As I was thinking about all the people flocking to Wilmore, Kentucky to be part of what they think God is doing, I could not help but wonder how many actually fear meeting God? Are people really interested in changing their wicked ways or do they just want something from God without changing? Are they just looking for an experience? Will they continue to follow the words of man, or will they actually set aside those words and follow God’s word once again? It is easy to see that most who call themselves Christians have followed other gospels just by their affiliation to whatever church they belong to. Every church has added to scripture and subtracted from scripture to their own demise. This shows they do not fear God. I showed you that the other day when talking about Asbury. The question I have for all of us is whether we fear God enough to follow Him no matter what. Are you willing to tear down and destroy all that is man-made in the church? Will you tear down the idols? Are you willing to take a stand against the doctrines of demons and false teaching? The Baptist will say the Pentecostal ways are false teaching / doctrines of demons and vice-versa but they both are wrong, but they just agree to disagree and carry on in their own ways.
Fearing God means that you will no longer follow in those ways. We are told Revelation 22:18 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” Deuteronomy 4:1 “Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.” Yet all churches and institutions do it anyway and think God will bless them for it. Fearing God means you will not be part of that.
Today most in the church are comfortable and secure in their own denominational distinctives and they could never imagine that God would be against them. Some even teach they will never feel God’s wrath especially if they attend the church of those teaching that. Jeremiah tells us that the people were saying Jeremiah 5:2 As surely as the Lord lives,’ still they are swearing falsely.” Jeremiah was sent to find truth but could not find any. 3 Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds. 11 The people of Israel and the people of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me,” declares the Lord. 12 They have lied about the Lord; they said, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. 13 The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them. 20 “Announce this to the descendants of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah:21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: 22 Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence?” I think this is why many do not like to read the Old Testament. Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”
Fearing God and standing firm on God’s word go hand in hand. If you fear God, you will live by His word. If you live by His word, you will fear God. Samuel warned the people 1 Samuel 12:23 “And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 25 Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.” Malachi 3:16 “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.” Deuteronomy 6:1 “These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.” Deuteronomy 10:12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” Deuteronomy 31:12“Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. 13 Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” Psalm 112:1 “Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in his commands.” Psalm 128 “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.” Proverbs 14:2 “Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways.”
When Jonah was sent by God to preach to Nineveh, the people feared God and responded immediately by repenting. Even before this the men who were in the boat with Jonah while he was running from God feared God. Jonah 1:15 “Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.” When Jonah obeyed and went to Nineveh, he said “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.” When the king heard, he said ““By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” Fearing God is believing God at His word. Micah 1:3 “Look! The Lord is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads on the heights of the earth.” Jeremiah 4:13 “Look! He advances like the clouds, his chariots come like a whirlwind, his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us! We are ruined! 22 “My people are fools; they do not know me.” God told His own people what was going to happen because of their rebellion but they didn’t listen. God said to the Ninevites, repent and they feared God and repented. Isaiah 50:10 “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant?Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God. 11 But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment.”
The church today is in ruins. Our only hope is to listen as the Ninevites did, repent and turn from our wicked ways. The famine of hearing the word of the Lord is everywhere and people are dying without ever knowing the truth. But there is hope. Psalm 33:18 “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, 19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.” Acts 15:16 “‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’— 18 things known from long ago.” Our house is in ruins. Haggai tells us, Haggai1:2 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’” 3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Today the church is not a building but the people. God is calling but people are more interested in building their own houses. 5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it. 7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.” When you look at the Gospels and Acts, the church looks nothing like this. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Acts 5:15 “As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Acts 8:6 “When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.”
In Haggai the people responded Haggai 1:12 “Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord.” The good news was when they obeyed, God blessed them. Haggai 2:9 “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6 “So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
If we fear God, there is nothing to fear. Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” After Pentecost, the disciples went out and fearlessly preached the gospel.13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Paul also preached the gospel fearlessly wherever he went. Acts 20:22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Paul could do this not in his own strength but he did fear God more than man. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Psalm 56:11 “In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise— 11 in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?” 2 Corinthians 5:11 “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” Believe God at His word and fear Him. Isaiah 35:4 “Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Isaiah 33:5 “The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness. 6 He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.”