by Candee Rinde • June 28, 2020
This morning I want to talk about faith and fear.
Hebrews 11:32-40- How many gave their life to Christ and hadn’t ever heard of Jesus yet. Jesus hadn’t come yet. The Holy Spirit hadn’t come yet. They barely had the Torah. Yet they believed in God and gave their life for Him.
Hebrews 11:6- Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
There is no such thing as an armchair Christian. Jesus said, “If you want to be my disciple, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.” Jesus told the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:21 to go and sell all his possessions, then he would have treasures in Heaven, and then he should follow Him. The rich man went away sad because he had so much to lose. He gave up the treasures in Heaven to keep his treasures on earth. There’s no halfway. Jesus wants it all. He wants it all because he wants us to trade our peanuts for His Palace. And if we’re holding onto our peanuts for dear life, then we simply don’t believe. We don’t believe that God is who He says He is. We don’t believe that the Bible is absolutely true. If we did, we’d stake our life on it.
If we’ve given our life to God, what else is there left to fear? If we’re earnestly seeking God, if we’ve traded our own life for His life, would we not know with conviction when it’s time to rise up and take a stand and when it’s time to be still, wait, and be quiet? Why then do we live so much in fear? Why do all the different voices from the world throw us into confusion and discouragement? Why can’t we sort them out? Perhaps we don’t really believe that God is who He says He is—we don’t really believe the Bible. Perhaps we just are not seeking Him. We accepted His plan of salvation but want to give nothing in return. Do we think that will save us? When Jesus clearly expects us to give back to the measure that He gave us? Self-preservation is unbecoming of a Christian when Jesus clearly says to follow Him to the cross.
If we have an inkling what the Bible says about end times, and we look around at the state of the world, and we have enough fortitude to be honest, we know we’re close. Very close. Now is the time to get ready. Not to be preppers, but ready in our hearts and minds. Resolved deep down that we will, like Daniel, rather be thrown into the fiery furnace or the lion’s den than to worship anything or anyone but our resurrected Savior. Because the times are upon us, and if we’re not ready in our hearts ahead of time, our faith may falter when they start threatening us with the guillotine. And if we’re truly ready for the guillotine, what else is there to fear? Everything else is comparatively trivial. The Bible says over and over Do not fear—you were not given a spirit of fear or timidity—it is a command. We’re afraid because we do not believe or we’re not seeking Him. We’re busy building our own kingdom and not the Kingdom of God. We simply must trade one for the other. We cannot have both.
Are you financially set and comfortable? Great. Enjoy it because God gave it to you. But don’t treasure it. Be ready to lose it and give it all up for Him should He demand it. It’s worth nothing more than today’s temporary comfort, and it compares not to the glorious riches of knowing Christ. Are you poor and struggling? Great! Praise God if it drives you closer to Him. For your treasure is in Him anyway, and now you have nothing to lose. You are free to give all to follow Him. John 17:3 says “Now this is eternal life, that they may know the One true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” Any life outside of this is not life. It is merely a facade, a precursor to death. Stop living for this life and start living for the next. As we seek Him more and more we’ll start to see our fear melt away more and more and in its place, faith, conviction, and resolve. We’ll start to take on more and more of the character of Jesus and more and more of our old nature will die. Then others will see us as a Christian and note that we’re different. That difference is what makes us salt and light, and attracts others to want to know Him too. And if there are those who will persecute us for those differences, let them! We will stand and be persecuted. For that is the example Jesus gave us. He didn’t fight back. To the religious establishment that deceived and cheated His people, He spoke with harsh rebuke. But to the world, He stayed under their radar, preaching the good news until the appointed time, and then He said “Come and get me. I die for you.” We must follow Christ’s example—for He calls us to do so. “If you want to be My disciple, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me.” “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.” Matthew 16:25 There’s no in-betweens—no half-ways; and no room for timidity when you’re headed for a cross. Once you’ve resolved to give everything for Christ, fear has no room to exist. You live for God, come hell or high water. And like Daniel said when he faced the fiery furnace, when we face trials in our life, however big or small, we too will say “My God can absolutely deliver me from whatever it is I’m facing. But even if He doesn’t, I will still serve only Him.” And that kind of faith drives out fear. 1 John 4:18 says “Perfect love casts out fear.” God is perfect love. And when we put our whole faith in God’s perfect love, our fear will be cast aside. We will walk through our life boldly, with strength and conviction that our life and well-being are perfectly safe in the hand of a perfect, loving Father, who created us and is working all things for our good—and our end is eternal life with Him, not whatever trial may come our way as we walk with Him along this temporary, dusty road.
If you’re sitting here today and you haven’t really given your life to Christ, if you’re living in fear, you need to ask yourself: What do I really believe? Where is my treasure, really? Who have I been living for? Do I really believe that God loves me, and died for me? Do I really believe that I’ve been saved from my sin? Do I really believe what the Bible says? If so then live like it! Prove it! Because it may not be long before what we really believe is actually put to the test. And we will stand before God one day and give an account of our life. Do you believe that? If you do—if you really do—it will change the way you live. If you believe in Jesus, it will change your life. Jesus changed my life! How has He changed yours