"Fear Him . . . In Worship"
2. Why is it that you are afraid of some man with a gun who can only kill your body, but you refuse to fear God, Who can both kill your body and cast your soul into Hell? Why is it that you are concerned about the opinions of your unsaved friends, but you are without concern for the opinion of the One Who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell?
3. The Lord Jesus Christ made a very pointed statement to the twelve disciples He was sending out to preach two by two for the very first time. Distilled down to the very essence of what He directed His twelve men to do, as they went forth, we have the most simple phrase: "Fear Him."
4. Everything the Lord Jesus said leading up to this phrase, and everything He said after uttering this phrase, simply provided the proper setting for this statement, this command, this directive, this order. You see, those twelve men were about to go and serve God. But you can't just go and serve God.
5. I read Ecclesiastes 12.13-14: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."
6. My friends, it has always been God's will for us that we fear Him and then serve Him, that we fear Him and then obey Him, that we fear Him and then worship Him, that we fear Him first, and then do what He wants us to do.
7. As you sit here this morning, you have a twofold duty toward God. First, you are commanded to fear Him. Then, you are commanded to worship Him. We will sing a wonderful hymn in a few moments, titled "Come Let Us Worship The King." But let us clearly understand that worship is not worship where there is no preceding fear. Service is not service where there is no preceding fear. Ministry is not ministry where there is no preceding fear. Evangelism is not evangelism where there is no preceding fear. Do you doubt what I say? Paul wrote, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men," Second Corinthians 5.11.
8. Last week's message dealt with your tendency to withstand my words. And I showed the clear correlation that exists between withstanding the words of a Gospel preacher and resisting the Holy Spirit of God. But I noticed at the time, and drew attention to the fact last Sunday evening, that even while I was preaching against withstanding my words folks were withstanding my words.
9. So this morning I want to deal with an even more basic problem than withstanding my words. This morning I want to direct your attention to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ that you fear God. "Fear Him," Jesus said to His apostles. And I want to apply what Jesus said about fearing God to worship.
10. You see, we gather together each Sunday morning and each Sunday evening and each Wednesday evening to worship the one true and living God. It is His will that we do this. But it is never possible to do His will until we precede our obedience with fear, unless fear comes before our intention to obey God.
11. Before we sing, and before my sermon, let me make mention of four aspects of your fear of God in connection with worship.
But how do we know that you must fear God in worship? Simple. We must fear God in all things. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. And the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So if you are to act with understanding, with knowledge, and with wisdom, then your actions must be preceded by fear. Thus we see that in all things, and certainly that does not exclude worship, fear of God is a prerequisite to pleasing God.
1B. What Fear Of God Is Not
1C. There is much confusion in the world today regarding the fear of God. The fear of the Lord is a topic that is hardly mentioned from pulpits these days, perhaps because so few preachers fear God these days. But I can tell you one thing about fear that may unsettle some of you. Whatever fear of God is it isn't carelessness before Him. When you stroll into the auditorium and laugh and joke and act silly and talk about computers and golf and whatever else comes to mind . . . that is not the behavior that is produced by any kind of fear of God.
2C. But neither do I have in mind the kind of ungodly fear that drives a man away from God. Remember Adam and Eve, hiding from God because they were afraid? They had an ungodly and erroneous kind of fear of God. Do you recollect the times the risen Savior said to terrified people, "Fear not"? He was not dismissing all fear of God, but only that fear of God which tends to drive a man away from God.
3C. So, when you come to worship God you should not be careless and irreverent. But neither should you have that carnal and ungodly fear that causes you to want to leave this place and never come back, because you hate being convicted of your sins and you hate to be reminded that you are breaking God's laws.
2B. What Proper Fear Of God Is
1C. Understand that, though the Lord Jesus Christ directed His men to fear God, He would not accept any fear of God. He would never have wanted His men to fear God in an ungodly manner.
2C. Rather, He wanted His apostles to fear God in a godly way, to fear God in a manner that drives men to serve Him, as Hebrews 12.28 shows us: "Serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear."
3C. So, fear God, but fear Him in a way that causes you to pay attention. Fear God in a way that causes you to sing loudly. Fear God in a way that causes you to receive God's Word meekly.
2A. NEXT, WHY YOU MUST FEAR GOD . . . IN WORSHIP
1B. First, Because This Is Worship Of God
We are not here to fool around. We are not here to have fun. We are not here to tell jokes and laugh. We are here to worship God. Now, there is a time for laughing and having fun, but it is not during worship of the Most High God. Read the Bible through and you will not see one single example of a creature of God, angel or man, who does not worship God with fear. Why? Because He is God.
2B. Second, You Must Fear God In Worship Because God Is Present In His Worship
1C. Revelation 1.13: "And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man." In many places we are clearly told that Jesus sits at the right hand of God on high. But in a mystical sense, perhaps in a way too difficult for us to understand, Jesus is in the midst of His candlesticks, in the midst of His Churches. In a sense He is here.
2C. As well, we know that this congregation is the temple of God, First Corinthians 3.16, and the Spirit of God is here today. Perhaps the sense in which Jesus is here is in the person of His representative, the Holy Spirit of God, Whose temple this congregation certainly is.
3C. Add to this Deuteronomy 7.21, which reminds us that "the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible," and you can clearly see that because God is here during our worship of Him we need to fear Him in worship.
3B. Third, You Must Fear God In Worship Because He Is Jealous Of His Worship
1C. The next time you horse around in Church, the next time you approach our worship service in a lackadaisical way, the next time you come into this auditorium without prayerfully preparing yourself, remember that of all the ten commandments, the only one to which God associated His jealousy was the one associated with bowing before Him in worship and in service.
2C. Listen to what David wrote in the Psalms: "Serve the LORD with fear," Psalm 2.11. "In thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple," Psalm 5.7. So, make no mistake about the fact that
4B. Another Reason To Fear God In Worship? He Judges Those Who Worship Him Without Fear.
1C. Look up Leviticus 10.1-3 sometime. God killed Nadab and Abihu for offering strange fire, a presumption brought on by their complete absence of fear in worship and service.
2C. Read First Samuel 2 & 4 sometime. God killed Hophni and Phineas, who dared to worship a holy God without fear.
3C. Ananias and Sapphira, for telling a lie in the Church when they were before God, because they lacked a fear and dread of God's majesty and of God's name, were killed, Acts 5.1-10.
4C. And under my own preaching, Mrs. Brown, who had no fear of God in worship, was run down by a car and killed.
5C. Excuse me, but look closely at the lives of those who demonstrate no fear of God in worship, who undermine and bad mouth, who disrupt and distract. After careful examination, you will tell me God has not already begun to judge? Moms and dads? You deal with your children who show no fear of God in worship. And if you can't deal with them leave them at home.
1B. You Who Do Not Worship God At All Must Fear Him In Worship
1C. Jeremiah 10.25: "Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name." You play your silly games with God all you want. But when His judgment begins to fall upon your children because of your insolence, because of your stubbornness, because of your rebellious refusal to worship Him and your proud and haughty arrogance toward Him, then remember my words this morning.
2C. I fear that there are some here who know, perhaps too late to do anything about it, that God has judged your own children because of your past refusal to worship Him with fear. "Pastor, what do I do now?" Cry out to God. Plead for mercy. Worship with fear. Serve Him with fear.
2B. As Well, You Who Do Not Worship God With Fear Must Fear God
1C. You worship God, supposedly. But you come to worship to doze off. You come to worship God to visit with friends. You come to worship God to admire pretty girls or show yourself off to boys. Or, maybe you come to worship God for reasons that are no longer clear to you.
2C. Oh, my friend, you come to Church but not to worship God. You come not to meet with Him. You come not to please Him, to obey Him, to satisfy Him, to serve Him. Oh, what a sad day that will be when you give an account of yourself and you are damned because you refused to worship Him in fear.
3B. Then, There Are Those Of You Who Worship God Religiously
1C. Do you honor God with your lips? Do you seem to draw near to Him, if the words that come out of your mouth are any indication? Then why is it that God says your heart is removed far from Him, Isaiah 29.13? It's because your fear of God is taught by the precept of men. In other words, you've not truly been taught by God to fear God. You only mimic other men.
2C. And what will happen to you? The scorner will be consumed, Isaiah 29.20. Those who watch for iniquity will be cut off. In other words, nothing good will happen to you so long as you lack fear in worshiping God.
1B. First, By Your Fearful Attendance
Does a man who fears God in worship, whose fear does not turn Him away from God, absent himself from God's house during worship? If you fear God rightly you will not absent yourself from Church when the doors are open, Hebrews 10.25. You are commanded to worship God in fear, something you cannot do with us unless you are actually here with us.
2B. Next, By Your Fearful Attentiveness
When you are here you must recognize that you are in the presence of God, and you must be swift to hear His Word, James 1.19. You recognize that God's grace is ministered through the spoken Word, and that the welfare of your soul is at stake in worship. No wonder, then, you should fear God in worship.
3B. Finally, You Must Fear God In Worship By Your Fearful Attitude
It's possible to pay close attention, but still have the wrong attitude. So you need to examine your own heart to see how you receive and respond to the preaching of God's Word. James 1.21 challenges you to receive the Word with meekness, an impossible task without the fear of God in worship. So, consider your attendance, and your attentiveness, and finally your attitude in worship.
2. So, while we rejoice with the angels, let us also fear with them. As we pray to God for demonstrations of His remarkable presence, let us also undertake to behave ourselves properly in His presence.
3. Do you want God to bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you? I do. Our whole Church should want such a blessing.
4. "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word," Isaiah 66.2. Let us, this morning, and during every service, tremble at His Word and fear God in our worship.
5. Now, brother Isenberger comes to lead us in "Come Let Us Worship The King."
2. But I want to speak to you about this matter of fearing God, and your complete lack of fear. I feel you deserve an explanation for the reason why you do not fear God, while perfectly intelligent and sensible people that you know do fear God.
3. Having once been like you, I can safely say that you are likely of the opinion that those who fear God are lacking something that you have. You conclude yourself to have a level of sophistication that those who actually fear God do not have.
4. However, you are profoundly mistaken in your conclusion and your pride, and the tendency that accompanies pride to exalt oneself has overtaken you. You have thus concluded that there is something wrong with those who fear God, while completely exonerating yourself.
5. Unless I can, by using God's Word, correct you of this terrible error you will remain without any fear of God until He ends your life and casts you into Hellfire. Then, of course, you will fear God. But then, of course, it will be too late.
6. So, in the time remaining, let me point out to you three connections that you need to understand, for your own soul's sake.
1B. Turn In Your Bible To Ephesians Chapter 2. Please Note The Last Phrase Of Verse 5: "(by grace ye are saved;)" Now Take A Look At The First Phrase Of Verse 8: "For by grace are ye saved." Look Up, Please. These Two Verses, And Many Others Besides, Plainly Declare That The Salvation Which Jesus Alone Can Provide Is A Salvation Which Cannot Be Earned, Is A Salvation Which Cannot Be Worked For, Is A Salvation Which Cannot In Any Way Be Merited Or Deserved By You.
2B. This Is Substantiated By Romans 11.6, Which Shows The Utter Incompatibility Of Grace And Works When It Comes To Salvation. Please Turn There. "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." Please Close Your Bible And Put It Down.
3B. So It is Established That Salvation, The Deliverance Of The Sinner From His Sins By Jesus Christ, Is By Grace. That Would Necessarily Mean That Whatever A Sinner May Do, Such As Believing On Jesus, Or Coming To Jesus, Or Trusting Jesus, Or Receiving Jesus, The Human Side Of The Sinner's Saving Union With Jesus Christ, Must Also Be By God's Grace.
1B. Fear Of God, Not The Kind Of Fear That Turns You Away From God, Like Adam And Eve Did, But The Kind That Is Pleasing To God And Is Beneficial, Is A Grace. Remember Hebrews 12.28: "Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." As Well, Let Me Bring Isaiah 11.2 To Your Attention, Where The Holy Spirit Is Described As "the Spirit of the fear of the LORD."
2B. Fear Of God, Then, Is Something Which The Holy Spirit Graciously Bestows Upon A Sinner. He Is The Author Of The Fear Of God, The Sustainer Of The Fear Of God. It Is The Holy Spirit, Then, Who Gives Understanding, Who Gives Knowledge, Who Gives Wisdom, All Of Which Begins With The Fear Of The LORD.
3B. Listen To Me Now, You Are Not Converted. If You Do Not Fear God The Holy Spirit Is Not Dealing With You. If You Do Not Fear God You Utterly Lack Understanding Of Important Spiritual Realities, Especially About God. If You Do Not Fear God You Are Woefully Lacking In Knowledge. And If You Do Not Fear God You Are Deprived Of Meaningful Wisdom.
4B. So, You Can See How Very Wrong You Are In Your Estimation Of Yourself In Comparison To Those Who Actually Fear God. It is Not They Who Lack Understanding, But You. It Is Not They Who Lack Knowledge, But You. It Is Not They Who Lack Wisdom, But You. And What Should Terrify You, And What Would Terrify You But For Your Blindness And Spiritual Stupidity, Is That The Absence Of Any Fear Of God Means The Holy Spirit, Who Is The Author Of The New Birth, Is Nowhere To Be Found In Or Around Your Life. Absence Of Fear Means Absence Of God's Grace.
1B. What A Pity It Is That The Evangelical Christian Community Is So Far From God's Truth About Salvation That They See No Connection Between Godly Fear And Salvation. With Their Sermon Jokes And Their Irreverent Music And Their Casual Attitude Toward God, They Simply Are Too Blind To See The Connection Between The Fear Of God And The Salvation Of Sinners.
2B. My Friends, God's Indictment Against You Is That You Have No Fear Of Him, Psalm 36.1. And The Greatest Testimony Of Your Lost Condition Is The Absence Of Any Fear Of God, Psalm 55.19. But What About Those Who Fear God? "Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him," Psalm 85.9.
3B. Someday You Will Die And Go To Hell. You Will Someday Die And Go To Hell. You . . . Will Someday Die And At That Time You Will Go To Hell. You Will Die Someday, And When You Do You Will Go To Hell. You Will Inevitably Die, For All Men Die, And When You Die You Will Go To Hell. How Will You Justify Your Lack Of Fear In Worship Then?
4B. Should You Ever Get Saved It Will Be Because You Came To Fear God So Much That You Fled To Jesus To Escape God's Wrath. You Will Not Flee The Wrath Of God If You Do Not Fear God. You Will Not Seek Jesus If You Do Not Fear God. Unless You Come To Feel The Fact That Our God Is A Consuming Fire You Will Not Come To Christ. Unless You Are Convinced That It Is A Fearful Thing To Fall Into The Hands Of The Living God You Will Not Seek To Escape That Fate By Coming To Christ.
2. Oh, how important it is for Christians to fear God in worship, for then their fear of God will be seen by the unconverted, and their fear of God is so pleasing in God's sight.
3. But for you who are here this morning who are not converted, heed my words. You should be concerned that you don't fear God enough to faithfully attend Church. If you feared God you would do whatever it takes, whatever it takes, to attend Church. And when you attend Church, if you fear Him, you will worship Him, really worship Him, truly worship Him.
4. But you don't fear God. Do you realize that means? It means God's salvation is not close to you. It means you are not close to coming to Christ. It means that your next appointment is with death, and after that Hell.