Summary: Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Pollock
God wants your home to be a safe haven where sons and daughters can grow and flourish successfully. Our hearts as Christians can’t help but be grieved at the ever-increasing abuse in homes today. There is sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse and spiritual abuse at every turn. Too many children don’t even get a fighting chance at a good start.
I recently saw a disadvantaged little guy heading to school. He had shoes on that were far too big for him, no socks and was being drug along by what was likely one of his older siblings. As I viewed this scene I thought to myself, “I’m sure there’s a good chance that his mother was sleeping off a night of drinking. He probably left the house with no food in his belly…man, what a rough way to start a day!” Sadly, his case is not uncommon in our society today. That’s one reason why we go out knocking on doors and inviting people to church. God says the fear of the Lord makes the home a refuge.
Too often today, I’m afraid, having godly fear is misunderstood. There is some misinformation out there that says fearing God is legalism. The definition of legalism is salvation by works. Having a healthy fear of God is NOT legalism – it is wisdom!
There are Two Kinds of the Fear of God:
1. Guilty Fear
This can’t be a good thing. I would totally agree with anyone who would say that being afraid of God in this way is not healthy. The fear of God, when it arises out of a guilty heart, is an enslaving. In Hebrews 2:15, the Holy Spirit explains that humans become slaves when they are afraid of standing before the judgment, “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” That’s one underlying reason I think our government passes so many safety laws (many of which are absurd) – because most people are afraid to die and face God. We should establish and regard reasonable precautions in society of course, but as believers we’re ready to go if stuff happens. Believers look forward to facing God! Like the gifted, vision-impaired hymn writer, Fanny Crosby, who wrote, “I shall see Him face to face!”
2. A Healthy Fear
This is a good fear. “Good fear?” you might ask. Yes, healthy fear is the consciousness of being in the presence of God every moment. We may think we’re in private when we are all alone in front of our computer looking at inappropriate things, but God is there. A healthy fear is an awe, a reverence, an adoration, a worship, a confidence, a thankfulness, a love, and a fear of not wanting to fail God. The spiritually minded apostle said, “O wretched man that I am who shall deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). That is good fear.
The healthy fear of God is first, a fear of displeasing a loving father. It is like a loving child who cares for his dad so much, that he watches everything that he says and does. It is being careful of, even in the slightest degree, displeasing dad. Not because they’re afraid of getting beat, but out of a reverence for their father.
Secondly, a healthy fear of God is having respect for a coming judgment. As a believer I know that my relationship with God is secure. I will never be in God’s court as a criminal, but I certainly can be before Him as a disobedient child, and have to endure divine discipline.
As a child I was always afraid of displeasing my dad. It was a healthy fear though. I think this is one reason that I, personally, have never had a hard time reconciling the justice of God and the love of God. I know some folks who have come from abusive family backgrounds maybe, or that were raised in some kind of false religion might feel condemned, but thankfully, I never have had to experience that. I certainly did have a father who was captain of the ship, and I’ll tell you what, I always had a fear of displeasing him. I knew if I were to take a few verbal liberties with my mom I would soon be picking myself up in the next room, and rightly so! I learned not to cross that man out of respect and a healthy fear of judgment.
The 4 Rewards That the Fear of God Produces for Families:
#1 - Peace of Mind
“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence…” (Proverbs 14:26).
God gives people that fear Him a boldness to come to Him. The fear of the Lord allows me to come to Him in prayer; to come boldly before the throne of God. We are told it is the fervent prayer of a righteous man that’s avails much (James 5:16), not the haphazard, lackluster, wavering prayer of a nominal Christian. God wants people to pray in faith. When we have a fear of the Lord and we know that we have consciously tried to serve God it produces a peace of mind. Truth wins. That is to say if we will do right and be people of the Word, then somehow it’s going to be okay, somehow God’s going to make it work out all right.