|Posted on September 10, 2009 at 6:22 PM|
"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?