The Preacher Says....  
  Antidote for Spiritual Distemper  

Galatians 1

It is distressing to observe the lack of faith in God we see all around us, and the lack of faith we see in ourselves. Even the apostle Paul was distressed when he observed the ease by which this lack of faith could come about. We try to think of ways to combat it by exhorting you to increase your faith and your belief in the Bible by disproving other faiths. More reliable, however, is the Word itself, and a thorough examination of what the Bible says on the subject . We know that without Faith it’s impossible to please God, so to seek it’s meaning should be a primary concern. Faith is a matter of believing that God is--He exists—and that He has spoken of His plan to reward them that diligently seek Him (Heb.11. 6, 7). Abraham had such a faith. He believed God when He promised to make of him a great nation:

Now the Lord had said to Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, And from thy father’s house, Unto land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, And I will bless thee and make thy name great; And thou shalt be a blessing. . . In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Gen. 12. 1 – 3).

In this truth lie the seeds of the antidote to a weak and vacillating faith. The famous 11th chapter of Hebrews provides a wealth of information. The writer cites some of God’s people by name, beginning with Abel , who by their great faith would one day receive the promise . He defines Faith as the substance (essence, reality) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Of such was the faith of Abraham over 4,000 years ago.

How do we convince ourselves of the truth of God’s promises? Why is it hard for us to have faith? We are deceived by our senses. We can’t admit to the reality that our weakness is due to the fact we are victims of—and to a large extent limited by—our everyday impressions: we are deceived by our senses. For example, men once believed that the sun rises every day over the earth—they perceived the sky to be “up” and the earth “down”—the earth a solid mass; but smarter people came along and figured differently, so we no longer believe these false impressions. The deception of our senses is what weakens our faith because the things we see are permanent to us, and therefore all important. After all, the desires that we have are reasonable. We have the hope of satisfying our desire for a good home and family, a nice car-- travel, perhaps. These things seem important, but it doesn’t take much for us to realize that all these hopes and desires are fleeting things.

Take a step back 30 years—view some old home movies and be amazed at how young everybody looks. Can you believe the change? We are looking into another world—almost unreal. Now step forward 100 years. Everything you knew is gone. Old familiar faces, places, all are gone. Most landmarks and borders have all changed. Using this method of reflection, go back to a time when this country didn’t exist—even before the Indians. Keep on back to that great civilization in Ur of the Chaldees—the cradle of civilization-- followed centuries later by the emergence of one particular nation—the Jews—their captivity in Egypt, and their escape by the hand of God’s great power. After this the rise and fall of other kingdoms covering many more centuries until we arrive at the time of Christ, Paul, Peter and others who went about preaching. These men preached that the ancient Kingdom of Israel would be re-established on the earth in God’s good time, a fact affirmed by Christ at the judgment when he will say, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Mt 25.34). After 70 AD, the Jewish kingdom was destroyed by the Romans, and other kingdoms rose and fell. But the Jewish people themselves not only survived, but in the face of indescribable persecutions, have not only survived, but today are re-gathered in the land of Israel. So we witness God’s purpose in the earth beginning to come to pass.

Thus, our feeble faith is quickened. We discover again that there is no permanence—things that seem real are not. The only thing permanent is the purpose of God. And that purpose is to fill the earth with His glory through the Jews. This is not so unreasonable to believe when you read the words of the prophet Isaiah, speaking of Zion:

And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts Make unto all people a feast o fat things, A feast of wines on the lees . . . And He will destroy in this mountain the face of The covering cast over all people, and The veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away all tears from off all faces; And the rebuke of His people shall He take away From off all the earth; for the Lord has spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; We have waited for Him and He shall save us; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation. (Isaiah 25. 6 – 9)

Also in Jeremiah 23. 6 – 9:

Behold, the days come, says the Lord, That I will raise unto David a righteous branch, And a king shall reign and prosper, And shall execute justice and judgment in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, And Israel shall dwell safely; And this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

The antidote to our spiritual distemper comes when we are convinced that The gospel--the good news of the kingdom of God—is a divine revelation preached by Paul , who received it not after man, as he certifies in Galatians, but from above:

For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, But by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Gal 1. 11, 12).