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Today on Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. The idea that God is patient and God's forgiving Jesus, my friend.
We love that. I very much part of it but there's more to it.
The story of interesting receipt God was reconcile with you is infinitely holy. Sin cannot be in his presence that said God and yet you and I can be because of what Christ did for us on the cross. There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ joining us today on this additional fellowship of the word pastor Bill Gebhardt Fellowship in the Words the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible church located in Metairie, Louisiana going pastor Bill Gebhardt now is once again he shows us how God's word means while attending seminary. I wrote my master's thesis on the following subject.
Pastor's guide to establish the fear of God within his congregation. Looking back, I was much more successful in writing it, and I have been in implementing it over the years have come to the following conclusion God's people are much more likely to fear almost anything. Rather than God in this series on personal fears. We have touched on many the fear of uncertainty.
The fear of serious disease.
The fear of failure, the fear of loneliness, the fear of people. The fear of depression, the fear of the perfect storm and last time the fear of death. The irony is that the Bible is clear that these are fears that we do not have to experience and for many of us. We do, the Bible is also clear that there is one fear that we should experience that's the fear of God.
The whole notion of fearing God has been falling out of favor here in America for probably the last 5060 years or more trawlers Christ Meyer in his little book called the secret of the Lord. He said that since the 1960s, the fear of the Lord has begun to embarrass God's people, eight of your toes are in his book the knowledge of the holy 1961, wrote this the self-assurance of modern Christians.
The basic levity present so many of our religious gatherings. The shocking disrespect shown for the person of God are evidence enough of deep blindness apart. Many call themselves by the name of Christ. They talk much about God and a pretty woman sometimes but evidently they do not know who he is. The Scripture says, the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, but this healing fear is today. Harvey found that all among Christian people and he wrote that in 1961. So that's the subject matter. The fear of God. I want to begin with, the biblical description of what that means. Open your Bibles to Isaiah chapter 8 Isaiah chapter 8 God is speaking to Isaiah and right near the end of verse 12 in Isaiah chapter 8 God says to Isaiah. He says and you are not the fear what they fear or be in dread of Isaiah.
You are not the fear what the people fear or be in dread of what the people are in dread of. Then he says this in verse 13 it is the Lord of hosts, whom you should regard. Here's a secret key to this as holy and he shall be your fear, he shall be your dread messy when you ask someone today about fearing God. What does it mean to fear God or fear the Lord, that the prevailing view is always the same.
It's it's sort of like well it just means it. You should respect that's all he means distribution shown respect. I does mean that but it means a lot more than that. It's different than what you would think it is seems not to popular the two words are used here. Notice he shall be your fear and that's the word more and he says and he shall be your dread and that's the word RX in Hebrew. Mora means terror and RX means to tremble. Now see, that's a little different. You might be thinking.
You see terror and tremble. Come on now that's one of the descriptions of fear. You see this whole idea why will he says it he says it is the Lord of host whom you shall regard as holy. You see how else do you respond because God is holy because, well, here's the other side of that coin, God is holy and you are not.
You see, God is holy in your sinful. Now what happens when a sinful being comes into the presence of a holy God. Well, Abraham fell on his face.
In Genesis 17 Moses fell and hit his face in Exodus 3, Balin fell on his face in numbers 22 Joshua fell on his face to the earth in Joshua five, Gideon and Manoa cried out in alarm that they will die because they are in the presence of the Lord in Judges 13, Isaiah remember woe. I am undone. He thought he was undone. Ezekiel fell flat on his face. Daniel said that he felt like a man who had been drained of all his strength when he was in the presence of the Lord even in the New Testament Peter James and John are brought to the Mount of Transfiguration and near Jesus Christ is transfigured into who he really is his full deity and it says that they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid you see in the presence of his glory in the presence of his holiness. When we have our sinful nature.
There is a response here fear its dread you seen gotchas.
Yeah that's that's the way I would like it. Now I understand how unpopular that is immune.
I had someone say to me some time ago.
She said I choose not to believe in a God that I should fear. I only believe in a God is love and my perspective what you have every right to have your own opinion, but there is no God like you're describing. You see, that's just your description that's not God. She has some support.
Rabbi Kushner, who years ago, wrote a book. Why do bad things happen to good people and unfortunately I spent time reading that book and Kushner's view was this the reason that bad things happen to good people is because God's trying to do is best, but sometimes he's just overwhelmed by evil. He's trying and he's good, but he just didn't have enough what is written another book in this book. To no surprise, he said if there is one phrase that I would like to see banished from all theological discourse is the four words, the fear of God. I don't think much of any religion who tries to control its adherents by frightening them where the phrase fear of God occurs in the Bible.
I don't believe it ever refers to being afraid of God. I would beg to differ.
She understand the perspective we would like it that way, but he is holy. He is infinite and in one aspect, one of the descriptions we use of the fear of God is simply that, that we, as a sinner in the presence of a holy God would fill here. That's why I am so dismayed at times one years ago heard a TV evangelist and remember Christ is now ascended and glorified a lot talk about that in just a moment and he said you know I just was talking to the Lord and the Lord showed up in my bathroom. I was shaving and I said hi God hi Laura how you doing and Orson I'm doing fine how you we just and I thought wow, I just don't believe that's the presence of God. He said I still think that's it will all hi how you doing I think might be so aware of my sinfulness so immediately aware of my sinfulness in his holiness as a matter fact in Revelation chapter 1 that's exactly what happens and John writes that when I saw him for who he was. I felt like it had men at his feet.
You see, that's the ascended Christ, Peter Cleef says this terror is a bond.
However, primitive between us and God is supposed to be there because we are born original centers and sinful's office naturally and rightly terrified in the holiness and goodness of God, which is sins enemy. That's the way works.
You see, that's what happens when what Peter said, even when he got a sense of who Christ was, he said, depart for me, for I am a sinful man, oh Lord, I don't think we realize the separation between our sin in his holiness. That's what he said it is the Lord of host and you shall regard as holy. He shall be your fear and he shall be your terror. There's another aspect on an important one this time. Go with me to Romans chapter 7 Romans chapter 7. You see there's more than just the Hebrew word for terror and dread.
There's also the Hebrew words ERA and year and the related and this has to do with all reverence, respect, all those things that we talked about moment seven. If you know your New Testament and you're serious about your walk with the Lord.
This is why your favorite chapters.
The reason is the apostle Paul in this chapters describing how disappointing is in his own life. Paul start saying things like, you know the things I should be doing. I'm not doing the very things I don't want to do. I find myself doing your thinking.
When you're reading a that sounds like me.
You see, that's the little bit like my life goes moment Paul comes to the near the conclusion that in verse 24 nobody says he said wretched man that I am Paul got it.
He said wretched man that I am who will set me free from the body of this death. He knows who he is. Then he says this.
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, on the one hand, I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other with my flesh the law of sin and then this great verse.
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. What amazing thing to say. You see the other aspect of fear of God is not just awesome dread. It's astonished devotion astonished devotion, David Jeremiah writes this he says for active followers of Jesus Christ. This understanding is the most meaningful for everyday living.
We fear God by having reverence for him, cherishing him his greatness, his Majesty reduce us to an overpowering sense of all that is not focused only on his wrath and judgment but also on his transcendent glory which is like nothing else we can confront in this world. It leaves us all but speechless pulse and when I think about how holy and awesome God is, and I think about how wretched I am. I'm overwhelmed by the thought that there was no condemnation to those who are in Christ. I'm overwhelmed by that. Using God is always holy. It's it is one of those characters is immutable. Never not be holy and yet in spite of his holiness, he reconciles himself the people like you and me. He reconciles himself to us and does not condemn us. That's astounding. Paul says I'm amazed by that. Again a W toes or says this he says I believe that having a reverential fear of God mixed with love and fascination in astonishment and admiration and devotion is the most enjoyable state in the most satisfying emotion.
The human soul can no think about sending one of the reasons we don't fear God is what we want to think about. We love the idea that that God is patient and God's forgiving and Jesus is my friend.
We love that idea that's that's that's a very much part of it but there's more to it. The story than just that. You see, the God who was reconcile with you is infinitely holy. Sin can buy happiness present. You see, that said God and yet you and I can be because of what Christ did for us on the cross. There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. That's astounding we should be astonished and on the basis of our astonishment, we should be devoted. You see his holiness creates an awesome dread.
But when you take his holiness and then mixing together with his love and his grace and his mercy and his forgiveness and his patients were left with this idea of astonished devotion. Now you might be thinking why is what you all wound up about why why is this so important you see why is this so important for me. Let me tell you this, I'll tell you one sentence being fear makes little fears go away big fears make little fears go away. Let me illustrate this for you ladies you've known ever since the day you married the most wonderful son any woman could ever have at your mother-in-law's not care for you.
Now you're having a dinner party and your inviting your father on your mother-in-law over the house now. Your mother-in-law has never missed an opportunity in the past to be critical of you when she said that you and so you have a fear you know you keep thinking all wider than normal for this at all. I don't want to do this at all.
So it could be a Friday night dinner party and starting on Monday you start worrying about it.
You have fear about anything and this is just awful.
This is just terrible.
So Friday morning it's the worst kind of all you're going into Friday afternoon and you think just so terrified with this ladies going to do, but about an hour before they show up to get a phone call and it's from your doctor and he said this is Dr. so and so I just want to let you know on the basis of your annual physical.
Just a couple days ago that most things looked okay but something look terribly wrong in my fear right now is is there's a malignancy and you need to come in for more testing now how frayed are your what your mother-in-law thinks of your dinner. You see, would you give it a thought, then no. Why big fears make little fears go away.
You see, and that's the point we fear everything but God. But if we truly fear God willing fear anything else. You see, that's the apostle Paul.
What can man do to me.
They said no. We have the power over life and death because you have not been.
I only fear God. You see, once you have a fear of the Lord you don't have all these other fears we been talking about big fears make little fears go away in the fear of God's order trumps everything. Everything Robbie Zechariah said it this way. The older you get, the more it takes to fill your heart with wonder and awe, and only God is big enough to really do that is right. That's why the fear of God is so important. The description of that fear is awesome. Dread and astonished devotion. The reason for his big fears make little fears go away and therefore reasons we should fear God, currently first the Jeremiah chapter 10 Jeremiah chapter 10. These are very obvious by the way Jeremiah chapter 10 verse six. The first reason we should fear God is for who he is. Jeremiah says it this way in verse six.
There is none like you will Lord. He says you are great and great is your name, and might, who would not fear you, what a great question. Who would not fear you, he said, who would not fear you, O King of nations, indeed, it is your due for, among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms.
There is none like you see is for who God is, if you don't have a sense of on overwhelmed by God, then you have no sense of God. Just think of the macro creation of what God's done. Think of the universe and of the best minds in the world 100 years ago, had no idea the size of the universe. None.
Now they keep saying they're going to the stage of billions of galaxies, each with billions of stars a minute just keeps growing and growing and growing and they keep trying to understand because they want to control it but they haven't.
As a matter fact that I like to read stuff about astronomy and all that and I can remember for probably 10 year period.
All they talked about was this unique part of the creation call black holes and black holes are places usually were superstars of really collapsed and allow himself the gravity is so dense that light can escape and are black holes all through the universe is really great stuff this week in USA Today read it. It now. The top-of-the-line science are saying there are no buckles. Why men struggling it's too big. You see there's too much there you not know how all this came in being he spoke. It's only did he just spoke with nothing to the micro think of that. Think of the whole way of you know the Don to the cell think of God to the DNA. Think of all of the micro dynamics. This idea of dark energy now something something is between electrons and protons and neutrons there something else there called dark energy so like a black hole will probably find out there aren't any. Somewhere down future.
But the point is, it really is what holds everything together were overwhelmed by that and that's what you say there is none like you will Lord you are great and great is your name, and might fears do you have to go on the radio ministry of fellowship Lord you ever miss one of our broadcasting or maybe you just like the message one more time. Remember, you can Google a great website called one place.com that's one place.com and you can listen the fellowship and the word online event website you will find on with today's broadcast so many of her previous audio programs as well have Fellowship in the Word.
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