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Sticks And Stones - Fearing Man Part 3

 

As we continue in this series, focusing on the unhealthy fear of man, I hope you see the danger in this practice.  First we looked at fearing man through being seen.  Last week we looked at the fear of being rejected.  This week we are going to look at the fear of being physically hurt

In an interview, former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson made this compelling statement "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."  Although Tyson was referring to his opponents, this statement really should resonate with all of us.  You see, many of Tyson's opponents would talk a big game before the fight, insisting on how badly they were going to pummel the young champion.  However, as soon as that bell rang and Iron Mike landed one good shot, his opposition became much less motivated to hold true to their claim.  The fear that he put into his opponents caused them to abandon their game plan, it changed their course.

Fear from physical abuse or fear of physical abuse can be crippling.  Breaking the grip of this fear is difficult, but it is not impossible.  We have a choice to say no to fearing man.  From 1369-1415 John Huss boldly preached that Jesus Christ was the only way, which infuriated the Roman Catholics, who pledged their allegiance wrongly to the pope.  For his efforts, Huss was threatened, jailed, beaten and tortured.  Finally, after refusing to recant over and over again, Huss was tied to a stake.  While the fire was lit, Huss began reciting the Psalms.  As he endured the unimaginable, Huss gave glory to the Lord.  You see John Huss understood the full extent of Matthew 10:28, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

When we count the cost of following Christ, may we not overlook the possibility of physical pain.  The promises of God are not for a pain free life.  But, what we can be certain of is, if we live in fear of the possibility of being physically hurt, we have chosen to fear man.  If we choose to fear man, we have elevated man and reduced our view of God.  God please give us the power and the courage to boldly proclaim You, no matter what the circumstances may be.  May we be unashamed and unwavering in our pursuit of You.  You have given us the strength, may we recognize it and use it to glorify You.                                                        

By His Grace And For His Glory,
Pastor Sam

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Protection From Rejection - Fearing Man Part 2

 

Last week we looked at the first of three categories in which people have an unhealthy fear of man.  Fearing man will inevitably diminish our fear of God.  The second way that the fear of man manifests itself is through the fear of being rejected.  Rejection is one of the most powerful tools that keep us from doing what we know we should, rather what we are commanded to do.  Most people avoid situations of possible rejection much like they would the bubonic plague. 

Circumventing opportunities which could result in rejection is placing superiority on the fear of man, while at the same time curtailing potential positive outcomes.  One of the most wonderful privileges we have as believers, and it certainly is a privilege, is that we get to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others.  God uses His children to reach the lost with the gospel.  But, far too often we don't share when we ought to because we are afraid of rejection.  Maybe they won't listen to me, maybe they will laugh at me, or maybe it will be awkward and uncomfortable.  When we choose to stay silent, what we are really doing is placing our fear of man in front of the eternal condition of the lost.  Of course we would never admit this, but in this case, our actions speak louder than our silence.

On our wall in the foyer of the church we have the verse Acts 1:8 displayed above a map of the world.  Like most, we recognize the importance and value of missionaries.  A missionary shares the gospel, as Acts 1:8 says they witness to the ends of the earth.  Their boldness and dedication in reaching the lost is one of great encouragement.  But, here's the deal, we are not delegating this duty to missionaries so that we do not have to share the gospel.  As ambassadors of Christ we need to share without reservation, as the need for Christ is oftentimes right in our own town, our own neighborhood, even in our own homes.  Do not get caught up in rejection, this is a snare of Satan to keep us quiet.  I encourage you to be confident in Christ, knowing that He will use our obedience for His glory and His purposes.                                     

 

By His Grace And For His Glory,
Pastor Sam 
 
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Through Lenses of Fear - Fearing Man Part 1

 

One of the most overlooked and understated issues that so many believers face is the unnecessary fear of man.  This is a fear that lurks in the shadows of our hearts and warrants more attention than most would suspect.  There are three primary ways in which the fear of man manifests itself in our lives.  In the next three pastor's corners we are going to look at each one of these three areas. 

The first fear is the fear of being seen. This is a fear of being exposed, humiliated and shamed.  If we look back to the garden, we saw this happen with Adam and Eve.  Once they ate from the tree that they had been forbidden to eat from, what did they do?  They found shame in their nakedness (Genesis 3:7) and they hid from God (Genesis 3:8).  One could presume that while hiding, they must have thought "what will God think of me now?"

We are still dealing with the repercussions of the shame that Adam and Eve experienced in the garden, we are still in a hangover from the fall, if you will.  Shame can come from being victimized or sinned against by another.  This form of shame is commonly one that is hard to let go of.  Fearing that others will look at you differently is all consuming.  Even as a child of God, the tendency is rather to identify as the victim of (fill in the blank).  By doing this, whether purposefully or inadvertently, we are choosing to fear man.

Not everyone is in that boat though.  Still, this world we live in will not let you off the hook that easy.  We live in a society that loves to shame and humiliate people.  You are a Christian you say?  Well, then many will call you a bigot or intolerant.  Oh, and don't think about sharing your faith, or you will be labeled as one of those bible thumping Jesus freaks.  And so it goes, the world we live in will not spare the opportunity to try and bring about feelings of shame.  Many choose to hide and stay quiet about their faith, in fear that it may not be socially acceptable in certain places or times.  Again, this is a fear of man. 

The fear of man is crippling, rendering us far less useful for the purposes of God.  Fearing man is a choice.  I encourage you to make the choice to stop fearing to be seen by man.  If you are a child of God, you have nothing to be ashamed of.  He has forgiven your sins, forgiven your shame and He has erased it.  Don't worry yourself about what man will say, think or do.  Remember the words of Psalm 118:6 "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?"  God alone is worthy of being feared.  Let us rest on His promises and resist the snare of fearing man.   


By His Grace And For His Glory, 
Pastor Sam