I AM NOT AFRAID TO DIE: BECAUSE I KNOW JESUS!
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
Two months before his death, my brother Fred had a serious talk with his son, Dan. He said, “I am not afraid to die. I know Jesus.” Those were comforting words to hear and became the title of this article and the theme of the message I brought at his funeral on July 17, 2017.
Dan suggested that I share that with family and friends who attended the burial service and the Memorial. I'm sure that Fred would have wanted everyone to know that. A couple years earlier while preaching at the Vancouver Native Pentecostal Church, Fred and Irene joined Donna and me in praising Jesus Christ.
In His High Priestly prayer, Jesus said: “Father the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee: As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life, to as many as Thou hast given Him.
“And this is life eternal that they might KNOW Thee the Only True God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent.” (John 17: 1-3)
St. John declared: “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come and hath given us an understanding, that we may KNOW Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is TRUE God and Eternal Life.” (1 John 5:19, 20)
St. Paul prayed: “That I may KNOW Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” (Phil.3:10); “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye be rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length, and depth and height; and to KNOW the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:16-19)
Jesus Christ stated: Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you FREE. And whomsoever the Son makes free is free indeed.” (John 8:32, 36)
WHY IS JESUS SO IMPORTANT?
What is it about knowing Jesus that removes the fear of death? Who is this Jesus Christ, that at the mention of His name sinners are saved, demons flee, the spirit of FEAR departs, sicknesses vanish and troubled minds and souls receive PEACE?
We'll let Jesus answer for Himself: He said: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” (John 14: 6).
Why could Jesus make that statement? He is God the Son from Eternity, but because of His great love for us, He left Heaven's glory and came to this world as God's Paschal Lamb to purchase our salvation.
By a Divine act of God, He was incarnated and took upon Himself human flesh, so that He could suffer, bleed and die to atone for the sins of the whole world, past, present and future. The Bible says: “But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Gal. 4:4-6)
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, St. Paul wrote: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2: 5-11)
JESUS CHRIST IS ETERNAL LIFE!
Our Lord said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto Life” (John 5: 24)
St. John declared: “Behold, what manner of LOVE the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we KNOW that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him like He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth Himself, even as He is pure.” (1 John 3: 1-3)
The Bible says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16,17)
St. John declared: “He that believeth on the Son hath Everlasting Life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on Him.” (John 3: 16,17,36)
Again he wrote: “But these things are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have Life through His Name.” (John 20: 31).
Not only does Jesus Christ give Eternal Life to those who receive Him as Lord and Saviour, but Jesus is Himself Eternal Life! The Bible states: “Hereby know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in Him, and He in God. And this is the record that God hath given to us Eternal Life, and this Life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath Life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath NOT Life.
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have Eternal Life, and that ye may believe on the Name of the Son of God.” (1 John 4: 13-17; 5: 11-13)
St. Paul, who had been a blasphemer and an enemy of Christians was suddenly converted when he met Jesus Christ in a blinding light on the Damascus Road, became His Greatest Witness and spread His Gospel across the Gentile world.
He said: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto Salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1: 16);
“Grace be to you and PEACE from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who Gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present EVIL world, according to the will of God and our Father: to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Galatians 1: 3-5)
The Bible says: “In this was manifested His love toward us because He sent His Only Begotten Son into the world, that we might LIVE through Him.” (1 John 4:9)
“For as by one man's disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners, so by the obedience of ONE (Jesus) shall many be made righteous. That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might Grace reign through righteousness unto Eternal Life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 5: 19, 21
JESUS CHRIST IS OUR HIGH PRIEST!
God's Redemption for us through Jesus Christ gives us access through Prayer to the very Throne Room in Heaven, where the Son of God is constantly interceding for us to His Heavenly Father!
“But this man (Christ) because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him. Seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and made higher than, and made higher than the heavens.” (Heb.7: 24-26)
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the Heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet Without Sin. Let us come boldly to the throne of Grace that we may obtain Mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need.” (Heb.4: 14-16)
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His Blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” (Rom. 3:23-25)
The meaning of the word propitiation is, ‘satisfaction, mercy seat, expiation’. God the Father was SATISFIED with Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death for us on the cross. His shed blood atoned for our sins and met the righteous demands of Divine Justice against Adam and Eve for the sin of high treason and rebellion, in the Courts of Heaven!
St. Paul declared: “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also, freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?
“It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Rom. 8: 32-34)
JESUS CHRIST IS OUR ADVOCATE!
Jesus is our Advocate who pleads our cause before the Father: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2: 1,2)
St. John states: “But if we walk in the light as He (Jesus Christ) is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgives our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him (God) a liar, and His Word is not in us. (1 John 1: 7-10
“If ye then be risen with Him, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our Life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” (Col. 3: 1-4)
Speaking to His disciples, Jesus spoke of His soon departure. He would send the blessed Holy Spirit to live within them. He was not leaving them comfortless but would come to abide with them and in them.
He said: “At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me and I in you. He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; he that loveth Me, shall be loved of My Father and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.
JESUS CHRIST IS OUR LIFE!
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me He will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14: 20,21, 23);
“That they may be one, as Thou Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory that Thou gavest Me I have given them that they mayest be one, even as We are one.
“I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” (John 17: 21-23)
“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved Me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2: 20)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Heavenly places in Christ. before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame According as He hath chosen us in Him before Him in love.
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will; to the praise of His glory of His Grace wherein He hath made us Accepted in the Beloved.” (Eph. 1: 3-6)
“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given to us an understanding, that we may KNOW Him that is true, and we are in Him that is True, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is True God and Eternal Life.” (1 John 5: 20); “For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3)
WE ARE ADOPTED SONS OF GOD!
The Bible declares our freedom from the powers of darkness. By a Divine miracle of God we have been made sons of God, joint heirs with Christ in His Kingdom! We have been liberated from the slavery of servitude to this world's lusts, pride, hatred and fears.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father. The Spirit witnesseth with our spirit that we are the children of God:
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Rom.8: 14-17).
In His great Mercy, Jesus took our place on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He died for us so we could become righteous through His death and resurrection and to live eternally with Him as His adopted son.
When the Hammer of God's judgment for the sins of the world came down, it fell on Jesus. He took the blow that we should have taken. He is our Substitute! Our 'Old Man' is dead and the 'New Man' is born again and made one with Christ! He is in us and we are in Him, forever saved, sanctified and sealed through the precious blood of Christ and the blessed Holy Spirit of God!
“Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.
“Knowing this that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. But now, being made FREE from Sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto Holiness, and the end Everlasting Life.” (Rom. 6:4-9,22)
JESUS THE GREAT I AM!
Here is the bottom line: Because of Adam's rebellion, sin entered the world and death through sin. The Bible says: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23); “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23); “For by grace are ye saved through Faith: and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2: 8,9)
“Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6): “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger: and he that believest on Me shall never thirst. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35, 47, 48)
“I am the Good Shepherd and know My sheep, and is known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep.” (John 6: 14,15); “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And he that liveth and believest in Me, shall never die.” (John 1: 25, 26);
“I am the true Vine and ye are the branches; He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit. For without Me ye can do nothing.” (John 15: 7)
By God's Grace alone and through His infinite Mercy, I have been Redeemed by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, forgiven of all my sins, justified by His glorious resurrection and placed into His everlasting Kingdom! Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling. Take me as I am. My only plea, Christ died for me. O' take me as I am! My Lord and my God, how I long to see Thy face, a blood bought sinner saved grace! Fill me with Thy precious Holy Spirit and grant unto Thy humble servant a full portion of Thy Spiritual Gifts to bring Healing and Deliverance to Thy suffering Church here and abroad. For Thy honour and glory alone! Amen.
Max & Fred Solbrekken in Hawaii