Summary: Why we need to fear God.
I can remember as a child attending church with my Great Aunt in Murfreesboro, TN. I don’t remember what denomination it was but I do know it was a church where the people believed in physical worship. They believed in expressing their love for God in a more active way. And the pastor had to be in good shape because he was all over the place
People were falling out and crying, jumping up and down—waving their arms—patting their feet and clapping their hands as they worshipped and praised the Lord. I must admit that sometimes I get very uncomfortable when I am in that kind of setting.
But even more interesting than what was going on around me was the fire and brimstone type of preaching.
I don’t remember all the details but the part that got my attention is where the preacher talked about sin and the consequences of sins.
I remember him saying that those who sin against God would die and spend eternity in the lake of blazing fire.
He talked about heaven and hell as though they are a place and as though they are real. And they are!!
We’re not making this stuff up!!! The bible clearly states there is a place called heaven and the only way to get there is through Jesus Christ!!
John 14:6 Jesus says: “I am the way the truth and the life, no one can come to the Father except through me.”
One of the most tragic misconceptions people have about heaven is that all you have to do to get in is to live a good life—I came here to today to let you know that if you are believe this and are trying to work or buy your way in or think your way in, you’re in for a big disappointment!!!
Heaven is real and Jesus provides the only way in.
Hell is also real, Read Matthew 25:41-46, Revelations 19:20. The good news is you don’t have to do anything to get there, as a matter of fact that is one sure way of getting there—simply do nothing. Don’t accept Christ.
Don’t read God’s word. Don’t love your neighbor as your self. Don’t pray. Jus do nothing and you’re guaranteed a place in Hell, and there is always front row seating, that is if you will be able to sit.
This image of hell sort of got to me as it would any young normal child and it has had a lasting impact.
This young country preacher in Tennessee, put the fear of God in me at a early age and believe it or not—I still have that fear.
When I think of the consequences of my sins,
When I think of what waits for those on the other side of this life who die and don’t know the Lord.
When I think of spending eternity in a place that is hotter than anything I can dream of or imagine…
When I read about Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16 where Jesus says they both died, but Lazarus wound up next to Abraham and the rich man in Hades where looked across the chasm and saw Lazarus and Abraham together and he begged for Abraham to come and dip his finger in the water just to cool the tip of his tongue because he was being tormented by the flame.
When my mind starts to dwell on the consequences of my living a life of sin—there is a fear that comes over me, a fear that compels me to repent and beg God’s forgiveness.
A fear that makes me want to get to know God better and to be all he wants me to be, no matter what sacrifices I have to make.
It was the fear of God that kept me from doing many of the things my friends were doing in my teenage years.
It was the fear of God that made me feel so bad whenever I did something I knew I should not be doing, but did it anyway.
My entire life was one that was controlled by fear.
In many cases my fear would cause me to do nothing.
At other times it would cause me burst into action such as fighting or running away from whatever it was that frightened me.
Fears are real and natural, and in almost all cases our fears are more real than that which we fear.
Fear can be a real downer at times but if we look at it another way, fear can be a real motivator.
If we are to live our lives the way God wants us to-- the fear of God is important to our success in fulfilling God’s purpose.
Proverbs 1:7 says: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.