FEAR OF GOD : PART 2
(PRERECORDED MESSAGE 03/25/2020)
Hey Fellowship Church, Ed Young here. Thank you so much for joining us at Fellowship Live, Facebook Live, and also YouTube Live. Last time I started talking about the fear of God in this series on fear and today I’m continuing to talk about the fear of God. Is it just me or does this seem to be like already the year of fear? Wherever we look, we’re in panic mode. We’re freaked out. Our heads are snapped because things change.
We’ve had this virus and we’ve seen the different stats and numbers and some look so dismal and dim and then the others are like, oh yeah, everything is cool. It’s just a cold. It’s just a case of the flu, so we don’t really know who to listen to. We don’t know what to believe, who to believe. That’s why I thought, hey, let’s talk about fear because one thing is something, we all have in common that is fear. We’re given this capacity to have fear. It’s a primal fear, so to speak. We have this fight or flight thing going on.
In this second week of talking about fear, I want to go much deeper than just the fear you might have of being in a tight space or maybe a fear of flying or the fear of getting the coronavirus or the fear of spiders or the fear of rabid timber wolves, all those things are real. I though want to talk about a deeper fear. I want to talk about a fear on a level that a lot of us don’t even really think about. I want to talk to you about the fear of God.
We’ve forgotten the fear of God. We’ve forgotten about the fact and we don’t talk about the fact that one day believers will be judged according to what we did with what God gave us, according to what we did with the gifts and abilities God has given us. What we did with the finances God has given us. What we did with the marriage that God has given us or the upcoming marriage. What we did with the children that God has blessed us with. What we’ve done with the grandchildren, what we’ve done with the thoughts, what we’ve done with the data, what we’ve done with just the friendships and relationships. Even though some are deep and some are casual, we’ll be judged based on that. And one of the things that should drive us is the fear of God. It seems that we fear everything but God, and yet we shouldn’t fear anything but God.
We’ve talked about the definition of fear, the fact that I’m doing life in front of the brilliant blaze of God’s glory. It’s a 24/7, 360 degree awareness that God is present and that one day I’m going to be judged. That’s the definition of the fear of God. It’s a cluster of words all in respect and reverence.
Let’s talk about some DIVIDENDS. Okay? As I begin to walk in the fear of God, what are some dividends? One that comes to mind is Wisdom. We’ve looked at this verse during this series. Proverbs 1:7 (DRB) it says, “The fear of the Lord…” And the word fear, let me say it again, is used 27 times, this phrase the fear of the Lord 27 times in the Scripture. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The fear of the Lord is the beginning It’s the launching pad, it’s the linchpin.
During these times as we go online, as we watch television, how many educated fools do we see? It’s really humorous. The reason they’re educated fools is on one hand they have some knowledge, but they’re not really loaded down with wisdom. Wisdom that comes from above. The Scripture tells you and me, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, is the beginning of being self-aware. It’s the beginning of the application of knowledge. That’s what wisdom is. I take the information and apply it. I apply it in everything that I do, say, touch and feel. If you want to be wise, if you want to be able to have discernment, and let me talk to leaders for a second. If you’re a leader and pretty much everyone is a leader, everyone influences someone. The three most important things of leadership have to be discernment, discernment, discernment.
What is discernment? Discernment is the application of knowledge. When we start with God and God is the author, the perfecter of wisdom, he gives us the ability to apply knowledge in every situation.
The fear of God brings wisdom. Notice something else it does. It Promotes Holiness. I’ll say it again. The number one attribute of God is the holiness of God. It’s not love. It’s the holiness. We know God has a holy love. God does things through those of us who live holy lives. Psalm 118:4 tells you and me, “Let those who fear the Lord say: His love endures forever.”
The person that fears God the most loves God the best. The person that fears God the least loves God the least. It’s that simple. The person that fears God the most loves God the best and the person that fears God the least loves God the least.
The fear of God. It brings wisdom. In Philippians 2:12, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed- not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence- continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” We have an opportunity as we apply knowledge to work out what God by his grace has worked in. I’m working out what God has worked in. God’s done a work in my life. He’s done a work in many of your lives. I work it out. How? In fear, the fear of God and trembling. I only have one life to live. Soon we’ll pass. Only what you’ve done for God is the only thing that will last. Are you walking in wisdom? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of it.
There’s another dividend, not only do we have wisdom, we understand and we can see and we have the Word on the subject, the word, the word, the Bible. Psalm 25:14, “The Lord confides…” Do you have someone that you confide in? I have several people in my life and I’m so thankful for them, human beings, that I confide in. I know I can tell them anything anytime. Call them 24/7, 365 days a year and I can talk to them. I can open up to them. It’s vital that we have people like that who have wisdom, who know the Lord, who are going to give you his advice and his principles, but those who will listen.
The Lord, though, the Lord, because of this relationship confides in those, you and me, who fear him. So, the person that fears God the most, loves God the best, right? When I fear God, I hear God. When I hear God, I fear God. I like that. When I fear God, I hear God. When I hear God, I fear God. Psalm 25:14, The Lord confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them.”
In Deuteronomy 10:12, “What does the Lord require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all of His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord.”
What dividends? The fear of God. I have wisdom, the fear of God. I’ve got the word. God literally confides in me. He talks to me. I hear from him. Another dividend is our Walk. Life’s journey is definitely a walk. The Bible describes the Christian life as a walk. In Psalm 25:12 scripture says, “Who are those who fear the Lord? He will show them the path they should choose.” See the beauty of this, we have the wisdom. We have the word, we have the walk. Proverbs 16:6 says, “The fear of the Lord keeps one away from sin.” The fear of the Lord, that 24/7, 360 degree awareness that I’m living life in the brilliant blaze of God’s glory and everything in my life will be judged by him.
I’m walking with him and God is showing me the path I should take during this time of chaos as we’re trying to make our way through mayhem. Ask God, show me the path that you want me to choose for my life. Show me that path. God will.
Notice also too, the word Witness. Another dividend is the witness that God wants you and me to be a part of. Someone in court is the witness. We just simply tell the truth about what we’ve experienced, what we have seen.
About a year ago, I had a chance to be a witness in a trial. I’d never done that before and it was intriguing to see how everything played out and all I did was, I just told some facts about a person who had died and that was it. I just told the truth. I just answered questions. I did it. I was a witness. There’s no such thing as a silent witness.
In 2 Corinthians 5:11 (NLV), “Because of this, we know the fear of God. So we try to get men to put their trust in Christ.” During this season of craziness, during the coronavirus craziness, I’ve scrolled through my phone and invited virtually, digitally, a lot of people to tune in, to connect, to go online with Fellowship. When I did it, I was happy to do it, but the fear of God is what drove me to do it. In my flesh, I wouldn’t associate with all the people I associate with. I wouldn’t.
A lot of these people who are far away from God, a lot of these people who don’t have the wisdom or the word or the walk, I mean, I wouldn’t hang out with them, but because I’m called to be a witness, because the fear of God drives me to tell the truth, to be available. I know in many of these situations, I’m the only Jesus that they’ll ever see. The fear of God drives that in my life. The fear of God.
The Bible says, those who live by the fear of God actually live longer, it Prolongs Life. You want going to live a long life, live under the fear of God. Proverbs 10:27 (NKJV), “The fear of the Lord prolongs days, but the years of the wicked will be shortened.”
Living under the fear of God Produces A Sense Of Security. A lot of us have security measures in our homes. We have alarms, some have fences, some live behind gates and we will do a lot. We’ll have dogs and all sorts of technology. We’ll do a lot to feel secure. What’s driving those measures? Fear. We don’t want to be robbed. We don’t want something bad to happen to us. The Bible says the fear of God produces a sense of security. In Proverbs 14:26 (NKJV), “In the fear of the Lord, there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.” When we’re walking in the fear of God, we’ll have fewer feelings of insecurity, loneliness, depression, despondency, the fear of God.
The fear of God produces a sense of security. And it also Produces Life. Proverbs 14:27, “The fear of the Lord is the fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.” As I’ve said, and I’ll say it again. The fear of God is what drives us to become believers. It’s not just the love of God. Someone doesn’t just go, “Oh, it’s the love of God. I realized I was loved so much that I became a believer.” That’s a big part of it, the true driving force, the foundation of it was you understand that God is holy, he’s just, and that you deserve to be wiped out. You deserve judgment because of your sin. So, within the fear of God, you have the love of God that brings you to salvation. I would argue theologically that the fear of God is really the foundation of all that. It’s the respect and all of him.
Notice something else. The fear of God Brings Blessings in your life. Proverbs 22:4 (KJV) says, “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life.” It’s the upside-down kingdom. As I fear God, God does fantastic things in my life. As I walk in the fear of God and the respect and the awe and the reverence of God, I’m in the zone, I’m in the blessed place.
If I’m not walking in the fear of God, I’m outside the blessed place. I’m outside of the zone. I’m zoned out as opposed to being zoned in. If you want to get zoned in, walk in the fear of God, walk in the fear of God in everything you do, say, touch, and feel, and you will live my friend the blessed life.
Could it be that the panic during this pandemic that we’re seeing worldwide, maybe one of the ways God is going to use this is to show us how sin is like a virus and to show us the stakes are sky high and maybe it’ll bring back the holy fear of God in our lives? Who knows? Who knows? Who knows?
If I were you and I knew some of the people that you know, I would be fearful, fearful that I’ve not done enough in those situations. I would be fearful because God has given you this responsibility and opportunity. You got me saying, “Yeah man, that’s heavy. You don’t know the people that I know.” That’s right. You don’t know the people I know and that’s what I feel about the people in my life. So, I know you feel that too. And if you don’t, you need to.
The wisdom of God, that’s a dividend of the fear of God. The word of God, dividend. The walk, dividend. The witness, dividend. Now the worship, the Worship.
The Bible says in Deuteronomy 14:22 (MSG), “Make an offering of ten percent, a tithe, of all the produce which grows in your fields year after year.” Deuteronomy 14:23 (NLT), “Doing this will teach you always to fear the Lord your God.”
The fear of God drives me… Let me just talk about Lisa and I for a second. It drives Lisa and it’s driven us for three decades now to bring more than 10% to Fellowship Church.
One day I’m going to be held accountable before God. People are worried about April 15th, of course now that’s been moved to the summer, worried about tax time. We’re worried about this; we’re worried about giving an account. I think about that, but what I’m really worried about is when I stand before God and I’m judged based on every paycheck that I’ve received, every bit of passive income, every investment, every book deal, every royalty, every, whatever it is, consulting opportunity, everything that comes in is a test, the Bible says financially. I fear not bringing that minimum worship requirement to the church because the scripture tells me that the first is the Lord’s. The first, the first day of the week, Sunday is God’s. He blesses the rest.
First fruits, they’re God’s, he blesses the rest. First part of the day, I give it to God, he blesses the rest. God sent his first, Jesus, he blesses the rest. You see the first, the first, the first, the first. For example, if someone gave you $1,000, here’s the first 100, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, 10. You have ten one hundred dollar bills. Which one is God’s? Well, just this one. No. The first, the first. I came to a point in my life where I thought about what God had said, where I did what God said, because of my awe and respect and love. I began to bring the first to the house and he blessed the rest. So either I live under a blessing or a cursing. And God says in Malachi, “The whole nation, you’re cursed-because you’re not bringing the tithe.” It starts with the tithe. And if I’m not tithing, woo. Well I feel sorry for you. Just basically, God’s not going to bless your life if you’re not tithing, it’s just not going to happen.
The fear of God, I want to walk in the fear of God. I want to live life in the fear of God. The fear of God is what drives us. If you think it just to become followers of Christ. We see our sin situation, we see our separation from God, we understand through maybe a situation, through an event, through a sermon, through a Bible study, whatever, that we deserve hell, that we are sending ourselves to hell, eternal separation from God. We realize that if we’re the God of our lives, that we have everything to fear.
The fear of God drives us to turn from our sin. The fear of God drives us to look at God in awe and reverence and respect. The fear of God motivates us to say, “God, I admit to you that I’m a sinner. God, I believe you sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sin. God, I confess Jesus as my Lord and savior. I turned from my sin. I turn to you Jesus and ask you to take control of my life.”
Why don’t you make that decision right now? It’s the fear of God. Why don’t you make that call right now? The fear of God. Just simply say, “Jesus. That’s right. I ask you to come into my life. I ask you, Jesus, the great physician to heal me, to cleanse me, to be my vaccination of this sin virus, I give my life to you.”
If you prayed that prayer with me, you’ll see on your screen a booklet that we’ve written just for you. Make sure you make Fellowship Church your church home. Make sure that you worship with us over the next few days online and when we have the green light, you come to gather at one of our many, many campuses so you can discover what it means to walk in the fear of God, his reverence, his holiness, his nature. As we discover what fear is all about.
Today, as I close the message, I do want to bring back the fear of God, especially when I talk to you about the offering. Bottom line is we all have a certain amount of money. We make a certain amount of money, no matter what the financial indicators say, our money is from God, the stuff we have. It’s our opportunity to simply worship him with our offerings.
God tells us that the minimum worship requirement is 10% of what we make. Every time we’re paid, the 10%, the first, goes to the church. One of the ways That Lisa and I, and many in our church, make sure the first is going to the church, is that we have reoccurring giving. We’ve signed up for that automatic draft, whatever. I’ll really, really challenge you to do so, if you’ve not signed up, I will tell you to do so because it’s the fastest way to know that the first gets to where it’s supposed to go. You begin to step out and do this, he blesses the rest. So during this time of offering, I pray that we would all do so generously and lovingly, and also under the fear of God, because even though we’ve pressed the pause button in many different ways with work and with family and this and that, the church, your church, our church, Fellowship Church is continuing to go and to move and to do things. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your faithfulness. We’re here for you. So right now, let’s give, you’ll see the different icons on your screen that explains to you how to do it. And let’s just do something awesome this Sunday as we come together and worship God through our resources.
Father, everything we have is yours. And right now, we simply return to you what you blessed us with. We thank you for resourcing your church and we thank you for what’s happening now and what’s happening in the lives of so many. In Jesus name. Amen.