This week, Pastor Miles and many of the married couples at the Rock celebrated their marriage at the annual Rock Marriage Retreat.
Filling in for Pastor Miles was special guest speaker, Ricky Page, from San Diego Christian College.
The Fear of the Lord
We know what it is to fear the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:11
The American culture doesn't understand biblical fear. It is a foreign concept. We usually have two ideas of fear: first, it is a phobia we may have. We are fearful of snakes or heights or being in a car wreck. This is the kind of fear that we can laugh at. It is a surface fear that is meant to motivate us away from danger.
Second, we think of fear as a limiting factor in our life. Those things that make us afraid should be taken out of our lives altogether. The world tells us to "face our fear, overcome fear," and even "ignore fear." Fear is seen as a weakness, something that holds us back and will keep us down. In this way, we push fear away from us, in an effort to distance ourselves from it altogether.
But, in the Bible, fear of God is something altogether different. Perhaps a good way of looking at being fearful of God is to call to mind a police officer or soldier. Both police officers and soldiers carry weapons, but don't use them unless they have to. The idea of being afraid of God is knowing of all his awesome power and strength and respecting Him for it. Fear, in the biblical sense, is understanding and respecting (worshipping) God.
God's Love to Us
For Christ's love compels us. 2 Corinthians, 5:15
Once we've come to a place where we are walking in the fear of God, we then have a great opportunity to move into a place where we can begin to grasp His great love. It is only after realizing his awesomeness that His love truly shines through.
What is love? Some people look at love as a romantic thing. They think in terms of dating and flirting and phone calls and dinners and movies. Popular songs and movies give us amazing ideas of what love can be, but the people who embody these characters and songs can never measure up to the standard of love that they set forth.
The Bible tells us that the love God has for us is all-inclusive. It goes beyond the fickle kind of love that this world offers us. It goes to a much deeper place.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
To catch a glimpse of what Paul (the writer of the Corinthian letters) is getting at, look again at the above passage and place your name in place of love, "__________ is patient, __________ is kind." Then you will begin to see how this type of love blows away anything that the world will offer us.
But God doesn't stop at His word. He takes what the Bible says and puts it into action. It's one thing for a religious leader to tell us what to do. It is an entirely different thing for that same leader to do what he is telling us to. God, the only god, took his only son Jesus and allowed him to be sacrificed in the most humiliating and inhumane way; death on a cross.
Jesus didn't have to do it, he chose to. God showed his love for the world by giving his only Son. Jesus showed his love for God the Father by obeying him and dying for the sins of the world.
Instead of cleansing the world of sin, God could have destroyed this world and started over. After all, he did it once and could easily do it again. But, His love for us overcame his ability to destroy us. He chose, instead, to cleanse the world himself - for us - by the death of his son.
I don't know about you, but I'm glad God spared us the fearful side of himself and, instead, cleansed us through the loving side of himself.