Charles Stanley - Things That Cannot Be Shaken
What would it take to shake your faith. You may have been a Christian a long time or a short period of time. What would it take to shake your faith in God? Well, for some of you it may take a great deal before your faith could be shaken. But for others, maybe it wouldn't take quite so much. In fact, a whole lot of difficulty, a whole lot of heartache, and maybe you'd begin to say, "Well, God, where are You"? And what you thought was an absolutely unshakable faith you may begin to question.
Well, there are a lot of things in this world that are being shaken up and God is behind some of that shaking and some of it He's not behind. Some of it is of the devil. When it comes to shaking your faith and attempting to shake your faith, that certainly would not be of God. But there are other things that are going on around us that certainly are the result of God shaking up a sense of false security, shaking us at the very core of our life, at the core of our nation, the core of this world. Because we've put so much dependence upon material things and not upon God. God is, certainly is in the process of doing some shaking.
And I want you to turn if you will to Hebrews, the book of Hebrews, and in this particular book, the last part of this particular book, in the twelfth chapter, God tells us exactly what He's going to shake. And I'll give you a little background of what's happening here as you turn to this, twelfth chapter of Hebrews, and we're gonna read beginning in verse twenty-five. But beginning in verse eighteen and through those verses that follow, He's comparing Mount Sinai where the Ten Commandments were given to Mount Zion where we find Jerusalem. And we compare the laws of God versus the grace of God. And so in that discussion He finally ends up by saying in verse twenty-five: "See to it that you do not refuse him who is speaking". For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape or turn or escape who turn away from him who warns from heaven.
"And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, 'Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.' And this expression, 'Yet once more,' denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire".
Now when I think about what He says about things that are shaken and things that are not shaken, I think about the things that God has shaken in the past. That is, what is it that God was up to in the process of shaking things in the past? And I think what you'll discover as you open the Word, you'll discover that God was interested, and primarily His purpose was, the shaking that was going on was purposed by a desire on His heart to make Himself known and to make His power known among people. So if you'll turn back first of all to Exodus chapter nineteen. In this nineteenth chapter of Exodus, you'll recall that God has called Moses up to the Mount Sinai to give him the law and to give him the Ten Commandments. And He sends him back down and says, "You tell the people don't try to come up this mountain. In fact, don't even get on the edge of it". That is, put up something that'll keep them because if anybody touches it, it's going to cost them their life.
God was in the process of teaching them the importance of holiness, the importance of obedience. And what he says happens here beginning in verse eighteen of this nineteenth chapter. "Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder". And then of course you come to the twentieth chapter and you have the Ten Commandments. Well, if you'll go to the book of Malachi which is the last book in the Old Testament, and go back a couple of books. And the reason I say that is because some people who've not been a Christian a long time wouldn't have any idea where that book is. So, if you'll go to Malachi and go back to Zechariah and then if you'll go to the little book of Haggai. And if you'll look at the second chapter, only two chapters here, and look at this twentieth verse. God is speaking through His prophet here and he is speaking to Zerubbabel, the governor.
And you'll recall that when the captivity took place, that then finally they were able to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, the gates, and the temple and listen to what he says in verse twenty: "Then the word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month saying, 'Speak to Zerubbabel governor of Judah saying, "I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. And I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders, and the horses and their riders will go down, everyone by the sword by another, or of another". "'On that day,' declares the LORD of hosts, 'I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, my servant,' declares the LORD, 'and I will make you like a signet ring,'" that is, I will honor you in a very special way, "'for I have chosen you,' declares the LORD of hosts".
Now notice what he says. He says, "I'm going to shake the heavens and the earth. I'm gonna overthrow all of these kingdoms". Now this was a long time ago. But you look at history and here's what you'll discover. Not only did God shake the whole empire of Egypt when He delivered the people, the Hebrew children, out of Egyptian bondage because the Bible tells us that all the nations thereabout began to fear because they heard of how God had defeated the Egyptians and freed up the Hebrews. Well, not only that, then they moved into the Promised Land later on, and of course they were divided because of their own rebellion against Almighty God, then the Babylonians moved into Judah, took them into captivity. And so what did God do? God shook the nation of Israel itself. Then he shook the nation of Babylon. The Persians came in, Medo-Persians came in, took the Babylonians. Then the Assyrians came. And then came the Greek Empire, then came the Roman Empire, and what you see is God moving down through history.
And all through those hundreds and hundreds of years, God was moving among men. And what was He doing? Moving one empire after the other. God is God and He absolutely will not tolerate being ignored, nor will He tolerate man building anything that is supreme enough, super enough that man can live without God. Because all down through those centuries men were searching for God, seeking God. They had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of gods. Bowing down to their gods, often times losing faith in their gods, looking for something else. And what was God doing? Shaking one civilization, one nation after the other. And so as we look to see how He's worked in the past and He certainly has shaken up many things, we look around us today and say, "Okay, well how does this apply to today? Is God shaking up anything today"? Yes, He is. He's still in the process of shaking nations.
As He prophesied in the Old Testament, prophesied in the New Testament, He is indeed shaking them up. That is, He's causing nations to tremble. When you think, for example, about the nations of the earth today, where is there real peace? Where is there no revolution? Where is there real contentment? Where is there adequacy of anything? Because in spite of everything that man has done, in spite of all of our attempts and all of our abilities and talents to put together all kinds of economies and all the things that anybody would need in a given nation, every single nation is troubled. Every single nation is trembling to some degree. You look at our own country. We look at, ah, the prosperity we have and we think, Well, surely we have everything we need. But show me people who are really happy. Show me how many people are really contented.
Where's our real security? How many people have any real sense of safety? Where is our nation when it comes to the reality of what life is all about? Every single nation on the face of this earth, rumbling, trembling over something. Look at all the problems they have with health. Look at all the problems they have with the environment. Look at the economy, look at the calamities of famine, for example. And if you put the nations of the earth together, here's what you find. If you put this kind of scenario together. If you put, for example, financial crisis. If you put revolution. If you put famine, you put the pestilence of aid together and what you'll come up with is, is Revelation chapter six. Because in, listen, in the time of the tribulation period, there will be wars and rumors of wars. There will also be the calamity of plagues. There will be the calamity of famine. There will be all kinds of judgment coming upon the earth.
Well, the truth is, is not God sending this whole globe a signal? And that is He will not put up with being ignored, that man is not in control, that man could never build enough edifice for himself to satisfy himself. God is the sovereign of this universe. He will not allow man to be safe. He will not allow us to build anything that builds real genuine security apart from Himself. God knows how to shake us. God knows how to get our attention. God knows how to work in our life. And God knows how to shake an entire nation. And my friend, the reason God must shake this nation is because of what we have tolerated and what we do tolerate. And so what do we do? We legalize everything that causes man to satisfy, so to speak, his indulgent gratification. That is, anything that satisfies the flesh in some fashion, somehow, we want to make it legal.
And I'm telling you, my friend, God's must shake loose. And He will shake loose this nation. He will shake this whole earth. This whole globe is going to shake. We tolerate, we tolerate forms of immorality which God, for which God destroyed nations in the past. And if we think somehow because we legalize something and it becomes acceptable in the eyes of many people, most people, or even if it's all the people, if God hates it, God will shake the nation that absolutely ignores Him, turns up its nose to Him and says, You know what? We're gonna do it our way. We think we've got a smarter way to do it than You have. He's gonna shake it loose.
Well, you say, "My goodness, if my finances aren't secure, relationships aren't secure, and all my material possessions are up for grabs and I could lose it all, then what have I got"? Well, that's what I've been getting ready to talk about. What is it that cannot be shaken? Look at, look see what this verse says. Notice what he says. He says, now in verse twenty-seven: "And this expression, 'Yet once more,' denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain". So let's think about something for a moment. Let me tell you what every single one of us believers has that absolutely cannot be shaken. Almighty God. God our Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, the three persons of the Trinity, absolutely cannot be shaken.
You say, "Well, what do you mean, can't be shaken"? Well, first of all, God is sovereign. He is omnipotent. He has all power. He is in absolute control of every single solitary thing. How does, listen, how does anything less powerful than God move God? It cannot. You can't vote to move Him, you can't cry to move Him, you can't fast and make Him move. Somebody says, "Well, now can't we move God by prayer"? We talk about moving God by prayer. You don't move God. He is, listen, that means if you move God, that means that He was here and happy here and you're gonna get Him over here. No. You know what prayer does ultimately? Prayer does not move God, prayer gets me in a position whereby God, who has already willed and chosen to do something in my life or your life, we get ourselves in a position in prayer whereby He can do what He chose to do, what He wants to do, what He predetermined to do and we simply get ourselves in the position whereby He can do it.
And there are certain laws that God goes by, certain principles He goes by. And so when we, when we are following His principles, we get in a position whereby then we make requests of God, God acts in response, listen, in response to our desires which first of all were His desires to begin with. We're not changing God and moving God. And somebody says, "Well, you know, I've prayed and prayed and prayed so I decided I was gonna fast. I was gonna get God's attention". You've already got God's attention, you, listen, you can fast till you die, starve yourself to death. You can't make God do one thing He does not want to do. You can't move God. There's no power on earth, no force on earth, that can move Almighty God. Does pray, does prayer make a difference? Yes it does. But it is God in His sovereignty, in His omniscience, knowing all things. God doesn't change His mind. God's not affected by what we do. God is going to move. He is going to sovereignly have His will no matter what.
Another thing that you and I have that's unshakable is what you've got in your hand, and that's the Word of God. Absolutely unshakable. Turn if you will to Isaiah chapter forty and look if you will in that verse eight. Isaiah chapter forty verse eight. And this is a Scripture you might need to mark in your Bible at some point. He says, verse eight: "The grass withers, flowers fade," that means time comes and goes. Things change. "The grass withers, the flower fades," but listen to what he says "but the word of our God stands forever". There is nothing in this world that's gonna destroy the Word of God.
Now I want you to turn to Matthew chapter twenty-four for a moment. Matthew chapter twenty-four I believe and let's look at verse thirty-five. Notice what he says in this passage. Twenty-fourth chapter. We just read a few moments ago about the tribulation period. Then he says in this particular verse. Verse thirty-five, Jesus speaking. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away". There's not anything that's going to shake the Word of God because what is it? The Word of God is the revelation of God. The Bible is God's revelation of Himself. That simply means that God has allowed us to glimpse, to take a glimpse of who He is. He's pulled back the veil to show us what He's like. So, we see how He's revealed Himself in prophecy, in narration, in all of these things. We see how God's revealed Himself.
So what do we have? We have the living Word of God. This is God's Holy Word. This is the Word that God has given us as an instruction book. This is how we're to live. He gives it to us so that we'll understand what He's like, what He's about. He gives it to us so we'll understand how we're to live. Now, it's interesting that all back down through the centuries, haven't always had all this at the same time. And now we have it from Genesis to Revelation. We have God's full revelation of all that He wants us to know and all that we need to know. And you know what? It's been criticized for centuries. People have rationalized it away and said, "Can't be, it can't be some revelation of some God because it's got all these errors in it". So that's one way they've said it. They've criticized it and said, "Well, you know, it's full of myths. And besides that man wrote it and if man wrote it, man makes mistakes and therefore because man makes mistakes, you can't put your faith in it". And therefore the liberalist said, "Well, you know, it doesn't really mean this. The first eleven chapters of Genesis are all myth. The book of Revelation is a mythology of John so therefore you can't put your faith in that".
And it's interesting to me that the people who don't believe it and can't live by it are not happy, they don't have any contentment and no security. They certainly don't have any eternal security and what do they have? They don't have anything. One thing about this book, you can't shake it. Listen, they've burned it they've criticized it, they've rationalized it. They've tried to mythologize it. You name it. And you know what? Here it is. Still doing what? Still saving people's lives, still bringing us into a right relationship with God. It's still the Living Word of God. It's gonna be here when every atheist and every agnostic and every unbeliever and every so-called destroyer. When they are dead and gone it's still the living Word of God. When you and I get to Heaven, it'll still be the unshakable living Word of the Living God.
So there's something else that I have in this life. And if you'll just think about this at your house. You may live in a beautiful home with the finest of furniture. I mean, you may have a house that's absolutely just knock your eyeballs out. You know what? Let me ask you a question. Let's look at your house. All put all the furniture in your house together and how beautiful it is. Let me ask you this. When you get ready to die, what difference is that gonna make? Not one bit. How many chairs you taking with you? Not any. How many beds you taking with you? How many dressers you taking with you? Not one. What about all that silver that you've saved up and you won't let your kids use? Because you want to keep it. You want to keep it shined and polished and don't touch this and, let's save, what in the world are you saving it for? I never have figured that out.
Why do people save and save and save as if they're gonna take it with them? Listen, when they put your body in the casket, to my knowledge I never have seen any silverware, any money or anything in there. You know why? It won't do a bit of good. The only thing you and I own physically on the face of this earth that will never change cannot change, is the Living Word of God. So we can say, "Thank God, there's something not gonna be shaken". What is it? My God's not gonna be shaken.
The second thing's not gonna be shaken is the Word of God because this is His revelation. Well, there's a third thing is not gonna be shaken and listen to this carefully. And that is, to all of us who are believers, one thing that's not gonna be shaken is our personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. Absolutely will not be shaken. Cannot be shaken. Money can't take it away from us. Death can't take it away from us. Listen to what Jesus said. John chapter ten, verse twenty-seven, He said, "My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me; I give unto them eternal life," listen, "and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone be able to shake them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them to Me, is greater than all; I and My Father are one".
Listen, if you have a personal relationship with God, there's not anything in this world that can shake you lose. You say, "But now wait a minute now, hold it. But what about my faith"? I'm coming to that, and so listen, I'm coming to that. There's no one, there's nothing, listen, there's no one that can shake your relationship with Jesus Christ. For first of all, let's see how you, how you came to that relationship. Well, you heard the Word of God in some fashion. You believed the testimony of the book. And so what did you do? You placed your faith in the testimony of God's Word, His revelation, which said that when Jesus Christ went to the cross, He died on the cross for your sin and mine. And you accepted that as true and you said, "I do receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior".
The chapter four of Ephesians, that the spirit of the living God, triune God, the Holy Spirit, sealed you, the Bible says, unto the day of redemption, which means He sealed you as His son, as His daughter until the moment He takes you out of this life. And so that you are sealed forever as a child of God. Now how did you get sealed? Was it good works? No. Did you, listen, did you get sealed, did you get sealed by your faith? No you weren't sealed by your faith. You were sealed, listen, by the Holy Spirit who is responding, listen, to what? To your faith in the death of Jesus. It is the death of Christ. It is, it is His atoning death at Calvary that took care of my sin. The moment I placed my faith in His death, in Him as a person, then I was sealed as a child of God. Now, wasn't by works. And so what can shake us loose from that? Well, go if you will to Romans chapter eight for a moment.
Romans chapter eight, everybody ought to have this passage marked in their Bible. Romans chapter eight and look if you will beginning in verse thirty-five. Listen to what he says. "Who shall separate us who shall shake us loose from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword"?
Now look at those things, I mean, this is, this is enough to, to cause anybody to wonder. Look at that. What shall shake us loose from the love of Christ? Tribulation and distress and persecution and famine and nakedness and peril or sword. He says, "'For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered the sheep to be slaughtered.' "But in all of these things," what? "All these difficulties, hardships, trials, persecution, distresses, famineness, nakedness, perils, sword, all of these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Christ who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death," look at that, "neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities of any kind, including Satan, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, every single thing's been created other than God shall be able to separate us shake us loose from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord".
Now let me ask you something. What is it that can shake your relationship with Christ? What can shake it loose? What can take you away from God? What can snatch you out of the Hand of God? Not one single thing. So, this I know. Number one, I know I have something that absolutely cannot be shaken: My God. Secondly, God's Word. And thirdly, my relationship with Him. So my friend, listen, if you're one of those persons who feels like and who believes that somehow that you can lose your salvation, then let me ask you a question. Where is your security? If you can be saved by the grace of God and then you can lose it, where's your security? I mean, where is it? If you can lose it, where is it? You say, "Well, but I'm probably not gonna lose mine". What's this probably business?
And you see, some people say, "Well, Satan can snatch me out of God's hand". That's not what Jesus said. "Well, I can just choose to walk away". You can choose to walk away but you know what you'll walk into? You'll walk into this wall of divine discipline. That's what you'll walk into. Does that mean that God's gonna cast you away? No. Absolutely not. Let me ask you a question. If your son, your daughter, went through some difficulty and hardship and they said, "You know what? I don't want you to be my parents anymore. I'm sorry you're my parents. I wish I'd a never been born to you" and walked away. Would you say, "Well, good riddance for you". No you wouldn't. You know what would happen? Your heart would go after them. Your heart would seek them. You would love them, you'd be praying for them, weeping over them and crying for them to come back. Why? Because your love doesn't change.
I want to tell you something. It doesn't make any difference what happens to you, God's unconditional love is like all of His other attributes. It does not change. You say, "Well, you mean to tell me people can get away with that kind of stuff"? Let me ask you a question. How many of you have ever gotten away with anything? If you think you have, think twice. We can be forgiven, and God doesn't judge us when we are. But you know what? There are people, there are many people who go through hardship and difficulties. You know what? They'll tell you, "I'm not going to church". They'll say, "Well, I gave my life to Christ years ago and let me tell you what happened in my life and I don't understand that and"... And you know what? They're angry with God.
Does being angry with God cause Him to say, "You get angry with Me, you've had it". No. This is why, listen, His love is unconditional. What does that mean? His love for me and for you is not conditioned upon whether I'm angry or not. It isn't conditioned upon whether having trusted Him as my personal Savior, I get upset and don't believe what I used to believe anymore because I think I can just emotionally can't handle, I can't handle this, I can't handle this hardship and this difficulty. I can't handle this kind of, of emotional pain. So, God, if You were there, surely You would have done something. You must not be there. Think God can't handle that? Yes He can. You know what can't be shaken? Your personal relationship with Jesus Christ absolutely cannot be shaken. He says, "What shall separate us from the love of God"? He names everything imaginable. Death, life, principalities, power, things to come, things past, I mean, you name it.
What can shake us loose? Not anything. When you and I have the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and we understand who He is, listen carefully now, because I'm gonna say something that you may question, number one, but I want you to think about it. If you've placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, now listen carefully, and you're walking in His Spirit. Doesn't mean you're sinless. But you, that your heart's desire is to be absolutely obedient to God, and you want to walk in His way and His will for your life. This unconditionally loving Father will be to you every single thing that you need in every instance and every circumstance of life, no matter how tumultuous, no matter how trying, no matter how difficult, no matter how painful, no matter how sorrowing, no matter how upsetting, no matter how disturbing. He will be to you every single thing you need, every single time with no exception, so that your faith will not be shaken. If you will commit yourself to walk in obedience to Him.