Sermon #12                                                       Hebrews Notes


          Title:            “Fear of Death”

          Text:            Hebrews 2:14-15

          Readings:     Rex Bartley and Larry Criss

          Subject:       The Fear of Death

          Date:            Tuesday Evening – February 8,1999

          Tape #         V-69a



          I want to ask you a question, a solemn, sobering, serious question. It is a question you might prefer to avoid, but one you cannot avoid. You may suppress it, and post pone dealing with it; but you cannot avoid it. I have been praying all day that the Lord would use it to strike your heart and that he will cause it to continue ringing in your heart and mine long after the sermon is over. Here’s the question – Are you afraid to die?


          I have watched a lot of men die, some young and some old, some believers and some infidels, some with no hope, some with a false hope, and some with a good hope. I have seen some die in utter terror and some with great comfort, some in brazen blasphemy and defiance and some with peace and joy. How will it be for you, when you come to death’s chilly waters?



·        Harold Martin’s Brother and Harold

·        Percy Neal and Darrell McClung

·        The Old Man at Lookout and Anthony Dutra


          I know a good many men and women who do everything they can to avoid visiting a rest home, a hospital, or a funeral parlor. They simply cannot face the fact that they must soon die. Even now, the fear of death terrorizes them. I ask of you, what Jeremiah asked long ago. – If sickness and death torment you now, “then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” Are you afraid to die?


The fear of death is a very natural thing to sinful men. And, the fact is -- If you are without Christ, you have reason to be afraid. "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment” (Heb. 2:15). Soon you and I must die.


“Please view my grave as you pass by,

For as you are so once was I,

And as I am soon you must be,

So make your plans to follow me.”


Because of your sin and guilt before God, you must die.  But death will not end your existence.  You will stand before a holy, just, and righteous God in judgment.  And you will reap the exact penalty due your sin, the infinite, eternal wrath of God in hell!


2 Corinthians 5:10-11  "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (11) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences."


Revelation 20:6  "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."


Revelation 20:11-15  "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."


For the believer, however, things are far different. Turn with me to Hebrews 2:14-15, where the Holy Spirit tells us that one great purpose of our Savior’s incarnation was that he might destroy Satan and deliver his elect from the fear of death.


Hebrews 2:14-15  "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (15) And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."


Proposition: Our text tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world for this purpose, that he might "deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."


You and I, who are washed in the blood of Christ and living by faith in Him, should have no fear of death. If you are a believer yet struggling with this tormenting fear, this message is particularly for you. Do not expect to have dying grace until your time to die has come. Yet, we ought not live out our days on this earth clinging to the vanity of mortality and fearing its end.


LOOK TO CHRIST.  There is no deliverance from the fear of death except by looking to Him whose death is the death of death. Our Lord has done many things to deliver us from this fear of death and its bondage.


I.     Christ has destroyed the power of death by dying in our place and rising again.


Since all of God's elect were partakers of flesh and blood, under the dominion of death, Christ became a man to suffer and die for us. It was not possible for our Representative to satisfy the claims of Divine justice against us unless He lived and died in our nature. By His substitutionary death on the cursed tree and His triumphant resurrection, the Son of God destroyed the power of Satan and the power of the grave over us. We are now more than conquerors in him. Why then should we fear death?


II.  The Lord Jesus delivers us from the fear of death by removing our sin.


"The sting of death is sin.” It is sin which causes men torment in death.  But in Christ we have no sin.  In Him we are fully forgiven.  By His blood our sins are washed away.


1 John 3:1-5  "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. (2) 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 as he is. (3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (4) Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (5) And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin."


Be sure you have the forgiveness of sin by faith in Christ, and fear death no more.  To die forgiven, "accepted in the Beloved,” is not really to die at all.  It is simply the departure out of this world into the Father's house.


III. For another thing, the law held us in bondage to the sentence of death and condemnation; but “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law.”


"Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” He is the end of the law's power to condemn.  In the book of God's holy law there is no legal claim of condemnation upon any believer!  Christ satisfied that claim for us!  Why then should we fear? If I am in Christ, I am dead to the law.


Romans 8:1-4  "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."


V.  For another thing, The Lord Jesus Christ delivers us from the fear of death by changing the character of death.


          For the unbeliever death is a horrible thing. For the unbeliever, anything short of death is mercy. But, for the believer death is a great blessing.


          “To those that are in Christ death is but the day-break of eternal brightness; not the punishment of sin, but the period of sin. It is but a sturdy porter opening the door of eternity, a rough passage to eternal pleasure.”                       -- John Trapp


          Why should Israel be afraid to cross the swelling Jordan into the land of promise, with the ark of God before them?


Believers do not die in the sense that others do. Our Lord said, “Whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die.”


·        To the ungodly, death is the penalty of sin; but to the believer it is just a change of location.

·        Death to the wicked is the execution of justice, but to the believer it is a deliverance from sin.

·        To the worldling death is the beginning of sorrows, but to the believer it is admission into glory.

·        To the rebel death is imprisonment, but to the believer it is freedom.


V.  Our Saviour has also taken the fear of death away from those who trust Him by assuring us that our souls will go to be with him in heaven immediately.


"Because I live, ye shall live also.” "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am: that they may behold my glory.” "To be absent from't'he body is to be present with the Lord!” Knowing this, I can no longer fear to die.


2 Corinthians 5:1-9  "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2) For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (3) If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. (4) For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (5) Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. (6) Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (7) (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) (8) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (9) Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him."



VI. Our Lord has delivers us from the fear of death by assuring us of the resurrection of our bodies (1 Thess. 2:13-18).


1 Thessalonians 4:13-18  "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words."


This body must die. But, blessed be God, we shall arise! This is my satisfying confidence: "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me!" With such a hope, the grave causes me no alarm!


Would you be free from fear of death?  Look to Christ in faith: Christ as your Substitute, Christ rising as your Representative, Christ living as your Mediator, Christ coming as your King.


If you would be free from the fear of death, think about death often and meditate on what it is to die in Christ.  We know that those who die in the Lord are blessedly safe and happy.  Even Balaam saw that and desired to die the death of the righteous.  What makes the death of the righteous so blessed?  It is this…


A.  Death will bring us into the presence of many friends.


Death takes a wife from her husband, a child from its mother, and a father from his family.  We cheer ourselves, however, with the prospect of a happy reunion in glory.


It is true, above all else, that we will see Christ and be with Him. But it is also promised that we will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  When we die we will leave some behind, but we are going up to "the general assembly and church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.” And we shall know one another then, even better than we do now, even as the disciples knew Moses and Elijah on the mount.


B.  Dying in Christ means our most earnest and constant prayers will all be answered.


How often have we prayed to be free from our trials and temptations! When we close our eyes in death, we will leave this veil of tears behind.


·        Does your soul long to be free from all sin?  It will be when this body lies in the grave.

·        Oh, how our hearts long to be more like Christ!  And we shall be perfectly like Him in glory when we have put off this body of flesh.

·        We pray for a brighter and clearer vision of Christ in His glory. After we are no longer hindered by the sight of things in this world, our eyes will be opened to see the Son of God as He is!


We need not to weep for those who have died in the Lord!  We might well envy them, but not weep for them.


C.  The death of God's saints is accompanied with many comforts.


Death can never separate us from the love of Christ.  He will go with us through the dark valley.  I am sure that the believer never has such full revelations of Christ's love, grace, glory, and greatness as he is given in the hour of death.  The Lord will make His people triumphant over the last enemy in that hour.


Exodus 15:16  "Fear and dread shall fall upon them (all our enenies); by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased."


VII. Finally, our blessed savior delivers us from the fear of death by giving us a foretaste of the glory that will follow it.


"Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” Yet, he has given us his Spirit, which is “the earnest of our inheritance.”


We cannot comprehend this glory, but we can think upon it. In Christ heaven is ours, the throne of Christ is ours, the glory of Christ is ours, the crown of life is ours, eternal joy is ours!  God is mine!  Christ is mine!  Heaven is mine!  Death is not to be feared, but anticipated!


Application: If you would be free from the fear of death, live every day as though it were your last.  Get into the habit of dying to this world.  Let us die daily.  Hold everything here with a loose hand.  Learn to live in this world in the awareness that everything here is perishing.  Live not for the perishing things of time, but for the lasting things of eternity.  Live as a traveler through this world.  Do not become too fond of it.  Soon you will have to let it go.  Be prepared at a moment's notice to do so.


I exhort you to walk with God.  "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; because God took him.” Walk with God; and when you die you will walk into glory.  Press as much as you can into each day for the glory of Christ and the service of His kingdom.  You must soon die: put your affairs in order.  Be ready for that happy day when the Son of God calls you home!