Summary: This sermon is about how we should reverence God and how God disciplines those that He loves.
The Lord Disciplines Those He Loves
This week when I was performing my duties as a Hospital Chaplain, I was talking to a couple and we started reminiscing about our childhood. Things have changed a lot since I was a child. We now have indoor bathrooms, central heat and air conditioning, clothes dryers, TVs and the Internet. Even cars now have air conditioners in them. How did we ever do without these things? I also remembered that we never locked our doors and windows. We weren’t afraid to go out at night, but most of all I remember trying to be the best person that I could be.
I tried to be good, because I feared the punishment that my parents would inflict upon me. They wouldn’t shout at me, they didn’t argue with me, they didn’t count to three; they didn’t give me a time out, unless you considered going outside to get my mother a hickory switch to be a time out. Once I brought that switch in to her, she would commence to whip my little legs. It didn’t take me long to learn if I disobeyed her what was the consequences. The fear of my mother’s punishment taught me to obey her.
As an adult I learned that she punished me because she loved me and wanted the very best for me. As a Father I also punished my children because I love them. As a child I was also taught in Church to fear God. We don’t hear much about this from the pulpit today. Maybe that is why there is so much sin today, even in our Churches. We no longer fear God’s discipline and we no longer give Him reverence.
What is the definition of “Reverence” and “Fear of God”?
Reverence: A respectful and submissive disposition of mind, arising from affection, esteem, fear, awe and a sense of the superiority of the person reverenced. Christians are commanded to show reverence toward God and the things that are His.
Fear of God: Apprehension or dread of impending danger or trouble; also, awe, profound reverence, especially for God. Great stress is laid upon the fear of God as a necessary attribute to the relation between humanity and Deity. In the Old Testament, this often takes the form of dread or sheer terror, but in the New Testament the emphasis falls more upon reverence and deep respect for His greatness and mercy.
How are we to reverence God? First let’s look at:
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
29 for our "God is a consuming fire."
When we come together to worship, we are to conduct ourselves in an atmosphere that honors God. Our thoughts should be upon God, not where we are going to eat lunch when the preacher finally stops talking. When we are in church, we shouldn’t even notice what is going on around us or who is wearing what or who is with whom. Our God should have our undivided attention. When we are singing praises to God, we shouldn’t even notice if someone is off key or the piano player missed a note. Our attention should be on praising and worshipping God not grading how well or bad the choir is singing. God expects and deserves respect.
Too often I hear jokes about God even from the pulpit. My sister visited us a few years ago. She was having a problem with her make-up or something. She made the comment “God this isn’t funny.” This isn’t showing reverence toward our Creator, our God, our Lord. If you were in the presence of the President or the Queen of England, would you be joking around with them or would you be giving them the utmost respect? It is the custom of many countries, that when you are in the presence of royalty, you must bow in their presence. We show respect to court judges, police officers, professors and politicians, and give God who holds our very lives in His hands very little respect.
2 Cor 7:1
1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
Another way we are to show reverence to God is by living a holy life. So many times I hear that we have been saved, but we will never be able to live a perfect life. This is true, but it is also a crop out. We no longer try to sin less. There is not one of us including me that can’t improve our righteousness. We are all sinners, but have we stopped trying to live a life without sin, just because we have our ticket to heaven. Each day that we live should be closer to a perfect life than was the day before. We will never reach perfection, but we should be getting closer to it each day we live. Christ died for us on that cross because of our sins and He was raised on the third day so that we could live a holier life with His help.