Pastor Phyl began his sermon by talking about some different fears and phobias that have become increasingly common in recent years. Our society is consumed by fear, and this is shown increasingly as more and more phobias are named. Pastor Phyl illustrated this statement with some of the newest phobias to be given names, such as Alektrophobia, and Globophobia.
But, Pastor Phyl then asked us if we knew that not all fears are bad. The truth is, that there is a need for a change in the way that we perceive things. There are two types of fear, which can be categorised into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fear. The popular acronym for fear, is read as “False Evidence Appearing Real”. In reality there are certain things that it makes perfect sense to be afraid of, such as heights, and large bodies of water. If we did not have some degree of fear of these things, then we would probably be extinct fairly quickly, but more and more frequently, we allow these fears to become larger and larger, until they can prevent us from stepping out at all.
In scripture, the words “Fear not” appear numerous times. God is saying over and over again that we go not need to fear because He is there, right beside us. He is calling upon us to trust Him. However, there is one fear that is advocated in scripture as good and healthy. This is discussed in Psalm 111:10:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise”
In scripture, time is defined by Jesus (Old Testament vs New Testament). The new testament was written in Greek and Arabic. The Old Testament, was written in Hebrew. There are lots of different ‘hidden’ meanings in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew word for ‘fear’ is Qal. It also means ‘to be afraid’, ‘to stand in awe of’ and ‘to have reverence’. It tells us that we must give respect and honour. The word “Niphal” means to be fearful, to be feared, to cause astonishment and awe, and to inspire reverence and awe.
“Awesome” is a word that has become heavily overused in modern society, but if we take it back to it’s roots, ‘Awe’ comes from our soul and oftentimes renders us speechless. The words ‘fear God’ is rooted in the word ‘Awe’, it is up to us, then, to seek out and differentiate this type of fear in scripture.
If we hold someone in reverence, it develops from a place of love and respect. Pastor Phyl used the illustration of a good boss versus a bad boss. In asking Jesus o be the champion of our hearts, we are inviting in a great boss, and as such, we must have respect and high regard for Him, just like we would have for any other ‘good boss’.
Pastor Phyl then went on to give us three points that we need to follow in dealing with this fear.
Firstly, we need to WELCOME this type of fear, because it comes straight from God, and we know that God is perfect and that He loves us, and so, as it says in 1 John 4:18, “But perfect love drives out fear”. This fear must be welcomed in, as we give Him respect and hold Him in high regard. He is a good boss and we don’t want to let Him down. This fear, which comes directly from God, is something that we must encourage and water.
The second point Pastor Phyl gives us is that of AUTHORITY. We think that the world is bad, and out of control, but people in authority command respect, and so, we need to allow God’s authority into our lives.
The third point, Pastor Phyl gave was WISDOM. When we see His splendour, will we dance before Him, fall to our knees, or simply not be able to say anything at all. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It teaches us what it means to have reverence and respect for God and His commands. This is a healthy fear, but we must be careful not to let it control us.
In closing, Pastor Phyl encouraged us to not lose the good fear, and not to turn our backs on God, but to view him with the healthy fear and reverence that He deserves.
Scriptures: Psalm 111:1-10, 1 John 4:18