Freedom from Fear

Written by :   Zac Poonen Categories :   Struggling
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One of the first things we read that happened to Adam as soon as he sinned, and when God came and spoke to him, was that he got afraid. It's the first time that fear is mentioned in the Bible. When God came to him and He asked where he was hiding among the trees. And he said, 'I was afraid,' and ever since that day sin and separation from God brought fear. And since that day, all of these six thousand years of man's history, man has been living with fear so often afraid even to acknowledge Him (God), even believers.

I don't know how many of you realize that Jesus was as much against fear as He was against sin. A lot of believers who are determined to root out sin from their life are not as equally determined to root out fear. That's because they think of sin as bad, but fear as a weakness or something we have to live with. There are lots of other believers who think that sin is something they've got to live with, and so they live with sin. And if you think fear is something you have to live with, you live with fear. The same Jesus who told people, 'Do not sin again,' also said so many times to people, 'Fear not. Don't be afraid.' The same God who said 'don't kill' said 'don't be afraid'. Is that a suggestion, or is that a command?

When He said don't commit adultery... What's that? Do you take it seriously? Don't commit adultery. Don't murder. Don't steal. Don't be afraid. Why are we selective? It's a command, and it's a command that most believers disobey. And when they disobey, they don't even feel convicted about it. If they disobey the command about murder, they'd be convicted about it. If they disobeyed the command about adultery, they'd be convicted about it, but when they disobey Jesus' command saying, 'Don't be afraid,' they're not even convicted.

All fear comes because of lack of faith. When fear comes into the heart, whether you know it or not, faith has gone out. Faith and fear cannot live in the same heart. When faith comes in, fear goes out, and that's one way you know that faith has come in. So at least from today I hope you will never treat fear as a friend or as an innocent pussycat in a house or something like that. It's a snake, it's a wretched thing that destroys man's relationship with God. The Old Testament begins with these words, Adam saying, 'I'm afraid,'. Notice how the New Testament begins. You know, the story of the New Testament begins with Zachariahs. And the angel appears to Zachariahs, the father of John the Baptist, and says, 'Fear not,' and then the angel appears to Mary and says, 'Fear not,' and then the angel appears to Joseph (You can read all of that in Luke Chapter 1 and Matthew Chapter 1) appears to Joseph, and says, 'Fear not,' and then the angel appears in Luke Chapter 2 to the shepherds who were watching the sheep at night and says, 'Fear not,'. That's how the New Testament begins. The New Testament begins repeatedly with that phrase, 'Fear not - don't be afraid, don't be afraid, don't be afraid,' and Jesus throughout His life kept on telling His disciples, 'Don't be afraid, it's Me, I'm here,'. And I believe we live in a day when we need to hear that word from Jesus till our hearts take it to heart. Think of what Jesus said in Luke Chapter 21 about the last days, (verse 26), 'Men's hearts will faint from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world,' and all of the things that have happened in the last month have produced so much fear even among believers. Fear of death, fear of terrorism, fear of being killed by plane crashes or chemical terrorism. So many fears, and Jesus said it would happen. Jesus said to His disciples, 'And when these things,' (verse 28) 'begin to take place (and we can see they are already beginning) when men's hearts are fainting from fear, straighten up and lift up your heads, for your redemption is drawing near.'

So, this is the time when your faith is going to be tested to see whether it's real, to see whether you believe that there's a God in heaven, ruler of this universe, who controls all of this universe, and who is your Father. Whether it's true or whether it's just a theory we sing about on Sunday morning. It's in the practical situations of life that we discover whether our faith is real or not. I believe it's in this area of fear that our faith is going to be tested in the days to come, and we need to have a clear answer to this: Why is there so much fear in the hearts of believers? Now, we can understand why there's fear in the hearts of unbelievers, because they have no living connection with God. They don't know God as their Father. But why in the hearts of believers? When Jesus said words like this, (Matthew Chapter 10,) 'Do not fear,' (verse 28), 'Do not fear,' but he said on verse 28, 'Do not fear those who kill the body, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,'. He put two fears in contrasting. One is the fear of man, and the other is the fear of God. He said don't fear man, but fear God, and then He said, 'Aren't two sparrows sold for one cent, yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father? But the very hairs of your head are all numbered, therefore, do not fear. Again and again, and again do not fear, do not fear, do not fear. How much are two sparrows sold for? One cent. So what is the worth of one sparrow? Half a cent. In Luke Chapter 12 in verse 6 Jesus said in the parallel passage, 'Aren't five sparrows sold for two cents?' Even that one doesn't fall to the ground without your Father knowing about it. That worthless sparrow which the seller of birds just throws in for nothing. It doesn't fall to the ground without your Father knowing about it. And that's where He said, 'Don't fear,'.

Fear and anxiety are the weapons in which Satan enters our spiritual growth and hinders our effectiveness for God and His kingdom. You can progress in the Christian life, you can read the scriptures, study the scriptures, pray, fast, be full of the spirit, and then if you live in fear, it's like driving a car with our foot jamming the brakes all of the time. All of the progress and the power that we get from the thrust of the engine is neutralized by the brakes, and that's exactly what's happening in the life of lots of Christians. They should have gone from here to there, but they've gone only twenty five percent of the way because they are being pressed most of the time. Some fear, some anxiety, and they've never taken this matter seriously enough to deal with it because they've never treated it as seriously as they would treat some other sin in their life. So, I believe this is something that we really need to consider seriously.

In Isaiah Chapter 8 in the last part of verse 12 it says, 'You are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it,' We are not to fear what the people in the world fear, or to be in dread of what they are in dread of, 'But, the Lord', (verse 13) 'He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread,'. And in the Living Bible those two verses are paraphrased very beautifully when it says, 'If you fear God, you need fear nothing else,' and that's such a lovely verse. For more than twenty five years I've got a big wooden plaque on my front roof. Every time I enter my house I see it: 'If you fear God, you need fear nothing else,' and that verse has blessed my life and changed my life through many, many years. The only way to get rid of other fears is to fear God. It's when you don't fear God enough that we have all of these other fears: fear of men, fear of sickness, fear of death, fear of what will happen in the future, what will happen to our children, what will happen to our life, what will happen to our finances. The world lives in these fears because there is no fear of God in their lives. And, if we recognize that it is because we do not fear God sufficiently that we have these other fears, we will take this matter more seriously. Many of us think we fear God quite a lot, but test your fear of God with this: 'If you fear God, you need fear nothing else'. Then why do we fear other things? Perhaps we're fooling ourselves that we fear God. There are two types of fear of God. One is the fear that God may hurt me, and the other is the fear that I may hurt God. And there is a lot of difference between these two fears. Most people in the world have the fear that God will hurt them, but a true disciple of Jesus doesn't have the fear that God will hurt him. He lives in the fear that he may hurt God by something he does, something he says, some attitude, some motive, would hurt God's heart. He lives in that fear, and because he lives in that fear, he's delivered from other fears. The Bible says that God loves us as He loved Jesus. Jesus is our example, here.

I want you to turn to Isaiah Chapter 11. Here he tells us of how the fear of the Lord was found in Jesus' life. Isaiah 11, verse 2; there is speaks about the sevenfold Holy Spirit. In the book of Revelation we read about the seven spirits of God, seven lamps of fire, symbolizing the seven fold Holy Spirit. One Holy Spirit with seven attributes. And what's mentioned there in Revelation is explained herein. Isaiah 11:2, 'The Spirit of The Lord, of wisdom, understanding, council, strength, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord,'. And that's what the Spirit is. The Spirit of the fear of the Lord. When a man is filled with the Holy Spirit, it increases the fear of the Lord in his life. That's why I disagree with a lot of so-called 'being filled with the spirit nowadays'. It doesn't seem to increase in them the fear of the Lord, and so I put a big question mark over the whole thing. I don't react against that like some people do and say, 'I don't want to have anything to do with that,'. I say, 'I want the genuine thing,'. I want the genuine fullness of the Holy Spirit. So what if they've got a counterfeit? They can do what they like. I want the genuine fullness of the Hoy Spirit in my life that brings in me a tremendous fear of the Lord, because it says in here about Jesus (this is a prophetic reference to Jesus Christ) that the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of the fear of the Lord, would rest upon Him. Do you know what spirit rested upon Jesus all of His life? The spirit of the fear of the Lord, and it says here that Spirit (verse 3), 'would make Him delight in the fear of the Lord', or as the margin in my Bible says, 'make him quick of scent in the fear of the Lord,'.

And that gives me a picture of a police dog. You know how those police dogs are. They pick up a handkerchief left by the criminal a the scene of the crime or some cloth or something that thief or murderer has touched, and we can't get any smell there. Our sense of smell is not so strong, but these dogs, who've got such a sharp sense of smell when they pick it up, they can follow the track of that man. He leaves a smell behind wherever he goes, and when the dog comes to a fork in the road and it hesitates a little bit, and then it goes along one path; it has picked up the smell again. And that's what it says here, that when the Holy Spirit comes and fills a person, it's going to make him quick of scent in the fear of the Lord. When he comes to a fork in the road in his life, and he says, 'Lord, what shall I do now? Is this the right thing for me to do, or is that the right thing for me to do?' It will make him quick of scent in the fear of the Lord and show him, 'This is the way to go,'.

What a wonderful thing, to live a Christian life like this. It's not something I can produce. It's all dependant on being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes me quick of scent in the fear of the Lord, and I know what to do. Many, many times in our life we are confused concerning the will of God. That's because you've not allowed the Holy Spirit to make you quick of scent in the fear of the Lord. The more we allow the Holy Spirit to make us sensitive to the fear of God, the less confused we will be when we go to those major crossroads in life, and we don't know which way to turn. And very often, believers have taken the wrong turning, and sometimes that made a mess of their lives all because they did not get led by the fear of the Lord. And that is why they have so many other fears, too. A man who is led by the fear of the Lord at every step of life is going to live a life free from fear and anxiety. It's because the world doesn't live by that principle that they faint from fear. Any little news they get in the newspaper they're afraid. The doctor's report makes them full of fear. They have no faith in a God who cares for them.

One of the most wonderful truths, I would say the most wonderful truth that I've discovered in the Bible in my whole life... If you ask me what's the greatest truth I've ever discovered in this Bible in my life, which changed many, many things in my life, it is the truth mentioned in John 17 verse 23: that God loves me exactly as much as he loved Jesus. There are many verses that tell us that God loves us. Well, as far as I know, there's only one verse that tells us how much he loved us: As much as He loved Jesus. That is unbelievable! But for that matter, a lot of things in the Bible are unbelievable, but they're truth. They're true, and I believe them. And when you believe them, you get the benefit from them. If you don't believe it, you live in fear. If I can only believe this Word, think... I can think of the difference it made in my life.

We know how much God loves Jesus. For all eternity, they lived together. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, before there was any world, before there was any angels, nothing. Just God. There was love, intense love. And when He sent His Son to this Earth... can you imagine if you're a father and you sent your son to some distant land which was very dangerous and with all types of problems? How that if you had the ability you would do everything possible to protect him, to care for him, to know how things were going with him? This is how God sent His Son to the world. Right from birth, His love cared for Him. When Herod planned to send the soldiers to Bethlehem to kill all of the babies and to kill Jesus, the Father anticipated that and did something quickly to move Jesus out of Bethlehem. That's because He cared for Him.

We read of another time when Jesus was preaching in the synagogue in Nazareth. It was the first sermon He had ever preached in Nazareth. Before that he'd just attended the synagogue as a boy, as a young man, but now He was there and He got up in the pulpit. And we read in Luke 4:18 that He opened the book to Isaiah, and read 'the Spirit of the Lord is upon me,' and so on. And He began to preach, and as He began to preach that God cares for the Gentiles as much as He cares for you Jews, they got angry. He had hardly preached for five minutes, and they stopped him in me middle of the sermon, they got up from their seats, they came up to the pulpit, pulled Him out of the pulpit, and it says they were so angry with Him and his message that they took Him out of the city (verse 29), they stopped the meeting, and they took Him to the top of a hill to throw him down the cliff and to kill Him right there. You think God the Father would permit that? Was that how He was going to let His Son die? What did He do? He doesn't say He sent any angels, He doesn't say He sent an earthquake or thunderstorm or anything, but God did something. It just says that Jesus passing though their midst, He went is way. How did that happen? Well, I don't know, but I can imagine that some of those people got into a discussion about what was the best way to kill Him or something like that, and as they were discussing all of this in the midst of the discussion, Jesus just quietly walked off, and by the time they decided how to kill Him they looked around and He wasn't there. Who did that? It looked so natural, but it was God. God was in control of the minds of those people.

We read another verse in John Chapter 7. You know, it says in John Chapter 7 verse 1 that Jesus did not go to Judea but walked in Galilee because the Jews were tying to kill him in Judea. Now that's not because he was scared, it's because he was cautious. Now, there's a lot of difference between being cautious and being afraid. It's right to be careful. If someone's going to kill you somewhere it's pointless to go there, and Jesus wouldn't do it, that's stupid! He heard the people were trying to kill Him there and he said, ok, I won't go there, and He walked in Galilee. But then, after a little while, the Father told Him, ok, now I think you should go, and then He went. He went there, it says in John Chapter 7, verse 30, 'They were trying to arrest Him, but no man could lay His hand on Him, because the Father's time had not come,'. Think of that. It was not because they didn't have the ability or any such thing. The Father's time had not come, and no one could lay their hands upon Him. And again it says in John Chapter 8, verse 20, 'As He spoke in the treasury and taught in the temple, no one could seize Him because His hour had not yet come. This is how the Father cared for Him. I remember how those verses came home to my heart with great power once. Some years ago when religious people ganged up against me (in India) and tried to arrest me with influencing the authorities, they didn't succeed. And I discovered that until God's time came, nobody could lay hands on me, either. It's not just Jesus. What God did for Jesus, He would do for me because the Father loves me as He loves Jesus. I believe that, and I live in the benefit of that. If you believe it, you can live in the benefit of it. If you say, 'Well, that's not possible,' well it won't work for you because nothing in the Bible works for those who don't believe. God says something, you doubt it, and you live your whole life without getting the benefit of it. And that other person who's stupider than you, dumber than you, greater sinner than you, he believes what God says, and he lives in the benefit of what you will miss all through your life.

Think of the matter of forgiveness of sins. Christ died for the sins of the whole world, and yet look who look at the multitudes of the people in the world who are living without that benefit. Why? Is it because Christ did not die for their sins? Is it because God doesn't want to forgive them? Only one reason, they will not believe. They won't believe what God has said. And does God force them to believe? Does God compel them to go to heaven? Does God forcibly stop them from going to hell? No! think of the thousands of people who went to hell in the last 24 hours around the world. God didn't stop any of them. Christ died for their sins. Not one of the people who died in the last 24 need have gone to hell. Not one of them. Why did they go to hell? They wouldn't believe. It's exactly the same with believers. You get from God as much as you believe Him for. If you believe Him for a wee tiny bit, that's all you'll get from God. If your God is a wee, tiny God, helpless, unable to help you solve the problems of your life, you'll live like that, just like all the unbelievers who don't have a God to care for them. Have you ever considered how though we profess to have such a loving Father in heaven, when we face bad news, when we face difficult circumstances, it doesn't look like there's a Father in heaven.

Have you heard that story of the two birds talking to each other? One bird tells the other, 'Why are these human beings always so anxious and fearful and their brow is wrinkled most of the time? We don't seem to be like that,'. The other bird replies, 'Well, I don't know why they are so anxious, but perhaps the reason is, they don't have a Heavenly Father like you and I have. Maybe that's the reason. We've got a Father who cares for us, but perhaps these Human beings don't have a Father like that. Maybe that's why they're so worried and anxious, and have their brows wrinkled while we birds are so happy because we've got a Father who cares for us. He provides us our meals, we don't have bank accounts, we don't have a barn, we don't have anything, and He cares for us everyday. It's wonderful to have a Father. I wish these Human beings would have a Father like we have,'. Do the birds say that about you when they look at your life in different circumstances? You know, it's in those situations when we discover whether we believer that God loves us as He lived Jesus. I wish I could convince all of you of this one truth before you go away from Bible school, that God loves you as he loved Jesus, which means what He did for Jesus, He would do for me.

Do you know that in the Bible, before Jesus came to earth He was called the only begotten Son? And do you know that after the resurrection, He is never called the only begotten Son? Did you know that? Have you ever noticed that in the Bible? After His resurrection in the New Testament, after the day of Pentecost, He is never called the only begotten Son, He is called the firstborn son. Why is that? Understand the reason. Thirty years ago I had only one son, and I'd call him my only begotten son. Today I have four sons, and I call him my firstborn son. What made the difference? That I got other sons after him. Do you know that God got other sons from the day of Pentecost onwards? That's why Jesus is called the firstborn son. Now, this is not just a theological matter, it's got practical application, and that's what I want to come to. Jesus is the firstborn son.

Now turn to Romans Chapter 8 verse 29. It says in Romans 8 verse 29, 'Whom God fore knew,'. That's you. That's me. If you accepted Christ as your savior, God knew about it before the worlds were created. That's how He chose me. He chose me because He knew that in the 20th century I would be born in India and I would accept Jesus as my savior, so He selected me according to His foreknowledge. He predestined me. A lot of people talk about predestination to go to heaven or to hell. The Bible never talks about being predestined to go to heaven or to hell. The Bible talks about being predestined to become like Jesus. That's what we are predestined for. Predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. Why does He want to make you and me like Jesus? He has a reason: So that Jesus might be the firstborn. He was the only begotten so that He might now be the firstborn among many brothers. Many brothers and sisters, that is God's will. That's what God planed for all eternity, that this Son of His should have many younger brothers who look just like Him, who behave just like Him, who act just like Him, who talk just like Him, who live just like him, who walk like Him, who treat other people like He treated other people, who treat their enemies how He treated other people. These are the younger brothers and sisters of Jesus. Do you believe that's your calling? That's why I like to be called 'brother'. Do you know what the word 'brother' means? 'Brother Zac' means 'younger brother of Jesus Christ'. That's why I don't want anyone to give me a lowdown title like 'reverend' or 'doctor' or 'pastor', or something like that.

What title do you want? 'Younger sister of Jesus Christ'? Think of that when you go away from here: 'I have to live as a younger brother and a younger sister of Jesus Christ in this world. That's my calling. I'm not an ordinary person; I am a brother of Jesus, and I have a Father.'

I'll tell you something about how I have tried to be a father to my own children. I knew that I had to represent God to my children, [and] that their understanding of God as a Father would first come from what they see in me as a father because they're small. They don't know God. Children see in their father what they ultimately project onto God as their Father. That's why it's a very serious responsibility to be a father. One of the things I knew about God was that there was absolutely no partiality with God, and so I decided that by God's grace that there would never be any partiality with me, [and] that among my four sons, nobody would be a favorite. All would be the same. What I did for my first son, I would do for all the other three. I would never do something for one that I wouldn't do the other. Not one of my children would ever be able to accuse me of partiality. I would be totally impartial. Now you multiply what I tried to do a million, million times and you'll understand what God is like. He is totally impartial. Can you believe that? Yes? Ok. What's the application, then? What He did for His first son, He will do for you. If He doesn't, He's partial. That's the thing that blessed my heart.

When I read that God was not partial, I discovered that what God did for Jesus, He would do for me, because He loves me as He loves Jesus. I am also one of His sons today, as Jesus is His eldest Son. And Jesus is my elder brother and I'm one of the younger brothers, and if God treats me different from the way He treated Jesus, we'd have to scratch out that verse in the Bible that says there is not partiality with God. But we'd never have to scratch it out, because there is no partiality of God. What He did for his firstborn Son, He would do for all His other children, just like a good for nothing father like me. If I can be free from partiality, how much more? Jesus said, 'If you being evil know how to do good things for your children, how much more your heavenly Father?' There is no partiality with God. What God did for Jesus, He would do for me. And until God's time comes, nobody can arrest me. Until God's time comes, nobody can throw me over a cliff and kill me. Nobody can kill me with anthrax, nobody can kill me with cancer, nobody can kill me with anything until God's time comes!

I do not live in fear of these things! Do you live in fear of these things? Do you fear that you might get an envelope one day which could cause you problems? A lot of people are living in that fear today, and it's going to be much worse in the days to come. And Jesus said, 'When these things begin,' (and they are beginning), ' take place, straighten up, life up your heads,' recognize your calling, see who you are, see what God has done for you! Are these all just theories? If they are theories, throw away the Bible and go and do something else. They are not theories, they are real!

I've proved God for forty two years, and I can stand here and testify God's promises are true. Every single one of these promises are true. If they fail, it's because I do not believe. 'He could not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief,' it says in Matthew 13:58. Some of the saddest words written in the entire ministry of Jesus: 'He could not do many mighty works there,'; He did not do mighty works there, because of their unbelief. They needed those mighty works. Jesus wanted to do the mighty works for them, but He could not do it. Think of a situation where you need some mighty works done for you, and Jesus wants to do those mighty works for you, but they're not done, but they are done for somebody else. The only difference is not because he's a better person than you. No, it's because he believes and you don't believe. If we think that God's going to do things for us because we are so good, you'll be disappointed. He'll do things for you when you believe. According to your faith, be it done unto you. It's not according to your goodness. What you think is your goodness is nothing compared to God. Our righteousness is like filthy rags.

I remember once when I discovered the truth of this. I was asking God for something. I was asking for something. I don't even remember what it was now. Many years ago, some earthly thing I wanted. It was something I needed, maybe in my home or something, and I said, 'Lord, can't you do this for me? I need it, can't you do this for me? I've tried to serve you so faithfully all of these years. It's a little thing for you,'. And God said 'No.'

I said, 'Why?'

He said, 'Because you are coming and asking me to do it for you because you have been 'so faithful'. In other words, you're coming in your name,'. And I learned a lesson there. When I go to God expecting God to do something for me because I've been so good, and I've been so faithful, and I have served the Lord, and I have sacrificed, I am coming in my name. And I am told that the only prayer that God accepts is that which is brought in Jesus' name, and there is a lot of difference. To come in Jesus' name means I don't even think of my goodness, or my faithfulness, or my years of services. It's nothing. Lord, I've got only one merit before your throne: Jesus died for me. And that puts me on the same level as a person who was converted this morning. Now, a lot of people don't like that, like the laborers who came in the vineyard who said, 'How can you make us equal to those that came in the eleventh hour?' God said, 'I'm going to reward them before you,'. You know, a lot of people don't get something from God because they come unconsciously, in the back of their mind, [and] they think, 'Well, I've been so faithful. God will do this for me,'. He won't. You're coming in your name. Learn to come in Jesus' name. You know the trouble with a lot of righteous people is they become conscious of their righteousness and think, 'Now, ok, once I was a sinner, God couldn't accept me, but now I've lived such a holy life. I have victory over so many things. I can come to God now will all of my goodness,' and they don't realize that that's the reason why we don't get many things from God. Learn to come in Jesus' name. Recognize there's nothing in you that God can accept. It's in the name of Jesus that He answers prayer. Come in His merit, and according to your faith, it will be done to you. And we need not live in fear.

What God did for Jesus, He will do for me. As he cared for Him while He was on that lake, for example, when the storm came. Do you think He could die there? How in the world could He die there? That's impossible! That wasn't God's plan. God had planned long, long ago that He should die on a hill on Calvary's cross. How could he die on that lake? Do you believe God cares for you as He cared for Jesus? Let me show you Hebrews in Chapter 2. The greatest fear that all men have is fear of death. Fear of death through accident, through sickness, through some danger calamity, through death in their family, that is the fear which is the number one fear. All of the other fears are lesser fears, fear of my business failing, fear of ill health or fear of other problems. Fear of death is the greatest, and Jesus came to deliver us from the fear of death so that He could deliver us from all of the other fears as well. And that's what it says in Hebrews 2, in verse 14 and 15. Now, I want you to read this carefully, and I believe some of you at least will see something here that you probably never have seen in your whole life. I promise you that. Read carefully, 'Since the children,' (That's you and I) '...share in flesh and blood, He Himself,' (That's Jesus) 'are part of the same flesh and blood,' (that you and I have), 'So that through death He might destroy the power,' (Or, render powerless) 'of Him who had the power of death,' (That is the Devil). So it says here why Jesus died. He died for many reasons. He died to take away our sins, He died so our old man should be crucified with Him, He died to deliver us from this present evil world system, it says in Galatians 1:4, He died to deliver us from the curse of the law. He died for many reasons, and here is one of them. He died so that through His death He might make Satan, who had the power of death, powerless. And thus (verse 15, this is where it applies to us), 'delivered those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives,'.

Fear of death brings us slavery. A slavery that will sit on my head all of my life. If I am delivered from the fear of death, I will be delivered from all other fears. It's like that. You know, it says when David killed Goliath, all of the other Philistines ran away. Have you read that in the Old Testament? He just had to kill Goliath and all of the other Philistines ran away. So, when the fear of death is overcome, all of the other fears disappear. It's like that. The fear of death is the greatest fear, and Jesus died so that those who lived in this fear all of death all of their lives, who were in slavery all of their lives, need never be afraid of that anymore. And when they're not afraid of that, all of the other fears disappear as well. Are you delivered from the fear of death? If you really have been, you'd be delivered from all other fears as well.

Now, notice, (this is what I wanted to point out to you) who had power over death (You don't have to look far; it's in verse 14)? Satan. Did you know that when Adam and Eve sinned, the power of death went into the hands of Satan? It's so clear here. Satan had the power of death, and the only way it was taken away from him was when Jesus died on the cross. He took that power away from Satan, and now it's in His hands. That's why in Revelation Chapter 1 verse 18, the Lord says to John the apostle, 'Don't be afraid,'. This old man, ninety five years old, who had walked with the Lord a spirit filled life for sixty five years from the day of Pentecost, he needs that exhortation: 'Don't be afraid,'. Don't you think you need it? Don't you think we need it? The Lord is speaking to us today, saying, 'Don't be afraid,'. And how does He remove the fear from John's life? You see, John had seen all of His friends being killed. He saw James being killed first, [then] all of the other apostles. Peter was killed, Andrew was killed, Thomas was killed in India, Bartholomew was killed, Matthew was killed, and finally Paul was killed. And now he is the only one living, and he is in the isle of Patmos and the Lord says, 'Don't be afraid,'. Verse 18: 'I have the keys of death,'. The keys were in Satan's hands for 4,000 years, and Jesus took those keys from Satan when He died and rose again. That's why the resurrection of Christ is so important. He conquered death. He took the keys of death from Satan. Now, you know what it means to have the keys, the keys to a door. He says in another place in Revelation, 'I open, and no man can shut. I shut, and no man can open,'. You can read that in Revelation 3. Who is going to open the door of death for you and me if you are a younger brother or sister of Jesus? It's not the devil anymore. It's Jesus, because He's got the keys, and that's why we don't fear. I don't believe the devil is going to determine when I'm going to die. He can scheme as much as he likes, [but] he cannot determine the moment of my death. That is completely impossible. Yes, and he hears me as I say this, and I'm not scared of him. He cannot touch me because I dwell in the secret place of the most high, and I abide unto the shadow of the almighty, and you can live there, too, everyday. You need never fear. Do not be afraid.

Let me turn you to Psalm 91. In Psalm 91 it says, 'He who dwells in the shadow of the most High will abide in the shadow of the almighty. I will say to the Lord, 'My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust'.' 'He will cover you with His feathers,' in verse 4 and so on. In verse 5, 'You will not be afraid...!', 'You will not be afraid of the terror that comes by night, or the arrow that flies during the day, or that disease that stalks in the darkness, or the destruction that lays people down at noon. A thousand may fall at thy side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you,' (verse 9) 'Because you have made the Lord, even the most High, your dwelling place, no evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent, or He will give His angels charge concerning you to guard you in all of your ways,'. That's where we're to live, but it's according to your faith.

I remember a story; it was told to me firsthand by a very godly brother from Norway who told me that many, many years ago (probably seventy or eighty years ago) in one of those towns in Norway, there was an old couple that lived in a little house, a godly couple. And there was a fire that broke out in that little town, and those houses were all made of wood and straw, and the fire went sweeping through there, and the people came, getting all of the people out of their houses, and getting them to vacate the houses before the fire burnt up their house, and here was this couple living in this house. And they said, 'We're not vacating. We live in Psalm 91,'. And that fire came, destroying every house, and came to this house, went around it, and continued and burnt up the rest of the town. And that house, I was told by this brother, has been preserved until today, as a testimony to the faithful, old godly couple. I'm not asking you to do that if there's a fire in your town, because you may not have that faith. Don't try to imitate someone. The Bible says we can't imitate someone. If you have that faith, it's only then we can do it. Faith is a wonderful thing. Imitation is dangerous.

You know what it says in Hebrews Chapter 11? Have you read this verse about the Israelites in verse 29? It's a very instructive verse. By faith, the Israelites passed through the Red Sea. When the Egyptians tried to imitate that, they were drowned. And that's what happens when you try to imitate someone's faith. If you don't have that faith, you can't do it. But when a man has that faith... I have discovered though so many testimonies I have heard, and people I have met in all kinds of circumstances and situations, I have seen one thing: That God always honors faith. Wherever He sees faith, He will never let that person down. Those who trust in Him will never be disappointed in Him, but we can't imitate.

This is the thing we need to develop more than anything else in our lives: Faith in the Living God, a faith that makes us bold to confess to the devil. The Bible says, 'They overcame Satan by the word of their testimony,' in Revelation 12 and verse 11. Have you ever thought what that means? That's not giving a testimony in a meeting. There it is talking about giving your testimony to the devil. Many of you have given testimony in a meeting. Praise the Lord. I want to encourage you to start giving your testimony to the devil. Tell the devil what you believe. Tell him that your sins are all cleansed in the blood of Jesus, that he can't condemn you anymore for those sins you did way back in the past. Why is it so many believers live in condemnation? [Example:] 'Oh, that wretched thing I did 25 years ago, it keeps coming back to mind brother Zac,'. That's because you don't tell the devil what the Word of God says, that the blood of Jesus has cleansed you from all sin. You start saying that and you'll find that those things don't come back to your mind anymore. The devil tried that with me, but he doesn't try it anymore, because he knows it's a waste of time. And it's got to come to that place in your life where the devil won't try it anymore with you because he knows it's a waste of time. He'll try it with somebody else. You tell the devil, 'The blood of Jesus has cleansed me from all sin,' you tell him that he was defeated on the cross. He does not like to hear that. I remember once when one demon possessed lady was brought to my house for deliverance and I told her, 'Let's pray, ask Jesus to come into your heart,' and I said 'Now tell the devil, 'You were defeated on the cross,',' and she screamed and said, 'I was not defeated on the cross!'. That was a demon, and I said to that demon, 'You are a liar. You were defeated on the cross. Get out of her in Jesus' name,' and the demon left. And I told that woman, 'Now tell the devil, 'you were defeated on the cross',' and she said, 'Satan, you were defeated on the cross,'. I learned something that day: that the devil does not like to hear anybody telling him that he was defeated on the cross of Calvary. Why don't you tell him that a few times?

Satan, you were defeated on the cross. Jesus is my savoir. I don't belong to you, Satan. You cannot touch my body, you cannot touch my mind, you cannot my spirit, you cannot touch my children, you cannot touch my family, you cannot touch my finances, and you cannot touch any of these things. They are all given to God. If you've kept the money for yourself, maybe the devil can touch it. But if you've given your life to God, it's like whatever you put under and umbrella, it doesn't get wet. If you keep your hand outside the umbrella, it does get wet. It's like that. Whatever you don't give to God, the devil has power over, but what you have given completely to God, the devil can't touch. Give your family, give your money, give your time, give your energy, give your ambitions, and then look at the devil and say, you can't touch anything of mine. It's a wonderful thing to be totally dedicated, totally consecrated. And if you can start like that when you are young, think what a wonderful life you can live. There will be no fear in your life. Do you think Jesus lived with fear? I've seen people who are afraid of the devil. How did Jesus live? When Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, do you know what the demons were saying? 'Hey! He's coming here! He's coming!'. They were scared. They were the ones who were scared. How is it supposed to be with you and me? Let me show you a verse. This is one of those unbelievable verses in the Bible, and I'm convinced that most believers never, never live according to the light of this verse, they don't have faith for it, and so never live as this verse tells them to live. 1st John, 4 verse 17. The last part of this verse says... Listen to this. It's unbelievable but it's absolutely true. It's one of those unbelievable verses in scripture, but it's true because it's God' word. 'As Jesus is, so also are we in this world,'. Is that true? Do you understand English? Do you understand what that means? As Jesus is, so also am I in this world. How am I supposed to live in this world when I confront the devil? Exactly like Jesus confronted the devil. 'Resist him, and he will flee from you'. The devil was scared of Jesus! And I believe devils have to be scared of you and me, not because of what we are, but because we come in the name of Jesus Christ, who has conquered Satan.

We're not to live in fear of the devil, we're not to live in fear of death, and we're not to live in fear of men. It says in Hebrews Chapter 13, verse 5, 'Let your character be free from the love of money, be content with what you have,'. Why do we love money? Because we are afraid [that] one day we may starve, we may be stranded, and our children may suffer without it. He says, 'Don't love money, let your character be free from it, be content with God gives you, because He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you. I will never forsake you,'.' And I am told by those that study Greek, I don't know, but I have read, that there is a triple negative here. 'I will never, never, never leave you or forsake you,'. It is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit saying, 'I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.' And if you believe that, it says in verse 6, 'Therefore, we boldly say, 'The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?'. It's not just something we believe, it says here we say it. 'With the heart man believes,' and what does it say in Romans 10, verse 9 and 10? '...with the mouth, he confesses, and that bring salvation of deliverance,'. If you believe something in your heart, and you don't confess it with your mouth, you don't get the deliverance. That's what Romans 10 says. Salvation means deliverance, you want to be delivered from fear, then boldly say! Say it! That's what I do, when I am tempted to be discouraged, tempted to fear, I tell the devil, 'My sins are forgiven. Ok, I don't understand how all of these things are happing, I don't know how things are going to turn, that things look pretty scary, but my sins are forgiven, God is on the throne, He is the Father, He loves me as much as He loved Jesus, and my future is secure. Satan, you've been defeated on the cross, you've got no right over me, you can't touch me, God loves me as he loved Jesus, He cares for me as He cared for Jesus...' and by the time I have finished making all of these confessions, the discouragement is gone, the fear is gone. The anxiety is gone. That's such a power in telling the devil what God's word says. That's not a technique, that's just doing what Jesus did. You know, when the devil came to Jesus, what He did? What did He do? He quoted the Word of God to him! He said 'It is written,' and the devil came back again, He said 'It is written', and he came back a third time, and He said 'It is written,' and the devil left Him.

Do you want the devil to leave you? Do what Jesus did. Tell him what is written in God's word concerning you, [and] concerning him. Like I read somewhere on a sticker I saw once that said, 'Whenever the devil reminds you of your past, you remind him of his future,'. Tell him where he is going to end. That's a good thing. Whenever the devil reminds you of your past, you remind him of his future in the lake of fire. He's been defeated on the cross. I believe God's people in this day need to have a spirit of triumph and victory, not little scary lives as though we have no Father in heaven, Almighty God.

I remember seeing a title of a book called, 'Your God Is Too Small,'. I thought of that, and I think that's true for a lot of Christians. Their God so small. He's pretty helpless. Do you ever find in the gospels anybody coming to Jesus with any problem where Jesus had to scratch His head and say, 'Boy, that's a tough one. I don't know how to handle that,'? Not even once. It doesn't matter what type of situation it was, He had a solution. And the Bible says He's the same today, yesterday, and forever. And you go to him with your problem, He'll do it for you. The only people for whom Jesus could do nothing on earth were the people who didn't believe. They would come to Him with a problem saying, 'Well, I'm not sure if He'll take care if it,' and nothing happened. Now you go to Jesus in prayer, and bring your problem to Him, and say, 'Well, I don't know whether He will do it or not,' I can tell you, He won't do it. I'll tell you right now. Not because He doesn't want to do it, not because you don't need His help, but because of your unbelief. Your unbelief ties the hands of Jesus. There is only one thing that can tie the hands of Almighty God, and that's the unbelief of man. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

So, dear brothers and sisters, let's walk in a new way from today. Let's apply these truths to our lives, and say, 'Lord, I want to live in a way that glorifies you on this earth.