January 25, 2023
Download MP3 (right click to save)
It may have been the most defining moment in a generation - the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Most of us were marked indelibly by just watching it on television. My friend Mark lived it. It was his first visit to New York, and his business took him high up in one of the Twin Towers. After the attacks, there was still great confusion as to whether to evacuate or stay in the building, Mark disregarded the announcement to "return to your office." That decision saved his life.
He made his way down that long stairwell until he neared the bottom. The rescuers were there. They guided him and a lot of others with him to a safe exit, not long before that tower collapsed in those few unforgettable and horrific moments. I'll never forget when Mark told me about the firefighters he saw as he neared the main floor. He said, "Ron, I looked in their eyes and I thought, 'They've got to be as frightened as I am.' Except I was going down, and they were going up." Is it any wonder we call them heroes?
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Fear That Can Cost A Life."
When rescuers go into a deadly situation in order to save lives, are they afraid? Yeah they are. Does their fear decide what they'll do? No it doesn't. When the Bible talks about rescue, it's not just referring to saving a person so they can live maybe 30 or 40 more years here on earth. When God talks rescue, He's talking about saving a person so they can live forever. Some of the spiritually dying people that Jesus came to save actually work where you work, live where you live, go to school where you go to school, participate in the things you participate in. And He's placed a rescuer in their lives so they can have a chance at Jesus, and a chance at heaven. You probably looked at that rescuer this morning in the mirror.
And what is it that keeps most of us who know Christ from actually talking with the people we know about the Jesus they don't know? Isn't it pretty much fear? We're afraid of what they might think, how it might affect our relationship, what we might lose, how we might mess it up. All too often, our fear decides it. We remain silent, and they remain unwarned and lost.
In Exodus 3, beginning with verse 8, our word for today from the Word of God, the Lord is telling Moses He's no longer going to tolerate the slavery and misery of His people. He says, "I have come down to rescue them." I can just hear Moses saying, "Oh great! Great! That's great!" Then the Lord says, "Now, go. I am sending you." I can just hear Moses saying, "Oh no!" He wants the people He cares about to be rescued, but he's afraid to be the one to try it. Just like us, when God says, "I'm sending you to rescue the people around you." God's answer? "I will be with you...Go, and I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." And Moses becomes God's rescuer.
A correspondent who observed the heroism of the GI's who stormed the beaches on D-Day, he said he knew that they were afraid, but they still went in. The correspondent made this incredible observation. He said, "Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the disregard of it."
That's what will finally give the people you know their chance to belong to Jesus - God's courage in you that will not be the absence of fear. Mine has never gone away. It will be the disregard of that fear. It will no longer be the fear that decides what you do. For two reasons: one, you are simply going to be God's glove, with His hand in your life helping you do what you thought you could never do. And two, because there is a greater fear than what might happen if you do try to rescue that person. It's the fear of what might happen to them if you don't. Nothing could be worse than that.
The heroism of saving a life? It isn't reserved for those who aren't afraid, but for those who disregard their fear because a life is at stake! And you can't just let them die.