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Faith Toward God (22)


In our last broadcast, we spoke of people who say that they believe or trust that God cannot lie, and yet they do not obey His word. We identified two groups: those who make the claim, but are clearly deceptive in making such a claim; and those who genuinely know that God cannot tell a lie, but are confused as to whether it is God who is speaking, or someone else. In discussing this second category of Christians, we noted that people generally betray their uncertainty about whether or not it is God Who is speaking to them, when they give their doubt expression in prayer. For example, some people will not even ask for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in prayer, because they believe that they could receive an evil spirit instead! How strange! The Lord Jesus made it clear in Luke 11:11-13 that just as an earthly father would not give what is harmful to his child, but good gifts; so also will God not give something that is evil to those who ask Him for the Holy Spirit! The real issue is, whether you are really convinced that God cannot give evil things to those who humbly ask Him for good things. When you have such a conviction about God, it enables you to be resolute in your faith or trust in God, and you can hold on, tenaciously, to the word spoken to you by God regardless of what may be happening around you. For instance, when the Lord Jesus walked on the sea to rescue His disciples who were trapped in a storm at sea, Peters request of, Lord, if it be thou bid me come unto thee on the water, was froth with so much uncertainty, that even the Lord saying, Come could not eliminate the doubt in his heart! We noted in our last broadcast that the Lord Jesus addressing Peters doubt rather than what may have been considered his fears, said to Peter, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? Peters doubt was clearly evident in the way he made his request, when he said, Lord, if it be thou bid me come unto thee on the water. The phrase if it be thou meant that Peter was not even sure that it was the Lord he was addressing; yet he proceeded to act on what was told him! Such uncertainty, double-mindedness, or doubt, in the heart of a believer, will make him to believe the effect of a miragebe it an optical or emotional impression which is false or deceptive! Such a mirage effect or illusion then becomes the focus or the reality which the believer in Christ believes, rather than the ability and word of God! If Peter had focused on the Lord, rather than on the mirage of the raging sea, he would have noticed that the Lord was still standing on the water in spite of the boisterousness of the waves!

Beloved, resolute faith is not merely standing upon the word of God; but more importantly, it is being confident and sure that the One whose instruction you are carrying out, is God Who cannot tell a lie! Peters error, which we are to learn from and not to castigate him for, was his uncertainty about whether or not it was the Lord Jesus who was walking on the sea! Was Peter expecting that if it wasnt the Lord walking on the sea, but a ghost, that the ghost would not have been able to command him to come? And if he wasnt sure that it was the Lord commanding him to come, why then did he leave the boat? And if he left the boat because he believed it was the Lord Who commanded him to come, why did he consider the boisterousness of the waves and not the command of the Lord to Come regardless of the waves? We have already noted that the Lord was still standing on the sea, in spite of the boisterous waves! Or, could it be that Peter was thinking that if it was Jesus, and He commanded him to come on the water, that the waves would have ceased automatically? And when that didnt happen, he began to doubt if the Lord Jesus actually spoke to him! Friend, anyway we try to look at this issue, we cannot but come to one conclusion: BEFORE YOU STEP OUT IN FAITH TOWARD GOD, BE CONVINCED THAT IT IS GOD YOU ARE RESPONDING TO; NOT SOMEONE ELSE! If you are not sure that God is saying something to you, then you need to stay where you are, and pray, until you receive the conviction of the Holy Spirit, that God it is, that is speaking to you. Once you are convinced that it is God who is speaking to you, act upon the word that God is speaking to you, and do not yield to anything that is contrary to that word from God!

You see, the devil plays all manner of tricks on us:
He can get you to see something that is really not therethis is how magicians deceive their audience;
He can cause a storm to arise, which can be harmful to those who do not believe God, but which cannot harm or affect a child of God, if he is acting in faith toward God;
He can use the elementsthe weather, the wind, the waves of the sea, etc.to dissuade a child of God from doing what God has commanded him to do, like it happened to Peter.

So, the issue is, How can I be sure that God is the One speaking to me? Beloved, Christianity is not merely being saved, and then, wait to go to heaven! Christianity is more about knowing God, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, as part of His prayer in John Chapter 17, the Lord Jesus made it clear that eternal life is knowing God and His Christ. Hence, it is incumbent on everyone who will gain eternal life to know God and Jesus Christ, our Saviour!

When we say that you should know God, we are not just talking of getting to know about God, or merely hearing stories about God from people; No! We are talking about getting to know God for yourself. This is what we call entering into a personal relationship with God! In several instances in the bible, which is the word of God, the issue of the knowledge of God and His Christ arises:
1. Matthew 16:13-17: When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. We find here, that the Lords concern was whether His disciples knew Who He really is. We also find that men have all manner of things to say about God, most of which are not truethe people were talking of Jesus as a reincarnation of one of the prophets of old. Finally, we see that the knowledge of God can only come from a divine sourceGod the Father Himself; Jesus, the Son of God; the Holy Spirit; and the word of God! Do you know God through any of these sources? Or are you, like the disciples, focusing on what men are saying about God?
2. John 14:8-13: Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. The Lord Jesus was cross with Philip, that he did not know Him or the Father, even though He had been with them for so long. Let us make it explicitly clear that the Lord is not speaking of one person manifesting in different forms, but He is speaking of two distinct Persons Who are the same in essence, power, glory, and so onthe Father, and Himself!
3. Jeremiah 9:23-24: Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. It is clear here that Christians should not boast in their wisdom, neither boast in their ability to do the supernatural, nor in their wealth (all present day common practice); rather, they should humbly boast in their knowledge of God!

Besides, beloved, when you like someone, you want to be where that person is; you want to know what that person likes and what he doesnt like; you want to know everything there is to know about that person. Furthermore, you will discover that when you come to know a person for yourself, some things you were told about that person may either have been exaggerated or were not properly captured and presented, or could even be completely untrue. In the same way, when we talk of having a personal relationship with God, we are saying that you should desire to be with Him all day long; every day! We are saying that you should study the word of God daily and ask God questions in the place of prayer. We are saying that you should investigate everything that is being told you about God, if they are indeed so or notpretty much what the Bereans were doing in Acts 17:10-12. Church attendance does not equate to knowing God personally; listening to a sermon cannot take the place of knowing God for yourself; and most certainly, giving money to a pastor, to a church, or to a church project, definitely is not the same thing as knowing God. You may be introduced to God from what people have told you about Him, but that does not mean that you know Him. With that introduction, you now need to seek to know God for yourself, and in so doing, ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a very vivid way; and you better believe it, He will! The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 12:42: The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. The Lord Jesus here, addressed the journey which the Queen of Sheba (or Ethiopia) made in order to hear the wisdom of Solomon, which she had been told of. Let us read the account of the bible on this matter in 1 Kings 10:1-10: And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice. And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. When the Queen, who, in her own rights, had her own majesty, met with Solomon, she had no more spirit left in her. Indeed, One greater than Solomon has come, and we are content to sit in the pews every Sunday to listen to what, in most cases, are fables, half-truths, and doctrines of devils! No wonder the Lord said that the Queen of Sheba will rise in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it! She travelled in a caravan over land and sea, in peril of attacks from marauders; leaving behind her own kingdom in the hands of people, who could unseat her, she nonetheless went on the journey, which could have lasted weeks, if not months, all to hear the wisdom of Solomon. What price have you paid to know God, and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus, other than what you give in order to get what you want, which really has nothing to do with eternal life? Friend, when you begin to know God and the Lord Jesus Christ for yourself, indeed, it will be difficult for men to fool you.

Let us pray!