OceanSide church of Christ

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OBSTACLES TO BELIEVING IN GODíS PROMISES (2)

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.   God makes multiple promises to us in His Word.

1.     †Matthew 6:33

 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

a.    This promise involves the basic necessities of life, namely, food and clothing.

b.    The Lord says that we will have these if we seek His kingdom and His righteous-ness first.

2.    I Corinthians 10:13

 

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:† but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

 

a.    Temptations will come.† Satan will attack.

b.    But, God provides a way of escape to His child in every temptation.

3.     Romans 8:38-39

 

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

B.   Godís promises can bring much comfort to our lives.† Sometimes, however, we have a tendency to reject Godís promises.† Things stand in the way so that we cannot em-brace them.

 

I.          SELF-PERCEPTION

 

A.   Self-perception involves the way a person sees and feels about things.

 

B.   There are many examples in the Bible where self-perceptions caused individuals not to believe in Godís promises.

1.     God said that Abraham would bear seed (Gen. 12:3).† At the time, his only wife was Sarah.† Because Sarah was barren, she perceived that God was not going to give her her own children.† Thus, she attempted to fulfill Godís plan with a substitute (Gen. 16:2).

 

And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing:† I pray thee, go in unto my maid, it may be that I may obtain children by her.

 

2.    The children of Israel perceived themselves to be grasshoppers before the giants of Canaan.† Thus, they believed they could not take the land (Num. 13:33).

 

And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which came of the giants:† and we were in our own sights as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

 

3.     Naaman is another who had his perceptions that hindered the promise of God (II Kings 5:11-12).

 

But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold I thought, he will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.† Are not the Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the rivers of Israel?† May I not wash in them, and be clean?† So he turned and went away in a rage.

 

C.   Self-perceptions keep many from accepting Godís promises today.

1.     God promises salvation in the one church purchased by Jesusí blood (Eph. 4:5; Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:23; Acts 2:47).† Man does not believe this.† Man does not believe the church is important.† To man, one church is just as good as another.† These are their perceptions.

2.    God promises remission of sins to those who are baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38; 22:16).† Man sees baptism as a work, and they believe that there are no works that save.† These are their perceptions.

3.     God promises that manís worship will be acceptable to Him if it is conducted in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).† Man says that sincerity alone is enough when one worships God.† Again, this is a man-made perception.

4.    God promises a crown of life to those who are faithful (Rev. 2:10).† Man says that God will reward lukewarmness like He does faithfulness.† Once again, we are hearing manís perception.

 

D.   Two verses:

1.     Psalm 118:8

 

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

 

2.    Proverbs 3:5

 

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

 

II.        SUFFERING

 

A.   Suffering is that which involves agony, torment, pain, and distress both physically and mentally.

 

B.   When we suffer, especially in great degrees over prolonged periods of time, we begin to doubt the promises of God.

 

1.     God has promised to always be with us (Heb. 13:5b).† Öfor he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.† We doubt this in our suffering.† We wonder where God has gone.

2.    God has promised that He cares for us and will bear our burdens (I Pet. 5:7).† Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.† We doubt this in our suffering.† We may believe that He does not care at all.

3.     God has promised to hear our prayers (I John 5:14-15).† And this is the confi-dence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:† and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.† We may doubt that prayer is effective in suffering.† We cry out constantly, but seem to be given no answer.

 

C.   The only way to endure suffering and embrace Godís promises is through deep faith (Ex., Job).

1.     Job 1:22

 

In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

 

2.    Job 13:15

 

Though he slay me, yet will I trust him:† but I will maintain my ways before him.

 

3.     James 5:4

 

Behold, we count them happy which endure.† Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

 

III.      SIN

 

A.   Sin involves the transgression of Godís law (I John 3:4).

 

B.   There are at least two ways that sin keeps one from embracing Godís promises.

1.     Fear, shame, guilt, and humiliation drive us from Godís promises after sin enters our life. (Ex., Judas).

a.    Why did Judas go out and hang himself? (Matt. 27:5)

b.    Surely he had heard the Parable of the Prodigal Son.† He was aware of the Fatherís acceptance of the son even after he had sinned abundantly.

c.    Could it be that his guilt and shame over his sin was just too great?†

2.    Sin also drives us from God (Isa. 59:1-2).

 

Behold, the Lordís hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, neither his ear heavy, that he cannot hear.† But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear.

 

a.    Sin sets up a barrier between the individual and Godís promises.

b.    Sin pulls one away from God so that he no longer yearns for Godís promises.

IV.       SCIOLISM (sigh-o-lism)

 

A.   Sciolism is defined as ignorance, unintelligent, and unexperienced.

 

B.   Sometimes man does not embrace the promises of God out of sheer ignorance.

1.     This ignorance comes from a failure to know what God has revealed in His holy Word.

2.    NOTE:† A person can be a genius in this worldís wisdom and ignorance can still keep him from Godís promises.

 

C.   Remember the Sadducees?

1.     These were members of a sect of the Jews in Jesusí day who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead (Matt. 22:23).† These were part of the religious leaders of the day.

2.    When they questioned Jesus about this, He noted that their problem was ignorance.† They were ignorant about the power of God and of the Scriptures (Matt. 22:29).

 

Jesus answered and said unto them, ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.

 

D.   Application:† Some have come to the conclusion that there is nothing good in suffering.† They may have given up on the Christian faith because of this.† They are ignorant of the benefits of suffering.

1.     When we are weak, the strength of Godís grace can be manifested (II Cor. 12:10).

 

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christís sake:† for when I am weak, then am I strong.

 

2.    Persecutions often cause the gospel to spread (Phil. 1:12).

 

But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.

 

3.     Suffering causes us to grow and mature as Christians (James 1:2-4).

 

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.† But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.   Godís promises are what keep us from the world and its corruption and lusts.

 

B.   Godís promises motivate us to grow and more forward in spite of all obstacles because through Godís promises we know we have a better hope.

 

C.   It is not surprising; therefore, that Satan seeks to keep us from embracing the promises of God.† Donít let your self-perceptions, suffering, sin, and sciolism (ignorance) keep you from holding fast to the precious promises of God.

1.     Proverbs 4:13

 

Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

 

2.    Revelation 3:11

 

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.