Thursday, April 28, 2011

Don't Be Dumb, Fear God! Part Two

     "By faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith," Hebrews 11:7.
     We all must decide something very important.  Our very souls depend upon this very issue.  It is not whether to vote republicrat or demican.  It is not who should I marry(as important as this is).  It is not even Coke or Pepsi.  We must decide, "Whom then shall I fear?"  This is as important a question as we can ever ask ourselves.  Everyday we make this decision.  When we go to work, do we join with the coarse jesting(Eph. 5:4)?  Do we declare our devotion to a sports team and call ourselves a "fan" of so and so, knowing that fan is shorthand for fanatic(Deut. 5:7).  Do we give in to the prevailing whimsy of the moment in any number of situations demonstrating our fear of man not our fear of God.
    God told the Hebrews in Deut. 6:2 to "fear the Lord your God, to keep His commandments," Deut. 6:13, "fear the Lord...serve Him", and Deut. 6:24, "And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day."  Did you notice what all of these verses have in common?  Fearing the Lord motivates our lives!  The Hebrews were to fear the Lord through keeping His commandments and through serving.  Joshua combined  two of these important concepts in his farewell admonition to the Hebrews in Joshua 24:14, "Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth..."  Fear and service go together for the believer.  The late pastor, David Wilkerson lamented that the church has stopped teaching about fearing the Lord.  He added that where the fear of the Lord is missing, so is the proper teaching of sin and holiness.  "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God," wrote the writer of Hebrews(10:31).  It is interesting to note, once again, the coordination between faith and fear.  Hebrews 11 is known as the greatest teaching on faith in the New Testament, yet preceding it is an admonition to fear faithlessness and persevere through trials.  Fearing God is a powerful motivator for the believer, especially in a day where authentic faith stands out so starkly against the back drop of plastic people, twittering tediousness and the banality of continuous sensuality.
     No doubt, Noah faced the same issues as us.  The Lord described Noah's day like this, "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually," Gen. 6:5.  Chapter six of Genesis describes depravity deeper than may even be around us today.  Into this depravity God entered and commanded Noah to build an ark.  An ark?  The old joke goes, what is an ark?  It was of no matter to Noah, he was commanded by God and his response is instructive, "Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did," Gen. 6:22.  What motivated this incredible obedience that led Noah to prepare an ark for the salvation of his household?  Don't cheat and look above.  Noah, was "moved by godly fear".  There is little doubt that busy bodies and naysayers cajoled Noah daily and you or I may have cowered, in fear for our lives from men.  We may have stopped our building altogether and God would have come up with another plan for humanity.  Yet Noah feared God and when you fear God, who is man?  "If God is for us, who can stand against us!"  It seems silly and sinful to say salacious things seeking some simpletons sanction.  Stand firmly in the fear of God and bridle your tongue and speak grace into the conversation.  Salt the occasion with the sweet words of truth. 
    Finally, whom we fear is whom we serve, let's end with this exhortation, "Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the god's which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt.  Serve the Lord!  And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the Rive, or the gods of the Amorites, whose land you dwell.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord," Joshua 24:14-15.  Beloved, learn, love and live Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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