We need a deeper appreciation of the fear of God. To neglect this truth is to face the danger of His judgment. As God’s own people we delight in our heavenly Father and He in us. It is our awesome duty to act upon our healthy fear of God, and serve God acceptably with reverence and a renewed motivation to put our faith into godly action.
For the most part, our WORLD does not FEAR GOD.
The fear of God is a much NEGLECTED TRUTH.
As a NATION, also, we have lost the fear of God.
Likewise, even THE CHURCH of God.
No wonder the situation is bleak…
When I think of THE FEAR OF GOD, I get a sense of…
If we FAIL… If we NEGLECT to fear God it is a real DANGER.
To neglect to fear God, is to invite His righteous JUDGMENT.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
God is AWE-INSPIRING.
GODLINESS stands out in stark contrast with the darkness of this Christ rejecting world that we live in.
As God’s people, we have a high view of God. He is not our great big cosmic buddy in the sky, not some mystical man upstairs… He is the high and holy one.
And, as a Bible-believing people, we have an appreciation of the fearful thing that it is to be in danger of His judgment.
This appreciation prompts in us a healthy respect… and action.
The world misses this, big time.
What is mistakenly called THE EDUCATION SYSTEM is now spreading a deliberate indoctrination that undermines faith and denies the scriptures.
There’s a deliberate misinformation campaign and an undermining of what matters, what pleases God.
Our generation has little regard for God and of pleasing Him. It stands in great danger.
There is no fear of God before their eyes.
A deliberate propaganda machine is busily churning out more and more lies, to pervert our culture, and our children and grandchildren. It spews out constant messages that are anti-God, anti-faith, anti-Bible, anti-truth…
Meanwhile our society swallows it all, hook, line and sinker. And we see the results in our sick culture, in our media, in our mindset as a people. And even in the churches…
Our nation is become ANYTHING BUT a God fearing nation.
Our nation’s leaders should be afraid, very afraid. They have led our land into great reproach and great danger. But there seems little regard for this reality.
The Bible uses the word fear at least 300 times in reference to God.
There is such a thing as a healthy fear.
It’s a right thing to have a healthy fear. This is just common sense. A society functions well when criminals fear the law, and they respect the police and the law courts. We saw some hooligans lately who were laughing about being in court. It’s no laughing matter. There is a healthy fear we should have of justice and the law.
We do well to fear when we drive a car without a seatbelt or a motorbike without a helmet. Fear teaches us to avoid being too close to a hot stove, or to avoid taking certain risks.
Where a family is led wisely, by a godly father, there is blessing there, from his authority and because of godly order, when there is a healthy respect in place.
If a godly family is functioning well there is a reverence which is actually an outflow of love –
For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
When a loving, godly husband is at the head of the family, and he is given due reverence, then that is a good thing.
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
The Bible also commends paying respect to our elders… Giving honour to them:
Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.
Likewise, we are to give honour to our mother and father. And to honour widows…
We are to give honour to the king…
Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
These are timeless principles we would do well to take heed of.
There is great DANGER in disobeying these truths.
We see only too well how a society becomes dysfunctional when these truths are ignored. It is a real danger to not fear God.
There are many examples of where men did not fear God, and they suffered God’s judgment through the Word.
We have the example of UZZAH who thought he could steady the ark of God when they were moving it out of accord with God’s way-
2 Samuel 6:7
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
We are in danger to neglect to fear God.
The fear of God should be a foundation stone for our life.
In Acts 5 we have the example of ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA. They thought they could trifle with the holy things.
Another example is Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10. They attempted to bring strange fire onto God’s altar – they disrespected God’s command and so they suffered His wrath, His righteous anger.
We do well to have a healthy fear of our Lord, and have a healthy sense of the danger of displeasing God. Of His judgment.
When I think of the Fear of God, I also think of it in the sense of a…
Every decent society has this as its foundation.
Our TRUE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD is founded on a HEALTHY FEAR OF GOD…
God has designed us for worship.
There is a delight in this…
The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
The Lord has pleasure in those who fear Him.
There’s a delight here.
- God delights in this. In us…
- And we delight in Him.
To truly fear God is to maintain this closeness. This fellowship. This harmony with God, and His will.
It’s been said…
“If you don’t feel as close to the Lord as you once were, guess who moved?”
Let’s draw as close to the Lord as we can…
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…
When the going gets tough, the super glue of faith will hold you strong, by God’s grace.
“Better to have Him plus nothing else than to have everything in this world, without Him.”
This HEALTHY FEAR OF GOD marked the early church and its worship.
It says the church grew when it was marked by this.
Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
When the church was walking right, in the fear of God, it was then that the Holy Spirit brought LIFE and COMFORT and BLESSING.
The saints were EDIFIED.
- They were built up.
- They were walking in the fear of the Lord.
- They knew this close fellowship, this blessed grace of God.
This was the spirit that marked the true church of God.
It was not a church defiled by ungodliness and soiled by wicked men, who wrapped themselves up in priest’s robes.
It wasn’t a church besmirched by pretenders, masquerading as men of God.
And NOR is the TRUE CHURCH today… The true church of God is marked by a people who are set apart for God’s glory, set apart to be for God’s praise. And brought near to God’s heart. A church committed to the pure word of God, to a purity of living that is beautiful and God glorifying.
This is what God does, by His Holy Spirit. True holiness and separation from error is something beautiful.
May we have this right sense of God… the wonderment, the awe, of who He truly is…
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
We worship Him truly as we revere and honour Him with true esteem and value.
When we fear God… We will honour Him, and seek that which pleases Him, and avoid that which is contamination and compromise.
We will fear… our Lord… and…
- His displeasure…
- His disapproval.
AND, we will DELIGHT in our God.
Barnabas demonstrates for us what the message of the early church was. There was a closeness, and a blessed spirit amongst them, as believers gathered.
We notice, for example, the message that Barnabas put out in Acts 11…
It was short and sweet when he came to the church at Antioch… and he laid it on the line…
Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
Barnabas put the emphasis here, on this.
On how important that it is to cleave unto the Lord…
To CLEAVE unto God means to fasten yourself to Him…
When we fear God we won’t accommodate that which is a barrier between us and Him.
Rather we will long to..
- Hold onto God.
- Stay close to God.
- Stay true, stay faithful.
- Cling to Him.
- Be stedfast.
- With the purpose of your heart.
Our Lord looks to those who fear Him, and He commends them.
He delights in them.
They know a closeness to Him…
God’s will is the purity of His church.
He is a jealous God.
He wants our worship and devotion.
…in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.
He delights in His people who truly honour Him.
We are called to a closeness to God…
- To conform to His image.
- To identify with our Lord.
We are called to be partakers of the divine nature.
We can know the divine indwelling.
This is THE DEEPER LIFE.
But we must let go of our idols.
Moreso, we must demolish them.
There is a BEAUTY and a BLESSING in such worship and adoration.
God delights in this. As we fear Him. As we honour and adore Him…
O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
May we not be filled with PRIDE, but rather may we have HUMILITY… may we come humbly before God, and know His MAJESTY and the WONDER of who He truly is. And be in AWE of Him.
God delights in this, by His Spirit.
His blessings flow to us when we know this.
The Holy Spirit is associated with the fear of the Lord…
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
This is what the true church of God looks like…
- Where God’s Spirit truly is at work, cleansing hearts by faith, creating godly desires and mindsets.
This quality, the fear of the Lord, should be evident. It should dictate the choices we make.
It affects who we want to hang around with, what doctrine we follow, what we will accept and what we will refuse.
When the Holy Spirit is at work in us He will lead us into all truth, and He will help us discern truth from error. He will help us decide wisely what we will follow.
John says, 1 John 4:6
We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us.
Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
There is A SPIRIT OF TRUTH.
And, there IS A SPIRIT OF ERROR.
WHICH SPIRIT will we follow?
If we fear God we will NOT want to associate with what is error, but ONLY WITH WHAT IS TRUTH.
We will delight in the truth.
We will recognise error and we will WITHSTAND it. We will REBUKE it. We will SHUN it and seek to bring CORRECTION and TRUTH.
The Fear of God prompts a sense of Danger. It brings to God and to us a Delight, a closeness of fellowship.
And when I think of the Fear of God, I think also of a sense of…
We are under obligation. To fear God is to prompt in us RESPONSIBILITY, and ACTION.
People shirk DUTY.
They can often shy away from the word, DUTY… It’s as if it’s legalistic, to think that God actually expects something from us.
If we miss this vital truth – to fear God – we miss the whole point.
These are the first principles of life.
The fear of God is a foundation stone for a life well lived…
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Here is where true wisdom begins, with the fear of the Lord, with the knowledge of the holy.
It is the whole point of our existence.
And it should motivate us…
The Bible tells us how it is the whole duty of man…
Mankind was made for this.
It is our true purpose:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is THE WHOLE DUTY OF MAN.
It is truly our glad duty to fear God, and to serve God in truth.
Where there is a God fearing people we see God work and bless.
Noah acted in faith… he was moved with fear…
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
We can well ask…
Where has THE REVERENCE gone?
The Lord longs for us to gather unto Him.
It is our obligation, and our joy…
Our Lord is worthy of all praise and reverence…
God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.
It seems like we have lost something where this reverence is lacking.
And it is grievous to God.
As God’s people we will take God’s word seriously.
It is our duty.
We know that the Word is not something to be trifled with, or something to be taken carelessly…
We have a duty to hear it, and to act upon it…
Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel….
We will not be afraid…
- To speak out
- To stand up.
It is our duty.
We dare not treat the holy things of God carelessly but reverently, with godly fear.
This holy fear that we have should be a motivator to do right. To live for God. To do our duty to the pleasure and praise of God…
When God guides our steps we will tread carefully… and when we fear the Lord we will turn away from evil.
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
If we fear God, we will regard His authority. We will obey His Word.
We can know true blessing, as the fear of God will govern our decisions about every RELATIONSHIP and every ACTION.
By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
God is holding off His wrath for a season.
For the meantime, this fear should drive us to action.
And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Here we have a graphic picture of a fire, and of rescue. Of pulling people from the fire. It is a gripping, graphic picture.
The fear of God should be a motivator for us. To be witnesses. To save souls out of the fire, fearing God’s wrath, saving them out of the flames of God’s judgment by pointing them to the sure refuge found in Christ…
David Livingstone said this:
FEAR GOD AND WORK HARD.
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
If you fear Him, then you will want to honour Him – in everything.
Place Him first and His will.
Some ask me – what about those who say they know Him but their works say otherwise?
Point number one. I am not God.
I have to watch myself lest I stumble.
I know my salvation is not by works.
But, BECAUSE I have been gloriously saved – BECAUSE I FEAR GOD – I will take it seriously.
It’s a sad fact that some who profess to know God, do not.
They have never come to truly fear God.
If you fear the Lord…
…You will make assembling with other believers in worship and fellowship a priority in your life.
Prayer and the Word will be priorities.
Serving God will be a priority…
It is our glad privilege to be His unworthy servants…
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
Our service of God is not an irksome, burdensome thing, but it is our glad privilege.
And we are not serving for any plaudits, or praise of men.
Our service is not so that we can big-note ourselves, or claim any vain glory.
We serve, as it is the least that we can do.
Everything God says in His Word will take priority and precedence over all of our personal will and desires.
The fear of god motivates us to dread God’s displeasure and to rather seek His pleasure… To seek to please our Lord and Master as His servants…
We will walk the Lord’s way.
2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Develop a healthy “fear of the Lord”
Let us be afraid to offend God.
May we be motivated to truly walk strong.
As we fear God we will serve God acceptably… with reverence and godly fear…
(28) Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
(29) For our God is a consuming fire.
Think of the fear of God.
- Sense the DANGER.
- Enter into the DELIGHT of relationship with God
- Fail not in the wonderful privilege you have. As we fear God it prompts us to take on this task, this awesome DUTY all to His praise.