Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas
We are living in a time where people everywhere are looking for freedom. The world wants freedom, freedom to do whatever they want. People do not fear to do anything and ‘do not fear’ is the trend of the modern society. I fear it is becoming the trend of many Christians too. Though I have not seen a Christian declaring the no fear slogan, many Christians live their lives as though they are truly without fear. Do we have to live in fear? If so what are we to be afraid of?
Today we are going to study what the Bible says about the fear of God.
Let us turn to the book of Ecclesiastes where Solomon is summing up his wisdom literature. Ecclesiastes 12:13-1413 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
Solomon chased many dreams in life which led him from failure to failure. He searched for life far from God. He pursued pleasure, living for the moment, doing everything he pleased, and in the end of his life he says all is meaningless. Finally Solomon says to fear God is the duty of all man because God will bring our every deed into judgment including every hidden thing. Coming from the word’s wisest man, it is prudent for us to receive it.
Illustration: Have you gone to some offices for some documentation work? You reach there on time only to find that there is hardly anyone on the seat. They come when they want, they do not sit on their seats; however, they get their salary on time. But then there are other multinational offices where people are on time, work for 8 hours, and complete all their given work. Why the difference? Here there is a computer that notes how much time they work. There are the CCTV cameras to monitor each and every employee. There is a monitoring system and people abide by the rules.
We have the eyes of God monitoring everything that we do.
2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
God’s eyes are watching us. Our secret life and public life are exposed before God. We must understand that we have a God who is watching every step of ours, and he rewards accordingly for our deeds. We will be judged for every word and deed of ours.
Illustration: If I ask Sam and Grace who do you like the most after God their obvious answer is daddy and mummy. Children love their parents very much. One day Sam made a punishable mistake and I had to spank him. After 2 hours I called him and asked him if he loves me. He said, “Yes.” Now let me ask you. Does Sam love me? Yes. Does he respect me? Yes. Does he fear me? Of course! This is how we fear God. We love and respect Him but we also know that we are in for punishment if we disobey Him.
Many times I see believers too keep away from sin not because they love God but they fear God. We need to come to a point where we keep away from the world not because we fear God and his punishment, but we love God so much that we want to obey whatever he says. Of course we fear God, but our love for God takes away that fear.
Apostle Paul in writing to the Romans is addressing about sin and law in Chapter 3. Here he is talking about people who have forgotten God in their lives. It looks like this passage deals with people who have never heard about God but Paul here is in fact quoting the OT scripture about Israelites. But reading through this scripture it makes us evident that these people are not even having the moral compass that God has given man.
Romans 3:10-18 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Apostle Paul here quoted the fearlessness of the Israelites and is addressing the Roman believers that it is possible even for a believer to lose the fear of God. Do we have the fear of God or have we become so acquainted with the God that somewhere along the way we lost fear towards Him? Looking at the attitude and lifestyle of certain believers nowadays it makes me wonder whether we live in God’s fear or not. The way we use our mobile phones, the things we see on TV and cinemas, the way we talk and our lifestyle are sometimes questionable.
Psalm 33:8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. The Bible says even the angelic beings and heavens tremble in fear for our God.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FEAR GOD?
To fear God is “to love, to honor, to respect, and to obey God in all aspects of one’s life.” It is a complete submission to God’s rule and control. It is to keep God in the throne of your heart.
Deuteronomy 10:12 And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Fearing God is to give him the control of our life; enthroning God and dethroning self.
QUALITIES OF A MAN WHO DOES NOT FEAR GOD.
1. They do not seek God’s ways.
Romans 3:10-11 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.
The people who do not fear God never seeks God’s ways, they walk by their own will not God’s will. They go by their thinking, by what the majority says. A God fearing man seeks God’s ways. Proverbs 3:5-6 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
God has a way and plan for you. A God fearing man will follow God’s ways. Before doing anything let us seek the will of God.
A God fearing man does not take decision in the spur of the moment. He will wait, watch, and understand the will of God. If God is silent he remains silent. He will not move unless God tells him to move. Abraham feared God but there was a time in his life when God was silent and he moved ahead of God. He was waiting for the promise son but since God was silent he devised his own ways for a son. That wrong decision brought rift in his family. A God fearing man waits upon the Lord.
2. Their lives are unprofitable.
Romans 3:12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
The lives of people who do not fear God are profitless. They may achieve a lot of things without God but whatever they achieve does not profit them, others, or God. A godless man does no good but a God fearing man does good with the little that he has.
3. Their words are poisonous.
Romans 3:13-14 13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
You can just listen to a person talk and know whether he fears God or not.
a. Throats are open graves. Some open their mouth and it stinks with their wickedness.
b. Tongues practice deceit. Deceit means misleading, fraud, cheating. They do not keep their words.
c. Poison of vipers on their lips. Some people are so fast to condemn and criticize people. If you talk to some people they just snub you at your face and you wonder why you ever spoke to that person.
d. Curse. Such people curse themselves, others, and God.
e. Bitterness. Always talking negative.
f. Gossip. Gossipers are always curious to know about other people’s life. They want to know everything about others and spread it to the entire town. Do not gossip.
Illustration: Four friends met for a friendly gathering, one of whom was a priest. During the conversation the priest said, “People come to us and pour out their hearts, confess certain sins and needs. Let’s do the same. Confession is good for the soul.” All agreed. One confessed he goes to church but drinks a little. The second confessed to liking to smoking and the third one confessed to liking to play cards. When it came to the fourth one, he wouldn’t confess and the wanted to run away from them. The others pressed him saying, “Come now, we confessed ours. What is your secret?” Finally he answered, “It is gossiping and I can hardly wait to get out of here.”
Do not be curious to know about other’s people business. Christians ought to mind their own business. We will be judged for every word of ours and the bad reputation we bring other by our gossip cannot be reverted.
Illustration: The story is told of a farmer with a troubled conscience who went to a monk for advice. He said he had circulated a vile story about a friend, only to find out the story was not true. “If you want to make peace with your conscience,” said the monk, “you must fill a bag with chicken feather, go to every dooryard in the village, and drop in each one of them one fluffy feather.” The farmer did as he was told. Then, he came back to the monk and announced he had done penance for his folly. “Not yet,” replied the monk. “Take your bag to the rounds again and gather up every feather that you have dropped.” “But the wind must have blown them all away,” said the farmer. “Yes, my son,” said the monk, “and so it is with gossip. Words are easily dropped, but no matter how hard you try, you can never get them back again.”
Think before you speak.
T–Is it true?
H–Is it helpful?
I–Is it inspiring?
N–Is it necessary?
K–Is it kind?
The words of Godless men are poisonous.
A God fearing person speaks with grace. Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
4. They are people of violence and non peacemakers.
Romans 3:15-18 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways. 17 and the way of peace they do not know.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
When there is no fear of God people become violent. Why is there so much domestic violence in India, because there is no fear of God? They treat their spouses and children violently. We are called to fear God.
RESULTS OF FEARING GOD
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
2. Prolonged life
Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.
3. Riches, Honour, and Life
Proverbs 22:4 Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life.
Isaiah 33:6 He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.
HOW DO WE DEVELOP THE FEAR OF GOD?
1. Choose to fear God above all else.
Proverbs 1:29 Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. God will not give this fear to us unless we want it. We must see this as something we choose above all else because we desperately need it. So choose to fear God.
2. Study the Word of God.
Reading and studying the Word of God builds the fear of God in us. Proverbs 2:1-5 1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
Psalm 112:1 Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.
The more you study the Word of God, the more you develop the fear of God.
3. Have an undivided heart.
Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. King David is asking God for an undivided heart. An undivided heart enables us to fear Lord. What is the connection between an undivided heart and the fear of the Lord?
A divided heart has many priorities. This heart lives sometimes for himself, the same heart then pleases others, and sometimes lives for God. Hypocrites have a divided heart. But in order to fear God we need to unite our heart just for one purpose, to live for God. We need an undivided heart so we can focus solely and completely on God, and that we can’t have that heart without God’s help.
A God fearing heart is always surrendered before God. His first priority is God in workplace, business, family, with friends and everywhere. David prayed for an undivided heart to fear God and God gave him one. God called David as a man after His own heart. Jesus feared God and had an undivided heart. Even to the point of death his heart was totally devoted to God the Father. In order to fear God we need to have a heart that is totally devoted to God 24×7.
We are called to fear God. How is our secret life and public life? Are we walking in the fear of God? Understand God is watching over us and we will be judged for every deed of ours. 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
This year let us lives in the fear of God. Choose to fear God, study about the fear of God, and have an undivided heart. Let us grow to a point where we keep away from the world not because we fear God, but we love God so much that we want to obey whatever he says. Amen.