REJOICE WITH TREMBLING #2

Rom.3:18 – “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”

“This fear is a gracious habit or principle planted by God in the soul, whereby the soul is kept under an holy awe of the eye of God, and from thence is inclined to perform and do what pleaseth him, and to shun and avoid whatsoever he forbids and hates.”

John Flavel – puritan Pastor who lived from 1628-1691 who died in jail, imprisoned for his faith.

Yesterday we began to look at this powerful statement from a pastor from the 1600’s. We will continue today.

Flavel also said that the fear of God causes an inclination in us to do the things that are pleasing to God.  In Hebrews 11:7 the Bible says that Noah was moved with fear to prepare an ark.  Noah was inclined to obey the Lord because of a Godly fear that came upon Him.  This fear produces not only obedience but like David said a delight.  “I delight to do your will oh God.”  Psalm 40:8

Finally, Flavel said that this fear causes us to avoid behavior that is displeasing to the Lord.  Job was described as one who feared God and turned away from evil.  When we come to Christ, and experience the reality of God in our souls, we have this tendency to flee from evil.  Our heart is changed, we are not attracted to the disgusting practices of the world, and we are strangely attracted to Christ.

David spoke of this strange joy in Psalm 2:11.  He said serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.  When the incredible, holy majesty of God comes upon us we are stricken with two things.  We are overwhelmed by His attributes.  We are struck by His holiness, kindness, grace, power, love, justice, sovereignty, and power.  We tremble before this awesome God.  Secondly, we are strangely affected by the joy of heaven.  This supernatural joy fills our souls and overwhelms us.  We begin to rejoice, every part of our being begins to rejoice.  The joy of the Lord becomes ours, our joy is made full.  If you long for happiness, it is available to you.  It is available not in the pleasures of this world, but at the Father’s right hand, pleasures forevermore.

Maybe you have never really experienced this kind of intimacy with God. Try it, after all Solomon said that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Maybe its time to get started.

REJOICE WITH TREMBLING #1

Rom.3:18 – “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”

“This fear is a gracious habit or principle planted by God in the soul, whereby the soul is kept under an holy awe of the eye of God, and from thence is inclined to perform and do what pleaseth him, and to shun and avoid whatsoever he forbids and hates.”

John Flavel – puritan Pastor who lived from 1628-1691 who died in jail, imprisoned for his faith.

In Romans 3:18 Paul quotes Psalm 36:1 saying “There is no fear of God before his eyes.”  We live in a generation that takes the things of God for granted and has no fear of God anywhere to be found.  Obviously, the lost people have no knowledge of God and cannot respect the Lord.  However, the church is in a different situation all together.  The fear of God is also absent from our congregations today.  I think often about the sorry spiritual condition the supposed Body of Christ is in and I have come to some conclusions.  Apparently, we have been lulled to sleep with a message about the blessings of God in this life and self help messages causing us to lose our moorings.  Christianity is about more than careers, houses, ministries and everything else than has been the focus of “church” for too long.  The normal message today is about success, vision, purpose, church growth, marriage and other topics that pertain to this life.  Where is the preaching about Christ and His Kingdom? I thought Jesus taught His kingdom is not of this world. It is touching His kingdom by faith and drawing close to the King that produces the fear of the Lord in us.

As we reflect on the words of John Flavel, we are reminded of the difference of the church in 1600 to the church of 2000.  Flavel said that the fear of God is planted supernaturally in our soul.  Natural man is afraid of a lot of things, but the fear of God is nowhere to be found.  As we call upon the Lord, and hunger after Him our heart is filled with the fear and majesty of Almighty God. This fear is strangely associated with joy. That’s why David said to “Rejoice with trembling” in the second Psalm. Seek first His kingdom and the rest of our lives will be sorted out.

Continued tomorrow…

FEAR OF THE LORD

2Cor. 5:11 ¶ Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.

What you believe about God is important. Today, many are feeding wrong information about the Lord to whoever will listen. Rather than preaching the truth of God’s word we have conformed to the beliefs and the trends of our modern culture. Paul said it like this “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions”. Sounds like the tail may be wagging the dog. The fruit of this is the loss of the fear of God; everyone does what is right in their own eyes with no moral restraints. If God is just like Santa Claus there are no consequences to bad behavior. The problem is this, that message is wrong and living that way will bring destruction into people’s lives. Here is how Adam Clarke described it 300 years ago.
“Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord. As we know therefore what God requires of man, because we are favored with his own revelation, we persuade men to become Christians, and to labour to be acceptable to him, because they must all stand before the judgment seat; and if they receive not the grace of the Gospel here, they must there give up their accounts with sorrow and not with joy. In short, a man who is not saved from his sin in this life, will be separated from God and the glory of his power in the world to come. This is a powerful motive to persuade men to accept the salvation provided for them by Christ Jesus. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom; the terror of God confounds and overpowers the soul. We lead men to God through his fear and love, and with the fear of God the love of God is ever consistent…”
God is merciful but He is holy. He has provided a way out of our sinful lifestyles but we must follow Him. To refuse is to choose is destruction. To follow Him is to choose life evermore. Turn to the Lord, turn away from the culture of sin and immorality. His ways are higher than our ways and all His paths are ways of peace.

THE INVISIBLE FRIEND

THE INVISIBLE FRIEND

By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible (Hebrews 11:23-25;27 NKJV).

Four hundred years after Joseph was buried in Egypt, another Hebrew, named Moses, was raised as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. This made him grandson and heir to the king of Egypt. Moses was raised in the midst of wealth that we cannot imagine. But when he had come of age, Moses chose what Paul called the “reproaches of Christ” (Rom. 15:3) because they were more valuable to him than all the gold and power in the palace.

The reward that Moses received in exchange for his “sacrifice” was the same reward that God gave to Abraham and to Enoch. It was not something measured by natural, tangible wealth. The reward was God Himself. In Genesis 15:1, God told Abraham that He was his reward. In Deuteronomy 10:9, He told the Levites that He was their portion. By faith, Moses forsook Egypt. Have you forsaken Egypt or is Egypt still in your heart? All throughout the Bible, Egypt is a type of the world. The only way to get Egypt out of your heart is to drive it out by getting more of God in your heart. Egypt must be replaced by Zion. The invisible God must replace the visible treasures of this world.

Moses caught a glimpse of a reward more valuable than all the wealth, power, and entertainment that this world has to offer. The angel of the Lord appeared to Moses “in a flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush” (Exod. 3:2). As he beheld the bush, it burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed. God said, “I am who I am.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exod. 3:14). Moses didn’t fear the wrath of the king because he saw a greater king that day in the fiery bush. Once you have trembled in the presence of the almighty, majestic God, the ruler of Heaven and earth, you cannot fear man anymore. Moses didn’t care what Pharaoh said or how much power he had. He didn’t care how many armies or how much gold he had. He could look Pharaoh in the eye and not be afraid because he had seen the One who we all have to fear. Moses looked at Pharaoh and realized that the king of Egypt was just a coward, hiding behind his gold and his army. How could Moses be afraid? He had been in the fire. He had seen the bush. He had seen the glory. How could he be afraid of a natural man when he had seen this awesome God? Moses had stepped into the presence of the invisible God who inhabits eternity. He saw God for himself. He saw the One who our natural eyes cannot see. Moses glimpsed the King of Glory with the eyes of his heart; God was bigger to him than any man or any problem on earth.

REJOICE WITH TREMBLING

REJOICE WITH TREMBLING

Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.Psalm 2:11

This kind of understanding of God is foreign to people in our hip, contemporary world. It seems like the natural man cannot deal with this seemingly conflicting vision of our God. For some, fear and trembling brings to mind the judgement of God and the misery involved in a life given over to a system of works trying to please this offended God. Then for others the pendulum has swung to the other extreme. The mention of joy is received as saying that God just overlooks man’s sin (a heretical view of grace) and gives us physical things in this life out of His love for us. Neither of these views are accurate. We rejoice with trembling when we see this majestic, holy God and realize His hatred for sin and love for sinners were reconciled when His Son was crucified in our place. Sin was judged by His death and mercy was extended to us as a result. When we receive His grace what else can we do, we rejoice with trembling before this magnificent God. Martin Luther saw this reality and it led to his conversion. Listen to Luther speak about this verse.

“When I was a young man, I hated this verse because I didn’t want to hear that I should fear God. I didn’t realize that fear should always be combined with joy and hope. We should fear God in a way that doesn’t entirely exclude joy. It should be a genuine joy—a joy that can’t be kept bottled up in our hearts. When we truly believe that we have been reconciled to God because of Christ, we will have a smile on our face, a twinkle in our eyes, and a song of praise on our lips. The Holy Spirit tells us to serve our heavenly King with inward and outward joy, combined with reverence. If we don’t, we’ll become overconfident. We’ll start acting like animals and sink into lustful human pleasures. If we make sure we don’t become overconfident, then God won’t be offended by our happiness. In fact, he’s offended by sadness and demands joy. That’s why people who were in mourning were not allowed to bring God sacrifices, and why the offerings in Malachi were unacceptable to God (Malachi 2:13). We have to mix joy with fear and mix fear with hope.”

As a young man I was uninterested in serving The Lord because I saw it as a joyless life filled with rules trying to please a holy God. I was shocked into reality when the claims of Christ were revealed to me in the gospel. It was so simple. It wasn’t service The Lord was looking for. He was after my heart. When the Holy Spirit helped me to connect the dots I suddenly saw it. He loved me, period. His forgiveness of my sins and of my self righteousness, won my heart. His love flooded my life and then another miracle happened. I began to taste the joy in knowing God and in living a holy life. I had entered into this new life, the life of rejoicing with trembling.

THE ROSE OF SHARON

I AM THE ROSE OF SHARON AND THE LILY OF THE VALLEY
SONGS OF SONG 2:1

Mary Monday by Parris Bailey

Years ago Frank and I traveled to a certain city in the country of Bulgaria. We went because there was a gypsy pastor that wanted us to come and minister to his gypsy church. We had been there before so I was quite aware of what I was getting into. Gypsies are a nomadic people that are much despised in every country across Europe. They speak their own language and have their own belief system and yes the majority of them are trained at an early age to steal. Their living conditions are deplorable and they lack the basic necessities to live. We had a good service, all of us crammed into a small room and in fact, I remember sharing about the woman who pressed into the crowd and got healed. Upon hearing me say, she got healed, the crowd all jumped up and started dancing and playing music and screaming. I guess I had finished preaching! That’s a great way to stop a preacher for sure!
After we left that night we walked back into the town to eat. I was feeling overwhelmed about those gypsies and how they live from day to day. Fourteen-year-old girls carrying around babies, men sniffing glue, and I could go on and on, but an unbelievable smell grabbed my attention. It was heavenly and upon inquiring I was told that the time of the rose harvest was there.
Our guest took me to the roses the next day. There we were, all picking the rose petals and laughing with the gypsy pastor, getting that precious smell on our clothes, our hands and all over us. I heard a gentle voice, telling me “I am the Rose of Sharon”. I laughed, because He has a way to get across his point in our life doesn’t he? He had to drag me across the world, to this city in Bulgaria and shout into my spirit, “I am the Rose of Sharon”. I saw the contrast between how the gypsies live with open sewerage and just across the way, is the loveliest smell and sight one could ever imagine. But as C.S. Lewis says, “we would rather make mud pies in the slums, then take a holiday out at sea, we are far too easily pleased.” I really don’t see much of a difference between the way the gypsies live and our carnality. How soon we forget His smell!
I pray that you hear his shout today-“I am the Rose of Sharon”! This rose is the smell we should smell; this rose is the fragrance that gets us through life. His beauty allures us and keeps us safe from the nomadic spirit of the world. This rose brings life to dead things. Spurgeon said, ”Lets walk through the fields of heavenly contemplation and say O blessed rose, bloom in my heart forever!”

REJOICE WITH TREMBLING

“This fear is a gracious habit or principle planted by God in the soul, whereby the soul is kept under an holy awe of the eye of God, and from thence is inclined to perform and do what pleaseth him, and to shun and avoid whatsoever he forbids and hates.”

John Flavel – puritan Pastor who lived from 1628-1691 who died in jail, imprisoned for his faith.

In Romans 3:18 Paul quotes Psalm 36:1 saying “There is no fear of God before his eyes.”  We live in a generation that takes the things of God for granted and has no fear of God anywhere to be found.  Obviously, the lost people have no knowledge of God and cannot respect the Lord.  However, the church is in a different situation all together.  The fear of God is also absent from our congregations today.  I think often about the sorry spiritual condition the supposed Body of Christ is in and I have come to some conclusions.  Apparently, we have been willed to sleep with a message about the blessings of God in this life and we have lost our moorings.  Christianity is about more than careers, houses, ministries and everything else than has been the focus of “church” for too long.  The normal message is about success, vision, purpose, church growth, marriage and other topics that pertain to this life.  Where is the preaching about Christ and His Kingdom.  I thought Jesus taught His kingdom is not of this world.

As we reflect on the words of John Flavel, we are reminded of the difference of the church in 1600 to the church of 2000.  Flavel said that the fear of God is planted supernaturally in our soul.  Natural man is afraid of a lot of things, but the fear of God is nowhere to be found.  As we call upon the Lord, and hunger after Him our heart is filled with the fear and majesty of Almighty God.

Flavel also said that the fear of God causes an inclination in us to do the things that are pleasing to God.  In Hebrews 11:7 the Bible says that Noah was moved with fear to prepare an ark.  Noah was inclined to obey the Lord because of a Godly fear that came upon Him.  This fear produces not only obedience but like David said a delight.  “I delight to do your will oh God.”  Psalm 40:8

Finally, Flavel said that this fear causes us to avoid behavior that is displeasing to the Lord.  Job was described as one who feared God and turned away from evil.  When we come to Christ, and experience the reality of God in our souls, we have this tendency to flee from evil.  Our heart is changed, we are not attracted to the disgusting practices of the world, and we are strangely attracted to Christ.

David spoke of this strange joy in Psalm 2:11.  He said serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.  When the incredible, holy majesty of God comes upon us we are stricken with two things.  We are overwhelmed by His attributes.  We are struck by His holiness, kindness, grace, power, love, justice, sovereignty, and power.  We tremble before this awesome God.  Secondly, we are strangely affected by the joy of heaven.  This supernatural joy fills our souls and overwhelms us.  We begin to rejoice, every part of our being begins to rejoice.  The joy of the Lord becomes ours, our joy is made full.  If you long for happiness, it is available to you.  It is available not in the pleasures of this world, but at the Father’s right hand, pleasures forevermore