"Fear God and Give Him Glory"

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(Revelation 14, Ecclesiastes 12, Matthew 5 & 6
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 4

“Fear God and Give Him Glory”

(Revelation 14, Ecclesiastes 12, Matthew 5 & 6)

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Many years ago I purchased a black baseball type cap that says in big red letters on the front, “Fear God.” A great rebuke to pagans, right! And a reminder to the rest of us. However, I have rarely worn it. Why? One reason is that I am concerned that people will misunderstand it. What does it mean to “fear God?” When humans are approached by angels they are told “fear not.” See Luke 1:28-30. This seems to be a concern about actual fear. If angels create fear, then certainly God is to be literally feared. But literal fear seems inconsistent with our understanding of Jesus. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Fear God
    1. Read Revelation 14:7. Let’s put this in terms that most people can understand. If you have been charged with a crime, and the jury is about to announce its judgment, would you feel real fear - the kind of fear that makes you tremble? (Yes. The context here is “judgment” and therefore the trembling kind of fear seems logical based on our understanding of life.)
      1. Read Luke 12:5. The phrase here is, according to Robertson’s Word Pictures, the same as in Revelation 14:7. Is this trembling fear? (If I were told that I would be killed and tossed into hell that would be the worst possible outcome - and I would tremble.)
      2. Read Revelation 19:5. This uses the same Greek word for fear. Can you imagine that those who are praising God in heaven are also trembling in fear?
        1. If you were God, would you want to be praised by someone who is frightened of you?
    2. Look again at Revelation 14:7. Do you have a theory as to why the same Greek word means both being scared and an attitude of praise? (It is typical that a word in a language can have several meanings. The context is what helps us to understand what is meant. What do you think “fear” means in the context of this verse which also uses the phrases “give Him glory” and “worship Him [who is the Creator]?” (The context tells us that it means mostly respect and awe.)
      1. Should some people tremble in fear before God? (Absolutely. Those who are His enemies, His opponents. Those who fear His judgment.)
      2. My father was a public school administrator for most of his professional life. I recall that when he was a middle school principal we walked past an open classroom door and my father saw a boy slumped in his chair. My father snapped his fingers and the boy immediately straightened up! Do you think that boy and I had the same view of my father? (No. We both feared him, but I knew that my father loved me absolutely.)
  2. The Preacher
    1. Read Ecclesiastes 12:9-10. What is the Preacher doing that is commendable? (He is carefully studying and logically presenting many proverbs.)
      1. What is the goal of this Preacher? (To bring delight and truth to his audience.)
      2. Do you think the Preacher is doing the right thing? (I love a carefully prepared and organized sermon that brings me joy.)
    2. Read Ecclesiastes 12:11. Are “goads” or “nails” like words of delight? Is this related to the words of the Preacher?(I think this means that a delightful sermon contains points that make us seriously consider our life. They “goad” us in the right direction.)
      1. Notice the reference to “nails firmly fixed.” What is a “nail” in a sermon? After lunch have you completely forgotten the sermon?
      2. Not too long ago I was speaking to a young man who I had not seen in years. He told me that he recalled stories from sermons I had preached at least ten years before. He was a young teenager when he heard them and I was astonished that he remembered them. I asked him if he remember the spiritual point made by the story. He did not. My stories nailed the story, but not the point. How can we “nail” the point?
    3. Read Ecclesiastes 12:12-13. Is the work of the Preacher leading in the right direction? (Yes. There are all sorts of books that weary us with all of their details. But a delightful sermon that pricks our conscience and is memorable will direct us to “fear God and keep His commandments.” This gives us another view of the meaning of fearing God.)
      1. What lesson do we learn from the reference to “much study” and “weariness?” (Sermons should not only delight, they must not weary us. Keeping it simple, making complex subjects simple and interesting, helps to nail the point.)
    4. Read Ecclesiastes 12:14. What parallel do you see with Revelation 14:7? (They both are stated in the context of a coming judgment.)
  3. Keeping Commandments and Giving Glory
    1. Read Ephesians 2:8-9. What is the connection between keeping the law and being saved? (We are not saved by our works of keeping the law.)
    2. Read Ephesians 2:10. We are God’s “workmanship” created “for good works.” What does that suggest is a reason for us to do good works? (A craftsman is proud of his work. Jesus wants us to be living examples of what it means to be a Christian. We want to make Jesus proud of us.)
    3. Read Matthew 5:14-15. What should we do with a light? (Put it where it can be seen.)
      1. This text says that we are “the light of the world.” Why are these verses more concerned about the placement of the light than the nature of the light? (To truly be a follower of God means that we are inherently “light.” That does not, however, resolve the placement question.)
    4. Read Matthew 5:16. This better explains the light. What is the light of a Christian? (“Good works.”)
      1. What is the result of you doing good works? (You bring glory to God.)
      2. If your good works are the light that brings glory to God, how do we place our good works where the world can see them? How do we answer the placement challenge?
    5. Read Matthew 6:1-2. How do you reconcile this advice with the idea that our good works need to be seen so that we can bring glory to God?
      1. What does it mean that these people who are trumpeting their good works “have received their reward?” (The praise of others is the extent of their reward.)
    6. Read Matthew 6:3-4. Can you come up with a placement plan that helps you to separate these good works in Matthew 6 from the good works in Matthew 5? (If you look at Matthew 6:4 it seems that the goal of the works in Matthew 6 is a reward for the person doing the good works. In Matthew 5 the goal of the works is to bring glory to God.)
      1. Does that mean that the answer for separation is to ask “What is my goal in these works?”
        1. Once we separate them will that help with the continuing mystery about how we should place them so that the world will see our good works?
      2. Is this easy to separate? (Not for me. My goal in writing these lessons is to encourage people to read the Bible and consider the will of God. This brings glory to God. Last week an important person with a great deal of influence told me he regularly reads these studies. I considered that a great compliment and it brought glory to me.)
      3. If I am not the only one who has trouble separating giving glory to God and glory to me, what is the answer? Should we ask what our primary purpose for good works is?
    7. Read Psalms 75:4-7. Is this the answer to how we should approach good works? (Yes. We should not be the one lifting ourselves up for our glory. That was the problem in Matthew 6. Instead, we should wait on God to lift (or not lift) us up. We should leave the placement (letting our light shine) to God.)
    8. Friend, the goal of your life is to fear God and bring Him glory. These goals merge in the attitude of pleasing God by doing His will. Will you ask the Holy Spirit to help you to properly fear God and bring glory to Him?
  4. Next week: The Good News of the Judgment.