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Friday, April 9, 2021

Northern Flicker (Photo by Marion Maxwell)
Northern Flicker feasting on our neighbor's deck
(Photo by Marion Maxwell)

"The Living Antidote To Fear"

Message summary: Jesus is the living antidote to all our fears!

Listen to this message on your audio player.

“Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father—to Him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’ ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades’” (Revelation 1:5,6,8,17,18).

I believe in the Son
I believe in the risen One
I believe I overcome
By the power of His blood

Fear is a common topic we deal with in the course of our ministry, and admittedly, within our own hearts in particular settings or subject matters. How about you? What might be stirring up the cauldron of fear in your heart today; world conditions, the state of our country and its rapid spiritual and moral decline, a personal matter affecting you or a loved one? We have all experienced the emotion of fear in one way or another.

Let us find great assurance in the tiny phrase found often in Scripture translated, "Do not be afraid" ("fear not" in the KJV). This phrase shows up repeatedly from Genesis to Revelation. Fear itself is first expressed in the Bible shortly after the transgression in the garden when Adam said to God, “I was afraid” (Genesis 3:10). The remainder of the Bible is full of many expressions of human fear for a wide variety of reasons. But the child of God may find such divine relief in God’s command to “fear not” which is again found in our daily text.

Revelation is a very complex book; thus there are many interpretations by equally earnest and faithful followers of Christ. Some parts are certainly easier to understand than others. In the first chapter we have the abbreviated characteristics of Christ listed in the passage we selected as our daily text.

As I contemplated today’s message a chorus we sang many years ago came to mind:
Alive, alive, alive forevermore
My Jesus is alive, alive forevermore!

The resounding message from our Lord surely brought peace to John in that surreal setting, but as a part of the Holy Scriptures His message speaks to believers of all generations.

1) Jesus Christ is the First and the Last. He is the God of all eternity, the Lord of eternity past and eternity future. He always was and is and evermore shall be. As Reginald Heber described in his majestic hymn "Holy, Holy Holy", "Who wert, and art, and evermore shall be!"

2) Jesus Christ is the living one who died, and is alive forevermore. He has the credentials of being resurrected, and lives to never die again though He indeed was dead. The victory that Jesus won over sin and death is a permanent victory. He didn't rise from the dead just to die again. He lives forevermore!

3) Jesus Christ has the keys of Death and of Hades. Some imagine that the devil is somehow the "lord of Hell" and has the authority or power to determine life or death. But only Jesus holds the keys of Death and Hades. We can trust that Jesus never lets Satan borrow the keys!

Jesus is truly the perpetual Living One. As we read of His characteristics in Revelation, first revealed to John and recorded late in the first century over 1900 years ago, we can be assured that they are equally true today and will be throughout eternity! Certainly technology is ever-changing as well as the “norms” of society, but our Living One changes not.

I am strengthened and encouraged through the vision the Apostle John received while imprisoned on the isle of Patmos. When he saw the Son of man he fell at his feet as though he were dead. Jesus’ words of assurance to John and to each of us nearly two thousand years later helps to still my fears and reminds me that I serve a living, risen Christ. “Do not be afraid.  I am the First and the Last.  I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever.” Jesus is the living antidote to all our fears. Because Jesus lives we live also as Bill and Gloria Gaither penned that message lyrically with these words some 50 years ago:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, there are so many experiences or circumstances in life that instill fear in our hearts. But we don’t have to cringe in fear because You are with us.  Your protection assures us that things will turn out for good in the end, whether in this life or the life to come. Though Jesus’ followers were devastated as He hung limp on the cross You had a powerful plan all along and it turned out for the good of all, even those responsible for His death. Not only did Jesus rise from the dead, but He is alive forevermore, preparing a place for each of us who remain faithful. Father, we seek You because we know that You hear us and will deliver us from our unhealthy fears. We thank You for it in advance, through the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

All this week our messages have been on the resurrection of Jesus Christ as taught in each of the major sections of the New Testament.
  • Monday's message was from the Gospel accounts.
  • Tuesday's message we examined how the resurrection was a core element in apostolic preaching in Acts.
  • Wednesday's and Thursday's messages considered the resurrection teaching in the epistles.
  • Today we considered the resurrection teaching in the Book of Revelation.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Because He Lives (Amen)"  Video  Matt Maher

"Because He Lives (Amen)"  Video  West Coast Choir

"Because He Lives"  Video  Guy Penrod

"Overcome"  Video  Calvary Church Choir Easter Sunday 2019, the last time our choir was able to sing on Easter! This song has a lyric that also speaks to our message today about "Fear Not".

We will not be moved
When the earth gives way
For the risen One has overcome

And for every fear
There's an empty grave
For the risen One has overcome

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Stephen and Brooksyne Weber 8/6/20
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
Casey Jones Restaurant, August 2020

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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