What are you afraid of?
Holly Springs 2/21/2021
I wonder if there is anything you are afraid of? For me as I have gotten older I have a small fear of heights. Now as you know I am not afraid to fly, but when going up a ladder I do it a bit more slowly than I used to.
I can remember when I was younger I used to be afraid of the Devil. I still hear people who are afraid of him. And that got me to thinking why are people afraid of him? As a Christian we know that we have overcome him once we accepted Jesus into our hearts and the Holy Spirit came to dwell inside of us. Yet I know many a Christian that is still afraid of old Satan.
But here is what I want you to understand this morning, we don’t have to fear Satan, not if we are a Christian. And you don’t have to take my word for it, because the Bible speaks directly to our fear. In fact both the Old and New Testament speaks about it.
If you have your Bibles open them to Psalm 121. And once you find that mark it and look in the New Testament at 2 Timothy 1:7. So once again that is Psalm 121 and 2 Timothy 1:7. When you find them please stand for the reading of God’s Holy Word:
I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.
And here is 2 Timothy 1:7: 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
So how does that help us with our fears, our fear of covid, heights and Satan or what other fear you may have? It’s simple as a Christian God has not given us a spirit of fear.
So let’s talk about Satan for a minute. I wonder if maybe you are afraid of him and his demons, even just a little bit. Well today I want to assure you that you don’t have to be.
How many of you remember the story in Matthew 8 where Jesus cast the two demons out of two men? Where after they addressed him, knowing that he was the Son of God asked to be cast into the herd of pigs.
Or where in Matthew one when Jesus commands the unclean spirit to come out of a man. What we often miss is verse 24 that says: saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”
Did you notice that the demons knew who Jesus was? And let me tell you why that is important. If Jesus truly lives inside of you Satan knows it. As we have seen Satan and his minions know who Jesus is so they also know who the Holy Spirit is. And the cold hard truth is the devil fears God. And if he fears God, then he also fears Jesus and the Holy Spirit who together are one God.
Now if that is true. And I hope and pray that you believe it is, let’s pivot and ask our selves this question. Does Satan fear you? Should he fear you?
Is the way you are living causing the Devil to fear you? As a Christian every morning that you wake up should give the devil heartburn. He should know that you are going to read your Bible. That you are going to pray at least once that day. That you might even tell someone else about the forgiveness that Jesus has to offer.
I think that all of you would agree with me one of the greatest men of the New Testament was Paul. Now make no doubt about it, we are to model our lives after Christ, but old Paul would run a close second. But we have to be careful because if we focus on Paul we will miss the point and not be the Christian god as called us to be. We will be like the priest in the Temple who says their Prayers for other to hear and only call attention to themselves. But when we focus on Jesus we scare the daylight out of Satan.
I want you to consider the story in Acts 19, where the sons of Sceva attempt to drive out some demons. They had seen Paul do this they had seen where just his touching aprons would bring about healing.
So let’s pick this up in Acts 19: 13-15. We are going to make some pretty remarkable discoveries here. And we may even learn something about ourselves along the way. So if you haven’t done so already turn in your Bibles to Acts 19: and read with me verses 13 -15: Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
Did you catch that? These so called priest, these so called men of God said We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.
Folks it wasn’t Paul who was healing and casting out Demons. It was God; Paul was only his humble servant, doing the will of God. So what about you are you His willing servant?
If you are would a demon say what he did in verse 15? Look at again when it says: 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
Brothers and sisters that verse is huge. You see even the Demons knew Paul. Why, because they feared him and why did they fear him, because as I said a moment ago he was a servant of God.
Listen we can go around all day and shout out in the name and power of Jesus I say this or that. But if we don’t have a relationship with him I can promise you nothing is going to happen. Nothing good any ways.
In fact if you were to keep reading in Acts you would find that the demons do come out, but only to give these seven brother a sever beating. Friends when we play Christian nothing good ever happens.
I wonder how many of you know the story of William Carey. After all we have a college here in Mississippi named after him.
Trained as a shoemaker, William Carey became known as the 'father of modern missions' for his missionary work in India. The story goes that in 1787, he suggested that all Christians had a duty to share the gospel around the world, after which he was told: "Young man, sit down. When God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do it without your aid and mine."
Undeterred, however, he founded the Baptist Missionary Society five years later in 1792, preaching a message during which he said one of his most famous quotes: "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God".
The next year, he travelled to India with his family, but his struggles continued. He saw no conversions for seven years, his son Peter died of dysentery and his wife's mental health deteriorated rapidly. "This is indeed the valley of the shadow of death to me," Carey wrote at the time. "But I rejoice that I am here notwithstanding; and God is here."
But in 1800, he baptized his first convert to Christianity, and over more than 20 years went on to translate the Bible into dozens of major Indian languages and dialects. He also founded Serampore College to train local ministers.
And I think of athletes like Tim Tebow. Raised in the faith, the child of missionaries who made it to the NFL where he refused to compromise his faith and it cost him his career. But now he as even a larger voice in the world because of it.
When I read of people like this, who gives everything they have so that others will know about Jesus, it brings me back to Acts and the fact that the Demons knew Paul.
If you want to conquer your fears simply saying I am a Christian is not enough. In fact you need to show that you are a Christian. When we allow the faith that saved us so that are works become strengthened is the perfect formula to conquer fear.
How many of you remember our study of the Book of Revelation? Where in Revelation 20:10 we read: The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where[a] the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Listen I have told you before the devil knows his fate, he knows who wins and he knows who looses. So we don’t need to be afraid of Satan.
Now to be certain I will still have a healthy respect for heights but I will not fear. I will not fear Satan, his demons nor hell, because I choose to cast fear into the heart of Satan.
But let me say this to those of you who may not be saved, if you are not living for Jesus, seeking him through his Word, and prayer, loving others, and pointing people to Jesus, the devil has no idea who you are because he does not fear you. He has you right where he wants you, in a state of fear. But my friends it does not have to be that way.
Today you can begin a life without fear, knowing that the one true God loves you and dies on the Cross for you so that you may know that God has not given you a spirit of fear.
Pray as led.