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Faith Toward God (25)

So far, in looking at the issue of doubt in the heart of man, acting to make that man lose faith in God; we have noted that doubt can be injected into our hearts by the devil, by a person we respect, by our own uncertainties about whether or not it is God Who is speaking to us, and, through our refusal to eradicate our personal desires which are in direct conflict with Gods own desire for us. In all of these, one common thread is that Gods word is what we must respond to and act upon, rather than circumstances that seem to suggest that what God had said is not possible or practical. Also, we are not to pay any attention to messages that are contrary to what God has told us, even if those messages are from well-respected people with spiritual clout, or even if the message makes sense to the human mind. It is very important that your relationship with God is vital and ongoing, and that your knowledge of God is increasing daily, so that you would be able to know of a certainty, what God can say and can never say; and, so that you would be able to know that God does not change His mind after He has made a pronouncement. Another very significant aspect of dealing with doubt in your heart, is that when there are suggestions that seem to contradict what you had heard from God; rather than heed the contrary suggestion, what you should do is return to God, and seek His confirmation on the matter, and rest assured that He will tell you clearly what He had told you earlier, and may even elaborate furtherbut God will never contradict Himself! And when you go to ask God for confirmation on any matter, make sure that you have rid yourself of your own selfish desires, and that your old sinful nature has been put to death! This is essential because it is not in the nature of God to change His mind on a matter that He has spoken to you about; so, to go back to God in the hope that He will change His mind and approve what your own selfish heart desire, is to tread on very dangerous grounds indeed. This is because God can decide to answer you according to the desire of your heart, and thus give you up to the dire consequences that come with it, as He did with Balaam, a man who loved the wages of unrighteousness more than to do Gods will! Another important thing to note is that when God has told you something, and you have received the full assurance of it in your heart, keep recounting or reciting it to yourself, so that when any contradicting statement or event arises, you will be sure to hold on to Gods word. Finally, always remember that God has magnified His word above all His Name; hence, Gods word as contained in the bible is not, and cannot be subject to human interpretation and contradictions. Any message that is contrary to the written word of God, as contained in the bible, is most definitely, not from God, and should therefore, not be heeded! Beloved, if you would heed these simple but crucial precepts, you would have effectively check-mated doubt, and it will have no place in your heart!

In this broadcast we shall be looking at the last of four cardinal faith killersfear. Fear is an emotional expression which, if permitted to grow, numbs a persons ability to focus on God and His word, and hence his ability to believe or trust God. More than any of the other cardinal faith killersthat is, seeking alternatives to God, unbelief, and doubtfear is the reason why so many Christians do not step out in faith toward God. Let us quickly note that the word fear can mean reverence or respect, and it can also mean fright, dread, or terror. When the object or subject of fear is anything other than God, the resulting fear is a faith killer; but where God is the object or subject of reverential fear, it would actually lead a person to run to God, which is very good indeed. However, it should be noted that there is a fear of God which many people have, but which drives them away from God. This is largely due to a misconception that God cannot forgive them, or that He does not have a provision for their redemption. Friend, if your fear of God is according to the truth about God, it will draw you to Him, rather than drive you away from Him! In 1 John 4:18, the bible says, There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. This verse of the bible is saying that when a person has true or perfect love for God, the fear or dread or terror of eternal punishment in hell is unfounded. It is an imperfect or misconstrued love for God on the part of man, which makes a person to continue to be frightened of punishment in hell, even though he has come to God for salvation. A person who knows, with deep heart conviction, that Gods love for him has completely taken away his sins when he confessed them in an act of true repentance, does not fear punishment in hell, but reverences God as One Who gave His Only Begotten Son that he should not perish but have everlasting life! The bible tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ has brought peace between man and God, so that the enmity that existed between man and God has been done away with. Hence, when God sent His Only Begotten Son into the world, it was not just to remove sin from man, but also to reconcile man back to God. To believe this is to have saving faith; that is, the faith that brings salvation to a man; which gives him confidence that his sins have been forgiven, and he will not perish in hell. Hence, John 3:16 states that whosoever believeth in him [that is, in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the Saviour of mankind] should not perish, but have everlasting life. It must also be stated here that if a person truly loves God, he will not do anything that is contrary to the word of God! In 1 John 2:5, the bible says, whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected What this verse of scripture is saying is that as you keep or obey Gods word, the love of God is perfected or increasingly being completed in you; and when this is the case, there is no room for fear or terror or dread of God or Gods judgment of eternal damnation in your life! Rather, what will obtain, will be the reverential fear of God which can only lead you to worship God in spirit and in truth! It is our prayer that your fear of God be according to the true knowledge of GodWho is loving, forgiving, and merciful, but Who will nonetheless, not overlook sin that is wilfully done, and unconfessed! Indeed, if a person has true knowledge of God, and he has sinned against God, he will run to Him in repentance, and will be forgiven! If you have sinned against God, it is our plea to you, that you run to Him, even now, in genuine repentance, and obtain His forgiveness and mercy.

When a man exhibits fear towards anyone or anything else apart from God, be it respect, reverence, fright, terror, or dread; such fear becomes a faith killer! This kind of fear manifests as the fear of men, the fear of failure, the fear of success and the resultant challenges, the fear of ones own inabilities, the fear of recurring unpleasant events, the fear of witches or of an enemy, the fear of death, the fear of punishment, the fear of poverty, and, the fear of the unknown, to mention a few of the fears which hound men. When all these objects of fear are of concern to an individual, they fail to help his faith toward Godindeed, they kill his faith! For example, when a person has the fear of menwhether it be the respect for men over the reverence for God, or the terror of menhe is unlikely to take God and His word seriously; instead, it is what is spoken by the man he respects or is terrified of, that he will do. In Proverbs 29:15, the bible says, The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe. The Good News Bible translation of this verse reads: It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the LORD, you are safe. This verse intimates us of the dangers of having the fear, or respect, or regard of man, to such an extent, that the fear of God takes a back seat or is regarded as inconsequential by the individual. The result will be the refusal of such a man to do what God asks him to do. Let us listen to what the Lord Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 10:16-33, which includes those of us today, who are Christians indeed: Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

In this passage of scripture, the Lord warns severally that we be not afraid of men or any of their antics which are aimed at scaring us away from doing the work of God. Indeed, the Lord encourages us to flee from one location to another, where that is possible; but if we are arrested, we should not even have premeditated speeches, for His Spirit will speak through us as a testimony against our captors in eternity. The Lord noted that all a man can do to you, is to kill your body but not your soul. Thus, if you do not conquer the fear of death, you will not be able to conquer all other fears. But if your fear of God is deeper and stronger than all other fears, your faith toward God will be firmly established. This is why the Lord urges the individual who believes in Him to fear God who is able, not only to destroy the body, but also, to cast the soul into hell for ever. Let us learn from David, who said, in Psalm 56:3-4, What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

There is a fear of failure, which has kept many people from stepping out in faith toward God; but remember what David said, What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. What about the fear of recurring unpleasant events? When a person discovers that each time he does a particular thing, it always leads to an unpleasant result, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to convince that person to continue to engage in such an activity. So, if God were to ask such a person to do something which he thinks is likely to bring about that unpleasant result, he will not do it. For example, when a person who suffers from a painful ailment goes to God in prayer for healing, unless his fear of the pain recurring is removed, he will most likely be unable to receive the healing from God, but will rather opt to continue to receive medical treatment. But remember what David said, What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Beloved, whatever fear you may have, always remember what David said in Psalm 56:3-4What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. You need to banish fear from your life, by turning to God, through Jesus Christ, in absolute trust; and this comes as a result of your love for Godand remember, we love God because He first loved us, and gave His Son to die for our sins! This should be your confidence, your trust, and your faith toward Godthat God first loved you; and that while [you] were yet [a sinner], Christ died for [you]. (Romans 5:8). How much more, now that you are born again, shall God through Christ not save you from the wrath of His punishment, and from the consequence of the things you fear?

Let us pray!