The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 29:21-27 He who pampers his slave from childhood Will in the end find him to be a son. An angry man stirs up strife, And a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression. A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor. He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He hears the oath but tells nothing. The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted. Many seek the ruler’s favor, But justice for man comes from the Lord. An unjust man is abominable to the righteous, And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked.
The Lord Jesus in Matthew 10:28 says:
Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Fear of man is a sin common to us all. As the Proverb tells us today, it is a snare for those who are not trusting in the Lord. It causes employees in workplaces to not share the gospel with their co-workers for fear of being cut off from promotions. It leads young people to remain silent among friends who are "Christians in name only", because to speak truth into the life of your wayward friend will cost you your friendship. Fear of man paralyzed the Apostle Peter and he wound up denying his Lord and Master three times, and later, was influenced by Judaizers who would not accept uncircumcised gentiles as brothers.
Matthew Henry in speaking of the fear of man says:
We are cautioned not to dread the power of man, neither the power of a prince nor the power of the multitude; both are formidable enough, but the slavish fear of either brings a snare, that is, exposes men to many insults (some take a pride in terrifying the timorous), or rather exposes men to many temptations.
Fear of man can tempt Pastors and Elders to shy away from speaking hard truths to their congregation. Brothers and sisters in Christ, who ought to offer loving, gentle rebukes to one another, oftentimes take the easier path of nonconfrontation under the guise of not wanting to stir the pot. Now, this is not an encouragement to be a troublesome meddler, but rather, if you are a man who sees a brother stumbling into sin, or an older lady who sees a younger lady making the same mistakes that your younger self did: love your neighbor as yourself and open your mouth. Don't allow fear of man to keep you from loving one another.
Men, for you specifically, fear of man can lead you to not discipline your children as you ought. Because we are oftentimes inconsistent in how we discipline our children, or perhaps we consistently fail to discipline them at all, when we do, it has the possibility of coming across as harsh and heavy handed to our wives. So, because we desire peace, quiet in the home, do not like tension with our wives, and believe that we can appease their wrath, we do not discipline the children as we ought. Then, you show up to Church on a Sunday morning with undisciplined children who your wife winds up having to wrestle with, wrangle, and be led to feel like a failure as a parent because her children are unruly. Fear of man, in this case seeking to appease your wife, leads to unruly children, and a potentially resentful wife who feels overwhelmed on Sunday mornings. Don't do this to your wife. As I encouraged you last week, don't lay burdens on the shoulders of your wife that are meant for you husbands to carry. We are called to die to self, to lay down our lives for our wives as Christ did for His bride, the Church. So men, put to death the fear of man within you.
Man, woman, boy, girl, young and old, killing fear of man within you is accomplished in big part by trusting in the Lord. Remembering His promise to never leave you nor forsake you.
Bearing in mind that Christ is a Man of War, and is crushing His enemies, Your enemies, under His feet. Reminding yourself that all man can do is kill your body. That's it. Man can rage, they can plot against you, yet it is in vain and all the while our God sits in the heavens and laughs.
Brothers and sisters let us repent of our fear of man. If you are able at this time, please join me in kneeling as we cry out to God for mercy.
Please be merciful towards us sinners.
Forgive us for our wandering, distracted hearts and minds which forget how awesome, mighty, and terrible You are.
Please forgive us Father, for fearing man who is made of dust, rather than fearing You, our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer.
Father, please grant us grace that we may live free from fear of rejection, loss, conflict, and trouble. Help us to recognize that the safest place for us is in Your will, trusting in You, no matter what temporal calamity, storm, or conflict may come.
In Jesus's Name we pray, Amen.
Please join me in standing and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church:
One will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. -Romans 5:7-9
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 02/28/2021 liturgy of Sovereign King Church, written by Aaron Sabie.)