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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Trust, Hope, and Fear

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. --Psalm 56:3,4

Trust goes to the heart of faith. The connection between God, His word, fear, and the trust that faith produces is made clear in this Psalm.

A person's true God is revealed in this way: it is where the man goes to calm his fears.

Fear is the result of imagination and only exists in the imagination. We have been given the gift by God of imagining what the future will be like, either in the short term or in the long term. Because of this we have hopes and fears: hope if we imagine a good future, fear if we imagine a bad one. The hopes and the fears exist only in the mind and come to pass only by the decree of God, for it is God alone who predestines [determines] the future.

The godly have nothing to fear and everything to hope for. The ungodly have nothing to hope for and everything to fear. If the Bible is clear about anything, it is clear about this. The fears of the godly and the hopes of the ungodly both terminate at death.

But in this world these hopes and fears tug at our minds, causing us to make decisions in the present. If our decisions are made in hope, they may be very different than if they are made in fear.

The believer, in his weakness, may experience fear, but he is taught by the Holy Spirit to trust in the Lord. The Heidelberg Catechism puts it this way: "True faith is not only a certain knowledge whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word; but, also a hearty trust, which the Holy Ghost works in me by the Gospel...."

Where does this faith arise? from the promises of the Scriptures, as the Psalmist says: "In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me."

The simple truth is this, the believer has a glorious future in Jesus Christ and nothing created can change that. Romans 8 says that nothing created "can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

When the believer imagines the future under the instruction of the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit, he sees the love and joy of the Lord, and his fears dissolve. The only ground of his hope are the promises of God, but by these he learns to overcome fear and the sin that comes with it.

"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." --2Pet. 1:3,4

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." Because of his flesh and weakness, the believer often experiences the fears that unbelievers do, because he is not yet perfected. These fears can be very powerful at times and can lead to great sin, as Peter's denial of the Lord.

But the believer has something else besides the fears that sometimes assault him: there also arises by the work of the Holy Spirit and the promises of God trust and faith in his Heavenly Father.

Jesus said, "If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly father give good things to them that ask Him." Faith teaches us to call upon our Father in Heaven in the time of need. The promises of God tell us:

Ps 115:11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
Ps 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
Ps 118:9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
Ps 125:1 They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
Pr 3:5-7 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

Even our imaginations must be brought captive to the word of God and must not be allowed to bring us into the bondage of fear, sin, and death. We are beloved of the Lord who made the heavens and the earth, and must not be afraid of what flesh can do to us.

The unbeliever has hope only in this world; he is trapped in the world and seeks to realize his joys and to escape his fears by earthly things. He has no hope in a real God, but in the power of his own thought.

Pr 14:32 The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.
Pr 11:7 When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.

Ps 17:15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

Philippians 4:6,7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Interested in Apologetics?

If you are interest in apologetics, you might find our sermon last Sunday of interest. The sermon was generated by scholarly work done by New Geneva Seminary librarian Bill McGinnis on the Psalms.

You can find the link HERE. The Sermon is named: "How Great Is Thanksgiving" and applies apologetic applications to the Third Division of the Heidelberg Catechism, How I Am to be Thankful for My Redemption.

You may also download the unedited notes used to preach the sermon. The audio is in mp3 format.


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