STANDING ON THE PROMISES
by Dale D. Meredith
January 21, 2018
University Baptist Church
790 Dodge Road
Getzville, NY 14068
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Good News Bible (GNB), The Bible in Today’s English Version, copyright ©1976 by American Bible Society. Used by permission.
Sometimes when it is cold, it is a long time to spring, there are few present, the speaker is boring, and it seems that nothing good is happening there is a tendency to become discouraged. We ask ourselves, “Why work so hard for such meager results?” We must occasionally stop and remember why we do what we do. We can’t just keep going on our feelings. Feelings are so fickle. They come and go. We can’t keep going on results measured by our culture. Someone always has more or gets more that we do. We need something more to keep us going and doing what we are supposed to do.
A person cannot survive long without love and hope. If we have someone we love we will work and do extraordinary things for long periods of time. The other view of love also keeps us going. That is if we know someone loves us and wants us to keep going we will keep going. The other component of encouragement is hope. We need to have something that we hope for, something that we desire and look forward to.
People can withstand great suffering if they have love and hope. Sometimes the things people love and base their hope on seem so trivial. I saw on the news this week a woman said if she could have her little dog on the plane with her she would not be afraid. This was a “teacup” dog. Her hope, her security was a very little dog.
This morning I want us to thumb through our Bible and look at how we are loved and why we should have hope. There are many statements of God’s love and His promises. We only have time to look at a few. Let us begin.
Some Old Testament Promises.
God has always been your defense; his eternal arms are your support. (Deuteronomy 33:27)
“This God is our God forever and ever;
He will lead us for all time to come.” (Psalm 48:14)
Our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:8)
These statements indicate that God is eternal. That is, He has no beginning or end. He has been, He is, He will be without end. Thus, He will be with us for all time to come which indicates even through death. He is powerful. He made the heaven and earth. He made everything. In Him we can find security.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a place of safety in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)
I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life; and your house will be my home as long as I live. (Psalm 23:6)
The Lord is my light and my salvation; I will fear no one. The Lord protects me from all danger; I will never be afraid. (Psalm 27:1)
There will be times of trouble. We may be oppressed and persecuted. We may feel unloved and unwanted. Safety is with the Lord who is our protector. He loves us. He will be with us. His goodness and love will replace any fear we have.
Give yourself to the Lord; trust in him, and he will help you; (Psalm 37:5)
God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way. (Proverbs 3:6)
God is always ready to help us if we look to Him for help. He will help. David told King Saul, "The Lord has saved me from lions and bears; he will save me from the Philistine" (Goliath; 1 Samuel 17:37). He will even show us the right way if we remember Him in what we do.
I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. (Jeremiah 29:11)
The Lord's unfailing love and mercy still continue,
Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.
The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope. (Lamentations 3:22-24)
These statements contain the promise that the Lord has good plans for us and plans to bring the future we hope for. These words were given just before and just after Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians. The Lamentations quote is from the long march as prisoners of war were led from Jerusalem to Babylon. Every day of the march God’s creation, the sun, brought a new day. The Lord was still alive and active. That was all the writer needed to give him hope for a future. Because the Lord’s love and mercy will continue forever, the future we hope for in the Lord will come.
Promises from the New Testament
Some promises that we are loved.
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven. (1 John 4:10)
But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing. (1 John 1:9)
Jesus loved us enough to die on the cross that we might receive eternal life by faith in him. God doesn’t just promise to love us. He demonstrated His love. He does love us. We are loved.
Our future is secure.
For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below - there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
I give them eternal life, and they shall never die. No one can snatch them away from me. What my Father has given me is greater than everything, and no one can snatch them away from the Father's care. (John 10:28-29)
There is no one or no thing that can ever separate us form God’s love though Jesus. Our future with God is secure. The God who created and sustains the universe and all that is in it is powerful and great enough that nothing can keep Him from loving and caring for us.
God’s Plan for Our Future
For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
You can’t do anything to earn salvation. It is God’s gift. You only have to accept God’s gift. You can’t and won’t be expected to just “hang on” by yourself. Once you accept Jesus as Savior, God will work in your life to ensure that your future will be complete in Him.
It is not dependent upon feelings.
If anyone declares that Jesus is the Son of God, he lives in union with God and God lives in union with him. (1 John 4:15)
If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. (John 15:10)
I have told you this so that you will have peace by being united to me. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world! (John 16:33)
If you declare (confess) that Jesus is the Son of God, you live in union with God. You obey Jesus’ commands not to earn his love, but to show and to prove to yourself that you remain in his love. You can be sure you remain in his love because Jesus said you are in his love even if you suffer. You will see victory. He assured you that He has already defeated your opposition. Your hope is guaranteed.
God even concerned for the little things.
As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. (Matthew 10:30)
Aren't five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one sparrow is forgotten by God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows! (Luke 12:6-7)
God knows everything. He knows how many hairs you have on your head. He is concerned about everything about you. There are many sparrows. We consider them to be pests. They make a mess. Their worldly value is so small that no one wants to buy one. Yet, God is concerned and remembers every sparrow. If He is concerned about how many hairs you have and never forgets a single sparrow, He is certainly concerned and cares for you.
God rewards even little things.
Then the King will say to the people on his right, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father! Come and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world. I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me.'’ The righteous will then answer him, 'When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me!' (Matthew 25.34-40)
Jesus said that doing small things for people considered insignificant or in need was the same as ministering to Him. He takes it personally. It shows that you remain in His love. Anyone can give a cup of water in Jesus’ name. Being faithful in the small things are important. God remembers and rewards the small things even if you forget.
God’s continual care.
For God has said, "I will never leave you; I will never abandon you." Let us be bold, then, and say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5-6)
God never leaves or abandons you. Even when you feel alone He is there. So you shouldn’t be afraid. You should say, “My help is here. I don’t feel Him or see Him, but He is here.”
Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
He cares for you and He is great enough to take care of anything you worry about. You can trust God. He can take care of what you can only worry about.
Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Sometimes God removes the trouble and sometimes he provides a way for you to endure the trouble. God told Paul that He wouldn’t remove the painful physical ailment, but that He would give Paul the grace to endure the ailment (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). He will do the same for you.
More promised help.
I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me. (Philippians 4:13)
And with all his abundant wealth through Christ Jesus, my God will supply all your needs. (Philippians 4:19)
He gives strength and supplies everything we need to accomplish his will for us.
An unbelievable future awaits those who serve God.
“What no one ever saw or heard, what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
There are many rooms in my Father's house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am. (John 14:2-3)
He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared. (Revelation 21:4)
Unbelievable! A place with Jesus. A place completely different than here and now. No death. No tears. No grief. No pain. Everything is new. He will take us there to be with Him.
Jesus still calls for others to accept His promises.
Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into this house and eat with him, and he will eat with me. (Revelation 3:20)
The opportunity is still available for anyone to accept the promises of God. God’s love is great enough and large enough to include anyone who will accept His invitation. It’s not too late. You can accept it today.
We Gather to Worship.
We have looked at only a very few of the many promises of God: promises that will be kept. And, yet we have seen enough that we say,
Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God from whom all help comes! He helps us in all our troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4a)
It may be cold, it may be a long time to spring, there may be few present, the speaker may be boring, and it may seem that nothing good is happening, but we should be giving thanks for all that God has and is doing. We need to gather to worship and give thanks. Let us not try to live on our feelings, but let us stand on the promises of God that cannot fail and thank Him for His love, help, and promises which guarantee our future, a future of love and hope, a future we desire and will experience.