If we are serious about seeking revival in our church and region, we have to understand what Proverbs says about the fear of the Lord.
November 17, 2023
Speaker: Greg Sanders
Passage: Proverbs 1:5-7
Lord, as we stand before You, the church redeemed, incredibly grateful for the ability to say, ‘Jesus, I love You,’ my prayer for us is that our understanding of who You are is increased and that our ability to comprehend who You are increases.
In this moment, would You give us the unique spiritual gift of having our lens on You magnified?
Holy Spirit, as we take a look at the things You’re whispering today, I ask for wisdom and understanding to be released.
I feel like this is a line in the sand, like a benchmark moment for us. We surrender our hearts to You. Can You lead us, guide us, and teach us? I’m going to grab my Bible and try to figure out where we’re going.
We pray every Wednesday night — this week we’ll be at the Colorado House Of Prayer, and I’ll talk about that at the end of the gathering. We get together to pray because I think it’s what the church is supposed to do. In truth, I think, historically, the church has talked about prayer a lot but doesn’t do it together a lot. We’re trying to push against that norm and create a better understanding.
One of the things the Lord led us into was beginning to pray for an increase in the “fear of the Lord,” which is a churchy phrase. It’s really easy for us not to understand what it means. I grew up in church, and I grew up in “crazy” church. We had everything short of snake handling. You think I’m joking. I’m not.
Strangely, I never heard the fear of the Lord taught. I was 29 or 30 before the concept ever began to take root in my life. It’s like the Lord’s been whispering about the fear of the Lord a lot. I want to talk about the fear of the Lord, and I want to do a quick tutorial.
We’re going to start with everybody 30 and under. So all of you that are excluded from that, you know who you are. I want somebody, anybody 30 and under to explain to me just what is the fear of the Lord. How many would say, “I know how to explain it?” Raise your hand. I’m just curious.
“Study the Scripture. You find something in there, and it’s supposed to be lived into. You follow it instead of doing what you want.” It’s a nice succinct answer. Anybody else?
“Being humble enough to know His way is better.” Good answer. Anybody else? All right. Let me ask you a different question.
Let me add one more exclusivity to this club. Anybody who didn’t grow up in church. So you’ve got to be under 30, and you couldn’t have grown up in church. Does anybody here know the answer to the fear of the Lord?
“The fear of living without the Lord.” I like that answer.
Here’s why I’m doing this tutorial. It’s great to talk about things like the fear of the Lord. It’s awful when we don’t define it or teach it. We’ve been crying out for revival and outpouring in our region for years. Vintage is 13-plus years old. I was crying out for revival in this region before Vintage. Wednesday night, the Lord whispered something to me that was brand new. He said, “The cry for revival is the second prayer. The first prayer is the fear of the Lord.”
I think we’re at a moment in the family where the answer is that He’s inviting us to learn what it looks like to fear Him. Proverbs chapter one. If you have your Bible, let’s go there for a second. I’m making it up on the fly. But last time I checked, He’s the Lord of the church. When He asks for something, we respond, even if it’s embarrassing and terrifying.
Holy Spirit, as we do this, would You lead us and guide us? We want to be taught of You. We want to be led and guided of You, by You. I could care less what the popularity index is for me at the end of this, but I want people to know what You’re saying. We want to hear from You. As we go through the Scripture, would You lead it?
I’ll give you my pre-Proverbs teaching. I can’t express how significant a moment I think this is for us. If the Lord’s very clearly on it for this house, “Those who are wise listen to these Proverbs and become even wiser. Let those who understand receive guidance by exploring the depth of meaning in these Proverbs, parables in wise sayings, and riddles.” That’s Proverbs chapter one, verses five and six.
It’s a promise that any of us who are willing to spend our life digging into the book of Proverbs alone, not the whole Bible, just the book of Proverbs, this is what will happen in our life. Here’s the Greg Sanders rule for what that looks like.
When I was nine years old, a guy named John Mall was a superintendent of the district of the church I grew up in. He knew I had a loud mouth that was probably going into preaching.
He pulled me aside and said, “You need to start reading the Proverbs every day.” Read one a day. There are 31 chapters. It works to read one each day for a month. He took me to this first passage and said, “If you do this, God will give you wisdom. He’ll teach you.” I was like, alright, cool. Proverbs chapter one, verse seven.
Remember how we’ve been studying Revelation, and it’s a beautiful perfection in seven? Verse seven is incredibly important here. It says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Only fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
All week long, I’ve been chewing on this privately because it came up Wednesday night, and the truncated version is that the fear of the Lord is the beginning. For your life, for my life, everything that He wants of us and for us is built on the other side of us learning how to step into this thing called the fear of the Lord.
Am I supposed to be afraid of God? Yes, but in a good way. The word in the Hebrew is “to revere” or “to have reverence.” It’s as it was said. It’s basically to assume He knows best. Everything in your life begins with this decision to say, “What comes out of His mouth, what lies within His heart, what He says to do, how He says to think, I’m going to do that.” Everything.
Therefore, the fear of the Lord for us becomes hidden in this decision to follow the way of the Lord or not. Proverbs will say that those who stay on the right path fear the Lord. It’s really simple. We know what level we fear the Lord by our willingness to obey how He says to live. There’s a nuance to the fear of the Lord. It’s this sense of awe and wonder.
When He speaks, we push pause on everything and listen. Like right now, the fear of the Lord is for you and me in a gathering where the Lord’s begun to whisper about growing in the fear of the Lord. That should push total pause for everybody’s brain and go, “I need to begin to assess my life according to the fear of the Lord.”
How do I do that? Simple. Are there any areas in your life that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt don’t line up with how He says to live? The beginning of the fear of the Lord is to bring those to the Lord and say, “I’ve been living in ways that are contrary or against how You said to live.” The fear of the Lord was never given to us as a tutor for punishment. It was given to us because His statement here is the fear of the Lord is the beginning. It’s the doorway to everything.
If you don’t fear the Lord, My son or My daughter, you’ll never get anywhere with Me in the Kingdom. You can’t become who I called you to be. You can’t do what I gave you to do. You can’t achieve what I give you to achieve. You can’t be blessed like I want you to be blessed. None of it happens if you don’t learn how to fear Me.
But the moment you learn how to fear Me, the path of the righteous becomes like the light of dawn. It goes up and to the right because every step is line upon line. It’s precept upon precept. It’s block upon block.
He is building in us what He wants us to be, and the fear of the Lord is the thing He’s using to do that.
The Kingdom is not difficult. “Your name is like honey on my lips.” What does that mean?
It means, “Jesus, what You have to say is what I’m going to consume. It’s the thing I’m going to taste. I want to chew on it. When You whisper it, I’m thinking about it.”
“Your Spirit’s like water to my soul.” Every time I get thirsty, every time I have an appetite, every time I have a desire, every time I find myself feeling like I need something, I want more of Jesus.
When you feel like you need sin like you need water. You’re thinking, “I need this because I need to fill the void.” It’s His Spirit that I’m going to go to instead.
We should pray instead, “Holy Spirit, I’m feeling thirsty right now. Pour into me. I feel those old appetites rising up. I feel that desire to go get hammered because I’m bored. Would you fill me up, Holy Spirit, instead?”
You feel the desire to go back into pornography or go back into whatever the poison is for you, they’re all the same. Instead, you’re going to say, “Holy Spirit, would You pour into me, please? “
“Your Word is a lamp unto my feet.” What does that mean? It means that if I’m not living this, I’m living in the dark. I travel a lot for business, and I stay in Marriotts all the time. Every time I go to the counter, they’re like, “Hello, Mr. Sanders, thank you for being a titanium elite member.”
Last week, I was on a business trip and the lady at the desk asked me, “Why do you stay at Marriotts?” It’s simple. I’m old enough that I have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and I don’t like stubbing my toe. Every Marriott is the same. Once I’ve learned them, I don’t have to relearn them. That’s what the difference between living in the Scriptures or living without it is. You’re never in the dark. You’re never in a place you don’t understand when you live in the Scriptures because He lights it.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning. For everything He wants to do in this house, we have to start there. Everything He also teaches us, we have to start there. Here’s my question. The fear of the Lord is really simple. You’re either in or out. My question to you is, where in your life are you not living the way He said?
I would caution you to make excuses. I would caution you against believing that any area is anecdotal enough, insignificant enough, or ancillary enough that you don’t have to pay attention to it. If you have hard attitudes towards other people you know and the Lord’s against it, repair and fix it. If you have political agendas that you know the Lord’s against, repent and fix it. If you believe Jesus is a Republican, repent and fix it. Last time I checked, He handed the disciples a coin and said, I don’t know, it’s not my picture on it, pay it to him. He’s way bigger than all this stupidity we fight about. I also don’t believe he’s a Democrat, for the record.
It’s His war. He’s the captain of the Lord of Hosts. He has no sides. He is the side. Where in your life, in your marriage, have you allowed hard attitudes? Have you let bitterness and resentment into your lives?
I beg you, please, to make the decision today that says, “I will fear the Lord. I will walk in the fear of the Lord.” My question is, is that a lie? Or is that true? Because if you sang that song with us earlier, and you are not willing to repent of the areas the Lord’s dealing with, that’s a lie.
Then you just stood before God and told Him, to His face, a lie. When we sing the songs, they are prayers. They are declarations to the King about how we intend to live and who we believe He is. Do you think He doesn’t take that seriously? Do you think every word of those songs doesn’t rise to Heaven?
The enemy’s winning because the people of God are letting him. When I walk in the fear of the Lord, the fear of the Lord is the protection for the move of God. It is the very thing He gave us to appropriate so we could contend in our day and in our time for revival. It was always to be said of us that we look different. We walk differently, we act differently, and we speak differently because we are covered in the fear of the Lord.
According to Psalm 25, friendship with the Lord is reserved or set apart. It’s the door that those who want to walk in the friendship of God have to go through. The door is called the fear of the Lord. Friendship with the Lord is reserved for those who fear Him. In Psalm 25:14 says, “And with them, He shares the secrets of His covenant. You were never intended to live without heavenly intel. You were always intended to know, ahead of time, what the Lord is up to. That’s what He wants.
Everything He speaks is prophetic. It is your native right to be a person who dwells in that place, understands, and knows. Does that mean you’re going to have like a genie in a lamp? No, that’s ridiculous. He likes to use earthly circumstances to teach us heavenly principles. There is no get-out-of-earthly-circumstances card that you get when you’re in the Kingdom. What you get instead is the opportunity to go through earthly circumstances while the Lord teaches you stuff.
You’re gonna come out the other side smarter, wiser, more capable. Here’s my hope, that we, we who have an ear to hear, can hear what the Spirit is saying. Then we would perhaps consider the areas in our lives where we need to fear Him. Where we need to come back into the right alignment.
If there’s any place in your life — I don’t care how small, I don’t care how great — you’re not walking in the fear of the Lord, today is the day. To use a really old phrase, today’s the day of salvation. Today’s the day to get over that, get past it, move through it.
What would it be like if this entire room was able to say, “That’s behind me? From this day forward, I walk in the fear of the Lord. No more addictions, no more excuses. No more sin patterns.”
In Revelation chapter one, in the first few verses, it says that Jesus untied us from our sin. He disconnected us from our sin so that now, for the rest of our days, if we want to sin, it’s because we chose to go back to it, not because we’re stuck with it.
That means you and I have the freedom to walk pure. You can look at things and say, “In the name of Jesus, no.” If you struggle with addiction, get counseling. Get un-addicted. Trust somebody else with your process and have the honesty and say, “I got myself addicted to this thing. Will you help me get out of that?” If you’re worried everybody will know, they already do.
Are you addicted to a bad heart? Always acting critically? Why? Because you’ve been thinking like that all the time. You’ve taught yourself how to see everything in the world through a negative lens. This means you’re going to have to dig into the scriptures as hard as you can and find the way the Lord sees things. Every time you see something one way, you have to push past it. You have to assume, “I can’t trust myself to see things. I’ve got to go back to Him and ask, “How do You want me to see this? Because my nature is critical.”
There are so many things we could take this into. We’re in a place right now where the enemy has turned up the accuser of the brethren’s peace. There’s a truth, some of those accusations are going to land because they’re right. Some of them won’t, because they’re not. If we start partnering with accusation, we start partnering with everything that’s flying around there instead of going to the Lord saying, “What would you have me say?” All this begins in the fear of the Lord.
If this church empties next week because I taught on the fear of the Lord, I will not apologize. I’m not going to stop because Jesus is coming back for a triumphant church. He says, “I will build my church and the gates of hell won’t prevail against her.” That doesn’t mean the whole church becomes that church. It means He’s building a church, we get to choose whether we’re going to be part of it or not. His Church is built His way, in His Word, by His voice.
Holy Spirit, I’m asking right now that you would begin to speak to places of sin, places where we have not walked in the fear of the Lord. Places where we’ve not aligned with You. Lord, in a lot of those places, we’re scared to let go of those things because they feel normal to us. They feel native to us. We’re scared to trust Your way.
As the Lord whispers things and you say, “I’m willing to let that go and step in the fear of the Lord,” I’d invite you to stand.
Lord, the things You’re whispering to, You’re pointing out, we lay them down right now. We identify and recognize them for what they are: contrary to You.
My heart cry for this house is that there would be a unique new grace to walk in the fear of the Lord, to walk in purity, to walk in holiness, to walk in Scripture, to align with You. Lord, for the places where the evil one has convinced us Your way is wrong, we ask for the light of Your truth to break through that deception in the name of Jesus.
In the places where we have willingly partnered with something against You, we ask your forgiveness as our King. My request is that a purity of heart and mind in this house would be released today. To see You. To hunger for You, thirst for You, a fresh desire for You. More than ever before.
As we take bread and cup, we take it with a simple reality in front of us today. We’re choosing You again. We’re declaring Your death and Your resurrection. We’re standing in desperate need of Your blood, Your salvation, and Your forgiveness. We’re so grateful for that promise in Revelation that You’ve even untied us from our sin. We’re not stuck anymore.
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