Whom Do We Fear, God or Men?
We Can Do Good for the Wrong Reason, to Be Seen of Men Rather Than By God!
I. We see all through Scripture that we, as Christians, are to serve the Eternal Living God with every fiber of our being.
A. Matthew 22:36-40. “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
B. Matthew 4:10. “Then said Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.” (quoted also in Deuteronomy 6:13; 10:20; Joshua 24:14; I Samuel 7:3)
II. That way of service and love is to be in accordance with His immutable laws.
A. Matthew 5:17-20. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
B. Matthew 19:17. “And he said to him, why call me good? There is none good but one, that is God; but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.”
C. I John 5:3. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
D. Matthew 25:31-40. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was hungry, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you? or thirsty, and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger, and take you in? or naked, and clothe you? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and come unto you? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”
E. Luke 22:24-27. “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them,; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But you shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that does serve. For whether is greater, he that sits at meat, or he that serves? is not he that sits at the meat? But I am among you as he that serves.”
III. In spite of these directions from our Creator, we all know too well that it is so easy for us to want to conform to those around us and take on their personality traits.
A. Proverbs 22:24-25. “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man you shall not go: Lest you learn his ways, and get a snare to your soul.”
B. Peter and Barnabas were guilty of peer pressure. Galatians 2:11-13. “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.”
IV. It is not only important to avoid sin and do what is right to God and to your fellow man, but it is doubly important for us to do what is right for the right reasons. The attitudes with which we do what we do are just as important as doing what is right.
A. We are not to leave the rigorous issues of the law to be undone, but we are also to exercise the “weightier matters of the law.” Matthew 23:23. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
B. We must do whatever we do out of love, concern, and selflessness for the other person. I Corinthians 12:27-31; 13:1-13.
C. Pure and undefiled religion is to serve the helpless and truly needy people. James 1:27. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
pure (2513) = theopneustos, “divinely breathed”. It literally means “inspired by God”, as it is used in II Timothy 3:16.
undefiled (283) = amiantos, “unsoiled, i.e. (fig.) pure, free from contamination”.
D. Notice the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:3-9. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
V. Our service to God must be pure and without concern for how we might appear in the eyes of others.
A. Do your good deeds in private. Matthew 6:1-4. “Take heed that you do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when you do your alms, do not sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when you do alms, let not your left hand know what you right hand does: That your alms may be in secret: and you Father which sees in secret himself shall reward you openly.”
alms (1654) = eleemosune, “compassionateness; i.e. beneficence.” It can mean mercy and pity.
Yet, do not be afraid if you are condemned for your praying if caught unaware. Daniel 6:10-16. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spoke before the king concerning the king”s decree; Have you not signed a decree, that every men that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days save of you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which alters not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regards not you , O king, nor the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day. Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establishes may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spoke and said unto Daniel, Your God whom you serve continually, he will deliver you.”
B. Pray in private. Matthew 6:6. “… when you pray enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who is in secret shall reward you openly.”
C. Notice the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. Luke 18:9-14. “And he spoke this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.”
D. Serve God in your work. Ephesians 6:5-8. “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ , doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man does, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.”
We are to work as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart in our everyday work. we do our work as a service to god, not to men.
eyeservice (3787) = ophthalmodouleia, “sight-labor that needs watching.” This is service performed under the master’s eyes, which stimulates greater diligence in the worker.
E. See also Colossians 3:22. “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.”
VI. How do we live in order to please God and not men?
A. Trust God only, not men, in all things. Psalm 146:1-5. “Praise you the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul. While I live will I praise the Lord; I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God ….”
B. Do not trust your own understandings. Proverbs 3:1-6. “My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them about your neck; write them upon the table of your heart: So shall you find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.”
C. Crave for the spirit to work in you as it did in the 70 elders of Israel. Numbers 11:24-29. “And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spoke unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses,, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, envy you for my sake? Would God that all the lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”
D. Have love for one another. John 13:35. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one to another.”
E. Do to others as you would have done to you; have the attitude of serving both God and men. Matthew 7:12. “Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
F. Return evil with good; associate with humble people. Romans 12:14-21.
G. Don’t conform your life to other people — except by Godly example — but to God’s will. Romans 12:2. “And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
H. Do not strive to keep up many material things. I Timothy 6:8. “And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.”
I. Build up those that are weak. Romans 15:1-2. “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.”
VII. It is natural to be influenced by our peers, but let those peers be our brethren … and is not Jesus Christ Himself our Brother? Romans 8:29. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
A. Paul said, “Be followers of, even as I also am of Christ.” I Corinthians 11:1.
B. We are like sheep, having the inborn desire to copy and respond to one another, and with His Spirit within us we recognize, the Shepherd’s voice and naturally wish to follow Him. John 10:1-5.
C. Let us follow our Father and Jesus Christ, and copy their examples, not the traits of those in the world who live for their own pleasures. John 6:38. “For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me.”