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How to Obtain God's Promises - 23

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
March 10, 2024 7:00 pm

How to Obtain God's Promises - 23

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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March 10, 2024 7:00 pm

What promises does God make to his people, and how can we obtain them-- In Hebrews 6 we learn how Abraham is a wonderful example of how people can obtain the promises of God.

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Well, Christians understand that faith is central to Christianity, that without faith it is impossible to please God. But sometimes we struggle to have a proper biblical understanding of what faith is and how it operates in our lives. And our text for today in Hebrews 6 verses 13 through 15 will help us with a better understanding. And the right of Hebrews exhorts those that he is writing to, to an enduring faith, not a temporary one.

And he emphasizes, I think, two central truths in this passage. Number one, the object of our faith must be the promises of God, that is the word of God. And number two, the faith that obtains the promises of God is a persevering faith.

And so with those two things in mind, let's examine more carefully our text for today in Hebrews 6, 13 through 15. We shall see first the certainty of God's promises in verse 13. Secondly, the magnificence of God's promises, verse 14. And finally, the appropriation of God's promises in verse 15. The certainty of God's promises. For, we read in verse 13, when God made a promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself.

Now you notice that this text connects with what goes before it, and that's indicated by that opening word for. For, in light of the reality of apostasy in verses 4 through 6, that those who have received the five benefits that are mentioned there, they were enlightened, have tasted the heavenly gift, have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, it's possible to have all of those things properly understood and still not have saving faith. It's possible to have all that and fall away from our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

So in the light of the reality of apostasy, we need to consider the promises that God made to Abraham. Also in the light of the better things that the writer of Hebrews saw in the lives of his readers. Better things, he tells us, the things that accompany salvation, verse 9, unlike those five things that we might have thought accompanied salvation in verses 4 and 5.

But clearly they don't. In context, it's very clear that it is not necessary that these things accompany salvation, though oftentimes they do. But it is possible to have better things than that, even if you don't have those things, or at least not all of them in full measure. It's still possible to have better things, things that actually do accompany salvation, things that actually are the evidence of genuine salvation. And what are these things that evidence salvation? Well, they are in short two things, persevering faith, that's what he emphasizes in our text for today, and love toward God that is manifested in our love toward the saints.

That's indicated in the previous context. The love that we have for God that is demonstrated by our love for God's people, verse 10, for God is not unjust to forget your faith and labor of love, which you have showed toward his name, in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister. And other places in the Bible will help us understand what this means. What is this love that demonstrates our love toward God that is shown toward the people of God, the saints of God? The first passage that I refer to is fairly extensive, but I'm going to read the entire thing in Matthew 25 verses 34 through 46.

You'll recognize this, but we need to think about it. Jesus is giving a parable and he says, Then the king will say to those on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me.

I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in or naked and clothe you? Or when did we see you sick or in prison and come to you? And the king will answer and say to them, Assuredly, I say to you in as much as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me. Love to Christ is demonstrated by our love to his people.

He goes on to deal with the other category. Then he will say to those on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food. I was thirsty and you gave me no drink.

I was a stranger and you did not take me in, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they also will answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you? Then he will answer them, saying, Assuredly, I say to you in as much as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it unto me. Ministering to the people of God is ministering to the Lord Jesus Christ. It's ministering our love to God himself. Refusing to, being unwilling to minister to the people of God is refusing to demonstrate our love to God himself. And so demonstrating love to the saints, which is a way of manifesting our love to God, is first of all in this passage seen in our giving of material things to the needs of those who are in need physically and materially.

But that's not the only way we minister to the people of God. Remember that touching passage in John 21 when Peter, who had denied the Lord so shamefully, is now being restored by Jesus Christ. And we all know the passage, John 15 or John 21 15. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, Son of Jonah, do you love me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. And he said to him, feed my lambs. He said to him again a second time, Simon, Son of Jonah, do you love me? He said to him, Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. He said to him, tend my sheep. He said to him the third time, Simon, Son of Jonah, do you love me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, do you love me? And he said to him, Lord, you know all things.

You know that I love you. Jesus said to him, feed my sheep. Ministering to the people of God demonstrates our love to Jesus Christ. And in this context, ministering to the people of God means to teach them God's word. So we minister to the people of God by providing for them what we are able when they are in need physically, materially. We minister to the people of God when we teach them God's word, explain God's word, help them understand how we have appropriated God's word and how God's word applies to them in their time of need.

And in fact, there are some other things perhaps indicated by that text later in the book of Hebrews chapter 10, which says in verse 23, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching. Ministering to one another in the assembly of the saints is the way that we demonstrate love to Christ. In other words, by counsel and encouragement, by comfort and by caution, when we see things that need to be questioned, we can minister to one another. And that is ministering to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and demonstrating our love to him. So how do we manifest the things that accompany salvation? By a persevering faith.

We'll get into that in our text. But we do this by ministering to one another materially, spiritually, counseling, encouraging, teaching, aiding in one way and then another. And that's the connection for our text in verses 13, 14 and 15. For in the light of all of these things, for when God made a promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself.

And so following the connection, we see this illustration of faith in the life of Abraham. And we see God's promise delivered to Abraham in verse 13. We read for when God made a promise to Abraham.

That's the promise delivered. But as we go on in verse 13, we see the promise not only delivered, but certified. When God made a promise to Abraham because he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself. And as it says a couple of verses later, God certified this promise with an oath, a formal oath. He swore in the sense of swearing an oath that what he promised to Abraham was absolutely true. So God reinforced the promise with an oath, not because that made his promise more sure. God cannot go back on his word. God cannot renege on a promise he has made. God does not need to add anything to a promise to make sure that it is a real sure for certain promise.

Remember when you were children, maybe you didn't do this, but I remember we did this when we were younger, shame on us. We would tell somebody something and then we turn around to the opposite and they said, but you said, and we say, but I had my fingers crossed. It's not binding because I had my fingers crossed. That never happens with God. He doesn't have to do something else, add something else to make sure that what he said, he really meant that what he said was certain.

He didn't need to do that. He didn't swear with an oath to make the promise more sure. But he added the oath to strengthen and encourage Abraham's faith. The oath was not to strengthen God's promise. The oath was to strengthen the one who heard the promise. Here's my promise.

That should be enough. You heard it. You should believe it. I am God Almighty. I've never gone back on my word, but just to help your faith along, I'm going to add an oath to the promise so that you know this is absolutely certain, secure and trustworthy. This is for your faith. Now, the question is, which promise that God made to Abraham because he made a number of them? Which promise is being referred to in our text in verse 13? For when God made a promise to Abraham because he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself. Well, this obviously is the promise that God made in Genesis chapter 22, which I'll get to in a moment.

But how do I know it's that one? Because that's the only one of the several promises that are recorded to Abraham that we read had an oath added to it. So this is the one that God has in mind.

And what is that one? Well, this follows the account where God called upon Abraham to take his son Isaac, who by now would be a teenager, and take him up on Mount Moriah and offer him as a sacrifice to God. And incredibly, to us, it seems incredibly, Abraham obeyed. Abraham did that.

You say, how could he do that? How could he take his own son? Because he understood that believing and obeying God takes precedence over everything. That's more important than everything, even your own children, even your own family.

Obeying God is the most important thing of all. And if God told him to sacrifice his son, Abraham had no idea how God was going to work it out because it's clear that in this son, all the promises that God had made to Abraham were coming to pass. And without that son, there seemed to be no possibility of fulfillment. And yet, God said, take your son up upon the mountain, up upon Mount Moriah, sacrifice him. And Abraham heard the message, and he got everything ready, and he took Isaac and the wood for the sacrifice, and he went two or three days journey up to the appointed place. And even Isaac said, Father, here is the wood, here is the fire. He was obviously carrying some kind of fire, probably in a metal container, coals of fire. Here's the wood, here's the fire, but where's the sacrifice?

I don't see a lamb. Where's the sacrifice? And Abraham, showing incredible faith, said, Son, God will provide for himself a sacrifice.

You don't need to worry about that. And they got up on the mountain, and I guess he constructed an altar of stones. I don't suppose there would have been one ready for him there. And then he must have bound his son, who as a teenager, and Abraham, how old is Abraham by this time?

He's way up there, over 100 years old. Surely that teenage son could have overcome his father physically to keep from being bound and placed on the altar. It seems like the faith of Abraham is also being reflected in the faith of Isaac, his son. And Abraham bound his son and laid him upon the altar and raised his knife to plunge it into his son, to slay him there on the altar before lighting the fire. And a voice came from heaven the second time, a voice had come earlier, the voice came the second time, or the voice came and said, don't you do it, spare your son, and Abraham looked and there in the thicket was a ram to sacrifice instead. And now we come to the second time that this voice from heaven spoke, verse 15. Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven and said, By myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, blessing I will bless you. And multiplying, I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore, and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed my voice. That's the promise that our text tells us God certified with an oath following this sacrifice or near sacrifice of Isaac upon the altar. Now it turns out that this promise recorded in Genesis 22 and quoted in part in Hebrews 6, 13, it turns out that it really is the reiteration and expansion of the same promise that God gave to Abraham back in Genesis chapter 12 before the birth of Isaac.

Remember that one? Now the Lord had said to Abraham, Get out of your country from your family, from your father's house to the land I will show you. I will make you a great nation. I will bless you. I will make your name great and you shall be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you and I will curse him who curses you and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. So this promise in Genesis 22 after the near sacrifice of Isaac upon the mountain, it contains all the same promises, all the same elements of the promise that were made in Genesis chapter 12 but there's a little bit more added to it. It's a reiteration of and expansion of the promise that had been made all those years before. And this is the promise that God certified by an oath. That oath itself would seem to indicate that the fulfillment of the promise is going to be somewhat delayed but absolutely certain. If the promise were now going to be fulfilled today or tomorrow, why the oath?

But the oath is because already some of this promise has been delayed though some of it had already been fulfilled. When God made that promise to Abraham the first time, it required Abraham's seed, Abraham's son and he didn't have a son for many years. But now the son is here and he's almost lost him to this sacrifice and obedience to God by faith believing the word of God.

That's what faith is. Abraham believed, Abraham obeyed even though he didn't understand. And because of that he received great blessing we're told here. Blessings to Abraham personally saying surely blessing I will bless you. Blessings that extended beyond Abraham multiplying I will multiply you.

And in that multiplication others are going to be blessed as well. He was blessed with the promise of a large posterity. He who for years was, he and his wife Sarah were unable to have a single child and now they had one, almost lost him on Mount Moriah, had him as it were returned to him again. He was given the first time in that miraculous birth so late in life.

He was restored to him a second time after showing unwavering faith in Almighty God. And now this son is going to be the source of a large posterity, a victorious posterity. They're going to prevail in the gates of their enemies. And the source of worldwide blessing in you, Genesis tells us, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because he believed the promises of God. This incredible faith.

But the point of all this is clear. When God makes a promise, you can take it to the bank, as we say. It's more sure than that.

Banks can fail too. But when God makes a promise, it is absolutely certain. When God makes a promise, you can believe it. When God makes a promise, you must believe it. When God makes a promise, you must obey it. Whatever elements of the promise require an obedient faith. And that, my friends, is the certainty of God's promises. But secondly, we see the magnificence of God's promises.

Moving on to verse 14. This promise that God gave to Abraham is condensed in verse 14, saying, Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you. The promised blessing, I will surely bless you, Abraham.

A promised blessing, a personal blessing to him, and an expanded blessing, I will surely multiply you. That's the promise that God made to Abraham. And Abraham certainly saw in his lifetime at least a partial fulfillment of this promise. This personal blessing to Abraham was fulfilled in the birth of Isaac, the greatest fulfillment of the promise. This promise to Abraham was fulfilled in great blessing that turned out to be, at least in part, great material blessing. Abraham became one of the richest men in all the area where he lived in his day. This blessing, personal blessing to Abraham, was fulfilled in his worldly influence. As a man of great material blessings with hundreds of servants, and no telling how many animals in his flocks, he also, in that position, had a great deal of influence in the part of the world where he dwelt among the people around him. It was fulfilled, what is even more importantly, in a close relationship with God.

We see that several times. One day Abraham was sitting down for a few minutes rest during the heat of the day, probably having worked all morning along with his servants and with the animals. Three strangers walked up to his tent and he spoke to them and offered them hospitality. They conversed with him and eventually told him of God's intention, God's purpose, to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness. And two of them went on the way down to Sodom and Gomorrah and one of them stayed behind and who was that?

The pre-incarnate Christ. Abraham conversed personally, face to face, with the Lord Jesus Christ. That's just one example, but you see this is the fulfillment of the promises of God. This is the result of Abraham's incredible faith. It was fulfilled in becoming a source of blessing to others. In multiplying, I will multiply you and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed. A wonderful promised blessing expanded beyond Abraham to many, many others. His large posterity was promised. I read somewhere recently that the estimated number of Jews alive in the world today is around 15 million.

Of course we know that about half or more of that number were slaughtered during the Holocaust under Adolf Hitler. But even so, God has preserved and there is the physical posterity of Abraham about 15 million strong. How could Abraham ever have imagined that when he was looking at one son, Isaac? And God said, I will multiply you, I will multiply you, I will multiply you and you will have a great posterity.

Yes, a large posterity. Also, the fulfillment of that promise, and Abraham didn't live to see this, but he knew it was coming. In fact, Jesus certifies that there was the promise of the Messiah through the line of Abraham. God would send the Savior of the world through Abraham's posterity in response to Abraham's believing the promise of God. You talk about the blessings of faith and in that Messiah would come about a worldwide people of God numbering into the multiplied millions upon millions upon millions, hundreds of millions of people who again, according to the New Testament, are all the sons of Abraham because they have the faith of Abraham.

We who believe the gospel are the sons of Abraham demonstrating the same faith in the promises of God that Abraham demonstrated. And so we're talking now about the magnificence of God's promises. First, the certainty of God's promises in verse 13, but now the magnificence of God's promises in verse 14, that God's promises are usually larger than we realize. We hear what he says, we try to imagine what that involves, and then as it unfolds, usually slowly over time, we find out it involves a great deal more than we could ever have imagined or comprehended. Maybe another way of putting it is the promises of God are God-like. Since we're men and women, human beings, we can't think that big.

We can't imagine that. But God is so great, God is so magnificent, God is so powerful, God is so wise that he can make promises that go beyond our ability to take them all in, and that's exactly what he does. His promises are God-like. I think of that song, Who is a Pardoning God Like Thee.

In that song somewhere, it says God-like, God-like and divine. And so these are the promises of God, the greatest of which is cleansing from sin and adoption into the family of God. That's the greatest promise, the most important promise as far as our need is concerned, and the most incredible one if we really think through what this means. That sinners deserving of eternal condemnation by the promise of God believed have all of their sins cleansed, erased, removed, gone. And believing sinners now cleansed are received into the family of Almighty God.

I don't think the magnificence of that reality sinks in the way it should. What a promise. What a promise obtained by faith.

We come, number three, to the appropriation of God's promises. How do we receive his promises? And we're told in verse 15, And so, after he had patiently endured, he, that is Abraham, obtained the promise.

He patiently endured. I think there are four steps indicated in verse 15 in the appropriation of God's promises. Number one, Abraham believed. Number two, Abraham waited. Number three, Abraham persevered.

And number four, Abraham obtained. First of all, he believed. That is actually assumed more than stated, but it has to be because verse 15 says, And so after he had patiently endured, that's talking about an enduring faith, and you can't have an enduring faith unless there is an initial faith that believes. And so initially, Abraham believed. He exercised his faith in the promise of God.

He believed it. He took God at his word. That's what faith is. What is faith? Taking God at his word. What is faith?

Believing the promises of God. He took God at his word. Abraham believed. But secondly, Abraham waited because the promise that he laid hold of by faith did not find fulfillment immediately. In fact, it didn't find fulfillment for quite a while.

He patiently endured or patiently waited. And the commendation to Abraham in this is that he didn't demand immediate fulfillment. He continued to believe when fulfillment seemed delayed by his estimation, by human standards, not by God's, of course, but by his. How many years was it before God first made the promise to Abraham about a posterity until Isaac was born?

Twenty five years. God made the promise. Abraham believed the promise. And the fulfillment came twenty five years later. Some of us lay hold of the promises of God in the Bible, and we pray them to God and we ask for fulfillment. And we say, why didn't it happen this week?

Why didn't it happen this month? Look to Abraham. He's an example.

He's an illustration. God made a promise to him. And he continued to believe. He continued to wait patiently. He continued to hold on to the promise of God until Isaac was born.

Twenty five years later. In other words, Abraham trusted not only the promise of God, but the timing of the fulfillment of the promise. He entrusted that to God as much as to the promise itself.

It wasn't God. I believe you'll do this and I demand that you do it now. And if you don't, I'm going to quit believing. I'm going to pout. I'm going to whatever.

What do we do? But part of believing the promise of God is also believing that God will fulfill the promise at the best time, at the perfect time, according to his time. And he's wiser than we are.

And he knows exactly when to bring it to pass. How long was it between the time that God made the first promise of the Messiah to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? Until Jesus came. Had to be at least four thousand years and probably way more than that. But at least four thousand years at the very minimum.

And the Bible tells us in Galatians that Jesus came in the fullness of time, in the perfect time. The promise made in the garden to Eve and you, your seed will crush the serpent's head. Your seed will destroy the serpent whose temptation has brought ruin into the human race. But you will bear in your seed, in your line of descent, there will be one born who will overcome the devil's mischief, the devil's destruction. And at least four thousand years passed before Christ was born to the fulfillment of that promise.

You say, I can't even think in those terms, four thousand years, nobody lives longer than a hundred years at the most. Right. So be patient and wait and you may die without seeing all the fulfillment, but that doesn't mean it won't be fulfilled. That doesn't mean that the promise isn't real.

It isn't a sure promise. It just means that God must be trusted not only to do what he promised, but to do it at the proper time, according to his time. And Abraham understood that. He waited. Third, Abraham persevered. That's similar to waiting, but he continued patiently, patiently, patiently, patiently, waiting, waiting. After verse 15 says, and so after he had patiently endured, he endured, that is believed, patiently. Perseverance in faith is the best evidence of genuine faith. So even the evidence of real faith takes time. We thought we saw the evidence of genuine faith back in verses four and five. Those who were once enlightened, have tasted the heavenly gift, have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come. Now we went all through that a couple of weeks ago and I showed you how those statements can be understood in a non-salvific way. They don't have to be understood of those who have been saved. But we look at those as they lie on the surface of the text and we say those all look like evidences of salvation until we keep reading, keep reading, keep reading the illustration of the two fields. One bears good, good crops and the other one bears, bears weeds. And the people that fell away are likened to the crop of weeds, not the crop of good things.

And keep reading, keep reading. The writer says to the Hebrews, we expect better things of you, things that accompany salvation. Evidently these things don't always accompany salvation and did not accompany salvation in the lives of these people.

These apostates are described in verses four through six. So what is the evidence of true saving faith? It is persevering faith. These in verses four and five didn't have true saving faith because it didn't endure.

They had these five manifestations and if they fall away, or more correctly, having fallen away, they're gone. Their faith was not saving faith because it was not enduring faith. That's why you can't just say, well, I prayed a prayer and asked Jesus to save me. I know I'm a Christian. Well, let's see how well your faith endures. My child prayed a prayer when he was five years old and asked Jesus into his heart, so I know he's bound to be in heaven. Well, let's wait and see if his or her faith endures. Wait till it's tested. Wait till the temptations arise.

Wait till they get in with their friends in high school who are tempting them to do what's wrong. Let's see how well their faith endures, how they stand up to ridicule, how they stand up to temptation, which doesn't mean that they'll be sinless, of course. But let's see the evidence of an enduring faith that when they do stumble and fail, that they are repentant, truly humbled and repentant, and return immediately to, or very soon, to their Christian faith and to the following the Lord Jesus Christ again.

Let's see some evidence of endurance in their professed faith because in the final analysis, that is the only ultimate evidence of genuine faith. It is enduring faith, persevering faith. Abraham persevered. Abraham believed, Abraham waited, Abraham persevered, and Abraham obtained the promises. He obtained the promise after he endured, because he endured. The promise of Isaac and all of the other promises God made to him, much of which were received in this life, but much more after his death.

But the point is clear. God keeps his promises. God will keep his promises. He's God. In fact, God must keep his promises because he's God.

He cannot lie. But we must believe his promises and continue to believe his promises until their fulfillment. We must persevere in our faith if we are going to obtain the promises of God.

So let me make a couple of closing applications. First of all concerning God's promises and secondly concerning God's compassion. God's promises.

God's promises must be biblically understood and appropriately applied. Too many Christians have a concept of faith that goes something like, anything that I can conceive in my mind, anything that I can dream up, if I believe, if I believe that that will happen, God will do it. And if that doesn't happen, it's because I didn't have enough faith. You're ignoring what the Bible teaches us about faith. That's not what the Bible teaches us about faith. I read recently that a well-known preacher said about half of Christianity in America today is based upon texts taken out of context. About half of Christianity today is based upon texts taken out of context. Just rest a phrase here, rest a verse here, wrestle a word or two here and make it mean whatever you want it to mean and say that's what God said.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. That is so wrong, that is so dishonoring to the Lord, that is so foolish, that is so corrupting of what real Christianity is and what real faith is. Real faith studies the Word of God enough to know which promises actually are appropriated, appropriate to me, that I may legitimately claim them. I remember as a boy being taught a chorus that I learned later is absolutely wrong. Maybe some of you sang this too, but of course most of you aren't as old as I am, so this chorus probably passed out of the common usage before you came along. But did any of you ever sing, every promise in the book is mine, every chapter, every verse, every line, all the blessings of His love divine, every promise in the book is mine, mine, mine, mine, Jesus is mine. Any of you sing that? Am I the only one? One here, one here, one here, one back there.

May I see that hand? Only one problem with that, it's not true. Not every promise in the book is mine. Some of them were made specifically to Jews, to the nation of Israel that don't apply to me at all.

That's just one example. There are all kinds of promises that are not mine. I have to study the Word of God to find out what promises are given generally to anyone who will believe them and which promises are specific to certain people in certain situations. So when it comes to the promises of God, they must be biblically understood and appropriately applied. It's not that I have faith in whatever I want to believe, that's the way some people conceive it.

I want this, I want that. If I believe it strong enough, then that's Bible faith, God honoring faith and God will honor that faith. No, that is utter folly, that is dishonoring God, that is not believing the promises of God.

That's believing your own mental concept of what you would like to see happen. You're not submitting to what God has revealed. You aren't submitting to what God has said He is doing. You are insisting that God bow to you and carry out your dreams, your will, your name it and claim it. And you call that faith?

That is heresy. Study the word to understand the promises so that you can appropriate them truly by faith and obtain them because there are wonderful promises to be obtained. And when God's promises are properly understood, we can believe them. And when God's promises are properly understood, we must believe them. We must believe them or we are held accountable for our disbelief.

Even when they seem contrary to human reason and logic. Now, again, you can't just take anything that seems impossible. God said, I can do all things to Christ which strengthens me. So I know I can become an NBA star. You five foot six inch squirt who can't even jump six inches off the ground. No, you can't become an NBA star no matter how much you... That's a promise taken out of context.

Do you remember that bumper sticker I showed you that somebody gave me? Referring to that text that says I can do all things through a verse that's taken out of context? Yeah, no you can't because it is taken out of context.

Get back in the context and find out what those all things are about. And who it was spoken to and what it applies to. But, so that's something that's contrary to logic and reason. If I believe hard enough, I can fly. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. If I believe strong enough, I can jump over this building.

I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. And somebody else looks at that and says, that is so foolish, that is so illogical, that is so contrary to reason. Yes it is, but that doesn't mean that the promises that God actually made that seemed to be beyond human reason, that seemed to be illogical, should not be believed. If God said it, He can do it.

Just be sure He said it. You're not taking a text out of context. But if God said it, God can do it and will do it. God said to Abraham, you're going to have a son.

And Abraham reached age 100 and Sarah reached age 90 and she had never in all of her fertile years been able to conceive a child. And it's beyond reasoning, it's beyond logic to think that she could have a son now. Not beyond God's ability, not beyond God's power, God can do it. And if He said He will, He will. If we believe in God, and that's the point, as He presents Himself in the Bible, as He reveals Himself to us for who He is, and the word that He gives us in the Bible that tells us what His will is, if we believe in God as He presents Himself in the Bible, we will believe that He can do whatever He says.

We will believe that He will do whatever He says. And that pertains to salvation. God says if you will trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone for salvation with a repentant faith, you will be saved.

Believe it. And what He says regarding damnation is also true if you do not believe. There is a hell, whether you want to believe that or not. There is a hell, no matter how much you may have dismissed that from your thinking.

There is a hell. How do I know? Because God said it.

Because His word reveals it. That's how I know. And there is a hell. And all those who refuse to bow the knee to Jesus Christ will end up in hell.

How do I know that? Because God said it. You can believe what He said. God's promises. But also God's compassion. It's a compassionate thing for God to give promises.

What a wonderful God. He didn't have to reveal Himself to us. He didn't have to give us revelation. Didn't have to give us His word. Didn't have to give us promises. Did not have to give us saving promises. Did not have to give us keeping promises. Did not have to give us helping promises.

He's done all of that. He gives us promises. He accepts our weak faith. It's not how strong our faith is. It's how sure His promises are. It's not, if we have a strong enough faith, we can believe anything and it'll happen.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. If we have a weak faith as the grain of a mustard seed, but we're believing in a certain sure promise of Almighty God, we're not misreading it. We're not taking it out of context.

We're not misapplying it. This is what God has said. And we believe it feebly.

It will be done. It's not how strong is our faith. It's how big is God. How strong are His promises. But His compassion is shown in that He even encourages and strengthens our weak faith. Abraham, I said it. Believe it. Abraham, I said it. And here's an oath to help you believe it. And that's what we learn from this passage of scripture, shall we pray. Father, help us to hear your word. Help us to believe your word. Help us to continue to believe your word, to receive that which you have promised, and to honor you with our believing faith. We pray in Christ's name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-11 14:28:30 / 2024-03-11 14:44:33 / 16

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