Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Fear of God


Father Ignatius waited until the congregation sat down and then he started his sermon.

“We often read in the Bible about people fearing God, and the fear of God. And that’s an issue which I would like to address today.

“What is meant by the fear of God?

“Do we fear that unless we obey Him and do as He commands He’ll send thunder and lightning from heaven and destroy us and our cities? Like in Sodom and Gomorrah?

“Or perhaps He would allow illness and terrible things to happen to us because we failed Him in some way or other?”

The priest stopped for a few seconds to gauge the mood of the congregation; and then continued.

“There are, of course, many kinds of fear. If a tiger were to suddenly enter this church we would all fear for our lives and we’d run out from every available exit. Most of us would even forget to genuflect as we rushed out of the building.”

The congregation laughed.

“But that is not the fear I speak of …

“If we believe that our God is a loving, caring fatherly God, whose only wish is that some day we all join Him in Heaven; then what is there to fear?

“Our fear is not, and should not be, a fear borne of the possibility of punishment and retribution. A fear that, unless we do as He says, we’ll end up in hell and eternal damnation.

“That is not the fear that God wishes for us. After all, He gave us the choice to love Him or not.

“Sadly, many do not either love Him or fear Him. And they seem to be thriving all right! He has not punished them or turned them into pillars of salt! In His loving nature, He has allowed them the luxury to choose as they wish.

“So … what fear is there for us then, who proclaim to believe in Him and to love Him?

“It is the fear of hurting Him.

“I repeat … the fear of hurting Him. Just as when we have a loving father or mother who do the utmost for us; and they set their standards and values to teach us how to grow up as decent, kind human beings. We, their children, follow their rules, through gritted teeth perhaps, just because we love them and do not want to hurt them.

“That’s the kind of fear we owe our God, our Creator and our loving Father in Heaven. The fear of hurting Him. The fear of disappointing Him by our behavior. A fear borne out of respect for Him; a fear nurtured by true love given to Him freely just as He has loved us.

“Not a fear of what He might do to us. But a fear of hurting someone who loves us.

“Remember … even the devil fears God. But he fears Him in a different way. He fears Him because he knows Him very well. The devil certainly knows God better than any of us does; because he has met Him face to face.

“And yet, having been close to God and experienced His love, the devil chose to disobey and strike out independently on his own. He thought he could do better than love and follow his Creator.

“And God’s loving nature let him go. He did not punish him and destroy him once and for all. He just allowed him to walk away free out of Paradise.

“It is that very act of rebellion by the devil which resulted in death for all of us. We were not destined to die, but to share Paradise for eternity with God. But the devil in his destructive, impudent rebellious nature has upset what was meant to be and his sin resulted in us undergoing death.

“God our Creator favors life. He created life.  In order to redeem us and save us from death, He loved us so much that He sent us His only Son, Jesus, so that we may have life, and have it to the full.

“All we have to do to receive this eternal life is to accept Jesus as God’s only Son, our Savior, and to fear the possibility of ever hurting Him again by our behavior.

“God will never send us to hell. It is we who choose to go there by our way of life; and by choosing the devil instead.”

16 comments:

  1. A very interesting take on "fear". I never really thought about that kind of fear when thinking about fearing God. But of course, you are right ... I hate when I disappoint Him! God bless you.

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    1. Thank you so much Michael.

      I feel that a lot of people see God as a punishing authority, and therefore fear Him, when they really should not.

      God bless.

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  2. Victor #1... you're so right when you say in so many words that those who love their parents hate to see them cry but then again there are others who truly believe that they don't really need HIM, GOD (Good Old Dad) because they believe that with the help of The Evil Trinity (The Devil, Satan and Lucyfer). As a matter of Deradicalisation fact they can serve their sentence over and over again with the help of "Death" that their master created... there's no truth that when GOD passes gas, galaxies are created... the real truth is that if some angels didn't light that gas where would the universe be so let's raise a glass of Wine o’clock to "Death" and all the good "IT" brings US (usual sinners) and................................................................and.....................................................and...

    END YA SAY sinner vic?... DON'T BE LIKE THAT! BE NICE NOW!

    Got to go wife calling me to go to church...

    Happy Sunday everyone.

    God Bless

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    1. Happy Sunday to you and yours. Pray for me.

      God bless.

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    2. Victor #2, where have you been? You don't visit me any more. :(

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    3. Thank you for the kind comment Manny!

      Truth is that since I've found my way back on Facebook and been introduced to new relatives that I didn't even know I knew... anyway... long story short, since then, I still have not had the time to visit our old friend "The Anchoress" and Crystal who kept me in "Perspective"... let's not forget all those others who also did cut me some slack and believe "IT" or not Mx are even welcomed at "Slactivist" where they can find a LOT of Luv, "I" mean love... I could go on and on but YA must get my drift?... Look on the bright side Man, "IT" probably won't take too long before my new found relative friends lose interest in my reality spiritual sometime more bits, "I" mean morbid reputed funny stories...

      I really do thank you for your support! "I" think? Sometimes!...LOL

      God Bless

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  3. That is the proper kind of "fear" we should have towards our loving Father. I pray about that a lot too: please keep me from hurting YOU by hurting one of your children. The older I get, the more I believe that kindness is what pleases God most, after a person seeks salvation, of course, that's the most important. And like He says, we should "work out our salvation with fear and trembling ..." [Philippians 2:12] Not the debilitating kind of fear but the "I don't want to hurt God or His witness" kind of fear.
    Thanks for making me think this morning. *giggle* Hope your day is blessed too Victor. ~:)

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    1. Thank you Sparky for your kind words. As you say, we should fear of hurting God and His creatures, our fellow beings.

      God bless you my friend.

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  4. Hi Victor! I really enjoyed your description of fear, as in being sad to think of hurting Christ. That's an interpretation I have not heard of before. Usually, I think of the 'awe' factor, of being unable to understand the mercy and love of God.

    But this is a more active way to see fear. I have a choice to decide if I will hurt Him or not through personal sin, and through my dealings with others. I get that! Thank you for this new perspective!
    Blessings to you and yours always,
    Ceil

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    1. Many thanx Ceil for your encouraging words. I suspect in the Old Testament people had reason to fear God, because He hit them on the head when they did wrong. But in reality, since our salvation through Christ, our fear should be one of hurting Him by our actions.

      God bless you and your family.

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  5. Very nice sermon. I wish Fr. Ignatius would come and visit my parish some time. We are in need of spicing up our homilies.

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    1. Thank you Manny for your kind words.

      Father Francis Maple, whom I know and have mentioned here often, does a Daily Sermon online at this address: http://fatherfrancismaple.co.uk/content/

      You may wish to visit him sometime.

      God bless.

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    2. Victor #1, I paid Father Francis Maple a visit and I even read his sermon... "CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM IS GOOD FOR US"... Long story short, I gave him a five star rating for "IT".

      Yes I do pray for you also everyday... I say... Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world; Have mercy on US (usual sinners)..

      Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world; Have mercy on US (usual sinners)...

      Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world; Grant US (usual sinners) a Spec of Your Peace.

      God Bless you and yours

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  6. Wonderful way of explaining "fear of the Lord." I'm still amazed at the true wisdom of Father Ignatius! Thank you!! Wishing you well!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Cathy.

      God bless you.

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