Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, April 4th. How can you be sure God is dependable when things aren't turning out the way you expect? Get some help understanding the basics of His trustworthiness in Part 1 of The Faithfulness of God. All right, if you'll turn to Psalm 89. Psalm 89, we're talking about the faithfulness of God. And the 89th Psalm, I just want us to read several verses here, not the whole Psalm concerning His faithfulness, beginning in verse 1. I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever. With my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up forever, Thy faithfulness shall thou establish in the very heavens. Verse 5, And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord, thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. Verse 8, O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee, or to thy faithfulness round about thee? Verse 24, But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted. Verse 33, Nevertheless, my lovingkindness will I not only take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.
My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that has gone out of my lips. Now, when I personally think of the attributes of God to me, and I think we all, it depends upon the experiences we've had and how the Lord's worked in our lives. All of us probably as we go through these attributes, characteristics of God and his personality, all of us will find one that best or maybe stands out above all the rest for us because of something that God has done in our life. But as I think of his attributes, the one that stands out above all the rest is this, that I know that my God is faithful. When the bottom drops out, I can trust him. When all hell breaks loose, I can trust him. When the floods of blessings that come, I can trust him. He is trustworthy and dependable. As we've gone through these attributes, I want you to remember two or three things that first of all, the attributes of God are never in conflict with each other.
You will never find one that puts a strain on the other one. They're always complementing each other because you see, you can't have faithfulness without immutability. You can't have immutability without sovereignty. And you can just go round and round if you put all the attributes together and try to move one around or readjust one or exclude one or build one of them up. You don't get the God of the Bible. And that's why I go back to say almost every Sunday, if you're going to understand God, you've got to read this book and you've got to read all of it. Because you can't just stick with the gospels or the epistles. So my purpose in explaining these attributes is to give you a little capsule of the character of the personality of the nature of God, not only to get your own theological basis of understanding of who God is right, but also to learn how to apply those truths to your personal life.
And a third reason to give you something that makes you sensitive to error when you hear it. Your whole concept of God is going to be far greater, far more vast in your comprehension of everything that God's doing once you get a scope of what he's like. Now, when we say that God is faithful, we said that God is immutable. That is, he's always the same yesterday, today and forever. That he never changes.
There isn't anything about him that changes, though he works differently in the lives of people. He is always true to himself. Now, when we say that God is faithful, we're simply saying that you can depend upon God to do what he said he would do. You can always depend upon God doing what he said he would do. Listen, what God is is always consistent with what God does. And what God does is always consistent with what God is. You'll never find God acting in a way that he is not. He is never anything that is contradicted of what he does. When we say that God is faithful, that means that you and I have a God in whom we can put absolute total and complete trust and never even give one thought to the fact that God will ever fail us under any condition.
Now, I know what somebody's thinking. You say, yeah, but he's failed me. No, he hasn't. And I want to show you who did the failing and why a little later. But I think the first thing I want us to do is I want us to go through the scriptures here and look at some verses and I want you to mark them in your Bible.
Some of you may already have marked because I've probably referred to these at some time or the other. I want us to get a few verses in our mind that God is faithful. That is, we can depend on him. We can trust him.
He's not going to change. In other words, the faithfulness of God in simple terms is this God will do what he says he will do every time he says he will do it, regardless of the circumstances of the consequences. That is the foundation of every ounce of confidence you have in your spiritual life. If there was the slightest indication the Bible that God proved unfaithful at any one point, our whole faith in God would shatter.
You see, this is the reason it's important for you to understand all the attributes. Because, you see, if at one point you have some question as to the validity of what the Bible teaches about God in that area, I'll tell you what, you've got a great big nick in your armor. And Satan, listen, Satan will attack you at the point of doubt and unbelief. And you may believe, oh, yes, I believe God's omnipotent and I believe he's omniscient and I believe he's omnipresent and I believe he's merciful and he's loving. But you mean to tell me that he'll always do every time, everything he says he will do, regardless of the consequences?
Yes. And if you don't get that attribute rooted and grounded in your heart when it comes to praying, when you get in temptation, when it comes to forgiveness, when you start getting your conscience clear, when you start looking back, if you don't believe God's faithful, here's what will happen. You'll drag a whole lot of excess baggage all the way through your life and you'll carry a weight God never intended you to carry. All right, if you'll turn to Deuteronomy chapter 7 for just a moment, I want us to look at some of the indications of his faithfulness and how clearly he states. And you see, God wanted his people to understand, as the revelation was beginning to unfold to them, that they could trust him, they could believe him.
I mean, you remember now they didn't have Bibles like we have them, didn't have tracts, all they had was the Word of God given through his prophets. Chapter 7, Deuteronomy verse 9, know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God who keepeth covenant, that is keeps his contract with us and keeps mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations. And that's God's way of saying, man, you can trust him forever.
He will keep his promise with you. Psalm 36, look at that for just a moment. Psalm 36 and verse 5, thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. That's his way of saying, wherever you are, you can always trust God. Is it not true that our hesitations in the spiritual life is because we're just not quite sure what's going to happen? If somehow we can switch our focus to him and that we are trusting him and believing him and saying to him, Lord, I'm not trusting in my circumstances, I'm trusting in you.
I'm trusting in you to be faithful to what you've promised. It is amazing how God will give you courage and strength to face the most difficult circumstances of life. If you'll turn to First Corinthians chapter one for a moment, I just want to hit through a few of these verses. First Corinthians chapter one and about verse nine.
Look there just a moment. Verse nine, he says it so clearly. God is faithful by whom you are called under the fellowship of his son, Jesus Christ our Lord. That is, God is going to be faithful to you. When he saved you, he made you a covenant promise that he would be faithful to every promise in this book he's made to every one of his children. So we don't have to say a wonder if God is going to be partial somewhere and going to be more faithful to one person than he is the other. Now, when you think about the faithfulness of God and you think about the fact that he never changes. Let's just look at some things that that he's told us in the scripture that's an indication of that. For example, in Genesis chapter eight, look, if you will, at the last verse of that chapter.
Has he not kept his promise with the seasons, the sun, the moon, the stars, the climate, everything you see to us? We say, oh, well, these things are just part of nature. But now why are they part of nature? Because God promised them.
That's the reason he's faithful. Every time you and I see a rainbow, that is an indication and a what? It is a symbol of the faithfulness of God. He said he would never allow this old globe ever again to be totally destroyed by water. The rainbow is God's covenant promise with man.
The earth will never be destroyed like that again. You can go through the whole Old Testament. Every single time he made a promise, he kept it. Now, when somebody says to me today, well, I'm not too sure about whether Jesus is going to come this way or that way or the other. All I want to say to them, look, do you believe that God's faithful?
And I believe this is a stark answer for a lot of things. Do you believe that God's faithful? Well, sure I do.
Let's look back and see if he is. Let's just take the life of Jesus, for example, alone. Most of you have a Bible with all kind of notes in it. You've got a whole list of the prophecies about Jesus Christ given in the Old Testament. Beside those, you've probably got the other list of all the things that Jesus Christ fulfilled from the very town he was born in to his crucifixion and all the rest. You see, everything that God has given us in the Old Testament validates and proves the faithfulness of God that you can depend upon him.
And he says in Hebrews that God gave us all those things so that today you and I can look back and see what God did. And therefore we can believe he'll do the same thing for us today. He's faithful. He's true to say that he's faithful means that he is truthful at every single turn. You'll never find God proving to be a failure. And he says in Second Timothy chapter two, even when we don't believe, even when we stumble, even when we falter, even when we are weak, he's still true to his word.
Now I want us to look at some areas in our own lives for a few moments in a very practical way of how we apply this. We say, oh, yes, I believe that God's faithful. I believe you can trust him.
I believe he's dependable. Well, let's look in several things. First of all, let's look at the way he pardons us. I could tell you to turn to First John one nine. Maybe you may need to turn to it if you don't know it by heart. But notice what he says. He says when it comes to a believer having disobeyed God.
Now, I want you to watch this because you see the reason some of you watch this carefully. The reason some of you have not taken the eraser and erased that chalk mark you put around your life where you said, this is as far as I'm going in my commitment to Jesus Christ, because I don't know what's going to happen. The reason you've not erased that and stepped out of it over here in the will of God so he can really bless you is because you're not quite sure he's cleaned up your past.
Listen, if you have confessed your sins to God and you still have an aching conscience, you do not believe in the faithfulness of God. And almost every other Sunday, someone comes and says, I'm not sure I'm saved. I said, well, tell me what you did to get saved. Well, here's what I did.
And their testimonies oftentimes are so delightful and so unquestionably real. I want to say sometimes, man, if you're not saved, I'm not saved. Sure, you're saved. But here's what we're doing. We're saying first John one nine. You see, there's some verses we just quote that don't mean a thing to us. Now, listen to what he says. If we agree with God about our sin, that it is a disaster in our life. He is faithful.
Now, he put two attributes here together. He didn't say he's just faithful to forgive us. He said, and you see, this is the here's the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God had missed the thing because you see the fellow who says, man, I just claimed first John one nine.
And I want to say to him, brother, listen, you need to read first John one nine. He says, if we confess our sins, he is faithful. But how is it that God can be faithful in forgiving me of my sins? Because he's faithful and just because Jesus Christ died on the cross. That justified God in wiping away my sins because there's where the price was paid. He's faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Now watch this. The reason we keep looking back over our shoulder to see if it's really forgiven. The reason we keep carrying around a heavy conscience. The reason we keep carrying around that load that bends us over that we can't quite get straightened up and joyful in our heart is because we are not quite sure that God has forgiven us. Now, why aren't we sure?
Because you see, we have left out the word just. The only way in the world I can come to that verse of scripture and really believe within my heart. It makes no difference what we've done, where we've done it, how many times we are clean and pure in the sight of God is because he says, faithful. Trust me, just I paid the price. And so you don't just flip that verse around.
I just quoted first John one nine there. I'm forgiven. You're forgiven because both those words are there. And how many times are you forgiven? Every single time you confess your sin before God and believe that he's faithful and just, you are forgiven. And I believe that one of the primary reasons for the defeat in most people's lives is they've never got the past cleaned up.
Now, some folks just never have dealt with all the past and then there's some who've dealt with it, but they keep looking back to see if it's really clean. Listen, you need to get on your knees and claim both those words. Faithful God, that means you cannot refuse to forgive me. Just God, I know why you have forgiven me. And if you get both those words active in that verse, here's what happened.
Your confidence about God forgiving you will just shoot like a volcano. But don't toss that verse around just saying, well, you know, first John one nine. That's why I ask you to read it.
Because there's something about reading it, you get a whole new touch on it. Now, what is he saying? He's saying that every single time, now watch this, every single time you and I ask him to forgive us of our sins based not on the fact that you asked him. Based on the fact that he, listen, what is he being faithful to? Now watch this, God the Father is being faithful to the promise to his son, first of all. And when his son went to the cross, God the Father promised the son that when he died, every man who received him would be forgiven. Listen, the faithfulness of God is first of all to his son. How do I know he's going to forgive you? Because God isn't going to betray his son.
He's true to his son. He sent him for the primary purpose of dying. If God the Father didn't forgive you of your sin and you come to him asking him to forgive you based on your relationship to Jesus Christ, then God's attributes would not be true. God would no longer be faithful. And listen, his first act of unfaithfulness would not be to us, but to his own holy son.
And that means the whole Godhead would be shattered into nothingness. Now when you get on your knees tonight and you ask God to forgive you, brother, you need to get the whole picture. That God is being faithful to his son whose arms he nailed to that cross for you and me. And then he's being faithful to you and me.
I want you to watch that now. He's being faithful, first of all, to the Savior, to his son, then he's being faithful to us. So when you come to ask God to forgive you, don't just hop down and just say, I just want to claim this right now in Jesus' name. I tell you what you do. Let me tell you something.
You quote the whole verse. If I confess my sins, my God is faithful and just to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I know he has forgiven me because he would not deny his son nor betray him. The reason I say that is because, you see, we get hung up over whether we are worthy of it or not.
Let me tell you something. You and I will never be worthy of his forgiveness. But he's worthy and the reason he forgives me is because of the worthiness of his son. Now if you get on your knees and get that verse straightened out and you look back and, brother, you look square in the eye and you'll never find the thing behind you.
Because God has wiped it clean because he's faithful to the commitment to his son. Thank you for listening to The Faithfulness of God. 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.
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