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Commitment on Trial - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
September 21, 2022 12:00 am

Commitment on Trial - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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September 21, 2022 12:00 am

Your loyalty will be tested so God can evaluate your commitment to Him.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, September 21st. Your dedication to Jesus gains or loses strength when it's tested. Our series continues, helping you understand why your commitment is often put on trial. It really doesn't make any difference how committed you are to Jesus Christ. Your commitment is going to be tested somewhere along the way.

So the title of this message is Commitment on Trial. And if you'll turn to Genesis chapter 22, beginning in verse 1, we want to couch the title of this and this message in the life of Abraham, a man who was surely committed to the Lord God. And yet God gave him one of the most difficult tests that any person could ever face concerning their commitment to the Lord. And if you recall that God had chosen him back over in chapter 11 out of a pagan society. Out of that pagan society, he gave him a command to leave his family, go into a land that God would show him later. And then as the Lord challenged him time after time, he brought him to the most crucial test of his life. And chapter 22, beginning in verse 1 says, it came about after these things that God tested Abraham and said to him, Abraham, and listen, and he said, here I am. Now that's commitment.

Not waiting around, here I am. He said, take now your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac, go to the land of Moriah and offer him. There is a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you. So Abraham rose up early in the morning, settled his donkey, took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son. And he split wood for the burnt offering and rose and went to the place which God had told him.

On the third day, Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. And Abraham said to his young men, stay here with the donkey and I and the lad will go yonder and we will worship and return to you. Now in the Hebrew when it says we will worship and return to you, it says we will worship and we will return even though God had told him you're to offer your son as a sacrifice. So he says then, Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac. He took in his hand the fire and the knife so the two of them walked on together. Now can you imagine what Abraham must have been thinking when he and his son Isaac were walking alone together. And Isaac spoke to Abraham and his father and said, my father, and he said, here I am my son. And he said, behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? And Abraham said, God will provide for himself the lamb for the burnt offering my son.

So the two of them walked on together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham. And he said, here I am, same response. And he said, do not stretch out your hand against the lad and do nothing to him for now I know that you fear God since you have not withheld your son, your only son from me.

Because you know the rest of the story. God tested Abraham in a very unusual way. Oftentimes people read this passage and they say, well, the reason God did that is that God wanted to find out how committed Abraham was to him. He knew how committed. Listen, if God is omniscient, God doesn't need to ask you or check you out for information.

He knows exactly how you're going to respond to every situation. So he didn't test Abraham's commitment in order to find out. So why does God test your commitment? You're committed as a believer and you're committed at different levels at different times in your life. But what is God's purpose for testing your commitment to him?

Well, the two things I want you to jot down and all of these points start with a piece so you can keep count of them. The first one is purpose. Now, I think there are two reasons that God will test our commitment to him, even though he knows how we're going to respond. The first one is that God wants to reveal some things to us. You say, well, what in the world would God want to reveal to us?

Well, first thing God wants us to know, he wants us to discover some things, to reveal some things to us. One of the first purposes for which God will test our commitment is in order, listen, is in order to reveal to us that you and I may discover just how committed we are. And you see, you and I will never know how truly committed we are to Jesus Christ.

We will never know his Lordship in reality until we are tested. So one of the first purposes that God tests us in our commitment for is for the simple reason that we may discover, not that God has to discover. I discover how committed I am when I'm put to the test. The second thing at this point is this, that is that when you and I are put to the test and we say, yes, I'm committed to Jesus Christ, I'm committed to what God wants, I'm committed to God's call in my life. The second reason that God will test us is that God wants to reveal to us his faithfulness when we're tested. Listen, the only way in the world that you'll ever discover how faithful God is to you is for God to put you in the stretch in your life and then put you in a position where if God doesn't come through, you just go into sync. How would you and I ever have discovered the faithfulness of God if we had not assumed the responsibility of trusting him, if God had not put us in that position, that at the last moment we were absolutely desperate and hopeless saying, Lord, if you don't do it, it cannot be done. Those are difficult times and trying times, but they're the times when we discover the faithfulness of God. But there's something else that you and I discover, and this is one of his purposes, is that in the testing of our commitment, God always teaches us new truth. I can look back in my life and going back through my diary and just looking at some times that God tested me. At the end of every single entry, after a period of testing when I went back to write about it, every time that I checked on, I discovered that God taught me something new about himself, about his ways, the way he operates in our lives. So God's purposes are never to discover what we'll do. His purposes always are directed toward us and are in our behalf. And not only does he want us to discover something, but God also wants us to grow.

Here's how we grow. When you and I are tested, what happens is we begin to understand the way God operates. And as I've said to you so many times, one of the best ways for you to instruct your children is to get them in the Old Testament, get them into these biblical characters, and go through with them and help them to see how God operated in the life of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Daniel, of David, of Joseph, of Joshua. How did God operate in their lives?

It is a time of growing. You see, God puts us to the test in order to grow us up. He will never allow you to rest, to remain on some spiritual plateau somewhere. Wherever you are in your spiritual life, you can bet your life that your commitment is going to be tested, and as it is tested, that God's ultimate motivation is to reveal to you something about yourself, to reveal to you something about himself, and to teach you God's ways. You see, the more you and I understand the ways of God, then when we get in these situations, we know how to respond, because we've learned in the past that God does go by certain principles.

Now, you can't put him in a box. You can't box him in and say, here's the way God's going to respond. He doesn't always respond in the same way, but the principles are the same.

So what happens? He wants us to grow in our understanding of how he operates. Secondly, he wants us to grow in our devotion to him. What makes us love him more than to put us in the stretch in our life when we're tried and tested and God in his love wrap us in his arms, envelop us in himself, overshadow us with his love, take us right through that time of testing, and we come out victoriously, triumphantly.

What does that do but deepen our devotion and our love to Jesus Christ? You see, he is in this in order that you and I may grow. One last thing about his purposes is, and you can imagine this, that God always is interested in growing your faith, growing us in our understanding of his ways, growing us in our understanding of how he operates in our life, but growing up our faith. One of my favorite songs is Trust and Obey, because I really believe you could wrap up God's purpose in your life in those two words, trust and obey. When you learn to trust him, you obey him. And if you're obeying him, it's because you're trusting him. And the more you obey him, the more you trust him, the more you trust him, the more you obey him.

And that is a beautiful cycle for a believer to get into. God always has a definite purpose for driving you to the very edge in your Christian life and you think, God, I can't take anymore. He has something in mind in testing your commitment. Now the second thing I want us to notice here is this, and that is, there is a promise that God gives us when we are tested in our commitment. And here are two beautiful promises, jot these two words down.

The first word is control, and the second one is companionship. Whenever God tests your commitment in mind, the two things that he's promised us, he's promised to control the testing, and he's promised his companionship in that testing. Now you recall, if you will, in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 13.

Look at that for just a moment. You probably know this by heart, and if you don't, my friend, there's some verses that you need to learn out of emergencies. You will not drive a car without a spare. Here's one of those verses, you ought not live without the spare. 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 13. No temptation, no trial, no testing, no difficulty has overtaken you, but such is is common to man. But God is faithful who will, listen, who will not allow you to be tried beyond what you are able to bear. That is, God always puts a limitation on his trial, so that whenever he tests your commitment to him, there's a limitation to it, because God knew how much Abraham could be tried. Listen, he knows exactly how you can be tested. One of the wonderful things God does not do is to show you, as soon as you get saved, all that you're going to have to experience all your life. If he did, most of us would say, God, take me home now, forget it.

There's no way for me to live through this. Now second wonderful thing about it is, he promises his companionship in that. He says, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Now listen, the time when I need that the most, the one thing I need to know is, Lord, it all may look dim, and it all may look hopeless, and I don't know how you're going to bring me through this, but the one thing I need to know, God, is that you are with me in it. Now listen, when you know that God is with you in a circumstance, when you're being tested and tried, if you know he's with you, you can take it a whole lot better.

Do you understand why people drink, live on drugs, and wreck and ruin their lives? With that kind of escapism, they don't have God. And when the test comes, when the trial comes, listen, if it's testing and trial minus God, what else do they have to go to but the emptiness of all of that? Look in Joshua chapter one, one of my favorite verses, because here is one of the most beautiful promises that God ever gave any man, Joshua chapter one. The next time you're being tested and tried in your commitment to Jesus Christ, and you say, yes, I'm willing to be obedient to God, whatever God calls me to do, Lord, you just name it, I'll do it, and God says, all right, let's see how you're going to come out on this, not for God's information, but he wants to show us. You see, what that does, that eliminates pride just about the time you think, well, listen, God, here I am, just call on me, and God calls on you. First thing you know, you're stretched out flat out looking up saying, oh my God, be merciful to me.

Look at Joshua chapter one, look if you will in verse nine, he says, Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous? Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Listen, two things that I need to know when I'm being tested, that is, when my commitment to Jesus Christ is really being pushed, two things you and I need to know, I need to know that Almighty God has this trial under his control, and secondly, that I have the promise of his companionship, he's going to walk with me through every step of this. And sometimes I may be crying out, God, where are you? Lord, I don't feel you, Lord, I don't see you.

I haven't heard from you recently, God, where are you? One thing for sure I know, not by my emotions, but by the truth, my God is as close as my heartbeat, more intimate to me than the blood that runs through my veins, because he has become your life and my life. One last thing I want you to jot down, and that's profit, always profits us when we're tested to obey him. Now, let me tell you what I think is the most exciting thing about getting tested in your commitment to Jesus Christ, somebody says, well, the most exciting thing is to grow in the Lord.

Well, that's exciting, but let me just share this with you personally. As I go through tests in my own life and God tests my commitment here, and what he'll do, he'll test you in every area of your life, you can bet your life on that. To me, here's the greatest profit, the greatest reward of having our commitment tested is this unexplainable, overwhelming, bubbling, abundant, overflowing joy of simply knowing I obeyed God. I'll tell you there's something about that to be able to walk away and say, Lord, hallelujah, at least I obeyed you.

You can't tell me anything any more wonderful than that. Listen, think about this, to think that the God of this heaven, and the God of this earth, and your God, the God of this Bible, that he has challenged you personally, and you've been put in the crucible and the fiery test. You've had to face the blow torch of trial and difficulty, and right through it all, you decided, you made a decision to obey God. I want to tell you, I would hate to think that I had to die one of these days and stand before the Lord Jesus Christ, and Him have to say to me, look what I would have done if you had just obeyed me at that crucial point in your life. You see, the more intimate you live with Him, the less you can disobey Him. And the more intimate you live with Jesus Christ, listen, the more intimately you live with Him, the more sensitive you become to grieving Him.

And I've walked through some difficulties in my own life whereby I look back and think, Jesus, I had weakened at the moment of crisis. Listen, the greatest lesson you can teach your children is, son, obey God at all cost, and God will honor you. When you begin to look at this passage of scripture and see what God said to Abraham, listen, look at this. Look if you will, in verse 16 of chapter 21, now the Lord has provided a ram caught in the thicket by His horns and verse 15 says, then the angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time from heaven and said, listen, by myself, can you imagine the overwhelming joy that must have swelled up in Abraham? I believe this is one of the highlights of his life, one of the highest moments of exhilaration in Abraham's life. Listen to what the angel of the Lord said, and that's the Lord. Verse 16, by myself, God says, I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed, I will greatly bless you, I will greatly multiply your seeds as the stars of the heavens and the sands which is on the seashore and your seed shall possess the gate of your, of our enemies, in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed My voice. I wish I knew how to tell you, my friend, how very important it is that you simply obey God. I don't know what you're being tested with right now, but this I do know, that if you will obey Him, if you'll just trust Him to take you through it and hang in there till He gets you through it, I'll guarantee you this, there will be an overwhelming relationship developed between you and Jesus Christ, an intimacy, a sense of overwhelming confidence and assurance about your own life, when you can walk away from a fiery test and know that you may have been bloodied, you may have been bruised and broken, but you obeyed Almighty God.

There's something about that for which there is no substitute in life. Thank you for listening to Commitment on Trial. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-17 13:19:56 / 2023-01-17 13:27:41 / 8

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