Nov 17th, 2016
In tonight’s sermon, Eric Knopf dives headfirst into a big topic: Fear of the Lord. The “fear of the Lord” is a widely discussed and often misused phrase in today’s church. The book of Proverbs states that the “Fear of the Lord” is the beginning of wisdom. And at the same time, Jesus frequently commands His disciples NOT to fear. When facing this apparent contradiction, we must first recognize the multiple definitions of the Greek noun phobos. According to the New Testament Greek Lexicon, phobos can mean either “fear, dread, and terror,” or, “reverence for one’s husband.” These definitions are not interchangeable, and they require a contextual distinction for accurate understanding.
Sadly, while the church does focus on the Grace of God to bring people in, they often use the “Fear of the Lord—with an emphasis on the terror based definition—as a sin prevention and behavior grooming tool. In doing so, the church unintentionally disciples followers into a faith damaging, fear-based relationship with their loving Father. In the words of the Eric’s sermon, “it’s impossible to authentically love someone you also fear.”
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” -- 1st John 4:18