Summary: What happens when we fear men more than God? Sounds silly doesn’t it. Why do people buy stuff they can’t afford, Why do we lie, Why don’t speak up agains wrong and the list goes on and on. Many times it is because we fear what someone will think of us.
WHEN PEOPLE ARE BIG AND GOD IS SMALL
Intro: When people are big and God is small we face continual defeat in our lives.
When God is big and people are small we will have victory over satan.
Even true worshipers can have what the Bible calls “the fear of man”
“FEAR” in the biblical sense is a broader word than what we might think today. It includes being afraid of someone, but also extends to holding someone in awe, being controlled or mastered by people, or needing people. Simply we replace God with others.
Today we have other names for “the fear of man”. When we are teens it’s called peer pressure, as adults it’s called “people pleasing”. Recently, it has been called “codependency”.
“The Fear of Man” is an universal problem… have you ever struggled with peer pressure ?, Are you over committed?, Do you need something from others?, Is self-esteem a critical concern for you?, Do you ever feel as if you might be exposed as an impostor?, Do you get easily embarrassed?, Do other people make you angry or depressed?, Do you tell those little white lies?, Are you jealous of others?
Have all these descriptions missed the mark? When you compare yourself to others, do you feel good about yourself ? If so you might just have the most dangerous form “successful” fear. Such people think they are better than others, or have more than others. They feel good about themselves. But there live are still defined by other people rather than God.
Does it include you yet? If not, consider one word: evangelism. Have you ever been too timid to share your faith in Christ because others might think you are a irrational fool ? Gotcha.
The fear of man is such a part of our human lives that we should check for a pulse if someone denies it.
I. How and Why We Fear Others
A. “People will see me” “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”
1. Shame from Sin
2. Hiding and Spying
3. The Midnight Hour
B. “People will Reject me”
1. “Peer Pressure” and the Praise of God.
2. Peter’s battle with the fear of man.
3. People ; our idol of choice
C. “People Will Physically Hurt Me”
1. Abraham’s fear caused him to lie. (Gen. 12:11-13
2. Our fear of man can hurt others. (Gen. 20) Abraham risks wife’s defilement.
3. Our fear of man causes us to miss blessings. (Numbers 13) what they feared overtook them 40 yr.
II. Overcoming the Fear of Others
A. Know the fear of the Lord
1. “Terror-fear” drives one away and makes them hide. (Motivated by sin)
2. “Worship-fear” draws us closer and closer. (Motivated by grace)
B. Grow in fear of the Lord (Ps.34:9) O fear the Lord, ye His saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him.
1. Meditate on God’s word.
2. Meditate on God’s person.
C. Know your real needs. (reflecting God’s glory)
D. Delight in God Who Fills us.