The Fear of God
Our Biggest Fear
There is one overriding fear I have that keeps me doing what I do, and it’s the fear of God. In our culture, it seems like we fear everything but God. We fear the future, we fear rejection, and we fear commitment. Those fears we should keep at arm’s length. But the fear of the Lord is the only fear that should be operative in our lives.
Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
What is fear? F-E-A-R stands for a Foundational Emotion that is Always Reverent.
A Beautiful Balance
The Scripture tells us there is a beautiful balance between the fear of God and the love of God. You can’t talk about the love of God without talking about the wrath of God. You can’t talk about the mercy of God without talking about the judgment of God.
We try to decaffeinate it. We say it’s about respect; it’s about reverence. People say it’s to be in awe of God. All those things are true, yet we’ve stripped those words of their meaning.
We say, “That was an awesome touchdown!” or “That chocolate sundae was awesome!” But the truth is that no one is awesome except God.
Some of you grew up in a church that preached hellfire and brimstone and it damaged you. But God doesn’t send anybody to hell — you make that choice.
Hell was designed for the devil and demons. It was not designed for people. We chose that through Adam and Eve and the original sin.
Now we can choose to fear God or not. Many of you have chosen to fear God. But some of you have chosen not to fear God. You’re on your way to a Christless eternity.
You don’t want any of God here, and God’s going to say, ‘you know what? I’ll grant you your wish throughout eternity. You’ll have none of me in eternity.’
Because I choose to fear God, I choose to do what God says. Many would argue that God is a forgiving God, so you can do what you want. God’s grace will cover your sin. But Proverbs 16:6 clearly says, “The fear of the Lord keeps one away from sin.”
I don’t want to disappoint God. I don’t want to break God’s heart with my choices. I don't want to disappoint others who are looking at my life.
But part of it is the fear of God! Our reverence and awe of God should keep you and me from sin because we know sin has its kicks, but its kickbacks are wicked! And God doesn’t remove the consequences of sin. It isn’t fun to be disciplined by God. Yet time and time again, the Bible says God disciplines (not punishes, but disciplines) those He loves.
What is the Fear of God?
Here is my working definition of the fear of God. It’s the 24/7, 360-degree awareness that everything we do, say, and think is in front of a holy and just, magnificent God who sees and judges everything we do.
I’m talking to those of us who follow Christ. God sees your life and mine. Our lives are an open book. He judges what we do.
I’m not talking about Heaven. I’m not talking about Hell. I’m talking about the Bema Seat or Judgment Seat of God. I’m talking about how God disciplines those He loves.
I would rather scare you into Heaven than lull you into hell.
Motivated Into Action by the Fear of God
- Spend Time in His Word
The fear of God should motivate you to spend time in His word. Even ten minutes a day will help you hear from the Lord. Do you have questions about your future? Psalm 25:12 says, “Who were those who fear the Lord? He will show them the path they should choose.”
- Share Your Faith With Others
The fear of God should motivate us to share our faith with others. We all know people who don’t know Jesus. Do you fear God enough to share Him with others when He gives you an opportunity to do so? 2 Corinthians 5:11 says, “Because of this we know the fear of God, so we try to get men to put their trust in Christ.”
- Give Back Through Tithes
Deuteronomy 14:22: “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.” We have a choice: we keep the tithe (or tenth), and our finances are cursed, or we bring the tithe, and our finances are blessed. The Bible says God loves a cheerful giver. We fear God, so we tithe to Him — cheerfully — and are blessed. And not in the ‘genie in a bottle’ kind of way.
Pause and Reflect
The Bible mentions the fear of God 27 times. Do you think that means it’s important to God? Having the proper fear of God will change your worship. It will change the way you pray. It will change your view of yourself and of God. It’s my prayer that the fear of God and the love of God will cause you to respond to the grace of God and the mercy of God.
Some of this may seem confusing or like deep spiritual thinking. But let’s start with the basics: God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross to pay for your sins and mine, but Jesus rose again. Those who believe in Jesus and put their faith in Him will spend eternity in heaven.
If you want to learn more about God or about becoming a follower of Jesus, contact us or join us at Fellowship Church — online or in person — so we can talk through your questions.
The God of eternity is reaching out to you today. Won’t you respond?
Want to learn more? Watch the related sermon.