One of the names given to the Lord Jesus Christ is “the Word.” This means that Jesus is the very expression of God. God has fully expressed Himself to humanity in the Person of His Son. When Jesus came into this world He perfectly revealed to us God. “God was manifest in the flesh” (I Timothy 3:16). Jesus the Word “is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). The apostle John wrote in the introduction of his Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). This shows us that Jesus was and is eternal God. He never had a beginning and so “was in the beginning with God” (1:2). The Word is the Creator, for “all things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (1:3). “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible…all things were created by Him, and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).
But the Word did not remain in heaven. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Jesus never became God, for He is God. Instead, Jesus, being fully God, became fully man without ceasing to be God. He took upon Himself flesh and blood. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He was God the Son wrapped in swaddling clothes, and was God’s gift to the world. Because of this, you and I can come to know God in a personal way. Jesus did not come simply to give us an example on how we should live, but He came to completely transform our lives. He came to provide eternal salvation. John the Baptist declared of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
During this Christmas season, don’t get so caught up with all the action that you miss out on knowing Jesus. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).
It is the most valuable gift in the world, but this gift is being given away for FREE. Though it sounds too good to be true, it is a reality looking for takers. The gift is SALVATION.
Among the many wonders of salvation is the amazing fact that it is offered without charge. The cost of purchasing it has been totally cared for by God. The Bible simply states, “Ye are bought with a price…” (2 Corinthians 6:20). Sin left us with a spiritual debt we could not pay. The psalmist makes the frightening observation: “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth forever)” (Psalm 49:6-8).
This fatal diagnosis is affirmed in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death.” The fact that sin has left us condemned and destined for hell, with no ability to buy our way out of this most frightful plight, makes God’s free gift of salvation all the more wonderful. After declaring man’s hopeless condition, “For the wages of sin is death,” the Bible continues, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Earlier in the book of Romans the Bible clarifies that this gift of salvation is absolutely FREE to the lost sinner: “Being justified FREELY by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). The adverb “freely” means “completely without cost.”
This is a point God doesn’t want us to miss! It is reaffirmed in the last two chapters of the Bible. “… I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life FREELY” (Rev. 21:6). “…And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life FREELY” (22:17).
Many a lost sinner, beginning with the woman at the well (John 4), the dying thief on the cross (Luke 23), and the writer of this sermonette, have experienced “being justified FREELY by His grace.” Have you received God’s free gift of salvation (John 1:12)? It’s not for sale! It can only be received by acknowledging we’re a lost sinner with a debt we cannot pay. It is FREE!
We are looking at some of the “great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:3-4) which God has given to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have the promise of God’s presence and His power; today we will see that:
God has promised His Peace
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3). The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for those who have received Him as their Savior is called the believer’s “blessed hope.” We are to be “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
The Lord Jesus has not abandoned His own. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer. And we have been “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13b-14). Jesus told His disciples, “I will not leave you comfortless [bereaved, orphans]: I will come to you” (John 14:18). This gives us peace for the present and the future.
The peace Jesus gives is unique. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). World peace is not only temporary, it is also false. But the peace Christ gives is eternal and real.“Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). God’s surpassing peace stands guard to protect our hearts and minds from worry and fear
We are looking at some of the “great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:3-4) which God has given to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Last week we saw the promise of God’s presence. Today, we will see that:
God has promised His Power
God is my help in my need. The psalmist was going through some distress, trouble, or something that had him in a tight place; and so he went to his only source of help. “I called upon the LORD in my distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:5, 6). Because of God’s presence, believers “may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6). “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help? My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1, 2).
God is my strength in my weakness. God assured Israel, “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). “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31).
God is my ability for my service. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). Christ is the key for the empowerment of the believer. For as He said, “without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5)
The past three weeks we have seen that God’s promises are based upon Himself and are a revelation of His character. We also saw that our feelings or lack of faith do not mean God’s promises have failed. Let us now look at some of these “great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:3-4) which God has given to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
God has promised His presence
God instructed Moses to encourage Joshua and all Israel for the time they would enter the Promised Land and confront the enemy. He commanded them, “Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Later, God said these words again to Joshua. “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).
God’s commands and expectations for His people always come with the guarantee of His presence. We cannot go it alone. We cannot fight our battles alone. Every step of the way requires the presence of God. His presence gives us comfort and peace. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
The LORD said to Moses, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest” (Exodus 33:14). What a thrill and joy that comes knowing God is with us, that He will not fail us or forsake us! So, as a believer in Jesus Christ, “Let your conversation [i.e. your way of living or character] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
Jesus promised His disciples in His Great Commission, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:20). Believers are never alone!
The last two weeks we saw that God’s promises are based upon Himself and are a revelation of His character. Today I want for us to consider that our feelings or lack of faith do not mean that God’s promises have failed.
We had seen in I Kings 8:56 that “according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised…” Even Joshua had declared that “not one thing hath failed” of God’s promise (Joshua 23:14).
But there are some promises which still have not yet been fulfilled, and God made the promises thousands of years ago. But it does not matter what we think or how we feel; God will still fulfill His promises. God’s promises are not based upon us, and our lack of faith will not thwart what God has purposed. All of God’s promises are facts and the future promises will be fulfilled completely as the past fulfilled promises.
The psalmist Asaph asked, “Will the LORD cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Is His mercy clean gone forever? Doth His promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath He in anger shut up His tender mercies?” (Psalm 77:7-9). Feelings may say “yes,” but God’s Word says “no.”
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:4).
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8, 9). God is never slow or tardy. He is never too early or too late. His perspective on time is different from ours. He will fulfill His promise. Jesus will come again (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
A promise is a declaration, whether written or verbal, made by one person to another, purposing to assure or guarantee that the one making the promise will do or refrain from doing a specific act. This declaration is intended to give the one receiving the promise the assurance that he will receive what has been promised.
Some promises that are given in the Bible are conditional: if you do this then I will do that. But other promises are unconditional: I will do this no matter what. Some promises are dispensational, for a certain time and group, and some apply to everyone. It is important to know the difference between the promises to Israel and the ones given to the Church, between the Old Testament and New Testament truths.
God’s promises are based upon Himself and are a revelation of His character.
“God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19). God cannot and will not lie (Titus 1:2). It is the devil who cannot speak the truth (John 8:44). Because God’s Word is true, we can trust Him, knowing that every jot and tittle will be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18).
“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9). God is faithful. Always. You can trust in Him.
King Solomon declared at the dedication of the temple, “Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised; there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant” (I Kings 8:56). Time never diminished the promises of God. The word “all” means “all.” His promise is good because God is good. He will never fail to keep His word.
The man was barely able to stand as he swayed under the dizziness of hunger. He stared at the table before him laden with a smorgasbord of food. He could smell the distinct aroma of spices and his mouth watered at the cornucopia of smell. The host beckoned him to sit at the table but he remained swaying near the door. When the host tried to help him, the hungry man resisted and headed toward the kitchen. Passing through the kitchen the man continued out the back door and began scrounging through the rubbish bin for any morsel of food he could find.
“Foolish!” you say. But this is being done world-wide on a grand scale. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, reveals what the LORD said concerning His people: “For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).
Many people are foolishly substituting fullness for emptiness. Instead of receiving and partaking of God’s provision, they turn away and seek their own. They want it their way.
God has established the exclusive way of salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). But many reject Christ by setting up their own religious systems which bloat their stomachs and slay their souls. Instead of enjoying the fullness of Christ, the Fountain of Living Waters, they carve out for themselves, by their own efforts, broken cisterns which are useless. Yet they brag at how big and beautiful their cisterns are. Spiritual idolatry pushed God out of their lives and they celebrate their man-made religions.
Jesus spoke to the woman at the well and said, “Whoso drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13, 14). Don’t be one who rejects the God who satisfies!