Charles Stanley - A God We Can Trust
Who can you trust anymore? Somebody says, "Well, let me tell you something very important, but you must not tell anyone". And yet, oftentimes a confidence is broken. People make promises they cannot keep, break confidences they don't want to keep, tell you things that absolutely are not the truth. Well, there is someone who keeps every single promise He makes, never lies, and never breaks a confidence, and that is Almighty God. And that's who I want to talk about in this message entitled "A God We Can Trust".
And I want you to turn, if you will, to Psalm thirty-seven. And in this thirty-seventh Psalm, we are admonished to place our trust in the Lord. And if you'll recall, for example, the gospel hymn we sing, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey". And I think most of us have found out that it's much easier to sing that song than it is to trust the Lord sometimes, especially when we're going through some difficulty, some hardship, some trial in our life, when the pressure's on deeply, we're grieved in our spirit about some hurt, very difficult sometime to trust Him. But the truth is that is the way you and I are to live because the Apostle Paul said, "We live by faith," that is, the just shall live by faith. That is our lifestyle, a lifestyle of trusting God.
And so in this thirty-seventh Psalm, which is a very well-known Psalm, David says, "Do not fret because of evildoers, do not be envious, toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass, And fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not Fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not Fret, it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land".
Now, all through the Scriptures, you and I are admonished to trust the Lord. And probably one of the most familiar passages in all the Old Testament is Proverbs three, five and six. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding. But in all your ways, acknowledge Him, And he will direct your paths". And for example, in the sixty-second Psalm, that David the psalmist says, "All you people," He says, "Praise the Lord all ye people". All through the Old Testament we're continued to be admonished to trust Him, place our trust in Him. It sounds so simple, just believe Him. And yet, you and I find it very difficult sometime to do.
Well, in this message, I want you to listen very carefully because no matter what you're going through and what you're facing in life, if you'll listen carefully, here's what you're gonna find. You're gonna find an undergirding that will enable you and help you place your trust in God when everything in you says you can't, everything in you says "don't". You look around you and you don't see any evidence for trusting God. When everything around you may be falling apart, the answer is still the same: place your trust in Him.
Now, what I would like to do at this point is to move to some very specific biblical reasons that the Bible gives us for which you and I can trust Him, a God in whom we can trust. And so, first of all, I want to say: we can trust him because the truth is, He's the only God. Everything else is an idol. Men have idols of themselves. They have idols made of wood, stone, jewels, gold, silver. They have idols made of green, that's greenbacks. They have idols of their position and prominence and prestige and whatever it may be. People worship all kinds of things. Now, just because they don't bow down and kneel down and bow and scrape before something doesn't mean they're not worshipping it. Whatever dominates, whatever controls, whatever causes me to ultimately make those final decisions in life. Whatever is the highest motivating factor that governs and dominates and controls my thinking and my actions, whatever that is or whoever that is, that is the idol of my life.
And so therefore, when we think of our God, there is one true God. The God of Genesis chapter one. Listen, "In the beginning, God". Who is this? He is the only God. He is the sovereign God. He is the supreme God. And the Bible says His name is Jehovah. And you'll recall that Moses said to God when He sent him down to Egypt to release the Egyptians, to release the Israelites, the Hebrews. He said, "Well, who am I gonna tell my fellow Israelites who sent me"? "You," He said, "you tell them I AM has sent you". I AM has sent you. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of creation. You and I serve the only true God. And it's interesting what David said.
Go back to Second Samuel, if you will, for a moment. In Second Samuel in the seventh chapter, David has been blessed, so blessed by God that he's sitting before the Lord. And I love that phrase, that David the king went in and sat before the Lord. Chapter seven of Second Samuel and the eighteenth verse. He sat down before the Lord. And as he sat down and began to think about all the good things that God had done for him, and he says, "Lord, who am I, O Lord God, and what is this house of mine that You've brought me this far"? And he began to think about, for example, he used to be a shepherd boy. And God had made Him king, and now here he was living in this palace that God had provided for him.
And of course, God begins to talk to him about him building Him a temple. But, at this moment, he's sitting before the Lord, and notice what he says in verse twenty-one, "For the sake of Thy word, and according to Thine own heart, Thou hast done all this greatness to let Thy servant know. For this reason Thou art great, O Lord God; for there is none like Thee, and there is no God besides Thee". And you'll recall the Ten Commandments. We are to worship one God and one only. We're not to bow down to any other gods. We're not to bow down to their names in any fashion. We're to recognize one true God. The reason you and I can place our trust in God is that He is the only God. And there are many, many Scriptures in the Bible that would relate to that. You'll recall, for example, what Paul said to Timothy. He said, "There's one God, one mediator between God and man, that is the person Jesus Christ".
God the Father, between God the Father and every single one of us is His Son, He says, "Seated at the Father's right hand, continually making intercession for you and for me". Now, not only can I trust Him because He's the only true God, but secondly because He is the essence of truth itself. That is, all truth is gonna be found in God. Now, I can trust a God who is absolutely truthful. He is always truthful. For example, in the thirty-first Psalm, if you'll notice in the fifth verse what he says. He says, "Into Thy hand I commit my spirit". And you'll recall that this is what Jesus said on the cross when He was crucified. And here Jesus is quoting the Psalm, Psalm thirty-one verse five. "Into Thy hand I commit my spirit; Thou hast ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth".
What did Jesus say when He said, "I am the way," the what? "The truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me". And so you'll recall also in John fourteen, John fifteen, John sixteen, Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth. Three times He calls the Holy Spirit, a person of the Trinity, He calls Him the Spirit of Truth. And of course, in John seventeen, for example, in the seventeenth verse, when Jesus is offering what is the Lord's prayer, that seventeen chapter, that long chapter of Jesus's prayer. He says to the Father, "Thy word is truth". Listen, the Word is truth because God is truth. Now, listen, I may not be able to trust most people for some reason or the other, or whatever it may be. But here's one thing I know. God, he says in Titus, God cannot lie. God cannot lie. He does not lie. You know why He can't lie? Because it is not His nature to lie.
Listen, the nature of God is, the attributes of God, the very being of God is that He is a God of truth, so that God only speaks truth, always speaks truth, is truth. I can trust a God that I know will always tell me the truth. Now, He is the essence of truth. He cannot lie. God cannot change His character under any condition. That's one thing God cannot do because to change His character would not be God. There's a third thing I know about Him that also gives me a great sense of faith that I can trust this God, and that is that He is absolutely faithful. You recall he says in Lamentations, chapter three, verse twenty-three, he says, "How great is His faithfulness. Great is the faithfulness of God".
What is the faithfulness of God? It simply means that He's reliable, that He's trustworthy. You can count on Him. He is reliably there. He will always be there when I need Him. He says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you". I can always trust Him, no matter what. He is absolutely faithful. No one can promise you that they will always be with you. No one can promise you anything that God can promise. Because He is the only one who can say, that we know who is absolutely, unquestionably, always in every single possible circumstance of life, if He makes a promise, He is faithful to carry out that promise. Think about the promises that all of us have. We have the promise of His pardon. He says if we confess our sins, He's faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We have the promise of all of our provision that we need. My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. We have the promise of His protection.
If you read the ninety-first Psalm, that is an awesome Psalm of God's absolute protection of His children. We have the promise that He will answer our prayers. Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you. We have the promise of His continued presence. I will never leave you nor forsake you, at any situation, circumstance. We have the promise that He will present every single one of us who is a believer faultless before the throne. That's what He says. Now, unto Him who is able to keep you from falling and present you faultless before the throne of God. We have promise after promise after promise. But one of His wonderful promises is found in the sixteenth Psalm. And listen to what He says. Here is a promise. Here is the promise of pleasure. He says in verse eleven, "Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fullness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore".
People say, "Well, I've become a Christian, but I won't have any more fun". Listen, friend, you don't know what joy and peace and happiness and contentment are like until you place your trust in Jesus Christ, and God doesn't take away our joy. God doesn't take away our fun. What God is up to, listen, is teaching us how to live in a relationship with Him that makes life complete and absolutely, no matter what our troubles and trials and heartaches and burdens may be, God will give us this overwhelming sense of joy and undergirding peace that we stand upon the immovable rock of God. God is faithful to keep every single one of those promises. That's the kind of God He is. He is faithful, that means you can trust Him, He's trustworthy. But there's another reason that you and I can place our trust in Him. And that is because He has all power.
You remember what Jesus said? He said, for example, before His disciples were to commission, He gave them the Great Commission. At the very beginning of it, He said, "All power and authority have been given unto Me". He said also that all judgment had been given to Him. Jesus said, "All authority, all power has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth". He says, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all the things that I've commanded you. And lo, I'll be with you," He says, "until the end of this age. I'll be with you every step of the way". Only a God who has all power could make such a promise as that. But there's another reason, and that is because I know He loves us unconditionally.
This is a verse of Scripture, I want you to turn to John chapter fifteen for a moment. Listen to what Jesus said in this fifteenth chapter, remembering that the four, thirteen, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth chapter, seventeenth chapters of John are those chapters right before His crucifixion. Listen to what He says in this ninth verse of the fifteenth chapter. Look at this, "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love". Now, think about that. He says, "You want to know how much I love you"? He says, "Then you think about how much the Father loves Me," Jesus is saying. Now, how much did the Father love the Son? He loved Him with absolute, perfect love, eternal love, indescribable, incomparable love. Jesus was so loved by the Father. Here's what He's saying. He says, "Now, like the Father, just like the Father loved Me," He says, "In the same way the Father has loved Me, that's the way I love you. I love you the same way the Father loved me".
Now, think about this. Jesus says, "I love you with the same intensity the Father loves me". Now, can I put my trust in a God who is the only true God? Can I put my trust in a God who is in the essence of truth itself? Can I put my trust in a God who is absolutely faithful? Listen, who absolutely has all power to perform every single thing He promised? Can I put my faith in a God who loves me absolutely unconditionally, and what is the answer? What is the answer? Give me a good answer. What's the answer? Yes. You and I can trust a God like that. Now, I want you to listen very carefully and I'm gonna slow down. But suppose God changes His mind about me? Then what?
Now, I want you to listen carefully so you'll be able to go back and look at these verses and remember exactly what we're talking about. Listen carefully, God does not change in His person, in His being, in all His perfections. He does not change in His purpose or His plans or His power. God, in the essence of who He is, does not change. Now, He has emotions, and so therefore He says He loves. He likewise can be angry. He swallowed up a whole bunch of disobedient servants in the Old Testament, just swallowed them up in the earth. So, God can get angry. But He also is a God of love. So, when we say that God doesn't change, that doesn't mean that He has one emotion only. But listen carefully, it means that God never changes in the circumstance as it is. And so, when we talk about a God whom we can trust, thank God He does not change.
Now, so somebody says, "But wait a minute now. I got a few verses of Scripture I want you to look at". So I want to go back, if you will, to Exodus chapter thirty-two. You'll recall that when Moses went up on the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments, when he came back, he heard this noise. I mean, they were having themselves one big idolatrous party. They created a golden calf. They were dancing around this calf and carrying on all kinds of extortions. And so the Scripture says that Moses got so angry. Listen, I mean he really got angry. Threw the commandments down and God, listen, God was angry, and verse ten says in the thirty-second chapter, "Now, then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them, and that I may destroy them; I will make of you a great nation".
So what happens? Look at this eleventh verse, "Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said, 'O Lord, why doth Thine anger burn against Thy people whom Thou has brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, "With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth"? Turn from Thy burning anger and change Thy mind about doing harm to Thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants to whom Thou didst swear by Thyself, and didst say to them, "I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit the land, inherit it forever".'" So the Lord changed His mind.
You say, "Ah ha, ah ha! The Lord changed His mind". No, He didn't. Now, watch this carefully. You say, "But it says He did". But now, what changed? This is the nature of God. When there is sin and the judgment of God is coming, and there is an intercessor, one who is willing to come to God in behalf of those people, crying out in their behalf for God to be merciful, what does God do? God responds to intercessory prayer. And so, what is He doing? He is responding to Moses's intercessory prayer. It's not that God has changed His mind because, listen, it is the nature of God to respond to intercessory prayer. And so, what is He doing? He is being Himself. So, are the circumstances changing? Yes.
Now, watch this. God, listen, God in His person, in His being, in His perfections, in His purpose, in His plans, in His power is not changed. What has happened is this: that Moses has interceded before the Father. God is simply being Himself in answering the petition, the crying, weeping, heartfelt petition of Moses as he intercedes for the people of God. So when he says He changes His mind, you have to remember what that means. That God, listen, God hasn't changed, and the fact that God was waiting for Moses to intercede in behalf of Israel. And then what He said is: I will not destroy them in response to your intercession. If anything should shout to you and me, it should shout to us this: how important it is, how powerful it is for a child of God, walking in the Spirit, living a pure life, living a holy life, to cry out to God in behalf of people who desperately need to be saved, whose circumstances need to be changed because God, by His nature, will hear and answer our prayer and alter and change the circumstances of the people for whom we pray.
For example, another example. Well, what about Jonah? The Bible says, "Jonah, I want you to," God says, "Jonah, I want you to go to Nineveh and I want you to preach the judgment of God is coming". So, of course, we know the story of Jonah and the whale and so forth. And so, he finally does get there against his will, preaches the truth. And Nineveh breaks out in a great revival, sackcloth and ashes. I mean a tremendous revival breaks loose. Well, Jonah ends up sulking, fretting over the fact that it looked like he lied. He told them the judgment of God was coming. Why did God send Jonah to begin with? He sent Jonah not simply to announce the judgment of God, but to preach the truth in order that they may repent of their sins that the judgment would not come. But the judgment, listen, the message had to be: the judgment of God is coming. And so what happens? They repented of their sin. God did not send His judgment.
Did God change His mind? No, because it is the nature of God to respond to genuine repentance. Listen, it is never the will of God just to wipe out cities and wipe out nations and wipe out groups of people. It is the will and purpose and plan of God to bring people to repentance, to bring people to worship Him and adore Him and to serve Him. So therefore, it's not His purpose to wipe them out. It, listen, it's the nature of God. It is the attributes of God. It is the person and being and plan of God that there be repentance over sin and genuine repentance that brings people to God. Therefore, God responds. So, here's what I want you to remember. He responds in the circumstance, whatever it is. As the circumstance changes, listen, the nature of God is such that God is going to be the same that He always is in a circumstance that is like that particular circumstance. So God isn't changing. Why would God have to change His mind when He is omniscient? He does not.
Now, I want you to think about how important this is. We said we know He loves us unconditionally, know He's absolute truth, absolute faithful, absolute power in His hands. Now, but suppose this. But even if, listen, all those other things being true, suppose God could change. Well, think about this. If God could change to get just a little bit better than He is, that means you and I have been serving a God who is not absolutely good. If He could just get a little bit evil, it means we're serving a God who could be better than He is. Where in the world would our faith be if God can change in His person, change in His being, change in His attributes, change in His character? Where are we? Imagine suddenly having to believe that God's changed His mind. Maybe He's not gonna be so faithful.
Listen, listen carefully. This is the reason the unbeliever has so much difficulty in trusting the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sin. First of all, they don't know God, so we understand that. So when we say to them, "If you confess your sins, He's faithful and just to forgive you of your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness," and they say, "But look, you don't know what I've done back yonder". But we say, "Listen, God is faithful". If He says if you confess, He is, listen to, He puts the word in there. He is faithful and just to forgive you of your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. But the unbeliever says, "But you know what? I just, He may have for you but I'm not sure He will for me".
Listen to this, can you imagine living in a world in which you and I are trying to serve a God whom we're not sure whether He's gonna change His mind about us tomorrow or not? Imagine being a part of a kingdom of God that this God in this kingdom in which you and I live could decide that He's going to be evil? And we end up living in a kingdom under a dominating, listen, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent evil God? Friend, here's what that does. That absolutely destroys everything you and I believe. We have nothing to, listen, nothing to stand upon, nothing to rest in. Me commit myself to a God who could change His mind? You want me to believe that I'm to serve a God who believes this today and that tomorrow, who changes His mind, He loves me today and hates me tomorrow. Listen, you can't name me one thing about Almighty God that can change and He still remain Jehovah God of the Bible. The same yesterday, today, and forever. That verse of Scripture's not in the Bible by an accident. The same yesterday, today, and forever.
Now, what does that say? It says that you and I are the most fortunate people in the world. Now, you see, when I think about every single believer, we have a personal relationship with a God who can't change. What did He say about you? He says I love you. I love you so much I sent my only begotten Son to die in your behalf and pay your sin-debt in full. You want to know how much I love you? That's how much I love you. "But, God, suppose this". You will never change My love, God says. God cannot change because it is not His nature to change. And thank God you and I never have to worry about Him changing. Listen, somebody says, "What do you think God's opinion of you is"? I can tell you what it is. He loves me to death! That's what His opinion is. But you know what? He loves you the same way.
You say, "Oh but me". No, no, no, listen! He loves you just the way you are. I didn't say He was satisfied. I said He loves you just the way you are. What is He doing? The reason I know He's not satisfied is this. He says He predestined you and me to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. What's His goal for us? His goal for us is to be like His Son. What is He doing? He's not changing. He's changing us, changing our attitude, changing our conduct, changing our behavior, changing our thought patterns, changing our love and devotion for Him. So what am I saying? I'm simply saying this: that it doesn't make any difference who you are and what you've done in your life and where you are. When He says if you confess your sins to Him and place your trust in Him, and in His death at Calvary for the forgiveness of your sin, He will forgive every sin you've ever committed. He will make you one of His children. He'll write your name in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Forever and ever and ever, you will be a child of the living God. That is the promise of God, it is the promise to every single one. Listen, He says, "He that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," period. That is the promise of God and God never changes. What a tremendous sense of encouragement and assurance to people who are living in sin, people who are in prison, people who've got a record behind them so long, people who've given up on life, people who are so despairing. Here is a God who does not change. Here is a God whose love cannot be altered under any condition. And He loves you, my friend, no matter what's going on in your life.