Preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist
Tabernacle in Los Angeles, CA, on January 7, 2002.
1. Turn in your Bible to Romans 3.18.
Thatís page 1194 in your Scofield Reference Bible. When you find that
verse please stand for the reading of Godís Word: "There is no
fear of God before their eyes."
2. I am continually struck in my
conversations with sinners by the fact that they do not fear God. But I
remember in my own childhood, growing up in a home that was not a
God-fearing home, that I most certainly did fear God. I remember when I
began to fear God in some way.
3. We didnít go to Church very often at
all. When we infrequently went to Church during my childhood I had no
sense that God was present in anything that was being done in the
Churches we visited, or that anyone had any particularly reverent
attitude toward God or the things of God.
4. But I do remember laughing and joking
around with a good friend of mine one afternoon. He would make some
nasty comment and look up with fake horror and say, "I repent! I
repent!" Then we would both laugh. A minute or so later I would do
the same thing, pretend to be scared, and look up and say "I
repent! I repent!" Then we would laugh again. We did that all one
5. I was probably 11 or 12 years old at the
time, and when I went home that afternoon I thought about what weíd
done. My actions disturbed me. My friend and I had mocked God. We had
laughed and joked about fearing God. But afterwards I knew that what
weíd done was wrong, that there was nothing funny or amusing about
fearing God. And I decided I would never do anything like that again.
6. Little did I realize at the time what
that first little step toward fearing God would mean in Godís dealings
with me, that would eventually lead to my conversion.
7. I want to see you converted someday. And
since I know that fearing God is vital to your heart being prepared for
conversion I want to speak to you about fearing God.
8. My friend, understand that it is Godís
will that you fear Him. Understand, as well, that it is necessary for
you to fear God. But itís important that your fear of God be an
instructed fear, a tutored fear, an informed and proper fear, because
there is a kind of fear toward Him that God does not want and
9. If you are terrified by a wild beast you
will flee by running away from the beast. But fearing God in that way is
entirely wrong. Remember Adam and Eve hiding in the bushes after they
ate the forbidden fruit and realized their nakedness? They exhibited the
wrong kind of fear, which resulted in them fleeing from God.
10. The right kind of fear of God has the
opposite effect. It will cause you to want to flee to God. But you
canít come to God, as a sinner, because God is a consuming fire and He
forbids it. The proper fear of God, however, will motivate you to seek
His Son, Jesus. You can come to Jesus, because He urges you to come.
Thatís the kind of fear of God you need to have.
11. Thereís another thing you need to
understand about this fear of God. In a sense, a sinner must simply
choose to fear God. This brings me to our text for tonight, Ecclesiastes
12.13. Please turn to that verse. Itís page 704 in your Scofield
Reference Bible. Shall we stand and read that verse? "Let us hear
the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments:
for this is the whole duty of man."
11. "Fear God." Thatís a
command. Thatís a directive. Thatís an order. But you donít think
itís possible to "fear God" because you are somewhat
unfamiliar with how the human mind and emotions work with such things as
12. Proverbs 16.3 tells us, "Commit
thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be
established." Which means, if you will do right toward God youíll
start thinking right toward God. Decide to fear God, obey this
directive, and youíll start feeling fearful toward God.
Most people do not fear God because they never arrive at the right
decision, which is to choose to fear God.
13. But you are certainly unpersuaded about
the importance and the necessity of fearing God. So, my sermon tonight
will deal with the reasons why you should fear God. I will present to
you 7 reasons why you should fear God:
1A. The First Reason You Should Fear God?
FEARING GOD ACKNOWLEDGES HIS NATURE
1B. People who do not fear God only
betray their ignorance of God. They only show their utter lack of
awareness of Godís person, of Godís nature, of Godís attributes.
2B. In Genesis 31 we are given insight into
the convictions of three men with regard to Godís nature, and whether
or not He should be feared.
1C. In Genesis 31.42 we read that Jacob,
in conversation with his uncle Laban, refers to God as "the fear
of Isaac," his own father. That description alone shows us the
attitudes toward God of both Isaac and his son Jacob.
2C. Because those two men had experienced
encounters with God, because they had seen Him work in their own
lives, appreciated His majesty and might, they feared Him. Those who
do not fear God are only those who have had no dealings with Him.
3C. Few men who have walked on the earth
have been privileged with the intimacy with God that Moses enjoyed
during his lifetime. And remember, Moses was the human author of the
book of Genesis. So, in Genesis 31.53, when Moses is describing the
actions of Jacob and himself refers to God as the fear of Jacobís
father Isaac, it reflects his own appreciation of the nature of God.
3B. Were these men wrong for
fearing God? Or did they have insight that most men do not have? My
friends, even the sailors of the boat the prophet Jonah was on had
enough of an appreciation of Godís majesty and might, knowing that God
was awesome and omnipotent, that we are told "Then were the men
exceedingly afraid" of God, Jonah 1.10.
4B. If you consider Godís
immensity, if you consider Godís power, if you consider Godís
majesty and glory, if you consider Godís holiness, if you consider
these and other attributes of God, then you will see the sensibility and
the intelligence of fearing Him.
2A. Next, Fear God Because
FEARING GOD IS THE GATEWAY TO SPIRITUAL TRUTH
1B. Proverbs 1.7 declares to us
that "The fear of the LORD is the
beginning of understanding," or knowledge. So, Solomon is
pointing out to us that until you know to fear God you donít know
much thatís really worth knowing. O, you may be good in math. You
may be an expert in physics or literature. But if you donít know
enough to fear God you donít know anything that will serve you well
2B. Psalm 110.10 and Proverbs
9.10 both declare to us that "The fear of the LORD
is the beginning of wisdom." If wisdom is knowing the
appropriate use of truth, then Godís Word points out that until you
fear God what you know about the implementation of truth really
isnít worth anything. It wonít help you much.
3B. So you see, with regard to
gaining insight into spiritual truths, spiritual realities, eternal
verities, the starting point is to fear God. And does this not make
perfect sense since God is the first cause, since God is most
important, since God is central to all existence and meaning?
4B. How very absurd, then, are
these religions of the east and these religions of the so-called New
Age. My friend, if it doesnít begin with God itís so much
foolishness. And the fear of God is the beginning of understanding and
of wisdom. You know nothing and you are a fool if you havenít the
sense to fear God.
5B. My friend, there are things
you will never know until you fear God. Psalm 25.14: "The secret
of the LORD is with them that fear
3A. Third, Fear God Because
FEARING GOD PREVENTS STUPID AND PROVOCATIVE SINS
1B. When David transported the
ark of the covenant on a cart they were disobeying Godís
instructions for moving the ark. They did not fear God and therefore
did not make the effort to obey Him. But once Uzzah touched the ark
and God killed him David became very afraid that day, wondering how he
would move the ark, First Chronicles 13.12. Fear kept David from
sinning stupidly in that way again.
2B. Remember the midwives
during the days of Moses? Ordered by Pharaoh to kill the Jewish boys
being born, but they refused because they feared God, Exodus chapter
1. Their fear of God kept them from the sin of murder.
3B. There are things I have
contemplated doing that I did not do . . . because I feared God. And
the same is true of anyone who fears God, even if they are not saved.
Had Nadab and Abihu feared God they would not have offered strange
fire and been killed by God. Had king Saul feared God he would have
obeyed God and the kingdom would not have been taken from him. Had
King Uzziah feared God he would not have provoked God and suffered a
life of leprosy.
4B. You should fear God because
there are some sins, some really stupid and provocative sins, that you
will commit unless you fear God, and only the fear of God will keep
you from certain sins.
4A. Fourth, Fear God Because
DUTY DEMANDS YOU TO FEAR GOD
1B. What is "duty?"
"Duty" is a binding moral obligation. Itís simply the
right thing to do and to not do your duty is just plain wrong. Itís
just right to honor your mother. Itís just right to honor your
father. Itís just right to honor the king.
2B. Duty is what used to
distinguish the British Empire from all other countries in the world.
The Empire had a core of people who were committed to doing their
duty, to doing what the right thing man ought to do for his country
3B. There was a time when the
United States Military Academy placed great value on duty. The motto
of the Military Academy at West Point is "duty, honor,
country." So, the concept of duty is unarguably important to
everyone except barbarians.
4B. The concept of duty is
important to God, as well. Thatís why, in our text, wise old Solomon
urges the fear of God as the whole duty of man. If honoring your mom
is an important and valuable duty, if honoring your father is an
important and valuable duty, if honoring the flag and honoring the
king is an important and valuable duty, then how important is that
duty upon which all other duties are founded . . . the fear of God?
5B. What folly it is to be
patriotic but not fear God. What an insult to God it is to salute the
flag but to refuse to honor Him? Whatís so wrong with sinners that
they feel compelled to fulfill so many obligations, to properly
recognize so many duties, while refusing the duty to fear God?
6B. My friend, you ought to
fear God because itís right. You ought to fear God because itís
the proper thing to do. You ought to fear God because itís your duty
to fear God.
5A. Fifth, Fear God Because
YOU ARE COMMANDED TO FEAR GOD
1B. You are commanded to fear
God in our text. Solomon was writing under inspiration of the Holy
Spirit. He communicated in a perfect way the will of God on this
subject. "Fear God." That this command has been issued shows
us that you are responsible to obey. Fear God because He commands you
to obey Him, or die trying.
2B. And this fear of God is not
limited only to those who are unconverted. First Peter 2.17 is very
clear on this matter, with Peter writing "Honour all men.
Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king." And this was
written to Christians. So God wants everyone to fear Him. Itís His
right. Itís what is due Him. To fear God is proper. And itís what
he commands and demands from His creatures.
6A. Sixth, Fear God Because
GODíS PUNISHMENT EVOKES FEAR
1B. You may not fear God
because He is God. You may not fear God so that you will have insight
to profound spiritual truths. You may not fear God to keep from
committing stupid sins that will provoke God. Duty may not move you to
fear Him, nor His command sway you. But have you considered what
Heís going to do to you? What about His punishment?
2B. Remember the maniac of
Gadara? The demon possessed man who had many, many demons in him. When
Jesus asked the name of the demon who spoke through the man he said,
"My name is Legion: for we are many." Those demons
feared no mere man, but they were terrified of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Listen to what the demon said when Jesus approached: "What have I
to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech
thee, torment me not." The demons were afraid because they know
the lake of fire awaits them.
3B. How about you? Do you know
what awaits you? Do you have any idea whatís going to happen to you
someday? You will die and then go to Hell. And that causes many to
fear Hell. But thatís a misplaced fear. There is nothing to fear of
Hell. Whatís to fear is the One who will cast you into Hell.
4B. Listen to the words of the
Lord Jesus Christ. I read from Matthew 10.28: "And fear not them
which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather
fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Fearing other men is also a misplaced fear. All a human being can do
is kill your body. But Who is able to destroy both body and soul in
Hell? God. So, fear God.
5B. You donít fear God?
Youíre not concerned about the fires of Hell? Burning flesh and
perpetual darkness donít rattle you at all? Iím not suggesting
that you fear Hell. I am pointing out the necessity of fearing the One
Who will cast you into Hell if you donít get saved. So, youíd
better fear God, because,
7A. Finally, FEARING GOD IS
PREPARATION FOR SAVING GRACE
1B. Let me read several verses
to you and then explain to you the implications:
Psalm 34.7: "The angel
of the LORD encampeth round about them that
fear him, and delivereth them..."
Psalm 66.16: "Come and
hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for
Psalm 85.9: "Surely his
salvation is nigh them that fear him."
Psalm 115.11: "Ye that
fear the LORD, trust in the LORD."
Psalm 119.79: "Let those
that fear thee turn unto me."
Psalm 145.19: "He will
fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their
cry, and will save them."
2B. If you do not fear God you
will not flee to Jesus for salvation. If you do not fear God you will
not seek safe refuge in Jesus. In short, fear of God is what the
Puritans called an evangelical grace. Itís A grace that leads a
sinner to Christ.
3B. And these verses that
Iíve just read establish several facts for your consideration:
1C. Deliverance comes to
those who fear God.
2C. Gospel preaching is
primarily for those who fear God. Until you fear God you will reject
3C. And if you fear God you
are never very far away from being converted.
1. You need to fear God, my
friend. You need to decide to fear God. If you do not decide to fear God
it is almost certain you will never be converted, because God frightens
but few sinners. Most sinners have to decide to fear God or they will
never fear God.
2. But you have to fear God rightly, for there is a kind of fear that
produces wrong actions, such as when Adam and Eve hid from God. So, be
instructed, be challenged, to fear God and flee to Christ. Fear now.