Fear of God Devotional: Is Sola Scriptura Worth Dying For?

Are we willing to sacrifice much to be faithful to the commands of God found in Scripture?

Sam Waldron explains in this video that the Latin phrase “Sola Scriptura” or “by Scripture alone” was something that reformed Protestants closely adhered to and sacrificed greatly for. The Puritans held that Scripture applied to all things and specifically, in matters of worship, allowed them to do only what God commanded them to do.

Their decision to remain faithful to Scripture proved to be costly. Over 2,000 Puritan ministers were ejected from their churches and some, like John Bunyan, were even jailed. Men were forced to make a decision of compromising Scripture to keep their positions in the church or to remain true to the clear commands of Scripture. Despite persecution, they resolutely believed that Scripture governed all matters of life, not just the issues regarding the doctrine of the church.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

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The People who Feared God – Zacchaeus

How is a God-hating man transformed into a God-fearing man?  

Gary Powers shares the story of Zacchaeus in this video and explains how Zacchaeus was a powerful man – he was the chief of tax collectors. He was greatly feared. Yet, he wanted to see who Jesus was and climbed up a tree to get a better view. Already, we begin to glimpse the work of regeneration in his heart. Rich, powerful men do not do this. They don’t humble themselves to the point of climbing into a tree. He was desperate and willing to suffer humiliation by climbing a tree to see Christ. 

Jesus then comes, sees him, and speaks to him by name. This encounter is not by coincidence. We then see the fruit of Zacchaeus’ repentance. He gave half of his goods to the poor and if he wrongfully took what was not his, he repaid it four-fold. Taking such measures would have significantly disrupted the life that he was accustomed to. Yet, he was adhering to the law of God to make restitution. These were signs of conversion, fruit of a new life. In short, he feared God. One of the signs of conversion is that we are not terrorized by the law of God but delight in it. Nothing is too hard for God. He can change the nature of a wealthy, greedy man and turn him into a joyful giver who loves Him and loves His law. 

Romans 1:16 (NKJV) – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

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Fear of God Devotional: The Use of the Law for an Unbeliever

How is an unbeliever affected by the laws of God?

Jason Dohm explains in this video that the law has multiple uses and has different functions for unbelievers and believers. For instance, it can be a crushing weight on an unbeliever, one that helps them to see their desperate need for mercy and to ultimately drive them to the cross. The law condemns sinners so that they go to God for mercy and pardon, which is offered to us through the finished work of Christ.

The law helps us to realize just how sinful we are and how hopeless it is to think that we can somehow earn our salvation. Romans 3:20 says that: “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Through the law, we understand that we are completely sinful and in desperate need of a Savior.

Romans 7:7 (NKJV) – “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’”

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Fear of God Devotional: Singing as Worship

Why is it important to sing and participate during times of worship?

Craig Houston explains in this video that he is passionate about singing because God is passionate about singing as worship. Singing in worship enlivens the heart of God’s people as they sing together unto the Lord. Throughout Scripture, we see numerous instances of individuals singing and worshipping God. There is nothing more magnificent than God’s people singing together.

Regrettably, many people do not sing today. They’re there to receive something but they do not participate in a worshipful way. This is not what we see in Scripture. In both the New and Old Testament, Scripture makes it clear that we are to lift up our voices as one to the Lord, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

Colossians 3:16 (NKJV) – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Probing Children in Spirtual Matters

How can fathers more effectively discuss spiritual matters with their children?

Joel Beeke explains in this video that as a father, it is important to gently and lovingly discuss theological matters with your children. He recommends that fathers ought to ask questions to a child at their age level or just a bit above it. Asking them questions about a specific passage or verse is an ideal way to do this.

Your questions should be asked in love, with good eye contact, and with care. After reading a Scripture passage, you can ask questions to your child like, “Have you ever had that happen in your life before?” You can also share examples and instances from your own life. Additionally, you can encourage your children to think about that verse or encourage them to ask God to teach them.

Deuteronomy 6:6-8 (NKJV) – “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Legalism and Her Children

What is the balance between faith and works?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that legalism always seems to break down into antinomianism. Both are incorrect. Legalism is salvation by works or our own fake application of God’s laws. Antinomianism involves abandoning of all God’s laws.

What we need theologically is to bring these together – faith and works. We need to see them as distinct but not separate. We need to pull together a proper biblical theology, express God’s law for the purposes for which it is intended, and then live by God’s law because we have been saved by grace and love Him. This is the basic theological concept that must permeate through every worship service. The world negatively affects us in so many ways and can easily distort our thinking. Accordingly, we must purge unbiblical worldviews by the faithful preaching of God’s Word.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV) – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

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Fear of God Devotional: How Sanctification Works

How is sanctification described in Scripture?

Jason Dohm explains in this video that Peter gives a good description of sanctification in 2nd Peter. Sanctification begins inwardly and works its way outward – “Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Fundamentally then, we see that sanctification is growth, a growth in the knowledge of Christ.

Sanctification does involve certain external changes. These are defined in Scripture, by the commandments of God in both the Old and New Testament. When we do things that God prohibits in Scripture, we are kept from the better things. In contrast, the things that we are commanded to do are acts of love. The laws of God do tell us what the externals should look like, but we shouldn’t attempt to mechanically follow them. Rather, they ought to stem from a love for God and His ways.

2 Peter 3:17-18 (NKJV) – “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Self Sacrificing Headship

How do fathers raise their children in a Christ-centered environment?

Jeff Pollard explains in this video that when God appoints a man to be the husband of his wife and instructs him to love her as Christ loves the church, it is an astonishing requirement. To try to get the modern American man to understand what it means to live as a self-sacrificing husband is still a great challenge.

We have been so brainwashed and enculturated by today’s culture that many men, husbands, and fathers don’t know how to create a Christ-centered environment to raise their children in. They don’t understand the value of family worship. Christian fathers must desire to bring their children up in a home where Christ is honored. Fathers must read Scripture to their children and both parents ought to pray for their children.

Colossians 3:17 (NKJV) – “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Faithfulness in Small Things

Are you faithful in both the “big” and “small” things?

Craig Houston explains in this video that one of the concerns that he has with Christians is the idea of faithfulness. The Bible says that it is required in stewards, that a man be faithful.

Faithfulness to the things of God is something that is waning amongst God’s people. Young men need to be challenged with the supreme importance of being found faithful even in the small things, not just the big tasks. We all need to be faithful in all areas of life and be people that can be counted on. This is something that we all us to continually go to the Lord and seek to walk in faithfulness to Him.

1 Samuel 12:24 (NKJV) – “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Training Your Children in Family Worship

How do you train your sons to lead family worship?

Joel Beeke explains in this video that the best way to train your older children is for them to see you training your younger children. In the area of family worship, they learn from your example of faithful, regular times of family worship. One day, they will lead family worship for their own family.

He suggests that once your sons grow older, it would be wise to suggest that your sons help with part of family worship or all of it. Eventually, your sons will be leaving the home to start their new families and it is important that they start learning how they should teach and lead during times of family worship.

Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) – “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Is There A Breakdown of Authenticity?

How do we battle insincerity and hypocrisy in our lives?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that in many Christian families, there is often a lack of authenticity. We see insincerity in worship and hypocrisy within the home. Fathers and mothers model this to their children and their children pattern themselves after their parents.

The solution to insincerity is to confess sin, strive for transparency before God and others, and use Scripture to determine areas of insincerity. God demands that all insincerity be wiped out. The faithful preaching of the Word of God convicts us of hypocrisy, a lack of love for God, and a lack of true faith. Families need more faith and true love that manifests itself in proper obedience.

Matthew 7:3-5 (NKJV) – “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Without Holiness No One Will See the Lord

Can an unbeliever make progress in holiness?

Jason Dohm explains in this video that in Hebrews, we learn that holiness does not “buy” salvation. Rather, holiness always flows from salvation because the Holy Spirit indwells, works on, and transforms a believer’s life so that the person will become holy.

People who profess Christ that never make progress in holiness are those Jesus refers to when He says: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV).

If your life is characterized by practicing lawlessness, it means that the Holy Spirit has not indwelled in you and you are not transformed because you have not been born again.

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Fear of God Devotional: Hunger for Holiness and a False Gospel

Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?

Jeff Pollard explains in this video that among Christians today, there is often a lack of those who hunger for holiness. This stems from a false gospel that is preached. Holiness arises from a heart made new by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we have a repentant heart, we hunger and thirst for righteousness. There is a desire for holiness.

All too often, people become “saved” after they accept a promise of a “quick fix” that will prevent them from going to Hell. Yet, there is no understanding of their desperate need of Christ and no brokenness. Modern Christianity is largely self-content. There is little hunger and thirsting for righteousness. The Gospel is not preached and approached this way throughout Scripture. Rather, a true believer realizes that he is not how God desires for him to be. He longs and desires to obey and be like Christ.

Matthew 5:6 (NKJV) – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

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Join me at the Shepherds Conference in California

I will be attending John MacArthur’s Shepherds conference 2017 Feb. 28-Mar. 3, in the LA area at Grace Community Church. I grew up in Southern California, so it’s always a joy to go and connect with people from my earlier days there, including my sister, and to meet with pastors at the Shepherds Conference. If you would like to connect at the Shepherds conference send me a note and we will try to meet.

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Fear of God Devotional: Spending Quality Time With Your Family

Should families skip gatherings of the church to “spend more family time?”

Craig Houston explains in this video that as a pastor, his primary concern for Christian families is that they learn to love Christ’s church. Christ loves the Church and died for the Church. This refers to the visible, assembled body of believers. Christians are called to worship with, care for, and be accountable to the Church.

And yet, families excuse their frequent absences from gatherings of the church because they want to spend more time with their family. However, when you spend time in church, gathering together as a family with other families, you are not wasting time. Rather, you are spending time as a family in the best way that you possibly can. It is vitally important to have the right perspective of Christ, the Church, and to love what Jesus loves.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV) – “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

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