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|Posted on September 12, 2009 at 4:03 PM||comments (0)|
The Gift of the Fear of God
Pastor Dan Carpenter, 11-03
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 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 thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
The New American Standard version reads: The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
The gift of the fear of God has been our topic of meditation and study for a while now. And, Lord willing, we shall continue today. Praying that God by His Spirit would give us yet another message, another help in our understanding of this important Christian duty - - or may I say, Christian delight!
So, we have just read in Ecclesiastes that God says that the conclusion of all - - to put it in as few words as possible - - is that we must fear God and keep His commandments. This is what our lives are all about! But we have been emphasizing that fearing God correctly is a gift from God! Our responsibility and God's gift! Isn't that just like God?! He reveals our duty to Him and also makes it His gift to us to simply be exercised! Now that's mercy! Praise the Lord!
Jeremiah 32:38-41 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.
Ezekiel 36: 25-27 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Here, God emphasizes not only a new heart but a new spirit will be given to His people. No mention of the gift of the fear of God here. Just like there was no mention of the new spirit in Jeremiah 32. Conclusion: the gift of His fear only comes with the gift of His new spirit. Or with the gift of the Holy Spirit there comes the gift of the fear of God. Praise God!! We not only have the promise of the gift of the fear of God - - the true, godly fear of God - - but also the gift of the Holy Spirit to enable us to use this wonderful and gracious gift!
Now look at Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The promise of Messiah Jesus prophesied as a rod or a shoot - - a green shoot that will sprout from Jesse's stump or from the all-but-dead family tree of Jesse - - a budding branch will come from his roots: Jesus Christ, Messiah!
Isaiah 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. The Spirit of the Lord, the life-giving Spirit of God, shall rest on Him!
He will have the Holy Spirit without measure. John 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. And, with that life-giving Spirit of God resting upon Him, He will have the Spirit of knowledge and (the Spirit) of the fear of the Lord. And that Spirit without measure, or possessing the fullness of the Godhead (Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.), He will be endowed with the fullness of the Spirit of the fear of God.
No wonder our Lord Jesus Christ was always making reference to His Father! He had the Spirit of His Father God without measure and therefore the fear of God without measure. No wonder that He could hardly keep His Father's Name from His lips. In John alone, He refers to His Father over 100 times and says My Father nearly ½ of those times. He possessed that Holy Spirit gift of the fear of God! That internal attitude, careful respect for, that conscientiousness for, that respect, honor, and deep reverence for God His Father that came from His love by the Hoy Spirit, which produced His Holy desire to please Him in all ways, always! Oh, who can really describe in human terms that love that He had/has for God His Father shed abroad not by the spirit of adoption, but shared in the Godhead! And revealed by the fullness of the Holy Spirit while here on earth!
Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil - - and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
Jesus Christ, excelling the excellent! Fearing God without fault, in utmost perfection - - without an equal - - the greater Job!
Isaiah 33:6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.
Oh, see this jewel, this RARE treasure, indeed, among our fellow human beings. But look again! This is the treasure, the rare treasure that the Son of God had by the fullness of the Holy Spirit without measure! He needed no push, no enablement, no terror, no backup plan to love God - - He was His Beloved, His Only Begotten Son. He was not His slave. He had no dread of His equal! Therefore, He humbled Himself; He made Himself of no reputation and was obedient even to death by crucifixion. Because He eternally loved His Father, and because He had the Holy Spirit without measure, His entire attitude was one of submission, devotion, conscientiousness of His honor and glory, and that revealed itself in His perfect submission and obedience, holy trust, and genuine worship! O look unto Jesus and see the rare treasure of the fear of God in all of its splendor! My soul, bow down here! Do you see the glory?!
Further, see in our Lord Jesus Christ wisdom and knowledge. Their heart, their root, their foundation is in the gift of the fear of God.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.
Who brought our Lord's knowledge and wisdom to school? Their heart lies in the fear of God, and our Lord was endowed with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the fear of the Lord without measure! He is the actualization of pure knowledge and pure wisdom. He is in union with the Godhead! With what kind of a dipper can we dip here? It's too deep, and we have nothing to dip with. So, again we honor our Lord by believing, for our eyes, ears, and minds have no capacity but to believe that He is - - His Father's Well-Beloved One!
Further yet: Proverbs 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. Oh, it is no wonder that the devil could find nothing in Him with which to catch Him in His temptations. It's no wonder that our Lord Jesus Christ wept over Jerusalem's sin and exposed the Pharisees and chief rulers for who they were. It's no wonder that He sweat as it were great drops of blood in the garden as He surrendered to the will of His Father. It's no wonder that He gave His life - - to the last drip for His own - - paying the redemption price of that which He was so opposite to - - evil, my sin and yours, if you are trusting Him as your Lord and Savior. It is no wonder death, hell, and the grave had nothing with which to grab onto in Him, and it is no wonder that He is now exalted, reigning over evil, and interceding for every chosen sheep because, because by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. It keeps those who fear the Lord away from sin! And Oh, our Lord Jesus Christ, being filled with the Holy Spirit without measure, was full of genuine love for His Father and therefore was full and abounding in reverence, conscientiousness, respect, and honor for His Father. The fullness of the Godhead bodily! Hallelujah! What surpassing glory! Jesus Christ has it all!
Then, dear one, refuse Him not! He is all you need! He is all I need! He has God's Spirit without measure. He therefore possesses all of the right kind of the fear of the Lord. Thus, He is without equal among men. He is in possession of that rare treasure. He has the heartbeat of knowledge and wisdom. He has the pure hatred and loathing of sin. Take Him, dear soul, and He will be in you a well of living water, springing up unto eternal life.
And in Him, the gift of the fear of God will be yours. And with Him, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit/the Spirit of the fear of the Lord, the godly fear of God, the gift promised to His people in the everlasting covenant, the rare treasure - - for all men do not fear God, the heartbeat of true knowledge and wisdom, and the wonderful gift of departing from evil by the enablement of the Holy Spirit!
Refuse Him? O dear one, where does that leave you? Without Christ, without His fullness, without true life, without His Spirit, without God's treasure, and without defense against evil! Dear brother and sister, draw near to Jesus. Sit at His feet, and learn from Him the true fear of God! Cultivate your gift! Spend time in His Word, in prayers - - for yourselves and for the rest of us!
Remember 2 Peter 3:12-14 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
|Posted on September 10, 2009 at 6:22 PM||comments (0)|
"The Gift of the Fear of God"
Pastor Dan Carpenter, 11-03
Remembering back to last Lord’s Day morning, God enabled us to look at the gift of adoption as it relates to the gift of the fear of God and especially at the truth of the Fatherhood of God to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. O how blessed it was to once again rejoice in God, our Father, because of His adoption of each one of His elect in the Lord Jesus Christ!
John 1:12 But as many as received Him [Christ as Lord and Savior], to them [and them alone] gave He power [the privilege, the right, the dignity] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:
Adoption is God’s eternal, unavoidable choice of some to be His children in Christ without dispute, period! It is amazing, most wonderful! 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us [God-hating, idol-loving, sinful, children of wrath], that we should be called the sons of God...!
Strangers and sinners, by birth and by choice, we are taken by God into that special relationship of His sons and daughters and are therefore inheritors — co-inheritors with Jesus Christ, inheriting all that He inherits! We, believers, are His brothers and sisters! We’re given eternal life and all that goes with it! We have new names: sons and daughters of God, the Church, Christ’s bride, God’s chosen, His people. We have a new family: our Father God’s family!
We have new provisions and lasting ones as well! We are provided with His indwelling Spirit: taught, trained, directed, and enabled by Him. We’re nurtured and fed by the milk and meat of His Word and the rest of Jesus Christ to our souls, fed with hidden manna and gospel feasts in the receiving of the preaching of God’s Word under the power and blessing of the Holy Spirit, wherever that preaching comes from — Genesis to Revelation. We are provided with new clothing, even the righteousness of Christ. We have a new home in God, in Christ. And we have new defenses: Christ our armor, our split rock, our sure foundation.
We are also provided with innumerable angels surrounding us. We have a new relationship because of this gracious adoption: Jesus Christ is our all in all. O what peace, what joy, what love, what hope, what honor, what glory is ours. And as we behold our Savior and Lord, we are changed from image to image, from glory to glory! Our Father has done all of this and so much more — 2/3, yes, 9/10 has never been told! All this because He willed to do it; He chose to adopt us. And His choice is eternal, unavoidable, making our adoption final, without dispute. It can never be questioned! — even if our past, our former lives and wicked selves, becomes known. God has made the choice to be our Father! — in Christ, because of Christ’s blood, Christ’s substitution, Christ’s satisfaction — accomplished for such wretches as you and I, who now have received Him and have been given the dignity to become the sons of God!!
In Luke 15, the prodigal son can be a picture of an adopted child of God! That’s sonship! Luke 15: 20, 22-24 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him….But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. And our adoption is nothing less! Amen!
So what does all of this have to do with the gift of the fear of God? O my soul! Who would not fear His God after all that He has chosen to do and has done and has yet to do for undeserving, rebellious people? Oh, what a God, Who has made it so that through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and the offering up of Himself in every believing person’s place — He has made it so that we are His children, and He is our Father! Father, Dad, Papa! My soul! The Creator, the One who has all power, all authority, all knowledge, is everywhere present in all points of space all the time, is our Father! Now, only by grace in Jesus Christ, God the Father has secured a family of daughters and sons, those true “Jews” with true circumcision of the heart and lips!
“Covenant” Himself, Jesus Christ, is the place to examine the gift of the fear of God. Isaiah 42:6 I the LORD have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a Covenant of the people, for a Light of the Gentiles;
Isaiah 49:8 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard Thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped Thee: and I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a Covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
For Jesus Christ, our Lord, is the embodiment, the personification, the actualization, of this grand and everlasting Covenant of Grace — the New Covenant. Jeremiah 32:39-40 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me for ever, for the good of them and of their children after them: and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me.
Jesus is the revealed heart of and for God, the One Way, and the fear of God in the flesh. Let’s begin with Him. Hebrews 5:5-10 So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest; but He that said unto Him, Thou art My Son, today have I begotten Thee. As He saith also in another place, Thou art a Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death and was heard in that He feared; though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; Called of God an High Priest after the order of Melchisedec.
This High Priest of God’s appointment, the Actualization of the New Covenant, Who in the days of His flesh — when in those days and nights and there in the hours before His sufferings and in His sufferings “offered up prayers and supplications with STRONG crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death…”
“…in that He feared…” Not because of the strong crying and tears!!!
He was heard…
…because of His piety.
…because of His reverent submission.
…because He honored God.
…because of His reverence toward God.
Our Lord Jesus Christ received His sufferings, His cross and death experience, well from God His Father. His prayers, especially in the Garden of Gethsemane, were answered. Matthew 26:39, 42 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt…. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
His prayers were answered not by His Father sparing Him from enduring the results of holy justice in the condemned sinner’s place. But He was heard by giving Him some good, joyful, full acceptance — the gift of the fear of God — in what He would finish through His sufferings, crucifixion, and death!
The gift of the fear of God, then, includes that internal attitude of and careful regard for, that conscientiousness, respect, honor, and deep reverence and submission that comes from love. Our Lord was loved by His Father beyond our comprehension and our Lord loved His Father in return — and that produced His godly fear, His piety, His internal attitude and conscientiousness of respect, honor, willing submission in deep reverence — a true desire to please Him!
This was nothing forced or even close to “letter” type fear — no terror, no dread-filled fear, no cowardly fear that held on to a back-up plan, no bargaining-let’s-make-a-deal fear, no superstitious or slavish fear! He was heard because of His internal love, devotion, reverent and conscientious submission, careful and explicit honor externalized in His worship and obedience!
Oh, my brothers, my sisters, in Christ: Do we love our Lord, our God in return for His loving us so, so much — that there is inside of us an attitude of entire submission, a holy devotion, a conscientious care for His honor and glory that comes out in worship, love, total obedience, and total trust? Not asking if we are perfect! But what is motivating, moving, rousing, stirring, firing, inspiring us??
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: Since we are receiving an unshakable King and Kingdom, let us serve God with a welcome acceptance, worship God with a modest, devoted care, and with godly fear and awe!
O beloved: Now is the time to examine what is inspiring us inside? Is it God’s gift of grace there just waiting to be let loose or do we have to work it up? Our Lord loved His Father so much that He cared for, He was conscientious for, and He deeply revered the honor of His Father. Therefore, He willingly submitted to His will and worshipped, served, and obeyed Him. What about you and me? He is our Dad, our Papa, our Abba Father. Then where is our prayer, our hunger for Him, our longing for His love manifested, and why do we hesitate? Why do we stumble? Why are we so slow, so unbelieving, so casual? What inspires us? His love…??
Proverbs 28:14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
And you — dear one — turning away, refusing Jesus Christ: Do you know what moves and stirs you? Your sin! You love of yourself and your darkness! O soul, why do you continue in this life of sin? Who are you fooling?