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« Nothing But the Blood | Main | The Call »

The Duty of Fear

Ex 20:18-20 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

Moses had just come down from the mountain where he had received the ten commandments. It was a spectacular sight that left the people in awe.

Moses had a puzzling message from God to wrap it all up. Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.” Fear not, but keep the fear of God before you so that you don’t sin. In other words, if you don’t have any other reason to keep these commandments from God, then obey him for fear.

Now Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Israel had not yet come to that stage in moral and spiritual development. They were still under the guiding hand of fear.

When we see the word “fear” in the Bible in reference to God, it usually means to “revere” him, to respect him, to honor and obey him.

The 21st century culture is now described as a post-modern and a post-Christian society. Today, people consider fear to be a negative emotion. It is no wonder that gradually, we applied this notion to God himself.

How did this happen? Because one thing leads to another; one thing affects another.

  • When we started believing in evolution, we doubted creation.
  • When we doubted creation, we doubted the Bible.
  • When we doubted the Bible, we questioned the existence of God.
  • When we questioned the existence of God, we imagined a world without God.
  • If there is no God, then all of the reverence, respect and fear of God evaporates

It is little wonder, then, that we live in a world where abortion is rampant, euthanasia is approved, marriage covenants are routinely violated; that honesty, integrity and righteousness are values of the past.

Whoever you are, young or old, male or female, you need to possess a healthy fear of God—-as Creator, Giver and Sustainer of Life, Judge and Savior. It is your respect of God that will determine how you react and respond to him in the issues of your life.

The first individual I want you to consider is the one who has no fear of God.

Ps 36:1-4

The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. 2 For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful. 3 The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good. 4 He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.

Rom 3:10-18

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

The second individual I want you to consider is an especially strange breed.

2 Kings 17:25-28 25 And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them. 26 Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land. 27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land. 28 Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD. 32 So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. 33 They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.

Think of this.

They made the first concession, but rejected the second. We are going to fear God, but we won’t obey him. I speak to those who have a conscience prepared by the Word.

Raised in church, familiar with the Word. When you sin, you do it with a certain level of fear.

  • “Okay, I’m probably an idiot, but here goes.”
  • I know I’m going to regret this, but I’m going to do it anyway.

I was raised in the church with a great youth group. We had a quartet, we sang together in a youth choir, we had lots of activities. But as the kids got older, the world of sin looked more and more attractive. Occasional meeting with the friends of long ago, they were so nervous, They hung their heads, made empty promises, told me that they should get back to God.

A number of years ago, I stood at the casket of one of them. Drinking and drugs eventually claimed his life in his early forties. You would never have believed it talking to him earlier. He loved God. He feared God. He respected God. He just served his own God…the god of pleasure, the god of getting high, the god of getting drunk, the god of the good times.

“They feared the Lord and served their own Gods.”

It’s not so much what you say, but what you do that counts. We confess him with out mouth, but then we serve him with our lives.

 Rom 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Why should we have a healthy fear of God?

Matt 10:28 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.

Acts 5:10-11 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. 11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

Brother Scott Graham tells of the time in an airplane when he had an interesting experience.

Eccl 12:13

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

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