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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Has The Church Lost The Fear of the Lord? Yes! by Shane Idleman

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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 39795

 Has The Church Lost The Fear of the Lord? Yes! by Shane Idleman

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a pastor who suggested that I write from a position of fear. At a glance, the present lethargic condition of the church leaves one to wonder if a lack of the fear of the Lord and obedience to Him has something to do with it. A healthy respect of God (fear) is what our culture, and the church, desperately need.

During our conversation, I began to ask myself, “Why don’t we agree on this important truth?” He obviously felt that we should avoid mentioning the fear of the Lord because it makes people feel uncomfortable. Just writing that sentence makes me feel uncomfortable. The fear of the Lord is mentioned frequently throughout the Bible as the beginning of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. “The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him…” (Psalm 147:11). Deuteronomy 5:29 says, “Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!” Joshua encouraged the people to “fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness” (24:14). 1 Chronicles 16:25-26 says, “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.”
It’s crystal clear from Genesis to Revelation that we are to “serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11). Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Jesus spoke more on the fear of hell than on the glory of heaven. “That makes me both love Him and fear Him! I love Him because He is my Savior, and I fear Him because He is my Judge” (A.W. Tozer).

The overall direction of the church away from the fear of the Lord is a sad reality. The problem is that we fear men more than God. Those who avoid teaching the fear of the Lord to soften the message are missing the balance. We are running from the very thing we need: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come” (Revelation 14:7).

We must lovingly proclaim the fear of the Lord again in our pulpits if we are to experience genuine conversions. Fear often motivates a person to repent. The fear of the Lord will cause an adulterer to run home and seek forgiveness. It will motivate the prodigal son and wayward daughter to return. It will causes pastors to spend extended time in prayer seeking the will of the Father (sermons must come from the prayer closet to truly be effective). When the fear of the Lord is preached the world will repent: “Falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you” (1 Corinthians 14:25). This is true repentance.

Fearing the Lord isn’t the type of fear one would have toward an abusive father, but rather, it’s the type of fear that involves respect and reverence for God. For example, I fear jumping off a 100-story building because I respect gravity. Fear, in this sense, is good and God-given; it protects us. Charles Spurgeon adds, “There is another fear that ought to be cultivated—the reverential fear which the holy angels feel when they worship God, and behold his glory—that gracious fear which makes them veil their faces with their wings as they adore the Majesty on high. There is also the loving fear which every true, right-hearted child has towards its father; a fear of grieving so tender a parent—a proper feeling of dread which makes it watch its every footstep, lest, in the slightest degree, it should deviate from the path of absolute obedience. May God graciously grant to us much of this kind of fear!”

Jeremiah 5:22-24 puts this in perspective, “Should you not fear me? declares the Lord. Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say to themselves, 'Let us fear the Lord our God’....”
The church must stop neglecting, watering-down, and avoiding the fear of the Lord in the hope of “not offending,” or “securing an audience.” The fear of the Lord offends, and the goal of the church is faithfulness, not crowd appeal. The church, as a whole, may have lost the fear of the Lord, but it doesn’t follow that we must.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2011/10/17 14:24Profile

Joined: 2007/6/29
Posts: 342

 Re: Has The Church Lost The Fear of the Lord? Yes! by Shane Idleman

God made every one of us, so the least He deserves is our respectful, rapt, attention.

A Dread Respect for the Holy GOD of the universe informs our love and adoration of Him, as we consider His amazing grace in giving His Son for our souls...

Looking forward to the Simulcast. Thanks for encouraging us with this foretaste, Brother.


 2011/10/17 15:04Profile

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