The Horrors of NOT Fearing the Lord

Why the World Needs to Fear God

Study Series on the Fear of God

Proverbs 22:4


Pastor Craig Ledbetter

DATE: 26 Oct, 2008 AM

PLACE: Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.        Introduction


A.      The entire year we have been focusing on knee exercises – bowing the knee that is. Learning how to live the yielded life towards God

B.      This month we are looking at another attitude that is vital in bowing the knee – that if the fear of God

C.      We spend too much time worrying about what people think

D.      What does God think, and more importantly, what should our attitude be towards God’s power – He is GOD last time I checked!

E.       Three things we will look at this month:


1.       We first looked at the Humility in the Fear of the Lord

2.       Last week we studied The Honour of the Fear of the Lord

3.       This morning, The Horrors of Not Fearing the Lord


F.       This morning I want to prove to you that society is broken, and is reeling under the wrath of God! Murders, Divorce, Hatred, Teenage rebellion – all the problems in society are not just issues, they are the wrath of God on us as we have turned away from God!

G.      This nation needs to humble itself and seek God before it only gets worse!

H.      And people will only turn back to God when they get back to fearing Him!


II.      Background (Romans 1:18)


A.      People make light of fear


1.       It is almost “halloween” and people make much of “fear” and “darkness” and the devil, and witches, and wizards, and ghosts, and demons.

2.       Funny isn’t it? They won’t admit to believing in such things, so they make light of them, and even dress up their CHILDREN as such, and make a big joke of “fear”


B.      But God’s word says, there needs to be some serious fear in people. As a matter of fact, people need to have the fear of NOT fearing. They need to worry about their lack of proper fear!

C.      Now, I’m not talking about fearing everything, but just having one, absolute, all encompassing, overwhelming, terrifying fear – the fear of God!

D.      Not necessarily just the fear of Him as the eternal, Almighty Being that He is, but specifically, the fear of His wrath.

E.       The wrath of the God of heaven is such a neglected aspect of His character today. We ALL constantly hear of His love, and long-suffering, and patience, and grace, and goodness. But He is a consuming fire as well. What a thought!


1.       David declares in Psalm 36:1, that the open, sinful activities of sinners around us simply testifies that they do have any fear of God at all. Not that they don’t have religion, or education or money – that’s not the problem. The problem is that they do not have any fear of GOD!

2.       Abraham, in Genesis 20:11 came into a wicked culture in the Promised Land and was so terrified of what he saw going on that he asked his wife Sarai to lie about being his wife because he saw that they had no fear of God, and would have killed him on the spot for his 65 year old wife!

3.       The thief on the cross hanging next to Jesus got very upset at the other thief in Luke 23:40, because he was mocking Jesus, and he asked him, don’t you fear God? They were all going to die very soon, and should have feared facing God!


F.       Folks, there is a price to pay when you live without the fear of God – and our society is reaping it!

G.      I know, I know… modern people don’t worry about the wrath of God

H.      But they ought to!


1.       Rom 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

2.       Rom 2:5  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

3.       Rom 12:19  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

4.       Eph 5:6  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

5.       Rev 6:16,17  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

6.       Rev 14:10  The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

7.       Rev 15:1  And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

8.       "God is angry with the wicked every day" (Ps. 7:11).


I.        Now, thankfully, Christians are saved from the coming wrath (1Th 1:10), but the majority of this world is paying a heavy price for not fearing the Lord God

J.        Romans chapter 1 gives us a clear explanation of God's wrath, how it works, and why it TODAY is "revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men."

K.      When you look at the news, and read the newspapers, and hear of modern society, you are actually seeing the wrath of almighty God being poured out


III.   Message


A.      The Truth About the Gospel (Rom 1:16-18).


1.       It is the power of God!


a.       It is something so powerful it can actually save and transform anybody

b.       Jew, Greek, it doesn’t matter what nationality, culture, or sin

c.        It doesn’t matter how good you think you may be, or how far away from God

d.       It thoroughly saves a sinner’s soul! Just by faith!


2.       It shows the righteousness of God – not of us!


a.       Our righteousness, according to Isa 64:6 are as filthy rags

b.       But God’s righteousness has found a way to make any sinner righteous

c.        All through the perfect life of Jesus His Son, and His sacrificial death on the cross, but especially His resurrection three days later

d.       There is NO righteousness in us, but enough righteousness in HIM for everyone!


3.       It shows the coming wrath of God – not just His love!


a.       The Gospel is not really about God trying to make your life BETTER – even though he does that…

b.       The Gospel is about warning everybody about the consequences of our sins – and “it ain’t pretty!”

c.        The Gospel shows the wrath of God that is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;


4.       No Bible believing Christian is ashamed of such a perfect Gospel. It is the very high point of everything we believe and preach! It is the core of all that we love!


B.      Everyone in the World Already Understands Three Things (1:18-20):


1.       That there is a God in heaven!


a.       Every child knows and believes in the supernatural – it has to be “educated out of us”

b.       Every culture is full of religions – all people worry about their soul to some extent, and try to fix things up with “the man upstairs” so to speak!

c.        Such knowledge is hard-wired into us – “that which may be known of God is manifest in them;”

d.       God wired it into our consciousness – “for God hath shewed it unto them.”

e.        All you have to do is look and learn – “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,”

f.        Even the Trinity can be understood by studying nature – “even his eternal power and Godhead;”


1)       "The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen."

2)       How are they clearly seen?

3)       They are "understood by the things that are made."

4)       So, what you can't see you can understand by what you can see.

5)       What you can see shows you what you can't see.

6)       Even what? "His eternal power and Godhead." You can even detect the Trinity.


a)       Three forms of water – only three

b)       Three tenses of time (past, present, and future)

c)       Three building blocks of matter (proton, neutron, and electron)

d)       Three dimensions in this universe (X, Y, and Z)

e)       There is One God, but three distinct Persons in the Godhead!


2.       That No One Has An Excuse


a.       The heavens tell us God is there (Psalm 19)

b.       The atom tells us God is there

c.        Every cell in your body tells the world that God is there

d.       It doesn’t matter if you are a college professor with 3 degrees, or a naked pagan head-hunter in Papua New Guiney – you have no excuse for not believing that there is a God in heaven to whom you will stand and answer one day!

e.        No one can claim that they didn’t know about God

f.        No one can claim that they didn’t know better – no we all have a conscience that not only has the existence of God written in it, but also the commandments too


1)       We all KNOW it is wrong to steal

2)       We all KNOW it is wrong to lie, and to murder, and to covet, and to dishonour our parents


g.        Nah! There is no one that has an excuse! Every human, no matter where they live or grow up, they know there is a God, and they know enough about Him to be worried!


3.       That Everyone is in Trouble with God


a.       Everyone knows they are in trouble with God – they may not know WHO God is, but they know something is not right between them

b.       That’s why most religions really work people over about making sure they accumulate lots of good works to go against all the bad deeds and sins

c.        If people thought they were fine, they wouldn’t even try to be good

d.       We all know that we are NOT good


1)       There is NONE righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10)

2)       All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

3)       For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. (Eccl 7:20)


4.       But one thing they don’t understand, without the Bible is just HOW much they are in trouble!


C.      The Wrath of God is Part of the Gospel (1:18; 2:5,6).


1.       God's Wrath is NOT “Anger Out of Control.”


a.       An angry God bothers so many people

b.       They have the idea that ANGER is inherently wrong and sinful, and so, a lot of anger (the common definition of wrath) would really be wrong and sinful.

c.        The Bible teaches otherwise.


1)       "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath" (Ephesians 4:26).

2)       Jesus was angered at hard hearts (Mk. 3:5; Jn. 2:15-16).


a)       His anger was not irrational like most of ours is

b)       He was angry at the abuse the Pharisees had towards the common people

c)       Jesus saw sin ruining lives, both now and for all eternity

d)       He saw lies and traditions being taught as truth instead of God’s word

e)       Shouldn’t He have been angry at the devil and the religious hustlers that fill our pulpits today.


3)       Righteousness loves light, and hates darkness (John 3:20). Thus, every expression of darkness must be met with righteous indignation or anger.


2.       There is a BIG Difference between Human Anger and Divine Wrath.


a.       People think God's wrath is like man's wrath. When people say, "God gets angry like we get angry," they only imagine that, "His anger is bigger and more powerful."

b.       In reality, most human anger is not righteous anger at all!


1)       "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." (James 1:19-20).

2)       Moses learned this too late when he was moved by wrath towards Israel’s disobedience and complaining, and he disobeyed God and instead struck the Rock for water when he was supposed to only speak to it, and leave the wrath to God in Num 20:11,12.

3)       2Ti 2:24,25 And the servant of the Lord must not strive (get angry); but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves


c.        Most human anger is more evil than what we are getting mad at!

d.       We get angry because our egos have been hurt, and because we did not get our way.

e.        God is not angry because He has some gigantic ego that we have failed to gratify.

f.        God's anger in no way resembles our (sinful) anger.


1)       His righteous anger is directed at evil people who refuse to be what He made them to be and thus start by hurting themselves.

2)       He is angry at the senselessness of men and women who send themselves to hell because they will not obey His commandments.

3)       God's wrath is not designed to hurt sinful man but bring him to his senses that he will return to his maker and be saved.


3.       It is OUR Sinfulness that Demands the Wrath of God


a.       The Gospel demands for wrath against sin! While many people wish to separate grace from judgment, Calvary from hell, love from wrath, the apostle Paul shows us that it cannot be done.


1)       Yes, the Gospel is good news but it is only good news for those who receive it.

2)       For those that disregard its saving power the Gospel reveals the wrath and judgment of God directed toward all sin. The Gospel also reveals sinful attitudes and behaviours, as Paul will go on to list very specifically (vv. 21-32).


b.       It may seem to be out of date, but it is Biblical! It is interesting that in our day "fire and brimstone" preaching is considered dreadfully old-fashioned and out of date.


1)       Puritan preachers preached sermons that effectively suspended the audience over the very fires of hell

2)       But most preaching today seems to shy away from even mentioning eternal condemnation, deciding never to speak of God's righteous wrath, the day of judgment, or the plain truth that not everyone will go to heaven.

3)       Jesus was remarkably unafraid to discuss hell in explicit detail.

4)       Should we be ashamed of such a truth?

5)       I agree that talking about hell is a frightful thing, and thinking about going there is enough to make the hair bristle on the back of your neck. And so it ought to be!

6)       God's wrath is not to be trifled with, people will account for their deeds some day, and most folks (yes, most folks) will be lost. Something is going to happen to everyone's soul and we need to carefully contemplate the two possible choices that we would make the right choice.

7)       Oh that people’s minds were both full of thoughts of heaven and joy, but also balanced with thoughts that it is indeed a "fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb. 10:31).


D.      Humans Have Two Root Sins! Look at the root sins we commit:


1.       Failure to glorify God.


a.       What does it mean to glorify God? It means to brag about God, elevate God, raise Him up. It means to show Him off; praise Him when people try to praise you!

b.       One preacher said, “A great way to glorify God is to just get out in a big field where nobody can hear you and just run around in a circle and yell, "Praise the Lord!" about 15 minutes till you're hoarse. Did you ever do that? You ought to try it. You ought to try that; just get yourself out in a field some time, about 20 acres where nobody can hear you, and just run around in a circle and praise God till you're hoarse, and watch what happens. Some of you are afraid to try it, aren't you? God deserves our “fanaticism”

c.        When someone here says “Amen” – they are praising God, and God’s truth!


2.       Failure to Thank God - "Neither were thankful."


a.       That's the next step.

b.       When a man doesn't glorify God and he's not thankful, then anything can happen after that.

c.        That’s most of you at your dinner table, or at a restaurant – no thankfulness for the meal and for health and for your family, etc – just shovelling in the grub! Shame on you!

d.       God grew the food and gave the rain to grow it, and gave people the strength to harvest it, and gave you the money to buy it

e.        So when people don’t take a moment and thank God, do you know what God will do? He'll cut off the crops. If you really want to know why China and India and Russia have such a terrible time with their starving population and lack of crops, it's because they've turned down God, and God has turned them down. It has nothing to do with British imperialism and white imperialism, and all this junk. It's the fact that if a nation turns off God, God turns them off.


3.       You would be surprised to know where those two “simple” sins lead (Psalm 9:17)!!!


E.       We Have Not Worried About the Wrath of God.


1.       Usually we think of God’s judgment as being poured out at the final judgment day. Oh it will, but the fact is, it already is being poured out!

2.       Verse 18 clearly states that God's wrath "IS revealed" (present tense), not that God's wrath "will be revealed" (future tense). What does this mean? How is God's wrath being expressed even now?


a.       The answer is found in the phrase "God gave them over," used three times in the passages from 21-28.

b.       We are told that God gave them (sinful people who refused to acknowledge Him as God) over


1)       To the lusts of their hearts (v. 24) – filthy imaginations

2)       To homosexual passions (v. 26) – filthy relationships

3)       and finally to a damned mind (v.28) – completely filthy life


c.        This expression "gave them over" is a term that referred to what a judge did with a convicted criminal:


1)       He or she is given over to be punished.

2)       So Paul tells us that modern day, smooth talking, religious, lying, deceiving, porn addicted, lustful, adulterous, money loving sinners are being punished right now by God "giving them over" to what they are wanting

3)       God's wrath is expressed presently by this decision of God's to "give them over."


3.       The crime these are guilty of is rejecting the knowledge of God (v. 21) and the punishment is God giving them over to do as they wish to do.


a.       When people turn away from God He will not force them to come back and serve Him (though He has the power to do so).

b.       No, instead God releases people to do as they want. God gives them over to the evil desires in their hearts (v. 24), to do things that not even animals would do and which only debase humanity (v. 26), and to minds so infected with sin that they will rationalize and justify every kind of iniquity (v. 32).


4.       In some ways this may seem like a punishment that anyone would enjoy.


a.       Most children would love to be told "Since you were naughty I'm going to allow you to do whatever you want to do."

b.       But what would the end result of such a punishment be? Would it teach the child self-control, discipline and endurance so that they can be productive and useful in life?

c.        Or would the child ultimately end up a mess of uncontrolled passions, completely dominated by selfishness and hate?

d.       Look at what people become filled with, when they are not filled with God! “Being filled with all unrighteousness…”


1)       Fornication – porn in almost every magazine and on almost every TV show

2)       Wickedness – the promotion of evil instead of good

3)       Covetousness – 90% of everything we have is because we were coveteous and had to have it

4)       Maliciousness – we think about hurting people and seeking revenge

5)       Full of envy

6)       Murder – look at the murder rates, ALL OVER THE WORLD (90 a day in Chicago)

7)       Debate – unable to discuss and disagree

8)       Deceit – never telling the truth

9)       Malignity - a bad disposition, a bad attitude

10)   Whisperers – can’t tell someone to their face what you are thinking

11)   Backbiters – attacking people behind their backs

12)   Haters of God – the norm in society – “where was God?” “If there is a God…?”

13)   Despiteful - defiant attitude

14)   Proud

15)   Boasters

16)   Inventors of evil things – most of today’s inventions are evil, not beneficial

17)   Disobedient to parents – HELLO! That is a 20th century phenomenum, and it is the judgment of GOD on our society for turning away from God!

18)   Without understanding – no mercy or compassion

19)   Covenantbreakers – divorce, treaties

20)   Without natural affection – homosexuality and lesbianism

21)   Implacable – inflexible, stubborn

22)   Unmerciful – unable to hold back from hurting each other


e.        Man decides that he does not want to know about God or serve Him, so God will allow men and women to do as they please, push God far from their thoughts and live exactly as they want to. The end result is that humanity is in a sorry state, miserable beyond words, totally trapped in its own evil deeds, and without any concern for their sins.

f.        So the listing of sins concludes: "who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them" (verse 32).


F.       Three Steps Away from God. Watch how God is simply acting like a mirror.


1.       Start Denying God (1:21-24)


a.       Denying Him authority over your life and decisions

b.       Denying your need of his help

c.        Denying that you were made by Him

d.       Change God into someone more acceptable: “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to…”


1)       corruptible man – and today, women’s bodies!

2)       and to birds

3)       and fourfooted beasts

4)       and creeping things.

5)       All are idols – almost all world religions have idols


e.        So, God gave them up to uncleanness (1:24). Just as people gave up on God, God gives them up! When people turn to idolatry (1:21-23),which is physical they can make no clearer statement than they do not want God (John 4:24)


1)       Because they did not glorify God, and were not thankful!

2)       Driven by lusts - No longer a matter of what is RIGHT and WRONG, but what FEELS good (you see, when you throw God out of your conscience, and throw His word out of your life, there is only YOURSELF to say what is good and bad)!

3)       So what do people end up doing? Dishonouring their own bodies between themselves (Heb 13:4) Sow dishonour toward God, and you will reap dishonour in your home!

4)       Here God judges people’s bodies - physical damnation (as in a ‘physical time-bomb') - early death, overt troubles in the home, in the marriage, in their health - brought on themselves! This is the high price of loving sin!


2.       Start Rejecting Truth (1:25-27)


a.       That’s what Satan did to Eve – changed God’s word, and rejected God’s warning… “ye shall NOT surely die”

b.       Start saying God used evolution, and we are all really just accidents in the universe, and that there is nothing really true and absolute, etc

c.        Who changed the truth of God into a lie,

d.       Worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

e.        For this cause God gave them up unto (worse) vile affections (1:26,27):


1)       Vile affections deal with the heart and soul of a person

2)       They begin to have unnatural affections


a)       Woman CHANGED to go AGAINST nature

b)       Men turned away from the natural pattern of marriage relationships to an ungodly form of sexuality - homosexuality

c)       This is a statement that when people become homosexual, it is because they are reaping God’s judgment (1:26,27)

d)       But compare with 1Cor 6:9-11 (Whew!)


f.         “and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet” (GAIDS)


1)       These are only reaping what they sow - “receiving IN themselves that recompense of their error” - This is the very reason for why God removed the cities of Sodom and Ghomorrah from the face of the earth!

2)       So, when this stuff is going on TV, radio, in magazines, and in HOMES day in and day out, it demonstrates that people have already started going WAY DOWN the path to God’s judgment!!!

3)       Involves the damnation of the soul! - Emotional time-bomb


3.       End up Completely Replacing God (1:28)


a.       Total rejection of God at all – end up atheists

b.       God gave them over to a reprobate mind (1:28) Abandoned, rejected, damned, lost, convicted criminal, abhorred of God!



1)       God gave them over to a reprobate mind – free to do and think and desire anything they way (unrestrained)

2)       This is complete abandonment - the worst thing that God could ever do toward a person is to leave them alone! EX: wives, leave your husbands for a couple of weeks and then come back into your home. EX: parents, leave your kids alone all day long.

3)       The problem is with people not wanting to keep God around (“retain”). So God leaves (Cf Rev 3:20).

4)       Satan’s primary goal is not only remove God from the university, from the government, and from the home, but to remove God from everybody’s CONSCIENCE!!!

5)       Spiritual abandonment - spiritual damnation! Spiritual time-bomb!


4.       Look at where you find them after they have taken these three steps away from God? Unconcerned – “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

5.       Principles:


a.       Sin is progressive. Without external intervention, it is unstoppable!

b.       People desperately need the Good News of Jesus Christ if they are going to escape the wrath to come (Heb 2:3)!

c.        You see, there is ONE thing that the Gospel (as powerful as it is) cannot do - it cannot save a person unless he or she sees themselves as a guilty, lost and damned sinner, in desperate need of a Saviour!


G.      The Only Cure – Repentance (Romans 2:4)


1.       Jonah proved it (Jonah 3:1-5, 10)

2.       John the Baptist demanded it (Matthew 3:1,2)

3.       Jesus commanded it (Matthew 4:17)

4.       Paul insisted upon it (Acts 17:30)

5.       A brokenness, a sorrow, a turning of the heart away from your sin, and towards God


IV.    Conclusion


A.      Folks, there is a price to pay when you live without the fear of God – and our society is reaping it! When you look at the news, and read the newspapers, and hear of modern society, you are actually seeing the wrath of almighty God being poured out

B.      The Three-fold Truth About the Gospel (Rom 1:16-18).


1.       It is the power of God!

2.       It shows the righteousness of God – not of us!

3.       It shows the coming wrath of God – not just His love!

C.      The Wrath of God is Part of the Gospel.

D.      We Have Not Worried About the Wrath of God. And so we reap!

E.       Salvation Starts with the Fear of the Lord!


1.       The problem to begin with was that people didn’t think they had to worry about God.

2.       But the truth is, when you simply and only worry about God, you will really have nothing else to worry about (Matthew 6:33)

3.       Fear The Present Wrath – every evil in our society is the wrath of God poured out because we do not glorify God, and instead only honour sin, and filth – so God leaves us to our own filth

4.       Fear The Future Final Judgment – hell


a.       It’s real folks

b.       And it’s eternal

c.        And you need to worry about going there


5.       Christian… you had better Fear The Chastening of the Lord


a.       Christians need to fear the chastening hand of God in their life

b.       You can blow your future – early death

c.        You can lose rewards

d.       You can lose your health, your family, your mind

e.        All because you forget about God


F.       Thankfully, Christians are saved from the coming wrath (1Th 1:10), but the majority of this world is paying a heavy price for not fearing the Lord God

G.      At this time of year, be very afraid – not of witches, and demons, and wizards, and ghosts, but of God Almighty, who repays us our sins, unless we have looked to Jesus for complete and full forgiveness!