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The Faith of the Faithless

Wes Peppers

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Wes Peppers

Pastor, Traverse City & Kalkaska, Michigan

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Recorded

  • August 6, 2016
    11:30 AM
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There was a preacher a pastor who was a very very good speaker and every week every Sabbath he would wax eloquent in his messages and the people's hearts would be stirred and there were many Souls that would come to Christ because of it. People's lives were being changed the spirit of God was being poured out people were in tears and they were they were coming to Christ left and right the rebaptised in the church and the preacher began to think of himself pretty highly. He began to think of themselves that that while I'm a pretty good speaker. God has gifted me and I'm God's man. And then as he continued to think this way. He had a revelation from the Lord. And the Lord revealed to him that the magnificent sermons the Spirit filled sermons that he would have been sharing with his congregation were actually not due to his ability but because there was an illiterate lay brother who would sit on the front row of the church every week and before during and after that that pastor's message. This brother would be pleading with God. That the Spirit of God would come and speak through him but the Spirit of God would move the hearts of the people and that the people's hearts would be broken under the power of the influence of the Holy Spirit and it was because of that brother's prayers that humble brother that those souls were one to Christ. Amen. It's not by might or might my power strength of any preacher or any person but by his one friends but it's by the Spirit of God it always has been and it always will be by the Spirit of God the any soul is brought into the Kingdom including your own and you men. Other thankful today for the gift of the Holy Spirit's you know there's an interesting pattern in Scripture especially in the Old Testament. That you find with many. Backslidden and unrighteous people. It's very interesting. I was studying it today in throughout this week I've been reading about it and that the pattern you find is that people who in Old Testament times and I'm it's true today who were on righteous who were unfaithful who had backslidden they still believed in the great power of prayer. Now why do I say that because you find many examples throughout the Old Testament throughout Scripture of these people who had left God who when they found themselves in a very troubling tight difficult situation. Guess who they would always appeal to they were always appeal to someone who they knew was right with God who was a righteous with him who had a good standing with him whether it be the prophet or that be some leader of Israel some great mother in Israel they would always appeal to them to pray for them that whatever disaster had come upon them would be relented Now you might say well they were just warning the problems to go away. That is true in some cases but in many other cases it was the prayer of those faithful people in Israel that brought the hearts of those who were wicked back to the Lord. I with me. Yes or no that makes sense. So we're going to do. There's many examples actually too many to for us to look at but we're going to look at a few this morning go with me in the Book of Numbers. Chapter twenty one Numbers Chapter twenty one and this is the story of Israel with the fiery serpents Numbers Chapter twenty one. And we're going to take a look at this story here with the bronze serpent. Numbers Chapter twenty one and we're going to start in verse. Four. It says they had just made a commitment fact will read this look with me in verse verse two. Two It says so Israel made a vow to the Lord and said if you will indeed deliver this people into my hand then I will only destroy their cities and the Lord. Listen to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites and they had only destroyed them in their cities so the name of that place was called hormones. Then they journeyed from Mt horror to the way of the Red Sea to go around the land of Edam and the soul of the people became very want discouraged on the way it says and the people spoke against God and against Moses so they were backsliding they were becoming to the place where they shouldn't be and says Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness for there was no food and no water and our solo this worthless bread. What bread were they talking about the bread of heaven. So the bread of heaven the man of that came down from heaven to feed them miraculously while they were in the desert. What was that bread a symbol of whose the living bread Jesus said in John chapter six. I'm the living bread which did was came down from heaven. Remember that he says that John six so that bread they were eating each day was a symbol of who it was a symbol of Jesus and they when they said we lol that bread that we were eating what they were really essentially saying was we loathe to the Son of God So it wasn't really the bigger issue here wasn't really the Brad that they just said oh I'm just tired of it that same stuff every day. The real problem was the seed of sin in their hearts which was causing them not to just simply despise that physical bread but the spiritual bread that was symbolizing Christ because Christ wanted to be within them and they were loading Christ. They wanted nothing to do with the righteousness of God that he wanted to plant in their hearts are you with me. So there's a bigger background here. Then what the surface reads and so the Bible says in verse six. So the Lord sent a fiery serpents among the people. And they bit the people and many of the people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses and said what we have sinned for we have spoken against the Lord and against you pray to the Lord that he take away the serpents from us so Moses prayed for the people. So here's this people who are sinning against the Lord they're severely backslidden they're God's people they are unfaithful they're under righteous and when they find themselves in the predicament that they're in this this terrible thing. Where is the first place that they always go become back to the Lord whom they have originally rejected Isn't that the case when we also in our lives today when we find ourselves backsliding. And we find ourselves on the wrong track and we start to experience some of the negative consequences of our choices and it gets usually will take us to the place even though we may sometimes resist. We always know where we should go Don't way is not true. And these people always knew where they should go back to are you with me. Yes or no. So they came to Moses they came to the one man who just one verse before they were speaking against and criticizing they came back to the man of God and said want to pray for us pray for us we've sinned against you and against the Lord pray for us that God would relent these things. So that ever the same true for us. You are have somebody in your life that is always coming to you for advice. And you give them advice. And they don't follow that advice and then they have all kinds of problems and then when they have the problems they come back to you and say was the. For me and I say to them you know what my prayers aren't going to do any good for you until you turn away from your wicked way until you turn back to the Lord God with all your heart because it's only then that my prayers are going to help you now my peers might help you turn back but I'm not going to pray that God will deliver you from the consequences of your sin when it's the consequences of your sin that he wants you to endure to turn your art back to him. But the people somehow it seemed like friends you read throughout the whole Bible and no matter how wicked no matter how backslidden God's people became They always knew where to turn to when they had that turning point there. Why is an interesting and in the back of their minds they knew what the true answer was. And so do we. But I want to propose you that. So does the world. Now go with me over to verse first Kings Chapter thirteen you with me to first teens Chapter thirteen we're going to look at another example here first Kings Chapter thirteen when I look at the example of Jeroboam First Kings Chapter thirteen. Actually it's Chapter twelve I'm sorry put thirteen minutes with twelve and thirteen sounded on. All right let's go to verse. Let's start in verse. The start of verse twenty five. It says then Jeroboam Bill check him. In the mountains of Ephraim and well there. Also he went out from there and built Pew nul and Jeroboam said in his heart. Now the teen and may return to the house of David if these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem. Then the heart of his people will turn back to their Lord Rabbo him king of Juda and they will kill me. I go back to remote in the king of Juda therefore the king asked advice. There he is asking why. Advice. And he asked advice and made two calves of gold and said to the people it is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your God So Israel which brought you up from the land of Egypt and he set up one in Bethel and the other one. He put in Dan. Now this thing became a want sin for the people went to worship the before the one as far as Dan and he made shrines on the high places and made priest from every class of people who are not of the sons of Levi I'm and he ordained a feast on the fifteenth day and that was in Judah and so he did at Bethel st of sacrificing to the calves that he had made and at Bethel he installed the priest of the high places which he had made and he made offerings at the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day and he ordained them and he was burning incense and offering these sacrifices to these false Cowles and these false calves so had he had he backslidden yes or no he back slid from the Lord something terrible not only did he backslide but he also led the people to do what he also had the people to backslide But notice this go over to Chapter fourteen and notice what happens here and it says verse one at that time. Abijah of the son of Jeroboam became sick and Jeroboam said to his wife please arise and the skies yourself that they may not recognize you as the wife of Jeroboam and go to Shiloh indeed is the prophet there who told me that I would be king over this people also take with you. Ten loaves some cakes a jar of honey and go to him and he will tell you what will become of the child and Jeroboam Zwei did so. So she rose and went to Shiloh and came to the house of EV Jaya that giant could not. See for his eyes were a glaze by reason of his age. Now the Lord said to add Jaya here is the wife of Jeroboam coming to ask you something about her son for he is sick. Thus and thus you shall say to her for it will be when she comes in that she will pretend to be another woman and so it was when ab gyre heard the sound of her footsteps as she came to the door he said Come in wife of Jeroboam the Lord just doesn't mess around. Doesn't he has cuts right to the chase friends right to the chase come in wife of Jeroboam Why do you pretend to be another person for I've been sent to you with bad news. Go tell Jeroboam Thus says the Lord God of Israel because I exulted Jew from among the people and made you rule over my people and tore the king amount of from the House of David and gave it to you yet you have not been as my servant David who kept my commandments and who followed me with all his heart to do only what was right in my eyes but you have done more evil than all who were before you for you have gone and made for yourselves other gods and molded images to provoke me to anger and have cast me behind your back. Therefore I will bring disaster on the House of Jeroboam and I will cut off your a bone from every male in Israel bond and free and I will take the remnant of the house a job or him. As one takes away refuse to it is gone. Then he goes on and tells him verse twelve arise therefore and go to your own house when your feet enter the city the child shall want die and indeed when she crossed the gate the the line for the gate of the city the child died and that's bad news and it's unfortunate but it was not because the Lord wanted to do that it was because of the consequences of his wickedness OK but the point I want you to see is that though this man Jeroboam had done such great wickedness and in fact more wickedness the Bible says than all before him still. Still he was unfaithful. Yet he had some kind of outs of faith that when he was in crisis to go to who. To go to the prophet. Now what point am I trying to make with this. I'm coming to it come into it but do you see this point. Yes or no. And this is a pattern you find throughout Scripture. Those who run faithful they get in a crisis. They turn to voce who are faithful to seek for their intercession before the war. OK now three things I want you to see from this number one the disposition of sinners to almost always turn to those who are Godly for help and the crisis. OK. Number two the readiness in which those praying men and women respond to the appeal of the Bible says Be ready in season and watch out of season to give an answer for the hope that is within you and so these people whom the wicked would always turn to for prayer were always what friends they were always what they were always what ready. They were always ready number three. And this was most important the wonderful influence that these men and women had upon the hand of Almighty God to move in an answer to their prayer. You look at Moses you look at other people throughout Scripture Daniel and others. When viz men and women in Scripture. Went before the Lord and in Srijit to him. They moved the hand of God they had influence over God's hand in the lives of these people. And let me tell you what today friends that is not something that they had that we cannot have it is something that we all so my. Have at our disposal. Now. Now let me make sure that you missed don't misunderstand. I'm not saying that we have power over God but God is waiting for his people to plead and surrender to him and move and ask for things to happen and the lives of these people and in our lives so that he can respond with the divine hand of grace and move and make his church go forward. Are you with me. Yes or no this was powerful God almost always always quickly I mean God brought the serpents into the camp that people care and that and it caused a response from the people they can to Moses said pray for us. Moses went to God and prayed and God relented right then because it wasn't God's desire to send the serpents in the first place but he had to get the attention somehow if God could have gotten the attention of the people in any way less than having to send a fiery serpents in there that's what he would have done but the hearts of the people had become so hard that was the only way to get through them and so sometimes we also and I'm pointing out myself go through difficult trials. And I'm thinking to myself God why are you doing this to me why are you allowing me to experience it. It's not because God is is angry or whatever but because my heart is so hard. That's the only way for him to get through to me and he loves me enough to do it and he loves you enough to do it and he loves sinners enough to do it but God Once a people on the earth that when the sinners of the earth are put in those predicaments that there are people in their lives and I'm talking about you. Now who they can go to and say Pray for me. And treat God for me and we will have the opportunity to lead them to an experience with. Christ. Are you with me. Yes or no question this morning. Perhaps there aren't as many. Unbelieving people outside of the church. As there might be inside the church today. Or the thing. I'm going to read you a quote this morning from. A gentleman named him bones. He says Little does the church understand the full importance or appreciate the fullness of praying for a vote. Who are unsaved who asked them to pray for them if the church were fully alive and awake and in a thriving state to the real peril of the unconverted all around them more sinners would be found seeking the altars of the church crying out for them to pray. It might be a question to ask how much is it possible that it's the church who is responsible for the great level of unbelief in the world today. You suppose that the possibility. Could it be the world has become so indifferent to the things of Christ and of His truth because it is God's Church. Who has demonstrated such a level of unbelief who have not sought the Lord's hand to move in their lives because they've not sought the Lord to move in their own lives much less anyone else. Surely think about this. Surely if the people in these pages those who were wicked and unrighteous If they being unfaithful and. Oddly people. Understood the value and the virtue of intercessory prayer to the level that they came to God's people asking for prayer. How much more ought the people of God to day understand it and have an experience with it. What do you think church where you live this morning. We should desire. Above all things to learn how to truly pray to pray in the Spirit of God to go into our closets and wrestle with the Almighty. Some people say well why do you always say we should wrestle with God because God wants us to God wants us to come to him because the more that we wrestle and we saw it with God. The closer we're drawn to his heart and the more intimate our relationship becomes. Because he's seeking a people that will seek him out with all their hearts because if we weren't so blind to the Gospel. We would have an understanding has already infinite number of times and the climax being the cross that he has come and sought us out how many times over when he Christ died upon the cross God was a simply essentially saying to the word of the universe that I have given all of my heart to these people give anymore. I don't have anything else to give the God of heaven said this. And yet we're so gospel hard in we're so so so so numb to the story of the Cross that we cannot really see and understand the depth of what God gave for us. And we need God in our eyes and awaken us to our need of him. We need to understand we need to be weeping before the Lord. Maybe you're not an emotional person and you don't weep. But whatever non weeping people do to the equivalent. You should be doing it. Revival. We need an awakening. We need to be in our closets. We need to be on our knees. We need to be in our Bibles and to be praying for our children you to be praying for our church. We do be praying for this community that God would pierce through times. Us we need an urgency in our lives we should learn and desire above all things to know how to pray with such a lack of prayer these days I'm not talking about waking up and rolling out of bed for five minutes but brothers and sisters getting up in the mornings and kneeling before God early in the morning. Jesus did and seeking his face and you may say but I don't know how sit on your knees took our teachers you don't move too often we get Earth we get to we get up too early. This before God is going to move we get up and give up. God says be there until you know that I've come to you and if you don't know how to pray then get all you need to say God I don't know how to pray the disciples were not so embarrassed to go to Jesus and say teach us how to pray you don't your knees. You don't even need a book but if you don't have anything else get a book on prayer but just go to your knees and your closet. We for God say I don't know how to pray god. I don't know how to run so I don't know how to intercede teach me the best teacher you have is the Spirit of God. Will do it. He will do it. How do I know because I've been there. Your pastor has been there. I want to read you a quote another quote from him bounce he says we should desire above all things to learn to pray but so often that is what we lack wise to the case the answer lies in the heart and the will is undisciplined we are on discipline people were stiff necked people have a view of you this morning we don't want to be but we are the motive his presence but the affections. Listen to this the motive is there how many have a desire. We have a desire to pray don't we. But what happens is the motive is not enough. We must exercise the will. Are you with me. We must be willing to say I'm going to do this even though I die I'm going to do it and God's going to help me because he promised. Was the motive is present but the affections the hearts have not melted under ours of heavenly meditation our hearts are hardened they have not melted before God There ought to be Listen I'm not into emotionalism but there ought to be a little passion and are praying and then a little emotion. We have to be intimate with God You can't be intimate without exercising emotions or you with me but we shouldn't be driven by emotions but that's OK debris there for there to be some of oceans zones we're not dependent upon our feelings were dependent upon faith but God will move our hearts yes or no. The intellect is keen yet not for hours of tireless watching the end to let in the heart have never been linked together by the ceiling of the blessed that Holy Ghost to do or to die for a god in the secret places with the doors shut and lusts crucified. This my dear friends is the experience. That God would have his people to have we're told today. You've heard this a thousand times. But let me say this. I'm really getting tired of hearing ends and I want to experience it. From review in Harold's eight hundred eighty seven and revival of godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all of our needs. To seek this should be our first work not your jobs. That's easy for you to say Pastor. This is your full time job but sometimes I wish pastors were by vocational That way people can give me that line anymore. I don't say this arrogantly but pastors probably have less time than you do with a full time job outside of work and I say more time and I say less time passive less time than you are not our families even wait a minute. Pastor or first minister is to our family. Yes but our first level of devotion of God. Our first work there must be earnest effort to obtain the blessing of the Lord through prayer. Not because God is willing not willing to bestow it upon us. But because we see that our heavenly Father is more willing to give us His Holy Spirit to them that ask him than our earthly parents to give good gifts to their children but it is our work by confession he merely a shin repentance an earnest prayer to fulfill the conditions upon which God has promised to grant us his blessing a revival need only be expected in answer to prayer. Are we praying. Are we praying enough. Are we praying with a sincere heart. Are we praying before pure hearts with pure heart speak for God are we seeking repentance in our lives are we seeking to be humble before God or we humbly ourselves are we one more verse Hebrews Chapter four Hebrews Chapter four Hebrews Chapter four verse fourteen Seeing then that we have a great high priest who passed through the heavens Jesus the Son of God Let us home to our confession for we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin. Let us therefore Cumhal friends boldly to the throne of grace may obtain mercy and find grace in to help in time of need. If this is true. Do you believe it's true today. I mean do you really believe it's true or is it just another I've been a skilless Shea though yeah we have a high priest and have it. Jesus out there. He's praying for us. He's interceding for us. Do you really believe that because if you're not taking advantage of that you are full of unbelieve are you with me if we really believe it. Why would we not take great advantage. Lee to the throne of God The Bible says we can come directly to the throne of grace because Jesus Christ our priest has made the way and he has made the path clear. And sure and story too. The veil has been torn and we have the right to access to the God of heaven through Jesus Christ Our see why then why then do we him. He always lives to make intercession for us. Hebrews Chapter twelve and verse four. He says you have not yet resisted to bloodshed striving against sin. There's a story of a woman fell impressed to begin praying for people in her town and she said how am I going to find these people. I don't I don't know who they are how do I don't want to pray for them generally. And so the Lord guided her to the phone book and she opened the phone book. This is a true story set in the seventh they have she open the phone book and every day she began to pray for those names in the phone book. I don't know how many she prayed for she prayed for all of them or just as chunk of them but after many years. She was greeting in the church foyer one day and this new fellow Cummins to that comes into the church she greets him gives him a bullets in happy sad we're so glad you're here. Would you sign our guest book and he goes over and he signs the guestbook and she looks at the name and she says man that name really seems familiar to me. I don't know who this man is but I know I've seen this name before he goes it is now about halfway through the church service it hits her that this name was one of the names. She had been praying for from the phone book. Can you imagine after the service she runs up to the man if she says Sir tell me how was it that you came to our church How did you get here. How do you see and he says you know he says I've been I've been. I've been by your church for years and he says and I've always felt this compulsion to go in. He says but and he says I don't know where it came from and she says how long is that composers in he says all such and such date. That's the time she started praying for this man but you know finally I just couldn't resist any more. And I decided I needed to come in and God was pulling in here and he says I want to tell you I want to know more about your church and this woman was floored. Because the prayers that she had had prayed for moved the hand of God to move the heart of the man she had never met her life and there was the man of the church he was later bet it's true story. The men and women of prayer. My appeal to you today and your lives would so be lived that when those who are not with God See the example of your life. They would come to you and say there's something different. Would you pray for me and our prayers all connected and intimate with the Almighty we would have such an audience with him that the hand of God would move when we entreat him like Moses like the prophets of old we can have the same experience today because she has made it possible. It is my prayer today that every person here would have such an experience but my desire is not enough. It must become your desire and then it must become your choice and then it must be your action to seek the Lord's hands to move in your line before you can move someone else's. I met you. Today I have such things do you really this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse. If you would like to listen to more sermon leave the Visit W W W audio verse or.

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