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Faith Toward God (17)

In our last broadcast, we began to discuss another faith killerdoubt. Doubt is a faith killer because, the Lord Jesus said in Mark 11:23, 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. In other words, if a person has doubt in his heart regarding what the word of God says, it shall surely not come to pass! To doubt is to have reservations about a matter; it is to hesitate about whether or not to believe something; it is to be unsure about a thing, and hence, be unwilling to engage in that thing; it is to be unconvinced about a thing; and, it is to procrastinate about doing something because you are not sure or convinced about it. To doubt is to prevaricate or waver between two or more opinions; it is to be neither here nor there, or undecided on any matter. In James 1:8, a man who doubts is referred to as a double-minded mana man who tries to take a step forward, only to withdraw his foot at the last minute. In other words, he is indecisive, irresolute, and vacillating.

Doubt, as used in the bible, usually arises when a person, having heard the word of God, is unconvinced about the veracity of the word of God, because of events happening, which seem to contradict the word of God which he heard. For instance, in Mark 4:35-40, after the Lord Jesus had told His disciples that they should go over to the other side of the shore in a boat, there arose a storm which could have deterred them from proceeding on the journey had the Lord been of a double-mind. For, even though the command was that they go over to the other side, the storm that arose would have suggested that that command was not quite right, because the storm has proven it so! But we must note that whenever God speaks a word, especially, a word that will bring tremendous spiritual blessing to us if heeded, the devil, who is the enemy of our soul, will always attempt to stop us from benefitting from the blessing therefrom, by seeking to make us disbelieve the word of God through doubt. You see, the devil continually tries to create doubt in our minds regarding the word of God, so that we would vacillate and be unbelieving, and hence, he would have achieved his goal of ensuring that we do not receive the blessing. So, in the example of the storm in Mark 4:35-40, we see that the general idea behind the storm was to make the disciples to want to turn the boat around, and not make the trip across to the region of the Gerasenes. When we read Mark 5:1-20, which is a continuation of Mark 4:35-40, we see that after the Lord Jesus had calmed the storm, and arrived at the other side, a madman met them. This madman was eventually delivered from demonic possession by the Lord Jesus; he was taught the word of God; and, sent back to his town, where he went about testifying of how God, through the Lord Jesus had delivered him from demonic possession. Friend, it was this wonderful miracle of deliverance and the testimony of the erstwhile madman becoming an evangelist, which the devil was trying to stop using the storm. The devil may have anticipated that the disciples would have turned the boat around, but thank God, they went to the Lord and asked if at all He cared. His response was to calm the storm and proceed with the journey! Beloved, you should note that whenever God tells you something, the devil will look for ways to create doubt in your heart concerning what God has told you; and the general idea is to get you to either disobey or disbelieve God through doubt. You see, in the kingdom of God, the only way to live is by faithThe just shall live by faith. If you are not living by faith then, you are definitely not living in the kingdom of God, but in the domain of the devil! In Hebrews 10:38-39, the bible says, Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Beloved, the salvation which the Lord won for mankind on the cross at Calvary is a full salvation; however, to keep the fullness of the salvation intact, you need to know, through the word of God, everything that God has made available to you. This knowledge, we receive through personal bible study and bible teachings. But when we are being taught the word of God, we find that doubt is introduced by the devil in various ways, so that we would not trust the veracity of the word of God, but will turn to other means apart from faith, and thus find ourselves in the place where we may lose that great salvation which was won on the cross and handed over to us, when we believed!

We see this tactic of the devil clearly in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:1, when he went to Eve, through the serpent, and said, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? The significance of this question was to cast doubt in the mind of Eve, concerning what God had said. So, let us take some time and look at Gods word to Adam, and what the devil was trying to insinuate. (Let us read Genesis Chapter 2, from verse 8 to verse 9, and from verse 15 to verse 17) Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17: And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. v.15-17: And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Let us note some things from these verses of scripture:
1. It was God who planted the garden; not Adam, not Eve, not the devil, not the serpentnot anyone, but God;
2. Every tree which God planted in the garden of Eden was pleasant to the sight, and good for food;
3. In the midst of the garden, or in modern English, in the middle or centre of the garden, there were two treesthe tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil;
4. Adam and Eve were free to eat of every tree in the garden, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil;
5. In the day that they eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in that day, they shall surely die!

Now, as long as Adam and Eve ate of any of the trees in the garden save the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were fine, but the moment they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they died. Let us quickly explain here that death means a separation from life. In other words, what God was saying to Adam and Eve was that in the day they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they shall surely be separated from Him, the Source and Giver of life! Friend, hell is the place where people who have been permanently separated from God are kept, and it is a place of everlasting misery, eternal sorrow, perpetual darkness, and everything that God is not. Once a person is separated, from God, he goes to hellno matter how wealthy he may have been on the earth; no matter how powerful he was on the earth; no matter how religious he was on the earth; no matter how well he preached on the earth; no matter how many churches he built or established on the earth! If a person lives contrary to the word of God while on earth, when he departs this world, he will go to hell! It was this separation from God in hell that the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to remove through His death at Calvary; so that as many people as put their trust in Him for their salvation, will be saved from perishing in hell! It is important to note this, because what the devil did to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, in bringing about a separation between them and God, he is still doing today, and unfortunately, with great success! Now, let us read Genesis 3:1-9: Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

These verses are especially tough to read, because, you can imagine what world we would have had, if Adam, at least had not eaten of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But let us see how the devil introduced doubt into the hearts of Eve and Adam:
The devils question through the serpent was to test how much of Gods word Eve really knew. Her answer was to prove a very potent weapon in the hands of the devil. Beloved, let us ask at this point: How much of the word of God do you know? Do you rely on the Holy Spirit to give you the correct interpretation of the word of God, or are you relying on some blind guide to give you a high sounding explanation of the word of God, which is not true? Brethren, your ignorance of the word of God is a potent weapon in the hands of the devil, because, once the devil knows that you do not know the word of God, he will twist it, and use it against you! He tried to do this to the Lord Jesus, but he failed woefully, because the Lord knew the word of God, and its correct interpretation.
When Eve answered the devil, it turned out that she did not recall exactly what God had said. Eve, contrary to what God had said, had told the serpent (the devil really) that God had asked them not to eat, of the fruit of the tree in the centre of the garden, neither touch it, otherwise, they will die. Some things are clearly wrong with the answer Eve had given here: firstly, there were two trees in the midst of the gardenthe tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and so which one was she referring to here as the tree which is in the midst of the garden? Secondly, God had said that they could eat of all trees in the garden, including the tree of life, which was in the centre of the garden, but excluding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was also in the centre of the garden. Thirdly, God did not say anything about touching or not touching the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. With such misrepresentation of the word of God, the stage was set for the introduction of doubt. Even though it is not stated here, the devil, through the serpent, would only have had to ask Eve to touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and see if she would die; and since she wouldnt die, he would have successfully introduced doubt into Eves heart. All that would be left for the devil to do would be to ask Eve to go on and eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and that nothing would happen to her, since touching did not kill her. Many people have found themselves in one addiction or another, because they gave answers that were not true, and the devil through his agents, capitalized on their ignorance to bring them into captivity to sin. Many young girls have been misled into sex at a young age and on to teenage pregnancy, because they erroneously believed that merely being with a man would result in pregnancy. So, the devil, through a man, who is clearly his agent, like the serpent did to Eve, would ask that girl to stay with the man for some time, and since merely being with a man will not result in pregnancy, the man would then proceed to lure her into more amorous contacts, which would result in the girls loss of innocence and a greater involvement in other immoral conduct. Brethren, if you are not to suffer from the devastating effect of doubt, you should spend time knowing God and His word. You should spend time seeking what God has said about Himself, in His word, not from a mystic or some mystical book. Otherwise, you will fall prey to the devil and he will lead you to disobey and disbelieve God.

We shall continue from here in our next broadcast, but suffice to say that when you are not sure of what the word of God is saying to you on a matter, you give impetus to the devil to create doubt in your heart. Therefore, we counsel you to spend quality time studying the word of God, with prayer, so that you do not fall prey to the devils wiles!

Let us pray!