Thursday, December 26, 2019

God Acts On Faith Shown Not On Promises Made

God is not an enabler. He does not act based upon promises made, but only upon the demonstration of faith and obedience. He doesn’t act until we take the step of faith. This should not be confused with God’s grace and mercy that He shows to all people so they might come to repentance, (Romans 2:4) or the fact that He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:25)

When you are confronted with the Truth of God, you know it. The troubling question is always, “What are you going to do about it?” The Truth always confronts what is not true. If there is something in your life that is contrary to the nature of God, the Word and the Spirit of Truth will expose it. Once exposed, you are faced with a choice. Do you act in obedience to the Truth or disregard it? That is a kinder way of describing disobedience. Very often we choose to not consider our disregard of Truth as disobedience, but rather merely a choice that is available to us.

Example: Shortly after our conversation with a friend about moving from Ocean Springs to Waveland while we battled against the ravages brought on by Hurricane Katrina, I was asked to meet with a pastor from Montgomery. A number of people from his church had helped us establish the work and served as volunteers. When we met with the pastor, he told us that his church was setting up a volunteer camp in Bay Saint Louis and asked if Martie and I would run the camp. Bay Saint Louis is a sister city to Waveland. We knew then that it was time for us to go. We weren’t certain where “go” would be ― until that day. Since we had no income, the pastor agreed that his church would help us with the mortgage on our house for 6 months.

During one of visits to check on our house, I saw a realtor showing a house across the street. The owners of that house were in the military. The husband had orders to Korea and the wife was going to live with her parents while he was gone for 13 months. So, they were selling their house. I don’t want you to think that I am always hearing voices, but I was prompted to walk across the street and ask the realtor if she could stop by and talk with us about selling our house. She agreed and asked if the couple that was with her could look at our house. Obviously, it was not listed nor had we done any of the “get the house ready for someone you don’t know to look at it;” things you do so the house will show well, but we agreed. After the walk through, the realtor told us that she would return in a few days with some “comps” to give us an idea about an asking price. When she returned two days later and after we discussed pricing, I told her “There is just one thing. God told us to sell the house so we want it sold before you put a sign in the yard.” She looked at me with no small amount of skepticism and said “OK, we will see.” That was Sunday night. She called us on Thursday and said “You will never believe it.  I sold your house!” Well why wouldn’t we believe it! God never blesses except in the context of your obedience.

So – we have been in Texas for two years and have yet to sell our home in Alabama.  Does that mean that somehow we have missed God? No – it means that we have not sold our house.  We have not missed a payment. We are trusting God to provide for our needs.  Our obedience is not contingent upon the house being sold – but in our confidence in the God we serve. He will provide – of that we are certain. I have talked to so many people who wanted to serve God – but first there were things they must attend to ... That struggle in not a new one, quite common to us mortals.

“Now behold, one came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’ So He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’ Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” – Matthew 19:16-22

Do you see what the young man’s struggle was with? Jesus had addressed the last 6 commandments in Exodus 20 but the young man struggled to obey the first one?

Then another of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’” – Matthew 8:20-22

It’s not enough to agree – to want to do something – we must act by faith. It is only then that God will reveal himself. This young man struggling with devotion.  What if God’s call required you to abandon your natural relationships and life style, would you do it?  Do you see what this has to do with the sovereignty of God and faith? What are the obstacles that would keep you from following the call of God?

Pastor Rick Warren said “God is more interested in your character than your comfort.”

There is a term that those who were in the Army will be familiar with, “Foxhole Religion.”  When you are faced with imminent death in battle, people are prone to look to God, even when they have ignored Him or perhaps railed against Him in the past.  When the possibility of eternity is staring them in the face, they look up. Promises are made to God out of fear and not out of faith. Promises that the person making the promises has no intention of living up to if they live.

God sees the heart.  He knows who is sincere and who is not.  But even if the promise is sincere, that does not mean that God will spare their life.  Many Christians have died tragically.  The people making the empty promises want to be spared death or harm.  They are not the least bit interested in living for God afterward.

God is not interested in our promises about what we might do. He is interested in our obedience – what we actually do.  That is the preferable sacrifice – read Psalm 51.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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