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← People Pleasing and the Fear of Man - Ask Pastor Tim

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Showing Revision 4 created 01/17/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. Question.
  2. "Can you explore this
    topic of fear of men?"
  3. So that's the topic: fear of men.
  4. "Now, if a believer
  5. is free from sin,
  6. how can one feel so dominated
  7. by this particular gripping sin?"
  8. Now, he writes more,
  9. but I'm going to stop right there.
  10. I often get questions
    that are worded like this.
  11. You say, like what?
  12. I often get somebody that says to me,
  13. "I know I'm a Christian.
  14. Please explain to me
    how I can be living in sin."
  15. That approach is common.
  16. I know I've been regenerated.
  17. I know I believed.
  18. I know I'm a Christian.
  19. And yet, would you please explain to me
  20. how it is that I can be controlled
  21. by this un-Christian conduct?
  22. Those are the kind of questions
  23. oftentimes that you get.
  24. And it's like, ok, there's a fatal flaw
  25. in logic there.
  26. One of the things is this:
  27. We don't want to just
    assume we're Christians
  28. and then ask the question -
  29. it's like, I know I'm a Christian,
  30. even though when I look at the Bible,
  31. the things that the Bible says
    are true about Christians,
  32. I don't see are true in my life.
    So would you please explain to me?
  33. I know I'm a Christian,
  34. but how is it that my life can be
  35. characterized by un-Christian conduct
  36. when I know I'm a Christian?
  37. (Incomplete thought)
  38. And I would like to turn it around
  39. and say I'd rather you explain to me
  40. how you can be a Christian
  41. when your life is full of
    un-Christian conduct.
  42. I can't explain that to you,
  43. because I think what's happening is
  44. is you are basically starting out
  45. by a faulty assertion.
  46. You've got a faulty presupposition here
  47. that is making your logic bad
  48. all the way through.
  49. You want to turn the thing around.
  50. What you really want to do is say,
  51. the Bible says that true and legitimate
  52. Christianity looks like this;
  53. ok, now I'm going to examine my own life
  54. in light of what the Bible says
  55. true Christianity looks like.
  56. If I measure up to the standard,
  57. that's a positive thing.
  58. If I don't measure up to the standard,
  59. that may mean I'm in trouble.
  60. That's how you want to reason.
  61. But anyway, we'll go on.
  62. "As with matters of the soul,

  63. a short question is hard
    to compress everything.
  64. I would like to ask you about
  65. this deplorable sin of
    fear of man in general.
  66. It takes on many words today,
  67. i.e. social anxiety, man-pleasing,
  68. seeking glory in this world, etc.,
  69. but strangely is not
    something talked about
  70. much in church.
  71. Some personal context:
  72. I recently discovered that my struggle
  73. to communicate freely with people
  74. without fear for many years
  75. is directly proportionate to my desire
  76. to seek God above all things.
  77. (And that would make sense.)
  78. I hate this sin,
  79. yet in my pleading with
    God for repentance..."
  80. Can we just stop right there?
  81. God never tells us to
    plead for repentance.
  82. God tells us to repent.
  83. "I hate this sin, yet in my pleading
  84. with God for repentance
  85. and looking to Christ, it seems
  86. I am only seeking to be
    cured from such sin -
  87. the burden of anxiety, without wanting
  88. more of God.
  89. How can this be?"
  90. Again, he's asking me questions
  91. about how can this be.
  92. "I struggle in wondering how can such
  93. an odious sin be present
    in a believer's life."
  94. You see, there's that bad logic again.
  95. "How is it true repentance
  96. if every day is just a repetitive struggle
  97. to turn away from this?"
  98. Well, it's not.
  99. (incomplete thought)
  100. He's asking how can it be true repentance
  101. as though the first assumption is
  102. it is true repentance.
  103. Well, the reality is
  104. he's describing that which is not
  105. characteristic of true repentance.
  106. "In conclusion, it really is exhausting.
  107. Never have I felt so
    dominated and controlled
  108. by any sin as this.
  109. It pains me that this is bigger than
  110. the God I profess to believe in.
  111. Never also have I felt so helpless,
  112. like one who does not know Christ.
  113. Yes, it makes me question
    assurance deeply."
  114. And it should.
  115. And so in the end, it sounds like
  116. his thinking is somewhat
    on the right track.
  117. "But in all this, thank you and James
  118. for reading this."
  119. (incomplete thought)
  120. So the end is thankfulness.
  121. But let's talk about this.

  122. Aside from his making certain assumptions
  123. which are backwards,
  124. (incomplete thought).
  125. Let's do a bit of a theology
    of the fear of God.
  126. Anybody think of any texts
  127. that deal with the fear of God?
  128. Or, being a man-pleaser?
  129. Or, anything of that sort?
  130. (from the room) Matthew 10:28
  131. Tim: Matthew 10:28
  132. Do you have it right there?
  133. "And do not fear those who kill the body,
  134. but cannot kill the soul.
  135. Rather fear Him who can destroy
  136. both soul and body in hell."
  137. Then He goes on to say,
  138. "Fear not, therefore, you are
  139. of more value than many sparrows."
  140. Tim: Anybody think of any others?
  141. (from the room)
  142. The beginning of wisdom.
  143. Proverbs 1:7?
  144. "The fear of the Lord is the
    beginning of knowledge."
  145. Tim: We're talking about the fear of man.
  146. (from the room)
  147. "Whoever confesses Me before men..."
  148. Tim: "Whoever confesses Me before men..."
  149. That's an interesting one.
  150. Proverbs 29:25
  151. That's a big one.
  152. Why don't you quote that?
  153. "The fear of man lays a snare,
  154. but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe."
  155. Tim: The fear of man lays a snare.
  156. (incomplete thought)
  157. I often think of a text
  158. very close to the beginning of Isaiah.
  159. It's in Isaiah 2 that has to do with this.
  160. Anybody know the text I'm talking about?
  161. (from the room) Verse 22,
  162. "Stop regarding man
  163. in whose nostrils is breath,
  164. for what account is he..."
  165. Tim: I remember Paul Washer
  166. preaching on that text.
  167. Stop regarding man.
  168. Another one that jumps to my mind
  169. is this one:
  170. It's found in John 5.
  171. And this is very helpful.
  172. Because what Jesus says is,
  173. He looks at the leaders there.
  174. You remember, He's been seeking
  175. to make the case for
    Himself being the Christ,
  176. and He's putting all this proof;
  177. all these witnesses before the people.
  178. And He says, "I say these things so that
  179. you might be saved."
  180. But as He's getting toward
    the end of the chapter there,
  181. He says this:
  182. "How can you believe..." who do what?
  183. Seek the glory of men.
  184. Receive honor from one another
  185. and not the glory or the honor
  186. that comes from God.
  187. Here's the thing,
  188. how can you believe...?
  189. you know what?
  190. It is an issue of faith.
  191. It is an issue of believing,
  192. if you really think about the fear of man.
  193. How do we overcome the fear of man?
  194. Faith.
  195. What is it that you believe?
  196. (from the room)
  197. That you are of more
    value than the sparrows.
  198. Tim: Well, if you think about Jesus' words
  199. that you ought not to fear those
  200. who can kill the body only
  201. and then there's nothing
    more they can do to you,
  202. but fear Him who can what?
  203. The idea is you're
    comparing God and people.
  204. Even when you think about Peter
  205. before the Sanhedrin.
  206. We ought to obey God rather than man.
  207. Now man will put pressure
    on you to obey him.
  208. The issue is this,
  209. that you fear him most
  210. whose approval you seek most.
  211. That's a reality.
  212. If you seek the glory of man,
  213. then you fear man's disapproval
  214. more than anything else.
  215. And that's a real issue.
  216. And see, what Jesus is doing is
  217. He's confronting us with the truth.
  218. It really has to come down
    with what you believe.
  219. You know, I remember situations
  220. when I worked as an engineer.
  221. I remember having meetings
    with my department.
  222. I remember being in a meeting
  223. and I remember guys telling
  224. some bad joke or something,
  225. and I remember being in that situation.
  226. And right there, it's:
  227. Am I going to honor God or am
    I going to laugh at these guys?
  228. Am I going to make these
    guys feel uncomfortable
  229. by the way I respond right now,
  230. or am I going to seek God's approval?
  231. Is it their approval or God's approval?
  232. And what happens is the scales come out.
  233. Instantaneously, they come out.
  234. Whose approval do I seek most?
  235. Now a lot of that has to do with
  236. do you really believe God is right here?
  237. Do you believe He's right with you?
  238. Do you believe He's watching?
  239. Do you believe that there's an accounting?
  240. Do you believe that there's an approval?
  241. Do you believe that you can grieve Him?
  242. Do you believe that if
    you seek man's approval,
  243. you're going to grieve the Spirit?
  244. (incomplete thought)
  245. Do you really believe those things?
  246. That doesn't mean there isn't fear.
  247. The thing about fearing God more than
  248. fearing man doesn't mean
  249. that the fear of man goes away,
  250. but it means that when
    you're confronted by it,
  251. God gives you a courage
  252. to do the right thing
  253. and to believe the right thing
  254. and to believe that He is worth
  255. having the approval of more than man is.
  256. But it really comes down to
  257. you have to be convinced;
  258. you have to believe that reality
  259. when you're confronted with it.
  260. Look, I don't know anybody -

  261. maybe some of you can raise your
    hand and say you know what,
  262. I really don't care what any man
  263. or any woman or any child thinks of me
  264. in any scenario at all.
  265. I care not at all.
  266. I doubt there's any like that.
  267. Why?
  268. We're social creatures.
  269. We do like the approval of man.
  270. You know what the thing is?
  271. We like to be liked.
  272. And that's one thing that makes it hard
  273. about becoming a Christian,
  274. because you're thrown into a situation -
  275. I'll tell you, this is one
    of the tell-tale signs
  276. of true Christianity -
  277. is when men and women
  278. claim they've been saved
  279. and you throw them (incomplete thought).
  280. This tends to be such a hallmark
  281. of the hypocrite.
  282. They're man-pleasers.
  283. The hypocrite is a man-pleaser.
  284. He appears holy in certain situations,
  285. because you're watching him.
  286. And he wants to appease you.
  287. But I'll tell you, you take him
  288. and you throw him on a bar stool,
  289. and he'll appease the people there.
  290. You throw him in the workplace,
  291. and you have a guy
    tell a dirty joke at work,
  292. he'll appease.
  293. I remember Craig telling the story

  294. about checking out a piece of machinery
  295. from a tool crib - a tool of some kind
  296. he was checking out.
  297. And the guy there used
    the Lord's name in vain,
  298. and Craig said something to him
  299. about not using the name
    of the Lord thy God in vain,
  300. and the guy went off on him.
  301. Craig was shocked how badly the guy
  302. went off on him.
  303. And that's the thing.
  304. Sometimes people will go off on you.
  305. Or sometimes you'll just be shunned.
  306. Sometimes you'll be the outcast.
  307. Sometimes it's just the
    smirk on people's faces.
  308. Sometimes it's just not
    being included anymore.
  309. See, it all comes down to,

  310. you know what?
  311. I want the approval of my Lord
  312. more than I want their approval.
  313. And that's really the issue.
  314. It tests - to the hilt -
  315. it tests what we believe.
  316. It's powerful.
  317. And there in John 5, that's the issue.
  318. Jesus said I don't seek the glory of man.
  319. And that really needs to be the place
  320. we as Christians are.
  321. Yes, there's a place to seek approval
  322. in the sense that
  323. you know, you want to be
    a good worker at work.
  324. But you know what, when your boss
  325. wants you to do something wrong?
  326. My brother-in-law Rick,

  327. his boss wanted him to cheat
  328. on the item list/inventory
  329. on these shipments that come in
  330. on these pallets,
  331. and he resigned.
  332. I'm not doing it.
  333. His boss told him,
    "you are going to do it."
  334. There was a time they
    had to take inventory
  335. on something and his boss had been
  336. wrongly inventorying
    things for a long time,
  337. and he told Rick, you are going to do it.
  338. And Rick said I'm not going to do it.
  339. This is where we get put to it.
  340. How can you believe?
  341. See, that's the thing.
  342. What's Jesus saying there?
  343. Think about those words.
  344. How can you believe
  345. when you seek the glory of man?
  346. (unintelligible)
  347. It's like loving God and money.
  348. They're conflicting loves.
  349. They're conflicting interests.
  350. (Incomplete thought)
  351. It's like, ok, I'm there in
    the engineering meeting,
  352. and a guy says something that's wicked,
  353. and everybody else is laughing.
  354. How am I going to respond?
  355. (incomplete thought)
  356. Where's my love?
  357. What is it that I desire most here?
  358. And Jesus talked about it.
  359. Eric brought up the text.
  360. Before men - what we do before men.
  361. How we proclaim Christ.
  362. How we testify to Him.
  363. How we stand for Him before men.
  364. That's a real issue.
  365. And it comes down to the truth.
  366. It comes down to what you believe.
  367. That's really the issue.
  368. (from the room)

  369. I also think it comes back
  370. to the validity of the walk.
  371. I was talking about earlier today
  372. Luke 22
  373. and how Christ commanded Peter to pray,
  374. and he slept instead,
  375. which led him to follow at a distance,
  376. and following after that,
  377. he denied the Lord before a servant.
  378. And I think it just goes back to
  379. our personal walk with the Lord
  380. on a daily basis.
  381. If we don't have that intact,
  382. there's no power going forth
  383. in the workplace or at school
  384. or at Walmart or wherever we're at.
  385. I mean, I've seen significant difference
  386. in my own walk when there's days
  387. where I've spent little time in the Word,
  388. and I go to work
  389. and face the same situation
  390. where I'm denying the
    Lord in a certain way.
  391. Versus on another day when I spent
  392. quality time with Christ,
  393. and then go to work,
  394. face the same trials and
    the same temptations,
  395. but I overcome it.
  396. So I think it just comes back to
  397. your daily walk with the Lord.
  398. Tim: Well, if we think about this

  399. being a matter of faith -
  400. faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ.
  401. There's a reality that when a person
  402. is prayerfully in the Word
  403. and then he goes off into this world,
  404. the Spirit grips people's
    minds with truth.
  405. That truth is prevalent.
  406. It's before your eyes.
  407. It's there. It's fresh.
  408. The Spirit makes it so.
  409. And it tends to be powerful.
  410. And it's not like
    Christians don't hesitate,
  411. but you know, when the Word is fresh
  412. and it's there and it's vivid,
  413. it's constraining - it's compelling.
  414. Yeah, you're not going to do well
  415. in this battle if you're not in the Word
  416. and your faith isn't being constantly
  417. stirred by the Word, by the Spirit of God
  418. using the Word in your life.
  419. One more before we end.
  420. (from the room)

  421. (unintelligible) make a distinction
  422. for, say a new convert may
    get confused on this,
  423. but like in Galatians 1:10 it says,
  424. if I'm still trying to please man,
  425. I would not be a servant of Christ.
  426. But then in 1 Corinthians 10,
  427. Paul says I try to please everyone
  428. in everything I do.
  429. Now, he says not seeking my own advantage,
  430. but some new Christian,
    they read 1 Corinthians 10,
  431. and it says I try to please everyone.
  432. And then in Galatians 1:10,
  433. it says if I'm trying to please man,
  434. I'm not a servant of Christ.
  435. I think you kind of already hit on this,
  436. but what's the big difference there
  437. between both of those verses
  438. in what Paul's saying?
  439. Tim: Well, obviously, there's a time

  440. to please God when it offends men.
  441. And then there's a time
  442. to make sacrifices for the sake of
  443. proclaiming the Gospel which pleases God
  444. and pleases the men
    that you're preaching to.
  445. For instance, when you think of Paul
  446. addressing the Corinthians,
  447. he did things like not accept money
  448. to please men -
  449. to put men in a place where
  450. he wasn't creating a stumbling block.
  451. Basically, when he's talking about
  452. pleasing man in that case,
  453. he's not talking about pleasing them
  454. while he's disobeying God.
  455. He's talking about pleasing them in a way
  456. that pleases God, because it promotes
  457. the Gospel.
  458. And basically, are we not told
  459. that as much as possible we should
  460. live at peace with all men?
  461. That is a way that God is pleased with
  462. as we're seeking to live with man in peace
  463. as much as possible.
  464. But what happens is we get confronted
  465. by situations where the
    two are in conflict -
  466. pleasing God or pleasing man.
  467. They're not consistent.
  468. And when they butt heads -
  469. when it's pleasing God or pleasing man
  470. and you can't do both,
  471. that's where Jesus is saying
  472. that you need to testify
    of Him before men,
  473. and you need to proclaim Him before men.
  474. You need to stand for
    what's right before men.
  475. And you need to not fear man.
  476. The issue is this:
  477. when pleasing God brings
    the scowl of a man,
  478. or even brings the sword,
  479. where they can kill your body.
  480. (incomplete thought)
  481. You know, in all of it,
  482. you want your eyes on the Lord.
  483. Ok, what pleases You?
  484. Does pleasing You please my parents?
  485. I mean, pleasing You is pleasing
    my parents right now, Lord?
  486. Yes. Ok, I'm going to please my parents.
  487. My parents are happy.
  488. (incomplete thought)
  489. What it means to be a Christian
  490. and to obey the Lord is
    making my parents happy.
  491. But He also said He's bringing a sword.
  492. There's times I look to Him and He
    says you need to go to the left.
  493. And it's like, ok, I look at my parents
  494. and they're scowling
    because they don't want me
  495. to go to the left, but I look at the Lord
  496. and He's saying go left.
  497. Ok, I go left.
  498. Now the sword comes in the family
  499. and there's division.
  500. But see, all the time
    my eyes are on the Lord.
  501. That's what Paul's talking about.
  502. Paul's talking about, ok,
    his eyes are on the Lord,
  503. when it has to do with
    what's being encountered
  504. over there in the Galatian churches,
  505. you've got Judaizers who are in opposition
  506. to the truth of God and the Gospel of God,
  507. and he's going to stand for the Gospel
  508. even though it offends
    all these other people.
  509. Now in another case, with the Corinthians,
  510. it's a matter of - to
    not make any obstacle
  511. for the Gospel, I'm not
    going to take any money
  512. when I preach the Gospel.
  513. And God's pleased with that too.
  514. My eyes are on the Lord.
  515. And so, when following the Lord
  516. is going to put me
    in opposition to men,
  517. so be it.
  518. When following the Lord is going to
    put me at peace with all men,
  519. so be it.
  520. Some seasons are going to be one.
  521. There are times He will make our enemies
  522. to be at peace with us.
  523. And there are other times that
  524. even the closest people
    will be at war with us.
  525. And we just have to keep our
    eyes on the Lord all the time.
  526. That's another reason we
    need to be in His Word.
  527. We need that Word.
  528. We need to be renewing our minds
  529. with that Word all the time.
  530. All the time.
  531. Because everything about this world -
  532. this world is given to man-pleasing.
  533. And if you're not
    constantly in the Scriptures;
  534. constantly in the Word;
  535. constantly renewing your mind,
  536. you just end up thinking worldly.
  537. And the worldly way is to please.
  538. It's to dress to please.
  539. It's to act to please.
  540. It's to put on a show to please.
  541. It's to get the applause.
  542. It's to get the smile.
  543. It's to get the approbation of mankind.
  544. That's what the world does.
  545. And even more, it's to get the jealousy
  546. of other people.
  547. It's to get the envy of other people.
  548. It's to outdo other people
  549. so that they admire you
  550. and they want what you have
  551. and they covet what you have
  552. and they covet your spouse
  553. and they covet your house
  554. and they covet your vehicle.
  555. It's just living with this
    mindset all the time
  556. of other people, other
    people, other people.
  557. I mean, even as a preacher,
  558. it's like, ok, this thing can hit you
  559. at any level.
  560. You're going into the pulpit.
  561. Is my primary objective:
    I want to please the Lord?
  562. You look at men.
  563. There's lots of preachers that preach
  564. the way they do because
  565. that guy might not give as much.
  566. They might leave the church.
  567. At every level, we're confronted by this.