Up in the High Sierra Nevada mountains near Yosemite National Park in California, we are visiting my dad. With the early Fall snow dusting the pine covered slopes with fresh power, the panoramic vista is a true wonderland. Visiting my father's church for Sunday worship, we were privileged to hear the first Sermon of newly ordained Pastor Rolff on one of my favorite topics "the fear of the Lord". He kept it humble. He kept it simple. And he kept it Christ. Here are some of my notes.
Proverbs 16:6 "By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil."
In the past, preachers gave sermons on Hell fire and brimstone and it would (though true) put the fear of God into the hearer. Today, the church may have gone to the opposite extreme to preach that our Creator is just a God of love, ignoring His holy, just and righteous indignation of sin, and in doing so has forgotten the balanced message and true attributes of God. The fear of God includes awe, respect and reverence of our sovereign Almighty Lord, with a place for trembling because of our natural unclean state before Him.
Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
We all stand as a convicted criminal before the pronouncement of the verdict of death (both soul and body in hell) for our willful sins. But for the Believer in Christ, sin is atoned for and we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus in our saving faith and repentance. The knowledge of our forgiveness and justification by the mercy and grace found only in the love of God. Our regenerated spirit is in a new heart willing to obey the statutes and commands, and desires not to disappoint or offend our Lord, our Maker, our Redeemer, our Savior with a desire to depart from that which is evil in the eyes of God. No fear of the Lord leads to a life of corruption, permissiveness, and the lack of motivation to turn to God to work our our salvation and miss out on the blessings in the love of God.
Proverbs 8:13 "The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate."
The fear of God, in full context, perfects the steps by step process of our holiness in sanctification. We need to pursue the knowledge of God through His holy Word and then we need to live it out in our lives. It does not good to talk the talk without walking the talk. The Lord tests us, as His loving children, because He wants us to know what is truly in our hearts, that we may grow and know victory in this world and truly live.
Proverbs 14:26-27 "In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death."
In Christ, Brian