September 22, 2017
Faith, Not Fear
By Skip Heitzig
In a season when many people are worried about the future of our country, I think it's time for you to get practical about your own future. The truth is, one day will be your last day on earth, and then what? What about eternity? If you're a believer, you'll live forever with the Lord in heaven. But is that truth being reflected in how you're living right now?
Let's read the words of the apostle John, who saw a vision of Jesus in Revelation 1:17-18: "When I saw [Jesus], I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, 'Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.'"
Based on this text, I want to give you three principles to hold on to today. First of all, now is the time for faith, not fear. John was having a typical human reaction to a supernatural interaction, but Jesus reassured him by describing who He is: "I am the First and the Last" (v. 17). In other words, "I'm God; I'm in control."
I don't think I need to tell you that we live in a time of uncertainty. But God wants you to know something: He is in control, and you have every reason to be confident as you look to your future. Yes, I've read the news. And yes, I've seen what's going on in the world. But I've also read the good news, and I know how the story ends and that it's going to be okay. As Isaiah wrote, "I saw the Lord sitting on a throne" (Isaiah 6:1). God isn't standing in heaven wringing His hands and panicking over the condition of this world or this country. He's taking this sitting down.
Revelation 1 says Jesus laid His right hand on John. Typically, that's a gesture of fortification and encouragement, as if to say, "Don't worry. It's going to be okay." Fear and faith cannot dwell in the same heart, folks. Fear will push out faith, but faith will banish fear. If you're a follower of Jesus Christ, you have good reason to be confident in His ability to handle the future.
Here's the second principle: now is the time for joy, not sorrow. As Jesus said to John, "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen" (v. 18). Jesus went to the cross and died, then He rose again. What a transition from sorrow to joy! If Jesus rose from the dead, which He Himself predicted, it means that everything else He promised in His Word is true as well. And if you believe His promises, you have every reason to live confidently and joyfully.
The third and final principle is that now is the time to make a decision. If God is in control, and if the promises Jesus made are true, doesn't it make sense that the best choice you could make is to follow Him, trust Him, and surrender to Him?
Notice Jesus said to John, "I have the keys of Hades and of Death" (v. 18). In other words, He has the keys to the eternal future of every human being. The smartest thing you can do is accept Him and come into a relationship with Him.
So remember, today is the day for faith, not fear; for joy, not sorrow; and for making a decision, if you haven't already chosen Jesus. Trust Him with your future, both in this life and in eternity. As Corrie ten Boom used to say, if you look around, you'll be distressed; if you look within, you'll be depressed; but if you look to Jesus, you'll be at rest.
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