I believe one of the things that people put as a high priority in life is comfort. We want to live in comfort in our homes, in our finances, and in our relationships. Comfort in and of itself is not a bad thing, but it can cause problems in our pursuit of God. God wants us to know Him and walk in faith just like Jesus which means getting out of our comfort zones. The other thing that comfort will do is cause us to causally come into God’s presence and not give Him the honor and reverence that He deserves. If we want to encounter God in a way that will bring transformation and power to our lives, we need to make sure that we invite Him in a way that honors and gives Him the glory and praise that He truly deserves. God clearly tells us how to come into His presence throughout Scripture. For next few weeks, we are going to look at how God wants us to come into His presence. Everything will change in our gatherings and in our lives when we come to Jesus the right way. Today we look at coming to Jesus in fear.
I. Jesus invites us to come to Him
James 4:8: Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
It’s clear throughout Scripture that God pursues us relentlessly. He longs for relationship with us, but He does not force us to have a relationship with Him. It’s important to see that this verse tells us that we first come close to God and then He will come close to us.
II. What does it mean to fear the Lord?
When we are talking about fearing God, we are not talking about being afraid of Him. You don’t want to be around someone that you are afraid or have a relationship with them.
“To fear God is to love Him so much we are afraid to be away from Him.”
John Bevere, “What Fearing God Actually Looks Like”
Let’s look at some verses that talk about fearing God.
Psalm 31:19: How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world.
God stores up goodness for those who fear Him. He lavishes His goodness on us and the world will take notice.
Proverbs 22:4: True humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor, and long life.
Psalm 145:19: He grants the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
He grants the desires of those who fear Him.
Malachi 4:2: “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.
The fear of the Lord will bring healing.
This next portion of Scripture gives us a good idea of how we come into God’s presence in fear.
Psalm 34:1-11: I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
We come to the Lord with praise and worship declaring His greatness. We are thanking Him for all that He has done and is doing in our lives.
God surrounds and defends those who fear Him. Those who fear Him will have all that they need.
Psalm 89:7 (NKJV): God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
We need to fear God in our gatherings.
III. God wants us to encounter Him
Isaiah 6:1-8: It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke. Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.” Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
This text shows the awesomeness of being in the presence of God. The word “Lord” here is is Adonai, which means “Supreme Lord and Master.”
Seraphim were the angels closest to the Throne of God. Their name means “burning ones.” Burning with the Love and passion of God.
Two of their wings covered their faces - this was out of respect for God’s glory.
Two covered their feet (or body) - this shows modesty.
With two wings they flew - this shows instant obedience.
Isaiah saw his own sin in the light of the Lord. The seraphim touched his mouth and made him clean. This represents the confession of sin and the confession that Jesus is Lord that makes us clean. God can make any vessel clean and ready to be used for His purposes.
God wants us to draw near to Him. He wants to invade our lives. He wants to invade our gathering. When we come into the presence of a Holy God, we need to come to Him in fear and humility. God wants to do more than we can even imagine, but the only way these things can happen is through the Lord. Fear is what reminds us of that. We can’t live without Him.