Faithlife Sermons

Sept. 9, 2018 - Fear The Lord

Ecclesiastes  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:43
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A battle ship was on exercise at sea in bad weather. The captain was on the bridge. It was foggy. Just after dark the look-out spotted a light on the starboard side. The captain asked if it was steady or moving. The look out replied the light was steady meaning they were on direct collision course with that ship! The captain ordered the lookout signal to the other ship:
“Change course 20 degrees. We are on collision course.”
The signal came back ‘”Advisable for you to change course.”
The captain signalled ‘”I am a captain. Change course 20 degrees.”
“I am a seaman second class. You had better change course 20 degrees” came the reply.
The captain was furious. He sent back ‘”I am a battleship. Change course!”
Back came the signal, “I am a lighthouse. Your call.”
We’ve all I’m sure been in similar situations...
Where from our perspective, we were CERTAIN (in a given situation) that we were right...
NO WAY we could be wrong...
And yet...
When the facts came in....we were wrong.
And it was THEN - that we realized....HOPEFULLY…how we could approach the NEXT situation…with more wisdom.
We hear this story - this morning - and we give it a little chuckle…because we hear the battle...
the back-n-forth...
…go from a - - “No I won’t back down” feeling...
to a - - “Ok, you’re going to lose” feeling...
The sad part is - many/most of us have had this very conversation with God…KNOWING it was God we were speaking with...
Solomon today is going to address something I feel like we might take for granted...
The Fear of the Lord...
And the theme that jumps out at us today in relation to the FEAR of the LORD - is this - WORSHIP
So how do we get from - the Fear of the Lord - to - Worship?
Well, we know Proverbs 9:10 says...
Proverbs 9:10 ESV
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
The fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING of wisdom…and so we NEED to know...
SLIDE:
If you are ever going to have an accurate wisdom in the Lord, you must also have an active fear of Him.
Think of the people in your life RIGHT NOW for whom you are trying to evangelize...
They continue to PUSH OFF - surrendering to the Lord....
They continue to neglect TURNING to God in repentance...
WHY?
It’s because they DO NOT fear the Lord.
And BECAUSE they do not FEAR the Lord…they do not WORSHIP the Lord...
And Solomon today is going to speak to this...
Ecclesiastes 5:1–7 ESV
1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. 4 When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.
As we circle back to the first verse of this chapter, it’s going to be helpful to understand who the audience is that Solomon is speaking to...
verse 1 says...
Ecclesiastes 5:1 ESV
1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.
Now - understanding that this is the OT…and therefore Old Covenant...
We see Solomon directing his words toward those who would - Go to the House of God...
Now - this House of God is either referring to a Synagogue…or the Temple....
The reason we know it’s actually referring to the Temple is due to reference of - Sacrifice - in this verse.
And so - we see that Solomon is speaking to those who - Would have adhered to the Old Covenant...
…Sacrificial System
the Levitical Sacrificial System...
Now, in looking at the Levitical Sacrificial system, we know that the system itself - ultimately - was ineffective...
WHY?
Because these sacrifices were made - year after year...
Hebrews 10:1–4 ESV
1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
NOW - these sacrifices were ultimately ineffective, BUT - the system itself had a purpose...
The Sacrificial System - pointed to what was coming...
And what was coming?
The PERFECT sacrifice was coming....ULTIMATE sacrifice…
Did it come?
Hebrews 10:5–10 ESV
5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; 6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’ ” 8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
In Jesus Christ, we see the ULTIMATE - Perfectly Sufficient sacrifice being made...
What does verse 10 say -
Sanctification (Salvation) comes through the ONE-TIME offering of Jesus Christ on the cross...
…for WHO?
For ALL WHO BELIEVE!
Do you see what CONNECTS us today - to the PERFECTLY SUFFICIENT sacrifice of Jesus Christ?
SLIDE: The Fear of the Lord: By Faith and In Pursuit of Faith

The Fear of the Lord

Faith is what CONNECTS us to the Ultimate Sacrifice of Christ!
Faith CONNECTS us to the ONLY sacrifice that doesn’t NEED to be done year after year....!
Listen to the apostle Paul here in 1 Timothy...
1 Timothy 6:11–12 ESV
11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Paul is speaking to a Man of God - so someone who HAS faith....
and yet he says - Pursue FAITH...
And so those of us WHO HAVE FAITH....are called to pursue FAITH...
So - HAVING FAITH - we PURSUE Faith...
We FIGHT the good fight of FAITH...
FEARING the LORD entails - pursuing FAITH....
Well - what do we know about FAITH!?

FAITH WORSHIPS GOD ALONE

Hebrews 11:4 ESV
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.
What made Abel’s offering acceptable to God?
FAITH
Abel FEARED the Lord!
But what else about Faith…?

FAITH SEEKS GOD ALONE

Hebrews 11:5–6 ESV
5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Enoch sought after God. He walked with Him, and he pleased God.
• Our faith in God grows as we fellowship with Him, seeking after Him.
• Do you desire to please God?
• Are you diligent in your seeking after Him?
• Do the decisions you make reflect an attitude of "I've gotta have HIM!!" - "I want more of Him!!"
• There's Bible Study tonight? Where? What time? I'm there!
• Where there's a lack of diligence, there's a lack of "faith".
• Where "faith" seeks after God alone, unbelief chases its own tail.
• Faith will search for God in all situations and circumstances...
And if we are going to FEAR the LORD - then we must pursue this kind of FAITH...
What else?

FAITH WORKS

Hebrews 11:7 ESV
7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
By FAITH - Noah, ....in reverent - WHAT? - FEAR - - did what?
he WORKED!
he OBEYED - he BUILT an ark!
and this makes complete sense! why?
James 2:17 ESV
17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
And if we are going to FEAR the LORD - then we must pursue this kind of FAITH...
But what else?

FAITH WAITS ON THE LORD

What comes to mind when i hear this phrase is this:
Joseph waited 13 years...
Abraham waited 25 years...
Moses waited 40 years...
Jesus waited 30 years...
This is what FAITH does!
And if we are going to FEAR the LORD - then we must pursue this kind of FAITH...
What else?

FAITH WARS AGAINST THE FLESH

Hebrews 11:24–26 ESV
24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
• Moses chose to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.
• Is that easy?
• Is it easy to forgo what the world dangles in front of us?
No it's not...because of our flesh.
• We often want to blame the world for our problems....
• We'll say - "this world is trying to destroy our kids"...NO....
• ...our kids are trying to destroy our kids....sin is trying to destroy our kids....their flesh is trying to destroy them.
• ...AND where faith wars against the flesh, unbelief tries to tame it.
FAITH wars against the flesh...
And if we are going to FEAR the LORD - then we must pursue this kind of FAITH...
What else?
FAITH is Fearless...
Faith is Victorious!
The Fear of the Lord comes BY FAITH and GROWS in pursuit of FAITH
But what else does Solomon teach us about the Fear of the Lord!
We’ll see that:
SLIDE: The Fear of the Lord: Hears the Lord
Ecclesiastes 5:1 ESV
1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.
The word LISTEN here is - to draw near to HEAR…to understand...
To HEAR to the point of obedience
Many times throughout Scripture we see Christ preaching in such a way...
Using PARABLES to teach God’s truth...
and instead of trying to debate with people about what He’s talking about he would just finish by saying...
“He who has ears, let him hear...”
and then he’d walk away.
For those of us who FEAR the Lord - we must seek to HEAR Him!
And that plays out in different ways...
BUT IT ALWAYS entails - seeking His truth!
AND - never forget - true HEARING - leads to DOING...
James 1:22–25 ESV
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
See ...
SLIDE: Christians don’t rely on words alone...but unite word with deed.
Christians don’t rely on words alone, but unite word with deed.
See, the way you know if someone actually HEARS this sermon today, is if the truths of it manifest themselves in their life.
You know how many people come to church week after week, but in the end, prove they heard nothing?
prove they weren’t actually - there?
Solomon says - guard your steps....draw near to LISTEN!
HEAR the Lord!
And that will entail understanding…
SLIDE: The Fear of the Lord: Humbles itself before the Lord

The Fear of the Lord

Ecclesiastes 5:2–3 ESV
2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.
The phrase that jumps out at me when I read this is this:
KNOW WHO YOU ARE!
Wicked
Naked
Wretched
Pitiable
Poor
Blind
Dead
Slave
Dust
Vapor
Fading
Worthless
All of these - words that Describe you and I - Under the Sun
And yet - a lot of times we find ourselves - THINKING the opposite
Even as Christians…we find ourselves NOT LISTENING...
We start to believe that God now OWES us...
bright shiny days
Easy as Sunday mornin
We start to question God when trials come...
FORGETTING that it’s THROUGH trials that God shapes us to become more like Him.
We’re constantly being pushed by sin to view our world and our circumstances through the lens of the world…with ourselves at the CENTER of the UNIVERSE!
And the call to us is - NO - Humble yourself!
1 Peter 5:6–7 ESV
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Ephesians 4:2 ESV
2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
James 4:6 ESV
6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
How many times in Scripture do we see Men of Faith....get out in FRONT of God…thinking they knew better?
Peter was known for this!
In John 13 we hear of Jesus seeking to wash the feet of His disciples.
And Jesus comes to Peter to wash his feet...
Peter questions the Lord as to why He would choose to wash his feet.
WHEN Jesus responded by telling him that he would soon know the answer to that question.
That response by Christ wasn’t adequate for Peter...
so he responds by telling Jesus that He would never wash his feet.
Jesus then proceeded to let Peter know that if he would not accept the washing, then Peter would have no part with Him.
What does Peter do?
He quickly changes his tune, and asks for a complete washing.
In this story, we see a man who decided that he knew what was best.
His passion and zeal for the Lord trumped his awareness of spiritual truth.
In Matthew 16:21-23, we find Jesus telling His disciples that He must be killed at the hands of the elders and chief priests, and be raised again on the third day.
Well - what does Peter think about this?
Because Peter feels like he knows best, he tells Jesus that this will never happen to Him.
Jesus then addresses Peter as Satan, and tells him to get behind Him.
Peter struggled with LISTENING!
He struggled with HEARING the Lord…!
We ALL need to take these things to heart...
We need to consider the - FEAR of the LORD!
SUMMARY:
The Fear of the Lord:
Comes By Faith, and In Pursuit of Faith
Hears the Lord
Humbles Itself Before the Lord
May we PRAY for this in our lives...
May we leave here:
in pursuit of faith
seeking to Hear the Lord
humbling ourselves before Him...
Let’s Pray
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