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Many in our western society have rejected the notion that they should fear God, in order to understand the type of fear we speak of, let's examine what it means to fear God.  The term "fear God" has several distinct meanings.  1. Fear in the sense of respecting God,  2. Fear in the sense of being in awe of God, and 3. Fear in the sense of being afraid of the wrath of God.  In a loving attempt to bring us to a point of repentance, God seeks to call, convict and correct us.  Many in our society have reached the point where no amount of conviction, chastisement, reasoning, etc, on the part of God is going to change them.  The reason being, many today in our society,  have lost their ability or should we say, their willingness to fear God.  As Paul said of unrepentant sinners, 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.  Rom 3:18.  "Looking at the world and how most of humanity live, this verse pretty much sums up its condition. Unfortunately sin is rampant in the world. Many people are bold, proud and unashamed of their sin . "Anything goes" is the world's mantra in regards to daily living. Wherever there is sin, there is no fear of God. There is no fear or regard for much in this world. Most of humanity never give God the time of day. Most people's beliefs and behavior prove there is no fear of God before their eyes. No fear of God means no real spiritual good is to be found. Each sin and rebellious act against God happens because humanity does not have appropriate fear for Him.  Because of this lack of fear, there is no regard for God 's Word or His will. Nor is their a driving desire to live a life which brings glory and honor to Him. Due to a lack of godly fear, the desire to obey, respect and honor God, is not what is on the hearts and minds of most of humanity. They refuse to be governed or guided by God and His principles. What guides them are a different set of principles. A life lived by selfish goals and aims. This is the depravity of man. The condition of humanity which is sad and depressing. A condition which leaves humanity in a state of inability to save themselves. No fear of God leaves the world a wreck and in ruins.  The proper fear of God  helps us to not be lumped in with most of humanity. A proper fear of God allows us to, live lives filled with restraint from sin and helps us to treat others the way we want to be treated.. We can live lives filled with obedience to His Word and will. God has a remnant who fear Him. A remnant who holds Him in high regard and give Him the proper respect due His Name. Fear of God or no fear of God? Which category do you fall under?"  *(portions by  countyourblessings.com ).

      

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The Bible clearly tells us that we should fear God, on every level of fear mentioned in the Bible (1. fear out of respect, 2. fear in awe, 3. fear his wrath). God seeks to instill a fear in us, which will cause us to turn from our sins. The key to this type of fear being effective is having a dread of his coming wrath..  Some may wonder, how can we fear a God who we are told loves us. 1 John 4:18 says "perfect love casts out fear, " but  Philippians 2:12 reminds the saved to work out their salvation "with fear and trembling".  God does love us, but he wants us to fear his wrath.  He warns us of the fires of hell, in hopes that it will drive us to his presence, to the point of being saved from his coming wrath. As we shall see, this is the type of fear which motivated Noah to build the ark. When Noah was warned of God's coming wrath, (the flood) the Bible tells us he was feared,  7  By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Heb 11: 7.  Jesus tells us we should have a real fear (dread) of God's wrath, and the ultimate expression of this wrath, the lake of fire. , And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.  Lk 12:4-5.   Is there ever a time when believers should fear God? Tony Warren tells us "This question comes up frequently and is most often answered by theologians with a resounding, no. They make the claim that in the New Covenant we do not need to fear God, and that only the Old Covenant taught the fear of God. This is clearly unbiblical, as even a summary examination of New Covenant scriptures will attest. The New Covenant complements and enlightens the old, it does not deny or contend with it.  In order to give the question a complete, thorough and Biblical answer we must first define the word fear, and then apply it in the light of the scriptures. The answer is really dependent on just how we are using the term, because the Bible defines the word fear in several ways. God speaks of fear both as something which is sinful, and as something which is an evidence of godliness and wisdom. There is Godly fear which comes from true belief, and then there is the fear which comes from unbelief. In unbelief fear is nothing more than an emotion caused by the expectation of impending peril. But in those who believe, they should have a healthy fear and awe of the Almighty omnipotent father, who has power to bring about peril and terror, upon the disobedient.  The non-Christian should fear in totality, (although most don't),  for in this life he is but a breath away from knowing that impending peril he'll face at the hands of an angry God. This world is all that he has, and so he has 'good reason' to fear leaving it. In truth, he has sold his soul for a few years of carnal and temporal pleasures in the flesh. By his rebellion he has given up eternity with God, and will have to face the judgment throne, where he will receive the wages of his sin (Romans 6:23). It is a terrible price to pay for the fleeting pleasures of rebellious living. Indeed, those who are in unbelief should rightly fear. As it is written:  "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God!"  Heb 11:31."   

The most dangerous fear is the fear of walking away from one sinful lifestyle (outwardly and inwardly), obeying, praising and trusting and God. There are many lies Satan uses to achieve this goal. (Compare below).

Thanks to the lies of Satan, there are many today who are terrified at the thought of trusting, obeying, and praising God. This type of fear is most dangerous, because it hinders our relationship with God, and will cause us to face the wrath of God.  8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.   Rev 21:8. Satan has caused many today to be gripped with the wrong type of fear.  Everyone who desires to obey and follow Christ must cultivate good fear and strive against bad fear.   Good fear is the fear which draws us closer to God, and motivates us to trust and obey God.  Bad fear is that which keeps us from trusting and obeying God.  As we have said, The most dangerous fear, is the fear of walking away from one sinful lifestyle (outwardly and inwardly), obeying, and trusting and God.

Fearing God and keeping his commandments leads to life.  Not fearing God and continually disobeying his commands leads to death. We are told to fear God above all else, this is the most productive and positive type of fear we can have. 12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. 13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  Isaiah 8:11-13  The most dangerous fear, is that which causes us to fear following the commands of God.  The most important fear, is the fearing God, to the point of this fear causing us to obey the commands of God.  Many today are more and more fearing man, (what others think, not being accepted of others, etc) while at the same time fearing God less and less.  The Bible warns us that those who are overcome with the wrong type of fear will be cast into the lake of fire. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.   Rev 21:8.   When the Bible speaks of the fearful being cast into the lake of fire, we must ponder the question of "who are the fearful"?  It is evident, that this verse does not mean if believers fear anything at all, they are going to hell.   For example if one has  fear of mice, water bugs, snakes, spiders, etc, this does not mean they are going to hell.   The fearful of whom the Bible speaks of, are those who were afraid to obey, praise, and trust God.   This is the warning Christ gave,  "Mark 8:38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels.  Luke 9:26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."  Many today out of fear, are afraid to publicly, obey, praise, and trust God.   In order to understand what it means to be ashamed of Christ (thus fearful), we must look closely at what Christ said.. He said, "Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38). "Notice that He said, "Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words." No, we don't have a problem with Jesus. It's His words we have a problem with.  Paul wrote to Timothy, "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord . . . but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel . . ." (2 Timothy 1:8, emphasis added). It is the testimony of Jesus that causes "sufferings for the gospel." The apostle John was banished to the Isle of Patmos "for the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 1:9). Revelation also tells us that it is those who "have the testimony of Jesus Christ" who receive persecution in the last days (Revelation 12:17). What then does Scripture mean by the "testimony of our Lord"? What did Jesus testify? He specifically tells us in John 7:7: "The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil" (emphasis added). He was hated because He testified against the sin of the world, and He preached about the reality of hell more than He did about heaven. Jesus spoke of those who would be "ashamed" of Him and His words. "Ashamed" means to be "unwilling or restrained because of fear of shame, ridicule, or disapproval." Doesn't that pinpoint the problem? If "fear of shame, ridicule, or disapproval" makes us unwilling to testify of the words of Jesus to this lost and sinful world, then we are ashamed of Jesus and His words."  (portions were quoted from  www.livingwaters.com ). 

The prophets of old told us that our greatest fear should be God and his wrath, 11 For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, 12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. 13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  Isaiah 8:11-13.  When Christ came he did not do away with this warning he enhanced it even more. He tells us our greatest fear should be of God's wrath, because of the longevity of it. 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. Matt 10:28.    Even if men were to kill us by burning us alive, this fire would eventually burn out and we would be consumed by the flames and die.  Christ tells us, this is not the fire we should most fear. The fire that Christ warned us about is a fire that never stops burning, and in it we are never consumed.  Jesus said that the unrighteous, will be punished with a punishment which will never end.  "and the unrighteous to "eternal punishment" (Matthew 25:46), where, the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:48).  In Revelation, it is said that the beast and his worshipers "will be tormented in an unquenchable fire, "the smoke of their torment" arising "for ever and ever," and where they will have "no rest day or night" (Revelation. 14:10-12).   

The warnings of God concerning his coming day of judgment and wrath, is viewed by many today as a joke. Many today in the entertainment media have made God, the warnings of his wrath, and the work of Christ on the cross, their main punch lines.   God pays close attention to how those in our society, mock and make fun of Him, His warnings, and his offer of salvation.  When people refuse to fear God and give heed to His warnings, there is nothing else God can do. Many people today simply do not believe that such a place exist, therefore they have no fear, of ever having to face such a fate. The fact that nothing seemingly has happened yet, has emboldened many to continually and progressively, get worse and worse. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.  Eccl 8:11.   When people take God and his word as a joke, even the warnings God gives about judgment and wrath become a joke.  This is what happened in the days of Lot,  when Lot sought to warn his family members about the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Lot sought to get his children and their spouses to leave the city with him.  He told them that God was about to destroy these cities, but they did not take his warnings seriously, they took it as a joke (they had no fear), therefore they stayed. 12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place:  13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.  14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked (was joking)  unto his sons in law.  Gen 19:12-14.   God continually seeks to warn us about the his coming wrath, our taking it as a joke and continuing on in our sinful ways, will not stop the day of wrath from coming. Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.  Prov 14:19,  It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.  Prov 10:23. The teachings of Christ concerning hell, is more than a mere scare tactic, it is the truth, concerning the final destination of many after death. It is the teachings of Christ which best define hell as being a real place, the way he describes it, tells us it's no laughing matter. When describing what will take place of the day of judgment, Christ said all the people of the earth will be gathered together before God for judgment. Many (even in the church) are discounting the warnings of Christ, they say teaching and preaching about hell, is merely a scare tactic, which God does not approve of. They find it hard to believe that a loving God has designed a place of torment, suffering , and pain, for those  who live a life of wickedness and rebellion in His sight. In spite of the fact, that we have not yet seen the full wrath of God,  the Bible tells us that God is angry with the wicked," "God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day."  Psalm 7:11.

Many people have trouble understanding the balance between trusting God's love, and fearing God's wrath. Yet in his word God presents himself as being both a God of love and a God of wrath.  One of the main reasons why many get offended, by preaching and teaching which focuses on the wrath of God, is because we are desensitized to the severity of sin.  Many today fail to rightly fathom the nature of God's holiness, and the deep offense and anger sin provokes in him. It took the sacrifice of God Himself to appease the outrage to His holy nature - and thereby to enable His love and grace to be freely given.  The sacrifice of God in Christ, on the cross, has not eliminated his wrath, against those who continually reject him.   In fact it is this great act of mercy, on the part of God, which has enable those who trust in him, to be saved from this coming day of wrath.  In order to understand the balance between the love and wrath of God, it should be kept in mind, that Christ is described as both the lion and the lamb. This is perhaps one of the hardest things for people to understand, how can the same Christ who was presented as the lamb which takes away the sins of the world also be the lamb which is coming back in great wrath and anger.  (Compare what John the Baptist said.)   The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, John1:29.   (now compare what the book of Revelation says). And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:  Revelation 16:16.  The Bible reveals the truth about God's character.  It gives a balanced view of both God's love for us, and His wrath. It is a popular but dangerous thing to mainly emphasize God's love and mercy and downplay His holiness and wrath.  God's Word graphically describes God as being as God who is capable of great wrath.  2 God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.  6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. Nahum 1:2-2&6. While on earth even the demons acknowledged, the fact that they knew that Christ (the Lamb) would one day, come in great wrath to punish them.   When they saw Christ, they cried out fearing that he was going to pour this wrath out on them right then (compare),  29And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?   Matt 8:29. 

 

                      WHEN GOD GIVES US A WARNING

             A FEARFUL RESPONSE SHOWS WE HAVE FAITH

Some would argue that to show fear toward God reflects a lack of faith in Him.  This is not true, we should have faith in his love, but we should also have faith in his wrath.  The Bible clearly shows, there are benefits to giving heed to godly warnings (what some label as using scare tactics). We should keep in mind what the Bible say about Noah.  We are told when Noah was warned about the coming outpouring of the wrath of God, Noah feared and built the ark.  The Bible clearly tells us that what motivated Noah to build the ark was faith which was motivated by fear. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith, Hebrews 11:7.    Even so should those of us who are warned of God's coming wrath, move with faith and fear and turn to Christ. The Bible gives very graphic details, in regards to what is going to happen on the day of judgment.  It's God hope that the description of his coming wrath, will scare men away from it.When people lose their fear of God's warning concerning his wrath, they in essence have cast away their faith.  So it was in the days of Noah, the warning of the coming flood had no effect on their conduct (even as it is today). When God warns us that of an upcoming dire event (punishment, calamity, catastrophic) and we respond with fear, to the point of repentance, this in itself is an act of faith.  Thus we present this formula, A Godly warning, responded to with fear and repentance, equals faith.  Another well known example of a people expressing their faith in God, by exhibiting a fearful response to the warnings of God, is found in the book of Jonah.  Nineveh was a very wicked city, so much so, that God decreed that he would destroy it.  God sent Jonah with a message of the upcoming day of wrath and judgment.  The message Jonah preached, by today's standards would be labeled as a scare tactic, yet the fear the people reacted with, was just the response God wanted from them.    When the people heard the warning of the coming wrath, they expressed their faith, by fearfully responding, through fasting and repentance. 4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. Jonah 3:4-9.  As we said earlier, many in our society have reached the point where no amount of conviction, chastisement, reasoning, etc, on the part of God is going to change them.  The reason being, many today in our western society,  has lost their ability or should we say, their willingness to fear God.  As Paul said of unrepentant sinners, 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.  Rom 3:18.  Many today,  have completely hardened their heart (their conscience) toward God, they have no real desire to ever change.  Nor do they have any fear of the consequences, in fact they willfully and joyfully  live a openly sinful lifestyle. There was a time when to fire-and-brimstone preaching, such as this  was fairly common. Some even complained about this type of preaching, describing it as being to graphic and in your face. Today we don't hear that much about preachers delivering fire-and-brimstone messages anymore. What we do hear are messages about how we can be successful. We hear messages about how God will prosper us.  Yet in these time of increased sinfulness and perversion, we need to have the messages such as that preached by John The Baptist,  more than ever.

For the most part, many people, including those who say they are Christians don't like to talk about it, don't like to hear about it, and don't like to think about it, but the wrath of God is as real as the love of God and the mercy of God. The Bible speaks of a people, who preferred to hear smooth sounding lies, rather than God's truths. 9That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:  10Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:  Isaiah 30:9-10.   Like many today, the people were demanding that their religious leaders tell them what they wanted to hear so as not to inconvenience their personal lives. They wanted salvation and security on their own terms. They wanted to hear that they were okay, secure and be assured of eternal life in their current sinful condition. Even now most people don't want to hear about God's wrath, nor of the true wages of sin.  The goal today seems to be I want to be happy in life, by any carnal means necessary. There have arisen many ministers who have obliged those, who don't want to be confronted with the reality of the coming day of wrath of God. Many Ear-candy preachers proclaim that they are preaching a "positive" message. But are they?  They exclude one of the main truths in the word, which is there is coming a day of wrath, such as the world has never seen. " Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.  Acts 17:31.   The REASON WHY JESUS died was to redeem us from this coming day of eternal damnation..  We are in a time now where many don't believe that God will judge and punish them.

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