Knowing God 7. CAN GOD BE TRUSTED?
Knowing God 7. CAN GOD BE TRUSTED? Psalm 33: 4 How much can you trust someone? You can trust a person only to the degree that you know that person. The more you know God the easier it is for you to trust Him. Psalm 33: 4 "For the word of the Lord is right and true. He is faithful in all He does." Is there anything God can't do? Yes, there are 3 things God cannot do. 1. God cannot do wrong. The Bible says He is just. He always does what is right. 2. God cannot lie. He always tells the truth. The Bible says He is holy. 3. God cannot break a promise. What He says, He does. The Bible calls that His faithfulness. If you'll grasp these 3 characteristics of God - God is holy, just and faithful - you'll have no problem trusting God even when you don't understand, even when things seem difficult. The greatest example of God's faithfulness is the nation of Israel. God continually made promises to Israel and fulfilled them. Joshua 21:45 "Not one of all the Lord's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled." To Israel, faithfulness was one of God's most important qualities. It's talked about almost more than any other quality in the OT. God is a faithful God. What He says He does, He does. He made all kinds of promises to the nation of Israel. He promised Abraham a son. He promised the Israelites a land of their own. He promised the Messiah. He promised harvest, blessing, protection, deliverance from Egypt, restoration after captivity. All through the OT God made promises over and over. Notice what it says about God's track record. Not one of those promises failed. He had 100% accuracy. God proved Himself reliable time after time. He was consistent. Deut.7: 9 "He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant to a thousand generations." In the last 4000 years God has remained faithful to Israel about the promises He has made, in spite of captivity, mass genocide, moving them out of the country and relocating them, persecution. In spite of all of these things Israel is still around today. That is evidence of God's faithfulness. How many Hitites do you see around? Jebusites? There are still Israelites around! Because God is faithful. I understand why those folks are so zealous for their land. God promised it to them, gave it to them and they're still here 4000 years later. God is faithful. He never breaks a promise. What about today. Psalm 145:13 "The Lord is faithful to all his promises." There are over 7000 promises in the Bible. God wants to fulfill His promises. But you've got to claim them! God has made some incredible guarantees to you. He has put them in writing. So, looking at God's faithfulness, I want to look at 6 wonderful guarantees that God has promised you can count on. 1. I CAN DEPEND ON GOD TO FORGIVE MY SINS 1 John 1:9 "If we freely admit that we have sinned, we find him reliable and just. He forgives us and makes us thoroughly clean from all that is evil." "Reliable" and "just" - the 2 characteristics of God that guarantee your forgiveness. God says, My forgiveness is based on who I am not on who you are. In every promise, there's a condition. God says if you do this, I will do this. Admit your sin, confess it to God. The promise is God will forgive. Does the verse say anything about working for forgiveness? No. Yet, it is in our nature to try to earn our forgiveness from God. We bargain, "If you'll just forgive me this one time, I'll never do it again!" We bribe, "If you'll just forgive me, I'll tithe 20%... read my Bible every day ... I'll talk to that person at work about you." We beg, "Please, please... forgive me" as if you had to convince God to forgive you. You don't need to bargain, bribe or beg. You admit your sin and God says, "I will forgive." He's faithful! Count on it! I can depend on God to forgive my sin. 2. I CAN DEPEND ON GOD TO GIVE ME GUIDANCE Proverbs 3: 5, 6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way." "Trust in the Lord" - here's the promise - "he will show you." Many times - What am I going to do? It may be a big crisis or a minor decision - who do you look to? There is only one completely reliable source for guidance. That's God. He's the only one who can really see into the future. He has perspective. He can help you out. How do you get guidance from God? 2 ways: 1. Through the Bible. As you read the Bible and study principles you become more and more acquainted with the ways of God. God's will is found in God's word. 2. Through godly counsel. Christians who know the Bible, who know those principles - they can say, "The Bible says..." and bring light to your life. God says you can count on Me to forgive your sins and to give you guidance. 3. I CAN DEPEND ON GOD TO SETTLE THE SCORE. When you read the newspaper - It is just not fair! You read about a criminal who's done all sorts of things and he gets off scott-free on some technicality. You read about a scandal where somebody has been dishonest and yet he's prospering and he skips the country with millions. You're working hard and barely making it. It's just not fair! You are exactly right. Life is not fair. Because we live in an imperfect world, because there is sin in this world, people do the wrong things and innocent people get hurt and life is not fair. That's why one day God is going to settle the score. There is a heaven and there is a hell. One day there is going to be a judgment time. Romans 12: 19 (LB) "Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said he will repay those who deserve it." Don't try to get revenge yourself, let God do it and He will repay those who deserve it. God is very much aware of what people do to you. If you've been hurt in the past, God understands and he knows. Let God handle it - He gives you 2 options when you're hurt. You can defend yourself or you can let God defend you. The Bible says we reap what we sow. If people hurt you or malign you, they will reap what they sow. It's inevitable. But you've got to trust God and His faithfulness and let Him settle the score. The greatest example of this is Jesus. 1 Peter 2: 23 (LB) "Jesus never answered back when insulted; when he suffered he did not threaten to get even; he left his case in the hands of God who always judges fairly." That's God's justice. He judges fairly. Jesus says, I'm not going to defend myself. I'm going to leave that in the hands of the Father. Because God is faithful to settle the score. 4. I CAN DEPEND ON GOD TO REWARD MY GENEROSITY Luke 6: 38 "Give and it will be given to you. For with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you." That is not positive thinking, prosperity doctrine, some fund raising technique. Jesus said, Give and it will be given to you. Jesus does not lie. I can be confident that when I'm generous, God rewards my generosity. There are more promises in the Bible related to giving than any other topic. If you are not giving 10% of your income you are only hurting yourself. You're not hurting God. God doesn't need your money. Proverbs 3: 5, 6 - honour the Lord with the first part of your income. Right off the top I give back to Him, in gratitude for what He's done, in faithfulness, in thanksgiving, in faith to the future. That will bless your life. You cannot out give God. The Bible says in Proverbs that "He who gives to the poor is like lending to the Lord" and He repays. Proverbs 22, "The generous man will himself be blessed." I can be faithful, counting on God to reward my generosity. As we have been faithful to God He has been faithful to us and blessed us abundantly. God is faithful. He keeps his promise. When he says, "Give and it will be given unto you" it's not a fund raising technique. That is a promise of God just like every other promise in the Bible. Count on it! If you haven't learned to be a generous person you are just cheating yourself. 5. I CAN DEPEND ON GOD TO KEEP ME SAVED. Once I've placed my life in the hands of Christ and committed myself to Him, trusted Him for salvation, then God takes over and I don't ever need to worry about losing that salvation. Because I didn't earn it in the first place I don't keep earning it by good works. It's a gift in the first place and continuously. 1 Cor. 1: 8, 9 (LB) "God guarantees right up to the end that you'll be counted free from all guilt on that day when he returns. God will surely do this for you because He always does what He promises." God guarantees that what He starts in your life He will finish. He will do this for you. If I had to earn my salvation then I could lose it overnight. If I had to work for it then obviously when I stopped working I would lose it. But I'm saved by grace and therefore kept by grace. I was saved by God's power therefore His power has the power to keep me saved. But what happens if you sin? All do. No Christian is perfect. If I sin am I going to lose my salvation? 2 Tim. 2: 13 "If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for God cannot disown himself." Phillips - "He cannot deny His own nature." We may let go of Him, but God does not let go of you. He is a faithful God and He cannot disown Himself. John 10 "You are in My hand and no one can snatch you away." He does the keeping because He's a faithful God. 6. I CAN DEPEND ON GOD TO REMEMBER MY SERVICE. Whenever you're doing something that you know is right and you know it's a good thing to do but you don't feel like anybody is noticing, do you ever feel like saying, "What is the use? Why even try? Nobody notices. People don't care so why even bother." Some of you women say, "My husband and kids don't even notice the work that I do. I'm taken for granted." Some of you say, "When I go to work, I'm a conscientious worker. I'm productive. I have integrity. I don't steal. I'm honest. I work hard. But my boss couldn't care less. I'm not appreciated. Why bother?" God notices and He remembers every good thing you do. He's faithful to do that. Heb.6:10 (Phillips) "God is not unfair; He will not forget all that you have done, nor the loving labor which you have shown for his sake in looking after fellow Christians." I think of so many of you who minister here at this church. You are not spectators, you are participators. You work in many different areas. You volunteer. You've got involved in ministry - take meals to people, do hospital visitation.... on and on. Sometimes you may think you don't have the time - but you do it anyway. God takes notice. God is remembers and He is going to reward you generously because He is a faithful God. He rewards our good when we serve Him. If you're not serving in any capacity what kind of reward do you think you're going to get? There are hundreds of promises in the Bible. They are there for claiming. I've picked only 6 of them today. But they are not for everyone. They are only for those who have a relationship to Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 1: 20 "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are `Yes' in Christ." Christ is the key to the promises of God. It's our relationship to Him that unlocks all of these promises. If you do not have a relationship to Christ you cannot claim all of these promises for forgiveness, blessing, etc. They are "Yes" in Christ. That's the starting point. Can God be trusted? Can I trust God with my life? Definitely - yes you can. It's the wisest decision you'll ever make to give your life to God. Because God is holy, He will never lie to me. Because God is just, He always does what is right and fair. Because He is faithful, He never breaks a promise. One more promise: Romans 10: 11, 13 (LB) "For the Scripture tells us that no one who believes in Christ will be disappointed. Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Have you done that? Why don't you do it today? Call on the name of the Lord. Those of you who have already made that decision, you are Christians, one of the greatest lessons you will need to learn in life is to put your trust completely in the faithfulness of God. One of the marks of a maturity is to trust the faithfulness of God. The next step is He wants you to become a faithful person. He wants you to be faithful in your family - be a faithful worker - be faithful to your church - be faithful in your giving - in disciplining your children. He wants you to keep the commitments you make. Prayer: "God, I know I could never earn Your forgiveness. Because You are reliable and just, because You have promised it, I ask You to forgive the things that I have done wrong." “God I can depend on You to give me guidance. I'm going to trust You to show me the way." "God, I’m going to depend on You to settle the score. I've been trying to get even, but I hand it over to You." "Help me to become, not a taker in this world, but a giver of my time, my life, myself, my money and to be a generous, giving person." "Thank You, God, that I don't have to keep my salvation. I put my life in Your hands and You will make sure that I will make it to heaven." "Lord, I'm available. I want to give myself to You and I want to serve You because I know You're not going to forget the things I'm doing. You see the things I'm doing. Help me to remember that if no one else notices, You do." I thank You that You are a faithful God, that the story of the WPBC is a testimony to Your faithfulness and how You have guided us along, step by step, all the way. We trust You implicitly and completely to guide us in the future. In Jesus' name. Amen.