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Faith Toward God (12)

Our focus in our last broadcast was on believing the word of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His ability to do what is considered by men to be impossible, as the basis for our faith toward God. We also noted that when we fret, panic, are anxious, in trepidation, or are worried about a matter, we are unable to receive the word of God; hence, when the Lord told Jairus, Be not afraid, only believe He was saying to him, Dont be apprehensive; dont enter a panic mode; dont be anxious; stop worrying; fret not yourself; just believe that I am able to raise your daughter from deathtrust Me! So, in exhibiting faith toward God, you are expected to believe what the Lord Jesus says is possible, even though it may seem impossible scientifically, medically, biologically, traditionally, historically, politically, economically, and so on. The Lords statement to Jairus, to not be afraid but only believe, was also made to Jairus, because He needed Jairus, who was an interested Party in the matter at hand, to exhibit faith in Himto trust Him absolutely; to be convinced that He (Jesus) was able to bring his daughter back to life. Hence, we are called to believe the Lord Jesus absolutely, and as a result, to be convinced that He is able to do whatever He says He will do. We are called to believe that Jesus can do absolutely anything, if He wants to. Indeed, the bible records an exchange between the Lord Jesus and two blind men in Matthew 9:27-30: And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. More often than not, the Lord requires your faith in order to bring about the miraculous in your life. He needs you to believe or be convinced that He can do what you are asking Him to do, in order that He do it. Please let us state here that this does not mean that we would now go on and exercise faith that the Lord will do things that are contrary to His Will. The word of God and the Will of God always agree; hence, when we talk of having faith toward God, we are talking of believing that God is able to do anything and everything that is in accordance with His Will!

When the Lord engaged Martha in a conversation about the raising back to life of Lazarus, He was basically telling her that it was His Will to raise Lazarus from death, and implying that He needed her to trust Him to do just that; He needed her, as an interested Partybeing Lazarus sisterto be convinced in her heart that He is able to raise Lazarus up, even though he had been dead for four days! Hence, when the Lord said to Martha, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? He was saying to her, If only you can believe that I am able to raise your brother back to life, you shall see him raised back to life. In Mark 11:12-26, the bible relates a very interesting story of how the Lord Jesus was hungry, and seeing a fig tree with leaves, He approached it, only to find that the tree did not have any figs on it. So, He cursed the fig tree, that it should no longer produce fruit, and that no man should eat of it again. When the Lord made this statement, His disciples heard it, and made nothing of it. However, the next morning, when they passed by, they saw that the fig tree had dried up from the root. Lets take the rest of the story from hereMark 11:21-26: And Peter calling to remembrance [that is, reminding the Lord that He had cursed the tree the day before] saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Let us note some very crucial things being said here:
1. Have faith in God. You are to have faith in God; your faith is not to be in your ability to speak to a tree; or in your prowess to be dramatic or acrobatic; but in the ability of God to do what you ask of Him. Joshua displayed this act of faith when he spoke to the sun and the moon to stay where they were until he had concluded the battle he was fighting. This act of Joshua is found in Joshua 10:12-14. In fact, the bible records Gods response to Joshuas request in v.14 thus, And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel. Please, it is very important that we note that when Joshua made the pronouncement for the sun and the moon to stay where they were and not move, he was praying to God, and making that declaration in faith. Also, note that asking the sun and the moon to stay where they were, was not for a selfish purpose or for show, but for a divine purpose. Too many Christians are exercising faith in God for things that are selfish, and God is not bound to do what is not beneficial to His kingdom and His children in general. So, when we exercise faith in God, it is always a good thing to have at the back of our minds that it is His kingdom that should be uppermost in our heartshence, the Lord Jesus statement in Matthew 6:33, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [things like, what to eat, what to wear, where to live, your daily sustenance, things that you need, not necessarily things that you want] shall be added unto you.
2. It is your faith in God that moves mountains. It is not your shouting at the mountain; not your pleading with the mountain; but your faith or trust in God to move the mountain. In this respect, there are many Christians, who think that ones faith needs to be very big for him to be able to move a mountain. Well, the Lord Jesus doesnt teach that. In Luke 17:6, the bible tells us that in response to a request by Jesus disciples to increase their faith, He said to them, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. In other words, it is not the size of your faith in God that matters; but just simply believing that God will move the mountain! I remember a story that was told of a young school boy, who, one morning, at their family devotion, heard his father speak from Mark 11:21-26. On the way to school with his schoolmates, as they passed by a mountain that was apparently blocking the view to the sea, the boy said, You mountain, be uprooted, and be cast into the sea! When his school mates who were with him heard it, they turned in amusement and mocked that he was speaking to a mountain. But the boy said, My father said in our daily devotion this morning, that if I have faith in God, I can say to this mountain be thou cast into the sea, and it shall come to pass. But his friends laughed it off, and continued on to school. Later that day, while at school they heard the sound of explosions around the town and since the school authorities did not raise an alarm they thought nothing of it. At the end of school, as they were returning home, and passed by where the mountain was, the school boys mates were stunned to see that the mountain was actually blown up and tractors where pushing the rocks from the blasted mountain into the sea; and as they turned to one another in amazement, the boy said to them: Did I not tell you that my father said at family devotion this morning, that if I have faith in God, I can say to this mountain Be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea, it shall come to pass? You see, what had happened was that, that morning, after the school boy had made the statement, the Mayor of the city, called for the city engineer, and told him to blast the mountain and push it into the sea, so that their city could be picturesque! The explosion that was heard in the city that day was the city officials blasting the rock! Friend, it was not how young or how old the school boy was that made his faith effective; it was his trust in the word of God, spoken by his father that morning, which God honoured and hearkened to. You see, once the school boy made the statement in faith toward God, God moved the city Mayor to ask the city engineer to blast the mountain and cast it into the sea. The bible says in Proverbs 21:1, The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. Quite frankly, there are many things happening in our immediate environment, which many of us, Christians, are not praying to God about, and are daily in defeat. Many government legislations that are injurious to the citizenry can be overturned, if citizens will simply go into their closets and pray in faith to God. I did not say call a prayer meeting; I said, go into your closets and pray. There is too much show; too much display; too much playing to the gallery among Christians today, that one wonders if we ever pray in our closets any longer? Beloved, when you simply trust God, whatever, you ask in prayer, in line with the Will of God, will be granted! The bible says in 1 John 5:14-15, And this is the confidence that we have in him [that is, this is the faith that we exhibit toward God; or this is our trust in God], that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. Someone may ask, But how do I know the Will of God? Well, the Will of God is clearly documented throughout the pages of the bible, and sometimes, it is put into mens hearts by the Spirit of God. But there is an even more critical matter here; and that is, to be sure that God hears you when you pray to Him. The bible says, in Isaiah 59:1-4, Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. Basically, God will not hear the prayers of a man who is living in sin; a man who has not repented of sin; a man who does not repent of sin; a man who thinks that iniquity is fun. In Psalm 66:18, the Psalmist said, If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: that is, If I am hiding sin in my heart; if I have unconfessed sin in my heart; if I ignore the sins I am committing daily and disguise sin with excuses; if I take the grace of God for granted and continue to live in sin; God will not hear me when I pray! David said, in Psalm 32:3-5 (the Easy-to-Read version of the bible), Lord, I prayed to you again and again, but I did not talk about my sins. So I only became weaker and more miserable. Every day you made life harder for me. I became like a dry land in the hot summertime. But then I decided to confess my sins to the LORD. I stopped hiding my guilt and told you about my sins. And you forgave them all! And in Proverbs 28:13, The Good News Bible translation says, You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up; then God will show mercy to you.

Friend, theres a lot more to say about the matter of faith toward God, from Mark 11:21-26, but we would do well to dwell here for now, because, we cannot make any progress in our own lives, not to talk of in exercising faith toward God, when we still have sin in our bosom. It is therefore crucial that we address the subject of sin lurking in our hearts, before we press on. When you speak with an unexpressed intention in your heart, giving an impression that you mean well, whereas you are plotting evil, you are hiding sin in your heart; when you look upon a woman to lust after her, you have already committed fornication or adultery with her in your heart; when you dress sensually, with a view to entice people sexually, there is sin in your heart. There are lots more, and time will not permit us to mention all of them one by one. But Im sure that you now understand what we mean by iniquity in our hearts. If you are a Christian, who is attending church regularly, and you have unconfessed sin in your heart, the Lord will not hear your prayers, except the prayer of repentance. Indeed, each time we sin, or have sin hiding in our hearts and God wants to bring some things to come to pass in our lives, He always calls us to repentance. This broadcast is one of such calls. In true repentance, you must first come clean before God by admitting, and confessing your sins, and He will forgive you; then, you can begin to exhibit and enjoy faith toward God!

Let us pray!