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Fear …. September 8, 2019

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10 ESV

The Bible teaches us to fear the Lord, and that is wise to do, (Psalms 111:10, Proverbs 1:7 & 9:10 ) but I thought we were told that fear is not of God. So why is there so much instruction concerning fearing God? For example in the Psalms we are taught over 60 times to fear God and in Proverbs more than 15 times. This is just two of the many books teaching the fear of the Lord. You might suggest this is just an Old Testament teaching, but it is not so. (Matthew10:28, Luke 1:50, Romans 3:18, 1 Peter 2:17) We can try to make it something else concerning the teaching of fear, but I believe if it was meant for something else, the word fear would not have been used. This sounds so contrary to how we are taught concerning God toward us. We hear that God is a loving God who would not send anyone to hell. As unpopular as this may be to say, God does exactly what he said he would do from the beginning…. punish sin. This is exactly what He did with his own Son on the cross at Calvary. His Son knew no sin and was the perfect lamb of God who took the punishment and wrath we deserved for our sins. This should help us understand the seriousness with which God looks at sin and, yes, should cause us to evaluate sin differently. When we sin, we are acting in total disobedience to God and ultimately wronging him by the choice to sin. David said to God concerning his sin, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgement.” Psalms 51:4 ESV. In a very general statement I believe this is part of the reason we see so little regard for the things of God in our day. There is no fear of the judgement of God for unforgiven sin. When God’s ways have become a way but not the way, and Satan has convinced many, just as he did Adam and Eve…. God really doesn’t mean what he says, then you have ceased to have a healthy fear of God. But the serpent said to the woman: “YOU WILL NOT SURELY DIE.” Genesis 1:4 ESV God said they would die and when they ate the fruit they experienced spiritual and ultimately physical death. God did not mince his words then and he doesn’t do so today.

Fear is a most uncomfortable feeling, and I understand the reason why many may look at this message with much criticism. The fear I am teaching is not a negative fear but a healthy fear. It is an understanding that God is who He is and will do what He says, concerning sin. The lack of fear is to believe there is no consequence for our actions….. surly you will not die. Example: I don’t refrain from speeding just because there is a law that tells me how fast I can safely travel on a certain stretch of highway; I don’t because I understand there is a consequence if I do. If I do speed and a policeman pulls me over and tickets me, he rightly does so because I broke the law. When we honor the law, we do so for the fear of the consequence of breaking that law, and the one who has the authority to implement the consequence of breaking the law. It is not a fear that causes me to hide every time I see a policeman, for that is an unhealthy fear, but one the causes me to do what is right.

Wait, I thought you said we are suppose to fear? Don’t mistake worldly fear for Godly fear. The fact that God, knowing we are law breakers who, in truth, have not the ability to keep the law perfectly in love and mercy, paid our fine. God has no pleasure in judging the sinner according to their poor choices and inabilities. Thus He has provided a way for the consequence of sin to be paid. As sinners we come to God standing before him like in court and say, “I’m guilty as charged concerning the breaking of the law, but please have mercy upon me.” God, being just yet full of love and grace, provided a way to punish the sin but still have mercy on the guilty. God has provided the payment before you have ever come before him for judgement. For the sake of simplicity let me give you this example… Jesus has the payment for your fine of breaking the law and comes to give it to you. He tells you that God, the judge, will judge you guilty but wants to show mercy, “so He has told me to pay your fine before you ever arrive at your court date.” Your reply, “What a kind and merciful judge”, and you tell of his grace and mercy with much thanksgiving to all who will listen. Or, you will say, “No, I have kept every other law better than most and I’m not being that bad of a person; I can handle this on my own.”…… Tell that to the policeman who is writing you a ticket for speeding. That is why it is call the Gospel…. Good News!!! When we come before God, we will do so before his throne. He is King of Kings, and there will be no place in which to appeal. God, being just, will pronounce judgment. How He judges a person will depend upon what they believe. The person who says, I don’t need God, in essence has become their own god and will be judged accordingly. Remember, if Satan was and is no match for God, as powerful as He is…. you absolutely will be no match. You need an advocate who will intercede on your account. That advocate is Jesus, who will speak on your behalf and say, Father, this is one who received the payment you provided for their offense. Satan as prosecutor will cry guilty, and God will say the consequence for the offense is paid in full. It is called perfect love… God’s perfect love…. There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:17-18 ESV If God’s love is not in you by the Holy Spirit, the consequence of sin has not been paid in your life. To rid yourself of ungodly fear, you accept and believe in the love of God and in His Son, Jesus.

There is no secret formula for becoming a Christian, but the person who wants to rid themselves of their guilty status before God must first admit their guilt. The thief on the cross did this when he said, “Do you not FEAR God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for WE ARE RECEIVING THE DUE REWARD OF OUR DEEDS BUT THIS MAN HAS DONE NOTHING WRONG.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” Luke 23: 40-43 ESV You admit and acknowledge your guilt and the perfect sacrifice, (Jesus), calling upon him for salvation. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 ESV If you are a Christian, tell the good news that you have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God, and though guilty, you have been pardoned. When you have been forgiven much, the natural reaction should be to love much, for you have been freed from the fear of death and the consequence of sin… Therefore go and sin no more, and share the gospel/good news that this is available for all who will call upon the name of Jesus.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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