Search BIBLE IN SONG
Hear the Bible COME ALIVE IN SONG!
Search BIBLE IN SONG
By Brian Pepper
There are so many people today who feel that they have gone so
far in sin that God can no longer forgive them. Why, not so long ago
a man said to me "I just can't feel that I am forgiven." Friends, it
isn't a matter of feeling at all. We have to exercise faith in the
Lord, believe what He has said, and accept the many promises that He
Man will let you down
In Psalms 118:8 we read, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man." The Lord is not like man! Why, these days you just cannot take a man at his word, people let you down so often. How many times do you hear this? "I am not going to trust that person any more. Why, I did my best to help them and they returned all that I did for them with some mean deed." No God is not like that.
The Bible says that you can trust Him, He wont let you down. There too many today, who are leaning on their own understanding, instead of putting their trust where it should be. Man needs more trusting faith in God. It is quite alright to believe but believing is not enough.
You just think of it! While Noah was building his great ship, the Ark, there must have been many people who went through and inspected that great boat. I am sure they were impressed by the massive timbers, the powerful ribbing, the strong braces, and thick planking. Everything they saw told them that this boat was being built to take a tremendous strain, besides it was fully waterproofed with bituminous paint. I have no doubt that they had plenty of faith in the ability of the Ark to float and withstand terrific pressure, but that did not help them one little bit. Their faith was of no value because they trusted in their own understanding.
You take St Peter for instance. He had been out fishing all night and had not caught a single mullet or even a skippy. There just wasn't a fish around. Plenty of fishermen have had that experience. Jesus said, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a drought." Peter was rather discouraged, he started to argue with the Master, but realising that after all Jesus had never failed before, he did as he was told and what was the result? Listen to the Scripture! Luke 5:6, "And when they had done this, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes and their net broke. Verse 7, And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships so they began to sink."
St Peter could have said, "Lord I would like to see the fish before I go out", but he believed without seeing and was duly rewarded. But did you notice that St Peter not only had faith but he followed it up by doing something. James 2:20 says, "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead." Faith has to be followed up by action. St Peter could have believed Christ and said, "If you say there are fish out there, that is enough for me, I will take your word." But with his believing, he went into action and was well rewarded.
When we have that trusting faith in God, we can be certain that
He will honour our faith by showering upon us the rich promises
contained in His Book. Take one of these many promises, you will
find it in
Isaiah 26:3, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
Now I want you to notice that you can expect perfect peace if
you put your trust in Him.
Trusting in others
There are too many putting their trust in others. If you are doing that, than all I can say is that you can expect trouble. Just like the good brother who lent another church member $10 and the money was never paid back. It so grieved the man who made the loan that he gave up coming to church. If the Devil came to you today and offered you $1,000,000, would you sell out? Why, of course not. Then do not sell out because you placed your trust in some erring mortal man. No, Isaiah says, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
Money cannot buy peace
We are promised perfect peace if we put our trust in Christ.
Money cannot buy that peace. The poorest of the poor can have it,
free in abundance.
Isaiah 55:1 says, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come
ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye buy and eat;
yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."
It is a free gift and yet so few avail themselves of it.
What keeps us from receiving the promise?
Today the hospitals are full of people who are mentally distressed, some on the border of nervous breakdown, others emotionally unbalanced. Psychiatrists' are now accepted as professional practitioners, whereas a few years back they were almost unheard of. If only people would get back to God. If only they would put their trust in Christ. What a different world it would be! Why, the promise is there, it is clear enough. Then why do not people accept? It seems as if there are three things that keep us from receiving the promise.
1. The first I would suggest is that we do not truly repent. We have sinned, we are sorry we have sinned, but we do not do anything definite about it. We make no real effort to put sin out of our lives, but still hang on and on, little realising that while we are in such a condition God can do nothing for us.
2. Another thing that holds us back is often we are unforgiving one to another. Christ gave us a definite command to forgive others. How can we expect the forgiveness of God if we refuse to do the same as God does, that is to forgive us. I know a lady who has never forgiven her husband because at one time in their married life he began to pay attention to another woman, it was an old sweetheart who for a while captivated his attention. However the situation was restored to balance by the return of the husband to the wife. But that wife has not forgiven her husband for his lapse. No, if we are unforgiving, that will hold us back from realising the promise of Jesus.
3. Then there is another thing that holds us back from realising the promise of Jesus. And that is not believing what God has said and promised. Like the traveller in the Eastern country who got tired of carrying his pack on his back over the rough tracks, and he bought a donkey to make his way lighter. But instead of placing his pack on the donkey's back, he mounted the donkey with the heavy pack still on his own back. God has said, "You came to Me and I will lighten your load." But so many refuse to believe what God has said. They are like the man with the donkey. Instead of using the donkey to lighten the load, they still carry the heavy burden. God wants to lighten that load. He wants to help you and He wants to help me.
There is one thing that men used to hate in days gone by. There are so many liars today that this hardly hits home. In the past when men have received black eyes and been knocked down, because they questioned some man's word in an outspoken manner. Have you ever thought how it must grieve Christ when men question his word. There are so many who say, "I just cannot believe, I just haven't that faith." Now if a man came up to me, that is someone I know, and asked me if he could borrow my car for a day and I said, "alright you can have it." Then the man replied saying, "I just cannot believe what you say, or I doubt what you say is true." I would ask that man, "why is it you doubt my word? Why cannot you trust me?" You would want to know wouldn't you. Well God asks you, why do you not trust Him, has He ever failed His word?
No, it is Satan that starts those doubts and he is a past master at it. He started it with Eve. In Genesis 3:1 we read, "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. Verse 4, And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die."
In other words, the Devil said, "God does not really mean what He says, He is only trying to frighten you, there is no need to be alarmed at all". And he is doing the same thing today with a lot of modern Adams and Eves. The Devil says, "You really cannot take God at his Word, after all He doesn't really mean what He says."
The tragedy is that so many swallow the old story and in doing so go down to death and hell. It is no wonder that Jesus said in Luke 18:8, "I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth."
Because Satan has sown his seeds of doubts so well, Christ tells us that when He comes in all His Glory with all of His Holy Angels, there will not be too many found on that great day with a simple trusting faith in God, believing in His rich promises. As a matter of fact, only the trusting believing person, will enter into the celestial city, the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:8 says, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, ... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
It is a serious thing to doubt God's Word. If we continue to doubt, it will result in our being left out of the kingdom. You will remember when the Angel of God appeared to Zacharias and told him that a son was to be given him, he doubted and said, "Whereby shall I know this?" Why, the Angel said, is it not enough for you that God has said it? Zacharias, you shall be deaf and dumb till the child shall be born "because thou believest not my words." He did what so many people do now; he would not take God's Word for it.
When Israel doubted God's Word, they sent out twelve men, one for each tribe, to spy out the land. When these men came back they brought a majority and a minority report. They all believed that it was a good land, flowing with milk and honey. We never saw such fruit, such wine, and milk, and honey, and oil; but ... there is always a 'but' in unbelief, we say giants, we say the children of Anak. The people are strong, the cities are walled. Just so, unbelief saw the difficulties, and great giants, the strong walls of Jericho. Instead of remembering Him, who had brought them through the Red Sea, who delivered them from Pharaoh, who gave them manna from Heaven, and brought water from the flinty rock. Instead of looking to Him they looked at the giants and the walls, and they were afraid. Ten out of the twelve spies came back terribly afraid of the strong walls and the giants. Just so the Devil is always ready to provide plenty of giants, and unbelief is terrified and says, "don't go".
But faith sees further than that. Faith says, "what if there are giants? What need we care for walls or giants, when our God is with us?" Faithful Caleb and Joshua said, "Do not fear the people of the land, for their defense is departed from them; fear them not." That is faith for you! These two men believed God's Word "I will give you the land" and that was enough for them. If God says, "I will give it to you", that should be enough for us. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31) But no sooner does God promise us something then Satan suggests doubts. And very soon we are seeing all the difficulties, the unsurmountable problems, the mountains of trouble. So long as St Peter had his eye on the LORD, he could walk on the water very well, but no sooner did he get his eye off the LORD, and begin to look at the waves, then he began to sink. When our eye is on the LORD Jesus Christ, then we are strong, but when we look around and forget Him, then we are weak, and down we go.
If we are willing to obey and go right ahead and do what He tells us, He will carry us through. The waves will not trouble us when our eye is fixed on Him. That is faith. I assure you that you will never be saved till you accept God's Word by faith, for salvation is linked with faith, and faith is linked with salvation.
One of the most dangerous doctrines that is being preached today is that it does not matter what a man believes, as long as he is sincere, that it does not matter what you believe. That means a good Mohammedan, a follower of Confucius, a superstitious Buddhist, they are all right, that is if they are sincere. The Bible does not tell us that. It is very clear that Salvation and everlasting life come only through Christ. John 14:6 says, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Again in Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
I tell you that it does make a great difference what a man believes. It is the difference between eternal life and damnation. There are a great many people whose creed is, all right, they pin their faith to a doctrine. Now doctrines and creeds are all right in their way, but if creeds and doctrines do not bring a person to Christ they are not worth the paper they are written on. You must do more than just believe that Christ can save, that Jesus died to save. You must have Him in your heart. You must lay hold of Him by faith and then you will be safe.
There are some people who say, "It does not matter what a person believes" and they go down to destruction. There are others who say, "My belief is all right: it is sound and orthodox", yet they do not lay hold on Christ and they go down to destruction just like the others. It is only faith that grasps the Son of God that will ever save a soul. In Isaiah 12:2, "Behold God is my salvation I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD Jehovah is my strength and my song'; He also is become my salvation." Yes, God is our salvation. If we put our trust in Him, then there is no need to worry.
It is really surprising the number of people who feel insecure in their spiritual life. You say to them, "It will really be wonderful when we walk through those gates of pearl, and down the streets of gold." They say, "We wish we could believe that, but I am not too sure that I will be there." Plenty of good Christian folk tell me that they seem to be very uncertain about their salvation. Poor Christians! Not ready to believe God, not ready to take Him at His Word. Why it is no wonder that God said that the unbelieving will not go in through the pearly gates.
Faith is Simple
Is faith a difficult thing? Whey these little children would teach us all about faith. The little child lives a life of faith. That little boy over there does not worry about his next pair of boots, he knows that his father will provide those. He does not care at all about his next coat or hat, if he needs one then that will be supplied. You never hear him worry about his breakfast tomorrow morning. He knows that it will be there. You see, he just lives on faith and it is so simple.
But wouldn't it be ridiculous if a child started to worry about where the next meal is coming from (unless the parents were poor). If the average child started to worry and doubt if the parents could supply that pair of shoes, that new coat, tomorrow's breakfast, then something would be radically wrong. And yet that is just what we do with God. We say, "I wonder if God can give me salvation full and free, I wonder if I really can expect to go to the glory land?" It is no wonder that Jesus said, "You had better become like little children, unless you do, you may miss out."
The older we get, the further along the way we find ourselves, the harder it seems to exercise that simple trust of the little child. If we are going to make the last stage of the journey, then we must have complete and trusting faith. This is a very important thing, for it can stand right in the way of our personal salvation. Yes, if there is one thing that is blighting souls, sending others into a misery of unbelief, it is that one thing, not taking God at His Word.
If it is in your life, if it is in my life, the we must root it out and say "I will trust, and not be afraid." When we do this then we will know that "God is our Salvation, the LORD Jehovah your strength and song.