November 3, 2013 Evening:
Title: Let us Fear
Old Testament Passage: Psalm 44 – Honest speech before God in the midst of deep distress
Gospel Passage: Mark 14:10-11 – Judas agrees to betray Jesus – unbelief
Sermon Text: Hebrews 4:1 – The appropriate fear of not entering into the rest of God
Sermon Point: There is a right and healthy fear of disobeying God that is an aid to our sanctification
It is very appropriate for Christians to make good use of the Old Testament Scriptures in our current fight for holiness of heart and righteousness of life. Psalm 95 is very worthy of our careful consideration. The author of Hebrews has been leading us in this consideration with particular attention to the turning point in the psalm, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
while the promise of entering his rest still stands,
His point is that these words were not written merely as a matter of historical commentary. They are still very useful. We are not trying to get into the land of Canaan, but there remains the promise of entering his rest.
A promise is not our free pass to a life of laziness but a call to have confidence in the power of God as we seek to serve Him.
let us fear
We are called by the author of Hebrews to a life of fear. That just sounds wrong. But the words are written plainly enough for every reader to understand: “Let us fear.” Perfect love, the love of Christ for us, casts out every inappropriate fear for the Christian. That same perfect love moves us forward in sanctification. It is still the truth that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Who is God after all? How will we stand before Him? If it is possible to grieve the Holy Spirit, can it be safe for us to live in unbelief? Let us fear the Lord, remember His promises, and then reengage in our good commitments that we have made before Him in the presence of many witnesses.
lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.
We don’t want to live as those who do not seem destined for heaven. We don’t want to be removed from the community of “rest” that has found the mercy of God and is testifying to the truth of Christ throughout the earth.
Think of the testing of Jesus’ faith on the cross. Think of what His victory means for you. Then follow Him by the grace He supplies. This is the way to hold on to His promises.
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.