Proper Fear and Persuading Others

Not long ago I preached a sermon to my congregation, the following text being one of several that I used.

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” – 2 Corinthians 5:11a

There is always talk about the fear of terrorism these days, yet very few talk about the fear of God. Why is that? After all, aren’t we commanded to fear the Lord? Isn’t it the wise thing to do?

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10

The problem is that we get so distracted by the common, temporal fears of this world forget about the eternal. Some of us are terrified of what others may find in our closets, but forget that God knows all. Our minds are so cluttered with all the stresses of this life that we forget about what comes after.

Both of the previous verses also talk about “knowing” and  the “knowledge” of God. In the first passage (2 Cor. 5:11a) the Apostle Paul is essentially telling the Corinthians: “Hey, it’s because we know who God is and what He’s capable of, not to mention the fact that we must all stand before Him one day (5:10), that we do our dead-level best to tell it to you like it is!”

In the second passage, wise King Solomon is telling anyone who will listen, “The more you know God, the better you’ll understand how life works.” Knowing and understanding who God is will produce produce fear: terror in His enemies; reverential fear in those who love Him.

Jesus said: “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” (Matthew 10:28). [emphasis added]

So, while ever-present bad news will tend to make us want to run and hide or take matters into our own hands, keep everything in its proper perspective. Those who serve the Living Savior; those who are reconciled to God by the atonement of the cross of Christ; those who were once strangers, but now have been made children of the Father, can find peace and rest in the fearfully omnipotent hand of our faithful Creator.

Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” – 1 Peter 4:19 

The only ones who should be living in terror, in fear of what may come today or tomorrow, are those who have never known God, have forgotten God, or worse, mock Him (Romans 1:18-32).

When we persuade others to fear God in the proper way, they will come to know His love and love Him in return. Then, instead of living in terror, ironically, “perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18).

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” – Romans 8:15 

Are you living in fear? Can you call God “Abba, Father” (Daddy)? A proper relationship will produce a proper fear; terror is the product of rebellion.

If you don’t fully understand what I’ve written, or if you’d like to know more about how to live in peace without terror, click on the Eternal Life tab at the top of the page and follow the instructions.

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6 Comments

Filed under Bible Study, God, salvation, Struggles and Trials

6 responses to “Proper Fear and Persuading Others

  1. Amen, Anthony! You did well. Fear of the Lord is a tricky one to explain and to teach. We often have so many “bad” fears and then someone comes along and tries to introduce the idea of a “good fear,” and your brain just kind of goes offline.

    I used to be really anxiety ridden,more angsty then I am today, until someone finally came along and pointed out the problem was my fear of snakes, airplanes, you name it, was all greater then my fear of the Lord. When we fear the Lord His power becomes greater then all those little things we fear.

  2. I am working on a similar post, hopefully with a video. (I am planning on loading several again soon! But what does soon mean? Not sure, yet …)

  3. Hello Anthony,
    I hope you are well.
    I think what we have is a crisis of strong and capable church leadership in North America. Church Leaders are afraid. The believer is then left to try and handle their own fears and work them out themselves. Our church leaders are silent about the issues of our day. They don’t want to offend anyone in their church by talking about important things openly.

    In Europe they are tearing down church crosses from buildings. In London there are hundreds of mosques and Sharia Law courts are issuing judgments that are now sanctioned by the UK authorities. In China they are removing Catholic symbols. The Chinese government has taken over the role of appointing the leaders for the Catholic Church in their country with the Pope’s recent approval.

    In North America church leaders are capitulating to the world’s demands to accept secular ideologies as being sanctioned in the church. Here in Alberta, Canada the provincial government is forcing Christian Schools to adopt LGBTQ behavior as normal, and teach this in their school, or else lose their school funding. The government is threatening to do this effective in June of 2019. They are doing this legally through the Alberta School Act and the new Human Rights gender identity and gender expression laws the federal government passed recently under Prime Minister Trudeau.

    The world is rebelling against moral right and wrong and church leaders are trying to accommodate the world in order to avoid conflict.
    Standing up for what is right is not legalism. The word legalism has been corrupted in our day so nothing can be said effectively to stop sin in the church.
    These are some of my thoughts.

    • Very well said. I agree with you. As to the legalism, I would just add that true “legalism” involves defining another’s spirituality (or qualifications of any kind) based on one’s own self-defined standards. Standing up and boldly declaring what God says – not ourselves – about issues at hand is not legalism, but proclaiming the truth for which the hearer is to be obedient to God, not us. Unfortunately, many, many pulpiteers have put on political robes and sought to placate the people instead of preach to them. And if more pastors and teachers had faithfully taught the foundational truths of Scripture a long time ago, many of the things we see today might have been delayed.

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