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The Good News is that I need to Fear God

April 5, 2010

Acts 10: 34-43: 34Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism35but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.36You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.37You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.39“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree,40but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.41He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

(This is sort of my sermon from Easter Sunday preached at Wagin and Dumbleyung Anglican churches.  I  say ‘sort of’ as I don’t read a script but have some slim notes and just go for it.)

What an amazing day Easter Day is, when we recognise that the tomb is empty, that Christ is risen!!  Hallelujah!  And I want to share today some of what I find powerful about the empty tomb and I want to start by looking at verse 36 of Acts 10 which mentions the heart of Christianity as I see it.  It reads, ‘36You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.’ The key phrase is ‘Good News’ which speaks of the amazing reality that Christ died for our sins so that we might come into the presence of God!

And this story of us being called into the presence of God is told right through the Bible.  The Old Testament is full of how God yearns to be close to His chosen people and sadly how repeatedly they reject Him.  And so keen is God to connect with His people that he eventually sends His actual son to die on the cross so that our sins may be forgiven so that we might be close to Him.  And why is this? God cannot be in the presence of sin, so for us to be close to God requires that we deal with our sin.  And this is made possible through the cross and confirmed by the empty tomb!

But why seek to be in the presence of God?  This is what I yearn for completely, to be more and more in the presence of God, to increasingly come under God’s will, to be empowered through the Holy Spirit, to walk each moment with Him.  So when it says in verse 36, ‘telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ’ the greek behind peace is eirene, which means unity, love, every kind of blessing or good.  So to be in the presence of God as explained by the ‘Good News’ is that our sins can be forgiven so that we can be in unity with God, experience His great love and receive every kind of blessing.  Oh I so want that!!

Which brings me to my second and final point.

In verse 35 it reads, ‘..but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.’ The expression ‘fear him’ is fascinating as it isn’t so much talking about being the fear we have if we say found ourselves faced with a tiger in the wild, but is more talking about awe, being in awe of God, in particular being in awe of God’s presence among us.  And ‘awe’ actually means we realise who we are in relation to God.  It is massively important to know who we are in relation to God.  I know I am a sinner, I know I struggle each day, and in knowing this I reach out to Christ and seek forgiveness, seek His strength each day.  I am incomplete without God.

I am a city boy presently living on my wife’s parent’s property in country Western Australia, and my wife’s parents are farmers.  When I am out helping my father in law with jobs, I am acutely aware that I am a very poor farmer.  My father in law has been a farmer his whole life and is just amazing at it.  Whereas I have very soft hands and find it all a bit of a mystery.  I am in awe of his talent and experience and I know what I am capable of and don’t try and be a farmer. I know who I am in relation to my father in law and I know where I need his help with a task on the farm.  In the same way I know who I am in relation to God, and where I need God’s help in life.  And that is why the resurrection is just so unbelievably important:  I realise who I am, I realise I need to face my sin and find forgiveness, so I can be in God’s presence and receive the love and support I need.  Oh that is cool.

The first two verses of Psalm 36 explain it a different way:

An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.

To flatter yourself is actually to not really understand who you are.  You are deluded in your capabilities and this leads to a lack of the fear of God and to sin.  Our task is to know who we are, to undertake a brutally honest assessment of ourselves, and from this to realise how much we need Jesus, how much we need the forgiveness brought about by the cross and confirmed by the resurrection.  It is essential that we yearn to be in the presence of God so that we might draw on His strength, and fulfil His plans for our lives.

So know who you are, be in awe of God, recognise how much you need Christ, seek forgiveness often and yearn to be in the presence of God.  Christ is risen, oh yes, He is so risen – Hallelujah!

God bless ya!

Mark Brown

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  1. very good. we need to continue spreading the Gospel.

  2. Rachael Howell permalink

    I just want to say thank you for posting these blogs every day. They are very helpful and meaningful to me as I yearn to be in the presence of The Lord. Happy Easter to you and yours, and God bless!!

  3. One day at a time!

  4. B.joan.tole permalink

    Proverb14 :30 a heart at peace give life to the body,but envy rots the bones

  5. Oliver bradley permalink

    Hi Mark, thank you for your Easter message I was challenged by the reference to Psalm 36 and someone who lacks a fear of God flattering themself too much to detect admit to or own up to their sinfulness. It’s easy to allow your heart to become calloused and indifferent to the wonderful work Jesus did because we become impressed with ourselves and forget the wonder being clean, forgiven and humbled and knowing in our brokeness we can’t make it on our own. I am glad God mercifully allows situations to be bigger than us to remind us of this fact. Delighted you are on facebook and in peoples faces including my own with the truth of his word.

  6. thomas illingworth permalink

    Happy Easter to you all! Amen.

  7. What a Blessing bringing the word of God to face book .I want you to know how much i appreciate you and what you are doing.Happy Easter to you and your Beautiful Family.May God Bless you and hold you in his loving Arm’s.Happy Easter My Friend.(yes he has Risen)!!!!!!!

  8. Dustin permalink

    i just dont understand how you can preach and teach the bible and celebrate easter, have easter sermons and even wish everyone happy easter. easter is just another pagan holiday that the church absorbed. the bible warns against following the traditions of man and following pagan ways. the bible is specific on the days we are to hold as holy and celebrate as holidays. yet everyone has traded Passover for easter. i understand love and respect for Christ but nowhere does it say we should celebrate his resurrection…or his death which couldnt of been on good friday bc it friday was the high sabbath, he wouldnt of been burried or tombed that day and friday doesnt make for 3 days dead. if you love God and the bible then why not listen to the bible? why anger/disappoint God by celebrating pagan ways and claiming your doin it for Jesus?

    • Donald Citrano permalink

      I’d love to see the response to this

  9. Carol permalink

    Hi Mark

    Thank you for the wonderful Easter message
    “The tomb is empty” – how amazing and powerful is that statement – knowing God is alive can help you overcome any situation
    Your messages on FB help me get my share of Gods word – as I’m new in VIC and can’t find a church – any suggestions ?
    Thank you

  10. Brenda Lambert permalink

    hi, mark
    today was the 1st time how i realized what easter was about i mean truely and i realized today how much i really do need god i knew before but now i know i need god so so so much in all times and in everyway in everything i do
    pray that i recieve the holy spirit (talking in tongues) i really want that special relations with god being able to talk and be connected to god in that way
    i its like i just woke up today
    been going to church for many years but god choose today for me to wake up and see the truth and wow it was an awesome easter for me smile
    thanks for your comments and sharing about easter
    look forward to more of your teachings

  11. Sister Pam OP permalink

    Thank you for sharing your inspirational sermon.

  12. Halleluiah Jesus is alive,death has lost it’s victory and the grave has been denied,the lamb of God has risen,He’s alive and so we have the victory.Happy Resurrection Rev.Mark and let us continue to live in the “fear of the Lord”.

  13. Diana permalink

    Thank you for your sermon with a healthy balance of Law and Gospel. It is so important for us to always hear both.

  14. I yearn to be in awe of God,I ask for his Guidance and strength everyday of my life,I feel his presence its awesome.Amen and I LOVE GOD.Thanks Mark for a totally awesome posting on this totally awesome day of CELEBRATION…

  15. MacDonald permalink

    Thanks for this message i sure others would find it as something that will help them to grow in the lord and work on their way of getting to the route of Salvation in this short stay here on earth.

  16. Kayla permalink

    Wow, what a challenge and encouragement! I love the comparison of you and your Father-in-law to each one of us and God. How powerful! Lord, may You fulfill Your plan in our lives as we seek to follow You! Thank you for sending these blogs out–God has been showing me much lately, and this contributes!

    By His Grace,


  17. chibuike nwosu permalink

    this is amazing,the grace for more research recieve now in Jesus name AMEN

  18. Terry~Lee permalink

    He is Risen!!!!! 🙂
    I pray Lord you forgive our ignorances and that YOU understand our hearts and intentions…WE LOVE YOU and PRAISE YOU!!!!
    Thank you FATHER, SON & HOLY SPIRIT for teaching us through your WORD & LOVE!

  19. Rosemary permalink

    Thank u jesus 4 ur divine mercy and grace in my life.i wil forever love and worship u cos they is none like thee.

  20. Tim Reardon permalink

    This is awesome! God knows just how wicked our hearts can get, so selfish, so self flattering, so unwilling to die to self, and yet He says “Jesus came to the world to take away sins.” He didn’t come to condem, He came to seek and to save! We condem ourselves, when we shrink back from His calling and choose rather to live in the smallness of our vain obsessions. Father, please release us from this smallness of soul and empower us to ‘riseup and walk’ in the fullness of Your Spirit. Open our eyes to see who we are in relation to You so that we will not flatter ourselves in to thinking we are something that we’re NOT! Father these are not things we can accomplish on our own, our eyes are on You, turn away our eyes from looking to vain things, things that always dissapoint the hope we place upon them. Make us to look to you only for the satisfaction of our souls. In Jesus name, Amen.

    • Brenda Lambert permalink

      you are so right and wow so nice to see christians remind us of this
      so true what you said
      im still trying to figure my way and find my way and follow his will and not mine and struggling with letting go of control and letting him have control
      so yes amen to what you said

  21. Donna permalink

    I am reminded of the words of a song that says, “Oh how He loved you and me….Oh how He love you and me…He gave His life, what more could He give? Oh how He loved you and me.” What a gracious, mighty Lord that we we serve. I love Him so much and I am so grateful for what He did for me and all others.

  22. Brenda Lambert permalink

    wow we sung that song in church yesterday wow

  23. Brenda Lambert permalink


  24. Brenda Lambert permalink

    yes kayla this is a wonderful website so much is being shown to us thru god and we are learing i love what you said as we follow and seek him may he the lord show us the way
    so beautiful and well said

  25. Lydia Reyes permalink

    Happy Easter to all. Our Lord Jesus Lives. He is Lord of all, Including the sabbath. For me celebrating Christmas and Easter happens to be the best Holidays of all. All praise , Honor , Power and Glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN

  26. Patty permalink

    Joy in my heart and a 🙂 on my face. Thank you Jesus. I need you every single moment of every single day. I thought I only needed you at certain times in my life……. THEN, I invited you into my heart. Now I can do nothing without you. Amen and Hallelujah!

  27. Pastor Mark I would like to here your comments about what Donald Citrano said becauce I know JESUS was specific about the holy holidays.I also want to know why we as christians do not honour the Sabbath witch is from sundown Friday untill sundown Saterday.According to the Bible we sin against God if we do not obey Him

    Jurie Zwiegelaar
    SOUTH Africa

  28. IMBOLOKONYE(MRS) permalink

    Am melting by this words of Gods love to me. God does not show favourism. I can not stop thinking about this as I wake up, walk, work,talk……. God bless you my brother.

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