This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on February 19th 2023 by Lasya. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
The Fear of God
Q. What is the fear of the Lord?
The word fear refers to reverential awe. Reverence is defined as a feeling or attitude of deep respect, love, and awe, for something sacred. It is a heart posture.
It is NOT being afraid of God. In fact, being scared to come into his presence generally indicates a guilty conscience (E.g.: Adam and Eve) and is not the outworking of a reverent awe of God.
This fear of the lord is not the fear which drives us away from him but the fear that instructs us on how to rightly draw near to him.
Every good parent trains their child in 2 things with regard to their relationship:
To know that they are deeply and unconditionally loved
To honour them with a reverential fear.
An imbalance in either direction is detrimental (not to the parent) but to the growth of the child. God is a good father and belonging to him requires us to know these 2 things - that we are unconditionally loved and that he is wholly holy and worthy of our reverential awe. Today we don't have a dearth of messaging - in culture or in the church - that you are loved and worthy of love. But the fear of the Lord is avoided and that’s what we are going to address today.
Q. Why do we need the fear of the Lord?
There are tons of cautionary tales in the bible right from Adam and Eve, Saul, Solomon, to Ananias and Sapphira. But we don't even need to go that far. We need to fear the Lord because of 2 things
Because of who He is
In creation: who is God? Is he the mighty mountain or the blazing sun or the endless ocean? Who is
Gen 1:1 -5: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Gen 2:7 “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
Job 38 to 42. (excerpts)
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,
that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
and the wicked be shaken out of it?
“Have you entered into the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this.
These questions go on for 4 chapters to answer Job and his friends saying - I am God and you are not. He is the potter and we are the clay, he is the author and we are the pages. We are His creation, the people formed for His good pleasure.
Awe and wonder: Wonder is defined as “the rapt attention and deep emotion caused by something extraordinary.” Awe is “the feeling we get in the presence of something vast that challenges our understanding of the world.” Our lives have shrunken down to screens- it’s all smoke and mirrors. But the psalmist says in Psalm 8:3-4 “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” . We need to behold him. And when we do, we surrender.
Submission/Obedience to him and to one another (Eph 5:21). When we see his majesty in creation we rightly see ourselves 1 Peter 5:6 (humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God).
In redemption - Hebrews 9:12-14 ”12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify[f] for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our[g] conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Millions of people have died before Jesus and after him, some have even been resurrected but not one of them could have purchased eternal redemption for us. He is the redeemer, there is no one else.
Repentance comes before redemption. Job 42 “ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”, Acts 2, John the Baptist. Repentance is not punishment - it is mercy. It is a gift.
Living set apart (holiness)- 1 Peter 1: 14-19 “14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Culture can impact how we process holiness. Eg: Lot’s children gave birth to the Moabites and ammonites. So it is important to be set apart by the standard of the word of God. Egs of what the Bible calls sin and are a common practice in culture (lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy, and pride.) - Work related, sex-related, etc. How to recognise and act on the conviction of the Holy Spirit. (Personal example) . The fear of man v. The fear of God
In glory - John referred to himself as the disciple that Jesus loved and reclined on his chest at the last supper, but on the Island of Patmos, he sees this very Jesus in his glory. Rev 1: 12-18, “2 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.” “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” ESV The presence of God is not a plaything - it is fearsome! 2 samuel 6:5-7 (story of Uzziah)
Response - Worship Rev 4:8-11 “And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
Because of what it does for us
It’s the beginning of wisdom - Proverbs 1:7. Wise in your own eyes- illustration - law students
It is for our safety - Psalm 34:7( the angel of the lord encamps around those) Pro 29:25 ( the fear of man lays a snare but whoever trusts in the lord is safe)
To turn away from evil - Job, Pro 16:6( by the fear of the lord one turns away from evil)
For blessing- Pro 22:4(riches and honor and life); Pro 8:14(counsel, wisdom, insight and strength); Psalm 115:13 (bless those who fear the Lord)
We have a prophetic sense that a mighty outpouring of his spirit is coming. We don't just want a sense of the presence of God, we want him! We want to see the power of the holy spirit at work in us and in the world around us. Since we have this expectation, we need to get ready.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English-speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.
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