The Bare Soul - August 29, 2010
The Fear of the Lord, Part II

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "The Fear of the Lord" delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on August 26, 2010.

The Fear of the Lord - August 26, 2010

Psalm 19:9a - The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever ...

When most of us hear the word "fear" it frequently brings up a negative connotation. This is often the case because fear drives less than desirable consequences as its result. We might think of all the lost opportunities because of a lack of confidence and faith in ourselves. Or, we might remember the times when we compromised ourselves because of what others were thinking about us. Then, there was that occasion when the boss told the off-color joke and we laughed along with everyone else, knowing the moment we were doing so that we had grieved the Spirit of the Lord. Or, the time when we didn't speak up to defend someone who was falsely accused when we knew they were not at fault. When we live beneath the standard which the Lord has given us to live out, we can feel defiled or "dirty" within our respective souls. However, when we conversely live uncompromisingly we experience a purity and cleanness of life that is unparalleled by worldly standards. Purity is not our goal or even so-called clean living -- our goal is to abide in Christ and to allow His life to exude from us. If we seek consecration and eventual sanctification as the end-all, then we have made it our god rather than Jesus Christ. Consequently, cleanness created by a walk with the Lord is merely a result of a life yielded to God in the fear of the Lord. Once we have accepted the Lord and the work of His blood, we find that fearing God rather than man provides the catalyst to live an uncensored existence before the Almighty.

Fear is a God-given emotion much the same as any of our other emotions. Humankind has an innate need to fear much the same as the need to love. If man cannot satisfy this basic need through the fear and reverence of God, he will seek it out in other ways. And, most of these ways are a type of regulated fear where the person still feels they possess some control. Billions of dollars are spent annually on the horror entertainment industry. Horror films, haunted tours, or Halloween itself with its plethora of haunted venues are geared to evoke fear. However, most people who study the phenomena of fear tell us that the payoff is not the shock and awe of the fright but the relief that comes afterward when we regain control. However, there is a Catch-22 with this type of scare. Fear of this sort is fleshly and of this world and will always lead to dejection of heart. However, the fear of the Lord and that which is born from the wonder and awe of the revelation of God always leads to further love and an uplifting of the soul and spirit to the Lord. While the fear of the Lord leads to continual and ongoing life, the fear instilled through this world leads to continual and prolonged death. (Imagine what those in hell are experiencing as their horror story is without end and continually frightening beyond earthly comprehension!)

The Apostle John contrasts the fear that is born from this earth and that which is born from above in his first letter. In I John 4:18 he writes about how one cannot mix love with fear that is born from this world -- it is an impossibility. Just as transplant patients often run the risk of their body rejecting a foreign organ, so also love will always reject fleshly fear because it is not born from above. However, love's counterpart, hate, will always embrace fear because it originates from its father the devil. It was born in hell and that is why there is always a feeling of "dirty" guilt attached to the outcome. John writes that perfect love casts out all fear. So, what remains? The fear of the Lord is then perfected in love and the holiness of the Most High (II Corinthians 7:1). We know that John was speaking of an absence of fleshly fear, for we are told that Jesus Christ lived continually in the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2-3). Just like Jesus, we are given the opportunity through His life to live free of guilt and shame that is born in fear and punishment. That is the purpose of the blood of Jesus Christ -- it washes us clean from sin (I John 1:7)). But what keeps us cleansed is first our understanding of the work of Calvary, and then second the fear of the Lord which continues to draw upon Christ's gift. Our greatest joy should be to abide in the Savior who gives us all the power to live in purity on this earth. May our lives be consumed with this pursuit, beloved, for without it we may one day tremble before Him in terror if we have failed to do so while upon this earth.

As previously stated, we all have the need to fear. However, our flesh through the devil has corrupted this God-given attribute and brought guilt and punishment as the reward for its suffering. However, Jesus Christ paid the price for us all -- through His pain and suffering -- to share in the wisdom and insight of His Father. He allows us to see with spiritual eyes the wonder and the majesty of God thereby granting us the cleansing power of His blood. This humility born through Christ's sacrifice gives everyone the gift of cleansing, to be purified in the fear of the Lord. While the world will persist to defile and prepare themselves for their eternal home by functioning in a place of fear, those chosen of God will continue to cleanse themselves through the fear of the Lord. And, ultimately, the redeemed shall stand in His presence one day as a bride prepared for her Groom. Beloved, may we continue to equip ourselves by perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. Only then, will we be "clean" and pure for that marvelous day when we will be consummated in matrimony with the Lover of our Souls. Come Lord, Jesus, come!

Heavenly Father, thank you for the blood that has cleansed us from all sin. And, thank you that the fear of the Lord that continues to cleanse us for both this life and the one to come. May we be consecrated, sanctified, and ultimately glorified for your pleasure. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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