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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - The Foundation of Unwavering Faith

Charles Stanley - The Foundation of Unwavering Faith

Charles Stanley - The Foundation of Unwavering Faith
TOPICS: Faith, Foundation

When the storms of life blow across your path, where do you turn? Do you find yourself easily blown off course? Do you find yourself fragmented in your thinking? Does doubt and fear begin to plague you, and do you begin to question the fact that God really does care? You know what He said: "I'll never leave you nor forsake you". And yet, when those times hit us, sometimes we're prone to think, "Well, God, if You really cared, if You really loved me, You wouldn't let this happen," when oftentimes God has a very specific purpose for allowing these things that come into our life to be there.

And sometimes a person becomes very discouraged, and they say, "Well, you know what, it's not all it's cracked up to be. God doesn't do what He says He's gonna do and things aren't what I thought they were gonna be like," and so they can begin to grow cold and distant in their relationship. And what we don't realize sometimes is this: when you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, He intended to build a relationship with you, a relationship that would be strong and firm. It would be spiritual, it's a relationship, not only the spiritual, but it's a relationship that would be personal, intimate, and permanent. Because He knows that you and I are gonna walk through those difficult times. He knows we're gonna have storms in life that we can't do anything about. Storms that we didn't instigate, storms we didn't stir up, but they're there and we have to deal with them, we have to respond to them.

And so He wants to build a relationship with us in which you and I would feel cared for, loved. We would feel His sense of genuine, personal interest in whatever we're having to face in life. And sometimes those storms can be rather difficult and painful and hurtful and disappointing and discouraging and disillusioning, and yet He's always there, He's always the same. And sometimes we have a little flaw in our faith, and we think, "Well, He's not there, He doesn't care. If He did", and we give all these reasons. So, what I want you to do is that I want you to listen carefully this message, because herein lies the foundation of our faith. And if you can simply grasp this truth, it's a simple truth, but a profound truth. It's an awesome truth. If you can grasp this, it doesn't make any difference what you face. It doesn't make any difference how dark the storm, how painful you may hurt. If you can grasp this truth, you'll know where to turn, what to do, and God will see you through it no matter what.

So, I want you to turn, if you will, to Hebrews chapter thirteen. Thirteenth chapter of Hebrews, give you a moment to find that. And the first few verses are just reminders. The writer of Hebrews reminds us of responsibilities that you and I have. And then he comes to that one verse, that basic foundational truth. And what I want to talk about in this message is simply this, and that is I want to talk about an unwavering faith. That is, "The Foundation of Unwavering Faith," because all of us want that kind of faith. We don't want wavering faith that's off and on, in and out, up and down. We want a faith that's steady, steadfast, that keeps us steady, that keeps us anchored and keeps us heading in the right direction.

So, beginning in verse one, here's what he says. He says, "Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves are in the body. Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,' so that we confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?' Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith". Then he says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever".

Look at that: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That means He is immutable, that is, He doesn't change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is a changeless Christ. Now, the truth is this: that one simple statement is the foundation of everything you and I believe. If you believe that something He said is now changed, the way He operated, He doesn't operate that way anymore, and that the things that He acted out in His life is not the way He acts anymore, that is, He's not the same person, He doesn't say the same thing, He doesn't carry on the same kind of work, then let me ask a question. What certainty, what assurance do you have about life? Because if He is not the same yesterday, today, and forever, we're all in big eternal trouble. But the truth is, He is. He is the same.

So, I want us to think about this in light of who we are. And think about the storms and the difficulties and the hardships and the pain and troubles and trials we all face in life. And then I think about people who do not know the Lord; where do they turn? What kind of assurance do they have? So, let's think about three or four aspects of this and let's think about, first of all, about the very being of Jesus. That is, who is He? Because, listen, what He was, who He is, who He is, what He will be. And let's think about it for a moment. The scripture says that He was the virgin-born Son of God. Is that who He still is? Yes, He is. He has not changed in His being whatsoever. Scripture speaks of the fact that He is and was the only Savior. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me". He was the only Savior, He is still the only Savior, He will always be the only Savior. He has not changed in His being.

The scripture says that He was called Lord and He was Lord. Is He still the Lord? He is still the Lord, the sovereign ruler of this universe. He has not changed in His position there. He was called the King. Is He still the King? He is our King. We have no king other than that of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says that His love, because of who He was, His very being, His love encompassed everyone. "For God so loved the world," not some people, but the entire world. Has He decided today that He only loves a portion of the world? No, He has not. He still loves the entire world. He has not changed in His being, that is, in His love for all mankind.

The scripture says, for example, that He not only was the way, the truth, and the life, He still is the only way to God the Father. He is still, in other words, all truth is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ and all life is found in Him. He is the creator of the universe. That's what He says in Colossians chapter one. Not only is He the creator, but He's the sustainer of life. He sustained those in the past, He's still sustaining us today. And so when you look at who He is in His being, and so when you think about never changing, and somebody will say, "Well, he will always, she will always". The only person you can say that about is Jesus Christ, because only He "will always" because He never changes. Whatever, listen, whatever He was and whoever He was, He still is today.

That's, listen, that is part of the anchor of our faith. And that's why you and I can go to Him, that's why we can place our trust in Him in difficult times and never have to wonder what He's gonna do, because all we have to do is look back and see who was He in the past. That's who He was. Then I think, for example, not only that's who He was, but what did He do? Somebody says, "Well, how does God operate today? How does Jesus function today"? If you want to know how He functions today, look in the past.

So, let's think about some things, for example, that He did, and think about how He operated in those days. And think about, for example, what changed and what did not change. For example, we think about His works, how He operated among His disciples, among the people, among children. That is, if you want to understand how He desires to operate in your life, what He wants to be in your life, listen. He wants to be in your life everything He was in the past, because He hasn't changed. He's not gonna be to you something He can't be. And the same thing about His works. For example, the Bible says that He saved sinners in the past. Is He still in the business of saving sinners? Yes; is He still in the business of reaching out to people who are down and out and people who are wealthy, every strata of society? Does He still save? Does He still forgive? Does He still redeem? Does, listen, does He still take away guilt from people's lives? Yes, He does; why? Because He's the same. He hasn't changed.

And the wonderful thing about knowing Him as our personal Savior is we don't have to come to some stranger and wonder what's gonna happen in our life. We know the person we're going to. We know the person we've placed our trust in. We know what to expect because He hasn't changed in what He was doing. I think, for example, about how He operates and how He operates in people whose bodies are diseased. Is He still healing? Yes, He is. In the past, did He heal? Yes, He did. Watch this. In the past, did He heal everybody? No, He did not. Today, does He heal everyone? No, He does not. He was in the healing business then; He's still healing people today. Sometimes people are healed instantly, miraculously, and the doctors shake their head, they can't figure it out. The reason they can't figure it out is because another one of God's miracles.

Is He still in the miracle business? He absolutely is. Miracles did not cease in the New Testament. God is still performing miracles in people's lives in different ways. For example, when I think about what He does, did He comfort people in the past? Yes, He did. Mary and Martha, their brother Lazarus died, and what is Jesus doing? He's just assuring her that He Himself is the resurrection, and even though he's dead, he's going to live, and that He's going to raise him up. Is Jesus still in the comforting business? Yes, He is. How many times have I and many other pastors, every pastor has stood preaching the gospel at a funeral or commemoration service, and what happens? People may begin the service with a deep sense of sorrow and brokenness and heartache, and somehow, as the gospel is taught and is spoken, there comes a sense of contentment and peace on their face.

You can see it standing right in front of them. What's happening? God is doing His work. We change. He doesn't change. He's just doing what He's always done. He's just doing what He said He would do. For example, He not only comforts, but He also... He does what? He convicts of sin. He convicted, for example, Peter was telling Him what he wasn't gonna allow Him to do. He says, "Peter, you're acting just like the devil. Get behind Me". Let me ask you a question. Does He still convict people of sin? Don't sit there like He doesn't, come on, amen? Every single one of us get convicted of sin by the Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit who lives within us. And so He hasn't changed.

And if you think about how important that is, suppose we believed that He was in a state of change. You get on your knees and pray, you think, "Well, maybe He's answering prayer today, but maybe He's not answering prayer today. Maybe He loves me today, maybe He doesn't". And you see, people who are not grounded Biblically, they're not grounded in the Word of God, they're not grounded theologically, and that's not a big word, that's just talking about the study of God. In other words, if you're not grounded in your faith, that is, if you don't understand why you believe what you believe, then you don't understand why you do what you do.

If you pray because He told us to pray and showed us how to pray, and promised that He would answer our prayer, well, is He still answering prayer? Well, I hope so. No, He hasn't changed. If He was answering prayer in the past, He's answering prayer today. You have this need. Well, is He meeting needs? Well, I'm not sure, I don't know. Was He meeting needs in the past? Yes; He's meeting needs today. What I want you to see is this. Your entire, listen, your whole basis of faith rests upon this simple truth, that He's unchangeable. He hasn't changed either in His being, His personhood, either in His works or His words; none of that's changed. We change. We want to make Him change. He doesn't change. And that is the key to our security. You don't have any security, you don't have any assurance whatsoever about anything in life, listen, if Jesus Christ is in the business of changing His person and His personhood or His works or His words. Unchanging in His works and unchanging in His words.

Listen to what He said: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, nor can he enter the kingdom of Heaven". Did He say that? Yes, He did. Was it true then? Yes, it was. Is it true today? Yes, it is. It doesn't make any difference what you think. It doesn't make any difference what you believe or do not believe. Jesus, who is the unchanging Son of the Living God, He and the Father are one, who is deity. He said, "Except you're born again, you'll never get to Heaven". That's what He said. And so if He said it... somebody says, "He said it, I believe it, that settles it". No, He said it, that settles it. Whether you believe it or not is not even the issue. The issue is His words are very true.

He said, for example, He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me". That's what He said. Did He say it then? Yes; is He saying it today? Yes; has God changed the means of salvation? You would think according to some people He has. He says, "Not by works of righteousness which we've done, but according to His mercy He saved us. Except a man be born again. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved," not work your way into salvation. And there are people today who preach, who proclaim, who say, "Well, if you're good enough, then you're gonna get to heaven". You know what they're implying? What they're implying is that Jesus changed His mind. Because back yonder, He said, except a man be born again, except you place your faith and trust in Him and His work at Calvary, you can't be saved.

Now, if somebody's out preaching that you can be saved by being good, your good works, then you're gonna be saved, what they're implying is Jesus changed His mind. Now, think about this. If back yonder somewhere when He lived, you only could be saved by being born again, and now today, two thousand years later, you can be saved by being, good works, then how you gonna get saved in the future? You can't answer that question. Listen carefully. All you do is create confusion to yourself and to others, because He is absolutely unchanging in His word. He said, "Believe Me, trust Me". He's still saying the same thing today. "Believe Me, trust Me". And sometimes when we struggle, what does God say to us? "Just trust Me, just trust Me, trust Me, trust Me".

What was He saying to Peter, James, and John, those disciples and all those around? "Believe Me, trust Me, put your trust in Me". Has His words changed? They've not changed. For example, He said we're to forgive those who wrong us. How many times? Seventy times, listen, seventy times seven? Does that mean four hundred and ninety? No, that means just keep on forgiving. He said we're to forgive those who mistreat us, He said, who persecute us, say all manner of evil against us for Christ's sake. He said you're to forgive them. What is He saying today? The same thing. Has He changed His mind today and said, "Now, you're to forgive them up until, but after three times, forget it"? No, He didn't say that. Aren't you glad He didn't say that? Because suppose He'd have said, "I'm gonna forgive you three times for the same sin and then it's all over". Thank God He didn't say that to me, or to you.

You know what He said? How many times, how many times does He forgive us? He said if we confess our sins, faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. How many times? Once, twice, four hundred and ninety, four hundred ninety-one, four hundred ninety-two? No, as children of God, we are the forgiven children of God. The blood of Jesus Christ has forgiven us of our sin. And you see, what He says, He means. He hasn't changed it. If I'm wronged by someone, I forgive them. How many times? I can answer that question for you. You want me to tell you how many times? Say amen, oh, you don't think I know the answer to it, that's why you haven't said anything. I can tell you exactly how many times you're to forgive your enemies. As many times as Jesus will forgive them. That's all, it's just that simple. Has He changed His mind about that? No, He has not.

Now with that in mind, I want you to think about something. I just mentioned it a moment ago. Without Christ, you have absolutely nothing, because you don't have anyone to turn to. You have no anchor in your life. You know what's happening? Without Him, you just have to, you're being carried along with society and its fads and its change. Everything's in a state of change. Our bodies are in a state of change. Society's in a state of change, the world's in a state of change, map's in a state of change. Every single thing is in a state of change. Without Christ, without the Son of God living on the inside of you, you are, listen, you live in response to uncontrollable change in your life. And you know what happens? You just get tossed to and fro and thrown off course. You know why? Because you're not anchored to anything.

Now, think about this. Every time you and I face any circumstance in life, difficulty or good times in life, what is it that anchors us? What is it that keeps us steady and steadfast? What is it that gives us security and certainty and assurance and boldness and confidence? One thing, and that's a person. That is because of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And you see, what makes us so sure is this. He's the same He was in eternity past, He is the same today, and He's gonna be the same tomorrow. You know why I don't have to worry about tomorrow? Why I don't have to be concerned about tomorrow and all the things that change and things that could happen, may happen; you know why I don't have to worry about that? All I have to do is look back and see what He was and what He did and what He said, and think about what He's doing and what He's saying and who He is today.

And you know what I don't have to worry about? Because I know that whatever the need is, whatever the situation and circumstance, He's gonna act, He's gonna act exactly the way He's been acting all the time, doing what? Loving us, providing for us, protecting us, caring for us, upholding us, encouraging us, healing us, on and on and on and on we could go of what He's going to do because what He has done, what He is doing, and what He's promised to do; why? Because of who He was, who He is, and what He will be: always the same.

Now, what do you have? As an unbeliever, what do you have? You don't have an anchor. You don't have anything that can keep you steady and steadfast when all hell breaks through in your life and you only have a few weeks or a few days to live, or you've lost all your finances, lost your friends. All kinds of calamities hit your life, what do you have? You don't have anything. But all of us who know the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the Son of God to anchor us, to care for us, listen, to join hand in hand with us and walk through the deepest, darkest, most painful valleys in life and come out on the other side saying, "Wow! What a Savior! What a Lord! What a Master! As I look back and see what He's brought me through, what a God He is".

What do you have? Nothing. You may not like to see yourself as a victim, but my friend, without Jesus Christ, tossed to and fro, you cannot be happy, you will not have contentment, you will not have peace, you will not have joy, you do not have any assurance, you don't have any real confidence about the future. You know all you have to look forward to? Doom, gloom, and a dark, cold grave. And you may defy and deny and you may just want to turn this off. It's too late, you've heard too much truth already, too late. One of these days, it'll be too late forever unless you're willing to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. He's the same yesterday, today, and forever.

And you see, all of us who know Him and those of us who've lived and followed Him a long time can tell you by personal experience, He doesn't change. Believe me, He doesn't. He never fails. Believe me, He doesn't. He's always the same. Believe me, He is. He will never disappoint you, never show up late, never end up failing to enable you, strengthen you, and encourage you. He's every bit the person He says He is.

So if you don't have Him, you don't have anything. But you can have Him. And this is the way you can have Him. You can acknowledge that in reality, your life is empty, full of things but empty of reality. And you ask Him to forgive you of your sins, the sin of rejecting Him or ignoring Him, rebelling against Him. And tell Him that you are willing to believe the testimony of scripture. He went to the cross of Calvary and died a sacrificial, substitutionary death in your place to pay for your sin-debt and mine, to pay for it in full. And that you're accepting His death as payment for your sin, and you're accepting Him as your personal Savior beginning right here and now.

The moment you tell Him that with sincerity, you know what happens? You begin this wonderful relationship with Jesus Christ. And you're gonna discover what we've discovered. He's the same yesterday, today, and will be forever. And you can rest in that, because you see, that is the anchor of our faith. That's the foundation of everything we believe. An unchanging Christ, unchanging God who does not waver, not in any single aspect of His life. And He offers Himself as a gift of love to you and to me if we'll simply trust Him and believe what He says and give Him our life. That's life at its very best, a life founded and anchored in the Son of God.
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