My friend Dean Trune teaches that we need to love God and fear God. Our love for God drives us towards Him. Our fear of God drives us away from temptation and sin. He believes that for most who fall away from God, the problem wasn’t a lack of love but a lack of fear.
Today’s reading (1 Corinthians 10) backs that up. The first four verses are all la-di-da, then in verse 5, “Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.” Then we’re told in verse 6 that we’re supposed to look to their example to keep from saying yes to tempation. We’re to learn from them to fear God and the consequences of sin.
It’s pretty sobering, especially (for me) when the list of examples is given, and it says not to grumble as they did, so we won’t have to suffer the consequences they did. I can be a bit of a grumbler, and the whole “destroying angel” idea doesn’t sound appealing to me.
As for being a church planter, this is complex because people are tired of hellfire and brimstone preachers, which I understand. But at the same time, we need to teach people to fear God and the consequences of sin.