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FAQ - What Does It Mean To Fear The Lord?


Scripture references

Proverbs 1:7

"Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and discipline"

I believe that talking about the Fear Of the Lord is more important than ever.

There seems to be a growing movement that has adopted what is currently termed "Hyper Grace"

Hyper Grace can be described this way

  • Basically when we accept Christ as our savior...we are all set.
  • We no longer have to worry about sin
  • We are always forgiven and therefore there is no pressure.
  • A hyper grace church  should always preach 'feel good' messages about
    • How Much God Loves
    • All of the Rewards that await us in heaven

If we can do no wrong, continue to sin, and expect that forgiveness is automatic why should we fear God?

Nowhere in scripture does it give us the green light to just cruise through the rest of our life after we accept Christ.  In fact, it tells us just the opposite:

Hebrews 10:26

26 Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins.

Becoming a Christ Follower means that we can ask for forgiveness of our sins and God is faithful in forgiving us.  

Its not a license to sin. 

Its not an excuse to sin.

It means that even WE recognize it as sin (because we are reading the word) and we know to ask for His forgiveness.  

What we cannot do is continue sinning because we know that, at one point in our lives we asked Christ to be our savoir.

This is simply not how it works:

As Paul says in Romans 6:15-16

15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.

Paul is pretty clear.  Even as Christ followers, we can still be a slave to sin.  

In the end, it brings death.  

So what keeps us from choosing to be slaves of sin?

This is where The Fear Of The Lord comes into play (and this is what is often missed in our Christian walk)

Lets start by defining Fear.

After looking at multiple surveys on what humans fear the most, here is a list of the top 10 most common fears among humans:

  • Fear of getting old
  • Being poisoned
  • Fear of being a coward
  • Fear of germs
  • Fear of going crazy
  • Fear of intimacy
  • General fear of spiders, monsters, airplanes, etc
  • Social fears (public speaking, open spaces, etc)
  • Fear of death
  • #1 Fear - Lonliness

All of these things have the same thing in common...they are all fears of  things that  are all temporal (or of this world).  

I'll say that again....What we fear the most are things that only affect us in this world.

Now I'm not minimizing these fears.  Fears are real and we all struggle with fear.  We are still human after all.

And as humans, when we sense fear, we do everything we can to avoid it.

  • We change our lifestyle to avoid risking disease
  • We avoid relationships in order to avoid being hurt by them
  • We by hair in a can and spray it on our head in order to appear more youthful.
  • And on and on it goes..

We spend money and time on all these things, because of fears.

But what about this "Fear of the Lord"?  You don't see it on many lists...what does it actually mean to Fear the Lord?

I have heard that this type of fear that scripture talks about is more of a "respect" for the
Lord.

I believe that is watering it down a bit. It goes much deeper than that.

Perhaps a better way to define it is to describe what it would look like.

Lets use a parent / child relationship as an example of what this would look like:

As a parent of a new born...we notice how perfect and precious they are...until they start speaking and walking around.  Then we introduce something new to them. 

Discipline

We do this to keep them from

  • Touching something hot
  • Falling down the stairs 
  • Hitting the dog or cat

When they get a little older discipline becomes even more important because there is potential for them to harm themselves, others or  put themselves in a bad situation that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

As parents, if we are disciplining correctly then our motivation is Love.  

We love our child and will do anything to make sure they are setup to succeed, to find lasting relationship and to find Christ.

From the child's perspective, they learn that their actions have consequences. They learn that if they disobey their parents that there is punishment involved.

They know that punishment is not fun.

Knowing there is a punishment for being disobedient to your loving parent who has the wisdom and knowledge how to prepare you for life is what we are talking about when we talk about the "Fear of the Lord".

Its more than just respect.  Its respect, awe, wonder, and an understanding that falling into sin can will have consequences but in the same way, that sin can be forgiven by grace when we ask.

Scripture also uses the family unit to emphazize the meaning of the Fear of the Lord.

A large portion of the book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon and beginning in Chapter 1, after his intro to what this book would contain, he comes right out and explains what Wisdom is:

Proverbs 1:7

"Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and discipline"

He is saying that in order to have true wisdom and knowledge, the Fear of the Lord needs to be your foundation.  Then he goes on to say in verse 8 & 9:

My child, listen when your father corrects you.
    Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
What you learn from them will crown you with grace
    and be a chain of honor around your neck.

He uses the analogy of a child being disciplined by his father and receiving instruction from his mother.

So in these three verses in Proverbs, King Solomon tells us that in order to have true wisdom and understanding, we need to Fear the Lord.

Then he gives us a picture of what that would look like by comparing it to child / parent relationship.


It seems like there is a growing lack of the Fear of the Lord.  

It really should come as no surprise because our best visual interpretation of what the Fear of the Lord looks like comes from a healthy family unit where parents are raising their children as we just described.

About half of American families are single parent families.  We know the enemy loves to attack families.  Its a strategic target.  Destroying a family leads to multiple casualties.  

I believe that for those who do come from broken homes, it affects their ability to see God as a  true Father.  

When your perception of a Father is negative, How can you possibly related to God the Father?  

When the enemy attacks the family and the family comes undone, there is usually a lack of  respect towards discipline.

We see this now, more than ever.

Never in my life have I seen so many acts of selfishness in this country alone.  

if we don't get what we want, we rebell.

If what you are doing offends me, I will find a way to legally challenge you.

There is a lack of repsect for leaders, authority figures, or basically anyone that doesn't agree with you on a subject.

And yet, ironically, everyone is telling everyone else they need to accept everyone (don't get me started!)


So how in the world are we supposed to get a glimpse of the true meaning of the Fear of the Lord if we cannot see this modeled anywhere in our lives?

And the church is just as guilty of this.  

Over the past 2000 years, we have seen the church that was started by the work of the disciples turn into literally thousands of different denominations that exist because people have taken a firm stance in their interpretation of scripture.  Simply put, they divorced and when their own way leaving a wake of destruction behind them which affected the congregation.  

Now don't get me wrong, there were many churches that were started that clearly went against scripture.  They will have to answer to God for that.

But I'm talking about churches that disagree on issues that are trivial at best.

We spoke about this on Wednesday [ elaborate - church is confusing ]

Now the enemy would love for us to be focused more on our earthly fear (which is temporary) and have us forget about the Fear of the Lord which has eternal significance.


As we close, I want to encourage you today.  

When we continue to live in fear of the things in this world, it brings

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Anger

Contrast this to the Fear of the Lord

From Scripture

Psalm 31:19
How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have
wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men!

  • Our Father stores up goodness for us when we Fear Him

Psalm 112:
Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His
commandments

  • We are blessed of God when we Fear Him

Proverbs 10:27
The fear of the LORD prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.

  • Fearing the Lord leads to a prolonged life


Proverbs 9:23
The fear of the LORD leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

  • We will sleep well at night!!

Luke 1:50
"AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.

  • Our Fear of the Lord has an impact on our Children and Grandchildren


Proverbs 14:26-27
In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And his children will have refuge. The fear of
the LORD is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death.

Instead of earthly fears that cause us to hold back and hunker down, The Fear of the Lord leads us to a fountain of life and fills us with confidence.


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