Acts 2: 43
Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.
Revelation 15: 2-4
And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb:
‘Great and marvellous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways, King of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.’
The King James Version translates Acts 2: 43:
“And fear came upon every soul...”
This early church had a holy fear of the Lord. When I talk about the fear of the Lord, I don’t mean that we should be afraid of God. However we should have a holy reverence towards Him.
One of my greatest concerns is that most Christians have become much too casual about God. We’ve gone from one extreme, where God is fearful, remote and distant – to, in trying to communicate the closeness, friendship and intimacy we can enjoy with God – some of us have gone too far and have lost that sense of awe, reverence, respect, of the transcendence of God – His holiness, righteousness, majesty and power.
I hear many Christians speak so casually about ‘the big man in the sky’, my 'best buddy' God. I watch as people stand during sung worship or prayer making jokes and having conversations. They treat it like it all means nothing and I can't help but ask – where is the fear of the LORD?
God is not like us only a bit bigger – God is God, there is no one like Him. He is our loving Heavenly Father, but He is also the holy, righteous judge of all the earth.
The early church had such an intimacy with God, but they never lost that sense of reverence. Look at what we read in Acts 9:31:
“Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.”
They lived in the fear of the LORD and were encouraged by the Holy Spirit. The otherness of God and the intimacy of the Holy Spirit went together.
Some of need to repent of being too casual and flippant in how we talk about and relate to God. We need to ask God to give us a fresh revelation of who He really is, and to take away any small notions or ideas we may have developed.
The words of AW Tozer are as applicable today as they were 50 years ago when he wrote them:
“The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has not done deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic.”