Do You Not Even Fear God?
Text: Luke 23:39-41 Speaker: Pastor Matthew Ude Festival: Good Friday Passages: Luke 23:39-41
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39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him,1 saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
Barasheth Bara Elohym – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. He created ALL the heavens, all the vastness of space.
Light can travel 186,000 miles in a second. In a year light can travel 5.8 trillion miles. That is a number that is too big even to mean anything. If I said 5.8 or 10 or 20 trillion it would only have the same effect. It is too big to make any difference. And yet that light year, that 5.8 trillion miles, is only one tiny spec in our galaxy. The Milky Way galaxy is thought to be 105,700 light years in diameter, and that is only one galaxy.
The more we learn about the vastness of our universal the more it ought to humble us. The more we ought to fear God who made all of this in six days.
And yet it seems as though the more we learn about the vastness of God’s creation the less likely men are to fear God. It is as though we think that because we have begun to measure this creation that therefore we are somewhat on par with God.
Many claim that this vastness proves that God does not exist. When in reality it only proves how great He really is. Others claim that there is no way that a God who created all of this cares about the tiny specks of dust that we are. When in reality it only proves that His love is as great and vast as His power.
Psalm 8:3-5 3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, 4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
Do you not even fear God? The greatness of His creation ought to humble our hearts before the Almighty God.
He is not only the Lord almighty, the Lord of creation, He is also the Lord of Hosts, that is the Lord the King the mighty commander of the heavenly armies.
Psalm 68:17 17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, Even thousands of thousands; The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place.
If you will not fear God who created the heavens and the earth, will you not humble your heart before the Lord of hosts who is mighty in battle? The great King against whom none can stand?
When all the armies, all the weapons, all the strength and power of men is gathered together and thrown against the Lord it is not even a fly buzzing around His head. He laughs at the armies of men as though they were not even children with sticks.
Psalm 2:4 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.
During the height of the Roman Empire, they had built good roads all around the Mediterranean sea which enabled the armies to travel swiftly. None dared to defy the Emperor because of the strength of his armies and quickness with which they would descend upon their enemies.
Yet Rome was nothing compared to the power of our God. The strength of His power, His might in battle, His heavenly hosts, these things ought to humble our hearts, so that we do not dare to defy His will. Do you not even fear God?
He is not only Creator and King, He is also the judge who will punish sin.
Exodus 34:7 visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.
God’s wrath against sin is such that even the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren sometimes suffer for the sin of their fathers.
The wrath of God against sin is the flood which wiped out all except eight.
The wrath of God against sin is Sodom and Gomorrah which perished in fire.
The wrath of God against sin is the sons of Korah beneath whose feet the earth opened and swallowed them whole.
The wrath of God against sin is death. Every death, every disease, every suffering is a reminder of our sin.
God is patient and longsuffering. He withholds His judgment, and because of this the hearts of men become callous and haughty. In our hearts we think God will not punish me, and we become even more bold in our sinfulness. As we heard a few weeks ago in the parable of the wicked vinedressers, every time God did not send judgement on them they grew bolder in their arrogance.
Ultimately the wrath of God against our sin is seen today, here in the cross of Christ.
The mocking and the jeering is what we deserve. The back stripped of skin by whips is what we deserve. The thorns, the nails, the agony of even drawing a breath and above all being forsaken by God. This is the wrath of God against out sin.
This is what the thief saw and partially why he finally humbled his heart before God. “Do you not even fear God, “He says, “seeing His judgement.”
Do you not even fear God seeing daily the result of our sin and the punishment of God? We ought to humble our hearts before the Lord who is judge of all the earth.
But then the thief adds one more thing which proves that he saw something else too.
“Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He saw not only the wrath of God against sin but also the greatness of His love and mercy that this punishment was poured out upon Jesus in our place. It was this love more so than the punishment of sin which cause the thief to humble his heart in penitent confession before the Lord.
If you will not fear God because of his power, or his might, or his just wrath against sin, then humble your hearts before His love and His mercy.
His love is greater than all creation for He willingly allowed all creation to be subject to destruction so that He might save us.
His love is greater than the force of His might and His armies for those same hosts of warriors serve sinful men.
His love is greater than His wrath against sin, for He did not pour out that wrath upon us but instead upon his only Son Jesus Christ.
Do you not even fear God?
There was a young man who in his pride would not listen when his father rebuked him but did as he wished. This man continued in a sinful and evil life even when the police arrested him, even before the judge he did not even show humility or remorse but was haughty in spirit, even when he was thrown in jail he continued in sin and in arrogance. Years later he had a son and while resisting arrest he accidentally shot and killed his son. Finally, his heart was humbled in recognition of what his sin had done to another, even to his son.
Today Jesus has suffered the death that you deserve.
Fear God, humble your heart before him. Let go of that anger which you are holding onto against another person. Let go of the pride which makes you think you deserve this or that. Stop trying to make excuses for those sins which you know are contrary to God’s word. Receive from him the word of reconciliation, the forgiveness of your sins.
Do you not even fear God? Humble your hearts before Him, not because of His power or His might or even because of His wrath against sin. Fear God, humble your hearts because “He who knew no sin became sin for us.” Because God has forgiven you through Jesus Christ who received in your place the punishment that you deserve.
Isa 57:15 For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.