OceanSide church of Christ

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Beware of False Confidence

Mike Wencel

 

  CONFIDENCE IN SELF  .

We will be talking today about guarding against having a false confidence in where we will spend eternity.

We will start with a passage from the old testament where God warns us about this:

Deuteronomy 29:19-20 and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, 'I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart'—as though the drunkard could be included with the sober. [20] "The Lord would not spare him; for then the anger of the Lord and His jealousy would burn against that man, and every curse that is written in this book would settle on him, and the Lord would blot out his name from under heaven.

       “peace”  (the Hebrew word used here is “shalom” ) BDB definition: 1) completeness, soundness, welfare,

       peace, safety, soundness (in body), welfare, health, prosperity, quiet, tranquility, contentment, friendship in

       human relationships, friendship with God especially in covenant relationship

     

      One could apply this warning to so many things that are going on in today’s world

         ● The liberties man has taken in worship

         ● The ideas of atheism and secular humanism

         ● The tolerance and promoting of grievous sins that God calls abominations

         ● Calling that which is evil good and that which is good evil. We are told that all of this is fine as long as  

            we are sincere.

 

Jeremiah preached the same warning to the Jews hundreds of years later:

Jeremiah 23:16-17  Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart, Not from the mouth of the LORD. {17} They continually say to those who despise Me, 'The Lord has said, "You shall have peace" '; And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, 'No evil shall come upon you.' "

    Jeremiah is talking here about false teachers who try to give people a warm- fuzzy feeling that they can do

    whatever they want, whatever their heart desires and they will have peace and be just fine. What a deceitful 

    and soul-destroying teaching that was (and still is). The watered down plan of salvation, so prevalent in the

    world today, is a modern example of exactly what Moses and Jeremiah were speaking of - whereby man violates

    God’s command to not add or subtract anything from his word (Deuteronomy 4:2)

 

Both Solomon and Paul tell us where our trust should be:

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.

2 Corinthians 1:9  Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 

    Our trust should be not in ourselves, but in God. Trusting in anyone else, even ourselves is foolish.

   

This concept  of foolishness is well documented by the wisest man on earth (Solomon) and one of the great

    prophets (Isaiah):

Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 

Proverbs 28:26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered. 

Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight! 

     WOE: deep sorrow, grief, or affliction. Isaiah explains this woe in more detail a few verses down.

 

  The Holy Spirit,  through Isaiah, uses an even stronger metaphor:

Isaiah 5:24 Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, And the flame consumes the chaff, So their root will be as rottenness, And their blossom will ascend like dust; Because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. 

     Barnes: “their root shall be as rottenness”  Be rotten; or decayed - furnishing no moisture for the support of the

    plant. The idea is, that all the sources of national prosperity among the Jews would be destroyed. The word  

    “root” is often used to denote the source of strength or prosperity (Isaiah 14:30 / Hosea 9:16 / Job 18:16).

    “And their blossom will ascend like dust” – The word blossom means tender branch or flower. As the root would

    be destroyed, the flower, lacking nourishment, would become dry, and turn to dust, and blow away. Their  

    strength, and the sources of their prosperity would be destroyed.

 

Paul warns us against worldliness, in many passages, such as this one:

Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 

     Barnes: A literal translation of the Greek will give this sense: “what you think of or seek for yourself, seek

    also for your brethren.”

     “high things” refers to the highly coveted things in life like notoriety, honors, riches, power – basically “fame 

     and fortune”. These are not to be our primary objectives in life.

      Paul’s advise to associate with humble is the exact opposite of what most of the elites of our society do. They

    associate with other elites who they can benefit from in some way, they certainly do not desire to mix with the

    “lower class”. They prefer to stay in their ivory towers. 

 

  CONFIDENCE IN OUTWARD RESOURCES  .

 

Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

Psalm 44:6 For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me.

Isaiah 31:1-2 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, Nor seek the Lord!  [2] Yet He (God) also is wise and will bring disaster, And will not call back His words, But will arise against the house of evildoers, And against the help of those who work iniquity.

    Anybody here own a chariot? A horse? How may have a bow and arrow? A sword?

    So how are these admonitions relevant to us today? Substitute car or home for chariot, substitute politicians for

    horsemen, substitute personal wealth and possessions for horses and you can see how we are just as

    susceptible to  putting our trust in the wrong things today as people were who lived thousands of years ago. The

    materials are different but the danger is the same – putting our trust in things or people instead of God.

 

Jeremiah paints an equally dismal picture of people with misplaced trust:

Jeremiah 48:7-8 For because you have trusted in your works and your treasures, You also shall be taken. And Chemosh (a god of the Ammonites and Moabites) shall go forth into captivity, His priests and his princes together.  And the plunderer shall come against every city; No one shall escape. The valley also shall perish, And the plain shall be destroyed, As the Lord has spoken.

    ● Chemosh being taken into captivity implies the total ruin of those under his “protection”. Chemosh will not be

       able to save those who are faithful to him – God will destroy them all.  It is interesting to note that worship of

       this particular god was introduced into Jerusalem by Solomon and abolished by king Josiah of Judah.

    ● God is pretty serious about this tendency of men to trust anything and everything instead of Him.

    

  Trusting in material wealth is given special attention in the Scriptures:

Psalm 49:6-7  Those who trust in their wealth And boast in the multitude of their riches, None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him.

Proverbs 11:28  He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage.

Mark 10:24b-25  But Jesus said to them, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

     Moral: Your money can’t save you or your family or friends, only the atoning blood of Christ can do that,  if

               you are obedient to the plan of salvation.

NT Restoration Commentary: It is impossible for a man who trusts in riches – whose affections are set on riches, who makes the gaining of riches the end of his labors, who refuses to give up his riches to serve the cause of God and the good of man – to bring himself under the laws of God. We tend to apply it to the millionaire, and think it does not apply to us; but it means all whose affections are placed on money. A man who lets the attainment of five dollars hinder his obedience to God as much falls under the condemnation of this law as he who lets the attainment of ten thousand dollars come between him and obedience to God. It is the spirit with which we view money, not the amount. There are two classes of men whom Jesus considers rich and are here condemned. Namely, one who loves his riches, and makes an idol of them; the other who supremely desires to be rich. In other words, one who already "has it" and is making an idol of it, and one who does not have it, but is seeking it through undue means, and will make an idol of it if he gets it. Note that Christ did not condemn riches but the abuse of riches--the love of it.

 

  CONFIDENCE IN MEN

 

Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

Psalm 146:3-5 Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God.

Jeremiah 17:5  Thus says the Lord: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord.

    ● How many people put their trust in man today? Think of the propaganda being foisted upon naive citizens by 

       the liberal news outlets – people just trust the words of these people without any research, as if those words

       were gospel. This is how dictators brainwash their people.

    ● Think about dictatorships like North Korea where people are told who they must worship and what they must

       think. If they voice any other allegiance out loud, they can be sentenced to a life of hard labor or simply 

       eliminated. Fear is the main tool that dictators use to coerce their subjects into believing what they tell them

       to believe.

    ● God, on the other hand, does not rely primarily on fear to get his message across but on truth and love. He

       gives man free will to choose or reject that truth and love.

    ● Obviously fear does come into play, but only among those who rebel against God – they have a lot to fear. But

       those who choose to side with God have nothing to fear. Fear should not be present in their mind at all.   

 

Incredibly, sometimes men would rather trust their enemies than God:

Hosea 7:11 Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.

     Israel would rather ask their enemies for help than God? -  How crazy is that? Kind of reminds me of our

    relationship with China today.

 

  EXAMPLES OF FALSE CONFIDENCE E

At Babel

Genesis 11:4 And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.".

    Their thought seems to have been “we can be like gods”. Their faith in themselves was greatly misplaced. For a

    few verses later we see God’s displeasure at their arrogance: 

Genesis 11:8  So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 

 

King Asa, in relying on Syria rather than on God

2 Chronicles 16:7-9 2  And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him: "Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.

     King Asa did some foolish and ungodly things - trusting the king of Syria rather than God was just one of them,

    and the results were calamitous - bringing wars upon his kingdom and all the suffering that goes along with it. 

    Trusting your enemies is never a smart course of action.

 

People ignoring God’s commands

Isaiah 22:12-14  And in that day the Lord God of hosts called for weeping and for mourning, For baldness and for girding with sackcloth.  But instead, joy and gladness, Slaying oxen and killing sheep, Eating meat and drinking wine: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!"  Then it was revealed in my hearing by the Lord of hosts, "Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you, Even to your death," says the Lord God of hosts.

John Gill:  When it was a day of trouble, when Jerusalem was besieged by the Assyrian army; then did the Lord call to weeping and to mourning; to confess and mourn over their sins, the cause of these calamities; to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, and, by prayer and supplication, with tears to implore his help and assistance, and grant them deliverance; and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth; which were external signs of inward sorrow and repentance; the former of which was done by shaving the head, or plucking off the hair.

     How many people in today’s word have this sentiment as their personal motto: Let’s eat and drink and be 

     merry  for tomorrow we die! Or perhaps it would have to updated a bit to say: Let us eat and drink, and

     smoke,  and  snort, and inject, and party, and fornicate, for tomorrow we die!

     But these folks do have one part right: “tomorrow we die”, but that should be cause for pursuing godly behavior

     not debauchery.

Barnes: Probably if the real feelings of the great mass of worldly people were expressed, they could not be better expressed than in this passage of Isaiah: To paraphrase: ‘We must soon die - we cannot avoid that, for it is the common lot of all. And since we have been sent into a dying world; since we had no agency in being placed here; since it is impossible to prevent this doom, we may as well “enjoy” life while it lasts, and give ourselves to pleasure, dissipation, and revelry.

 

Peter’s inflated self-confidence

Matthew 26:35 Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!". And so said all the disciples. 

Luke 22:33-34  But he said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death."  Then He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me."

John 13:37-38 Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake."  Jesus answered him, "Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.

    ● Talk is cheap. It is easy to talk the talk but much more difficult to walk the walk. No one is infallible and we  

       are foolish and vastly over-confident if we think we are. 

    ● The denominational world needs to know that just saying you believe is meaningless if it is not accompanied 

       by  complete obedience to God’s word. If you say you believe in God but not in his word you are deceiving 

       yourself  and giving yourself a false sense of security if you think you are a saved individual.

    ● The last thing you want on judgment day is to be surprised when learning your “belief” alone is not enough to

       get you into heaven. Unfortunately, many will be surprised and it will not be a good surprise.