The Fear of the LORD
August 18, 2021
The Fear of the LORD
August 18, 2021
Fear – (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) “6. In scripture, fear is used to express a filial or a slavish (or humbling) passion. In good men, the fear of God is a holy awe or reverence of God and his laws, which springs from a just view and real love of the divine character, leading the subjects of it to hate and shun every thing that can offend such a holy being, and inclining them to aim at perfect obedience…”
Preface Ecclesiastes: King Solomon is the writer, and if you look at 1 Kings 3:5-14 you will find that he became the richest and the second wisest man to ever walk the Earth (second only to Jesus, who IS wisdom) and you could say he had somewhat of a mid-life crisis. He got a little carried away with women and their gods, which left him in a humanism type of mindset (which is the pursuit of a self-defined meaningful and happy life). Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s writing, perhaps toward the end of his life, and he’s come to the conclusion of the existence of man. And here it is…
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NKJV Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.
AMP: 13 When all has been heard, the end of the matter is: fear God [worship Him with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is almighty God] and keep His commandments, for this applies to every person.
Matthew 22:35-40 NKJV Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Each testament, old and new, has an overarching theme.
O.T. – the Fear of the LORD (the Law and need of a Savior)
N.T. – the Love of God (the Savior sent)
Just like anything else, these concepts can be taken out of context or pushed to the limits only to fall into error. The extreme side of the Fear of the LORD creates legalism, and the extreme side of the Love of God becomes hyper-grace, which will ultimately lead to lawlessness.
Here is what R.C. Sproul says legalism looks like:
1. Focusing on God’s laws more than relationship with God
“Legalism forms where one is concerned merely with the keeping of God’s law as an end in itself…Legalism divorces obedience from God’s love and redemption.”
2. Keeping external laws without a truly submitted heart
“Legalism obeys the externals while the heart is far removed from any desire to honor God, the intent of his law or Christ”
3. Adding human rules to divine laws and treating them as divine
“Sproul says, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees at this very point saying, ‘You teach human traditions as if they were the word of God.’”
Just as the love of God counters legalism…
the fear of the LORD counters lawlessness.
1 John 3:4-6 NKJV Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
v6 AMPC No one who abides in Him [who lives and remains in communion with and in obedience to Him—deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] commits (practices) sin. No one who [habitually] sins has either seen or known Him
Which of these do YOU think we are in need of in today’s climate?
Which of these (lawlessness or legalism) will abound as the return of Jesus approaches?
Matthew 24:12 NKJV And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
The Fear of the Lord and the Love of God must go hand-in-hand.
The Fear of the LORD
The fear of the LORD is NOT
An immediate fear or fear of judgment.
Exodus 20:18-20 NKJV 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.”
1 John 4:18 KJV There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18 AMP There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].
The Fear of the LORD IS
Jeremiah 32:38-40 NKJV They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39 then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.
The fear of the LORD can be defined as a continual awareness that you are in the presence of a holy, just, and almighty God, and that every motive, thought, word, and action is open before Him and will be judged by Him.
Proverbs 1:7 KJV The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Therefore knowledge is the presence of instruction. That instruction being the Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV) and understanding the need of a Mediator, Savior.
Psalms 111:10 AMP The [reverent] fear of the Lord is the beginning (the prerequisite, the absolute essential, the alphabet) of wisdom; A good understanding and a teachable heart are possessed by all those who do the will of the Lord; His praise endures forever.
When you apply knowledge, it becomes wisdom (obedience). A teachable heart also implies humility.
Therefore, obeying God’s Word in perfect obedience, which means having the proper motive and attitude when fulfilling His Word, is the Fear of the Lord.
We tend to make excuses for our limited obedience, but…
Partial obedience is still disobedience.
FOTL is obedience but looks like: Love, Worship, Humility, and Intimacy.
The Fear of the Lord is a posture of the heart, a life-style that pleases Him and refuses to disappoint Him. Why do we not want to disappoint Him? Because we love Him! Love is the motivator behind the Fear of the LORD.
John 14:21-24 AMP The person who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him [I will make Myself real to him].” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) asked Him, “Lord, what has happened that You are going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered, “If anyone [really] loves Me, he will keep My word (teaching); and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling place with him. 24 One who does not [really] love Me does not keep My words. And the word (teaching) which you hear is not Mine, but is the Father’s who sent Me.
Undivided, unadulterated worship
Deuteronomy 6:5 AMP You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being].
Exodus 20:5 ESV …I the Lord your God am a jealous God…
Psalm 96:4 AMP For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 89:7 NKJV God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
Two examples of people who did NOT fear God in their worship: Nadab and Abihu & Ananias and Sapphira
Leviticus 10:1-2 AMPC And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and offered strange and unholy fire [Exodus 30:9] before the Lord, as He had not commanded them. 2 And there came forth fire from before the Lord and killed them, and they died before the Lord.
Acts 5:1-11 ESV But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. 7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you[a] sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
By default, the Fear of the LORD requires humility and meekness, because those who are humble know that it’s not about them, and those who are meek submit themselves to the will of another.
Humility is a lowliness of mind and meekness is submissive to a divine will.
Love humbles itself to meet the needs of another person.
Philippians 2:8 NIV And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Proverbs 22:4 NIV Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.
“Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.” -Josh McDowell
If we want a relationship with God, we ought to know what He likes and dislikes. What is the first and foremost value of Victory Church? KNOW GOD
Proverbs 2:1-5 NKJV 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.
Psalm 25:14 ESV The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. (The Living Bible 14b: With them alone He shares the secrets of His promises.)
Here’s something that isn’t a secret: God hates sin.
Proverbs 8:13 NKJV The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.
Romans 6:23 NKJV For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Hebrews 1:9 NKJV You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
Everyone wants to be anointed, hear from God, and operate in the gifts of the Spirit, and yet we tolerate sin… GOD HATES SIN AND WANTS YOU TO HATE IT.
1 Peter 1:16 NIV …“Be holy, because I am holy.”
2 Corinthians 7:1 AMP Therefore, since we have these [great and wonderful] promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, completing holiness [living a consecrated life—a life set apart for God’s purpose] in the fear of God.
Jesus and the Fear of the LORD
Luke 12:4-5 TPT Listen, my beloved friends, don’t fear those who may want to take your life but can do nothing more. It’s true that they may kill your body, but they have no power over your soul. 5 The one you must fear is God, for he has both the power to take your life and the authority to cast your soul into hell. Yes, the only one you need to fear is God.
Isaiah 11:1-3a NKJV There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. 3 His delight is in the fear of the Lord
Jesus delighted Himself in doing the will of the Father.
John 14:31 AMP …So that the world may know [without any doubt] that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father has commanded Me [and act in full agreement with Him].
Practically, what is the Fear of the LORD?
Staying free of sin, walking out the Word of God, and following the voice of the Holy Spirit. John Bevere gives us 5 descriptions of what it means to fear the LORD from the story of Abraham in Genesis 22:
- Obey instantly
- When it doesn’t make sense
- When you don’t see a benefit
- When it hurts
- To completion
Question: So having said all of this, how could someone, like the children of Israel after their encounter at the foot of the mountain, lose fellowship with God and no longer fear Him?
Answer: They forgot… because they did not keep the Word before them.
Deuteronomy 4:9-11 NKJV Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, 10 especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’ 11 “Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness.
We have to choose to remember so we don’t accidentally forget. No one forgets on purpose, you can’t choose to forget because then you are only reminding yourself of what you purposed to forget.
The fear of the LORD is NOT the fear of judgment. (1 John 4:18)
The fear of the LORD IS obedience and looks like:
Jesus delighted in the fear of the LORD by obeying the Father’s will EVEN to the point of death. (Isaiah 11:1-3a, John 14:31, Like 12:4-5)
- Does the Bible take first place in your life? (Do you truly believe it’s God’s Word?)
- Do you read the Word daily AND apply it to your life? (You cannot claim ignorance.)
- Let your obedience be motivated by love. Get intimate with God.
“One of these days some simple soul will pick up the book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed.” ― Leonard Ravenhill