The Minister’s Fear of God

The Fear of GodA minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ should know the smile of God and the fear of God. According to Al Martin:

The best definition I know of the fear of God is found in John Brown’s Commentary on I Peter where he uses eighteen pages to expound the little phrase ‘fear God.’ The essence of his comments on that section is that the fear of God is an attitude and disposition in which one regards the smile of God as his greatest delight, and hence his primary aim, and the frown of God as the greatest thing to be dreaded and avoided. A man, who walks in the fear of God amongst men, as the servant of men, but with an eye single to the smile or frown of God, is the man whose motive is such that his tongue will be loosed to speak the mind of God. God said to Jeremiah, ‘Be not afraid of their faces lest I confound thee before them. They shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee, for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.’ Jeremiah had previously said to the Lord, upon the indication of God’s call to the prophetic office, ‘But I am a child, I know not how to speak.’ God said to Jeremiah, ‘Say not, I am a child, for to whomsoever I shall send thee thou shalt go, and whatsoever I command thee, thou shalt speak.’ God was saying, in essence, that his call to the prophetic office was not a matter of his experience or age, but that God was looking for a vessel that would go where He would send it, and would say what He would command it. In I Thessalonians 2:4 the Apostle Paul declares, ‘As we were allowed of God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God who trieth our hearts.’

One of the elements of powerful preaching is preaching as a man that has been liberated. Liberated from what? From the ensnaring effects of the fear of men. You are never free to be an instrument of blessing to your people unless you are free from the effects of their smiles and their frowns. People know when you can be bought by their smiles and beaten by their frowns. It will not take them long to discern whether or not you are a man who is not affected either by their smiles or by their frowns. Such a man is a free man in Christ. The Word of God declares, ‘The fear of man bringeth a snare.’ Such fear will snare your tongue, so that when those flashes of spiritual light come to you in the pulpit, and there are applications that you know will sting and wound some choice member of the church, if your eye is to men, you will be unable to give utterance to that which you know you ought to. But when you are free from your people’s smiles or frowns, you are at liberty to be an instrument of blessing to them. I submit that if there is to be increased power in the pulpit, there must be a return to the purity of motivation, comprised in the fear of God. (“What’s Wrong with Preaching?”)

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  1. Reblogged this on My Delight and My Counsellors.

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