Opening Scripture:
Proverbs 29:25  The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.

What is the fear of man?
– The desire for other’s approval
– The need to be well liked by all
– The approval of the world is more important than God’s approval

To desire the approval of men means we do not desire the approval of God.

The two are mutually exclusive – you will either fear man or fear God. One is a snare, and the other is the life-source of wisdom.

Proverbs 9:10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Jeremiah 32:38-40  They shall be My people, and I will be their God; and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.

Deuteronomy 10:12-13  “Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?

Mathew 10:28-31  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. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

We are to love God supremely and fear God supremely…they are two sides of the same coin.

If we are to increase our understanding, our love, and our success in and for evangelism, we must stop fearing man and seeking his approval, and return to fearing God and knowing His approval. I know this because the Bible tells me so.

Proverbs 11:30  The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls.

Godly fear…
– Reaches up and obey the Father’s commands
– Reaches out and serves those around
– Reaches down and leads others in the Everlasting Way

Godly fear is the missing ingredient in much of evangelism.
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The opposite of godly fear is defiance against God.
– It is independence, rebellion, and devaluing authority, especially spiritual authority.
– It is giving a pass to the flesh and making an excuse for sin.
– It is deflecting responsibility away from self to others, circumstances, and even God.

We can change that, because the fear of the Lord brings wisdom and he who is wise saves souls!

How does the fear of man show up? We decide…
– “They don’t want to listen.”
– “They probably go to church already.”
– “They are not like me.”

Psalms 78:41-42  Again and again they tempted God, and pained the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember His power, the day when He redeemed them from the adversary.

They “pained” the Holy One.  (provoked, tempted, vexed God)
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The Hebrew word for “pained” has two root words that mean “grieving God by scratching out an imprint.” In short, limiting God means to make a circle around Him saying, “God is in here in my world, and He goes no further.”

The early church in Jerusalem confined Jesus to the Jewish population. The church in the 20th century limited God to those who dressed, spoke, and acted accordingly.

But, Jesus will never be confined. Loving Him and fearing Him means we get out of our little safe circles and take the Good News with us.
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Action:
Prove yourself wrong. Where is that one house on your block that seems to be a mystery? Instead of continuing to speculate about the person or family that lives there, go over to that house and learn something new about them.

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