INTRO: From Ps 112:1 comes this piece of needed information and inspiration: Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. The fear of the Lord is a subject and need which is extensively treated in the scriptures. Solomon said in Eccl 12:13, Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. What is at the heart of ones relationship with God is this thing called fear. But when used as it is in such passages as these we have read, fright is not the primary element. The idea is that of reverence and respect for Almighty God. Yes, one who is in rebellion against God and His will has every reason to be frightened of ultimate punishment. But Godly fear moves beyond fright to reverence and love. In the book of Proverbs you would find the fear of the Lord mentioned often. For example:
1. Prov 1:7 & 9:10 - Where Knowledge & Wisdom Begin
a. in the book of Proverbs knowledge & wisdom are often interchangeable
b. fearing the Lord is the underpinning of true wisdom
c. yes, there are people whom we might consider wise who have no spiritual leanings at all - volumes filled with wise sayings can be purchased
d. but true wisdom always takes God into account
e. so, in our day to day lives reverence for God and His way will determine the choices we make, the courses we follow, the thoughts we entertain!
f. notice, too, the last part of 1:7 - fools despise wisdom and instruction
2. Prov 1:29-31 - Without It Life Will Be Perilous
a. one of the great realities of life is consequences
b. the people described here did not choose the fear of the Lord
c. at vv. 24,25 they had opportunity - they set at naught all my counsel - they knew Gods will and put it aside!
d. at v. 30 they despised all my reproof - they wanted nothing to do with Him
e. choosing their own way would have its fruit - its consequences
f. Gal 6:7 - here is a plain fact which is too often ignored by Christian people!
3. Prov 3:7 - Fearing The Lord Leads To Abandoning Evil
a. every one of us has moral and spiritual choices we make almost daily!
b. usually, in these choice situations, there is not middle ground (although I believe we attempt to rationalize with ourselves and find a middle ground)
c. too many choices we make are matters of situation and convenience!
d. be not wise in thine own eyes - do we have too much confidence in our own wisdom? our own guidance system?
e. if, however, we fear the Lord, choices become much more black & white
f. reverence for God and His will greatly impacts how we make our decisions
4. Prov 8:13 - Fearing The Lord Is Defining
a. what defines you? what determines who you are?
b. when people think of you, what qualities, characteristics do they see?
c. well, if you fear the Lord, you hate evil!
d. that hatred cannot be hidden - will be evident in your choices, your speech, your activities
e. Eph 5:11 - this fear is more than abstaining ... it takes action to reprove
f. hate is a strong word ... do we prefer dislike? are we tolerant to a fault? are we so tolerant that we have no definition?
5. Prov 14:2 - The Fear Of The Lord Insists Upon Life Consistency
a. one of the most difficult things I know is to be consistent
b. as a parent? as a spouse? as a friend? as a preacher/teacher?
c. most of us are sincere in not wanting to just act like Christians - we want our walk to equal our talk when it comes to the way we live
d. fearing the Lord requires that we walk uprightly! according to truth!
e. Gal 2:14 - Peter and others were saying one thing ... and doing another!
f. few things will expose our true selves more quickly that inconsistencies between our moral and spiritual beliefs and our moral and spiritual actions!
g. please notice, too, the last part of 14:2 - one whose actions are not upright is said to despise the Lord! that is strong language - it is serious language
CLOSE: The writer of Ps 119:59 says, I thought on my ways... I would hope that as we leave here tonight we would be thinking on our ways ... and reverence for the Lord. Reverence is more than quietness in worship ... it is very much in the way we live before God.
Cecil A. Hutson
27 June 2004
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)