This week, Pastor Chris continued in our series through Galatians with a powerful word about fear of man. In our text, Peter was fearful of the Judaizer’s opinion of him and his fear spread to others. Chris shared how destructive fear of man can be for our relationship with Jesus. God’s word says that the fear of human opinion disables us but trust in God protects us.
The Dangers of Fearing Man
Galatians 2:11–12 (ESV)
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.
- Fear is a result of a lack of faith.
- Trust is the opposite of fear.
- Fear is a sin because it denies the goodness, provision, and protection of God.
- The enemy wants to lock us down in fear so we will never attack his kingdom or be effective in our witness.
- Fear freezes our action, keeps us in chains, and shuts our mouths.
Proverbs 29:25 (ESV)
25 The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
Proverbs 29:25 (The Message)
25 The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.
Fear of Man
- Fear of man is a trap that leads to anxiety.
- Fear of man gives others control over our lives.
- Fear of man leads to spiritual bondage.
- Fear of man exposes where we find our identity.
- Fear of man leads to disobeying God.
How do I know if I have fear of man?
- Popularity and reputation are of great importance to me.
- I want to make everyone happy all the time.
- I need to be accepted always.
- I fear what other people think about me.
- I fear what others say about me (mostly imagined).
- I fear criticism.
- I fear humiliating myself in front of others (leads to passivity).
- I fear being rejected by those close to me.
- I fear people in authority.
Fear of Man Leads to Hypocrisy
Galatians 2:13–15 (ESV)
13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Justified to Live Free
Galatians 2:15-16 (ESV)
15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
- Pardon from the guilt and penalty of sin.
- Imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer’s account.
- Is a gift of God’s grace by faith alone.
Life Through Death to Self
Galatians 2:17–21 (ESV)
17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Living the Crucified Life
Romans 6:6–7 (ESV)
6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.
- Crucify self through humility.
1 Corinthians 15:31 (ESV)
31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day!
John 3:30 (ESV)
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
2. Crucify the flesh through Godly choices.
Galatians 5:24 (ESV)
24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Joshua 24:15 (ESV)
15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
3. Be crucified to the world through separation.
Galatians 6:14 (ESV)
14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
2 Corinthians 6:17–18 (ESV)
17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
1. Do you struggle with fear of man? How does it show up in your life?
2. Have you ever struggled with anxiety? Ask yourself honestly, could the root of your anxiety be fear of man?
3. Pastor Chris said, “whoevers’ opinion matters the most to you will control you.” How can we guard ourselves against fear of man and pursue genuine fear of the Lord instead?
4. What is justification? How does this theological reality affect our personal relationship with the Lord?
1. If you regularly struggle with anxiety, get prayer with a friend or mentor this week to discern the root of it. Is it fear of man? Pray for the Lord to uproot fear of man in your heart and replace it with fear of the Lord and faith in His love over you.
2. Do you want to learn more about justification? This week, take time to verse pool the word ‘justification’ in the Bible. Determine to gain theological understanding so that you may fully understand your standing before the Lord.