Lk.5:24,25 – He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher, and go home.” And immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. And they were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God. They were also filled with fear, saying, “We have seen remarkable things today!”
There has been a slow fade in a large part of Christianity in America these last twenty five years. Churches that were once white hot for God have been swallowed up in the culture of the day. They still believe many of the things they believed before and still sing gospel songs but there is something missing. That something that is missing is God Himself. Maybe that’s why it is so surprising to see young people worshipping for days at Asbury University. What should be the norm, Christians singing and praying passionately, has become rare. I love what God did in Kentucky, I am just sad that this experience seems so unusual.
I think after thinking long and hard about this very thing for years that the answer can be seen in today’s passage. The supernatural, the signs and wonders in the ministry of Jesus brought a holy fear on the scene. That’s exactly what is missing in most of the church. There is no power, no passion, and no fear of God. Here is how R.T. Kendall describes this.
“When Jesus performed miracles, the result often was the people were “filled with awe”. Part of the outcome of the Holy Spirit falling at Pentecost was that “awe came upon every soul.” The Greek word is phobos, which means fear. This happened after the Holy Spirit struck Ananias and Sapphira dead.
At the height of the Great Awakening in New England, Jonathan Edwards’ sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (1741) resulted in such awe that people held on to church pews and embraced trees to keep from falling into hell. In the Cane Ridge Revival, called America’s Second Great Awakening, a sermon on the Judgment Seat of Christ…..produced so much awe that hundreds fell to the ground spontaneously. There were never fewer than five hundred people flat out on the ground over a period of four days.”
I believe the Lord is appearing in His church again in these days. Many churches are reporting a new sense of His presence in their gatherings. His presence among us is what makes church the church. When God shows up in His power and glory in your world the fear of God will become a real part of your life.