July 17, 2017
Hebrews 2:14, 15
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
The other day I received a phone call from a woman in my home church. I say ‘home church’ because I am in different churches almost every Sunday, preaching when and where needed. But back to this dear woman: She is about 80, elegant, dignified, and I have known her to be a strong Christian, having been her pastor for almost twelve years when I pastored that Baptist church we now call ‘home’. She called me, and we talked for about an hour. She was in tears more than once during that conversation. She was suffering from some age-related physical problems – pain in her back, etc. But the main things impinging on her life were anxiety, panic attacks, sleeplessness, and fear of death! Because of her reserved manner, I had little idea of her inner struggles before that hour-long phone call! I told her, “I have my doctorate, so technically, I am a doctor. I am going to give you a prescription that I recommend you take daily – even several times a day!” I then applied various Scriptures to those struggles that were plaguing her life, addressed each of them:
• Physical pain
✞ Deuteronomy 33:25 – “As your days, so shall your strength be.” The idea behind the Hebrew here is physical strength, mental strength, emotional strength, and spiritual strength – as needed!
✞ Isaiah 53:4 and 5 (Bible in Basic English) – “But it was our pain He took, and our diseases were put on Him: while to us He seemed as one diseased, on whom God’s punishment had come. But it was for our sins He was wounded, and for our evil doings He was crushed: He took the punishment by which we have peace, and by His wounds we are made well.” (See also I Peter 2:24).
✞ Hebrews 4:15 and 16 (Literal Interpretation of the Holy Bible) – “For we do not have a high priest not being able to sympathize with our weaknesses but One having been tried in all respects according to our likeness, apart from sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and we may find grace for timely help.”
• Anxiety and panic attacks
✞ Isaiah 26:3, 4 – “You will keep him [her] in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he [she] trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever: for in…the LORD JEHOVAH [KJV] is everlasting strength.”
✞ John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
✞ II Timothy 1:7 – “…God has not given to us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
✞ Psalm 3:5 – “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.”
✞ Psalm 4:8 – “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
✞ Psalm 127:2 – “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.”
✞ Matthew 11:28 – “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
• But what I would especially like to highlight in this blog is the issue of fearing death! And our featured Scripture is Hebrews 2:14 and 15:
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood…[Jesus]
Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy
him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who
through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (See also
II Timothty 1:10).
If you eliminate one who has the power of death over you, you take away the fear of death! Such was the reaction of many people when Seal Team 6 took out Osama Bin Laden! With the leader of so many terrorists dead – with the one eliminated who masterminded the 9/11 attacks that killed almost 3,000 people – a lot of people breathed a sigh of relief, thinking the world was now a safer place! The problem was (and is) that terrorist organizations are vast and adaptable! When one leader is gone, another rises to take his place!
But there is one being who possessed the power of death producing the fear of death over mankind – Satan! And the devil was totally defeated when Jesus rose from the grave! Yes, the evil one still is out and about and causes much stealing, killing, and destroying! (See John 10:10 – also John 8:44; I Peter 5:8, 9). But his fate – his destruction – is sealed! He is guaranteed to end up in “…the lake of fire and brimstone…[to] be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10). Instead of fearing death, those who put their faith in the living Lord Jesus Christ have eternal life, “…and they shall never perish…” (John 10:28). “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain…” (Revelation 21:4).
Living life can produce many fears in people. This dear lady with whom I counseled, at five years old was in the presence of a cousin when he was hit by an automobile, and his mangled body was laid on the porch near where she stood. She told me she feared death ever since! But our featured Scripture tells us that Jesus partook of flesh and blood – He became totally human (except for sin – see I Peter 2:22) — and “…brought life and immortality to light…” to humankind (II Timothy 1:10), by rising from the dead!
Yes, fear can hold us in bondage, such as it had for 75 years with this dear woman. But, as it says in John 8:32, “…you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”