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The Fear of God Is the Beginning of Knowledge

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The Fear of God Is the Beginning of Knowledge

MP3 Audio (27.94 MB)


The Fear of God Is the Beginning of Knowledge

MP3 Audio (27.94 MB)

Can fearing God be a good thing? It is stated in the Bible that the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge. We must have the proper fear. Today we will cover 3 areas of proper fear toward God. When we fear God we should not fear anything else.


[Kevin Call] The command to fear God. Seriously? A command to fear God? When you hear that, do you start to think, “Well, this is pretty Old Testament?” But sixteen times in Proverbs alone, it repeats the theme that the wise people will fear the Lord. Can fearing God actually be a good thing? That’s the question I want to start with: Can fearing God actually be a good thing?

 I want to open with a little story. A policeman was walking his beat. We don’t know if he was writing a ticket or watching a suspicious individual, but he was distracted. He was distracted enough that he barely felt the tug on his coat. He turned and there stood a little girl. The policeman asked her, “Can I help you?” “My mommy told me if I needed help, I should find a policeman,” she replied. Suddenly, a little alarmed, the policeman asked, “Oh, what’s wrong?”  Looking down, she put one of her feet out and asked, “Could you tie my shoe?”

Now, why did that little girl go and find a policeman to ask for that kind of help? Well, number one, she knew that the policeman would help her. She knew that. She knew that this was a person that could be trusted – should be able to be trusted. She knew all this. She was taught this. She knew that she didn’t have to fear him.

Now, let’s change the scene just a little bit – just for a minute. You are driving down the road in your car, and you’re in a 55 mile per hour speed zone. You’re driving 65 miles an hour. I know nobody here ever does that, but just for the sake of argument, let’s say you did, and you are not the only one. There are cars all around you – in front of you – everybody’s driving 65 miles an hour. You top the crest and there is a policeman. What happens? Everybody hits their brakes. Everybody slows down - everybody. It is not just here and there. It’s everybody. It’s amazing! I would say, “Try it,” but…. Why is this? Well, it is because they don’t believe the policeman is there to help them. It is not like the little girl. They don’t believe the policeman is there to help them. They don’t think that they can trust this policeman to overlook their indiscretions. Think about that. In fact, they think that they have a good reason to fear him. Now we just read, this little girl, she did not fear the policeman. Now, we fear the policeman. They’ve been caught doing something wrong. This is the difference. They’ve been caught doing something wrong. Now bear in mind, they don’t know who this policeman is. They see the car. It might be Uncle Fred. They don’t know. It could be a close friend. It might even be somebody they know and like personally. They don’t know. They don’t know who is behind the wheel of the police car. But it doesn’t matter. That doesn’t matter. The fact is, this car represents the hand of judgement. It represents the hand of judgement. And they have been doing something wrong. Let that sink in for a second. And they are afraid. Fear. A simple four-letter word – fear. The Bible tells us that some fear is a good thing, but it has be the right fear – the right kind of fear. In fact, the very first chapter of Proverbs tells us about this. Let’s look at this. We’ll start in Proverbs, chapter 1 – Proverbs, chapter 1 and verse 7:

Proverbs 1:7 Proverbs 1:7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
American King James Version×
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. The fear of the Lord – this fear of the Lord, as I have already said, is mentioned 16 times, just in Proverbs alone. It’s repeated so often because the writers in Proverbs, they believe – the know – this kind of fear is extremely important for godly wisdom. This is what we must have.
Now, I did a little study, if you will. I looked at all 16 verses. We don’t have to turn to all of them now, but I looked at all 16 verses in Proverbs here, and I began to sort through them, looking for things that might be in common in these verses. I found that the vast majority of these verses – these 16 verses – about fearing God can have two very important benefits in all our lives, if we are wise enough to practice it. That is the question, are we?

The first benefit of fearing God is it helps us to avoid evil. Go to Proverbs 8, and verse13.

Proverbs 8:13 Proverbs 8:13The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the fraudulent mouth, do I hate.
American King James Version×
To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. To fear of the Lord is to hate evil. And that means so much more, as the question asked in the sermonette brought out: Are we just reading over it? If we study it, we will see what it means. If we fear God we will avoid evil things. In fact, we will come to hate evil. We won’t welcome it into our lives at all. But, if we don’t, we won’t. That is exactly what it’s saying here: To fear the Lord is to hate evil. If we don’t fear the Lord, we love evil. That’s the implication that we read here in Proverbs. Think about what it is saying here. If we don’t fear God, we won’t hate evil. We probably never thought about it in those terms before.

I want to give you three quick examples – and these are hypothetical situations and are not aimed at anyone, but, I really, really believe we can learn valuable lessons from these situations, because these are real situations. I’ll just read them to you. The first one here says, there was a preacher telling about two sets of parents in his congregation that he served. Their children were going to the prom and both sets of parents claimed to be, or professed to be, God-fearing Christians. They had rented rooms in a hotel for their children and their dates – nothing about the parents – for the children and their dates – so they could spend the night together. These parents claimed to be God-fearing Christians. Now the question is: Were these parents God-fearing people? Let’s look and see what scripture says. There are so many scriptures we could go to, but I just want to go to the very basic one in 1 Thessalonians 5. This is a memory scripture. We all know what this says, but I want to turn there and read it – 1 Thessalonians 5, and verse 22.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 1 Thessalonians 5:22Abstain from all appearance of evil.
American King James Version×
Abstain – that means quit, don’t do it, stay away from it – abstain from all appearance of evil. This doesn’t even address doing evil. This says, “Abstain from the appearance of evil.” We didn’t even go as far as to do evil.

Were these parents God-fearing parents? No, they weren’t. Absolutely they were not. They did not care what God taught. They didn’t care what God’s word said, and they didn’t care about the judgement. Remember that car – that police car – the vision of judgement? These people didn’t care about the judgement God would bring – not just upon them, but upon their family. When we fall into evil, it affects us, yes, but it also affects the people we are involved with. Evil is evil. It is wrong. This is one of those things that, unfortunately, may not seem like a big deal to some, but to God, it is a big deal. It is a huge deal. Whether it is a big deal or a little deal – a big thing or a little thing – it matters to God. Sin is sin. It matters to God. How we handle these things shows God where we are spiritually. It shows Him. These parents did not truly fear God. According to the Proverb we just read, God’s word, they did not hate evil. That is how we must break this down.

Let’s go to the second scenario. This is based on church. A minister had worked hard on inviting a non-Christian friend to church. The friend learned about Christ and was eventually baptized. But after a few months, he stopped coming to church – the friend stopped coming to church – and that frustrated the minister because he had spent so much time getting his friend to decide to go to church and, ultimately, to belong to the body of Christ. So, the minister went out to find the reason why his friend stopped coming to church. The friend explained this. He said he decided to quit coming to church when one of the leaders in that church got up to give a message. Now the church was large enough that the new Christian had not noticed him before. When he did, he recognized this man. This man was a manager at the plant that he had worked at. Let me interject a scripture right here. Go to Matthew, chapter 7, verse 16. This scripture applies to each and every one of us.

Matthew 7:16 Matthew 7:16You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
American King James Version×
You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather fruit from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?

You will know them by their fruits. People will know us by our fruits. This Christian leader had a reputation at the plant. He took just about everything that wasn’t nailed down. He would take these things home. It didn’t matter if it were tools, paper belongings – whatever it was – anything he could sneak them out the door. He did this. And this friend knew it. He saw it. He witnessed it. The man – the church leader – was known by his fruits. But the church was – or is – known by its fruit. What kind of fruits are we producing? This man here, unfortunately, could be labeled as a thief. When the minister’s friend realized this man was a leader in the church, he didn’t want anything to do with it.

We turn this personal and we ask the question: What fruits are we producing? What fruit does the community see in us? What fruits do our neighbors, our fellow workers, what fruits do they see in us? Is it fruit that will attract them or fruit that will repel them? Now aside from the fact that this probably wasn’t the best way for this new Christian to handle or to deal with this situation – by just quitting and not coming back – was this Christian leader a God-fearing man? He professed to be. He got up and he gave messages. I think we can positively say, “No, he was not.” He didn’t care what God thought. At the very least, he was a problem for this new Christian. We don’t know what other kind of problems he caused.

Look at 1 Corinthians, chapter 10, and verse 32. Again, this is memory scripture. If we keep doing our Bible study, the whole bible becomes a memory scripture. I’ll just throw that out there at you – only thirty thousand plus verses.

1 Corinthians 10:32 1 Corinthians 10:32Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
American King James Version×
Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God. Do not cause anyone – that’s limitless – anyone. And it says it doesn’t care if they are converted, unconverted, or they’re our brother. Don’t cause them to stumble. This man didn’t care if his behavior turned people against Christ. That is a very, very scary situation to fall into. He, frankly, didn’t fear God, and so he did not hate evil. That’s what Proverbs says. In fact, it goes on to say, “he embraced evil.” That is what Proverbs says. If you don’t hate, you embrace it.

One last scenario here for this section. This story here: There was a church where one of the deacons was committing adultery and everyone in town knew it. Everybody in the church knew it. When the deacon was removed from office by the minister and the board, the board held a special meeting where this ex-deacon was in attendance. They put him back in office and gave him back his credentials. Why? Why? It was suspected that this ex-deacon had threatened to sue the board members. He threatened to sue the church, if he could get away with it. If they didn’t put him back in office, he was going to take them down. Now, it’s obvious the ex-deacon was and is sinning – without question. We don’t argue that. Now, my question goes to the church – the board. Was the church – or the board – a God-fearing organization? You’re right. There are so many scriptures that we could quote here to show what to do and what not to do in these situations. I do want to look at just a few of them here. If you will, go to Galatians, chapter 9 – I’m sorry – 6 – Galatians 6. There is no 9 – Galatians 6, verse 9.

Galatians 6:9 Galatians 6:9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
American King James Version×
Now let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. We are told not to grow weary while we are doing good.

The church – the board – they’re set out to do good things. God has called the people to be the church – the members of the church – individuals, as well as collectively. When He calls us, He calls us into a good thing. He calls us to do a good thing. He knows that, as time goes on, we as humans get tired and we do grow weary. That is why he asked Paul to throw in this warning. Do not grow weary while doing good. And this is why. This is the promise that follows: For in due season we shall reap, if we don’t lose heart – if we don’t quit, if we don’t give up, if we stay the course. Colossians, chapter 3, and verse 17.

Colossians 3:17 Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
American King James Version×
Now whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Here's the thing. If the church or the board would have done everything they were required to do in word and deed in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ – the One who died for us – they would have done the right thing. They would have continued to be a God-fearing church. They didn’t.

One final scripture in this section is James 4 – James 4, and verse 17. And this is the one that really puts the nail in the coffin, so to speak.

James 4:17 James 4:17Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.
American King James Version×
Therefore, to him who know to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. There you are. It is cut and dry. To know to do good and not do it is a sin.

Was the church and the board a God-fearing group? No, they were not. That church liked God well enough. They might have even respected God in some ways. I would think it would be an odd way, if you don’t fear God. But they did not fear God. They did not fear God. Who did they fear? They feared the deacon. They feared what this man could do to them. They hated the love of God and did not hate evil, which is what they were commanded – what we are commanded –  to do. They embraced evil. But remember what Proverbs says – Proverbs 8, and verse 13. We already read it once.

Proverbs 8:13 Proverbs 8:13The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the fraudulent mouth, do I hate.
American King James Version×
To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
Those people, those churches, in these scenarios that we talked about, they didn’t fear God. They did not have a healthy respect and fear for God. So, according to Proverbs, that means they embraced evil. That’s pretty scary when you think about it. A God-fearing person, a God-fearing church, will absolutely avoid evil at all costs – like it was a plague, because it is a plague. We have to have this fear for God in the proper way – the godly fear. Fearing God properly absolutely will help each and every one of us avoid evil in our lives.

Now I want to look at the second point here that we’ve got from this fear of God. And the second area is: the proper fear of God will help us live a long life. It will help us live a long life. Look at Proverbs, chapter 10, if you will. Proverbs, chapter 10, and verse 27 – this is one of the 16 verses. It says:

Proverbs 10:27 Proverbs 10:27The fear of the LORD prolongs days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
American King James Version×
The fear of the Lord will add length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

Now, I do want to throw a disclaimer out there. I want to say that, just because someone dies at a young age, does not mean that they did not fear God. Understand that. God lets us know, through His word, that time and chance does happen to us all. But we are dealing here with a person who has come to the faith, and who is striving to have the proper relationship with God the Father. That all revolves around the proper godly fear.

So, we read this verse: the fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. How does this work? Well, think about a wall socket. There are several of them strung around here. There is power in that wall socket, and because of that power, we can plug lamps, fans, microwaves, phones – about anything we want – with a receptacle plug on it – we can plug it into there, and those devices will be empowered by that source. We can even take a battery charger, and plug in a practically dead battery, and revive that battery. Now, if you go down to the hospital and you walk into any room, you will see that there are several various devices, and they are all plugged into these wall sockets. They plug devices in that monitor your health. They can send out alarms and warnings that can save your life. So, you could say that the power offered in these sockets can add years and pleasure to your life. Right? Hold that thought.

Now, I was going to bring…I was going to ask my mom if I could borrow a butter knife, because I know she and my dad remember this story. I, one time, plugged a butter knife into a receptacle – a live receptacle. Yeah, I don’t recommend it, because usually what happens is, at the very least, you’ll get burnt, shocked, but it could stop your heart. It can kill you. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. But the butter knife – and she still has it to this day – is pretty much melted on the end and burnt.

But, you think about this. In the wall socket, there is power, and that power can bring life. if used in the right way. Or, it can bring death, if it is not used in the right way. So, if we are wise, and if we have a proper fear of the power, it will add years to our life. You see the scenario here – you see the analogy – where we are going? When you think about the power in that wall socket – you think about the power of God – it’s absolutely amazing, when you follow the rules, what happens. It’s amazing that the benefits are there. And they are. But, if we don’t follow the rules – if we decide that our way is better than the printed way – God’s way – then, we stand to lose our life. I don’t just mean our physical life. We stand to lose eternal life. You see, when we fear God, when we realize there are certain things that He hates, we have to understand, if He hates something, we have to stay away from it, too. Because If He hates it, it is not good for us. If He hates it, we don’t want to be a part of it, because we will take on its characteristics. You probably all know where I am going here. Let’s go to Proverbs, chapter 6 – we’ll just look at the things that God hates. Proverbs, chapter 6, starting in verse 16:

Proverbs 6:16-18 Proverbs 6:16-18 [16] These six things does the LORD hate: yes, seven are an abomination to him: [17] A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, [18] An heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
American King James Version×
These six things the Lord hates, yes seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies and one who sows discord among the brethren. These are the things that God hates – so much so, that He calls them an abomination.

One of the things that makes God angry about sin is that sin hurts us. Sin, if left untreated will kill us. If it doesn’t hurt us or kill us directly, it will hurt or kill someone around us – someone that we love. Brethren, we don’t have to understand how sin hurts people any more than we have to understand how electricity hurts people. We just have to know that God hates something, and if He hates something, we should also be afraid to go there. Stay away from what God hates.

Let’s go back and read Proverbs 6, and it tells us what God hates – a proud look…. What you have to do is verse mapping. Break these down. Look at exactly what these are: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, and feet that are swift and running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among the brethren. God says He doesn’t want anything to do with these people and we must take Him at His word. If it is important enough for God – even if we have a problem with this – if God says it we have do it. We should want to do it. We should come to that fear of God in our life where we want to live the way God lives.
Let’s say that we see a little child – another little child – trying to put a butter knife into a socket. Like I said, I was a little child when I did that. It wasn’t last week. So, this is another little child trying to put a butter knife in a socket. Are we going to just sit there, and set him down, and explain to him the theory of electricity? No, no we’re not. What we are going to do – at least what I hope we do – is, we are going to grab him, and we’re going to take the butter knife away from him, and if it is our kids, we will swat them. Now, what if that child repeatedly tries and tries to put the knife in the socket? Whatever he tries to do, we may have to decide to put the fear of God in him. Right? We have to take it up a little bit. If we love him, that’s probably exactly what we’re going to do. We want him to think twice about putting the knife in a socket. God wants each and every one of us to think twice about not living His way of life. That might mean punishment.

You see, God is just like the scenario we read here. God is not some ogre. I know we don’t think that, but I want to make it clear. He’s not this – not waiting for each and every one of us to do something so bad that He can drop the hammer on us and wipe us out. That’s not the God that we are dealing with. That’s not the God that loves us. The God that loves us is a Father – a Father that wants each and every one of us to be protected – to be safe and to stay away from evil. That is what He wants. If we are Christian, we are His child, and that is encouraging. He is our heavenly Father. That is just like any parent. If a parent sees that their child is doing something wrong, they are going to take action. If God sees that we are doing something wrong, He’s going to take action. He’s going to get our attention. But, if we’ve come to the point in our life, where we have lost that fear, and we don’t really care anymore, then He is going to honor that too. That is free morale agency. If we don’t care enough to stay close to God, then He will give us what we ask for – because that is what we are asking for. Go to Hebrews, chapter 12, if you will – Hebrews, chapter 12, and verses 7 and 8.  

Hebrews 12:7-8 Hebrews 12:7-8 [7] If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? [8] But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons.
American King James Version×
What son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined by God – and everyone undergoes discipline – then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. We need to want to be disciplined by God.

I know that might sound crazy at the forefront, but when we want to be disciplined by God, that means we desire to have the fear of God – the proper fear of God – that He wants us to have. That means we desire to straighten up our lives and live a life according to His way and His will and be a part of His plan. If we fear God, we will build a strong wall between those evil things and us. We don’t want to be mixed with evil anymore. If you think about it from that standpoint, everything on that side of the wall is bad stuff. We are better off to just not go there – build that wall and stay away from it. Everything on this side of the wall is good stuff. This is the side of the wall we want to stay on – it’s the safe side, if you will. On this side of the wall, it’s like being that little girl who asked the policeman to tie her shoe. She didn’t have a bad fear of him. She had faith and she trusted in him. She had learned from a very young age that this man was there to help her. We know the same thing of God. He is there to help us, if we have faith and we trust in Him.

The other side of the wall, though, is like those cars on the highway. On that side of the wall, when we top that hill, there is danger of judgement and punishment. And it’s the judgment and punishment we don’t want to be a part of. We all know we will be judged. We are all being judged right now as God’s people, but we don’t want to live on the other side of the wall. That’s  where evil exists. Those who live on that side of the wall almost always get exactly what they deserve. I hope that doesn’t sound harsh, but it always happens. It either comes from the hand of God or it comes from the ultimate pain that their lifestyle brings. But at any time, they can get back on this side. Ant that’s where we all want to be.

Look at Proverbs 13, and verse 15. It’s just a simple statement, but I want to read it, because it is so open in what it says. Proverbs 13, and verse 15 says:

Proverbs 13:15 Proverbs 13:15Good understanding gives favor: but the way of transgressors is hard.
American King James Version×
The way of transgressors is hard. That is true. We have all transgressed in our lives and it is hard. Tough results come from it.

So, here on this side of the wall – the good side of the wall – is where I hope we all are and where we all intend to stay, because on this side of the wall we all have life. The other side brings death. Again, it is not just physical death. It is eternal death. The other side of the wall will surely be a place of eternal death. We need to stay away from it. So, Proverbs here tells us that fearing God the right way is healthy and is what is commanded. The healthy fear of God leads to repentance. In repentance, we have a change – a change in our life. That doesn’t just happen one time. It doesn’t just happen at baptism. It happens every time we make a mistake – and we’re willing to admit it to God – and ask for forgiveness and change, of course. We must implement the change.

If we have this kind of fear of God, it will protect us from evil. It will lead us to a lifestyle which ends up adding years to our life. That is what Proverbs tells us. We ask ourselves why are there so many old, old Christians? Well, I think and I hope it is because they have a proper fear of God. That is what Proverbs tells us. That’s a healthy kind of fear.

But just as there is a healthy kind of fear, there is an unhealthy way to fear God. Just as a healthy kind of fear can drive us, and will drive us, to change our lives to please God, an unhealthy fear of God can, and will, lead us to hide from God. And we see this in scripture, too. As a matter of fact, there is an account in Genesis. We are told the story of Adam and Eve. They sinned. They ate of the tree that God had forbidden them to eat of. And doing that, they feared God – that wasn’t a proper fear of God. Go to Genesis, chapter 3, and read verses 8 through 10. Starting in verse 8, it says:

Genesis 3: 8-10 – Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He walked in the garden in the cool of the day. And what did they do? They hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. The Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid – not because I was over the speed limit, but because I did something I was ashamed of.” Yes, that’s exactly right. “…because I was naked, so I hid.” He did something he was ashamed of.

If we continue in sin, if we refuse to fear God the way that we should – the way that he commands us to – we can end up fearing to be around God. That is the ultimate bad place to go. If we do that, we will seek for ways to hide from God – just like Adam and Eve did – seek for ways to hide from God, and it will ruin our lives. It will absolutely destroy our lives.

2 Corinthians, chapter 7, says this. 2 Corinthians, chapter 7, and verse 10, is just another way of saying what we read here. 2 Corinthians 7, and verse 10, says:

2 Corinthians 7:10 2 Corinthians 7:10For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death.
American King James Version×
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret. Well, that’s very encouraging. Godly sorrow brings repentance. It brings a chance for us to clarify who we are, what our purpose is, and then cleanse our name. In other words, if we end up doing something that we ought not do – and we all do this from time to time – and we fear God the way we should, then we will have a godly sorrow – a godly sorrow  that will make us want and desire to repent and change from what we have done – no matter how big or small. We’ll be prompted to abandon our sin and that will bring us back in favor with God. That will leave us with no regrets. But – continuing on here in verse 10 – worldly sorrow brings death. If we have a hard heart, if we have this wrong kind of fear – the kind Adam and Eve took on – if we have that, and allow that to grow in our life, then it will bring death. This is eternal death.

Worldly sorrow differs from godly sorrow. It does this in the fact that our sinful fear of God makes us want to hide from God, and makes us want to live our lives in the shadows. That type of fear will ultimately lead to death. We don’t want to be a part of that. We don’t want that to be part of our life. We must desire a fear of God that makes us want to change and quit bad behaviors. Whatever we have done, the past is past. We’ve said that a thousand times – as long as we’ve repented of it and changed. It doesn’t do any good to repent if we are not going to change.

Now there’s one more aspect about fearing God that I want to wind up with here.  In this world, you’ll end up fearing something. That is human nature and for the most part, it’s  unavoidable. Now as we grow stronger in our godly fear – if you’re going to fear something, fear God in the proper way – the Bible tells us that we have a choice of what to fear. Again, we want to fear God. The question is: Are we going to fear God or are we going to fear man? Again, you know where I’m going. Matthew 10, verse 28 – this is a very encouraging scripture that helps us deal with life on a day-to-day basis. And I think, if we embed this in our hearts and our minds, it will help us deal with life in the future, as time goes on and draws to an end.

Matthew 10:28 Matthew 10:28And 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.
American King James Version×
And do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.

A couple years ago – I think it was 2013 – there was an NBA player who decided to come out of the closet. Some of you, who are sports advocates, probably know who this is. He said that he was gay. His name was Jason Collins. Everybody, from the president of the United States on down, praised him – praised him for being so brave for coming out. The fact of the matter is, Collins wasn’t being brave. He was proudly declaring his sin. There was no way he was going to lose his job by doing this. Everybody in the media on the left – everybody – was singing his praises. This is the world that we live in. He had nothing to fear – well, except for a man by the name of Chris Broussard – I think that is how you pronounce his name. He was a reporter from ESPN, and he stepped up, and he said, “No, that is not right.” On the air, Broussard said this about Collins: He said, “He is walking in open rebellion to God.”

Good for him. He probably lost his job. I don’t know. I didn’t check. He said, “By living this lifestyle, he is walking in open rebellion against God.” Broussard cited the Bible, saying, “Living in a homosexual lifestyle, as well as engaging in premarital sex, is openly living in unrepentant sin.” And again, that was a quote. That was bravery. That was being brave. Others have lost their jobs for being so open about their opposition to sin. Broussard, here, had a good reason to be afraid, but he wasn’t. He said this is why: He said, “Because” – and this is another quote from Broussard – “He feared God more than he feared man.” I say, “Bravo!” That is great!

Do we have that kind of fear of God – a godly fear? That is the fear that sets us on the right track to do the right things. There are going to be times when we’re going to be afraid to stand up for our Christianity. These times are coming. If we haven’t faced them yet, they are coming. I can guarantee you that. Will we be afraid? Will we be afraid of losing our job? Or will we be afraid of losing that promotion or that spot on the team? Will we be afraid of losing respect or the affection of someone we care about for standing up for God – for what is right? We will be tempted to leave our Christianity and go the way of the world. These things are coming. If we haven’t experienced them yet, they are coming. The question is: Are we close enough to God that we don’t have to fear that side? That’s where we need to be. We will be tempted to leave our Christianity at the church when we leave on Saturday, because we will be tempted to be afraid of what man can do.
Brethren, we have to make sure that we are close enough to God that we don’t allow that temptation to win. Look at Matthew, chapter 10, here, and verse 32 and 33. Christ doesn’t want us to give in. And this is what He say:

Matthew 10:32-33 Matthew 10:32-33 [32] Whoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. [33] But whoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×
Whoever confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But listen to the other side of this. But, whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven. This should cut us right to the core. We shouldn’t go a day without remembering this scripture. We should commit this to memory, because the times that we are living in now are going to produce opportunities for us confess our faith. They will. If they haven’t yet, they will. A person who fears what man will do, and say, or think, will ultimately do whatever is necessary to distance themselves from God. And that truly is a shame. They will find ways not to confess their faith in Him. In fact, they will deny everything about Him, if necessary. Again, there are examples through the Bible.

But here’s the thing. When we fear God the proper way – the way we need to, the way God commands us – when we fear God, we have absolutely no need to fear anything else. That is just the way it is. If we put God first in our lives, and give God the glory for absolutely everything, nothing else can hurt us. It might hurt to get hit. I might hurt to get shot. It might hurt to be tortured, but that is the physical. Man can’t take away the spiritual.

A man by the name of John Witherspoon…he said this quote: “It is only the fear of God that can deliver us from the fear of man.” I thought, “That is a very, very, good quote.” It is only the proper fear of God – the proper fear of God – that can deliver us from the negative fear of man. If we truly fear God, we have no need to fear anything else. Please remember that. Go back to Proverbs 19, if you will – Proverbs 19, and verse 23:

Proverbs 19:23 Proverbs 19:23The fear of the LORD tends to life: and he that has it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.
American King James Version×
The fear of the Lord leads to life. Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

Now we will experience troubles and trials in our lives, but we don’t have to be overtaken by these troubles and trials. They may last for quite a while. As stated in the sermonette today, look at the revealing story of Job. He went through a lot. How much can we go through? How much are we going to have to go through? Don’t lose the faith. We cannot afford to lose the faith.

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalms 103. Let’s look at that. Psalms 103, starting verse 11 – it puts it this way.

Psalms 103:11-13 Psalms 103:11-13 [11] For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. [12] As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. [13] Like as a father pities his children, so the LORD pities them that fear him.
American King James Version×
For as high as the heavens above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him – as far as the east is from the west – so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a Father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.

This is a very encouraging, promising scripture. If we read that one over and over and let that become a part of our heart and our mind, we will be able to get through life a little easier, no matter what comes our way.
God loves those who fear Him properly. He has compassion on them. Like he says here, a father has compassion on his children. And because God loves us, and has compassion on us, nothing else can touch us. That is what He tells us. But we have to have that proper fear. We need to work on that every day. God will protect just the same way that a father will protect his children.

Go back to Proverbs 3, if you will. This is verse 23 through 26. It says:

Proverbs 3:23-26 Proverbs 3:23-26 [23] Then shall you walk in your way safely, and your foot shall not stumble. [24] When you lie down, you shall not be afraid: yes, you shall lie down, and your sleep shall be sweet. [25] Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it comes. [26] For the LORD shall be your confidence, and shall keep your foot from being taken.
American King James Version×
Then you will go on your way in safety and your foot will not stumble when you lie down. You will not be afraid. When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disasters or of the ruin that will overtake the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.

Brethren, when we have this fear – when we fear God the way we should, and we seek to honor God and glorify Him in everything we do – again, that’s everything, not just today, but everything every day – He’s got our back. He’s there for us. He protects us. We don’t have to fear anything. And that helps. We don’t have to fear what man can do. We read that already. We don’t have to fear Satan and his minions.

Look at 1 John, chapter 5, and verse 18. Verse 18 says:

1 John 5:18 1 John 5:18We know that whoever is born of God sins not; but he that is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one touches him not.
American King James Version×
We know that whoever is born of God does not sin, but he who has been born of God keeps himself and the wicked one does not touch him.

When we know that we are of God – and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked…. We have been born of God. We’ve been baptized. We’ve gone into that watery grave, and we came out, accepted that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and we’ve received a portion of the Holy Spirit. We have been born of God. This applies to us and is for us. We don't have to fear. We don’t have to fear the past, present or the future. Look at Romans, chapter 8, and read verses 38 and 39. This is a very famous statement from Paul. He said:

Romans 8:38-39 Romans 8:38-39 [38] For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, [39] Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
American King James Version×
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present or the future, neither any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. That is for us. That’s for us. When we fear God properly, He has our back. We can trust Him, because we know He is there to protect us. He tells us that.

I would like to share with you a little short story, as I wind up here. And it’s titled, The Fear of God. Maybe some of you have heard this. Once there were two brothers who were very naughty. Always, they were up to some mischief. One day their mother asked the minister to talk to her sons and put the fear of God in them,  so they would mend their ways. The minister asked her to send her sons in one at a time. Firstly, the younger brother went to the minister and sat down beside him. The minister asked him in a commanding voice, “Where is God?” The boy didn’t say anything. The minister said, “I know you know. Where is God?” The boy didn’t react at all. So, the minister asked one more time. At this time, the boy jumped to his feet and ran to his older brother, and said, “Do you know God is missing and everybody thinks we are responsible.”

My question is this: What do we fear? Who do we fear? Do we fear God a proper fear of God? Or, do we fear the opinions of others? I would like to close with one final scripture. I think this scripture is very appropriate and it sums up what we have been talking about here. I think it nails it – Ecclesiastes, chapter 12, verse 13 – it says:

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Ecclesiastes 12:13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
American King James Version×
The end of the matter: all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.