Almost ten years ago, Randy Pausch’s last lecture went viral. The Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor was dying of cancer and took the opportunity to deliver a final lecture in which he talked about the lessons he had learned from life and his illness, and also gave advice to students on how to achieve career and personal success. Pausch’s irreverent lecture later became the basis for a bestselling book.
Many other final lectures have been given since where academics and other thinkers present the last message they would give if they were about to die.
What would you say? What would be your last lecture?
More importantly, what would God’s last lecture be? What would be his final message to the world before he wraps it all up and brings everybody’s life on earth to an end?
We don’t need to guess or speculate because he has revealed it in the Bible (Revelation 14: 6-7):
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
God’s last message to everyone will be, “Fear me!” Not what you were expecting, is it? But now that we know, we should prepare for it, shouldn’t we?
The fear of God is a theme that God has been impressing deeply on my soul in recent weeks, mainly because it’s so prevalent throughout the whole Bible, but also because it’s so missing in our churches and our nations. Indeed, it’s way too small in my own life. I want to change that, starting with myself, which is why Shona and I have started reading together through Pastor Al Martin’s excellent short treatment of the subject, The Forgotten Fear: Where have all the God-Fearers Gone? (RHB).
I’ve been stunned at the frequency with which this theme appears in both the Old and New Testaments, especially when contrasted with the infrequency with which it appears in our lives and churches. Little wonder that Arnold Frank’s fine book on the subject, The Fear Of God: A Forgotten Doctrine (RHB), also incorporates “forgotten” in the title. Frank’s study highlights Puritan thought on the subject. See, for example, John Bunyan’s The Fear of God (in updated English).
In his wonderful book, God’s Wisdom in Proverbs, Dan Phillips makes the case that “all of Proverbs actually centers on a particular theme, a theme that Solomon characterizes not as “one of the most important things” he knew, but the most important thing, the sine qua non of knowledge and wisdom. Without that foundational reality at the very start, there’s no knowledge and no wisdom. That theme is the fear of Yahweh” (see his blog post on this).
If you want to hear some sermons on the fear of God then you could listen to Al Martin’s series, which formed the basis of the book. Or, if you want a single sermon to listen to, try Dr. Steve Lawson’s powerful sermon, Whatever happened to the fear of God?
I’ve also posted links to a few blog articles below. Let’s use all these resources to prepare for God’s last sermon by fearing him before he announces his text.