Summary: It is because of delayed judgment that many Christians have no "fear" of the Lord.
Fear of the Lord – Do we have it?
Last week, we learned about standing still in the midst, but we also learned something else, The Fear of the Lord! In this day and age, I ask you this morning, where is our fear of the Lord? It is because of so called “delayed” judgment that Christians have no fear of the Lord. We are going to see today about 3 situations in which the fear of the Lord and judgment happened and when.
In our first text today, the people had been wandering in the wilderness under God’s MANIFESTED glory. The irreverent were judged QUICKLY! The incident here is not the first one of rapid judgment when sin abounded. See, Nadab and Abihu made the big mistake of offering “strange fire” before the Lord, but they were already drunk when they entered into the tabernacle. God had no choice but to bring swift judgment upon them. Note also, that Aaron and his other sons were not to mourn them or go out because of the anointing. We are not to mourn those who God will judge.
Then as we go on, we note that after Joshua had died, the people grew colder and colder in their hearts. There was NO fear of the Lord in their lives. In fact, in Judges 2:19, let us read what it says they were doing. Their fear of the Lord had reached an all time low. By the time we get to 2 Samuel, Eli had been judging Israel and his sons, but his sons were very corrupt, committing sexual immoralities and using their position of leadership to lure women into committing them with them. Eli knew of his sons’ deeds but did nothing. There was no fear of the Lord even in Eli’s life. It is hard to understand why judgments of these 2 men were not the same as the judgment of Aaron’s sons. The reason was in Aaron’s 2 sons case, was that the glory of the Lord was strong. There was a fear of the Lord in the camp of Israel.
Again, now in Acts, chapter 5, we see the story of Annanias and Sapphira. The glory of the Lord was very strong in the days of the early church. It is lacking today. Note the swift judgment of these two people.
Yet, today there are many whose sin exceeds that of these 2 and yet they have escaped immediate judgment only to await delayed punishment. They are not unlike Eli’s sons. They continue to sin, blindly comforted because they have failed to realize that they will yet be judged. Nothing happened, they think with a sigh of relief. I must be exempt from God’s judgment. He overlooks what I do. These individuals are comforted by a false sense of grace, mistaking God’s delay of judgment for the denial of it.
Now go with me to 2 Timothy 3. The somber truth here is Paul is not describing the world but rather Christians. He continues with verse 5, saying they will act as if they are RELIGIOUS, but they will reject the power that could make them GODLY. (NLT). They will frequently attend church, hear God’s Word, talk God’s Word, boast in the saving grace of the Lord, but will reject the power that could make them godly.
What is the power that could make them godly? It is the very grace of God of which they boast. For the past 20 to 30 years, the grace taught and believe in many of our churches is not real grace, but a perversion of it. This is the result of OVEREMPHASIZING the GOODNESS of God to the neglect of the FEAR of Him.
When the doctrine of the love of God is not balanced with an understanding of the Fear of God, error is result. Likewise, the reverse is true. This is why we are exhorted to “consider the goodness and SEVERITY of God” Romans 11:22. We have heard believers and leaders excuse disobedience by marking everything off as covered by God’s grace or His love. Grace is unmerited; and it DOES cover – but not in the manner we have been taught. It is not an EXCUSE but an EMPOWERMENT. This lack of balance infiltrates our reasoning until we feel at complete liberty to disobey God whenever it is inconvenient or not to our advantage. Even as we sin, we assure ourselves and quiet our consciences with a shrug and the thought, God’s grace will cover this for He loves me and understands how tough life can be.
People, grace enables and empowers us to live a life of HOLINESS and obedience to the authority of God. Hebrews 12:28, let us go there – The description of grace here is not that of COVER UP or a fluffy rug to hide things under, but the force that empowers us to serve God acceptably with due REVERENCE and Godly FEAR. It is the VALIDATION or PROOF or our salvation.