Posted by: tscottmorton | May 29, 2011

Fear in the Church

Fear in the Church

Prov 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…

I Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…

God must be understood in the context both the Old and the New Testament. Any understanding of who God is and what is important to God must include the fullness of both. However the greater weight applies to the effect of the Cross of Christ. Every truth of the Old Testament carries forward unchanged yet made complete by the New.

The truth and the power of the cross trumps the result of the Old Testament. Who God is never changes. But what God does always increases. And by revelation, we understand it.

Father loved us as much before the cross as He had after the cross. But the cross perfects everything that was imperfect of the Old Testament. Everything of the Old Testament points forward to the cross. Everything of the New Testament points to the completed work of the cross.

Therefore to take that which was of the Old Testament and NOT filter it through the cross results in erroneous theologies. Jesus came to change not a word that had been written. He came to fulfill it.

Fear the Lord

This concept of fearing the Lord is one of the most important concepts in the Bible. But to do so by leaning on Old Testament word alone will result in a theology of an “unapproachable” God.

So it was that the Old Testament High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies but once per year. But when “it was finished” on the cross, the curtain that separated the inner rooms to the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant, the place of the very Presence of God was torn from the top down. An act of God signifying that for us who believe, even we can walk right in to His very Presence without fear… without fear of being utterly destroyed because of our sins.

The cross did away with the imperfect sacrifices of the Old Testament, none of which were good enough to cleans us of our sin.

Before the cross, everyone had very good reason to fear God with extreme fear. But now, we who have been made righteous even in our failings have no reason to fear Father in that way. Christ paid the full price.

However, we fear God just the same. We know He alone holds our destiny in our hands. But this gripping fear is not what is in Father’s heart when he speaks of it. The fear Father speaks of through His Son Jesus and by the Holy Spirit is directly tied to love. Along with the revelation of wisdom, fear and love are forever tied together.

Old Testament Fear

In most of the Old Testament, the context of the term “to fear the Lord” was desired to mean to obey the Lord in trembling fear, even in sacrificial ways, and at all cost. The concept was to agree that God was the absolute authority who should be always and immediately obeyed. The issue was that if I truly would fear the Lord, I would obey Him… knowing that if I do not, I might very well be utterly destroyed where I stand! If I fear Him I am subject to Him. If I err, I am in great danger. And when He shows up in a pillar of fire, I fall to my face in shaking fear for my life. All of this was absolutely true in the Old Testament for all, believers or not.

Yet even then there were those who understood that Father God was more interested in our hearts than in raw obedience. Moses and David for example. Still, the price for sin was death. The law was made known and all were dead in sin because all were in sin. They had good reason to fear this perfect God who hated sin.

Look at some scriptures:

Deut 6:12 …so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.

1 Sam 12:24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.

1 Chron 16:25 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.

2 Chron 26:5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.

Psalm 2:11 Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.

Psalm 25:12 Who, then, are those who fear the Lord? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.

Isaiah 8:13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.

Isaiah 33:6 He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.

Praise God, then came Jesus Christ!

New Testament Fear

For the sake of the love of our Father, Jesus came into the world and eliminated our cost for sin. In so doing, He took away every reason for us who are in Christ to fear anything.

Just for fun, next time you read the Bible, do a word search on the word fear. Now read each of these verses and replace the word fear with love. You will most likely notice that it fits perfectly. This is the key.

Old Testament fear was replaced by love. The cross consummated Father’s love for us perfectly. Before the cross we had good reason to fear. But the fullness of fear is not in the cowering but in the intimacy that Father so deeply wants. He loves us so much. So much so that He HAD to make a way of perfect sacrifice so that we could enter in to His very Presence and love on Him as He desires. This is why Jesus died on the cross. That love would override our just consequence.

When the law was made known, sin was made known. We all died. But when the cross was made known, we all were restored to life, even in our sin. What a magnificent act of love. Perfect love (the cross and the power of the cross) casts out fear. Fear no longer has the right to grip us. Now the only thing that remains is faith hope and love.

Being subject to the Lord God almighty is a good and right thing indeed. I myself truly fear the Lord in this way. He is God and I am not. But, the cart needs to be placed before the horse. The problem is that the church is so good at ministering the command to fear the Lord but not very good at understanding the root of that fear which is love.

Love Must Come First

This very issue is the root of most woes in today’s church. There is so much worldly fear in the church. Intrusion by false prophets and teachers, unbalanced people out of line and general manifestations of the flesh and of the devil in the church are just a few issues leadership fears about. But we are so busy trying to control these things without an understanding that God is in fact the God of His church. I see such a fear in today’s church of the manifestation of the enemy within, that the fear that is being taught in the church is not the fear based upon love, but a fear based upon manipulation and control that is, in itself, fear based.

Fear causes church leadership to feel as though they need to step in and prevent what they presume to be error. When this is done outside the clear prompting of the Holy Spirit, this results in man in control of the church over God. And then God leaves. Selfless love results in a release of the reigns over to the Holy Spirit, by which fear has no hold. Then Father can do whatever He wants, however radical that thing might be.

Types of Fear

There are two types of fear. There is a Kingdom fear that is based in love. In such a fear, I understand who the Lord is and of His love for me. Then, because of His greatness and Holiness, I obey with sacrificial obedience. That is right Kingdom fear.

Then there is a worldly fear that is based upon judgment and condemnation and works. Worldly fear is gripping fear. It is evil all the way around. It is a fear that controls and manipulates. It’s a fear that shuts us down. It is the very basis behind religious thinking, and the tool by which the Spiritless churches have silenced the radical things of God, such as healing the sick, casting out demons and raising of the dead. And we all deal with this kind of fear.

These two types of fear could not be farther apart in definition and meaning.

Yet, much of today’s the church operates in so much of the human mind that there is a lack of revelation of the difference between these two fears both in understanding and in operation of them within church walls. The church then applies measures of the intent and meaning of worldly fear when it talks about Kingdom fear. This should never be.

There is an explanation for this failure and it mainly rests upon the fact that the church is reliant upon the human mind rather than the supernatural mind of Christ. The mind of man is as nothing. The mind of Christ should be everything. But how then do we gain the mind of Christ but by the manifestation of the Counselor who brings us all Kingdom truth; this Kingdom truth that is the mind of Christ?

Jesus Christ is the full and complete revelation of the heart of the Father towards mankind. In Him resides all truth by the direction of Father God. In John 1, Jesus was the Word made flesh! Therefore in Him resides all revelation of right love and of right fear. But now He sits at the right hand of the Father. He is not here.

Jesus told the Apostles in John 14-17 in essence, “I’ve got to go now. I’ve completed what I came here to do. And where I am going, you cannot follow. But I will not leave you as orphans. I will give you another Counselor (the Holy Spirit) who will lead you into all truth. He will not speak on His own. He will take what is mine and make it known to you.”

Therefore today we are left only with the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in and upon us to gain the mind of Christ which is the will of the Father. Without the Spirit’s manifestations, we are left to our own thinking. And this is the very root of our problems.

Perfect Love

1 John 4:18 Perfect love cast out all fear!

If perfect love casts out all fear, then what is manifesting in our churches if we are not moving in the revelation and power of perfect love? The quick answer is… fear.

Therefore, love is the key to the destruction of all ungodly fear. Perfect love is manifested in the church by the supernatural outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We are all supposed to be experiencing the Holy of Holies, innermost room experience! It’s what Jesus died for. It’s why the curtain was ripped apart! They first understood this on the day of Pentecost, and which is why 3000 souls got saved that day!

A church without the full manifestation of the Presence within her walls cannot be devoid of all worldly fear. This is the main reason the church is so duped by so many false teachings. The Spirit is all but out of most of today’s churches.

If the Spirit of God is out of the church then the church is left with nothing but the simple and comparatively minuscule mind of man to adjudge all knowledge. In such a case, it is impossible to hit the right mark of truth in Kingdom issues. The Spirit is absolutely mandatory for the church in the days ahead. And the Spirit will reveal Christ in His full measure in the church. In that day, right love will manifest right fear and the church will move out in power under a right understanding of who they are in the eye of the Father.

Right fear leads the church into a deep relationship with the Holy Spirit, that leads them into a profound humility which will result in a radical boldness that has no fear. Wrong fear leads to a prideful group that clings to the words of a person, who claim humility but who are afraid to do anything. Right fear is powerful. Wrong fear is powerless.

True, or perfect love casts out all fear. True love is a Kingdom supply. It exists in pure form only in the heavenly realms. We need the Deliverer to give us the supply of this true love that we so desperately need. Therefore we need to be renewed day by day by the mind of Christ (2Co 4:16, 1Co 2:16). The Holy Spirit is He who brings it. He brings to us from the mind of Christ (John 14:26, 15:26). Perfect love has a name, it is Jesus Christ. Perfect love is found in the act of self-death, as exemplified by Christ.

Everything about fearing the Lord is absolutely founded in first being loved by Him, then loving Him back with my “fear”.

Here is the key issue that so many churches today miss… Right Kingdom fear is completely based in love, not in hard legalistic fear based obedience.

The problem is that fear is far more ministered into the church than love is. Or in many circles fear is ministered as a first priority over the understanding (or better said, lack of understanding) of Kingdom love.

Here are some of the catch phrases in places where this error exists:

“First you must obey, then you can understand what love is.”

“You will understand God’s love when you gain an understanding of His judgments.”

“Sometimes love will be nowhere to be found, will you obey in that day?”

“You can’t base your faith on feelings.”

This is absolutely opposite of what the Lord wants. He wants our obedience to be based upon an understanding of who we are in His eyes… fully loved and fully accepted even in our flaws. He wants our fear and love of Him to be based solely upon this right knowledge of love. The love must come first, then obedience manifests from a love that results in fear of His greatness.

Many attempt to establish ungodly fear thru the mentality of trials and tribulations. They quote such scriptures as 2Th 1:4 that we must be able to endure trials and tribulations. If we are so based upon experiences and feelings we will fall.

But let’s take a closer look at this particular scripture in 2 Thessalonians chapter 1. Pay close attention to the highlighted scriptures in bold:

II Th 1:2-12 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

In verse 3, Paul praised these people for there ever increasing love. Notice that Paul says, “Therefore …we boast about your …trials”. Their trials were boasted of in context with the love that manifested first. For it is true that trials will result in failure without the faith, hope and love that precedes these experiences. I say that love is the root of all things right in the church, not fear. Fear follows love, and which is never a fear that shuts the church down.

In verse 11, Paul exhorts the Thessalonian church that it is by the power of the Lord that every good purpose and every good act is made able. This is critical. The problem is that most churches are operating powerless. They are commanding obedience and fear outside of the power who makes it all happen, outside of the power who sheds light on all truth, outside of the power who opens the heavens to bring Kingdom truth and love into the world. This power is the Holy Spirit.

Here’s is a circle of progression:

No love, no Jesus. No Jesus, no Holy Spirit. No Holy Spirit, no power. No power, no understanding or wisdom. No understanding or wisdom, no effectiveness. No effectiveness, no reaping. No reaping, no love.

In such places like this there might be a mega church with lots of money. There might be great programs and seeker sensitive ideas. There might be good sounding arguments and wise sounding ways. In such places there might be heavy handed discipleship. But in the end, they will be made known for who they are. They will be the places where the love of most has grown cold (Ma 24:12). They will be places that speak what sound good but lead to spiritual death (Col 2:14). They will be places that seem to be the right way but in the end lead to death (Prov 14:12). And they will be places that speak to their people’s itching ears what they want to hear (2Tim 4:3).

These are the churches that we are warned about regarding Jesus end time warnings in Mathew chapter 24! But it from these same churches that the Spirit filled churches are accused of being “feel good ministries” that are devoid of right discipleship. They say that they are the ones that Jesus speaks of in Mathew Chapter 24. And Jesus was accused of being possessed by the devil by the Pharisees.

These are hard words!

Please understand though… as you read my words, it would be easy to say that I was once wounded by churches such as this. Maybe you might think I have someone to forgive in my history. I completely understand that what I write herein is direct and to many controversial. However, I write from a broken heart towards my Father in heaven. I grieve for the billions of lost who remain lost because of a dead and lifeless church! I am so completely convinced that there is so much more that church can be but is not because of the pride of man’s thinking. I speak not from personal woundedness, but because I am completely convinced, and by way of revelation that Father wants so much more for the sacrifice He made by giving us His Son!

Accusations to Come

We as the Spirit filled, Spirit lead church must understand that accusations will come heavily in the days ahead and more so from the religious church than from the world. But as the scripture says, it will be where the fruit is that will be where the truth is. Also, there will be no substitute for faith in these last days. The enemy will mimic everything God does to discredit God’s true things, and scripture says miracles included.

The bottom line is this… Where is the love? Where is the experience of His Presence? Where are the signs, miracles and wonders happening? Where is it that leadership has given up the right to control the church? Where is it that Jesus thru His Holy Spirit is leading His meetings? Where is it that perfect love resides unto the reaping of fresh new souls? Where is it that church parishioners are coming and staying?

It is in those places that the Lord will build His End Time church. It is in those places that perfect love will reside and flow freely, for perfect love will have cast out fear.

It is in those places that each member of the church will be encouraged for the valuable part of the Body that they are, and fully released into their calls, one talent, two talent and five talent people included! They each will be released into the fullness of their call by a leadership that is so dead to themselves that fear based manipulation, control and condescending leadership or discipleship will be devoid. That is where love will reside. That is the End Time church.

Conclusion

God’s fear is love based. The worlds fear is authority based.

Right authority exercised in the church is ministered fully from the place of His love rather than from a condescending authority. Right authority in the church then is servant based. It is served into the church rather than condescended into the church. True obedience in all things then is rightly manifested when love abounds in the church and when a leadership understands that they are servants underneath the Body rather than overseers looking down to the Body. Servant leadership is easily spoken of but rarely rightly exercised outside of the Spirit filled church.

Consider it this way. If I love my Father, I want to do what He wants me to do. Therefore, it is love that motivates my godly fear, not legalism, not ungodly fear or any manipulation of man or the church.

If I love someone enough, I would be willing to die for Him. That is sacrificial. It is what Jesus did for all of mankind. It should be the root of all I am or ever will be for my King!

If I am commanded to obey someone without an understanding that I am loved by that someone, that is law. It is legalism. It is worldly fear based management. Sadly it is where most of today’s church stands.

There are two motivators to obedience. My obedience is based upon either Kingdom love based fear or worldly manipulative fear. Two extreme examples are Christ for mankind and Hitler for Germany. Needless to say, we are not under the weight of such heinous leaderships as Hitler, but the root of such fear based leadership is the same, man in control rather than God in control.

I want to know what Father God wants of me, and starting with His most important commands down to the least of them. So, if I fear the Lord and desire to obey Him, as my proof of that fear, what is His most important command? If I desire to obey Him, what is most important to His desire?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart…

And the second is like it, to love your neighbor.

The point I am making is that the root of Kingdom fear is not in a gripping fear that says “He is so high and we are just peons that are so low.” True fear of the Lord is in fact a manifestation of love to Him based upon what is most important to Him, which is love.

The full revelation of Kingdom fear will only happen when people step down from their high-perceived notion of having to be in control of the church. When that happens, when a leadership dies to themselves fully, this is the beginning for the Spirit to come and to minister in any church.

In a place where people are in control, Christ is just so far away. He seems so distant. That is true and it is for a reason! The Lord will not be grieved.

If we want Him to come, we must get out of His way. If we want Him to minister, we must give Him the reigns. If we want to be the End Time church He is calling us to be, we must stop manipulating out of fear and start loving fearlessly. We must learn to stop fearing the enemy who is but a pitiful God created devil when God comes on the scene. If God in Spirit, is in control of the church, if we are each truly led by the Spirit in the manifestation of His Presence then what do we have to fear?

On March 4,1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke the following words in his first inaugural address:

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Many have hear the first part of this quote, but the key is found in the next line…. nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. THAT is the kind of fear that must be done away with in our churches. The result of it is paralysis, a state of ineffectiveness… the very state of ineffectiveness that the Spiritless church resides in today. By doing so, we transform the church from one that is in retreat into one that advances radically!

Rom 8:14-17 …those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs– heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

We are heirs, not servants… lovers, not judgers… sons and daughters, not slaves.

Then comes the Holy Spirit to a leadership who are willing to take the chance and let go of the reigns. Love enters the room, not love as we know it…Perfect love enters the room. The people become undone!

John 14:15 “If you love me, (then) you will obey what I command…

Revelation love must come first.

John 14:15-17 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And (then) I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth.

In love, God’s plan for us is then made able to be complete. Obedience then falls in line easily, and fear just falls in line with truth. The Spirit is poured out and then we go and do as He would have us go and do.

Let’s put the cart before the horse and love Him first. In so doing this End Time cart will then be able to move forward in love to do what Jesus Christ died for in power.

I Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love…

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