"A MIND, A HEART, AND A WILL
Written and preached by David P. Nolte
Two little brothers, about 7 and 10, were out playing. The day began
to wane and dusk was setting in. The older brother said, "Look, Joey,
how far the sun has gone down. It's time to go home now!" The younger
brother said, "Okay, Billy. But the sun isn't really going down. Remember
how Daddy 'splained it to us?" Billy said, "Well, it looks like
the sun is going down and I believe what I see!" Joey said, "Well
I believe Daddy!" Three siblings had been put to bed for a nap in
the bedroom they shared. Lightning and thunder flashed and boomed. The
two elder children became frightened and hid under the bed, whimpering.
The younger child, a little boy of about 6 peered under the bed at the
cringing children and said, "Aw, quit yer bawlin'! Don't you 'spect
God knows what He's doin'?" A rather simple minister, while preaching
to a handful of folks one day, pointed to his Bible and declared, "Brethren,
whatever the Lord tells me in this Book I'll do! In fact," he continued,
"if He ordered me to jump through a brick wall 2 feet thick, I'd attempt
it. You see," he explained, "going through it is God's responsibility;
jumping at it is mine!" He was right! The element that ties these
stories together is the same element that ties our lives together and the
same element that is the sole basis for our relationship to God: faith!
In the text we encounter our primal ancestors and in their experience we
come to grips with the 3 essential ingredients to real faith, Bible faith,
saving faith. What are those 3 essentials?
- A MIND TO BELIEVE GOD:
- Note how the serpent, Satan in disguise, tried ever so cunningly to
undermine God's credibility.
- First he wanted to make Eve think she believed something God had not
said. "Indeed, has God said, `You shall not eat from any tree of the
garden'?" Verse 1. His ploy was to suggest that Eve
didn't have to believe that she couldn't eat from any tree because God
didn't really say that.
- Second he outright contradicted God: "You surely shall not die!"
- Sometimes we encounter individuals chronicled in the Bible who had
to learn to simply believe God.
- Abraham and Sarah needed to learn just to believe God:
- God spoke to Abram, "'And I will bless her, and indeed I will
give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother
of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.' Then Abraham fell on
his face and laughed, and said in his heart, 'Will a child be born to a
man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear
a child?'" Genesis 17:16-17.
- Sarah herself laughed when she heard the news, and the Lord said to
Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, `Shall I indeed bear a child,
when I am so old?' Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed
time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have
a son." Genesis 18:13-14.
- Gideon needed to learn just to believe God: "Then Gideon said
to God, 'If Thou wilt deliver Israel through me, as Thou hast spoken, behold,
I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on
the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that
Thou wilt deliver Israel through me, as Thou hast spoken.' And it was so.
When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained
the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water. Then Gideon said to God,
'Do not let Thine anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please
let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on
the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.' And God did so that
night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground."
Judges 6:36-40. His fleece was not to test God's will for
God had revealed that; his fleece was to get God to prove He would do as
He said He would do!
- Thomas needed to learn just to believe: He said he would not believe
that Jesus rose from the dead unless and until he could touch the wounds
in Jesus' body. The risen Jesus spoke to him saying, "Reach here your
finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My
side; and be not unbelieving, but believing." Thomas answered, "My
Lord and my God!" And Jesus said, "Because you have seen Me,
have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
- Consider the Biblical need for belief:
- God declared Jesus to be His Son, the Christ. Jesus said, therefore,
John 8:24 "unless you believe that I am He, you shall
die in your sins."
- We will never be God pleasers without belief. Hebrews 11:6
"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes
to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who
- We declare God to be a liar if we don't believe what He says, 1
John 1:10 "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him
a liar, and His word is not in us."
- Believe God! As Paul said, "let God be found true, though every
man be found a liar," Romans 3:4.
So, the serpent attacked Eve at the point of her belief in what God
had to say. She, like all of us, needed a mind to believe God. But there
is more to faith:
- The serpent hoped to make Eve doubt God's kind intention to her. He
hoped to convince her that God's prohibition was to curtail their fulfillment
and to deny them something good. "For God knows that in the day you
eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing
good and evil." Genesis 3:5.
- Trusting God is that confidence, that assurance, that conviction that
- He will always keep His word.
- That He will always be the same, yesterday, today and forever.
- That we may always approach Him and find Him willing and able to receive
and to help us.
- That when He forbids or commands anything it is for our ultimate good.
- We all trust something or somebody!
- Some trust in their possessions and feel that if they have a substantial
financial base they are secure.
- Some trust in their own goodness, their own efforts, their own righteousness.
- Some trust in their own earnestness thinking that it doesn't matter
what you believe if you are sincere.
- Some trust in another person, like the man who thought he was right
with God because his wife was a Christian.
- Trust God! And listen to this:
- Psalms 9:10 "And those who know Thy name will put
their trust in Thee; For Thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek
- Psalms 13:5 "But I have trusted in Thy lovingkindness;
My heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation."
- Psalms 40:4 "How blessed is the man who has made
the Lord his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse
- Psalms 118:8 "It is better to take refuge in the
Lord Than to trust in man."
So, believe it or not, Eve trusted the counsel of the serpent more than
she trusted God's word. Adam trusted the counsel of Eve more than he trusted
what God had said. Who do you Trust? But believing and trusting are only
2 of the 3 essentials of faith. There is also
- It was not up to Adam or Eve to reason about what God had said; it
mattered not why He had forbidden a particular fruit -- it only mattered
that He had forbidden it and they needed to obey.
- Paul said, to those who might be unduly concerned with outward obedience,
"Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what
matters is the keeping of the commandments of God." 1 Corinthians
7:19. And friend, that is all that matters!
- Listen to what the Word says,
- Acts 5:32 "And we are witnesses of these things;
and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him."
God gives the Holy Spirit to those who are obedient.
- John 15:14 "You are My friends, if you do what I
command you." Our friendship with Jesus hinges on obedience.
- Ephesians 5:6 "Let no one deceive you with empty
words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons
of disobedience." Disobedience brings the wrath of God.
- Hebrews 5:9 "And having been made perfect, He became
to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation," Those
who obey are saved.
- God help us have the attitude of Peter to whom Jesus said, "Simon,
Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." Peter
said, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but at
Your bidding I will let down the nets." Luke 5:4-5.
At your bidding I will:
- Go where You send me.
- Speak what You tell me.
- Do as You order me.
- Shun what You forbid me.
- Obey all that You command me.
Faith: a mind to believe God, a heart to trust God, a will to obey God.
Let me close, illustrating it in these ways: This week I was taking my
grandson, Tommy, to soccer practice. When I am with my grandchildren we
usually visit about things. Tommy asked me about people dying and going
to heaven and about those who die and go with the devil. I said, "Tommy,
those who believe in Jesus don"t have to worry about ever going with
the devil." He said, "I do believe! In my mind
I believe about Jesus." I received an e-mail from my granddaughter
Alisha. She wrote, "Dear Grandpa, I love you. I wish the world would
turn to GOD instead of the devil or nobody. Why doesn`t the world know
about GOD? Grandpa, please answer my questions. Love, Alisha." The
world has no excuse for not knowing God! Romans 1:19-20 says,
"because that which is known about God is evident within them; for
God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible
attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen,
being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."
Do YOU know God? Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, has come to make
Him known. He said, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father."
Believe Him, put your trust in Him, and then obey! That's the only Biblical
faith; that's the faith that pleases God; that's the faith that saves!
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