Fearing God in a Fallen World

2014 The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference


In this 65-minute session from the TGC Women’s Conference, Paige Brown takes women through Nehemiah 5-6 to describe what it looks like to fear the Lord and walk in fullness of grace.

Paige Brown is a Bible teacher in her home church in the Washington, D.C. area. She is a former Reformed University Fellowship staff member at Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia.  



Paige used lyrics from the second stanza of Amazing Grace by John Newton to outline her teaching:
 
Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved; 
How precious did that grace appear, 
the hour I first believed.


Paige characterized the fear of God as:

  1. Foundational: The beginning and end of wisdom (Nehemiah 1:11, Proverbs 1:7)
  2. Relational: Deep love and adoration, like a child toward her father (Nehemiah 5, Isaiah 41)
  3. Motivational: Active obedience to God, no matter what (Nehemiah 5:14-19)
  4. Resignational: Surrender to His will, approval, and security (Nehemiah 6:9, Proverbs 19:23)

How does the fear of God influence your decisions, motivate your actions, and give you rest?
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Paige said, “It is not the fear of God unless we, at various times, are motivated to do what we would never do otherwise.” How has this been true in your own life? Who else do you know with this fear and where has it taken them?
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Nehemiah 6:9 (ESV)

9For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Nehemiah prayed for strength rather than a change in circumstance. What did this reveal about his fear of the Lord? Do you trust that God is bigger than your current circumstances? Why or why not?
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Paige described the kinds of fear that grace relieves: 

  1. Self-promoting fears: Driven by financial, vocational, political, and spiritual gain
  2. Self-protecting fears: Driven by fear of man and death

Which kind of self-centered fears are you most driven by? Where do they manifest? Have you experienced relief from any self-centered fears?
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Nehemiah 6:10-11 (ESV)

10Now when I went into the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home, he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple. Let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you by night.”11But I said, “Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in.”

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


About this passage, Paige said, "Nehemiah is far more afraid of God, who can destroy both soul and body, than man. His greatest fear is not death, but offending the Lord." What is your greatest fear? How different might your life look if you feared God more than man?
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Paige said “We will never have to face His [Jesus] fear, because…perfect love cast out all of that fear, all of that dread, all of that terror, all of that horror, all of that agony, because He bore every single one of those crushing realities for us…If we belong to Him like Nehemiah did, we have the fullness of His love right now. We have the fullness of His grace right now. We have only to dig into what is already there.” 

How can you dig deeper with Christ to experience the fullness of his love and grace that cast out fear?
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“Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.” Oh that we would pray for forgiveness and grace, so that we might fear the Father above all and experience the fullness of life in Jesus! 


To learn more about The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference and how you can attend the next event, click here.