Thursday, January 11, 2007

New Year's Service: God's Promises

INTRO: NEW YEAR's resolutions...

What sort of resolutions or promises stick? What sort of things has the Lord asked of you to promise? Do they last? How many promises have you broken? How many promises has He broken?

Maybe He has a better record in keeping promises than we do.

When I look at the things in His Word regarding His Promises, I need to rehearse what it really means to my heart. If I am looking for good things all the time then I will miss out on some important pain. When we consider the pain of the Cross…we come up lacking.

I have known some physical pain. Kidney stones have attacked my body over eight times. I, of course, have never experienced Birth Pain, but I do have sympathy pains when I see women close to her due date!

I have experienced death in my family. Very hard to work with that: in the words of Martin Luther “We must view 'our' sufferings as part of Christ' 'own' sufferings and that Christ will also provide the strength to endure.” But when I see how Jesus dealt with pain and loss, I feel much better.

When He heard of the death of His good friend Lazarus, what was His response?

John 11:17~44
What did Jesus do with this situation? It wasn't a resolution but He did remind Lasarus' sisters of a great promise.

John 11: 25 and 26.
“Do you believe this?"

Do you believe this? We can cry over the deaths of our loved ones. We can miss them. We can also remember that Jesus had promised a great promise in that story. If you believe, you will live.

This is not based on your power of suggestion. It is not based on your family ties to the church. It does not matter how much you give to the work of God. It all depends on where your faith is based. Is it found in Jesus?

Have you ever had the Call of God on your life? Has He called you from the grave cloths and set you free?

If you were to die today, what evidence of a changed life would you show Him-(who'd know your life anyway!) What could you tell Him that would allow you passage into Heaven? If your life is based on Him and on His Death and His Resurrection, than you will be allowed in. If you have not put your trust in His Name, you are not allowed in.

It does not matter if you are well spoken or well read. Whether you have a good job or if you are homeless. If you had a hard life and now need some rest. It only matters IF your name is written on the Lamb's Book of Life!

We first read about such a book in Philippians 4:3. Very much connected to being in the work of the Gospel.

Revelation 20:11-15
Have faith in God.

Believe on the Name of Jesus and you will be saved. Another one of His Promised comes in the area of hanging in there. We are talking about Perseverance!

Perseverance is the steady and continued action or belief, usually over a long period of time and especially despite difficulties or setbacks along the way. A Biblical view is based on God's Grace and Mercy. It is all about His Work in us over a long steady period of time.

James 1:2-6
Again, there is a long walk of obedience over time, in some cases, plodding along, but ever moving toward the mark-toward the calling of God on your life. These must be a finishing of its work in our lives that will give Glory to His Name. Mature and complete. Over time/not over night. And then there is the one who deals with life during trials…

Look at James 1:12
Can you get your heart around this one? The promise is given to the faithful ones who stood the test over time. It is important NOT to give in-not to give up. Hang in there! Persevere to the end. He will hold you up. He will not let you down. And when you have hard times, remember Hebrews 12:7-
Endure hardship as discipline…

Ephesians 4:22
Who can trust the heart? The Evil one has been hard at work to bring us down. He has plans for our downfall. He knows our hearts as being the place where he once lived and had his being. His ways are in conflict with the Things of God yet they seem so close sometimes. “For my best interest.” “It is better this way…” “God wants me to be happy…” “I know that the Bible teaching this way but I know what is best for me…”

That is the way we USED to walk but not now. We are Children of the Light, so we need to walk as we are in the Light. Not as we used to do-for our own interest but rather for the interest and for the Glory of God. There is always a way of escape.

1 Corinthians 10:13
Not that He will take away the hard times, but He will be there with you. In your pain. In your fear. In your seemingly aloneness. You are His Son/His Daughter. He loves you with an everlasting Love. He is your resting place. Your Rock. Your fortress. Your Comforter or your Paraclete.

John 14: 26.
The Holy Spirit will teach us. This is His Promise. Paraclete means "one who consoles - a comforter" or "one who intercedes on our behalf - an advocate". Here in John, Paraclete may be translated in English as "Counselor", "Helper", or "Comforter".

John 14:16
Jesus says "another paraclete" will come to help His disciples, implying Jesus is the first Paraclete, the 1st real Helper.

Jesus was there to reassure Peter after Peter denied the Lord three times. He assures Peter that he will be brought back and help lead others to Jesus-so be strong.

He is not done with you. He will be there for us. He is our Helper in times of trails and pain.

His Promise is for Joy as well.
Hebrews 12:2
He found it to be JOY to be on the Cross? Was He feeling joy as in “happiness” there? No, it was joy in that He was doing JUST what the Father wanted Him to do. To be just where He wanted His Son to be. To be at the Work of the Father. It pleased the Father.

Does our life please Him? Are we were we need to be? If not, how do we get there? We can KNOW that He is ready to bring His Spirit into our lives as that is His Will for those who trust Him. Do we trust Him? Really trust Him?

His Promises never fail. Lamentations 3:33.
And: GOD DOES NOT MAKE PROMISES HE CANNOT KEEP. We can look at an OT account of Balaam and Balak, who wanted Balaam to curse Israel. He could not. Three times he tried so as to get a lot of material wealth. God sets the table straight. He says in Numbers 23:19 His Word stand! We are thankful for that. His Word never changes. His promised will hold the test of time.

He promises answered prayer.
Luke 11:9
Attitudes toward with your neighbor, spending time with Jesus and in prayer with the Father all matter when it comes to your prayer life. If you lack in either one, your prayers are affected.

We live in a community. Because of that, there is no room for falsehoods and lies. We know that but at times such things find their way into our fellowships and that brings trouble. He promises to stay with you.

John 15:7
The key is IF YOU REMAIN IN HIM. It takes work. It takes time, sweat and yet it does work! This does not happen over night! MY WORDS REMAIN IN YOU…This is the evidence of the Changed Life.

The main point of the image is the intimate union of believers with Jesus. The disciple's very life depends on this union. As branches, believers either bear fruit and are pruned to bear more fruit or do not bear fruit and are thrown away and burned. Make this the year of fruit bearing. Get involved with Alpha, Grow Zone, Bible study, Parenting classes, etc.

Romans 4:13.
RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT COMES BY FAITH: My responsibility in God's Promises is to look to them in Faith believing. Believing God for Salvation of family members, concerns, future, plans. GOD CAN BE TRUSTED!