WHY THE FEAR OF GOD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM

A good article with the same name by Pastor Jack Wellman on http://www.patheos,com.

There is a misconception about the fear of God, but that’s where true wisdom begins.

Fearing God

Fear is not always bad. It keeps us alive, it keeps us from hurting ourselves, it keeps us from hurting others, fear makes us take our children or ourselves to the doctor. Fear keeps former alcoholics away from social gatherings where alcohol may be served, so fear has kept people alive and out of trouble, but it can also become debilitating if it’s an irrational fear, however, the fear of God is not this kind of fear. It’s not the fear of being struck dead or cast into hell because God gives us a choice. Jesus said, Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear

If you reject Christ as your one and only hope, then you have every reason to fear. Jesus said we should “not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). For believers, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love”. (1 John 4:18). Believers fear God, but it’s not the fear of judgment. Their sins were placed upon Christ. This fear is a deep, holy, reverential fear and respect for God and His Word. Fearing God means we obey God and His Word. That is the fear of the Lord, and that is where wisdom begins

Seeking Wisdom: To have wisdom is to have the ability to think and act using past knowledge and life’s experiences, and then understanding how these two relate. Wisdom is having a common sense and insight that only time, experience, and education can bring. Based on this, we can act with confidence in making choices or decisions, and knowing when it is best to avoid certain situations. Most people gain wisdom the hard way…by making mistakes, but these are often the best teachers. If you’re faced with an important decision, then pray to God and ask Him for godly wisdom. James tells us that “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5). Scripture is full of wisdom. Moses wrote that we are to “Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples.” (Deuteronomy 4:6a).

GOD CAN USE EVEN YOU – READ MICHAEL TODD’S STORY

God is using Michael Todd big time, but Michael has no allusions that he is the one doing it and he rightly gives the glory to God.

Todd says he has no illusions that his church’s success can be attributed to savvy marketing, great technological design or his own inspired preaching. In fact, he says his entire testimony served as a test of obedience: Was he willing to obey God even when it didn’t make sense or match his own life plans?

His involvement at his parents’ small house church began after his mother called him on the phone and informed him, “God told me you’re supposed to do something with the youth of this church.” Todd tried to politely refuse—even suggesting that maybe she had misheard God, who meant to use one of her other sons. After all, Todd had never preached or taught from the Bible. But his mom would not be swayed. The next week, Todd became the youth pastor of his parents’ church. There were only seven youth present: three of his brothers, three god brothers and god sister, and one other person. (The church itself had only 15 members.) Todd called the ministry “SO FLY,” an acronym for “Sold Out Free Life Youth.”

“I had never prepared a message or done anything like that,” Todd says. “But God told me four things before I walked in there. He said, ‘Be real. Tell on yourself. Don’t judge them. And love them first.’ And that was my instructional guide into ministry.”

Six months later, Todd says SO FLY had 150 young adults attending weekly. SO FLY had no flashy sound system or game systems. The youth group was 150 young people “literally in a room in a circle,” Todd says.

Today, he recognizes it was a spiritual phenomenon, it was real church, but at the time, he says he didn’t take it that seriously. He didn’t even study or prepare message notes; he just showed up every week planning to share what was going on in his life, talk about the Bible and try to relate to the kids. He says he focused on the four tenets God taught him before his first night of SO FLY. That meant confessing his own sins to the group at times—including pornography addiction and emotional manipulation—and sharing how Jesus personally transformed him every day. He believes that raw, uncomfortable honesty is the real reason young people responded to him.

“I think people are drawn to authenticity,” Todd says. “We have a saying around here: ‘It’s not about perfection; it’s about progression.’ So that gives people license to mess up and be like, ‘It’s my bad. I messed up, but I’m going to get better.’ And I think hearing that from somebody who holds the office of a pastor—when most pastors [project perfection]—is just refreshing to people. … How many pastors or small group leaders actually confess what they’ve done—not in an ethereal story or in an ‘I know a guy’ story? That’s how the Bible tells us we overcome. Yes, it’s by the blood of the Lamb—that’s what God did and what Jesus did on the cross—but then by the words of our testimony. And I think that’s what’s missing today.”

You will need to listen to the Podcast to learn how one of Todd’s sermons got posted on YouTube and went viral. It was certainly not Michael’s’ doing.

Michael now has a huge following on the Internet and it is interesting to read what he has to say about its use by God.

“The first thing you have to know is the internet has changed everything,” Todd says. “And [in some ways], the last thing it has touched is the church—because we want to keep our traditions. I really do believe the Great Commission is to go into all the world and make disciples, but I don’t think we could have done that in a healthy way until now, with the internet. There’s no way I could be a good father and a good husband and all this other stuff, and also go into the world and make disciples. Even if you’re [focusing] only on your house and your neighborhood, that’s still a huge undertaking. But I believe God’s given us the internet … for great good.”

Todd has chosen to obey—and God blessed his ministry beyond his wildest expectations. He spoke to Charisma about his testimony, why the next generation has latched onto his approach to preaching the gospel and how pastoral responsibilities are shifting in the internet age.

Todd never wanted to be a pastor. In fact, as a teenager, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to be a Christian. Though he grew up in a Christian home, he says he never had an authentic relationship with God until his late teenage years. Before then, he says he was primarily raised and discipled by BET and MTV. The church didn’t have answers for the problems he and his peers were going through.

“I messed up so much because I didn’t have an example,” Todd says. “The only rule we were given was, ‘Don’t have sex before you get married.’ Well, what happens when you’ve done that? What happens when the locker room introduced you to pornography? … The church has been so silent about that. In recent years, they’ve started talking about it, but even then, the church is so PG when our middle school locker rooms are R-rated and X-rated. … So what ends up happening is we’re trying to spend the rest of our lives undoing what was presented first.”

That feeling of being failed by the church as a teenager is part of why Todd says he’s so passionate about helping teenagers and young adults today. He says he wishes he’d had a relatable, young mentor like himself when he was struggling with his faith.

F-Berglund-Cover-Story

You can connect with Steve Strang’s Charisma Media’s podcast with Michael Todd by clicking on the link below.

https://www.charismapodcastnetwork.com/show/strangreport/086c66b9-3ef7-4727-8ce9-bf6270119e4b

THE REMNANT CHURCH

The authentic church is totally confident Jesus is on the throne and that God’s purposes for His elect and His planet will unfold exactly as prophesied in His Word.

His church is Holy Spirit empowered, anchored in God’s Word (not tossed about by every “wind of doctrine”) and Kingdom focused.

Such churches are made up of remnant people. Jesus Himself, in His great prayer for His disciples in John 17, indirectly reveals their characteristics:

  • They know Jesus as Lord and Saviour. It is a personal relationship and above all else they want to make Him known. They trust and obey Him.
  • They understand the role the Holy Spirit has in their life to be their counsellor, comforter and teacher and they seek His guidance in all things.
  • They cherish God’s Word. It is truth, the way of life.
  • They are commissioned to make disciples.
  • They are not “of” this world but in it to complete God’s set purpose. They are set apart, dedicated to the work entrusted to them.
  • They are hated by the world because of their total commitment to Christ and the Gospel.
The Way of Life

ARE YOU DESTROYING THE CHURCH?

“Hallowed be your name”. What is sacred? What is holy? Do we understand that our body is now the temple of the Holy Spirit and what that means?

Francis Chan will challenge you over how we deal with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Get your home group to watch this sermon.

Do we realise how dangerous it is to be a divisive Christian. Do we have a healthy fear of the Lord? We are not to destroy the temple of the Holy Spirit. Don’t say careless stuff to each other. Defend each other, no unwholesome speech to come out of our mouths. God will humble the proud. Help us to repent Lord, prune us Lord so we will produce more fruit.

Why John 17 unity? So the world will believe that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour.

WILL YOU EXPOSE THE UNFRUITFUL WORKS OF DARKNESS?

Are we prepared to stand up against what is wrong in God’s sight? How come churches are not standing up against abortion, same sex marriage, transgender issues. The Bible says, we are to expose the unfruitful works of darkness.

This sermon Politics: Expose the Unfruitful Works of Darkness by Pastor Shane Idleman will challenge you to take God’s Word seriously on these issues. You will see clearly, up front, that Pastor Shane is passionate about how Christians should be living their lives in these “last days” when evil abounds.

DON’T EXPECT GOD TO FINISH WHAT YOU START

Pastor Michael Todd has gone from relatively unknown to a celebrity pastor in just months. Todd, who leads Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, says it all began when he received a word from God to stop striving in his own power and “slow down.He obeyed. Then in December 2017, a popular social media account randomly found and tweeted a 10-minute video from one of his sermons, which got 2 million views in just 48 hours. Now he’s nationally knownthrough none of his own striving or effort. Michael knows God did it, and rightly, God gets the glory. He shares his incredible story with Elevation Church’s Tim Summers in this video.

REJECTION: HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT?

JESUS IS OF COURSE OUR PRIME EXAMPLE OF HOW TO HANDLE IT. HE WAS REJECTED BY THE NATION HE CAME TO SAVE.

Jesus faced it in the early phases of His ministry, in His own town of Nazareth, when people challenged Him with questions: Are you truly the Son of God?  Aren’t you the son of Joseph the carpenter?  Why do you think you are so special?  Can you truly do the things you say you can do?  Are you out of your mind?  To that, Jesus proclaimed, “No prophet is accepted in his own country.” Luke 4:24

Moses defended one of the Hebrews, because of his compassion for his own people, by killing an Egyptian who was beating on a Hebrew.  Soon after that, he attempted to mediate between two Hebrews and was rejected with this statement: “Who made you prince and a judge over us?Exodus 2:14

Joseph was rejected by his family after sharing his dreams, his father responded, ”What is this dream that you have dreamed?  Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?Genesis 10. We know the end of the story; Joseph persevered, believing in God, despite the circumstances, knowing God was working out His purposes in Joseph’s life.

David – Who can forget the ridicule the future king of Israel received from one of his brothers for believing that he could bring down Goliath? “Now Eliab his older brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, ’Why did you come down here?  And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness?  I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.’”  I Samuel 17:28

Martin Luther, after taking a stand for the truth of God’s word (sole authority) was rejected/persecuted by the church. He was willing to die to get the truth of God’s word out to the world – the Protestant Reformation – 500 year anniversary being celebrated this year.

As you can see, even the best of the best have been rejected: deliverers, kings, governors, and even our Saviour.

However, they did not allow their rejection to hinder their destiny. Instead, they managed to persevere in spite of the rejection, believing in their God and His purpose for their lives.  They fully embraced their destiny and allowed their conviction to shield them from the negativity. Not only did these people succeed, God also used them to help and save the very people that rejected them.

What can you do to ensure that the rejections you face do not hinder your destiny? 1. Accept rejection as a part of your journey. 2. Pray for those who reject you. 3. Daily study God’s word. 4. Embrace your comforter, the Holy Spirit and engage him as your counsellor and teacher – pray in the Spirit. 5. Resist the devil and he will flee. 5. Above all keep an eternal focus.

Rejection yields an opportunity to experience great mercy and favour from the Lord.