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Series: Faith; Love
Sun am 4th August 2013 – Kobus Swart
Gen. 22:1-19; Heb. 11:1; Prov. 3:5; Ps. 56:3-4; Heb. 11:6; John 14:1;
John 14:1-Amp; Heb. 12:6; Heb. 10:23, 35-39; Rom. 8:35-39; 1 John 4:16
When you are challenged in your Christian journey to a point of wanting to withdraw, or to take a detour or even want to get off the train – think again! Everyone is tested at some point in their walk with God, including leaders. But none of us have ever been tested like Abraham the father of our faith (Rom. 4:12,16).
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” …On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.” … Isaac said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” (Gen. 22:1-8). If God decides to test you, you will be tested to the very depth of who you are. The church is in the “third day” and is going through a tough test. This is a best prescription to survive a test: “We will return after we have worshipped the Lord”. Sometimes we do not need to request prayer and activate extra noise by telling about the test we are going through. True faith says: “the Lord will provide”. This is why Abraham is called the father of our faith (Rom. 4:16); he passed the test.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). If we take faith and hope and marry them, it gives birth to trust. There is a relationship between faith and trust but they are not quite the same. Faith comes by hearing a word from God (Rom. 10:6-17) but it has to grow to such a place until you do not have to convince yourself every day that you believe. It becomes a quiet deep trust. You trust God. You do not make a lot of noise about that, it is faith but it is deeper and richer. There is an interrelationship between trust and faith.
I want to focus on trust. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5). When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? (Ps. 56:3-4). There should be a deep trust in the heart of every Christian believer. How often do we start to drift and look at alternatives besides God? And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Heb. 11:6).
What follows our believing in the existence of God is practical trust in His loving care no matter under what pressure we find ourselves. If we believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him, the long-term outflow is a practical trust, that under any circumstance He cares for me; a deep trust that God loves me. The biggest single need of every man and woman is to know that God loves them, He cares for them. God will provide (Gen. 22:8; Phil. 4:19). This is a deep, quiet practical trust, relying upon Him. Do not let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me(John 14:1 – Amplified). People’s hearts are often troubled by circumstances. We must believe that God has not lost control; He has not given up on his people; He hears their cry. Christians and non-Christians alike are being tested. We all need an uncompromising trust in the love of God.
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives (Heb. 12:6). God disciplines those He loves and deals with you as with sons. As a parent disciplines his children to help them make better decisions, it is because of a sincere love. God disciplines us because He loves us. Repent for the times that you doubt His love. People become very insecure when they do not know that they are loved.We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 John. 4:16). David said “I put my trust is God’s love for me” (Ps. 56:11). Nothing can take away the love of God even if we stumble, even if we fall.
Love should be demonstrated in a greater way in the family of God and it should reflect what God’s love is. Even when we believe and trust, anxiety and doubt may come but we must not make room for it. We must not give internal consent to those emotions. Somebody who has a deep ruthless trust in God has confidence. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward, For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. (Heb. 10:35-39). When you are tested, do not withdraw. God is not impressed by withdrawal; we must be steadfast in our trust. Believe that He who is coming, will come.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:35-39).
God loves even the sinner(Jn 3:16) because He looks at him through the finished work of Christ. But He loves us too much to leave us as we are; He wants us to become the reflection of Himself on the earth (Rom 8:29). Trust is an unshakable reliance on the fact that God loves us!