As I was writing this sermon I received a long note from a young woman that has gotten herself into a very difficult situation and she wants help getting on a good path. She said in her detailed note some advice from her grandfather she is going to try and start following, “Don’t allow yourself to grow up depending on other people.” I get the point. It makes sense in her extreme situation. But what makes more sense: “Don’t allow yourself to grow up depending on people who are untrustworthy…” Trust is not easy because the world is full of broken promises. Do you know what it’s like to make plans with a friend and then you are dumped when something better comes along? Some sad sayings:
- Some people make promises just to buy time, so don’t believe it till you see it.
- Don’t believe the guy that says he loves you. Believe the guy that shows you he loves you.
- Eggs and promises are easily broken.
- What do promises and hearts have in common? They’re meant to be kept but always get broken.
- A clear rejection is always better than a fake promise.
Here’s a silly little happy go lucky view of promise keeping, unfortunately this joke represents the casual way too many prefer our promise keeping:
A father asks his son: "Didn't we agree that you would try your best to study ?"
"Yes," his son answered
"And we said that if not you would get a spanking from me."
"Yes, father,” his son answered. "However, since I didn't follow our agreement, then you do not have to follow the agreement either!"
Our word should never be casual so that if our mood changes we back out. I try hard to do what I say I will do because I know a lot of people feel let down in this world. We have a need to be trusting people and to trust others… If trusting dependable people gives us confidence, makes us alive, how much more God, the ultimate Promise Keeper. This sermon series is an introduction to the Bible. It is incredibly helpful to focus on the main purpose of the Bible ~ what is this book? The Bible is a one sided book because it is God’s promise to you. The Book is complete when you accept the promise. The Bible is like the man who says to the woman, will you marry me. Until the woman says “I will,” and the marriage takes place, the promise is only a promise waiting for fulfillment. The Bible is a book with a purpose. Do you trust God’s promises? Any woman who agrees to marry a man that she doesn’t trust to be faithful is a fool. God has already declared he wants a relationship with you. This is His Word, his Will, His Testament, His promise ~ It is your response that will bring the Word of God to completion. Do you trust God and his promises?
Do you know how many promises are in the Bible? One person estimated 30,000. Take out the overlaps where the promises are similar, a common guestimate: 3000. But in reality there is only one. God says, “I promise to be faithful to you and to do everything in my power to protect you and love you.”
The Bible is divided into what we call the O.T. and N.T. We don’t use the word “testament” in our everyday language ~ a last will and testament. What I personally don’t care for is the word “Old” and “New”, for there is only one promise of God, one desire of God to have fellowship with His people. I would paraphrase the divisions as the Promise of God and then when Jesus Christ is introduced to the world in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Promise fulfilled.
The character of God and the Promises He makes are at stake in the Bible. I love the phrase used by Peter in today’s Bible verses: 2 Peter 1:4: God’s precious promises. “Precious” ~ great value, a heartfelt appreciation, a precious child, a cherished possession. “Precious” is a word Peter likes. He uses it at least 5 times in his two books: Precious Faith- (1 Peter 1:7, 2 Peter 1:1), Precious blood- (1 Peter 1:19), Precious cornerstone…- (1 Peter 2:4-6), Precious Lord- (1 Peter 2:7) and Precious promises- (2 Peter 1:4).
A promise is precious when you see the promise as valuable. Television commercials are forever trying to get me to see that latest and greatest as valuable and promise a changed life if I only buy what they are selling, but little do I see as valuable.
A promise is precious when the one who makes it is truthful.
A promise is precious when the one who makes the promise is able. This is the way to learn to trust God. Is he truthful? until you are convinced you should not trust God. Is he able? does he have the power to do what he promises? If I tell a dying man he won’t die I have no power to make that happen, but God does. But until you are convinced of it, then you will not and should not trust God.
For those that choose to trust God believing in his promises, they find life, abundance, freedom from fear. I like the way one person said it, “No pillow so soft as God's promise” (unknown). Or another: “God's promises are like the stars; the darker the night the brighter they shine” ~ David Nicholas.
The Bible is God’s Promise Book to you. It is true that we cannot fathom the depth of God, his ways, his thoughts (quote: Is. 55:6-7). But God’s promises make it a bit easier to grasp God because His promises put limits on what He will do. After the flood in the days of Noah in which God destroyed all of mankind but a few people and a few people, what was the sign that was put in the heavens? [the rainbow] and what was the promise? [“never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life” Gen. 9:8-17.] Because of God’s promises we know he is crazy about us, he will never forsake us, he sent his son Jesus Christ to die for us…. Just as the marriage covenant puts limits on a husband and wife to remain faithful to each other, so God’s promise is Him putting limits in saying what he will not do…. I found a list of some of God’s limits:
- God can’t get tired (Is. 40:28)
- God Can’t take on a job he can’t handle (Jer. 32:17)
- God Can’t Be unholy (Is. 6:3)
- God can’t be prejudiced (Acts 10:34-35).
- God Can’t Break a Promsie (Ps. 89:34).
- God Can’t Remember Sin he’s chosen to forget (Is. 43:25)
- God Can’t Make a Loser (2 Cor. 2:14).
- God Can’t abandon you (Deut. 31:6)
- God Can’t Stop Thinking About You (Ps. 139:17-18).
- God Can’t Stop Loving You (Jer. 31:3).
God has made a promise to you. He gave you Jesus Christ so that you would be worthy of accepting the promise he gave you. You can have absolute assurance that God will keep his promises. He can do no other.
The Promises of God are life. Look once again at today’s scripture. READ 2 Pet. 1:3.
“Divine power,” that means God is able to do anything he wants.
“given us” Nobody forced God to come to us, it says nowhere that we deserve his promises, but we are chosen because he loves us and cares for us. No explanation is needed, but we only need to know the reality that he has given.
“everything we need” The insight and knowledge of the Lord is endless. He knows better than we do what we need. He knows the secret to life, the secret to fulfillment and meaning, and that is what he offers us.
“for life and godliness” to really live in the fullness of what God intends us to be, we are given promises.
“through our knowledge of him” We certainly cannot fathom the fullness of God, but we are given enough knowledge so that we can find fulfillment. We have enough…
“Who has called us” God is purposeful, he has a plan to bring us to himself. God knows you and he wants you.
“by his own glory and goodness” not because of our worthiness but because it is his choice.
READ 2 Pet. 1:4 “he has given his great and precious promises.” The promises of God are the vehicle in which he offers life to the full, they are the invitation out of his glory and goodness to sinful man, the way he expresses his love.
“So that you may participate in the divine nature” Accepting the precious promises are the way God has designed for us to have a relationship with God himself.
“And escape corruption” Two choices: embrace God’s promises, or be defined by corruption and evil. Which is it…
Jump to 2 Pet. 3:9 which anticipates a major problem in accepting God’s promises: our disappointments with reality don’t always fit what we imagine to be a life of believing God’s promises. READ.
We get impatient with God, but notice what this verse says, God is being patient with us. Isn’t that the truth! The purposes of the promises of God are to change our lives from the inside out, to find peace within, to still the voice of the evil one, the chaos that constantly shouts. We want God’s promises without personal change, but that is not how promises ever work. The promises of God to be loved by him, to be with us, to never put in our path anything we can’t handle, to shoulder the burden for us, to see us through the storms of life, thank goodness he is patient. He does not want us to struggle, to be lost, to flounder, so he is waiting patiently for us to turn to him, to believe, to accept.
The Bible is a promise book from God to a hurting world. He is patient. He is waiting. Think of the Bible as a one sided book that finds its completion every time somebody turns to God and accepts his promise of life, his promise of hope, his promise of abundance, his promise of Himself. As you read, listen, learn the Bible, may the promises of God take root and grow much like the acorn, which contains a promise. The precious promise of God is to be faithful to you and to do everything in His unlimited power to protect you and love you. To trust in the promises of God is to bring God great joy! To trust in the promises of God will transform your life. Amen.