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A Wonderful Promise in Two Parts - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
September 22, 2020 12:00 am

A Wonderful Promise in Two Parts - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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September 22, 2020 12:00 am

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).

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Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise, the worries of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace.

This is L. Sarah Bradley Jr. welcoming you to another broadcast of the Baptist Bible Hour. Oh, love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee, I give thee back the life I owe, That in thine ocean death's flow, May richer full earth be. Oh, light that foulest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee, My heart restores its far old way, That in thine sunshine's glowing stray, May brighter fair earth be. Oh, joy that seeketh me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee, I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promises not vain, That one shall dearest be. Oh, cross and witness of my faith, I dare not ask to hide from thee, I lay in the sight's glory there, And from the ground there blossoms red, Life that shall let's be. I give thee back the life I owe, That in thine ocean death's flow, May richer full earth be. If you enjoy these broadcasts, I think you would also enjoy our publication, The Baptist Witness, and if you will write and request it, we'll be happy to send you a sample copy.

Our address is the Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. Turn with me to the book of Isaiah, chapter 41. Reading verse 10 of Isaiah, chapter 41. Fear thou not, for I am with thee. Be not dismayed, for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

While these Old Testament promises were given directly to the national Israel, we are not doing injustice to the interpretation and application of scripture by saying that there is something in it for us. If you look back to verse 8, you'll see why we say that. But thou Israel art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and call thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, thou art my servant. I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. He says Israel is his servant.

He has chosen Jacob. Romans 9 says Jacob have I love, but Esau have I hated. And the seed of Abraham my friend. Abraham referred to as the friend of God. Now you remember when Jesus was talking to some of the Pharisees in his day, they said we have Abraham to be our father. But he said if you were really the children of Abraham, you'd be doing the works of Abraham, you'd be giving true proof and evidence of your state of grace. But while in addressing those who opposed his message and despised his person, he says you're not of the seed of Abraham, you're of your father the devil. In contrast, those who are his people are spiritual Israelites. We are heirs to the promise that God made to Abraham when he said in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

As a child of God you are participating in the blessings that God promised when he chose Abram and brought him forth out of the earth of Chaldees. When we read in the book of Galatians about the promised seed, that is the promise God made to Abraham concerning his seed, said it was not seeds many, but singular referring to Christ. Christ is the promised seed. If we are in Christ, then we are receiving the promises that were given to Abraham and to those generations that were to follow of that chosen race.

That being said, I think you can well appreciate the fact that we are not removing a promise from its context and setting and attempting to make an improper application of it, but while God was speaking through Isaiah to his people at that time, certainly the promise is real today for those who are spiritual Israelites. So he says, fear thou not, I am with thee. We started a three-part message on the radio this morning entitled, Fear Not, which is based on the words of Jesus when he was reassuring his disciples in the time of storm that he was not some ominous figure walking across the water that had come to do them harm, but he was coming to rescue and deliver them and take them safely to the port.

Well, there are many things that cause us to fear and the text says, fear thou not. I would entitle this message, A Wonderful Promise in Two Parts. He says, I am with thee, be not dismayed, for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee. The first part is, I will strengthen thee. Do we not often find ourselves coming short of the strength that we believe is necessary to function as we ought to the glory of God? Even as we gather on this first Sunday of the new year and you may be giving some thought to the direction of your life, you may have done some serious reflecting over the past few days, looking back over the past year, hopefully with thanksgiving, hopefully with some degree of joy to praise God for his providential interventions and his many abundant mercies and your growth in grace and the knowledge of his truth, but also to give thought about the challenge of the year before you, concerned that you may be growing in grace and becoming more effective in your effort to honor Jesus Christ. But as you begin to break that down to particular issues and you think about some of your weaknesses, you think about the inclination of your human nature to do that which is sinful, you think about the struggle that goes on, you may come here and listen to a message where a particular sin is described.

We look at it from several portions of scripture to come to the conclusion that what may at times be looked upon lightly is a serious offense before God. You see, maybe you have a trouble, a problem with anger, maybe you have a problem with controlling your tongue, maybe you have a problem with forgiving, maybe you have a problem with the lust of the flesh. One person has a particular problem in one area and one in another, but the fact remains that all of us in nature are weak. And so we began to recognize we're in need of strength. There can be some sense of discouragement and say, well, I can do all the talking I want to about things being better, I can make all of the resolutions I might really be sincere about making, but knowing me, that's not going to last long. Knowing me, I'm probably not going to make the changes that need to be made. And so that overwhelming sense of being without sufficient strength to do what needs to be done causes you to be discouraged and maybe never even put forth the effort to move in the right direction.

How often do you find yourself lacking in strength to serve? You hear messages, you recognize that they're biblical. You see, well, I can't argue with what's being preached. It's out of the Word of God. The Apostle Paul continues to enjoin us not to be satisfied with the status quo, not even to be content with just filling up the barrel to the top.

He wants us in every category to be running over in zeal and commitment and dedication and love for Christ and ministering to his people. And you say, I just can't handle that. That's too much. The demands are too great.

I do not have the strength to be able to serve in that capacity. And then it comes to the trials of life, and we emphasize over and over again that suffering is a part of the experience of God's people. And you think about what sufferings you may have experienced in the past and anticipate that there's a possibility of them being more severe in the future. You say, I just don't think I can take it. I've had so many burdens and trials and sufferings to contend with. I just can't handle it. I'm just too weak.

I don't know how some people remain so calm and how some people seem to be so content even in the midst of their sufferings. I don't have the strength. But here's the promise. I will strengthen thee. I believe that he promises strength sufficient in both of these categories. He promises to supply the strength to serve. Let's turn to the book of 2 Timothy chapter 4. 2 Timothy chapter 4 verse 16. The apostle Paul is speaking, of course, and he says, that my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me. I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Now that's something that would tend to tug at our heartstrings thinking about what a faithful servant the apostle Paul was, what a mighty man of God, how marvelously he was used, what he meant to the church in its early days, how we continue to benefit from his ministry today, and to read that no man stood with him. All men forsook him. And then to have such a sweet spirit about it, I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

I suppose some of us in like circumstances might have a little thought cross our mind. Well, I hope the Lord lays it on some of these people that have forsaken me and not stood with me and not come to my rescue and not help me and not been concerned about my imprisonment and concerned about all my other trials, but look what else he says. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me. No man stood with me, but the Lord stood with me. And what did he do? And strengthened me.

That's what our text is talking about. The Lord strengthened me that by me the preaching might be fully known and that all the gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom to whom be glory forever and ever.

Amen. You see the principle is not just an Old Testament promise. It's right here in the New Testament. It was something that was experienced and lived out by the apostle Paul.

Man did not stand with me. God did. I did not have the strength, but the Lord strengthened me. And he strengthened me not just so I would be more comfortable, not just so I would be reassured and feel better, but that by me the preaching might be fully known. That's what Paul was living for. He could not bear to be without the opportunity to preach. He preached wherever he was. If he was at Mars Hill or if he was in the synagogue or if he was in prison, he continued to preach. And God has strengthened me. He says that the preaching might be fully known and that the gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

Not literally. I don't think the suggestion is, but some of those two-legged lions, those ravenous beasts that were his critics and opponents, and the Lord delivered me. And he had further assurance that the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, whatever it is, whatever may come.

I may not know in advance. I can't anticipate what it all will be, but the Lord who has delivered me will still do it. And furthermore, he's going to preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom. He's going to take care of me clear to the end and preserve me so that at last I am with him and therefore have no reason to fear. He promised then to supply the strength that the apostle might serve.

And then the portion that is so often quoted, Philippians chapter 4 and the 13th verse, where reference is made to strengthening, Philippians 4 13, the apostle says, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Now the next time you're talking about all the things you can't do, you say, I just can't do that. I can't do that.

That's not me. It's impossible. I don't have the ability. I don't have the strength.

I cannot, I cannot, I cannot. Then you remember that your language is not biblical. The biblical language is, I can do, I can do, I can do all things, not because I'm strong, not in myself, but I can do all things how?

Through Christ which strengtheneth me. See, we so often forget that. We forget the source of our strength. We're looking at ourselves. We're looking at our circumstances.

We're looking at our enemies. We're looking at those ravenous beasts that come to devour us, but Paul comes back and says, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. He promises then to supply the strength that we might be able to serve. Well, what about the suffering?

Say, that's, that's another thing. It's difficult enough to have what's necessary to serve, to lay aside my own plans and my own personal interests and think about other people, being willing to reach out to them and minister to them, even under many circumstances where my efforts and help may not be recognized or appreciated. But when it comes to suffering, that's even more difficult. None of us want to sign up to suffer. Pain is very unpleasant. I mean, that's, that's what pain is. It hurts, whether it's physical pain or mental anguish or the disappointments and sorrows and adversities that affect us in life. Suffering of any kind is extremely difficult to bear, but we believe that God gives the promise not only to strengthen us for service, but also for suffering. Look at 2 Corinthians chapter 12.

Paul is referring to his unique experience of being caught up where he saw some marvelous things. And he says in verse 7 of 2 Corinthians 12, And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me. There's all kinds of speculations about what the thorn in the flesh was, and I'm sure that if the Lord had wanted us to know that, he would have inspired the apostle to make it a part of the record.

I think maybe the reason it's not identified, we would have more of an inclination to say, well, that doesn't apply in my situation. My case is very unique. Well, since you don't know what the thorn was, you can't say it doesn't apply to me, because whatever the difficulty that you're encountering, whatever that thorn in the flesh, you can see that God uses such adversity for a purpose. The messenger of Satan to buffet me.

For what reason? Lest I should be exalted above measure. Has the Lord convicted you of how easy it is to be exalted in the flesh? Maybe all the while giving lip service to being humble. In your own mind, you're thinking in terms, well, I'm not self-righteous, and I'm not exalted with a sense of my own importance, and I don't look down on other people.

I don't think I'm better than other people. And then the more you're in the book, and the more you're hearing preaching, the Spirit of God begins to open up those little chambers of your heart, and let you see some things in there you didn't know was there. And you see that all the while, maybe pleading that you were struggling with low self-esteem, or that you've really had very humble thoughts about yourself, and your own efforts, and your importance, but little by little it creeps out and comes to light that there's an awful lot of pride, an awful lot of focus on self, and God knows how to deal with us in those areas. I was given this thorn in the flesh, he says, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice that it might depart from me.

Paul didn't react and say, oh well, the Lord's given me this thorn, it's just mine to bear, and I'm not going to say a word about it. No, it hurt, it was it was painful, it was a problem, and he asked the Lord to remove it, and he asked him the second time, and he asked him the third time. It doesn't mean that when suffering comes we're just going to say, well this is just, this is a wonderful time here, I'm so glad that I can suffer. No, suffering is hard to bear.

Suffering is difficult in every category. Verse 9, here's God's answer, and he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Our text is a promise of God to strengthen us, and what does he say to the apostle? My grace is sufficient. That means there's going to be enough grace given to you by me that there won't be anything lacking.

It's going to be absolutely sufficient. We sometimes think, well yes, I believe the Lord is strengthening me, but I just don't see how I'm going to make it. He says the grace that he gives to strengthen you is sufficient. My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities and reproaches and necessities and persecutions and distresses for Christ's sake, for when I am weak, then am I strong. That's exactly the opposite concept of what's prevalent in the thinking of the world around us. Talk to anybody in the world and they'll tell you it just makes good sense that when you're strong, you're strong, and when you're weak, you're weak.

I mean that's just, you know, who can argue with that? And yet you come to the word of God, now here's a concept that's in direct opposition to it. When I'm weak, that's when I'm strong.

Why? Because when you're weak, when you know you're weak, what happens? You turn to the Lord and rely upon his strength.

That's when a promise like this starts meaning something to you. See, if you feel sufficient, you think you can handle everything, you've got your life kind of whipped into shape and everything's rolling right along, you don't think that much about prayer, you don't really come humbly before God, Lord, I'm at the end of the way, I'm without strength, I desperately need thee. But when the Lord brings you down and you know you're weak, then you become strong because you find your strength in him. Seeing then that while we find ourselves to be lacking in strength and that he has promised to strengthen us, we can be of good courage.

We don't have to be disheartened. Whatever the circumstances that we're facing, whatever the challenge that the new year may bring us, we can be of good courage. Turn to Psalm 31. Verse 24 of Psalm 31. Be of good courage.

Well now, how are you going to do that? See, this isn't one of these, oh, let's all cheer up and look happy deals. This isn't one of these things where it says, you know, let's just sing a little cheerful song and everything will be fine.

No, he's going to give you a reason. Be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord. Be of good courage because something positive is going to happen.

He's going to strengthen your heart. That's why you can have courage. That's why you can say, I'm not going to give up. I'm not going to pitch in the towel. I'm not going to say, I can't go on.

There's no need to try to serve God. I'm going to be courageous. I'm going to be positive, but not just a positive mental attitude which is based on nothing. Positive faith in the living God, this means something because God says, I'm going to strengthen you. The promises of God are certainly a great encouragement to us and we know that when God promises something we can absolutely depend on it. How good to know that he has promised never to leave us nor forsake us and that he's ready to hear what we call on. I hope that you will take time to write and let us know that you've listened to the program.

Please mention the call letters of the station of which the broadcast has come to you. And now until we greet you next time, this is LeSaire Bradley Jr. beating you goodbye and may God bless you. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long. Perfect submission, all is at rest. I am my Savior, I'm happy and blessed. Watching and waiting, looking above, filled with this goodness lost in his love. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, praising my Savior, praising my Savior all the day long.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-29 15:20:20 / 2024-02-29 15:29:23 / 9

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