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Ecc. 12:13 THE FEAR OF THE LORD

Intro. Recently, we were shocked by the story of a seven year old boy who carried a gun to school and shot a classmate. It has been nearly a year since two misguided young men walked into their school killed 13 people and wounding many others, stunning our nation. We are reminded by those in the middle of the battle to save the lives of the unborn that over 4,000 babies are aborted in this country every single day. Our televisions and movie screens are filled with depictions of violence, death, sex and blaspheme. Last night, a new show debuted with the title of "God, Bob and the Devil".

We have children killing children, adults killing unborn children and our homes flooded with images of violence and irreverence. I think we would all have to admit that we are living in a "perverse and crooked generation." There is no denying that truth, but the question I have is why? Well, I think the answer is found in Romans 3:18, "There is no fear of God before their eyes." That is the answer! Men simply do not fear the Lord in our day! Be that as it may, this is one topic about which the Bible has much to say. I would like to take a few minutes this evening to talk about the matter of the fear of the Lord. As I do, I know that this message will not change the world, but my desire is to let the Lord use it to change me, and hopefully to change you as well. I would like to speak from this verse and draw from other passages of Scripture as well and we consider the Fear of the Lord.

I. THE FEAR OF THE LORD DEFINED

A. The Bible tells us that Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, 1 Kings 4:31. Therefore, when he says that the entire sum of life is to fear God, then we ought to take note of just what he is talking about.

(Ill. In truth, we have a great misunderstanding concerning this matter of fear. Webster defines fear as, "an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger." We have all felt this kind of fear at one level or another and it is truly unpleasant. Surely this cannot be the idea Solomon has in mind! The word used for fear in this verses, and most other verses in the Old Testament dealing with this subject is the word, yare. This word means "to stand in awe of, to reverence, honor and respect." It does not mean that we cringe and tremble at the mention of the name of God. But, it does mean that we honor Him, that we respect Him and that we reverence Him. It means that we stand in awe of His greatness.)

B. Basically, what this means is that when we are in the presence of the Lord, we will not treat Him like He is our good buddy. We won't desire to slap Him on the back and hang out. It means that when we are aware of His presence, we will react with awe and reverence. It might hep us to look at how several in the Bible reacted when they were brought into the presence of the Lord.

1. Job - Job 42:1-6

2. Isaiah - Isaiah 6:1-5

3. Simon Peter - Luke 5:1-9

4. Saul of Tarsus - Acts 9:1-6

5. John the Beloved - Rev. 1:10-17

There are others that could be mentioned, but these are sufficient to prove the case that when you come into the presence of the Lord, there will be reverence and awe.

C. The bottom line is this: when we are walking in the "fear of the Lord", we will find ourselves in awe of His greatness and power. We will think much of Him and little of self. He will loom very large in our hearts and in our lives.

Does this describe the way you see God? Do you live in fear of the Lord? Is there a way that you can tell? Yes, your actions prove whether of not you fear the Lord. Notice:

I. The Fear Of The Lord Defined

II. THE FEAR OF THE LORD DESCRIBED

A. Solomon seems to tell us that the fear of the Lord is demonstrated in a live that "keeps the commandments of God." Simply stated you and I prove what we think of the Lord by the way we live our lives! This too is shown by the Word of God.

B. There are several passages in the Bible that deal with this matter of fearing the Lord. They teach us the truth that what we do proves what we think of God. You will live no better than the level at which you honor and reverence God! If you see the Lord as being high and holy, if you see Him as being a God of judgment, if you see Him as being One Who hates sin, then you will live like you believe that. If, on the other hand, you have the idea that God just winks at sin, that He might not really judge the world, the you will live at a much lower level. It is true, your live will tell the world what you think of God!

Notice these passages from the Word of God:

Pro. 14:2, "He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him."

Pro. 3:7, "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil."

Deuteronomy 6:2, "That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged."

Proverbs 14:27, "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death."

Proverbs 16:6, "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil."

C. Jesus put it this way, "If ye love me, keep my commandments.", John 14:15. The Bible, and the Lord Jesus equates fearing the Lord with doing what He said! Again, just as simply as I can put it, the Bible teaches us that we prove our fear of the Lord by ordering our lives ina manner that shows love, respect and reverence for Him, above all other things!

Again, I must ask, does this describe the way in which you live your life? Does your lifestyle say, "I love the Lord!"? It should! Now, we know what the fear of the Lord is and we know how it is demonstrated. Let's take a few minutes to understand why it is so important.

I. The Fear Of The Lord Defined

II. The Fear Of The Lord Described

III. THE FEAR OF THE LORD DEMANDED

A. As wise king Solomon concludes his remarks in this passage, he tells us that fearing the Lord and keeping His commandments is the "whole duty of man." His counsel is that all we really need to worry about in life is fearing the Lord! If we can handle that, then everything else is a piece of cake!

(Ill. This seems to be the same idea that Jesus tried to convey to the people in His day, Matthew 22:37, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." You see, if I can love God with all my heart, then I will have no trouble walking in His will and neither will I have any trouble loving my neighbor. In fact, if I can love God with all my heart, which is in essence to fear Him, then I will be able to keep His commandments and honor Him with my life. Does that sound reasonable to you? That is what the Lord is teaching us!)

B. Now, let me say a word about this matter of fearing the Lord. I am not referring to a fear that the Lord is waiting behind me with a club and when I make a mistake, He is going to bash me in the head. It isn't the fear that the Lord will reach out and put His hand on me in some horrible fashion. For me, the fear of the Lord is that God will take His hand off me!

(Ill. Remember Israel when they had sin in their camp, Josh 6. Because Achan did not walk in the fear of the Lord, God took His hand of power of the nation of Israel and they were beaten by their enemies! What I am trying to tell you is verses like Pro. 14:2 and 16:6 teach us that the fear of the Lord will motivate you to live a clean life. It will help you to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord, one that honors Him and one that He can bless with His great power. For me, it is not the fear of chastisement, it is the fear of being shelved. This was a fear that Paul the Apostle had, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1 Cor. 9:27.)

C. Whatever your motivation for walking in the fear of the Lord, it must be done! It is the Lord's will and it will result in power and anointing in your life. God isn't asking you to walk in fear that He will take some kind of celestial ball bat and beat you senseless. He wants you to live a life that He can use and bless. He wants you to walk in awe of Him. He wants our hearts to be so filled with respect for the Lord that we would die than dishonor Him and His name! That is the essence of fearing the Lord!

Conc: If you and I would be honest this evening, we would have to admit that more often that not, we fear many other things ahead of fearing God. We fear people's opinions of us. We fear illness. We fear poverty. We fear a multitude of things, but too often, we simply do not fear the Lord as we should.

However, when we turn from that sin and decide to walk in the fear of the Lord, we can be assured that there are some special blessings that will come our way. Notice:

Proverbs 19:23, "The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil."

Proverbs 3:8, "It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones."

Yes there are blessings to those who walk in the fear of the Lord and curses pronounced upon those who do not. Which lifestyle best describes your's?

Friend, as we wrap up these thoughts on the Fear of the Lord, let me ask you a question. What motivates you to live your life the way you do? Can you honestly say that everything you do, you do because you fear the Lord? According to Solomon, that is the only way to live. Do you need to make some changes to get yourself lined up with the will of God in this matter? If so, the altar is open for you to come and to do that right now.
















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