Last week, I proved many times over that God wants you well. It is always God’s will to heal.
Sickness is oppression from the devil, not a lesson from God. God does not give you sickness. He doesn’t allow you to be sick to teach you something. God wants you well.
We must believe that God wants us well and remain in faith no matter how long it takes to experience that healing.
Settle it in your heart right now, “God wants me well.” And don’t deviate from this no matter what you experience. Don’t wait for the doctor to tell you you’re well. Jesus already did.
We should simply believe, “God, I know you healed me two thousand years ago when Jesus took the stripes on His back. I receive that healing now and know that it’s mine whether I see the results of it right now or later.”
Today, I am going to take it a step further and show you the authority you have over your own life.
This message is going to be shocking to many of you. So I am going to go ahead and give you the title of this message so the shock factor can settle down before we get into the meat of this message.
You decide when to die.
This is what I am going to prove to you today through the Word of God. God wants you to get a revelation of this today.
You see, most people take a back seat in life and just take whatever comes at them. For example, you get diagnosed with cancer, they give you a few years to live, and you accept it as your life sentence.
Or, the doctor says you have some incurable disease or disorder, and you just accept that you are going to have to live with it your entire life.
Or, you live in fear of dying in a car accident, or from a heart attack, or a stroke, or from someone breaking into your house and killing you.
But when you have a revelation of the authority God has given you over your own life, the peace is unexplainable. Nothing shakes you because you know that you get to decide when it’s time to go.
You might think I’m a bit crazy right now. But that’s okay because I’m in good company. Jesus lived His life with this understanding of what I am about to teach you, and he demonstrated it for us.
Let’s go there. We are going to jump into the time when Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples, Judas.
Jesus meets the soldiers.
The Roman soldiers have been looking for Jesus. Judas revealed where He was, and they showed up with blazing torches and weapons.
Sounds frightening, but take a look at how Jesus handled the situation:
John 18:4 NLT – Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked.
Jesus knew all that was going to happen to Him. He knew they would beat Him silly and hang Him on a cross. Yet, you don’t find Him hiding in his tent. He didn’t even try to get away from them.
They showed up to intimidate, and He wasn’t intimidated at all. He walked right up to them and said, “Hey y’all. You looking for me?”
I tell ya what. If the woke mob ever shows up to intimidate you for standing for the truth in God’s Word, don’t back down. Stand up and say, “You looking for me? Cause here I am, and I’m not backing down.”
So, the soldiers told Jesus they were looking for Jesus and Jesus simply said, “I am He” and here’s what happened:
John 18:6 NLT – As Jesus said “ I Am he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground!
That’s great, isn’t it? They thought they were the tough ones, and Jesus knocked them to the ground with three simple words. After they got back up, Jesus willingly gave himself up to be arrested.
Jesus is arrested.
But what you need to remember from this is that Jesus willingly gave himself up. He didn’t run. He didn’t hide. Jesus said, “Here I am. Go ahead and arrest me.”
Jesus was arrested and taken not to jail, but to the religious leaders to be questioned. However, they didn’t like His straightforward answers, so they slapped Him across the face. They beat Him. They tied Him up. And then they sent Jesus to the Roman governor, Pilate.
Surprisingly, Pilate did everything he could to release Jesus because he could not find anything Jesus had done wrong.
They even had a custom to release one Jewish prisoner each year at Passover, so Pilate asked if he could release Jesus. And the people said, “No! Not Jesus! We want Barabbas!”
So, instead of releasing an innocent man, they chose to release a thief! This is still going on today! People are still crazy.
Pilate attempts to free Jesus
Even after all of this, Pilate still didn’t want to kill Jesus, so he tried one more time to work his way out of it. Take a look:
John 19:9-11 NLT – He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”
Pilate worked so hard to save Jesus. He truly thought he had the power to stop what Jesus had willingly started. But take a look at Jesus’ response:
John 19:9-11 NLT – Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above.”
Remember how Jesus willingly gave himself up to the soldiers? And now he is letting the governor know, “You have no power over me. This is my call. I am the one who decided to do this.”
If we go back a few chapters, to John chapter 10, we get further clarification on what is going on here. Jesus said:
John 10:18 NLT – No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again.
So let me ask you, who decided when Jesus was to be arrested, beaten, and killed? Was it the religious leaders? Was it Roman soldiers? The governor? Judas?
No. It was Jesus.
Jesus decided when to lay down His life.
Do you know why this truth is so important? Two reasons:
First, this shows you that Jesus willingly sacrificed His life to save yours. He didn’t have to do it. He wanted to do it. He wanted to make a way for you to be reconciled to God and receive eternal life.
The second reason this is important is because the same goes for you. God has given you authority over your own life. The only one who can decide when to lay it down is you.
But what about when..?
And I understand that what I just said comes with a lot of opposing thoughts. We think of all the people who have died, who shouldn’t have. Maybe they died in a car accident, or as a child, or whatever the case may be.
I have one of these situations in my own life. A few years ago, at age 50, my father-in-law passed away. He was a healthy, God-fearing man, and all of a sudden, he was sick and then gone within just a few months.
When he was in the hospital, my wife had a conversation with him. She knew that he could be miraculously healed that day and walk out of the hospital.
So she asked if that’s what he wanted. Surprisingly, it’s not what he wanted.
My father-in-law made the decision that he was ready to lay down his life. And really, who could blame him for wanting to leave this world to go be with his Heavenly Father?
It was hard on us, but he is having the time of his life.
There are lots of people who die prematurely. Sometimes it’s by choice, but most of the time it’s because they didn’t know God gave them authority over their own life.
So Satan took advantage of the situation and came to kill, steal and destroy. That’s why you need to know this. Otherwise, you leave the door open for Satan to come and kill you before you’re ready.
God has given you authority to decide when to lay down your life.
Remember, Jesus decided when it was time to lay down His life. And He wants you to know that you can decide when it’s time to lay down your life.
You don’t have to die prematurely. God wants to satisfy you with long life.
When you understand this truth, you live your life differently. Fear no longer controls you. Sickness no longer scares you. Death is no longer a big deal. You live with confidence knowing that you get to decide when it’s time to go.
So, when you face sickness, you laugh because you know it’s not going to take you out!
When you get in the car every day, you drive with complete peace knowing that a car accident is not going to take you out.
When God asks you to go somewhere dangerous, you say, “Alright. Let’s do this because I know, this is not going to take me out.”
Living like Jesus
Some people would think this is blasphemy, that we are somehow offending God by walking in the authority He gave us. But it actually pleases God when we walk in our God-given authority.
And in case you are struggling to believe that we can walk in the same authority Jesus had on the earth, let me remind you of something:
1 John 1:6 NLT – Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
Did Jesus allow death to take Him out before He was ready? No. We just read about that. He decided when to lay down His life. And we are to live our lives just as Jesus did.
Walk in your authority! You decide when to lay down your life. So, do you need to fear sickness? No. Do you need to fear danger? No. Do you need to fear aging? No.
What about martyrs?
A question that often comes up in this discussion is, “What about martyrs? What about people who are killed because of their faith?”
Well, it looks like they are being killed, but they are actually willingly laying down their life for Jesus. They decided when it was time.
In case you are still struggling to believe you have the authority to do this… like, maybe you’re thinking, “Well, I understand Jesus could do this, but that was Jesus.”
First of all, Jesus was 100% human just like you and I are. He had to live with the same limitations we have. The reason He was able to work miracles is because He was filled with the Holy Spirit.
And as you know, when Jesus ascended to heaven, He sent us the Holy Spirit. We have the same power available to us that Jesus had when He walked the Earth. Let that sink in.
But, if that’s not enough to convince you, I can tell you of someone else who decided when to lay down their life.
The Apostle Paul.
He encountered many things that should have killed him. One time he was shipwrecked for fourteen days. Another time he was bitten by a poisonous snake.
There was a time where people threw a bunch of big rocks at Paul and left him for dead. But he didn’t die because he hadn’t yet decided to lay down his life.
Paul went through a lot. And then the time finally came where he was ready to lay down his own life, and here’s how he explained it:
II Timothy 4:6-7 NKJV – For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
When we understand that we get to decide when to lay down our lives, we no longer fear persecution. We don’t fear people who threaten us because we know that they have no authority over our lives unless we give them the authority that God gave us.
It’s not that we want to die. We just know that we won’t die until we decide it’s time.
And when it’s time, you’ll know. Whether you are an old geyser or a young martyr, you’ll know when it’s time and you’ll be at peace with it.
Jesus willingly laid down His life.
As soon as Jesus started His earthly ministry, there were people out to kill Him. They tried to stone Him. They tried to run Him off a cliff. But they never could because only Jesus could decide when it was time.
When it was time, Jesus willingly gave up His life for you. He suffered through one of the most gruesome, awful deaths so that you could be healed, saved and delivered from the power of sin.
He didn’t have to do it. He wanted to do it. He had you in His mind and that’s what motivated Him to endure the suffering.
He wanted your sins to be forgiven once and for all. He wanted to save you from eternal death.
So that’s what Jesus did. He was crucified and died on a cross. But it didn’t end there. On the third day, He rose from the dead just as He said He would.
After the crucifixion
After He rose from the dead, Jesus had a few meetings with the disciples before ascending into heaven. And what He revealed in these meetings is something we need to know today. Take a look:
John 20:19-21 NLT – That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.
Clearly, they did not yet understand what we just talked about. But, who can blame them because they had just watched Jesus be crucified three days earlier.
Thankfully, locked doors cannot keep Jesus out. Take a look:
John 20:19-21 NLT – Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said.
So what is the first thing Jesus said to the disciples after the resurrection? “Peace be with you!”
He could see that they were afraid and He didn’t want His disciples living that way, so He commanded, “Peace be with you.”
John 20:19-21 NLT – As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”
The Great Commission.
Once again, Jesus commands peace to be with the disciples. But this time He gives them a reason. Why do they need this peace? Because they are being sent out.
The book of Mark gives us detail on what Jesus was sending them out to do:
Mark 16:15-18 NKJV – And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Whew! That’s a big assignment. Good thing Jesus gives us peace, because we are going to need it. And the main reason we need it is because there will be plenty of people who don’t like us doing these things.
But this peace surpasses all understanding. In other words, we don’t understand why we are peaceful as we cast out demons, yet we are. We don’t understand why we still have peace when we are persecuted, but we do.
This is what the Lord is saying to you today:
Peace be with you.
In the midst of a world that’s afraid of a virus and a culture that gets upset about everything, Jesus commands His peace to be with you.
In the days to come, the Holy Spirit will lead you into things that will challenge you. You’ll be uncomfortable. Other people will fuss at you for what God has called you to. You may even confront fear for your life or your family.
But when you know the truth, the truth will set you free.
You get to decide when it’s time to lay down your life. So, live bold and live strong because there is no person, there is no sickness that can take you out. In the words of Jesus:
John 14:27 NKJV – Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Remember how we just read that the disciples were behind locked doors because they were afraid? That’s where the American church has been for a long time now. Afraid of the government. Afraid to confront the works of the devil.
We’ve been locked up in our nice buildings because we’re afraid to go into all the world, especially the dark places of the world. I’m talking about our government, entertainment, media, business, and education. We’re supposed to be influencing all of it.
Where Boldness Comes From
You know, the disciples went on to do some truly amazing things. They came out of their locked room and turned the world upside down with the good news of Jesus Christ.
But what gave them the boldness to step out? What helped them overcome their fear of the religious leaders? Take a look:
Acts 1:8 NKJV – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
It was the Holy Spirit. It was what Jesus had promised them. And Jesus even said it is better for us to have the Holy Spirit than for us to have Him here in the flesh.
You’ve probably thought to yourself, “I wish I could have seen Jesus work these miracles. It would make it a lot easier for me to believe.”
But the truth is, you have something better. You have the Holy Spirit available to you.
How to Receive the Holy Spirit
So how do you receive the Holy Spirit? Here’s how one of the disciples explained it:
Acts 2:38 NKJV – Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Repentance comes first. You have to make a choice to turn away from your sinful life. And then you call upon Jesus Christ to completely forgive your sin, wash you clean, and set you free from the power of sin.
I’d like to ask you to bow your head in reverence of this moment. Jesus is making an invitation to us right now.
He’s asking if you are ready to repent? Are you ready to turn away from your life of sin and pursue the way of Jesus instead?
If that’s you, simply let Jesus know, “Yes, I repent.”
Now that you’ve repented, you need forgiveness. And that’s what Jesus gives you. Receive that forgiveness now.
Now, is there anyone ready to receive power from the Holy Spirit to do what God has called you to without fear. If that’s you, go ahead and stand up right now.
Even if you just received salvation, there’s no reason to wait to receive the Holy Spirit.