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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Fear of Man

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional

Verse for the Day – Matthew 6:1
Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Daily Scripture Reading - Luke 18

Puritan Catechism
Question #6: How many persons are there in the Godhead?
Answer: There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one God, the same in essence, equal in power and glory (1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19).

Devotional Thoughts
As we examine this second chapter of the Sermon on the Mount, let's review quickly. Jesus is the One doing the preaching here so we can not claim that the Scripture is being misinterpreted. He after all is the Living Word of God. He has been preaching and instructing us in this sermon on how we are to live. In living as He expects and even commands, we are blessed in ways we could never imagine; we find that we are totally dependent on Him to live through us. None of us could ever meet His standards unless He first gave us the power and desire to do what He commands (grace).

Now He begins to give us a series of examples as to how we are to relate to God and to others. He tells us that when we serve God by serving others, we are not to do things for the praise of men. We cannot worship and obey God just because others are watching. If our motive is not love for God, then we are compromising our faith! Often we are motivated by the people around us. We act a certain way or say certain things because of who we know that might be listening.

Think about it - would your phone conversations at work or at home change if you knew that your conversations were being recorded? That exposes two things. First the fear of man, and second, if we answered yes that we would change things then we are already being disobedient to God with our mouths!! (Ephesians 4:25-32).

When we worship and give to God and others, we must maintain pure motives. The motives of love and obedience. Otherwise we contaminate our worship. There are several factors that might influence us to do what we do for men to see instead of for God to receive. Pride is the first selfish motive in self-righteous worship. "Look how good I am!", we might be thinking. Remember how we spell pride? "p-r-I-d-e". We know we are working out of pride when we just can't get around "I" or "Me". We do our service to God as though our status in others eyes will be diminished if we don't prove how righteous and holy and godly we are!

Fear of Men may be a second motive. There are times when we believe that what other people think about us is more important than the truth God knows about us! Let me say that again. There are times when what people think about us is more important to us than what God knows about us!! Why should we be afraid of what any man thinks of our worship? If God approves then who else on earth matters? And why should we worry about what people think? They will change their minds as soon as the next fad comes into style. God never changes. It is Him we must strive to please. If we were even able to please all of the people all of the time, then we can still be assured of one fact. If we are pleasing people then we probably aren't pleasing God.

Jesus makes a simple point. Do what you do in worship and service to God and ministry to others out of love for God and love for each other (Matthew 22:37-40). If we for a moment do what we do for the approval of a mere man, then we will fail in our endeavor to please God. Of all the degrees we could earn, Del Fehsenfeld, Jr. said that we must be sure to earn our A.U.G. degree. This degree is not awarded by any seminary or college in the land. This degree cannot be earned by anyone at all unless Jesus earns it for us. It is the "Approved Unto God" degree. And the only way to earn it is to die! Die to self; live to Christ. Then we are approved to God. And if God approves then it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, does it? Beware the fear of man today. Instead please HIM!!


Puritan Voices
We will read a small portion each day from a notable work by one of the Puritans. This week we will read The Sin of Man-Pleasing by Richard Baxter.

As in other cases, so in this, iniquity consists not simply in the heart's neglect of God, but in the preferring of some competitor, and prevalence of some object which stands up for an opposite interest. And so the obeying man before God and against him, and the valuing the favor and approbation of man before or against the approbation of God, and the fearing of man's censure or displeasure more than God's, is an idolizing man, or setting him up in the place of God. It turns our chief observance, and care, and labor, and pleasure, and grief into this human fleshly channel, and makes all that to be but human in our hearts and lives, which (objectively) should be divine. Which is so great and dangerous a sin, partaking of so much impiety, hypocrisy, and pride, as that it deserves a special place in my directions, and in all watchfulness and consideration to escape it.

As all other creatures, so especially man, must be regarded and valued only in a due subordination and subserviency to God. If they be valued otherwise, they are made his enemies, and so are to be hated, and are made the principal engine of the ruin of such as overvalue them. See what the Scripture says of this sin: "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?", "And call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father which is in heaven." ver. 8, "And be not ye called Rabbi, for one is your Master even Christ: but he that is greatest among you shall be your servant" Jer. 20:15, "Cursed be the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm." Psalm 118: 6, 8, 9, "The Lord is on my side, I will not fear what man can do unto me. It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man,-yea, in princes." Job 32:21, 22 "Let me not accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man: for I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my Maker would soon take me away." Job 21: 4, "As for me, is my complaint to man? "Gal. 1:10, "Do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be a servant of Christ." I Cor. 4: 3, "But with me it is a very small thing to be judged of you, or of man's judgment." Luke 14:26, "If a man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." "Blessed are ye when man shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven," Matt. 5:12. "Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers," Eph. 6:6; Col. 3:22. I Thess. 2:4, "So we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who tries our hearts." Jude 16, "Having men's persons in admiration because of advantage." This is enough to show you what Scripture says of this inordinate man-pleasing, or respect to man: and now I shall proceed to direct you to escape it.

Direct. I. Understand well wherein the nature of this sin consists, that you may not run into the contrary extreme, but may know which way to bend your opposition. I shall therefore first show you, how far we may and must please men, and how far not.

Direct II. Remember that the favor and pleasing of man is one of your snares, that would prevail against your pleasing God: therefore watch against the danger of it, as you must do against other earthly things.

Direct. III. Remember how silly a creature man is and that his favor can be no better than himself. The thoughts or words of a mortal worm are matters of no considerable value to us.

Direct. IV. Remember that it is the judgment of God alone, that your life or death for ever does depend upon; and how little you are concerned in the judgment of man.

Direct. V. Remember that the judgment of ungodly men, is corrupted and directed by the devil and to be overruled by their censures, or too much to fear them, is to be overruled by the devil, and to be afraid of his censures of. us. And will you honor him so much? Alas! it is he that puts those thoughts into the minds of the ungodly, and those reproachful words into their mouths. To prefer the judgment of a man before God's, is odious enough, though you did not prefer the devil's judgment.

Direct. VI. Consider what a slavery you choose, when you thus make yourselves the servants of every man, whose censures you fear, and whose approbation you are ambitious of. I Cor. 7: 23, "Ye are bought with a price. Be not ye the servants of men:" that is, do not needlessly enthral yourselves. What a task have men-pleasers! they have as many masters as beholders! No wonder if it take them off from the service of God; for the "friendship of the world is enmity to God;" and he that will thus be "a friend of the world, is an enemy to God," James 4:4. They cannot serve two masters God and the world. You know men will condemn you, if you be true to God: if, therefore, you must needs have the favor of men, you must take it alone without God's favor. A man-pleaser cannot be true to God, because he is a servant to the enemies of his service; the wind of a man's mouth will drive him about as the chaff, from any duty, and to any sin. How servile a person is a man-pleaser! How many masters hath he, and how mean ones! It perverts the course of your hearts and lives, and turns all from God to this unprofitable way.

Direct. VII. Remember what a pitiful reward you seek. "Verily," saith our Lord, concerning hypocrites and man-pleasers, "they have their reward," Matt. 6:25. O miserable reward! The thought and breath of mortal men, instead of God-instead of heaven; this is their reward! Their happiness will be to lie in hell, and remember that they were well spoken of on earth! and that once they were accounted religious, learned, wise, or honorable! and to remember that they preferred this reward be fore everlasting happiness with Christ! If this be not gain, your labor is all lost, which you lay out in hunting for applause. If this be enough to spend your time for, and to neglect your God for, and to lose your souls for, rejoice then in the hypocrite's reward. (to be continued)


Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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