Introduction: Many years ago I purchased a black baseball
type cap that says in big red letters on the front, “Fear
God.” A great rebuke to pagans, right! And a reminder to the
rest of us. However, I have rarely worn it. Why? One reason
is that I am concerned that people will misunderstand it.
What does it mean to “fear God?” When humans are approached
by angels they are told “fear not.” See Luke 1:28-30. This
seems to be a concern about actual fear. If angels create
fear, then certainly God is to be literally feared. But
literal fear seems inconsistent with our understanding of
Jesus. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible and learn

I. Fear God

A. Read Revelation 14:7. Let’s put this in terms that
most people can understand. If you have been
charged with a crime, and the jury is about to
announce its judgment, would you feel real fear –
the kind of fear that makes you tremble? (Yes. The
context here is “judgment” and therefore the
trembling kind of fear seems logical based on our
understanding of life.)

1. Read Luke 12:5. The phrase here is, according
to Robertson’s Word Pictures, the same as in
Revelation 14:7. Is this trembling fear? (If I
were told that I would be killed and tossed
into hell that would be the worst possible
outcome – and I would tremble.)

2. Read Revelation 19:5. This uses the same Greek
word for fear. Can you imagine that those who
are praising God in heaven are also trembling
in fear?

a. If you were God, would you want to be
praised by someone who is frightened of

B. Look again at Revelation 14:7. Do you have a
theory as to why the same Greek word means both
being scared and an attitude of praise? (It is
typical that a word in a language can have several
meanings. The context is what helps us to
understand what is meant. What do you think “fear”
means in the context of this verse which also uses
the phrases “give Him glory” and “worship Him [who
is the Creator]?” (The context tells us that it
means mostly respect and awe.)

1. Should some people tremble in fear before God?
(Absolutely. Those who are His enemies, His
opponents. Those who fear His judgment.)

2. My father was a public school administrator
for most of his professional life. I recall
that when he was a middle school principal we
walked past an open classroom door and my
father saw a boy slumped in his chair. My
father snapped his fingers and the boy
immediately straightened up! Do you think that
boy and I had the same view of my father? (No.
We both feared him, but I knew that my father
loved me absolutely.)

II. The Preacher

A. Read Ecclesiastes 12:9-10. What is the Preacher
doing that is commendable? (He is carefully
studying and logically presenting many proverbs.)

1. What is the goal of this Preacher? (To bring
delight and truth to his audience.)

2. Do you think the Preacher is doing the right
thing? (I love a carefully prepared and
organized sermon that brings me joy.)

B. Read Ecclesiastes 12:11. Are “goads” or “nails”
like words of delight? Is this related to the
words of the Preacher?(I think this means that a
delightful sermon contains points that make us
seriously consider our life. They “goad” us in the
right direction.)

1. Notice the reference to “nails firmly fixed.”
What is a “nail” in a sermon? After lunch have
you completely forgotten the sermon?

2. Not too long ago I was speaking to a young man
who I had not seen in years. He told me that
he recalled stories from sermons I had
preached at least ten years before. He was a
young teenager when he heard them and I was
astonished that he remembered them. I asked
him if he remember the spiritual point made by
the story. He did not. My stories nailed the
story, but not the point. How can we “nail”
the point?

C. Read Ecclesiastes 12:12-13. Is the work of the
Preacher leading in the right direction? (Yes.
There are all sorts of books that weary us with
all of their details. But a delightful sermon that
pricks our conscience and is memorable will direct
us to “fear God and keep His commandments.” This
gives us another view of the meaning of fearing

1. What lesson do we learn from the reference to
“much study” and “weariness?” (Sermons should
not only delight, they must not weary us.
Keeping it simple, making complex subjects
simple and interesting, helps to nail the

D. Read Ecclesiastes 12:14. What parallel do you see
with Revelation 14:7? (They both are stated in the
context of a coming judgment.)

III. Keeping Commandments and Giving Glory

A. Read Ephesians 2:8-9. What is the connection
between keeping the law and being saved? (We are
not saved by our works of keeping the law.)

B. Read Ephesians 2:10. We are God’s “workmanship”
created “for good works.” What does that suggest
is a reason for us to do good works? (A craftsman
is proud of his work. Jesus wants us to be living
examples of what it means to be a Christian. We
want to make Jesus proud of us.)

C. Read Matthew 5:14-15. What should we do with a
light? (Put it where it can be seen.)

1. This text says that we are “the light of the
world.” Why are these verses more concerned
about the placement of the light than the
nature of the light? (To truly be a follower
of God means that we are inherently “light.”
That does not, however, resolve the placement

D. Read Matthew 5:16. This better explains the light.
What is the light of a Christian? (“Good works.”)

1. What is the result of you doing good works?
(You bring glory to God.)

2. If your good works are the light that brings
glory to God, how do we place our good works
where the world can see them? How do we answer
the placement challenge?

E. Read Matthew 6:1-2. How do you reconcile this
advice with the idea that our good works need to
be seen so that we can bring glory to God?

1. What does it mean that these people who are
trumpeting their good works “have received
their reward?” (The praise of others is the
extent of their reward.)

F. Read Matthew 6:3-4. Can you come up with a
placement plan that helps you to separate these
good works in Matthew 6 from the good works in
Matthew 5? (If you look at Matthew 6:4 it seems
that the goal of the works in Matthew 6 is a
reward for the person doing the good works. In
Matthew 5 the goal of the works is to bring glory
to God.)

1. Does that mean that the answer for separation
is to ask “What is my goal in these works?”

a. Once we separate them will that help with
the continuing mystery about how we
should place them so that the world will
see our good works?

2. Is this easy to separate? (Not for me. My goal
in writing these lessons is to encourage
people to read the Bible and consider the will
of God. This brings glory to God. Last week an
important person with a great deal of
influence told me he regularly reads these
studies. I considered that a great compliment
and it brought glory to me.)

3. If I am not the only one who has trouble
separating giving glory to God and glory to
me, what is the answer? Should we ask what is
our primary purpose for good works?

G. Read Psalms 75:4-7. Is this the answer to how we
should approach good works? (Yes. We should not be
the one lifting ourselves up for our glory. That
was the problem in Matthew 6. Instead, we should
wait on God to lift (or not lift) us up. We should
leave the placement (letting our light shine) to

H. Friend, the goal of your life is to fear God and
bring Him glory. These goals merge in the attitude
of pleasing God by doing His will. Will you ask
the Holy Spirit to help you to properly fear God
and bring glory to Him?

IV. Next week: The Good News of the Judgment.

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.