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Worship: A Key to World Evangelism – Part 4

Genesis 22:12, And he said, lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou dearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

Revelation 14:6-7, And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

We have previously looked at how Abraham’s worship was marked by sacrifice, and obedience. Today, I would like to consider a third thing that characterized his worship – Fear.

Growing up, I soon learned the important lesson that Dad and Mom meant what they said, and there were consequences for my disobedience. Their authority, the ability to back up that authority, coupled with their willingness to consistently exercise their power by punishing me for my rebellion, created and nurtured a healthy fear in my heart. I never feared abuse, but I did fear. I feared their displeasure, and the consequences that followed.

If God is not worthy of fear, he is not worthy of worship (Revelation 15:4). It seems that many want to worship a god that is loving, but not holy; a god who exercises no authority over their daily lives, makes no demands, restricts no activity, and instructs with suggestions he has no desire or power to enforce. They gush over a god whose character commands no respect, and whose power and glory strikes no fear.

It is clear from Scripture that Abraham did not worship this kind of god. He bowed his allegiance to the Almighty God. True worship always recognizes and revers God for who he is, and what he has done. And like this faithful patriarch, our worship can rise no higher than our reverence. A reverent heart will never degrade the holy, mighty, and majestic character of God by attempting to worship him in an aweless, ungoverned, and audacious way (Jude 1:12). Fear protects and promotes worship that is in harmony with the love of God (Hebrews 11:7). Love protects us from fear of abuse (I John 4:18). Fear protects us from love of self (II Corinthians 7:1). Like Abraham, our worship will reflect what we truly believe about the character of God. God declared this to be so as he commended Abraham for worship that was marked by fear (Genesis 22:12).

May we embrace this same truth, that the degree to which we fear God, will directly affect our worship and evangelism; as the Psalmist also declared in Psalm 96:9-10, “O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.”

Pastor Brooks Suttle
Royal River Baptist Church
Yarmouth, ME