Chapter 4: 14-25
The Certainty of God’s Promises 2
“14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’
“19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”
Last week we began to look at the promises that we have from the Lord. Promises that keep us calm and centered in the midst of great stress and even tragedies. When a husband and wife make their vows to each other, they include that they will stay together in sickness and health, richer or poorer and until death alone parts them. This should provide a degree of security for most people that they will get through life and not be abandoned when things go bad. Jesus used marriage in the book of Ephesians to teach us about the relationship He has with His churches. One day we will be one united church, but for now we are churches in specific locations.
In the book of Revelation, we see letters to seven churches in specific locations; the epistles are written to churches in specific cities. And while the messages can be used in any church, the original cause for the writing was specific to that particular church. In Ephesians 5:25 we are commanded as men to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. In verse 27, the Lord will present us to Himself as a glorious church without blemish. The promise is that Jesus is always working on us to perfect us into His image so that we can be a good wife to Him. In Hebrew 13:5, we have the great promise from the Lord that He would never leave us nor forsake us.
This is a quote from Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
I have seen a lot of posts on FB about people feeling alone in this whole COVID-19 mess. But if you know the Lord Jesus as Savior, then there is a promise that you are never alone. Often, we let feelings direct our lives and not the truth. Feelings are dangerous things to lead your life by. Biblical truth should be the basis for our life. Once we have come to that understanding, then we are able to be more stable in our daily lives. Further, not only is Jesus with us in a companionway, He, through the Holy Spirit lives in us. In
1 Corinthians 6:19 we see this: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”
“The Holy Spirit who is in you.” Paul tells us that we should flee sexual immorality because the Holy Spirit lives in us. So not only are we never alone but, further, we have the Holy Spirit living in us.
I had a discussion with a dear preacher friend yesterday about this idea of being in solitude with Jesus. So many of us cannot handle being quiet. We need to have constant noise all the time. I for one, like background noise when I study. But there are times when I like silence, and then I can talk to the Lord and have Him speak to me. Usually, He brings verses to mind or Bible stories to mind so that I can learn to change my thinking and actions. Jesus made a promise to us that He would supply all of our needs.
In Philippians 4:11-13, 19: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me… And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
In Jesus we have the ability to be content; this is a promise that we have from the Lord. We live in a world obsessed with tomorrow. But God promises to supply our daily needs. “Give us this day our daily bread” (Psalm 23).
We who live in North America, the US and Canada, live in the most affluent countries on earth. The poorest of us have much more than some of the rich in many places. Yet many, myself included at times, have a low level of contentment. We always want more and more things. We are called to seek the Lord and His righteousness, and then He will add these things to us. God will give you what you need; this is a guarantee. If the Lord allows you to have some of what you want, then blessed be the name of the Lord. You know we sing that song; many, if not all, church people have sung that song but many don’t know that it comes from the book of Job 1: 20-21. It was a response to suffering and loss:
“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Just like Paul, brother Job had learned that God can be trusted in all situations to supply our needs even when we don’t have what we want. Further, we have this promise from God that He is in charge of everything.
In Psalm 27:1, David writes, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”
Who shall I fear? What situation shall I be afraid of? What occasion will cause me to doubt the Lord? Why? The Lord is my stronghold.
Listen, I am not ignorant. I see even in the Bible that many of the Lord’s people deal with the despair of seeing what they saw. Abraham, Jacob, Elijah, Peter and Thomas and many others had doubts and fears. But they also had a vibrant and tangible relationship with the Lord. Sadly, many of us don’t. We have relationships in theory but we don’t have tangible relationships with the Lord. Thus, the Lord strips away all the things that distract us like jobs, going out, friends and even family to leave us alone with Him. Now we have the chance to grow closer to the Lord or to complain and create more distrust.
When we read the account of the Jews in the wilderness, beginning in Exodus 19 and going to when they entered the Promised Land, God had the people totally dependent on Him for food, light, leadership, protection and water.
Here is the summary of 40 years in the wilderness:
Deuteronomy 8:2-4 “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.”
God put more than 2,000,000 people in the barren wilderness to prove to them that He was all they needed; and sadly, the vast majority of them just complained and complained. We need to learn not to be this way; I need to learn not to be this way. Those people, even in their rebellious state, never went without food, water, God’s protection or God’s presence. The Lord has not changed; all we will ever need is Him. He is enough. This is the promise that can sustain us in any situation: my God will supply your need. Look again at these verses. God can make your clothes last longer, your car run better, even the old clunker, your food supply keeps going and your health strong. God can do all that because He is God. He is not bound by the limitations of earth; He made the earth.
I stand amazed at how many of us will trust the Lord for eternity, but not for today. I stand amazed at how easy it is for me to doubt God’s love because of a situation, but trust Him that He has a place for me in eternity. It almost sounds crazy, but a lot of us are like that.
I do not know how long this situation will go on or if it will get way worse before it gets better. But I do know that God is in control of all things. He has everything under His management, and nothing is outside of His care.
I have been working a secular job almost all of my life in ministry. I began driving school buses as a helper in our local church and then working in the church office. I did the school bus thing for 19 years. Currently I am selling cars; and for now, that has been deemed a non-essential service. I have to ask the Lord if He wants me to go back to the car business or is there another place for me? My concern is the care for my family. I, like most of you, have a mortgage, bills and expenditures. But God is awesome. In the midst of all this, He has given my wife a new job, one that she applied for before Christmas, and it cuts her driving down by 90% and pays better. You see, God has already supplied our needs. Will things get tight? They may. Will we have a few nail-biting days? We may. But God is still good all the time.
God’s promises are secure, they are true, and God cannot lie. My family and I are secure in the Lord for today, tomorrow and for eternity. I am His and He is mine, He cannot deny me, and He lives in me and cannot deny Himself. If He lives in you, He cannot deny you either. God has a plan; specifically, He has a plan for you.
Lord, what do you want me to learn about you, about me and about our relationship?
Anyone who has been married for any amount of time will know that pressure reveals the cracks or the foundation of your marriage. The same is true of the relationship with the Lord. Pressure, trials and testing reveal where we need to grow in our relationship with the Lord. Every situation is either correcting behavior or enhancing behavior, Paul says it this way in Philippians 1:4-6:
“In every prayer for all of you, I always pray with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
The work that Christ began in you at the day of your salvation is being worked on every day to present you ready to meet Christ on the day of His return. The salvation that we have in Jesus, the one that Romans 4 talks about, is just the beginning. Salvation begins this amazing journey that allows us to see the truth in every situation for the very first time, if we want to. It helps us to understand and live compassionately with each other, if we want to. God’s job is to help us to want to, and then to help us when we want to. God’s promises are secure, they are our foundation, and our peace. Jesus gave us this illustration to help us see:
Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the torrents raged, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because its foundation was on the rock.”
If your spiritual house is falling, then it is built on the wrong foundation. Jesus is the ROCK!!!
God bless you,
Pastor Sean Gooding
Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church