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Fear the Lord

Fear the Lord
By Paul O. Nichols

Published in
The Christian Informer
January  2006

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In the Scriptures there are literally dozens of passages which teach men to fear the Lord.   We often wonder why the preaching and teaching of the word of God falls on deaf ears.  We wonder why men are not moved by the Scriptures when they are plainly taught.  However, in Romans 3:18 the answer can be found.  The inspired writer says, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.
When the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he said, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).  But if the gospel, which is “the power of God unto salvation” falls on deaf ears and fails to penetrate non-receptive hearts, it accomplishes nothing; it is wasted seed.
The wise man, Solomon, states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).  If one truly does fear God, he will want to know something about Him.  Jesus said, Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
The fear of God as taught in the Scriptures means “reverential awe.”  One is to reverence the Lord for whom He is, and recognize the power and the authority that He has.  God is the creator of the universe, the maker of our bodies, and the giver of our spirits.  He has the power to condemn to everlasting punishment or to save forever in heaven.  David, who receives credit for the book of Psalms, said, “My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of they judgments” (Psalms 119:120).  Jesus said, “...Fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:26).  We are told in Luke 1:50, “His mercy is on them that fear him.”
Many preachers and teachers of the gospel of Christ get discouraged and disheartened because there are few positive results from their efforts.  But Christ and the apostles had the same problem in their day.  Concerning our Lord we are told, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11).  Too, we are told by the apostle Paul, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Hebrews 4:2).
On their first missionary journey Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel at Antioch in Pisidia, and because it was rejected by the Jews, they declared to them, “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46).  Therefore, it did the hearers no good.
The Scriptures say, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10) and “The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him” (Psalms 147:11).  The apostle Paul wrote to the brethren at Rome, “Be not highminded, but fear” (Romans 11:20).  The gospel fails to profit some because they are too proud and arrogant to receive the simple gospel of Christ.  Regardless of how much gospel they hear, it makes no difference in their attitude or conduct.  They make no changes for the better.  The word of God teaches that members of the church who hear the teaching of God’s word but do not put it into practice simply deceive themselves (James 1:22).  “Dost thou not fear God?” (Luke 23:40).  “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and their children for ever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29).
The fear of God prompts us to treat our fellow man as we should.  God’s people were told long ago, “Ye shall not.... oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 25:17).  Listen to the apostle Paul as he writes to Christians at Ephesus, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21).  Again Peter admonishes, “Honor all men.  Love the brotherhood.  Honor the king?” (1 Peter 2:17).
“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, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14).  “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:7).  “Let all the earth fear the Lord” (Psalms 33:8).
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The greatest things of earth pertain to Christianity, the soul of a man and its destiny.  The following are a few observations on these greatest things:
1.  Man’s greatest and most precious possession is his soul.  It is so valuable that Christ said if a man should gain the whole world and lose his soul it would profit him nothing to have lived (Mark 8:36,37).
2.  The greatest curse of time and eternity is sin.  Sin will cause one to lose his soul.  The apostle Paul wrote, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
3.  The greatest price ever paid is the blood of Christ.  So precious it is, that “without the shedding of blood is no remission (of sins)” (Hebrews 9:22).
4.  The greatest institution ever formed is the church of the Lord.  (Please read Matthew 16:18, Acts 20:28 and Colossians 1:18, 24).
5.  The greatest message ever proclaimed is the gospel of Christ – it is the power of God to save men, (Romans 1:16).
Please share these greatest things with your friends.  Tell them that the church of Christ kindly commends these to all men everywhere.  It is most important that everyone give them due consideration.

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 One day a man was over heard maintaining an unbroken monologue for what seemed like half an hour.  In vein his companion tried to cut in with a word now and then, but the steady flow of words continued uninterrupted.  One was reminded of the little quotation leaned in school:
  I love its gentle gurgle,
     Love its fluent flow;
  I love to wind my mouth up,
     And I love to hear it go.
 All of us know how irritating it is to be the victim of this kind of monologue, especially when we ourselves have something to say.
 Did you ever wonder if that is the way God sometimes feels about our prayers?  There are some things He has said to us, but we are not interested in what He has said just about what we want to say.
 Some of us would like the words of the boy Samuel to be burned around.  So it’s not, “Speak, Lord, for they servant hears,” (1 Samuel 3:9) but “Listen, Lord, for thy servant speaks.”
 Someone put up a good sign.  It read: “Don’t talk so much when you pray; try listening.”  Jesus said, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7).  We know that the Lord speaks to us through His word.  He even teaches us in several places, how and for what He wants us to pray.
 One thing we need to remember is that when a man prays in private that’s his personal prayer, but when a man leads the prayer in the worship he must not exclude any of the other worshippers by talking about his personal needs and desires.  If a man need to talk to the Lord about himself, his forgiveness or needs, he need to do as Jesus teaches, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:9-13).  However, as you will recall, when asked to teach them to pray, Jesus taught the group of disciples–
 “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.”
 He used plural pronouns, because Jesus was leading the group in prayer.  When the prayer is appropriately worded for all worshipers, all can say, “Amen” and make it their own prayer.  Note also, that the Lord taught the need to forgive others, otherwise we will not gain God’s forgiveness.  A brother who is implacable should not lead the congregation in prayer.
 We also need to pray publically and privately for those who are sick.  Our prayers are effectual with God who is all powerful and chooses to grant or not grant what we ask.  All healing is of God and not by our prayers.  We appreciate those who pray for us, but it seems to be the height of arrogance for us to claim that another child of God need us to pray for them.
 We are also taught by Paul: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).