Volume. XXV, No. 17
Sunday, 24 October 2010


The Fear of the Lord in the Lives of Christians (Part II)


Last week, we began our study on the fear of the Lord in the lives of believers. We have considered what the word “fear” means in the light of the Scriptures and pondered what fearing the Lord means to Christians today. This week we shall consider how God’s people can develop that “fear” in their lives as we conclude the study on this topic.  

If we were to read Deuteronomy 31:10-13, we would notice that Moses was commanded by the God of Israel to read the law before all Israel, to gather the men, women and children so that they may “HEAR” and “LEARN” to fear the LORD God and observe to do all the words of His law. The Scriptures also explicitly command the parents to teach the young ones to fear the Lord in the same way: read the law “so that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD” (Deut 31:13). This passage suggests that reading and learning the Word of the Lord and fearing the Lord should go hand in hand. A Christian home will not “fear the LORD” if the home is not “saturated” with God’s Law. A nation will not fear the LORD if the Law of God is not learned and upheld by the elected officials. A church will not fear God if God’s Word is not faithfully “preached” and “taught” through “solid” and “systematic” exposition of His infallible and inerrant Word. Learning the Law of God or the Word of God requires “searching” and “diligent studying” of the Word. Our Lord said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life…” (Jn 5:39). Charging the young Timothy, Apostle Paul wrote, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). Though 2 Timothy 2:15 can be used on students who should study various academic subjects diligently such as Math, Science or English to God’s glory, the context of the passage is actually about studying the Scripture diligently because Paul said the purpose is that we may “rightly divide the Word of truth”.

When speaking of rightly dividing the Word of truth, Apostle Paul was charging Timothy and his readers that they should preach the Word boldly without “fear and favour of men” seeking only to be accepted of God, and not of men. Apostle Paul said, “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him” (2 Cor 5:9). This is so true in every aspect of our ministry. In other words, a man who “fears God” will labour tirelessly and faithfully in areas where he or she is called only seeking to be “approved of God”, not of man. This is why in Biblical times men who “feared the Lord” were chosen to be leaders or representatives of the people. This is the PRINCIPLE that should be at the core of our philosophy of ministry. From time to time, God prepares some of us to be leaders of the church. It is my prayer that we seek to “please the Lord” always and “not men”. Gal 1:10 says, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ”. To all the teachers of God’s Word, including the Sunday school teachers, let this verse be your challenge: “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” (1 Th 2:4). There may be times that the effort we invested in preparing a lesson seems futile, but our labour is never in vain (1 Cor 15:58). Let our hearts not be faint with challenges and disappointments: “Fear God, for you shall fear nothing.” Having said that, we must also caution ourselves not to fall into an “extreme” but seek to maintain a healthy balance in our understanding of the Word of God when we develop a godly fear in our lives.
 
Through Maintaining a Balanced Understanding of the Word of God

As I have said, in the context of “developing the fear of God,” a Christian must also strike a “healthy balance” in his or her understanding of the Word of God. This is because the only way to acquire a balanced understanding of God Himself is to have a balanced view of the Scriptures. A Christian cannot properly develop “the fear of the Lord” without knowing who God is and what He means to him or her. Replying to the conniving and sceptical Sadducees in Matthew 22:29, our Lord said, “…Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God”. The Sadducees were the ones who denied the resurrection of the dead and other biblical teachings; they are best equated with theological liberals in our days. Today, many people describe God as “love”. And love is all they preach on the pulpit because people like to “hear about it”. They often depict God as a ‘fuzzy’ and ‘gentle’ grand-father figure who always has a big smile hanging from ear to ear. In a sense, it is true. God is “love”. I do not deny that. According 1 John 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love”. Yet, is love all there is about God? Most of us would object to this idea. However, unfortunately many churches today seem to preach nothing but God’s love and compassion and very little of God’s holiness, justice and His wrath—this is where they have lost the biblical balance about who God is. There is no wonder that many Christians today lack “the fear of God” and there is no wonder that sinners are not being drawn to Christ because they do not feel compelled to come. Does not the scripture say in Deuteronomy 4:24 and in many other passages that the LORD our God is a “consuming fire, even a jealous God”? Some would argue, “Well, that was an Old Testament emphasis. We don’t want to scare people away”. Well, how about Hebrews12:29 a New Testament book where it says “For our God is a consuming fire”? Actually, the author of Hebrew is quoting directly from Deuteronomy 4:24. And when you read the book of Revelation, you would realize that Christ appears to Apostle John in Revelation 1:14 and John describes that our Lord’s “eyes were as a flame of fire”. And almost all good commentators will agree that this symbolizes Christ’s “wrath” and “vengeance”, as set upon his enemies, which will be “fierce and furious” bringing swift and sudden destruction on His enemies. Doesn’t this give us something to be fearful of God?

I do not necessarily agree with some of street preachers who go out in the street and shout: “Repent now, or you are going to hell!” I believe we need to be balanced in the way we present the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is good news. It contains the “message of hope” in the “hopeless world”. The world is hopeless because the world is already condemned. There is no need for us to go out and condemn people. We must tell them that as sinners there will be a judgment awaiting us that leads to eternal consequences, but there is hope. That hope is the hope of resurrection already accomplished by the death of Jesus Christ, so that sinners can fly to Christ in “fear and awe” knowing that they are doomed without Christ saving them. In other words the “fear of God” must come in a person knowing that he is a sinner who would perish without Christ! Simply telling a sinner that God loves them without telling them of their problem is not preaching the gospel. It may only harden the person’s heart further, as he may assume that he is in good terms with his Maker.  

Conclusion:

One of the first revivals ever recorded in the Scripture was characterized by the “fear of the Lord” and not “the Love of the Lord” if we read Acts 2:42-46. Do we wish to see individual or corporate revival? Let us continue stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers (Acts 2:42). When the fear of the Lord fills the heart of each child of God, then he may be ready for a revival because he will be studying God’s Word, fellowshipping with the saints and praying fervently for the revival to come. I pray that we would all be like the Christians in the book of Acts and experience the “fear of God” and cast ourselves to Christ and cry out unto Him: “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psa 85:6)

Ps David Weng


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements
*Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Bro Phil Surman. Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader: Sis Suzane Lim.
*Greetings from Dn Edwin D’Mello (Ottawa)
*Deepest sympathy to family, relatives & friends of Mrs Doreen Dunning who went home to the Lord on Tuesday, 19 Oct.
*Missions trip to Batam & Bintan in Jan 2011, those interested in going, please attend this special briefing straight after Worship Service.
*Fellowship lunch next Lord’s Day is catered - $5 per person, free for children under 5 years.
*Volunteers needed for Working Bee next Sat.
 
Looking Ahead
*B-P National Youth Camp, 29 Nov - 3 Dec.
*Christmas Day Worship Service: Sat, 25 Dec.
*Watchnight Service: Fri, 31 Dec.
 
Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Bro Jason (Melb) & Sis Tabitha (Adl/Melb) Tan; Bros Raymond Ang (S’pore) & Richie Horenung (Vic); Mrs Siew Ling Teh & family (Malaysia); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations.
2. Church activities - over the past week.
3. Recovery from illness - Rev George van Buuren.
4. Daily mercies & guidance in our lives.
5. Job - Bro Richie Horenung in Victoria
 
Prayer Items
1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Dn David Yeo; Bros Colin Creaser, Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Elton Law, Jonathan Liao (Melb), & Len Pearson; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Annie D’Mello & her mother (Mumbai), Lydia Fan, Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Nan van Buuren; Gillian Ong, Lehia Paauwe, Margaret Pearson, Julie Tan, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
2. Cambodia Missions - Preacher Zhang & Ministry (Sihanoukville).
3. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & his ministry.
4. IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman, Board & Missionaries around the world.
5. Ministry in London - Ps & Sis Ki
6. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.
7. Ps & Sis Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
8. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
9. Journey mercies: Bro Jason & Sis Tabitha Tan; Bro Raymond Ang (Adl); & all others who are travelling.
10. Job - Sisters Judy Li & Corinne Teng. Jobs for our uni graduates next year.
11. Good health in pregnancy - Sis Myra Horenung (Mindanao). 
12. Final weeks of pregnancy - Sis Monica Tan, for good labour & delivery. 
13. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
14. Year 12 Students: Sisters Jillian Chia & Shilsha Ninian.
15. Uni students - preparing for end-of-year exams.
16. God’s comfort for family, relatives & friends of Mrs Doreen Dunning.
17. Spiritual revival of Hopefuls - more attendances at Bible Study & Church activities.
18. God’s guidance & help for Bro Richie Hornung as he works in Victoria.
 
 

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063