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FEAR!

Gary Pollard III

Have you ever been terrified? I have: I’ve been hit head-on at highway speed, been attacked by feral dogs on the Navajo reservations, and once had to eat kale.

Fear is a normal part of our life, and is sometimes an annoying reminder that we are vulnerable. Fear can save your life, or cause you to push yourself to overcome. Fear can also help you get to heaven.

The Bible talks about the fear of the Lord all throughout. The concept of fearing God is mentioned over 578 times in scripture! How do we fear the Lord? A very long time ago, a man named Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” The premise of his sermon is that we are all walking a frayed tightrope over the fires of Hell with God just waiting for us to trip up and be eternally lost. His sermon is extremely well-known (even today), but is not an accurate portrayal of God’s disposition toward us (I John 1.7). Our fear of God – literal fear – comes from knowing that He is our judge and creator. It stems from a sense of awe at who He is and what He can do.

We’re all told to fear the Lord, but how do we do that in 2017? When you’re about to do something that the back of your mind tells you is probably not a good idea, think about the power of God. Think about standing in judgment before Him and how He would view your decisions. Think about the fact that your very existence is due to Him – do you think He’s not aware?

God is love by nature (I John 4.7, 8), but God is also our righteous Judge (Romans 2.2). Let’s keep that in mind this week while we’re making our decisions.

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WHEN YOU ASSEMBLE THIS SUNDAY

Neal Pollard

Not every one who comes to worship comes with proper motives or attitudes.  The mother of James and John, after falling down to worship Jesus, asked Him to give her boys the positions of highest honor in His coming kingdom (Mat. 20:20).  She had come to get something rather than give it.  So, today, one may make their top priority in searching for a “church home” one that has the most or the most diverse programs.  They are looking to get rather than give.  Actual worship is, to such a one, incidental.

The ancestors of the Samaritan woman at the well went as families to worship God in the mountain, but their worship was vain (John 4:20,22).  People routinely go, with good attitudes and intentions, to worship with groups that have no right to exist or who teach for doctrine the commandments of men.  They assemble with those whose worship is a departure from Scripture. Sadly, no matter how often they say “Lord, Lord,” it will do their souls no good (Mat. 7:21-23).

Stephen remembered a time in the family ancestry of his fellow Jews where idol worship was a plaguing problem (Acts 7:43). They had the tabernacle (and later the temple), but they had a difficult time putting away the gods of their daily lives (read Jer. 7:17,18).  Even wise King Solomon foolishly worshipped the “strange gods” with his wives (1 Ki. 11:4). Today, families may assemble to worship God on Sunday, but the gods (of wealth, material things, pleasure, recreation, entertainment, job, etc.) are always within reach before which they can bow.

But, the person faithfully assembled for true worship is blessed. Such a one is properly responding to what God wants. Jesus, in the above mentioned context concerning the Samaritan woman, informs us that “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).  True worship is spiritual, with acts done accurately by divine authority and with anticipation and proper attitude. The true worshipper wants to offer worship as often as he can as enthusiastically as he can.  He also wants what he offers to be what God wants.  When you assemble this Sunday, plan to place yourself in this last category!