Charles Stanley - Our Faithful God
How well do you know the God that you say you believe in? How well do you know Him, the God that you have entrusted your eternal life, the God that you go to when you have some particular need? How well do you know this God, the God of the Bible, the God you and I worship? How well do you know Him? I want to tell you something, most people don't know Him very well. And the reason that's very evident is because, watch this, the way they live and then what they say they believe are often two different things. They will tell you what they believe about God, but they don't live like they really believe that about God.
And so, the issue is you believe in God, but who is He? In other words, what's your image of this God? What does, what do you think He requires of you as a result of trusting Him, believing Him? So, one thing I want to say, there're many qualities of God, but God is a faithful God. That is, He will do what He says He will do, how He says He will do it, when He says He will do it, and there are no exceptions. He is God!
So, what I want to talk about in this message is simply this: "Our Faithful God". So, I want you think about that. And in so doing, I want you to turn, if you will, in your Bible to the seventh chapter of Deuteronomy, and God is, through Moses, telling the people what's necessary to get ready for the blessing that God's getting ready to give them, and so I want us to start with just verse eight, and notice what He says, "But because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand," speaking of Egyptian bondage, "And redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh King of Egypt". Watch this next verse. "Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His loving kindness to a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them, He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you this day".
Now, what does faithful mean? To be faithful means to be reliable, will always do what He says, when He says, and how He says do it. Now, if you're a follower of Jesus, that's wonderful. But if you're living in sin, you ought to get on your face before God now while you have an opportunity and ask God to forgive you of your sins, to clean up your life and get you ready to meet Him because He's not going to change to suit you. He is the unchangeable God. And so, what we want to think about is His faithfulness. He's the God in the first verse of the Bible. "In the beginning God," He's the God all the way through the sixty-six books of the Bible. He is the same God in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible. He never changes, He's always the same. And He's the one God before whom you and I stand one day and give an account for our life.
The Scripture says, "It's appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment". God is this, watch this. God is this inescapable, awesome, loving God who also calls for judgment to give an account to the life that we've lived. Now, most people have a different kind of god. Maybe you're one of them who thinks that you can sort of live any way you want to live. Then when you get in trouble, God is over here waiting to bail you out. Or they have the idea that God doesn't really pay much attention to sin unless it's murder or something like that. And so, God understands our faults and our failures. And He just overlooks sin. God does not overlook sin. There is a penalty for sin, period. That's the Word of God. "Be sure your sin will find you out". That's what God said. That means there's no such thing as secret sin. God, in His faithfulness, not only blesses us with His best, but He confronts us with our worst.
And so, what you have to ask is when you think about your god, who you say is god, what kind of god do you have? Is He the one true God, reliable God that is always there when we need Him? And then I would ask you this: do you know Him personally or is He out yonder somewhere? For most people, God is up there, out there, over here, over there, over there, and the whole idea is if I need Him, I'll call on Him. And they're very quick to defend their very nebulous idea of God. If you said to them, "Describe your god," they would normally say, "Well, I don't know that you can, God's too big to describe, Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, God this, God that, God the other". But they will not, they will not commit themselves to describe the God of the Bible because they don't know Him. And their idea about God is He is something out there somewhere that when I get in trouble, I call on Him and hope He'll answer me. Their idea of God is totally unscriptural. People have their own god. Everybody's got their own god.
Now, many of us have the one true God. The God of Genesis chapter one verse one all the way to the end of the Bible. That is the one true God, all other gods are false gods, false gods. If we didn't have the Bible, we'd have a right to think, "Well, you could just think most anything about God". But God is very clear about what He is and who He is. He is the faithful God. What does that mean to us, the fact that He's faithful? Well, there are probably lots of ways we could define Him. So, I'm going to give you about three statements that you'd think about. The faithful God of the Bible is the God who will always do what He said He would do and fulfill every promise that He's made. Every promise God makes in the Word of God is a promise to His children. Secondly, He's... did you say hold on? Okay. All right, I got you. God will always do what He said and fulfill what He's promised. Number two, God never forgets, He never falters, He never fails to keep His Word. Never. Never, never, never. The third statement would be this: He is reliable. He is trustworthy. He's unfailing, unwavering, constant, steadfast. If this is not your god, you have the wrong one. Listen to that. He is reliable, trustworthy, unfailing, unwavering, constant, and steadfast.
Now, I don't know about you, but that's the kind of God I certainly want to serve. Amen? Think about that: reliable, trustworthy, unfailing, unwavering, constant, steadfast. That is, God is who He is all the time. He isn't one thing in good times and something else in bad times. And there're people who say, "Well, I believe in God, but there are times". No. He doesn't change. We get ourselves in situations that cause us pain oftentimes, hurt, or whatever it might be, and we want God to bail us out. We choose to get into situations of disobedience and rebellion toward God, and then want this loving God to reach down and just save us from all that with no pain. That's not who He is. God is faithful. He is unchanging. And one of the most secure thoughts we can possibly have is that God never changes. He's always the same. No one can say that about anyone, but Almighty God, Himself.
And so, the question is, what's the foundation of His faithfulness? That is, now watch this, what is it about Him that makes it possible for Him to be unchanging, always the same? That's the only kind of God you and I can trust. If He is a changeable God who changes His mind about who He is and His character, then we can't trust Him. So, there are several characteristics, and you would know these by heart, but I want to give them to you, and here are attributes, characteristics of God, that make it possible for us to trust Him in every situation, and the first one is His omniscience. That is, He knows all things past, present, future. He never has to revise a single word that He's ever said, and He never reneges on any promise. God never has to say, "Oops"! He never has to say, "I'm sorry". He never has to say, "I forgot that". None of that. He is omniscient. He knows everything about everything.
Now, watch this carefully. When people choose to live in sin and disobey God when they know what, who God is, and they try to sort of cover it up, remember this: that God is all knowing about all things. Now, watch this. That's wonderful when we're living a godly life. We want Him to know, yeah, absolutely, if I'm having some need, Lord. But when we choose to sin, isn't it amazing, we can just blind ourselves to His omniscience. "Well, I'm hmm, hmm, hmm," we excuse ourselves. No, God knows everything. I want Him to be omniscient. Don't you? You want Him to know everything that's going on. Now, the only people who don't want that to be true are people who are living in sin and disobedience. And do you think you can hide something from God? You can't hide anything from God. He's omniscient and He's faithful in so. He is omnipotent. That is, He has all power.
And I think about people right now who are going through difficult hardship in their life. God is omnipotent, He has all power to do all things. And all of us need Him to be omnipotent. We need His power in our life. We make mistakes, for example, or blindly we step into the wrong situation or circumstance. He's omnipotent, He has all power. That's why you and I come to Him in difficult times, because we know that He has the power to deal with any situation we have. Well now, watch this, God is not choose and neglect, choose and neglect. This is why I said in the very beginning the God most people worship or say they believe in is not the God of the Bible. He doesn't change to meet our desires. God is forever the same. And so, we can't say that He's faithful if He's always changing. We can't say that He's faithful if He loses power, but He has all knowledge of all things and He has all power to deal with every situation in life. If He's not all of that, He's not adequate to be God.
So, here's what I'm asking you. I want you to think about God as you know Him, personally. Is He a God that you trust all the time? Do you believe He forgets? Do you believe that He's been unfair to you? Do you believe that, somehow, He's forgotten you? Do you wonder why He treats you a certain way? In other words, do you believe that your God is a faithful God, always the same? We change things, but He doesn't change. And then because He doesn't change to suit our change, then we wonder, "Well, God, what's going on with You? He's just being the God He says He is. Listen, faithfulness means that He can always be depended upon to do what, listen, to do what He says He will do, when He says He will do it, how He says He will do it. Not always be faithful to do what I think He ought to do, necessarily. So, He's omniscient, knowing all things. Omnipotent, has all power. And, thank God, He's omnipresent. Now, what does that mean? That doesn't mean that He's out yonder somewhere. Omnipresent means that, watch this carefully, saved or unsaved, lost or saved, disobedient, wicked, vile, unbelievers, saints, holy, righteous are all in the presence of God. God isn't yonder here and there. We're all in the presence of God. And this is part of His faithfulness. There is, thank God, there's no place you can go without Him.
Now, if you're living in sin, you say, "Well, God's not there". Oh, He's there, all right. He's there, all right. Now, watch this, I would simply ask you a question: are there times when you wish He was not there? Are there times when you wish He was not omniscient, knowing all things? Are there times when you wish that He was over yonder and you're over here? When maybe something's going on in your life that you wish He didn't know? You wish He was not present. And you wish that He'd just forget this night and go on to the next day? He doesn't change. Listen to this, you cannot breathe one breath out of the presence of God. And when I think about people hiding, hiding their sin, how do you hide sin in the broad daylight of Almighty God who sees everything? You see, that's the Devil's lie. "Well, nobody's going to know".
The next time you get tempted to do something or say something and you think, "Nobody's going to know it but me," oh yes, they are. He, listen, He has all power, all knowledge about all things. And everything is in this presence. The truth is, we want Him to be that way. Because you can't think of any kind of trial, trouble, heartache or burden that you don't want that kind of God. And that's what He promises. And so, this is why we sing, "Great is thy faithfulness," oh God my Savior. Great is thy faithfulness. Great in its character, great in its nature, because it covers everything. And then I think about the fact that He's a truthful God. He's truthful about everything. If you want to know the truth about God, you go to the Word of God. First verse of the Bible through the last chapter of the last book of the Bible, God is truthful in every aspect. He will never mislead you. Listen, other people may mislead you for different reasons. God will never mislead you. He will always point you to the right way. This is why He wants us and desires that you and I get in His Word and read His Word, whatever it might be.
Think about all the verses. He says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, He will make your paths straight". In fact, when I think about life and think about what God says, there's not a single aspect of life that God has not taken care of and mentioned in the Word of God. Any situation or circumstance we're in, He's there. Whether it's temptation or trial, He's there. He's omnipresent. God lovingly convicts us of our sin. That is, He suddenly and quickly makes us aware. You feel it in your heart if you say something or do something that's not right. That's God being faithful. You say, "Well, that's not the kind of God I want". Well, you got Him whether you want Him or not. That's who, you know why? Because God said He loves us. And if He loves us, He desires the best, provides the best, takes us through difficulty, hardship, pain, and suffering and all the rest, and turns it all for our good no matter what. That's this faithful God we serve.
So, when you think about God and you pray, I'm asking you: who is this god you pray to? Is He omniscient, knowing all things? Omnipresent, you're doing it in His presence. Omnipotent, has all power. Faithful, in other words, who is this God? Are you really talking to God when you pray, or you just start talking into air? God is faithful. He loves us absolutely beyond our comprehension. And the greatest expression of His love is the crucifixion of Jesus and the shedding of His blood, which makes our forgiveness possible. But what I'm asking you is this, for example, that we said He's truthful. The Bible says God cannot lie. It's impossible for God to lie, He states that in the Scripture. But likewise, He doesn't change. God doesn't change, He's always the same. Think about this: if God is the ultimate of perfection beyond our description, how could He change? If we think about this, how would God change? How would He change, how could He change and still be God? Could He have less knowledge? Could He have less power? Could he this, could he that, could... In other words, God can't change. He's not going to change. Thank God He doesn't change. That means that every time you and I kneel before Him or go to Him in prayer, one thing we don't have to worry about it, He's changed His mind. He does not change. The Scripture says, "I do not change". He's unchanging in His purpose, unchanging in His promises, unchanging in His very being, He's unchanging.
We have this awesome sense of confidence and assurance that every single solitary time we come to him, He's the same. But we aren't. Nobody can say that of themselves. I'm always the same. That's a joke. You're not always the same. We have enough humanness in all of us that we're not the same. But think about this. This God you believe in, you are resting, at the moment of your last breath when you die and you go somewhere, you're resting in the fact that your God hasn't changed His mind about you and that you're on your way to heaven. He doesn't change His mind. Nothing about... listen, how can you change perfection? Thank God He never changes. Every time you and I come to Him ask of Him to give us grace and wisdom and mercy, whatever it might be, He's there to listen.
Now, He's not going to give us what we ask for if we're living in sin. You say, "Well, how do you explain all those people who have so much and living in sin"? Here's how I explain it. God in His grace and goodness and loving mercy acknowledges peoples' abilities and talents and skills. But when they disobey Him, pay day is coming. There's a pay day for all us when we stand before God and give an account. And all of us who know Him through the Lord Jesus Christ will stand before Him in absolute, perfect forgiveness and grace. You say, "What about the judgment"? The judgment is not God condemning His children. The judgment is for God condemning the wicked. But when we who are saints could stand before Him, what will He do? He will acknowledge our waywardness, our sinfulness, our failures. And we will lose reward that we could have had, had we obeyed Him.
So, on the basis of that, listen to these verses, if you will, the basis that God is trustworthy and He never changes. Psalm, you might want to jot these down. Psalm fifty-six verse three, "When I'm afraid, I will put my trust in the Lord". Secondly, Psalm sixty-two verse eight, "Trust in Him at all times, O people, pour out your heart before Him," because He's listening. Proverbs three, five and six. Everybody ought to memorize these verses. Sometimes, just for me personally, I may be walking through my house and I'll just break with these verses, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, He'll make your paths straight". You should memorize that. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. That means I can fully trust Him in every situation, every circumstance no matter, it may be pain, suffering, joy, I'm trusting Him. And then of course, listen to this. Psalms thirty-six five, "Thy loving kindness O Lord, extends to the heavens, Thy faithfulness reaches to the skies".
That is, God's faithfulness has no end. You can't limit that. Listen to Psalm one nineteen verse ninety, "Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations". God doesn't change, and one of these verses that you know so well that's so short. Lamentations chapter three verse twenty-three, "Great is thy faithfulness O, Lord". That's what we sing. Great is thy faithfulness. Now, when you think about your god, how does it match up with that? I just told you what God said about Himself. Does your attitude of God, does your view of God, does that match that? That He's, watch this. He's a God who all knowledge, all power, everything is in His presence, a God who is absolutely truthful. He's a God who loves us unconditionally, and He's proven that in one awesome act at the cross. That's who He is. Amen?
Father, we love You for lots of reasons. We praise You for lots of reasons. We thank You for lots of reasons, one of which is that You don't change. You never change, and we praise You this morning for being who You are. And I pray that the Holy Spirit'll sink this message in every heart. We give You thanks for being an unchangeable God, praise You for it, and desire that the Holy Spirit would enable us to live that kind of life. We're praying to You, God, who sees every hurt, every loss, every pain, who knows where everyone is, and those who are still afraid and suffering. We know that You're going to hear our prayer, and we will humble ourselves before You and trust You to hear us today, in Jesus's name. Amen.