Ephesians 4:7-16; Fear of God revisited.

Class Outline:

Sunday August 15,2021

Fear of the Lord in Proverbs:

Produces knowledge (3)

Turns from evil (4)

Gives wisdom (2)

Prolongs life (4)

Gives confidence (1)

Gives riches and honor (1)


PRO 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;

Fools despise wisdom and instruction.


PRO 1:29

Because they hated knowledge,

And did not choose the fear of the Lord.


PRO 2:5

Then you will discern the fear of the Lord,

And discover the knowledge of God.


PRO 3:7

Do not be wise in your own eyes;

Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.


PRO 8:13

"The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;

Pride and arrogance and the evil way,

And the perverted mouth, I hate.


PRO 9:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.


PRO 10:27

The fear of the Lord prolongs life,

But the years of the wicked will be shortened.


PRO 14:26-27

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,

And his children will have refuge.

27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,

That one may avoid the snares of death.


PRO 15:16

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord,

Than great treasure and turmoil with it.


PRO 15:33

The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom,

And before honor comes humility.


PRO 16:6

By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for,

And by the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil.


PRO 19:23

The fear of the Lord leads to life,

So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.


PRO 22:4

The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord

Are riches, honor and life.


PRO 23:17

Do not let your heart envy sinners,

But live in the fear of the Lord always.


PRO 24:21

My son, fear the Lord and the king;

Do not associate with those who are given to change;



ECC 1:13-14

It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with. 14 I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.


DEU 29:29

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”


We cannot discern everything in God’s world. And we should fear nothing in God’s world.


If we believers walk with God in fear of Him, uprightness (righteousness), and wisdom, we will be delivered from every evil thing. How we are delivered is up to God alone.


Psa 36 For the choir director. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord.


1 Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart;

There is no fear of God before his eyes.

2 For it flatters him in his own eyes,

Concerning the discovery of his iniquity and the hatred of it.

3 The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit;

He has ceased to be wise and to do good.

4 He plans wickedness upon his bed;

He sets himself on a path that is not good;

He does not despise evil.


5 Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens,

Thy faithfulness reaches to the skies.

6 Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God;

Thy judgments are like a great deep.

O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast.

7 How precious is Thy lovingkindness, O God!

And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Thy wings.

8 They drink their fill of the abundance of Thy house;

And Thou dost give them to drink of the river of Thy delights.

9 For with Thee is the fountain of life;

In Thy light we see light [intimacy].


10 O continue Thy lovingkindness to those who know Thee,

And Thy righteousness to the upright [yashar: used 25 times in Proverbs - literally: to be straight. To do that which is right in God’s eyes] in heart.

11 Let not the foot of pride come upon me,

And let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.

12 There the doers of iniquity have fallen;

They have been thrust down and cannot rise.


Notice, that though David is upright, he still prays that the foot of pride (the power of the prideful) will not come upon him, nor the wicked drive him away (slavery rather than spiritual freedom).


We will soon see Jesus’ disciples fail to pray.


We also find, again, a reference to the fear of God in this psalm.


It should be understood what this phrase means, and although we have spoken much about it, it is fruitful to speak more since the wrong type of fear of God can be a “significant barrier to feeling close to God.” [Anderson, Into His Presence, p. 80]


We should not have an “unhealthy anxiety born out of fear of God’s rejection or judgment.” [ibid, p. 81] Numerous times the Lord tells His people not to fear Him. He meant for them to fear Him but not to back away from Him.


GEN 15:1

"Do not fear, Abram,

I am a shield to you;

Your reward shall be very great."


GEN 26:24 [to Isaac]

“I am the God of your father Abraham;

Do not fear, for I am with you.”


EXO 20:20 [At Sinai]

And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin."


JDG 6:23 [to Gideon]

And the Lord said to him, "Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die."


MAT 14:27 [Walking on water]

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."


MAT 17:7 [Mt. Transfiguration]

And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, "Arise, and do not be afraid."


MAT 28:10 [post resurrection appearance]

Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they shall see Me."


The fear of God is not drawing away from the unknown, but a search for intimacy with Him, while being small, insignificant, and humble.


At one time in His ministry, the disciples feared having a more intimate knowledge of Jesus due to the intimidation of His greatness, which they found beyond their own understanding.


This occurred right after three disciples witnessed His transfiguration, when the other nine could not heal a man’s demon possessed son. Some have called this the descent from the mountain of glory to the spirit of need.


LUK 9:37-43

And it came about on the next day, that when they had come down from the mountain, a great multitude met Him. 38 And behold, a man from the multitude shouted out, saying, "Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy, 39 and behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth, and as it mauls him, it scarcely leaves him [Luke is a physician]. 40 "And I begged Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not." 41 And Jesus answered and said, "O unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you, and put up with you? Bring your son here." 42 And while he was still approaching, the demon dashed him to the ground, and threw him into a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.


To properly interpret Jesus’ words we must remember that there is a multitude (vs. 37) which would refer to a large gathering. The disciples at the bottom of the mount had become known to the people, for they themselves had performed many miracles by the power given to them by Christ. We can easily picture the crowd looking on in intense curiosity as to why these nine disciples of Christ could not cast out the demon, which miracle they had performed prior (MAT 10:8). The boy was in incredible suffering while one disciple after another (likely) attempted the feat. We can imagine some of the religious leaders as well as commoners mocking them to some extent and thereby questioning the power of Jesus.


Is it to the great multitude alone (vs. 37) or to them and the disciples that Jesus vents His sorrow and frustration? Using Matthew’s account we see that He spoke to both the unbelieving multitudes and the little believing disciples.


MAT 17:19-20

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" 20 And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you.


Note that Jesus expected them to have the power, through faith and prayer, to free the boy of this demon.


Faith brings courage. Fear (wrong type) brings ignorance of God and isolation from God.


God is far bigger than our problems because He is far bigger than our world. The disciples thought small, “What’s the procedure, how can I do it differently,” etc. when Jesus thought big, “The work will be done through faith in the Almighty God who has power over all evil, and prayer to Him.”


Mark’s account shows us that prayer was needed.


MAR 9:28-29

"Why could we not cast it out?" 29 And He said to them, "This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer."


This is why we look at the harmony of the Gospels. [MAT 17:21 adds fasting to the solution, but that verse is not in many manuscripts and looks suspiciously like a scribal addition]


The disciples’ problem was their littleness of faith and lack of prayer.


Why did the disciples overlook prayer? We can imagine many reasons they might have, but this scripture is written for us to ask ourselves why we fail to pray. The reason they neglected prayer is not at issue. The reason why we do is. God is asking us in His scripture, “Why do you neglect to pray to Me when things are hard and confusing and beyond your power to overcome?”


Still, we’re not done with this event; much like God is not done with an event in our own lives when we think He should be. When Jesus sees that the crowd and the disciples are amazed at His greatness, He takes the disciples aside and confesses to them that He will be [Mark’s account] “delivered into the hands of men, to be killed, and after He is killed, He will rise three days later.” If any of us were His disciples then, at any time it would have thrown any of us for a loop, but to hear it after being amazed by His visible greatness and glory, it would have been absolutely mysterious and bewildering.


When the multitude and the frustrated disciples witnessed Jesus easily overpower and evict the demon, giving much needed relief to the boy and his broken-hearted father, He takes the disciples aside and admits that He will be so overpowered by man that they will kill Him, but then He would rise from the dead, and that, three days later. He does not give detail about rising: bodily, as a spirit, in some mystical way.


The disciples were amazed at His greatness over impossibly powerful demons, and feared His profession of submission to men.


LUK 9:43-45

But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples, 44 "Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men."  45 But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they might not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.


It made no sense at the time. He could easily remedy the hardest exorcism, but He would be powerless over men who were powerless over demons. They were fearful of asking Him of the meaning, and of the significance of the statement.


MAR 9:31-32

For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later."  32 But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.