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Faith Toward God (4)

In our last broadcast, we established a very significant precept as regards the foundational principle of Faith toward God; and that is, that if we are to exhibit faith in God and grow in faith toward Him, we must of necessity cease from our belief in, and reliance on, anything and anyone other than God. The implication of this precept is that putting our faith in God, and growing in faith toward God means that we are no longer to depend on, or put our trust in money, olive oil, anointed handkerchiefs, prayer mantle, personal contacts, and so on. Paul, the apostle, wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. When the apostle went to Corinth to preach the gospel, he was determined that he would not get them to trust in human wisdom which is based on the eloquence of speech, or, on ones proficiency in the language of communication. Instead, he wanted their faith, belief, conviction, dependence, reliance, or trust in God to be based on the power of the Holy Spirit through the word of God. So, when he went to Corinth, he preached the message of the suffering, and death of the Lord Jesus, as the basis for the remission of sins, and the salvation of mankind. What we have today, unfortunately, are messages which are well crafted in the eloquence of human wisdom, seeking to lure people to Christ, by telling them that if they surrender to Jesus, they would become wealthy, they would be healed, they would be head and not tail, and so on. And because of such messages, many people are today in churches to get rich, to become well from sickness, to be at the very top, even if they are unqualified and irresponsible, and so on. These kind of messages that have filled the airwaves these days do not produce true faith in anyone listening to them, because they do not derive from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Friend, true faith is produced in us, when we hear and believe the true gospel message of the death of Jesus on the cross at Calvary as the basis for the salvation of mankind, and the remission of sins. Indeed, this was the message the Lord Jesus told His disciples to preach when in Luke 24:46-47, He said, This is what is written: the Messiah must suffer and must rise from death three days later, and in his name the message about repentance and the forgiveness of sins must be preached to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. Today, many preachers are unable to preach this gospel message, because they are themselves either not convinced that salvation came to man through the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, or they just want to tell people some feel good message. In the wisdom of man, a hero does not die; but in the wisdom of God, our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, died to pay the price for the sins of mankind; and anyone who receives and believes this message, shall be saved from sin. This was why Paul said in Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth ... There is nothing to be ashamed of, about how we are saved. The true gospel is the message of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. It is this message that produces the faith that is needful for the salvation of man, and that makes any believer in Christ to stand firm in the face of adversity. Any other message will destroy and make nonsense of the faith (if there ever was any), of those who receive it. Hence, we must cease from preaching and imbibing messages that do not align with the true gospel, otherwise, our faith will rest, not on God, but on human wisdom, which always fails!

If you are to cease from depending on anything or anyone but God, three vital issues which were raised in our last broadcast must be in place:
1. You must never doubt the veracity, absolute truthfulness, and dependability of the word of God, as contained in the bible.
2. You cannot dispute the word of God, and at the same time, be able to express and exhibit faith in God.
3. You cannot trust in your own knowledge or understanding of things over and above the word of God, and still be able to trust God.

We concluded by noting that if you trust God, you would depend on His every word, and live by it. This brings us to where we left off in our last broadcast: Deuteronomy 8:3, And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. We had noted in our last broadcast that the latter part of this verse, which the Lord Jesus re-echoed when He was tempted by the devil to turn stone to bread (that is, man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.), is a charge to every believer in Christ to live in this world by depending only on the word of God, rather than on any contrary word; and to be sustained by every word that issues forth from the mouth of God, rather than seek sustenance through food, medicine, money, etc.!

God is telling the believer in Christ today, as He told Israel then, that lack or deprivations in our lives are orchestrated by Him, for a purpose. So, my dear brothers and sisters, if you are indeed born again, based on the unadulterated gospel message of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for the salvation of mankind, you will experience certain deprivations which are not only orchestrated by God, but of which He is well aware. And, God also, has made a provision for you to be able to survive the deprivations, by giving you His grace through His word, to bear the deprivation. And whats more? Gods purpose for allowing such deprivations in our lives is to teach and train us to know or recognize that we can survive or live without those things which we have been deprived of, but we cannot live without the word of God! So, after you got born again, you suffered from lack of money? You experienced how hard it is to live as God wants you to live in the face of the corruption in the world, and your immediate environment? You experienced enticement to sin by members of the opposite sex? You found yourself in a dilemma of whether or not to return to the world, because of some contradiction of life? You would have noticed that as you suffered various deprivations and temptations, all you heard from God was that you should trust in Him and in His word. You would have noticed that although, for example, you lost your job as a believer in Christ, you were able to survive purely by depending on God for everything that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. You would have noticed that in spite of having no income, you and your family have somehow survived all the challenges and financial needsa survival which defies human understanding; a survival which was by the grace of GodAnd he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know Your survival is the manna or the grace of God which cannot be explained. Perhaps you lost a dearly loved one, but somehow, God has comforted you and you are able to bear the lossthat comfort which defies human understanding is the manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know . Perhaps it was a medical condition for which the doctors said there was no hope, but because Gods purpose for your life is not yet over, He gave you manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know and your recovery still amazes even you till this date!

Indeed, God did not allow the deprivations of life to overwhelm you, as much as they should have, because He gave you manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know ! In fact, God allowed you to receive the measure that you were able to bear, as you overcame each challenging situation through the word of God. The bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13-14, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. v.14, which urges us to flee idolatry is actually a statement that is telling us to put our trust in God, and in Him alone. You see, idolatry is to trust in anything or anyone other than God. In fact, the bible tells us that idolatry is covetousness, which is materialism or a desire to acquire things. So, Gods desire for allowing you to go through temptation and deprivation is so that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. The Lord Jesus warned in Luke 12:15, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. The messages which have filled our churches today, urging those who are Christians to seek and pursue after wealth, is not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; and more importantly, it is a message that shifts the believers focus away from God, on to things! It is a message that does not allow those who have been saved from sin to live free of sin; rather, it encourages them to live the life which they were delivered from, through the blood of Jesus. It is a message which does not allow you to live by faith in God, because it offers you an alternative in place of God.

The issue of alternatives to God is very crucial in the matter of faith, for once there is an alternative that you can turn to, the tendency is to desert God and His word, and go for the alternative. But the training of deprivation, temptation, and, survival by the word of God, will keep your heart firmly stayed on God. When, however, a person is unwilling to bear deprivation and temptation, he would very easily turn to alternatives. Messages which offer alternatives to God are faith killers. They do not help your faith in God to grow, but stifle and choke it, until you become faithless, and seek other ways of getting round deprivation or temptation, apart from the word of God. Gone are the days when a scripture verse like, they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:25 was a spiritual tonic to a man or woman of faith, going through deprivation with no end in sight. Now, what we hear are statements like, If your faith cannot carry you, you better go and do this or do that and My faith cannot carry me so I have to do such and such. Statements like these, kill the faith of very many people who have already believed in the Lord Jesus for their salvation. Shame on the Christian who turns to soothsayers to find out what the future holds for him, including prophecies for the year. Shame on the Christian who only delights in messages that makes him feel good. Indeed, the bible says in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. Many Christians have indeed turned away from the truth, and have turned on to fables. Are you one of them? Are you now heaping on to yourself teachers who are telling you to turn to alternatives apart from God, all in the name of motivation? Are you unable to endure sound doctrine? Please note that there really is no alternative to God that is viable! The bible says in Proverbs 16:25, There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Alternatives only lead to death; so, return to God now, and trust Him completely!

Let us pray!