At the beginning of the multiple-Oscar-winning movie Gladiator, the Roman general Maximus is readying his cavalry to ride against a Germanic horde in a forest in Europe. He shouts to them, “Hold the line! Stay with me! If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you’re already dead!”
Elysium was a version of heaven that arose among the Greek poets and philosophers and remained popular in Roman times—a place where the righteous and heroic, and those chosen by the gods, would spend a blessed afterlife. If anyone would qualify for entrance into Elysium, Maximus’ brave cavalry would—so they had no fear in the face of possible death. As mythical as Elysium was, its promise was enough to take the fear and sting out of death. When you can laugh at death, nothing else in life deserves to be feared. Hebrews 2:15 tells us that one thing is powerful enough to hold people in bondage all their lives—the fear of death. But the apostle Paul spent an entire chapter of 1 Corinthians explaining how Christ, by His resurrection, defeated death: “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55) If Roman soldiers had no fear of death by hoping in a make-believe place called Elysium, how much more should we Christians not fear death based on the documented reality of the resurrection of Jesus? And if we don’t fear death, why should we fear anything else?
From Fear Knots to Fear Nots
Here are ten “fear nots” that give us every reason to untie the “fear knots” in our lives.
1. “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” (Genesis 15:1). Fear not when it looks like a calling from God is not going to be fulfilled. God can make a way.
2. “And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord’” (Exodus 14:13). Fear not when you are stuck between a rock and a horrible hard place. God can part the sea and lead you through.
3. “When you go out to battle . . . do not be afraid of [your enemies]” (Deuteronomy 20:1). Fear not when you are outnumbered by your enemies. You and God are a majority.
4. “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Fear not when God gives you an assignment beyond your experience. He is with you.
5. “And the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go down with him; do not be afraid of him’” (2 Kings 1:15). Fear not when you don’t know what to do. God will guide you.
6. “Thus says the Lord: ‘Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard’” (2 Kings 19:6). Fear not when you hear gossip or words contrary to God’s Word. God’s Word alone is true.
7. “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria” (2 Chronicles 32:7). Fear not when you face those in power or authority. God rules over the kings of the earth.
8. “Fear not, for I am with you . . . I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you” (Isaiah 41:10). Fear not when you are weak. God will strengthen you.
9. “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife” (Matthew 1:20). Fear not when following God’s will could result in embarrassment or criticism. God’s wisdom is foolish in man’s eyes—and vice versa.
10. “Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy’” (Luke 2:10). Fear not when God blesses you unexpectedly. Receive God’s blessings with innocence and gratitude.
In those biblical examples God addressed future plans, lack of direction, opposition and enemies, insufficient qualifications, need for guidance, contradictory advice, ungodly rulers, weakness and confusion, hesitancy in obeying God, and blessings.
Do any of those sound familiar to you? Those, and many more, are situations in which God says, “Fear not!” Because Christ has conquered death, our last great enemy, there is nothing for us to fear in this life. Read, study, memorize, and claim God’s “fear nots”—and live the fearless life you were created to enjoy.
David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and serves as
Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.
When you think of home, what comes to mind? The types of homes available for people living in the United States today varies greatly from the “Leave it to Beaver” model seen on television so many years ago. Many of us grew up in neighborhoods where all the homes were similar in style and size. Move forward to today and homes are built in extremes—everything from massive homes with home theatre systems and gyms—to the tiny home craze where people are down-sizing to enjoy life more. Wherever we live, home has a special place in our heart and memory. But beyond where we call home, there is divine resident who goes and dwells with us a child of God. Here are seven ways that His presence changes us:Step Into the Encouragement Zone
During the past few months our nation has witnessed devastating natural disasters that demolished entire communities and took the lives and livelihoods of many Americans. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have negatively impacted millions[i] of people and left behind billions of dollars in damages. As difficult and challenging as these events have been, and will continue to be for multitudes of people, these catastrophic events have allowed our nation to come together to help those affected. In response to Hurricane Harvey alone, companies have promised to donate more than $65 million to help with relief efforts—and that number is still rising. This is not including all private donations and time spent volunteering by people across the United States.[ii] It has encouraged the nation as we have observed neighbor helping neighbor—but we need to remember that we shouldn’t simply be observers when it comes to encouragement.
Practical and purposeful encouragement is something each of us can do, but too often we miss the opportunity in the busyness of our lives. I’ll confess I’m not a natural-born encourager. Often I’m so focused on my day that I don’t notice when others have a need. But I’m learning to be deliberate about it—even when it’s not convenient.Mentored by the Book
I’ve had many mentors in life, but most of them had departed this life when they taught me their greatest lessons. They’ve lined the walls of my study and filled my bookcases with their words of wisdom. I enjoy good books and have profited immeasurably from reading biographies. As you may have noticed, lots of these timeless antidotes show up in my sermons and writings.
To me, reading a good biography is like entertaining a great soul in my home. He or she may live in a different age, speak a different language, and face a different set of challenges; but when I open their stories, I’m sitting down with them for a pleasant visit. In the process, I learn about a world not my own, and I live in times that expand my experiences.
A truly well-written biography is a rare treat; but the best biographies are found in God’s Book. The Bible is filled with great and unvarnished stories of individual history. Think of the men and women we encounter between Genesis and Revelation. When we get to heaven, we’ll already know Abraham, David, Peter, and Paul. Some of us have studied their lives for years, and meeting them will be like greeting an old friend. Think of the Heroes of the Faith described in Hebrews 11—men and women “of whom the world was not worthy” (Hebrews 11:38). Their lives should inspire us to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and … run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Looking back on The Jesus You May Not Know, are you wondering what to do with all that you learned? Today, Dr. David Jeremiah shares practical tools for building a deeper intimacy with Christ than you’ve known before.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah