The Promises Of God…

rock climbing (1-7-18)

Psalm 119:50: My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

Rock wall climbers encourage each other at the foot of the wall by helping their friend on the wall to see where the hand/footholds are. They point out strong & solid & certain places their friend can grab, can lean their weight, as they climb the wall, places they didn’t see or forgot about, especially when they feel stuck & think there isn’t any possible route up the sheer face of the wall, when they are tempted to quit & climb back down.

What a nightmare to be up high on a rock wall & not know where the secure handholds & footholds are. Such a climber would be frozen in fear, stuck in confusion, going nowhere, dangling…or would be leaning their weight on what is crumbly & loose & unstable…& thus are many Christians because we do not know the promises of our loving Father…

Rock wall climbers are constantly focused on the handholds & footholds, they give their attention to the next one&their total weight to balancing on the present one. They don’t just glance at the foothold & then check their email or stream their favorite shows…they’re constantly focused on the current & next secure place to put their hands & feet…

My dear friends, that is what we will invest our time in this post—looking at just some of the hand and footholds that God the Father has provided in the Bible, the strong & solid & certain gripholds where we can lean our weight—and the weight of the trials we are facing—as we climb the wall & follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

Each New Year should not be about our resolutions, our promises, but about GOD’S resolutions in Christ, what GOD has promised/resolved to do for His people.

This is why so many of us fail in what we promise to do: our focus is on the promises (resolutions) we have made, instead of on the promises that God has made in Christ for all who believe.

First, these promises in God’s Word are only for those who are in Christ Jesus by faith. These promises do not apply to those who are trusting in another guide to get them up the mountain, but only to those who realize their helplessness and have cried out to the Lord Jesus alone by grace alone through faith alone to get them up & over the mountain, repentance & faith, turning FROM sin & turning toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

You might say, “Well that’s not right—that’s exclusive,
the promises of God only for those who trust in Jesus alone. I don’t like this.”

  • My dear friend, is it exclusive to say the promise of nourishment by food is only for those who actually eat the food? Is it unfair to tell others that they cannot expect to receive the much needed vitamins & minerals of the meal while it still sits uneaten on their plate? Isn’t it reasonable to tell people that the amazing benefits of the meal, while completely free to anyone, can only be enjoyed by those who actually eat it, who send back their original meal/order and feast on Chef Jesus’ Bread of Life instead?
  • Is it exclusive to say that only those who wear warm clothing in the winter actually get warm? Only those who put on the down coat & hat & gloves are protected from the freezing temperatures? That those who insist on going outside in shorts, -t-shirt & flip-flops will not experience warmth?

Secondly, these promises of God in the Bible,
these secure handholds & footholds on the mountain of life,
these are not meant for us to EARN our salvation, to GET OURSELVES to heaven.

No, the climbing we do as Christians
is following the Lord Jesus because He has earned salvation for us,
our climbing is what we do to thank the Lord Jesus
for making us new and setting us free from condemnation,
our climbing is what we do once He has attached us to Himself by faith,
our climbing & resting in His promises is what He teaches us to do
to mature us & strengthen us & refine our character
as He leads us to heaven through our daily life.

We must be clear on this.

We climb not to get salvation but because we have already received salvation by faith.

If someone pays your full four year tuition in college,
not a scholarship (you deserve it) but a gift,
the best way to thank that person is to then study hard,
to hit the books and to make the most of the gift (education) you have been given!

Same with obeying & following the Lord Jesus…

We climb & follow Him because it makes no sense
to say we trust Him as our Guide for eternal life
if we do not then actually follow Him as our Guide in our daily life…

Here are some powerful Bibles on the importance of God’s promises:

Psalm 85:8: I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people,
his faithful servants—but let them not turn to folly.

Psalm 119:116: Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live;
do not let my hopes be dashed.

  • God sustains us as we lean into His promises,
    not as we lean into our desires/opinions.

Psalm 119:123: My eyes fail, looking for your salvation,
looking for your righteous promise.

Psalm 119:140: Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.

Psalm 119:154: Defend my cause and redeem me;
preserve my life according to your promise.

  • Our lives are kept afloat in storms by God’s promises, not our bank account or stuff or accomplishments or body image, etc.

Psalm 119:158: I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.

Psalm 119:162: I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil.

Psalm 119:70: May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.

  • Our prayers are heard not because of our feelings
    but because of God’s promises.

God’s promises fall into three general categories:

  1. Who He is for His people
  2. What He Has Done for His people
  3. What He Will Do for His people

Let’s climb together, dear friends!

What He Has Done:

Colossians 1:12:

“…giving joyful thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you
to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”

Colossians 1:13:

For He has rescued us
from the dominion of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Colossians 1:21-22:

“Once you were alienated from God
and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.
22 But now he has reconciled you
by Christ’s physical body through death
…”to present you holy in his sight,
without blemish and free from accusation

Colossians 1:26-27:

“…the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations,
but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people.
27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles
the glorious riches of this mystery
[the Gospel],
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Colossians 2:13-14:

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh,
God made you alive with Christ.
He forgave us all our sins,
14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness,
which stood against us and condemned us;
he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.”

Ephesians 1:3: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in the heavenly realms
with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

2 Peter 1:3: His divine power has given us
everything we need for a godly life
through our knowledge of him
who called us by his own glory and goodness.

If you are in Christ, you don’t need anything else to have joy, to be complete,
to experience satisfaction, to be content—not a new car, new house,
remodeled kitchen, new body, new spouse!, new wardrobe, new phone, new job.

The Father has given us every spiritual blessing in Christ,
EVERYTHING NEEDED to live a godly life thru knowing Him.
Oh how our daily lives & our goals would be forever changed
if we truly gripped this promise,
if we stopped running the American Rat Race &
got back to running the race that the Lord Jesus has marked out for us (Hebrews 12).

What He Will Do:

John 14:1-3:Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so,
would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back &
take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Jude 1:24-25: 24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling
and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—
25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:7-9: Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift
as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
He will also keep you firm to the end,
so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

John 10:28-29: 28 I give them eternal life,and they shall never perish;
no one will snatch them out of my hand.
29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all;
no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

Philippians 1:6:  “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion
until the day of Christ Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 2:9-10: “However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”
[Isaiah 64:4]—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.”

Revelation 7:15-17: Therefore, “they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
will shelter them with his presence.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

Who He Is:

Matthew 11:28-30: The Lord Jesus said, 28 “Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Luke 15:17-32: 17 “When he came to his senses, he said,
‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare,
and here I am starving to death!
18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him:
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’
20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him
and was filled with compassion for him;
he ran to his son,
threw his arms around him and kissed him.

 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe & put it on him.
Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it.
Let’s have a feast & celebrate.
24 For this son of mine was dead & is alive again; he was lost & is found.’
So they began to celebrate.

Psalm 34:
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord…
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;…

22 The Lord will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Hebrews 1:1-9: please click HERE.

Colossians 1:15-20: 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
16 For in him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through him and for him.
17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Wow. Now THOSE are sturdy hand & footholds
on which to lean the full weight of our lives…

Yet many church-attenders may think, “Why is my joy so low,
why am I so lethargic as a Christian,
why am I so envious of the other routes up the mountain
that my non-Christian friends are taking,
why don’t I love climbing after the Lord Jesus?”

Maybe we don’t actually grip God’s promises!
Do we regularly listen to Him/other Christians pointing them out
in regular Bible studies & prayer sessions?

By grip I mean think about, focus on, constantly stare at, give our attention to.

Many of us think about & give our attention to the things of this world:
we are so preoccupied in our thoughts, we grip with our attention everything
BUT the promises of God…

  • Many watch the ingredients they physically eat—they understand that what we eat affects our health, our feelings, even our mood/emotions.
  • But we often don’t watch what we THINK about,
    what we focus on, what we give our attention to.
    We somehow think it doesn’t matter what we put into our minds, but it does!
    Our spiritual health is powerfully affected by what we focus on:
    we cannot reap the nourishment of God’s Word
    while we gorge on social media, sports, Netflix, music, movies, t.v. shows, hobbies.

Psalm 119:148: My eyes stay open thru the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promises.

  • But we meditate on infomercials/social media/sports
    when we are stressed & can’t sleep.
    No wonder our joy is so low…

Philippians 4:8-9: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—
put it into practice.
And the God of peace will be with you.

Psalm 1:1-3: Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

When shepherds told Mary what the angel told them, look at Mary’s response:

Luke 2:19: But Mary treasured up all these things & pondered them in her heart.

When Mary found the 12 year old Jesus in the Temple talking with the priests:

Luke 2:51: But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.

She didn’t understand the meaning of all of this, but she didn’t then shrug and give her attention only to other things…She treasured this mysterious but beautiful Truth, she pondered it in her mind/heart, you better believe she prayed about it to the LORD…

Oh loved ones, do we ponder & treasure & think about the promises of God?

We often leave the church building & move on to the next activity
& forget what we just heard! Like water running off a windshield…
I struggle with this too, & I wrote & preached the sermon! 🙂

So let’s ask God for help
& help each other to ponder & treasure & grip the promises of God!!!

Closing Challenge

2 Peter 1:4-7: Thru these he has given us his very great and precious promises,
so that thru them
you may participate in the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

 For this very reason, make every effort to [CLIMB!]
add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

2 Corinthians 1:19-20: For the Son of God, Jesus Christ,
who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—
was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been“Yes.”
For no matter how many promises God has made,
they are “Yes” in Christ.
And so thru him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

rock climbing 2 (1-7-18)