I am reading from Exodus, the 14th chapter starting at verse 31. "Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians and the people feared the Lord and believed the Lord and his servant Moses." Chapter 15, "Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord and spake saying, 'I will sing unto the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously, the horse and the rider is thrown into the sea.'" Now this is a beautiful song, isn't it? Verse two, "The Lord is my strength and song. He's become my salvation. He is my God and I will prepare him a habitation. My father's God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war. The Lord is his name."
Heavenly Father, speak to us. There are many here today bound by a spirit of fear. We're asking you Lord, for a miracle that not one of those who come here with an open heart will leave as they came, in Christ's name I pray. Amen.
This is a very familiar story. You've heard it all of your church life. Children of Israel are led by the Holy Spirit and by the cloud of witness into a horrible crisis, a terrible situation surrounded by the enemies. And you know the story, how panic set into the camp and they rose up, the people rose up and said to Moses in these words, he says, and summing it up, "Why did you drag us out here? Did we not tell you when you first challenged us that this would happen? Are there no graves in Egypt that you come and let us die in this miserable state?"
And there was a cry. Can you imagine the roar of that crowd? They rose up against Moses. Moses was in on the story of deliverance. The Lord had told him that the sea is going to be opened. And yet he was so overwhelmed by this cry and this despair, he fell on his knees and wept, and the Lord God said, "Moses, why do you cry up at me? Why do you cry? Why are you burdened by this? Tell the people to move on." And you know the story. That night to the roaring of the wind, and open the window, opening up the sea, and they went over on dry ground.
And you know of the story. This is the song that they were singing. They were singing, "Then the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and they saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore and Israel saw the great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord and believed the Lord and his servant Moses." Now they believe. Now that they've seeing the miracle, now that the sea has been opened, they walk on dry ground, out come the tambourines, out come the dancers, and they sang a beautiful song. They sang "The Lord has triumphed. He's my strength. He's my salvation. I will exalt him. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, fearful in praise and doing wonders?" Right song, wrong side.
Did you hear what I said? They sang a beautiful song, but this was the song God so yearned for on the testing side. Anybody can praise the Lord after the victory has come. Anyone can dance when the prayers have been answered. What about facing the darkness? What about facing a future that you can't understand and it looks so dark and it looks so hopeless? And I've kind of argued with the Lord at times and said, "Lord, it's only natural to fear. If I was there that day in that particular crisis, I too would have trembled. My faith may have wavered and even may have failed just like the children of Israel." Now God is a tender, loving Father and there's a time to weep, there's a time to vent our fears, overcome by these human fears of the future and how we're going to make it.
When I was praying about this, I felt the Holy Spirit saying to my heart that what I wanted God to do is give some slack. Lord, they're human. Are you commanding, are you demanding that God's people rejoice and praise the Lord when everything is bleak, when there's unemployment, people losing their homes and people are in despair, and God's people tremble because God's people suffer? It rains on the just and on the unjust. And I'm saying to the Lord, "You mean to tell me..." Because there've been times I've been there and go through this and I don't feel like praying, I don't feel like singing and I sure don't want to dance.
And I'm saying, "Lord, you're asking people to make a deathlike decision that they're going to walk toward the water and they're going to step into it without any evidence at that point." And when you study this book and when you see the Lord speaking to his disciples and rebuking them for their unbelief and saying, "Where is your faith?" Over and over again. It comes out, and it comes out here. Was God unjust? Was he mean spirited when he talks to his servant, to Moses, who went through so much to come to this point and had exercised so much faith and spoke clearly the heart of God? And here he is, it's not a rebuke, but the Lord's saying, "Why are you crying? Get up."
I wonder if the Holy Spirit is saying that to somebody in this service this morning, "Why are you on your face just weeping in sorrow? Why are you mourning? Have I failed you in the past? Did you not see all of these deliverance? Do they not count?"
Folks, we have heard so many sermons on faith. We have had so many sermons on wilderness experience. We've had so many messages. We have five pastors here, five preaching pastors, one, two, three, four, five, six including me. I don't know if there is any angle about this that hasn't been preached over and over again. And when do we come to the place where we say, "God, I'm going to take a stand this time. I'm not going to let the devil take me into a pit of despair. I'm not going to let this get me down." And there has to come a point in our lives where we say as Job did, "Though you slay me, yet I'm going to trust you."
I'm not going to preach long, but I want to get this through to you. This world demands a song in hard times. In the story of the children of Israel goes into Babylon taken captive because of their iniquities. And in Psalm 137, they're in Babylon now, and I was reading this yesterday and I picked it up again this morning. And they're sitting by the river, and they're weeping, and they've hung up their harps. Now remember these people that are sitting there by the river, these people are known around the world, caravans came, the trading caravans, and into Jerusalem and out and another cities of Judah. And they had heard the joyful singing and the tambourines, and the harps, and the joyful praises unto the Lord their God, and always boasting on their God, how he was a keeper and how he was above all other gods and the power and the might and the majesty of their God.
And here they are. Now they've hung their harps on the willow trees, those are weeping trees and they're weeping and crying. And it says, "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. We wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof for they that carried us away captive required of a song, and they that wasted us required of us mirth." That's joy. "'Sing unto us.' They said, 'One of the songs of Zion.'" I don't know if these were soldiers, but I think it was general populace that came up.
Could you imagine these thousands of God's people sitting there mourning and weeping. And yes, they had lost their homes, they had lost everything and there is a time to weep. But these Babylonians come, having heard that, now remember the Bible said to the wicked, there's no peace. And I don't care what religion it is. The one thing that they cannot produce is the true joy of God, they cannot produce joy. They cannot produce peace. And that's why many religions are trying to bring believers into captivity through arms and through murder, and trying to force people into their religion. These people I know are hopeless. These people have heard that this God takes you through hard times, this God puts a song in your heart, even you're facing incredible times. And it says, "They came and they demanded of us a song."
Hear me. This generation too is commanding, demanding a song. It is so empty. I saw the headlines of a magazine in a grocery store the other day, New York City: Party Every Night, and it's talking about Wall Streeters now. The same thing we heard about happening in Scotland. And you can hear on Friday and Saturday night, you hear the wailing, I mean two and three o'clock in the morning, you can hear the wailing of people, alcohol, I don't know, drugs, alcohol, whatever it be, and you hear this cry. You hear the wailing, the emptiness, and the hopelessness. You go to the hospital, go to any emergency ward in this city on Friday, Saturday night, and look at those laying out on beds, and some of them just trying to get into the wards and they're overdosed, and they're drunk. And they're the countenance is so incredible.
These people come demanding a song. Wanted to hear. And it said, "They demanded mirth." How can you sing, how can you have joy when something in your heart is rising up? You say, "How are we going to make it? How are we going to make it? Things are changing. Things are changing fast." You hear about a new health order and you're wondering, when I'm older and if you're old, "What's going to happen to me? What's going to happen to us?" And there comes a time that we have to realize the only testimony, the only hope... See, they don't want a miracle. They don't want to go to church and see a miracle. They don't want to see blind eyes open. They don't want to see somebody that gets up off of a wheelchair. They don't want to see that.
They don't want to see your miracles and mine. And they don't want to hear heavy preaching. They don't want the doctrine right now. And I thank God for doctrine, and I believe in miracles. God does open eyes. But they've seen so many medical miracles. They've seen transplants of hearts and they've seen limbs that are attached and fingers that are attached that had been cut off, and they see all of these medical miracles. And then, "No, no, no. I don't want to see a miracle. I want to see somebody, just an ordinary person like me who's going through hell on earth, who's going through a trial. And I want to see and hear something of hope. I want to see, that's what I want to see." And that's what this generation say, they're demanding a song. I'm not talking about dancing around your apartment. I'm not talking about singing out loud. Some of the loudest singing I've ever sang, you wouldn't hear, it's quiet. And the groanings I've groaned, you wouldn't hear, and some of the prayers I've prayed, you wouldn't hear.
But I have made up my mind, and I'll be tested on what I'm about to tell you. But I had made up my mind that I will... We have to do this first. We have to set our minds, fix our minds. He will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on the Lord. You have to fix it. I have to fix it. Our will has to be involved. No matter how dark, no matter how unbelievable it gets, there has to be something rise up. And these people saying, "You said that your God can take you through any trial. Now was that just a fable? Was that a figment of your imagination? Were you lying?" That's what I hear the Spirit saying to me lovingly, through a loving Father and a blessed comforting Holy Spirit, "David, are you going to believe me now even by what you see and what you can't see and what you fear?"
I don't want to stand before God on that day with a backpack on me full of fear and doubts and unbelief that I've allowed to take root. These Babylonians walked away, dismayed, they're just like us. Folks, I'm not rebuking anybody. I'm preaching to myself. They walked away saying, "Their God doesn't hear, and it's total hopelessness there."
Years ago, this church started in a Nederlander theater on 41st Street. We only had 12 in the choir. We had a houseful, but small choir. And one day one of the men of the choir came to see me and he said, "Pastor Dave, I had a high paying job in media." And he said, "They asked me to make a compromise and I couldn't make the compromise so I had to quit my job." He said, "It was months ago." He said, "I have tried and tried, I've sent out resumes everywhere I could think of." And he said, "I'm hitting a wall. There's just no employment." And at that time there was a lot of unemployment here in America. And that was 1989, '90.
He said, "I have prayed, I'm doing everything right." He said, "I have friends that try to encourage me, but then I have some that ask me to search my heart to see if there's something they're hindering." And he said, "It's one thing to counsel people, but until you live in my shoes, until you know what it's like, you can't know what it's like to be unemployed and not be able to find a job, about my manhood, about my wife, about the future."
And then he said, "Pastor Dave, I know about testing, I know about trials." But he said, "If God's saying something to me, I'm not getting it yet. If I'm being tested, I don't know the solution. I don't know where to go." But he said, "There's one thing I know from being in this market and having had such a good job, and I know that what God needs now is a testimony of an ordinary person like me." And he said, "If I get another job right now without learning this lesson, without knowing that I'm a testimony and that all around me knew what I was going through and yet I didn't murmur, I didn't complain." He said, "That's why I want to go. I want to be that testimony. If I just get another job, I've not learned anything. And then there's another test and God will keep trying to get through to me." He said, "I want God to get through to me now and I want to learn this. I don't want to be murmuring anymore and complaining." And his heart was right with God.
Now, it was a number of months before he got another job, but he was that testimony. And I'm going to close in just a minute, but I have to say this, in prayer last night, I said, "Lord, what do you really want to say to this congregation? What are you really wanting me to pour out as your instrument?" And the Lord spoke to my heart. The Holy Spirit said that there were many that would be attending here this morning that are bound by a spirit of fear. You're bound by it.
Now, folks, fear is a spirit. It's a tormenting spirit, and it can put you in a pit of despair. And I'm telling you tonight, you're going to have to get out of it today. You can't go another day going deeper and deeper into fear. God said, "I've not given you the spirit of fear, but love and power and a sound mind." And I am not just going to give you a scripture. I'm just telling you what I believe the Holy Spirit is saying. God led you just as sure as he led Israel to this crisis, God has led you to where you're at. And if you don't understand that, and if you won't grip that, you can't get out of the pit. You can't get of that pit until you say, "God, you've led me all my life. I've testified to that. And I don't understand what I'm going through. I don't understand. And the future looks so bleak."
But you see, if we don't will, if we don't take a stand, when you don't feel like praying, when you're tired of all the voices, but you stand up and say, "No, you take authority over the spirit of fear." Because hell has unleashed now principalities and powers of darkness and evil spirits. Millions of evil spirits are loose in the land right now. And the devil is looking at anyone who is lingering in this area of fear, this fear, he uses fear to drag people down. It comes to the place that you can't eat. It comes to the place where even your friends around you can't bring you out and you're going down into that, beloved, understand it's a spirit.
First of all, God has led me here. God has kept his hand on me before and God still has his eye on me. God has never taken away. And I can't see through the storm. I know there's another side. I know that God will not fail his word, but there has to come a time, you make almost like a deathlike decision, I am going to trust God through this.
Then you have the authority for the next trial. How long are we going to allow the devil to trample our minds and our thoughts and bring the fear and the loneliness and the emptiness? How long do we put up with it? When Jesus said, "I give you power to cast out evil spirits, I give you power over the devil." You take a step. Folks, it's time to rise up and take a stand. And I'm going to pray in just a moment and I'm going to pray against every evil spirit. That doesn't mean you're possessed. It means you're harassed, you're harassed. And you can put the devil to chase, the Bible says you take a stand, you resist him. He will flee from you. Now that's God's word. It's not my word. It's God's word.
You're not going to let the devil do it anymore. In just a moment we're going to stand. I am going to pray and I want you to pray. Now, if you don't know Christ as your Lord and Savior, and believe me, without Jesus, where do you go? Where do you find comfort? Where do you find forgiveness? How do you face what's coming? If you don't have Christ as Savior and the Holy Spirit abiding in you, I invite you in the annex and overflow rooms, I invite you, and those in a balcony here, if you don't know Christ, in just a moment, while we stand, I invite you to get out of your seat and come boldly, take a stand for Christ and he will meet your heart's cry in this service before you walk out.
And I'm going to talk about those who have been harassed with a spirit of fear, that's from the enemy. That's an evil spirit trying to scream into your head, into your mind, thoughts that will bring you to despair and unrest. He said there's a rest that remains for his people, and you can enter into that rest today. Will you stand?
I'm going to ask you if you have a spirit of fear that is harassing you, harassing your mind. I want you in your seat. I'm not asking... If I ask you to step forward, it'd be hundreds. We wouldn't have room. I'm asking you to take authority over that assigned evil spirit. Beloved, Paul said it right, he was pounded by a messenger from Satan. There are assignments that principalities and powers are under, under the command of Satan, to bring you down, to destroy your faith and bring you down the pit of despair so that you have no hope left.
And I'm telling you, I have the mind of God. I have the mind of the Holy Spirit right now. God knows if you take that stand, all the power of Jesus Christ and all the power of the Holy Ghost will be on your side. You say, that's mind over matter. No, that's Bible over devil.
I'm going to ask you, if you're backslidden, if been turned away from the Lord and your heart is cold and empty, and you want to return to Christ, come and join these. Doesn't matter how many are down here. I just want you as Christians, as believers, to be set free. I want you to pray, and just use your own words, but, "Satan, I take authority in Jesus' name." I'm going to pray it and then you pray it.
Satan, we come against you in the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, you have bound God's people long enough. You've harassed long enough. You've cast so many horrible thoughts into the mind, and then you've tried to come back again and again and again. But we're not ignorant of your devices. We don't cast you out. The Spirit of the living God in us casts you out. In the name of Jesus Christ. In the name above every name on earth and heaven, Satan, go and flee from this house. Flee from this place. Flee from the hearts of the minds of your people. Go in Christ's name and never return." You pray that prayer now in faith, you pray it out loud. And you have power and authority. God has never rescinded that offer.
Casting down every evil imagination and every thought that rises up against the truth of God's word in the name of Jesus Christ, casting out the spirit of fear.
In the annex rooms, the Spirit of God is there just like it is right here in this auditorium, and he wants you right now to take a step of faith and say, "Lord, I will believe you. I am weak, but you are strong. Strengthen my faith. Be with me. Let me hold fast." Beloved, take your stand right now. Take your stand by faith.
Those that need Christ, you don't need me to give you a prayer, you just say from your heart, "Lord, I need you. And I repent of my sins and I'm here to take a stand to say I need you, Lord, and I receive you as my Lord and Savior." Now, that's where it begins right now. Pray it from your heart. Pray it in your heart before the Lord. Those who have been called to the Lord, just the Lord knows your heart. If your heart is open, the Spirit of the Lord is here this morning to bring you back to your first love.
You don't need somebody laying hands on you. It's your faith. It's your open heart that accomplishes this. Hallelujah. If you believe that God delivers us from every evil spirit that's turned loose in the world right now, I want you to just raise your hands, raise your hand and keep it there, right? Just raise your hand and say to him, "Lord, I will trust you."
I will trust you.
I will believe you.
I will believe you.
And I take my stand.
And I take my stand.
I will not fear...
I will not fear...
What is to come...
What is to come...
And what is now.
And what is now.
And I will no longer...
And I will no longer...
Fear the enemy...
Fear the enemy...
Because I am more than conqueror...
Because I am more than conqueror...
Through Christ Jesus, my Lord.
Through Christ Jesus, my Lord.
Now give him thanks.