The Promises of God III: God's Promises Require Action
Cedars in the Wilderness Youth Group Thursday, February 14th
So far we have talked about the evidence that God has already kept his promises and listed in detail some of God's most important promises to us. But now what? Do we keep these promises hidden for some future date? Do we set them on some shelf to collect dust waiting for us to get around to experiencing them?
2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
According to 2 Cor 7:1 we are not waiting for Gods promises, we already have them. They are not something that will be fulfilled in some distant future. They are being fulfilled now and we are called to action to be participants in God's promises not spectators.
We must believe in them
Romans 4:16-21 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all of Abrahams offspring - not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed - the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. 18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead - since he was about 100 years old - and that Sarah's womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waiver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. 21 Being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
It would have been so easy for Abraham to lose faith in God's promise to give him a son but he believed in God's power to preform what was essentially a miracle since both he and his wife were beyond an age where people could have children.
Would it have been so obvious that it was God if they had had children in their 20s or 30s? Because of their age we cannot dismiss that it was God who gave them their son.
We must share in them
Ephesians 3:6 This mystery is that through the Gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Mystery or mystērion in the Greek is not referencing the mysterious as something outside our range of natural comprehension which can be known only through divine revelation. Instead it differentiates between a knowledge withheld by our human understanding and the truth revealed by scripture. You could then say:
This truth revealed by scripture is that through the Gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Who remembers who the Gentiles were/are? A Gentile was a non-Jewish person who Jewish people believed were unclean and separated from God because they were not Jews.
We are so often separated or think we are separated by our race, color, culture, age, sex, social status, etc. Instead this scripture reminds us that we as Christians are equals. We are together and can partake and participate in God's promises equally.
Instead of being separated we can fellowship with one another and partake in God's promises together. No one is excluded from the promises of God.
What does participation in God's promises together look like?
Give you peace and bless you
Fellowship with other Christians and having good Christian friends can be part of how God brings you peace and blesses you.
God provides a structure of leadership amongst the other Christians you fellowship with. Leaders in the church can help guide you and give you advice.
Answer your prayers
Answers to your prayers can often come in the form of our Christian friends. When someone calls you out of the blue and says that God put you on their heart just when you were having a bad day or feeling really discouraged.
Help you overcome temptation and protect you
Fellowship with other Christians can bring us the strength and encouragement we need to fight temptation.
Give you eternal life and the Kingdom and make you his heir.
Worshiping the Lord together and praising him for what he has given us is a powerful experience and can be incredibly encouraging.
We must rejoice in them
Psalm 119:162 I rejoice in your promise like the one who finds great spoil. (great riches)
What would your reaction be if you found a million dollars, an expensive sports car or a pallet of gold bars?
God's promises are more valuable than anything we have here on earth. We should be excited beyond measure at all the gifts and blessing he has given us.
We must meditate on them
Psalm 119:148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.
Today meditation is used to describe sitting cross legged on a pillow saying "oooohhhhhmmmmmm" over and over and expecting that it will bring you peace.
But instead of chanting some meaningless sounds what if we sat quietly and considered God's promises to us. What if God's promises where what we mentally dwelled on instead of all the other things that stress us out or make us angry or scare us? Probably we'd be less stressed, angry and scared right?
Take time each day to considered what you KNOW God has promised you and let those promises guide you throughout the day.
Find ways to remind yourself daily of God's promises. Write them in your school book covers and read them before a test. Put them on the bathroom mirror so you see them every morning as you get ready to go out for the day and before you go to bed.
We must not fall short of them
Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
How do we fall short of God's promises?
Not taking our struggles to him and instead trying to deal with them on our own.
Ignoring God's instructions and path he has shown us we should take
Willingly continuing in sin and giving into temptation.
Ignoring God's call to salvation.
Believing in God's promises is the first step. Why do you find it difficult to believe that God has kept or will keep his promises to you?
What are some ways you can share God's promises with others?
What are you going to do to help you remember to meditate on God's promises? (Come up with a unique way you can remind yourself daily of God's promises)
Write down a prayer to ask God to help you to not fall short of the promises you struggle with the most: