We apologize that there was not audio during the service this week. Below is the transcript from pastor Chris’ sermon:
Never Fear, but Fear God? How can we not fear while also fearing? How can we have a loving friendship with God while also fearing Him? Let’s look at scripture together and see if we can uncover not just the answers to these questions, but come out with a grander sense of who God really is, not just what we think He is in our little box.
Before we talk about fear, we are going to need to define Fear. Now there are two major types of fear used in scripture. The first is terror, or an object of terror.
Proverbs 3:25-26 New King James Version 25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; 26 For the Lord will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught.
Now there is also the other definition of Fear, to revere, be in awe of.
Psalm 33:8 says “Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”
The fear of the Lord means that we revere and are in awe of him. Not just respect, but also to the point of obeying Him like one would revere a king, but if you had broken the law, you would definitely fear his judgment over you. But because of the blood of Jesus over those who believe, we can come and receive mercy instead of wrath when we repent from sin.
In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And His children will have a place of refuge.
Now that doesn’t sound like terror at all. Because the fear of the Lord causes us to draw near to Him, not run away. Because as His children, we are protected by Him, protected by our fear of Him.
Lets go to Exodus
19 In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. 2 For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain.
3 And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
7 So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him. 8 Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord. 9 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever.”
So Moses told the words of the people to the Lord.
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. 11 And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. 13 Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain.”
14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. 15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives.”
16 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. 19 And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. 20 Then the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
21 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to gaze at the Lord, and many of them perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them.”
23 But Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai; for You warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds around the mountain and consecrate it.’ ”
24 Then the Lord said to him, “Away! Get down and then come up, you and Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest He break out against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and spoke to them.
God commands Moses to have the people consecrate themselves before His arrival on mount Sinai. The manifest presence of God requires a prepared people to come to. We have a part to play in the purification of ourselves.
This is our human part. God brings the supernatural; His presence. We are in partnership with God in His work in us and through us. I am not talking about salvation here. I am talking about purification. Obeying the Lord’s commands so we are a prepared place for Him. This is why reading the scriptures regularly is very important for every believer. Not as some religious yolk, but so you can make yourself a living sacrifice for the presence of God to manifest in and through you every day. Without the Word in you, you cannot obey God because you do not know His commands.
John 14:21 says He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
1. The fear of the Lord Purifies Us
Proverbs 8:12-13 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And find out knowledge and discretion. 13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
The reason sinners cannot enter the presence of God, but believers can is because God is holy. He is set apart from sin. It’s the simple nature of light and darkness. Light casts out all darkness. They can not coexist in one space. There is no struggle between them either. You don’t walk into a room and flip the switch and watch the light fight the darkness as if there is some sort of challenge wondering which one will win. It’s instantaneous. That is why God required sacrifice before the Jews could enter his presence. To cover up their sin so they would not be destroyed. And that they would consecrate themselves. Now as believers we have the permanent sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. His death and resurrection secures our ability to “Come boldly before the throne of grace” only when we accept Jesus as our lord and savior. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
But we must also daily consecrate ourselves by offering up ourselves as living sacrifices to and for Him to allow Him to work and move in our lives
1 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; 2 Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications. 3 If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.
We fear the Lord because even though He is fully perfectly just, all powerful, and all knowing, there is also forgiveness with Him! He is looking for opportunities to forgive, to be merciful. So how can God be fully just while also showing mercy? Because when we choose to believe and follow Jesus, God still gave the punishment out for our sins, but on Jesus instead of us. That’s how he saves us. His forgiveness saves us and begins the purification process. This is why what Jesus did is so powerful. We no longer have to take the punishment for sin.
Many of us understand the savior part of Jesus, but what about the Lord part? How do we serve Him as Lord?
Deuteronomy 10:12, 20-21
12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
20 You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. 21 He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen.
This is how God wants us to fear Him. He wants us to love Him, to serve Him, to walk with Him. This is making Him Lord of our life by making everything in our life subject to Him and His will. God doesn’t want us constantly terrified of Him. He wants us to be in a loving relationship with Him. In Exodus 20 the presence of God appears on mount Sinai after God had told the Israelites to consecrate themselves for two days. He gave them specific instructions on what to do around the mountain and how to prepare themselves for His arrival.
Let’s continue back in Exodus in chapter 20 verse 18. Here is right after God spoke the 10 commandments to Moses.
18 Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”
20 And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” 21 So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.
Fearing things other than God is a sin, but being afraid and terrified of Him is also not the response he wants from us. Yes God is all powerful, but God is also loving and merciful. The Fear of the Lord causes us to keep from sinning. When we trust in God and what He has spoken, we treat sin as vile and wretched; detestable. This purifies us by keeping us set apart from sin, which is what Holy means.
2. God Commands Us to Teach our Children, the Next Generation, to Fear God.
Ephesians 6:4: And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 4:10: “Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days that they live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.”
Proverbs 2:1-9 The Value of Wisdom
2 My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, 2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; 3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, 4 If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; 8 He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints. 9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path.
Let’s look at what happened when some people did not fear God’s command while in His presence.
10 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. 2 So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. 3 And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’ ” So Aaron held his peace.
4 Then Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, “Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.” 5 So they went near and carried them by their tunics out of the camp, as Moses had said.
6 And Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons, “Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the people. But let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord has kindled. 7 You shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you.” And they did according to the word of Moses.
Conduct Prescribed for Priests
8 Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: 9 “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, 10 that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, 11 and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.”
God is serious about how we enter his presence and what we do when His manifested presence is here. Aaron was the one who earlier made the idol golden calf for the Israelites and him to worship when Moses was on the mountain in the presence of God. (Exodus 32:25) His children saw how their father only partly served God, and allowed and even helped the people make an idol to worship and even replace God. In Leviticus chapter 9 Aaron brought the first offerings and they were accepted because He did as Moses had commanded, which is really what God had commanded because God spoke through Moses. So even though Aaron is fully serving the Lord now, his sons may have been influenced by how he had allowed idol worship and thought there were not any repercussions for disobeying God. Aaron did not teach them the fear of the Lord, and they perished because of their rebellion.
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens (have a restraining or moderating effect on), And scourges (discipline or punish) every son whom He receives.”
I know many of you are parents. Let me ask you this, did you have to teach your kids to sin? No! You had to teach them to be good. So God in His great love for us must sometimes restrain and discipline us for us to grow in righteousness and to cleanse us from sin. We need a holy fear of God. Part of that fear is knowing that there are consequences for our actions. But more than that, we understand the character of God, that He desires mercy more than sacrifice. He desires to show mercy to us, but we must have a repentant heart to receive His mercy. He wants to build us up and exalt us, but the sinful things we have built up in our lives get in the way of that. Sometimes in the process of being built up by God, we have to be crushed and reshaped to fit into God’s plan for our lives and to be purified inside and out.
And if you’re thinking “But Chris, I don’t have any kids.” Well I’d say you’re a part of the family of God now. Look around, these are you brothers and sisters in Christ. You can be a spiritual father to others. Our function in the body is to build each other up by allowing God to use each one of us, big or small, to help build each other up in love. To sharpen each other in our understanding of the Lord. It’s time we take responsibility for who we are in Christ instead of waiting for when we think we have to grow up.
3. The Fear of the Lord Removes Fear
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
The fear of the Lord protects us from the snares of the Enemy and gives us courage against him. We cannot fight what we are afraid of, we can only flee from it. When we stand on God’s word, the enemy will flee from us (James 4:7). He is afraid when we walk in the authority of Jesus.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
Again this is not speaking about the fear of the lord, but terror; being afraid of something or someone. Or even having anxiety or worry about if something may happen.
FEAR is a False Expectation Appearing Real. When fear grips us, we no longer are fearing God, but are fearing something or someone else. Fear is our attention. Fear is our focus. What we fear is what we are subject to. It defines our master. Fear drives us and establishes our boundaries. If you are afraid of heights you stay low. If you are afraid of water you stay on land. If you are afraid of the dark, you stay in the light. If you are afraid of people, you stay alone. When our fears master us, they begin to limit our life and make it smaller.
Having the bad kind of fear in our life keeps us from fully walking in what the Lord has promised and given to us.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or terrified of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.
We worship what we fear. What you revere, what you have a deep respect for what something is capable of. God has more power than any other thing. He is the only one who was not created, and has the power to create or uncreate.
27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Sometimes when we think about fear, we only think about the scary afraid part. But there are other types of fear that God also doesn’t want us to have.
I’m going to be completely honest and open. For a long time I have struggled with a fear of rejection. The fear that somehow if I am not enough for those around me and fall short of this idea I have in my mind of the ideal me; strong, prepared, nice, smart, etc. that others will no longer want to be around me. In scripture this is called the Fear of Man. It means that I have feared others even more than God; What they thought about me, how they saw me, etc. God has really been working on this in my life the past few years, but I’d be lying if I said that it’s all gone. There have been times that the Lord has asked me to go talk to a stranger and I told God that I didn’t want to look weird or crazy. Or I didn’t want to obey him because the person I was with might feel odd while I do that. And yeah I’ve sometimes been able to push through it and as Joyce Meyer says “do it afraid”. But these thoughts are from a spirit of fear that, at times, I have submitted to.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
As children of God we have a desire to serve Him with gladness and rejoicing. But if we have allowed fear in, we are now serving two masters; God and man.
Matthew 6:24 Says “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” If you try to serve two masters you will never satisfy both. It is impossible. In fact, and this is going to come across very strongly, but if you’re serving something or someone other than God, like fear, it said you’d “Hate the other ”. When we serve another master we are actually telling God that we hate Him. That is why God tells us to fear Him alone. Proverbs 29:25 25The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
If you are struggling with any kind of fear and need help, we want to pray with you today. I will be the first one here at the front needing prayer. Scripture says “The lord opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Come humble yourself before the Lord today with me. Come let him be your master again. “Whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Come back to the protection of the Lord. He is looking for opportunities to be merciful. Don’t miss this time to receive mercy from your Father in Heaven. Psalm 34:4 says I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
God wants us to have life and have it abundantly. Come back to the light. Come back to your Father who loves you. Come back to the Church who cares for you. Come let us agree with you in prayer.