Thursday, May 31, 2018

Faith that Moves Mountains

Have you ever wondered why our faith doesn’t move mountains?  What was Christ talking about when He spoke about this to His disciples?  Twice Jesus told His disciples that if they had faith like a mustard seed that they could do jaw-dropping things for Him.   So, what exactly is mustard seed faith?

The disciples longed for more faith in order to do great things for God (Mt. 17; Lk. 17).  They longed for more faith in order to cast out the toughest of demons and to forgive the brother or sister who continued to sin against them.   Jesus tells them that they do not need great faith; they just need a little faith.  Jesus speaks about the smallest amount of faith such as that of a mustard seed (the smallest seed known in its day).  This is actually encouraging news.  You see a small amount of faith in the right object is all that is truly needed.

Our faith makes a difference not because it is great but because our God is great!  God is sovereign and capable of bringing about anything He desires.  God is always working all things out according to the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11).  In Jesus’ illustration He is not talking about literally moving mountains and there is no example of this in Scripture.  He is helping us to know that stunning things happen when we place our faith in the right object~~God alone. 

There are times that we petition God for our desires and needs and yet we fail to see God bring the results that we desire.  At times, God has answered and the answer is sometimes no or not now.  If you remember, Paul prayed to God three times to remove his “thorn in the flesh” that caused Paul to be afflicted with discomfort.  Did Paul lack mustard seed faith?  God’s response to Paul was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:7-10).  It was not a matter of lack of faith but rather God being glorified through dependence upon Him in difficult times.

Mountain moving faith must be based on God’s promises in His Word and on God’s will for our lives.  God will not work against the principles established in His Word.  Sometimes our prayers are for things that don’t please the heart of God.  Some times our prayers are for things that God may want to take care of in a different way.  Our mustard seed faith placed in the right object of our faith (God alone) can accomplish much.  However, God is not our genie in a bottle who grants our every wish and whose desire is to only make us happy and comfortable in this short life.  God’s desire is that in all things that His great name might be glorified through our lives.  God loves our dependence upon Him for strength, wisdom, and our satisfaction. 

Faith that moves mountains is a faith that trusts God to be God.  It is a faith that trusts God to do what He desires to do in His own timing.  This type of faith always believes that God can do more than we could ever think or imagine.  Let’s be mountain movers for God’s glory!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

What About God's Final Judgment?

Some have asked me recently about God’s final judgment upon the world.  Such as, when will it take place and what will actually happen according to Scripture.  God has given us some information about that in His Word.  We are told in Scripture that both believers in Christ and non-believers will be judged in the end.  Paul in speaking to Christians in Romans 14:10-12 says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. . . . So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God”.   2 Corinthians 5:10 also tells us, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”  Remember, these passages are speaking about Christians giving an account of their actions to Jesus Christ and the judgment is called the Judgment Seat of Christ (or the Bema Seat of Christ).

At the judgment Seat of Christ, believers are rewarded based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Cor. 9:4-27; 2 Tim. 2:5).  An example of that judgment might be how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) or how successful we were over sin (Romans 6:1-4).  All of our sins are already forgiven and we will not be condemned for them (Romans 8:1).  Christ has already paid the price and God’s wrath was placed upon Christ for our sins (1 John 4:10).  For those who know Jesus Christ, He has prepared a place for us in the presence of God where we will enjoy his presence forever (John 14:1-6).  This place is called Heaven.

There will also be a time of final judgment for non-believers called the Great White Throne Judgment. This will take place after the millennium (Rev. 20:7-10).  The Judge will be Jesus Christ as we are told that, “The Father…has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man” (John 5:26-27).  All non-believers, “the dead, great and small” will stand before God in judgment (Rev. 20:12).  The judgment of non-believers will also include degrees of punishment as we read that the dead were judged “by what they had done” (Rev. 20:12-13).  The final reward for those who don’t know Christ is a literal Hell designed for Satan and his angels (Matt. 25:41).  Jesus refers to hell as the “unquenchable fire” and says that hell is a place “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48).  It is also a place of eternal conscious punishment for the wicked (Mt. 25:30).

Scripture even informs us that angels will be judged.  Peter says that the rebellious angels have been chained and committed to pits of darkness “to be kept until the judgment” (2 Peter 2:4).  This means that at least the rebellious angels or demons will be subject to God’s judgment on the last day.  Nobody will be able to escape the justice of God.

The most important thing we can do is to continue to reach the lost for Christ and be prepared to meet Jesus Christ ourselves.  God has given us enough of a glimpse into the future to change the way that we live for Him today.