Summary: The key to developing an intimate friendship with God is understanding and developing a healthy fear of the LORD.
Understanding the Fear of the Lord (Part 2)
Call to worship scripture:
Heb. 12:28-29 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
The key to developing an intimate friendship with God is understanding and developing a healthy fear of the LORD.
1. To fear the LORD means to have an appropriate awe and respect for God’s holiness and power.
If we are to fear the Lord, we must cultivate this attitude of reverence for him for who He is. This is the first half of our definition of “the fear of the Lord”. But there is one place in all of scripture that actually tells us what the fear of the Lord is. It’s found in the book of Proverbs, chapter 8, verse 13. And it says…
Proverbs 8:13 “To fear the LORD is to hate evil…”
2. To fear the LORD means to hate evil as God hates it. (Prov. 8:13)
Bumper sticker “Hate is not a family value.”
True – but just as fear is good thing in the right settings, so is hate. God’s word tells us numerous times about when hate is called for:
Psa. 97:10 Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Psa. 101:3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.
Psa. 119:104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
Rom. 12:9 Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
If you truly fear the LORD, you tremble at the thought of being involved in things that would stain you with sin, that would possibly bring His wrath upon you, that would cause Him to be angry with you.
There is NO ROOM in the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ for winking at sin.
We are a church that is centered on the idea that people need a place to come where they can feel the love, acceptance, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
But what we must never do is confuse this idea with the idea that we are not serious about sin.
We believe that when the Bible calls something sin – it is sin! We believe that God hates sin, and he hates it when people know what is right and do not act accordingly. And he calls us to hate sin, and to hate the deeds of people who willfully choose to sin against His Holy ways.
Joseph’s response to Potiphar’s wife
Gen. 39:8-9 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
For Joseph the very thought of committing adultery with his master’s wife was incomprehensible. How could he do it and sin against God? Such an attitude illuminates his fear of the LORD.
QUESTION: Do you hate evil?
When you’re given a chance to sin: A friend invites you to go to a movie full of moral filth, someone proposes a sexual encounter to you, you’re given an opportunity to cheat on a test or to steal something, you’re given an opportunity to slander someone or gossip about someone – WHAT IS YOUR REACTION?
Do you respond like Joseph? “How could I do such a thing and sin against God?”
Or do you respond with your flesh? “That sounds fun. That would be cool! No one would ever know! I deserve this!”
Your reaction to temptation and to the sin that so easily entangles us either illuminates your fear of the LORD, or it betrays your lack of it.
I once heard the story of a father who was trying to teach his teenagers to be more discerning about what they watched on TV. Having brought home a questionable PG13 movie from the video store, the kids tried to sell their dad on letting them watch it because “it just has a little bit of bad stuff in it. Most of it is really good!”
The wise father agreed to let them begin watching the movie, and then retired to the kitchen.
Soon, the smell of fudge brownies began wafting from the kitchen out to the family room, and the kids started drooling, asking when they would be ready. “In a few minutes” their dad replied.