|The Power of a Fearless Life||
February 6 , 2011
At the funeral of John Knox, Earl Morton pointed to his grave and said, “There lies a man who never feared the face of any man.” Knox was a great preacher from Scotland. When Knox was addressing Mary, Queen of Scots, and debating with her, it was said to him that his language was discourteous, and that he shouldn’t argue with the Queen. His response was, “It is no more privilege of the rich and the powerful, than of the common people, to offend God’s majesty.” When she burst out into tears during one of their debates and her courtiers remonstrated with Knox to cease pressing home the Gospel of Christ upon her, to cease calling on her to flee from her idols, and when the tears of Mary, Queen of Scots were brought before him as an argument to this end, he said, “I cannot let the tears of the honourable lady suppress the voice of my conscience, or silence me to the hurt of my nation.” Mary, Queen of Scots said of John Knox’s imprecatory prayers, (prayers that call down the curses of God on false religion and the promoters of it), “I fear these prayers more than all the assembled armies of Europe.” The French Catholics captured John Knox at the Castle at St. Andrews. He had outraged Rome with his preaching for salvation by faith alone, against popery, purgatory and the mass as blasphemous idolatry. After being consigned for 19 months as a galley slave, beaten, cursed and abused, a picture of the Virgin Mary was brought on board while the galley was in port, to be kissed by the slaves. When Knox refused, the picture was thrust into his face. Outraged, he flung the "accursed idol" into the river, saying "Let our Lady learn to swim." Two of his fellow believers had already suffered a martyr’s death and he was next in line after this episode. Miraculously, not only did he live - he stood before the queen and on five occasions presented the true faith to her majesty, Queen Mary. Although he had been exiled from his beloved Scotland for 13 years, he had finally come back for good. During 1560 and 1561, the Scottish Parliament accepted the reformed confession of faith drawn up by Knox and others. What a testament of a man who feared not the face of man because he feared God alone! Time would fail to tell all of Knox’s heroic deeds of faith. Suffice it to say, the same God that gave this man courage is the same Who will give us the courage when needed.
Allow me to give four truths about empowerment over fear:
1. We are commanded not to fear man or circumstances.
“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it
is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6). “Fear not: for I
am with thee…” (Isaiah 43:5). Jesus said, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure
to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
2. When presented with fear, we may opt to be exempt.
“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it
cometh” (Proverbs 3:25). “Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight
against me, O thou most High. What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his
word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me” (Psalm 56: 2-4).
3. God’s greatest display of power on our behalf comes during the greatest crisis.
Psalm 146:1-3: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will
not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the
sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling
thereof. Selah.” Psalm 27:1 tells us,” The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the
LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Some years ago, I came across this
concise truth: NO GOD = KNOW FEAR. KNOW GOD = NO FEAR!
4. Power over fear is not achieved; it is received.
Fear is bondage. In Christ we are free. "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to
fear..." (Romans 8:15). Therefore: "...freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8). If you are
looking for the faith and courage to stand the trials against the foe, look no further, for our Lord said,
“…for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).