STANDING ON THE PROMISES OF GOD
2 Pet. 1:1-4.
1. There are several hymns that we use in our worship services that have to do with the promises of God.
A. There are also several popular songs that people sing and listen to for entertainment that have to do with promises: such as: "O Promise Me", "Promises, Promises", and "I haven't Promised You A Rose Garden".
2. In our study today, I am using a very familiar hymn as a title.
A. I believe this song expresses the Christian's confidence in the promises of God.
3. Let us take time just here to see what the definition of the word "Promise" really is.
A. "To give one's word to do or not to do something; to give cause for expectation; to agree to give; to assure by a promise; to give grounds for hope." (Webster).
B. This can be illustrated by a "Promissory Note".
1) Such promissory note is defined as follows: "A written promise to pay on demand or at a fixed future time a certain sum of money to, or to the order of, a specified person or to bearer." (Webster).
4. Promises play an important part in our everyday activities:
A. We promise to be on the job; the employer promises to pay.
B. The use of credit cards is just another way of making a promise.
C. "New Year's Resolutions" are promises made to our selves or to others.
D. We should never make promises that we do not intend to keep. This is especially true of parents to their children.
5. Promises also play an important role in the system of Christianity.
A. This study today will emphasize three facts that determine the WORTH of promises:
1) VALUE of the the thing promised.
2) CHARACTER of the promiser.
3) The CONDITIONS or nature of the promise.
I. THE VALUE OF THE THING PROMISED:
A. I think the value of God's promises can be seen in the language of our text: 2 Pet. 1:1-4.
1. Peter says they are "exceeding great and precious." Why?
2. They are great because:
a. They come from God and no one else can grant them.
b. They have to do with man's most valueable possession, his eternal soul. Mt. 16:26.
c. They include such things as: Peace, Joy, Forgiveness, and Eternal Life.
d. They never fail -- not one promise of God has ever failed, 2 Pet. 3:9.
3. They are precious because:
a. All the wealth of the universe cannot purchase them.
B. The promises of God are not something that were devised in a fleeting moment of liberality.
1. From the earliest period of human history, at the fall of man, we have God's promises, Titus 1:2.
C. All promises of God can be summed up in one grand and glorious word: SALVATION!
1. This is the gift God made available to man through His Son, 1 Jno. 2:24,25.
2. To illustrate: A young man promises to give his girlfriend a ring and lets her pick it out.
a. The jeweler shows her two rings that look alike, but explains that one is cheap glass, the other a precious diamond.
b. The girl would automatically choose the diamond because of its VALUE.
3. So, there are many things in life that may, on the surface. seem to be of comparative value; but in the long run, true value comes through.
4. Mary chose the better part, Lk. 10;38-42.
II. THE CHARACTER OF THE PROMISER ALSO DETERMINES THE VALUE OF THE PROMISE MADE.
A. As an illustration: Every day thousands make the traditional marriage vows and promises.
1. "Do you promise to love, cherish, cleave to her, etc. so long as you both shall live?"
2.Yet, every day thousands break that promise -- which, undoubtedly was not worth much. Why?
a. Because the character of the promiser wasn't what it should be.
B. Other people make promises which we allow to go in one ear and out the other. Why?
1. Because we have learned by experience that they are not dependable persons.
2. One board member said of another: "He is just a promiser."
a. He promised to attend meetings, work on committees, etc. but he didn't do it.
b. Many Christians are like this: they promise to work, to visit the sick, to do personal work, etc. But they seem never to get around to doing any of it. Jas. 1:22,23.
C. God is not like us; He is unchanging, Mal. 3:6.
1. He is able to fulfill every promise.
a. Suppose I promise to give out $1000 bills to each person present after the services.
b. You would not be impressed because you know I couldn't fulfill such promise.
2. But God's omnipotence is behind each and every promise that He makes, Rom. 4:20,21.
3. He is also faithful to His promse, Heb. 10:23.
4. God has the CHARACTER and QUALITIES that make His promises worth something!
5. The second stanza of the song says; "Standing on the promises that cannot fail..."
a. So, we can be assured that God's promises are true and that they will not fail.
III. NOW, LET US LOOK AT THE NATURE OF GOD'S PROMISES.
A. There are some things that God has NOT promised:
1. He has not promised us another chance after this life is over.
a. In spite of what is taught by religionists about purgatory, reincarnation, premillennialism, etc. The Bible does not teach such. Titus 2:11,12; Heb. 9:27; 2 Cor. 6:2.
2. That we have another day to live.
a. Yet, some live as though they are certain to have another fifty years of life.
b. Just take a look through the obituary columns of your newspapers. There you will find people of all ages.
1) Did most of them think they would die soon? Not likely.
c. Would you agree to obey the gospel next year? Next month? Next week? Why not? Jas. 4:13,14.
3. He has not promised to save anyone outside of His church.
a. We know that the church itself does not save, Christ saves, but the saved make up the church. Acts 2:47.
b. Many cannot see the need for the church. They feel confident and secure outside of the church, but where is the promse for such confidence?
c. Such claim salvation by the blood of Christ, but they church was purchased by His blood. Acts 20:28.
4. He has not promised to accept our excuses for not obeying Him. Yet, they are offered every day. Lk. 14: 16-24.
5. He has not promised a life free from hardships and burdens. 2 Tim. 3:12.
a. Some think that God has let them down whenever the going gets rough.
b. We need to consider the value of the trials that we are called upon to bear. Jas. 1:2,3,12.
c. We can stumble on the steps before us or we can use them to climb up higher.
B. All of God's promises fall into two categories:
1. UNCONDITIONAL: No limitation; such are fulfilled without the recipient doing anything.
a. Seedtime and harvest come unconditionally. Gen. 8:22; Matt. 5:45.
b. The world will never be destroyed by water again. Gen. 9:11.
c. But the world will be destroyed in the future by fire. 2 Pet. 3:10.
d. Christ is coming again. Acts 1:9-11.
e. There will be a resurrection of all. Jno. 5:28,29.
f. There will be a judgment for all. 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:11,12.
2. CONDITIONAL: Promises to be fulfilled providing certain conditions are met.
a. Remission of sins. Acts 2:38; 10:43.
b. Answer to prayers. Jas. 1:6,7; 1 Jno. 3:22; 5:14.
c. Spiritual blessings. Eph. 1:3; Gal. 3:27.
d. Eternal salvation. Heb. 5:9; Matt. 7;21.
C. Do God's promises ever fail?
1. Unconditional promises never fail! Num. 23:19.
2. Conditional promises are contingent upon man's obedience -- they never fail when man meets the stated conditions.
1. We can understand and appreciate the VALUE, CHARACTER, and NATURE of God's promises if we desire to do so.
2. the VALUE of His promises should move us to obey.
A. Are you bound for the PROMISED LAND?
3. You can stand this day on the PROMISES OF GOD if you do desire.
4. Obey the gospel and become an heir according to the PROMISE. Gal. 3:26-29.
5. Then we can say with the prophet of old: "I waited patiently for Jehovah; And he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay; And he set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God:..." Psa. 40:1-3.
by Jim Sasser
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