January 5, 1964 Bryn Athyn.
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt.10:28.)
In explication of the above text we read: “He who has learned from the literal sense of the Word that God is angry, that He punishes, leads into temp¬tation, casts into hell, and causes evil, may be drawn into a false idea, as that from good Itself which is God, can come evil, thus what is opposite to Him; when yet from good comes good, and from evil comes evil. But this scientific appears with quite another aspect if interior trues are insinuated into it, as, for instance, this truth: that it is the evil with man that causes him to be angry, that leads man into temptation, punishes, casts into hell .
“In like manner this true: that all worship must begin with holy fear, within which is the thought that God will reward the good and punish the evil. The simple and little children must believe this, because they do not yet appre¬hend what permission is even according to the Lord’s words, ‘Rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.’ (Matt.10:28.) and when they be¬gin by not daring through fear to do what is evil, there is gradually insinuated love together with good, and then they begin to know that nothing but good is from God, and that evil is from themselves, and at last that all evil is from hell,” (A.C.6071.)
Many in the New Church do not realize that they should be at first in a simple state in which they are in the fear of the Lord, We read: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Ps.111:10.)
Whenever the Lord comes to man in the Divine True, man comes into a state of fear of the Lord, as we read concerning John when he saw the Lord as the Son of Man: “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.” (John 1:17.) Also when the brethren of Joseph, were to be brought back to Joseph on account of the silver cup, they fell on the ground before Joseph out of fear.
Without fear society would be impossible. If it were not for the fear of the law, men could destroy each other. This is obvious with children if children did not stand in a certain fear of their parents and teachers, they would run totally wild. With adults this is not so obvious, because they have more self control, and hid their evils, yet the same is true of adults, in so far as they are not regenerated.
While some people are born with more courage and some with less courage, all have by nature a fear of what may happen to them. The words of our text teach us that we should rise above the bodily and worldly fear and come into the fear of hell, or what is the same a fear of our own evil and falsity, which if not overcome, will draw us to hell.
At one time, in the churches, the sermons, were largely centered on threatening men with hell fire if they did not repent. In a reaction to this extreme the churches for the most part now preach love, and depricate fear; yet fear is one of the essential means of preserving the human race. Nearly every man has a fear of danger to ones body and reputation, but, if he comes to feel that this life is only a moment compared to eternity, he can rise above the fears of this world and come into the fear for his salvation.
Read the ful text: SERMON ON MATTHEW 10:28 by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn