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Faith Toward God (21)

Many people have been unable to stand firm on the word of God because of doubt in their hearts. Such doubt can be from the devil, who tries to get people to doubt the veracity or inerrancy of the word of God, and even the sincerity and integrity of God Himself. Doubt can also come from uncertainties in peoples hearts about what the word of God says versus what they are seeing with their own eyes or hearing with their ears, which is contrary to what God has said in His word. To deal with doubt in the case of the devil, what we need, is to know the word of God enough not to be deceived by the devil; and this comes through ardent personal bible study, as well as following teachings from the word of God which are Holy Spirit inspired. In dealing with the lack of agreement between the word of God and what you see or hear contrary to the word of God, you need to know and be confident within you that God cannot tell a lie; that it is impossible for God to lie; and that it is not in His nature to lie! You see, unless you are convinced and confident beyond every doubt as to the truth that God cannot lie, not even as a joke; you will soon find yourself not believing what God says. And because many Christians are really not convinced that God cannot lie, they practice lawlessness, which is, doing what God said in His word not to do, because some crafty individual said something contrary to what God had said, and they chose to believe that individual rather than believe God. I know that there are people who will say that they believe or know that God cannot tell a lie, but then they do not practice what God has told them; rather, they do what someone else has told them, which is contrary to what God had saidsuch a person cannot truthfully say that he knows that God cannot lie, otherwise he would be doing only what God says!

You see, when Potiphars wife cast her eyes on Joseph, she used all manner of tricks to get him to sleep with herfirst, it was direct: lie with me; then it was subtle: be with me; finally, it was aggressive: she seized him by his clothes! Potiphars wife continued with her tricks on a daily basisgiving Joseph no breathing space. But for all her antics, Joseph did not sin against God, because He was sure that any which way you look at fornication, it is a great wickedness before God! Joseph believed what his father Jacob had told him about God, and may in fact have investigated those things on his own and proven them to be true. Unlike his brothers, who, no doubt also heard about God from their father, Jacob; but did not believe, neither did they investigate further on their own about God; otherwise, they would not have hatched the evil plan to kill Joseph, their brother, before finally settling to sell him into slavery.

There are many believers in Christ who do not believe what they have read from the bible about God; otherwise, they would have moved with godly fear to perform everything that God has said in His word. In Hebrews 4:2, the bible says, For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them [that is, Israel in the wilderness]: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. What is being said here is that even though the word of God was preached to Israel in the wilderness, they did not believe it enough to receive it by faith, and hence, the message that could have brought them eternal salvation did not benefit them; many of them perished in the wilderness. We find a similar thing happening today: The word of God has gone forth throughout the world, but many of those who heard it did not receive it in faith, but questioned and debated it, or even doubted its authenticity and potency, preferring rather to follow science, and magical signs. Brethren, do you not know that the Jews in seeking a sign, refused to accept Christ, and missed the Lord of glory? And the Greeksthe philosophers, the eminent scholars, the professors, the Nobel laureates, and so onin demanding scientific proof, which is human wisdom, could not receive the message of the Cross of Christ, which sounded foolish to them? How is it then that we now say, that except we see a sign we would not believe; except it makes sense to us, we would not believe; except it agrees with science and the things we are familiar with, we would not believe? For example, God warns us in His word, the bible, to Abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), but we find believers daring God, and toying with sin and all manner of iniquity. We find believers in Christ, so called, giving lame excuses like, What else could I dohe is my boss; the one who pays my salary. We are speaking here of excuses that people give when they falsify figures, or when they sleep with their bosses in the officemale or female. Perhaps they dont know that it is God Who gave them the job, and that He is able to keep them in the job if they continue in righteousness; and that it is God Who is paying their salarynot their boss? Some are afraid of losing their jobs, forgetting that God is able to bring another job their way, even if it means waiting for some time. Although Joseph was in prison for many years, yet when he stepped out of prison, all the years of suffering and hardship seemed like nothing! The word of God exhorts us in Acts 14:22, to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. I dont know where we are getting these sweet talks of Me I no go sufferit is unscriptural and from hell! You dont have to doubt the word of God!

We hear of students who say, Pastor, everybody is sortingif I dont sort I will not graduate! And this they say to justify their bribing lecturers or even sleeping with them to get grades. Joseph did not have the luxury we have today, for he was a slavethe property of Potiphar, and by that token, the property of his wife also. It may have been the practice for chief slaves to sleep with their madams, but as far as Joseph was concerned, what God says is what he would live by; not what society dictates! Let me ask you this question Christian student: Which is more important to yougraduation from university in this world, or eternity with God in heaven? And may I add: your graduation does not automatically guarantee you a job in Nigeriaso will you also bribe or sleep with all the members of the panel of interviewers as justification for a job? Or will you steal or prostitute yourself in order to be able to feed? Dont you know that one sin is all it takes to multiply sin in your life?

Then there are ministers of the gospel, so called, who have become agents of the devil. In the beginning, they started out well, but then, when they saw that their churches were not growing (whatever that means), they turned to herbalists, and engaged in all manner of atrocious things, including ritual murders, to obtain power, and to make their churches grow. Perhaps they did not read the word of God which says, And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:47). If it is not the church of God, then you can seek for power elsewhere; but if it is the church of God, then God will add to His church those who are being saved, by Himself! Friend, it is through the preaching of the cross of Christ that God adds those who are being saved to the church, not by human effort or satanic power! How have we come to believe in signs over the word of God? How have we come to believe in science over the word of God? How have we come to believe the schemes of men and demonic wiles over the word of God?

Now, there are those who genuinely know that God cannot tell a lie, but then, they find themselves confused about what God has said either in His word, in a dream, through a preacher, or by other means by which God communicates with men. For this group, the problem is that they are not sure whether it is God speaking or someone else. In fact, there are believers in Christ who will not pray for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit because they are afraid that an evil spirit may enter them. If you belong to this category, let me read the word of God to you. Luke 11:11-13: If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Beloved, this is the word of God, and it is clear that:
1. It is God Who gives the Holy Spirit;
2. He gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him; and,
3. If you ask for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit from God, Who is altogether good and merciful, you cannot receive from Him, an evil spirit!
The real question is; Are you really asking God for the Holy Spirit? Many people ask like this, If it is really You, God, who gives the Holy Spirit, give me the Holy Spirit. This is a prayer of doubt, as we shall see in a moment.

There was once a storm at sea, and Jesus disciples were in a boat all by themselves, because the Lord Jesus was not with themHe was on a mountain having an all-night prayer. In the midst of this storm, Jesus disciples suddenly saw Him walking on the sea towards them, and they were naturally frightened supposing that they were seeing a ghost. However, the Lord allayed their fears by letting them know that it was Him. In the account of this incident recorded in the 14th Chapter of the gospel of Matthew, it is stated that after the Lord had told His disciples not to be afraid that it was Him, the following ensued (v.28-31): And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? Peter said, Lord, if it be thou bid me come unto thee on the water., and the Lord said, Come. It is important to understand what Peter was saying, and hence, the Lords apparently simple response of Come. The word translated bid actually means command, order, urge; thus, Peter was asking the Lord to command him or order him or urge him to walk on the water. And to this, the Lord spoke a single wordCome! In other words, the Lord ordered Peter to come to Him, walking on the sea! In obedience, Peter actually got out of the boat, and began to walk on the sea. But then, for some reason, he looked at the boisterousness of the waves or the effect of the strong wind that was blowing, and he began to sink. It is instructive to note that when Peter was sinking, he cried out to the Lord Who had bid him to come, for help, and the Lord reached out His hands and drew Peter out of the sea, and they both got into the boat. If you ever find yourself in dire straits; that is not the time for bravado in your strength; that is the time to call on the Lord Jesus to save you. The bible says, whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13). Now, when they had got into the boat, the Lord said to Peter, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? that is, why did you doubt? Peter was afraid of the boisterous waves of the sea possibly because he knew from his experience as a fisherman, the impact of such a wave crashing down on him, and he became frightenedthinking about the pain of such a wave crashing on him; and, the possibility that he may even drown; among many other possible thoughts that may have been going on in his mind. But what is intriguing in all of this is that the Lord did not address Peters fears, but his doubt. What really does this mean? Peters problem actually commenced from the very beginning when he said, Lord, if it be thou bid me come unto thee on the water. The introduction of the phrase if it be thou by Peter was what the Lord was addressing. All Peter needed to have said is, simply, Lord, bid me come unto thee on the water. Remember what we said about Eve, and her betrayal of her ignorance of the word of God, and how the devil capitalized on it? It is the same here. The devil simply magnified the waves in Peters eyes, because his prayer betrayed his double-mindednessis it the Lord or is it someone else? And the devil who can manipulate the elements pounced on it to make Peter look more to the waves than to the Lord! If Peter had looked at the Lord more, he would have noticed that the Lord was still standing on the water in spite of the boisterousness of the waves!

We shall continue from here in our next broadcast, but Id like to ask all those Who want the salvation of God, or the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to ask God now; doubting nothing. Simply say, God, please, save me for I am a sinner, and I need your salvation. Also, Father, baptize me in the Holy Spirit, even now, in Jesus name, Amen.

Now let me pray along with you!