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Faith Toward God (13)

Let us continue from where we left off in our last broadcast. We were talking about how God desires our cooperation and input by bringing us to the place of believing and trusting Him to do what He has said He will do, so that He can bring it to pass. This was essentially what the Lord Jesus intended when He said to Jairus, Be not afraid, only believe. We saw in our last broadcast that in Mark 11:21-26, if we have faith in God, we shall say to a mountain, Be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea, and it shall come to pass. We noted that it is our simple faith in God that is the issue; not our shouting; not how long we have been Christians for; nor how old we are biologically. Our simple faith in God is what makes God respond to our requests made to Him. Indeed, our confidence in prayer is that if we ask anything that is according to the will of God, He will hear us; and if God hears us, we are sure that we have the petition that we have brought to Him. This matter of God hearing us became a major issue, because there are many Christians with unconfessed sins in their heart, and so when they ask things from God, He doesnt hear them. The bible tells us in Isaiah 59:1-2, 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. In Psalm 66:18, the word of God says, If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: and in Proverbs 28:13, He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. All these scripture passages point to the fact that if there is unconfessed sin or iniquity lurking in our hearts, God will not hear our prayers. In fact the bible says in Proverbs 21:27, The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind? In bringing sacrifices to God under the Old Covenant, the sinner brought a sacrifice for sin, which when accepted by God, enabled him to approach God and make his request known to Him. So, when the bible speaks of the sacrifice of the wicked being an abomination before God, it is speaking of a man who is approaching God ostensibly to repent, but who never intends to stop sinning; but comes to give a sacrifice anyway, because he wants to ask God for something. And that is what that passage of scripture is addressing. You cannot, just for the purpose of wanting God to do something for you, make a confession, but not intend to give up sinning; hence, Proverbs 28:13, which we read earlier speaks not just of confessing your sins, but more importantly, of forsaking them! Beloved, there can be no true exercise of faith toward God as long as you have not forsaken, abandoned, and repudiated, sin in your life! We are saying, simply, that unless you are dead to sin and to the flesh (that is, the sinful nature in you), you cannot truly and really, exhibit faith in God. As long as you are one of those who come to the altar of God weeping just to get something from God, but never really intending to quit sinning, you will be wasting your time with God! This is why we say to you today: Repent and cast off your sins, and, where necessary, make restitution, and God will show you mercy.

Let us now continue with our study of Mark 11:21-26, in line with Gods desire for you to trust Him, so that He can bring to pass His desire for your life. Mark 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. We have already seen that we are to have faith in God; not in our own ability, or our prowess to will things to happen; and, that it is our simple faith in God that moves mountains; not our age in the Lord, neither our shouting at the mountain, nor even our pleading with the mountain. The next thing we want to note is:
3. 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. Your faith in God must be without doubting. This is a very, very crucial and critical aspect of faith in God. And we shall elaborate more on it in some later broadcasts. Doubting or simply, doubt, is another major faith killer, hence, we shall devote special attention to it later, but suffice to say that doubt speaks of uncertainty in your heart as to whether or not God can do what He says He can do; it is a lack of conviction in your heart that God will do what He has said He will do. To say that you have faith, and yet exhibit doubt, is a misnomer; it is a contradiction in terms because faith is the certainty, or, the assurance that we have, that what we have not seen is indeed there. What we are saying is that while faith is having an assurance or certainty about things; doubt is being uncertain or unsure about things. Hence, doubt douses the fire of faith. So, when you say that a mountain be removed and be cast into a sea, the Lord is saying that you must not entertain any form of uncertainty in your heart; or reasoning that it may not be possible; rather, you should be fully persuaded or convinced, and resolutely so. You should settle it in your heart that what you have requested shall surely come to pass!
4. What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Believe that whatever you desire in prayer, you shall have. We must sound a note of caution here; not to think that this verse of scripture is giving us a blank cheque to go on ahead and engage in irresponsible asking. Also, as much as you believe that whatever you desire in prayer you shall have, you must also be aware of the sovereignty of God, which speaks of His absolute prerogative to either honour your request or decline it in accordance with His sovereign Will. Let us also say here that when God declines a request, it is usually for our own good that He declines it. For example, when the Lord Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane that if it is possible, the Father should take away the cup of suffering He was about to drink of; if the Father had honoured that request, then, the whole of mankind would have been in serious trouble, because it was through this cup of suffering that salvation came to mankind! And today, we can say, Thank You Father, that You didnt grant Jesus request! By the same token, you must trust God that in declining any of your requests, He has your best interest at heart; and that the decline is not malicious, but beneficial, not only to you, but also, to many more people than you can imagine.
5. 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. Now, we have alighted upon another very crucial element in the prayer of faith; and that is, that for as long as there is unforgiveness in your heart, your prayer of faith will amount to nothing. It is very interesting to see Christians who want to exercise faith in God, but are very much unable to forgive people who have offended them. The matter of unforgiveness is so serious that if not addressed, will make nonsense of our study on faith toward God. There are very many bitter Christians in churches today, who are unable to reap the benefit of faith toward God, because of unforgiveness. To address the matter of unforgiveness, the Lord Jesus told the parable of a servant who was indebted to his master for a very great amount, which he could never repay, even if they sold everything he had, including himself and his family. This left his master with no choice than to commit him to prison, but the servant pleaded for leniency and asked to be given some more time to repay his debt. But the servants master out of compassion, forgave the servant all his debtmeaning that he did not have to repay anything; the debt he owed his master was fully and completely forgiven and wiped out. But then, this same servant went out and saw a fellow servant who was owing him a very minute fraction of what he owed his master, and for which he had just received forgiveness; and proceeded to grab his fellow servant and told him to pay up everything that he owed him. His fellow servant pleaded with him, and asked him to give him some time to pay his debt (just like the forgiven servant pleaded with his master), but the servant who had been forgiven did not listen; and instead, handed over his fellow servant to be imprisoned until he had paid up every last penny that he owed. When the other servants saw what was happening, and knew that the forgiven servant had just gone through a similar thing, and was forgiven, just because he pleaded with their master, they were sad, and very sorry for their fellow servant who had been imprisoned; so, they went and told their master what the forgiven servant, had done in refusing to forgive another. Upon hearing this, the master of the servant was very angry with him. Let us hear the Lords comment on what the master of the forgiven servant who refused to forgive a fellow servant said, and His own conclusion on the matter: Matthew 18:32-35, reading from the New Living TranslationThen the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldnt you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you? Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. Thats what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart. Friend, in this parable, which the Lord Jesus told, when Peter asked how many times he needed to forgive his brother who offended him; whether seven times? The Lord concluded that, unless we forgive our brothers and sisters from our heartsthat is, bear no grudge within our hearts towards themand as many times as they ask for forgiveness, His Father in heaven will do to us as the master in the parable did to the forgiven servant who refused to forgive his fellow servanthe was thrown into prison to be tormented by the tormenters. This is clearly a picture of hell; for the bible reveals, in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man, in Luke 16:19-31, that hell is a place of torment. Put simply, no matter how born again you are, if you do not forgive men, even as God has forgiven you (which is how you became born again), you wont enter into heaven, but will spend your eternity with tormenters in hell!

I would like you for a moment, to sit back and think of all the atrocities you had committed against God and man before your salvation, and see how great a pardon and forgiveness God has granted you. Then, think about all the things that people have done to you. Do you think that you can really compare what people have done to offend you, to the forgiveness that God has granted you? The most you can do to extract payment for the offences that people have committed against you, is to exert vengeance on them, and that is all. But think in comparison, what God will do to you if you do not forgive men: He will throw you into hell, and leave you to the demons who torment those in hell. Now I ask, Is it worth holding people in unforgiveness? In the Easy-to-Read translation of James 2:13, the bible says, Yes, you must show mercy to others. If you do not show mercy, then God will not show mercy to you when he judges you. But the one who shows mercy can stand without fear before the Judge. Friend, it is time to forgive, without exception, all those who have offended you.

Let us pray!