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Faith Toward God (5)

In our last broadcast, we noted through Deuteronomy 8:3, that lack, or deprivation in our lives, are orchestrated by God, for the purpose of making us know or realize that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD ... So, if you are indeed born again, you need to come to the realization that deprivation is not only orchestrated by God, but is also allowed in your life, so that you can grow to trust in God and His word absolutely. In other words, if you are born again, you should realize and recognize that your new life in Christ is based, not on what you will eat, wear, or own as a possession, here on earth, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Gods purpose for allowing deprivation and lack in our lives is to teach and train us to recognize that our new life in Christ can be lived without those things which we are being deprived of; whereas, the new life in Christ cannot be lived without the word of God! Unfortunately, many of the messages emanating from many churches today, are urging believers in Christ to seek after, and pursue wealth, rather than focus on God and strengthen their faith in Him. These messages neither encourage, nor aid the believer to live by faith in God; rather, they stifle and choke the believers faith, so that he becomes faithless, and seeks alternative ways of getting to meet his needs, apart from the word of God. So, now, we hear statements like, If your faith cannot carry you, you better look for another way out and, My faith cannot carry me to live through such and such; I need another way out. These kind of statements entrench our desire for alternatives to God, which weaken, damage, and even destroy, our faith in God. Indeed, anything or anyone that you depend on, to the exclusion of God, is essentially an alternative to God, and therefore, a faith killer! To this end, dependence on drugs, confidence in a denomination, and, reliance on a man of God, a church programme, or even certain foods, rather than on God Himself are faith killers!

We shall continue todays broadcast, by looking at other faith killers apart from alternatives to God, which we had looked at, in our last broadcast. Faith killers are, behaviour, attitudes, and tendencies, which when manifested, weaken, damage, destroy, or simply, kill our faith in God! Also, faith killers are objects and subjects, which when we depend or rely on, weaken, damage, destroy, or, kill our faith in God. Over the next few weeks, we shall be reviewing a number of faith killers in some detail.

The first one we shall now discuss is unbelief. Unbelief, as a faith killer, arises when a person refuses to believe Gods word on a matter, and as a result, neither accepts Gods word, nor does what God says to him to do. It would seem unthinkable that people who claim to be children of God, would disbelieve Gods word; but it is true that very many people who are born again, do actually disbelieve the word of God, and even refuse to accept Gods word, when God Himself speaks directly to them. This situation arises because, when God speaks, the situation on ground is always at variance, or contrary to what He is saying; and so, many find it difficult to believe Him. For example, when Abraham was 75 years old and Sarah his wife was 65 years old, and God promised Abraham a son; Abraham may have thought that it would have happened within a year; but it did not happen for another twenty-five years, by which time Abraham was 100 years old and his wife 90 years old! Another example is the incident we mentioned two broadcasts agothe prophecy which Elisha gave concerning the abundance of food within twenty-four hours, while a siege-induced famine was still in effect. Then, there is the case of Thomas, one of the primal apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, who bluntly refused to believe that the Lord Jesus had resurrected from the dead, even though he was told by the other ten primal apostles of the Lord. Thomas said, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. (John 20:25). You see, Thomas unbelief was an act of will: he said Except I see this, and touch that, I will not believe! It was a choice he madenot to believe. Many of us also make that poor choicewe decide not to believe except we feel a particular way, or except we see something that will prove that what God has said is plausible; or, except what God said is supported by scientific discovery or an historical antecedent or a preponderance of physical evidence over time. However, when, the Lord Jesus finally appeared to all His disciples some days later, and at which time Thomas was present, He chastised Thomas for his unbelief, and at the same time, pronounced a blessing on all who believe though they do not see, thus: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. (John 20:29). Brethren, unbelief was the reason why Israel in the wilderness did not enter into the Promised Land, and it was also the reason why God was angry with them. Hebrews 3:18-19 says, And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. When we do not believe God and His word, we are unable to enter into the rest which God gives to the weary soul. In Isaiah 28:12, the bible says, To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. Friend, there is a rest which the weary can find and enter into, but the Israelites refused to enter that rest because they refused to accept the word of Godthey did not believe Gods word enough to accept and do or obey it. In Jeremiah 6:16, the bible again says, Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. The rest which God promises is not something that can be obtained anyhow. It can only be obtained through Gods wordthe old paths. What is this old paths? Again, we must turn to the bible. In Matthew 11:28-29, the Lord Jesus said, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. It is our coming to the Lord Jesus that gives us rest for our weary souls. The Lord Jesus is the old paths which God was speaking about; it is the word of God, which God was speaking about as the old paths. Speaking about the Lord Jesus in John 1:1, the bible says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God are one and the same. In Revelation 19:11-16, the bible speaks of the return of the Lord Jesus in the battle of Armageddon, and says that His name is, The Word of God. It is in the Lord Jesus that we find rest for our souls. But many do not believe this, instead, they seek rest in everything except the Lord Jesuseven among those who say that they are Christians. Many Christians are now seeking rest in things like money, job, business, political office, and even church ministry; like, becoming a pastor, an itinerant preacher, an evangelist, a prophet, and so on; and do you know that these things by themselves do not give rest to the soul? I am reminded of the rich fool in the parable told by the Lord Jesus in Luke 12:16-21; that rich fool thought that his soul would find rest in his possessions, and so, he went on to expand his barn to accommodate his possessions; but when he had finished his barn-expansion and had stored up all his goods; that same night, God took him away to a certain and fearful judgment; for the Lord Jesus concluded in verses 20 & 21 thus: But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. In Hebrews 4:10, the bible says, For he that is entered into his rest [that is, Gods rest], he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. To enter into the rest of God is to cease from the turmoil of labour and eternal punishment. It is only in Christ in eternity that a soul truly finds resteternal bliss, eternal paradise. Here on earth, though, if you are a child of God, you can also enter into that earthly state of rest, where you cease from worries, anxieties, and labours which drain you spirituallya rest in which you have handed over your entire life and affairs into the hands of Christ; a rest in which it is what God tells you to do that you do; a rest in which it is where God wants you to go that you go; a rest in which it is who God wants you to marry that you marry, and so on. Unfortunately, many Christians are yet to enter into the rest of God. They pick up the job that they think has more income and perks, and end up estranged from God; they marry who they think will give them more advantage or someone who they consider handsome or beautiful on the outside, as the case may be, and before long, they are divorced, or at best living in misery; they busy themselves chasing after things which God did not ask them to chase after, and as such remain weary and restless, even though they claim to have come to Jesus!

Unbelief is a very dangerous disease of the soul, which does not mind being saved to avoid going to hell, but then refuses to believe what will actually bring him into heaven! How a person can believe Christ for salvation, but not for living is indeed a mystery; for can you have one and not the other? It is like being born, but refusing to live by human standardseven if such a person is alive, he cannot be permitted to live in human society, his abode will be the prison housesentenced to life imprisonment; that is, if he is not condemned to death and executed. Indeed, many of the things God tells us to do are not things that make sense to the human mind, hence, the refusal to believe and accept it as something that is plausible. However, if a person makes up his mind to simply believe God no matter whatno matter how difficult; no matter how impossible the situation ishe will soon realize the benefit of simply believing God. The bible tells us in Romans 4:17-22, that Abraham continued to believe in God, even when there seemed to be no reason or basis to believe God. Even though he was 99 years old and his wife Sarah was now 89 years old, and thus both were biologically, medically, scientifically, traditionally, historically, and humanly, impossible to have a child, yet, Abraham continued to believe God against all odds; and when God came and told him that the promise He (God) made to him (Abraham) about having a child by his wife Sarah, 24 years before, was going to come to pass within one year, Abraham believed God. You see, while Sarah was young, even at 65, it seemed possible that she could give birth, but the moment she passed a certain age, it seemed impossible that it could happen to her. Indeed, when God told Abraham in Sarahs hearing that she would give birth to a child within 9 months from then, she laughed, thinking it impossible and highly unlikely. Sarahs laughter, a mark of her unbelief, made God ask a very paramount question, which should indeed resolve any situation of unbelief. In Genesis 18:14, God asked, Is any thing too hard for the LORD? If you look at this statement, you will notice that the word LORD is written in all Capital letters against normal conventionthe word LORD, the Name of God, JEHOVAH, which is indicative of Gods Almightiness, His omnipotence (that is, His All-powerfulness), His Supremacy over all of lifes affairs and computations, and, His Sovereignty over every objection that may seek to arise on a matter, was what God was saying is not hard for Him to do. What Sarah did not reckon was that, the conception and birth of Isaac, though a seemingly biological matter to the human mind, was in reality, essentially a spiritual matter, hence, science was not the determinant of the outcome; God is! This is the problem with many Christians today. Many Christians today, tend to look to science, tradition, historical antecedence, and so on; so that when they hear from God that He would do something that has never been scientifically authenticated or proven, or something that has never been done before, or something that is beyond human understanding or comprehension, they find it hard to believe. If we are to eliminate the faith killer of unbelief, we must, like our father of faith, Abraham, believe in hope against hopethat is, we must continue to believe God against all odds; we must be steadfast and resolute in our belief in the word of God, in spite of seemingly contradicting situations starring us in the face! We must also not look at the impossibility of the matter at hand; rather, we must focus on the God who makes the impossible, possible. We are not talking about some of the reckless statements which some crafty and cunning people make to excite and tickle you, which unfortunately, is also a faith killer. No! we are talking of the word or statement that proceeds out of the mouth of Godthe word that is spoken by God directly; the word that is spoken by God at the mouth of His ordained and appointed servants; the word that is credited to God, and which is in consonance with the written word of God; and, the word of God as documented in the Holy Bible. So, if a person gives you a prophecy which cannot be substantiated by the written word of God as documented in the bible, please discard that word, for the written word of God is the basis for authenticating whatever people may ascribe to Godbe it a dream, a revelation, a prophecy, a word of knowledge, a word of wisdom, and so on. So, what is the antidote to unbelief? Just simply, believe God!

Let us pray!