Summary: We are living in a day in which man has lost one of his most important senses – the sense of fear.
NO LONGER FEARFUL
Introduction: Dean Martin once said, "Show me a man who doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear, and I’ll show you a dummy who gets beat up a lot." (Kent Crockett, The 911 Handbook, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003, 118) We are living in a day in which man has lost his most important sense – the sense of fear.
I. No fear of the Lord
A. II Corinthians 5:11 “Therefore, knowing the terror (fear of the Lord), we persuade men. But we are revealed to God, and I trust also that we are revealed in your consciences.”
B. The fear of the Lord ...“is an awe and reverence of the divine Being, joined with love to him, trust in him, and a desire to serve and worship him in a right manner; no sooner is a man converted, but presently there is in him a fear of offending God, from a principle of love to him; for not a slavish but a filial fear...” – Gill
C. I Peter 2:17 “Fear God” (ton theon phobeisthe). In both senses of reverence and dread, and keep it up (present middle imperative).
D. Fear of God is a strict regard for His will and a recognition of His Holiness , and His indignation over sin.
E. Proverbs 9:10 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom
F. Too many are more in love with, or with the conception of God as an amiable being who says, "Oh, well, sin doesn’t matter much God rather than as a holy God.”
G. Habakkuk 1:13 “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity...”
H. In reading the Scriptures, I find a great moral power. Therein I am made aware of two great forces for good in human experience: the "fear" of God and the "grace" of God. Without the fear of God I should not stop at doing evil; the fear of God restrains from evil. Without the grace of God, I should have no desire to approach positive goodness. The one is a deterrent from evil; the other an encouragement to good. – Jim Elliot, The Journals of Jim Elliot Christianity Today, Vol. 31 no. 4
I. "I fear God, and next to God I chiefly fear him who fears Him not." - Saadi
II. No fear of the Lord’s Bema
A. 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive the things done through the body, according to that which he has done, whether good or bad.”
B. Romans 14:12 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
C. Church attendance is infected with a malaise of conditional loyalty, which has produced an army of ecclesiastical hitchhikers. The hitchhiker’s thumb says, "You buy the car, pay for repairs and upkeep and insurance, fill the car with gas--and I’ll ride with you. However, if you have an accident, you are on your own! And I’ll probably sue." So it is with the credo of so many of today’s church attendees: "You go to the meetings and serve on the boards and committees, you grapple with the issues and do the work of the church and pay the bills--and I’ll come along for the ride. But if things do not suit me, I’ll complain and probably bail out--my thumb is always out for a better ride." - R. Kent Hughes in Disciplines of a Godly Man. Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 6.
D. 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.. Moreover, it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful. But with me, it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judges me is the Lord. Therefore, judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”
E. My greatest thought is my accountability to God. - Daniel Webster
F. After spending months writing his book The French Revolution, Thomas Carlyle took his manuscript to his friend John Stuart Mill for his comments. Mill passed the manuscript on to a lady named Mrs. Chapman, who read it by the fireplace on the evening of March 5, 1834. Before she went to bed that night she laid the manuscript on the mantel. Early the next morning the servant girl came to clean the room and to start the fire in the fireplace. Not knowing what the papers were, the servant used the manuscript as fuel to kindle the fire. The work of months was burned up in a matter of seconds. Some Christians spend their entire lives on earth building with wood, hay, and straw. At the judgment seat of Christ, many people’s work will go up in flames. They will be admitted into heaven, but will be saved “as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:15). (Kent Crockett, Making Today Count for Eternity, Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2001, p. 85)