Promise To Believe In
By Bobby Blakey on November 14, 2022
Promise To Believe In
By Bobby Blakey on November 14, 2022
Well, does anybody here know Steve Brown? Who knows Steve Brown? Anybody know him? He’s one of our brothers here that God saved at the church, and Steve has been going through a real trial with throat cancer. And he recently just had his second surgery on his throat to remove the cancer and they had to do reconstructive surgery to rebuild his throat. And so, Steve is one of our brothers and sisters, who are going through real medical trials, and they can't make it to church. So, we just want to welcome all of you who are watching church at home like Steve, welcome. But I recently visited Steve in the hospital when he was recovering from this second surgery, over nine-hour long surgery, and he told me and my wife, Christa, that he just couldn't wait for the day that he was going to be able to drink a glass of cold water, and how exciting that day was going to be. And so, I'm happy to announce to our church that this week, Steve and I had breakfast at IHOP together, everyone! So, praise the Lord. Not only did he have this nice tall glass of refreshing cold water, there was some French toast with powdered sugar, there was eggs, there was bacon, hashbrowns. It was one of my favorite meals I've ever had, praising the Lord. And so, if you could keep praying for Steve. He does not now have a voice to speak with yet. And so someday we would love to have him here at church speaking to us once again. So, if you could write down his name, Steve Brown, and be praying for him. Steve Brown is a retired history teacher from Huntington Beach High School. And he's a great guy to talk to about many different things in America, and things about teaching. And we have a lot of teachers here at our church, we have a lot of teachers, even there's some teachers here in this service. Some of you are even teaching your kids at your own home. So teaching is often a common subject that I get caught up in with the brothers and sisters here. And one thing that teachers can sometimes bemoan and talk about is the lack of accountability in the classroom. One of the things I hear teachers say is they're getting pressure from the administration, don't fail your students. Like basically, you can't hold your students accountable. If they don't know the material, you’ve just got to pass them on through. So, I asked Steve about this, because I had heard about it a lot recently. And so, I asked him, Steve, when you were teaching at Huntington Beach High School, did you fail students? And Steve, he can't speak. But he kind of mouthed the words to me. And he's like, yeah. He was teaching seniors. So, they didn't graduate. And he still failed, right? And all of a sudden, Steve's kind of getting really excited about failing students, right. And he's like, well, didn't the administration tell you not to? And Steve just starts going like this, right? And I'm like, so you failed them, even when the administration told you? Oh, and he's just like, absolutely. Right.
And I'm driving away from this conversation I had with Steve, and it hit me, like, I am a teacher. That what we're doing right now is teaching. And I have absolutely no authority to fail anybody here. There's no grade, there's no attendance, there's no tardiness being taken. Some of you are like, praise the Lord. You know what I mean? I mean, there's nothing like that. So, it made me think, wow, how seriously do we take the teaching of God's Word? Do some of us take what our kids are learning at school more seriously than what we're learning here from God's Word? And it really made me think about, who's going to hold us accountable to what we're learning here from the Bible? And so I want to invite you to open up to Romans 4:9-18. As we're working our way through the book of Romans, we come to a passage you may not have heard much about in your life. There are not any famous verses in our passage here today. But what it's saying is something that I want to really encourage you to pay close attention to. And I think you'll even see how this is going to be tested in your life. So, this is Romans 4:9-18. And out of respect for God's word, I want to invite everyone to stand up for the public reading of Scripture. Even if you're watching this online. I want to invite you if you're outside on this brisk, November morning. I want to invite everybody let's stand up. Let's hear what God has to say. Let's give this our full and undivided attention. Romans chapter 4 starting in verse 9.
“Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be.’”
That's the reading of God's word. Please have your seat. And verse nine, as we work our way through this passage together, and in your bulletin there is a handout. If you want to pull that handout out, and you want to take some notes. Let's just review verse nine, really reviews what we have been learning the last few weeks here in Romans. When it says, we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. So, we're in a section now, a famous section of the book of Romans, that is about justification by faith. So, if you're taking notes, that's our fall review, what we're learning here fall 2022. What's our curriculum here at Compass HB? We're learning about justification by faith. And really, this started in Romans 3:21. And it's going to go all the way to the end of chapter 5:21. So two chapters in Romans, going through in very specific details about being justified by our faith. And here's a definition for that. God declares you righteous as you transfer your trust to Jesus. God declares you righteous as you transfer your trust to Jesus. So, this is something that God does when he says that we’re righteous, and it's because we're realizing there's no work of the law I can do to be justified. No, I need to trust in what Jesus did. And we've learned words like redemption, where Jesus is shedding his blood to pay for our sin. We've learned words like propitiation, that Jesus is the sacrifice right there. He's the Mercy Seat where we meet with God, where the wrath of God is satisfied for our sin, and we are now given the righteousness of Jesus.
That's what it says. We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. So, as we respond to hearing the good news of Jesus, and we believe, God declares us righteous on the basis of our faith. But, see, Paul, he wants to be very thorough about this. He wants to win hearts and minds about this. So, he's once again bringing up circumcision. If you were here last week, he was saying works don't make you righteous. Go all the way back to Romans 3:20, because that was really the conclusion of the whole first section of Romans, which was about wrath of God leading to judgment for our sin. And he said in Romans 3:20, “by works of the law, no human being will be justified.” You will not be declared righteous based on what you do. You will be declared righteous by God when you trust in what Jesus has done for you. But even as he's saying that he brings up, once again, circumcision because circumcision was the work that the Jews pointed to, that many Jews were still thinking, you have to do this to be right with God. You have to be circumcised. Every male on the eighth day, according to the law. And so, he's asking a question here in verse 10. How was it counted to Abraham? Was Abraham considered righteous before or after he had been circumcised? No, it wasn't after he was circumcised. It was before he was circumcised. So, he's using Abraham as the example that we can follow in the footsteps of faith. And he's saying, hey, Abraham wasn't even circumcised when he believed God, and God counted him righteous. So, Abraham got justified before he was circumcised. He's using that to prove people who are trusting in their work. And that's not the right way to do it.
Grab your Bible and turn with me back to Genesis 17. Let's go back to these promises to Abraham, back to the covenant that God makes with Abraham, where circumcision becomes the sign or the symbol of this covenant. And so, Genesis 17 is really now a third time that God is making a promise to Abraham. If you were here last week, we looked at Genesis 12, where he makes a promise to Abraham at this time. And then Genesis 15 is where specifically he took Abram outside showed him the stars, said, count the stars if you can count them, that's how many descendants you're going to have, and Abraham believed him. And the key verse was Genesis 15:6, that when Abraham believed the Lord, the Lord counted it to Abraham as righteousness. Well, now the promise of God continues here, Genesis 17:1-3: “When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.’ Then Abram fell on his face.” So in this passage, Abram is here in the presence of God, he's falling on his face before God. Genesis17:3-4, “And God said to him, ‘Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.’” So, this verse right here, Genesis 17, is quoted in Romans, for not only has God promised to make Abraham a great nation, which became the Jewish people, not only did God promised that through Abraham, all families of the earth, all of us would be blessed, now he's saying, Abraham will actually be the father of many nations. And so, look, as he continues here, Genesis 17:5, “No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.” And this is what Romans 4 is getting into that he is the father of all of us, not just the Jews, physically, but all of us who have faith, spiritually. Abraham is the father, the example of faith, and we all follow in his footsteps. He's the father of a multitude of nations, “I will make you,” Genesis17:6-10, “exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.”
So, the point that Paul is making in Romans 4 is, hey, let's all notice here that God promised all of this to Abraham. And Abraham had faith in God's promise before the work of circumcision ever happened. There was already the promise, and there was already the faith. So, we're getting this backwards. Paul's saying, we're now making it about getting circumcised, that's not what it was about in Genesis. Why are we making it about that now?
So, point number one, if you are taking notes with us here today, don't base faith on a work you do. Circumcision is an example of a work that people thought if you did this, then God would think of you as righteous, and Paul's breaking it down, and he's repeating this. So, we've already had a sermon about legalism and trying to do works to get right with God. And we've already said there are no works you can do to get right with God. But Paul keeps repeating this because he's concerned and specifically he brings up circumcision as a work that people at that day in time, they thought that was a work that if you did, then you would be right with God. I am here regularly talking to people. How did God save you? What is your testimony of salvation? Do you realize how many times at our church I asked people, when did God save you? And they give me an answer, like, well, I started going to church back in this year is when I really started going to church. And that's great. You started going to church, and maybe when you went to church, that's how you heard the word of God. And that's how you got saved. But they are telling me in their answer, it's like they're saying, going to church is what saved them. Regularly, people are like, I got baptized when I was this many years old, like getting baptized is the moment you got saved. A lot of people, their testimony is, I was at this event, I was at this church, and the preacher said, come on down, and I went forward, and going forward. They're like, that's basically how I got saved.
See, there's ways today where people are putting a work in the place of what only Jesus can do. How did you get saved? Well, I got saved when Jesus died on the cross for my sins and rose again. Can I get an amen from anybody on that? That's how we got saved, when we got saved when the righteousness of Jesus was counted to us. And that was when we believed. And then we believed, because we heard the promise of God, not because of anything we did. So, we got to be clear about this. Paul keeps repeating this, we've got to make sure we've got it clear here in our church. Does your testimony go back to something you did? Or does it go back to you hearing what Jesus did for you, and trusting in Jesus? Don't base your faith on a work that you did. And also, we got to make it very clear that every other religion in the world, they are all based on works that people do. And there are many groups right here where we live, trying to tell people, oh, you believe in Jesus, that's great. Now get baptized, and then you'll really be saved. There's a lot of that going around. You might know someone who thinks, yeah, Jesus is good. But we also need to do this and this, and this. And you need to know this. So clearly, that you could even say, well, when did Abraham get righteous? Was it after circumcision? Or was it before circumcision?
So, we need to make it very clear that we're not thinking I'm saved because of anything I did, because I got righteous through faith in what Jesus did. So, you need to have this clear in your soul. And you're going to end up talking to somebody about this, either here at our church, or somebody you know, I'm guessing a lot of people here, you know, somebody, whether they're in a family member, a longtime friend, a coworker of yours, a neighbor of yours, and they believe that because they did this, they are now righteous, you’ve got to take them and say, hey, that's not how righteousness works. You can't put your faith in something you did. Let's go back to Abraham. He's the example of faith. Was he righteous because he got circumcised? No, he was already righteous before he got circumcised. Don't base faith on a work you do.
Go back to Romans 4, because now that might feel like review to us, some of us here at least, but now he's going to take us a level deeper into this, maybe deeper than you've ever really thought about this before. So, let's put our thinking caps on here this morning. Let's wake up here, everybody, because there's going to be something he says in verse 13. He wants to take us now kind of beyond faith and works. He wants to take us a level deeper. And he says here in Romans 4:13, “the promise to Abraham and his offspring, that he would be the heir of the world, the promise we've been reading about in Genesis, that we just read about in Genesis 17. Okay? It did not come through the law. And he's going to say some things about the law here in Romans 4:14, it's not just for the “adherence to the law.” If it was all about keeping the works of the law, then he says, faith is no, and the promise is void. Why do we need to talk about faith? What is the promise of God even doing for us? If we can just go do these works? And then we're right with God, why are we even looking at these promises of God? Why do we even need to respond in faith? And then he said, look, Romans 4:15 he says something about the law here, “For the law brings wrath, where there is no law, there is no transgression.” So, if you know that we get saved by faith, and not excuse me, not by works, well, let's take that a level deeper. Where does faith come from? Maybe you're familiar that we do works because the law tells us what to do, and we're trying to do the works of the law. But do you clearly understand that faith comes from the promise of God? That's what he's saying here. Yes, it's about whether you believe or whether you're trying to do works. Are you looking at the law in the wrong way? And faith if you have faith, it's because you've heard the promise of God.
And so, let's look at the law and the promise. He's taken us now a level deeper, like the law, what the law is meant to do, this standard that God reveals to us of how we're supposed to live to be righteous. That law reveals to us that we can't live up to that standard, that we are under the law, and it reveals God's wrath against our sin. And it even reveals our transgressions. Here's the standard, but I missed that mark, I fall short of that, I don't live up to the glory of God. So, the law is meant to show me that I would be under God's wrath, that I have transgressions, that I have crossed the line in my life. That's what the law is meant to show me. It's not meant to save me. The law is actually here to show me I fail the class. And that's what leads me to the promises of God, and from the promises of God. That's where I find faith. See? So, there's a purpose here, the law and the works that the law is telling you to do, they have a purpose; and the promises of God, they have a purpose to inspire your faith. And so maybe you start thinking, as I'm saying this, okay, I see, we're going here to the law and the promise, law sounds bad, promise sounds good. No, it's actually more complicated than that.
Go over to Galatians 3 with me, everybody. Turn your Bible to Galatians chapter 3, because he's really going to go off on this here in Galatians chapter 3, starting in verse 15, all the way to the end of the chapter, he has this extended section about the law and the promise. And just jump right in with me to verse 17. This is Galatians 3:17. “This is what I mean, the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not unknown, a covenant previously ratified by God so as to make the promise void.” So just like in Romans 4, Paul made it clear. Abraham, he believed, before he was circumcised, faith came before the works. Well, now he's even taking it a step back further here, when he talks about law and promise, do you realize God made his promise to Abraham 430 years before the law was revealed through angels to Moses, and written down? And 430 years, God had his promise before the law came. And so, he's trying to show us here that the promise of God is really what we want to look to. And that's really where our faith is going to come from.
So, let's get this down. For point number two. You need to think deeper into the promise before the law. Think deeper into the promise before the law. If you understand we're not saved by our works, we're saved by our faith, well, where do the works and faith come from, they come from the law and the promise. And one of the things that he's trying to explain here is the promise is actually the foundation of everything; the law comes after the promise.
So go back to Galatians 3:15. Look, what he's explaining here, stick with me here, through this, he says, and in Galatians 3:15, to give a human example, brothers. Even with a manmade covenant, some kind of contract, some kind of agreement, some kind of legal ratified promise here, no one annuls it, or adds to it once it has been ratified. Now the promises were made to Abraham, and to his offspring. Who are the offspring of Abraham? Well, physically, it's the Jews, but by faith, who here is the offspring of Abraham? See, that's all of us. Right? So now he's taken us into that. Do you realize that the promise God made to Abraham is actually a promise that God made to you? See, the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring, it does not say into his offsprings, referring to many, but referring to one, to your offspring, who is the main, the main offspring here? Who is the one that is the ultimate result of the promise to Abraham? It is Christ. How are all the families of the earth going to be blessed through the line of Abraham? It's through the Savior of the world, being born as a Jew in the line of Abraham, the one that we all have faith in, the one who has saved us, like ultimately this promise, this ancient promise to Abraham is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus. And it's through faith in Jesus, that we all have been saved, been declared righteous.
And so he's saying, you’ve got to make sure that you're not living just by the law. You’ve got to make sure that you go all the way back to the promise, because the promise came before the law. He's saying, Galatians 3:18. “For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise, but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.” Okay. So, if the promise is greater than the law, why then the law? He says here in Galatians 3:19, well, the law was added because of transgressions. Okay, so the law is meant to reveal to us our sin. Here's God's standard, I can't do God's standard. Yes, you have transgressed the law. That's the purpose of until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made. And it was put in place through angels by an intermediary that an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one God, there's one God, God of the Jews and Gentiles. So, look at Galatians 3:21. “Is the law then contrary to the promises of God?” So maybe at this point, you're thinking, law, bad, promises good. They contradict one another? Well, no, he says, certainly not. So, they're not against one another, but the law is showing us our sin. How does it work with the promise? Look, what he says here in Galatians 3:21-26, “For if the law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” And it goes on from there.
So, the law here, it uses the word guardian. I've seen it translated custodian. Really, the idea of this word guardian, like if you go back to some story you've heard or some historical account where there's a noble family, and the noble family there has like a nurse that lives with the family to take care of the babies are some kind of teacher that teaches right there in the household that teaches the children some kind of in home teacher, that's what the law was, that guardian, the one who was responsible for the children in the household. So, the law throughout the time of Israel, the law was meant to teach you about who God is, and God's wrath against sin, and that you have sinned because you've transgressed the law. And that teacher is just till you come of age, till you can really become the son or the daughter, as you see that you really need Jesus to pay for your sin. And you're going to transfer your trust to Jesus dying and being raised. And as you believe in the promise of God there and Jesus will see the law is just kind of your tutor to get you to that place where you can see your need for Jesus. That's what the law is meant to do. The law is meant, and we've seen this in Romans, here's the wrath of God against sin. Here's the fact that you can't live up to God's standard, all of us have sinned and fallen short of his glory. Now, here's the good news. You can be declared righteous by faith in Jesus. That's the promise of God. So, the law is actually this teacher meant to teach you that you fail the class, that's the whole point of the law. You fail the class, here's a promise of how you can pass, you should believe in it. So, the law, the works aren't meant to be done, that you could be saved by the law. The law is meant to show you that you need a righteousness not of yourself, you need to be saved by someone else. And the law leads right to the promise fulfilled in Jesus. The law and the promise are not contradictory. They are complementary. The law is meant to show us the power of the promise of God to save us in Jesus Christ. So that was a hopefully a deep thought, hopefully, something you can keep thinking more about. But here's the thing. That means getting to this place of promise, realizing that you fail, and you need God's promise. This makes promise now very important.
Go back to Romans chapter 4. And if you've got our handout, I want to just point out, do you hear that promise is like the key word of our text today, this Greek word epaggelía is the word here for promise. And if you got the handout, you might want to circle it here, you could circle it in verse 13. That's where it really begins to talk about the promise right there for the promise to Abraham and his offspring, which would include us because he's the father of many nations represented here today. All of us who have faith, we’re there with Abraham. So, the promise, well, let's circle that the promise, and then it's there again in Romans 4:14. And if it's all by the law, then the promise is void. In Romans 4:16, it says, “that is why it depends on faith in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring.” And later on, in Romans 4:20-21, you'll see promise in both of those verses, as well. That's further than we're going to get today. But just to show you that that's what this section is about. This is about your faith is your response to hearing the promises of God. So, when you think I don't, I don't have much faith, maybe you're even sitting here, and you know, you don't have faith. Or maybe you feel like your faith is weak, and you wish you had more faith. Sometimes I think what we do at churches were like, well look at them, they have a lot of faith, but me, I feel weak in faith. Faith is not based on our personality. Faith is not based on somebody's amount of belief. Faith is based on the promises of God. That's what it's based on. And so, we should be if you feel like I could grow in my faith, I want to increase my faith, I feel weak in my faith, I wish I was more confident, then what you need to do is study the promise. Because as you hear the promise, that's how you're going to respond with faith. Faith comes from the promises of God. That's what he's saying here. And he's like, let me take you back to the specific promises that God made to Abraham. And then Abraham heard God's promises. That's when he had faith. So, you can't leave here today, and just try to muster up faith. It's not like faith is just based on what kind of person you are. Faith is connected to have you heard and believed the promise of God.
And so, look here in Romans 4:16. He's saying, that's why we have to get back to faith. It's not based on the works of the law. It's based on faith and faith should lead us to the promise. And I love this right here. The promise rests on grace. The promise is something that God is going to give to us. And the way we know God gives it to us is he promised to give it to us. And then this is key, be guaranteed to all his offspring. The Greek word there for guaranteed is similar to the word the Greek word basis, that's a Greek word everybody here would understand right away. The promises are the basis of our faith. They're like this sure firm guarantee that you can trust in.
So, let's get this down for point number three: You want to base faith on a promise from God. Base faith on a promise from God. The whole goal of this sermon here today is the next time you feel like you are lacking faith that you would immediately learn to think of yourself, well, what promise of God am I trusting in? What promise of God am I hearing, am I meditating on, am I memorizing, am I thinking, because if I don't have a promise of God to trust, then it's no wonder I'm not going to have faith because that's where faith comes from is, as I hear the promises, I respond to them with faith. Look at how that's the guarantee, not only for Abraham, but to all his offspring. There has to be a basis for your faith. The quality of your faith is not based on how hard you believe, the quality of your faith is based on what are you believing in? And that's what we've got to understand. We think, well, that person's got a lot of faith, and I've got a little faith. That's not how faith works. What are you trusting in? That's what builds up your faith. And so, he says, look at how it worked with Abraham, the father of us all at the end of Romans 4:16-17. Notice he says, As it is written, and he quotes Genesis 17:5 there, I have made you the father of many nations, in the presence of God, whom you believed when you fell on your face going back to that story with Abram, where he got his name Abraham in the presence of God, look what it says about God here in Romans 4:17. “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” What an awesome description. We'll come back to that but here's what it says about Abraham. Romans 4:18, “in hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations.” Why does he believe this? As he had been told, so shall your offspring be. That's taken us back to Genesis 15 there; so it's quoting, see Romans 4:17-18, are quoting specific chapter and verse. Why did Abraham think he would be the father of many nations? Because God promised him, God promised him here, and God promised him there. If I asked you, why do you believe in Jesus? Can you immediately tell me because here's the promise that God made to me? Could you quote me chapter and verse? Do you realize how many people would say, my whole eternity my whole soul where I go when I die, it's all based on my faith in Jesus. Okay, tell me what verse are you basing your faith in Jesus on? And they don't even have a verse ready to share with you? See, that is the kind of question I wonder, man, I would expect that my kids when there's a history test, and it's about Napoleon or something, they can't just say some dude from France, they’ve got to know, like Waterloo, they’ve got to know specific years, they’ve got to know what they study, How many Christians are like, I believe in Jesus, he's my everything. Great. Where does it say that? I have no clue. That's not okay. That's not a level. That is okay. It's saying, hey, here, you want to know why Abraham had this hope, when there was no reason to have hope. He still had hope. You want to know why he believed and why all of his offspring should believe because God said this to him right here. And God said this to him right here. Let's go look him up chapter and verse. And let's say this promise of God is why I have faith. Can you do that? Can you say, I believe in Jesus, because here's the promise that God made to me? And he said it right here, this book, this chapter, this verse, and if it ever came up, why are you a Christian? Why do you believe? You would immediately know chapter and verse; this is the promise of God that I heard and it changed my life. Is it that clear to you? That's the example of faith that we’re given right here. What? Well, why do you believe the answer is as it is written, and then you would have an answer to share? That's how Paul does it. That's how we should learn to do it, too.
So, look at the handout on the back of the handout there, you can see question number 4. So, I am given some homework here today as the teacher, and I hope you'll do this at your fellowship group. If you don't have a fellowship group, I still want to encourage you to take this seriously and answer question number 4. First of all, let's think about Abraham. What specifically did he believe? Second question part here of number 4? What specific promise to you? You think you're a Christian? You think you're saved? Great. What specific promise are you trusting in? What is the basis of your faith in the promise of God that you're basing your faith on? And then third, even let's apply it to where we are in life right now. We're going into the holiday season 2022. What is a promise of God that you're going to meditate on, that you're going to think about, that you're going to trust in, that as you live by faith at the end of this year, as we go into Thanksgiving, and Christmas breaks and all that's coming up for us, what has God said he's going to do that you're now trusting in him to do? See, this is the promise. I think a lot of us are living life trying to get through the day ourselves, rather than living life, trusting in what God has said he's going to do that day. I'm asking you a very personal question right now. When you wake up in the morning, is it you kind of mustering up the strength to get through another day? Or are you looking at the promises of God and seeing what he has said that he's going to do that day? And based on his promise, you're believing for this tap? See, I think that even though some of us may say, I believe in God for my eternity, are we actually trusting in God for today? What has God promised to do? That's what I want to be thinking about as I live my life. Here's what God said he's going to do, and I'm living by faith because I believe the promises of God, I believe that everything God says he's going to do he does it every single time. We have been so failed by leaders we have had so many people promises things that they did not deliver. We've had so many people say yes, when really the answer ended up being No, there is one that every time he says it. He does it and that is our God. And when God makes a promise, you can believe it, you should base your life on it, because God is going to do what he says every time. Can I get an amen from anybody on that? Okay, so what promises? Oh, I wish I had more faith. Hey, we can actually do something about that. Not that you can go do something about it. But what are the promises of God that you should be putting your faith in that will increase your faith? So, I'm asking everybody, do a little homework and think through what are these promises, because we need to get our mind off of what we're trying to do, and we need to get our mind in trusting what God has promised he's going to do. And here's a great reminder. Look back at verse 17. Look at that description just mentioned briefly when Abraham was in the presence of God in whom he believed, the God that he was trusting in. Look at this description, it says here about God. God, let's just remind ourselves who he is. God is the one who gives life to the dead, the God who has resurrection power, and then to the God who calls into existence, things that do not exist. When you trust in God, you're talking about a God who brings life out of death, and you're talking to God about a God who calls things that are not and he speaks, and they are. God says, let there be light. And there is like this idea of speaking into existence. It's such a cool idea in people's minds, everybody wish they could just say something, and then it would happen. There's only one who really has the power and authority to do that, and he is our God. I mean, are you waking up in the morning and thinking, God's got resurrection power, a God can call things, the things that are not happening. God can make them happen. I'm trusting in him. I'm believing his promises today.
Go back to Deuteronomy 32. This description of God was apparently a common thought that people would have had about God. And you can see it expressed here at the end of the Law of Moses, as God is revealing himself through the law of Moses. Here's how he's described this in Deuteronomy 32:39. If you can turn there with me, just to just remind ourselves of who God is. Abraham was in the presence of God, he fell on his face, he was overwhelmed by the glory of God. And, and here's the description and it gives in Romans 4:17. I think it comes from Deuteronomy 32:39. You can see it there, God speaking in the first person, hear what God has to say. “See, see now that I, even I, I am here,” here's the great “I am” speaking to us, “I Am that I Am. And there is no God beside me. I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal, and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” God's saying, I have authority here. I decide who dies, I decide who lives. I decide those who die, what happens to them after they die. I hold your life in my hand, and no one can take you out of my hand. Well, this is who our God is. I mean, this is God saying that he has the authority over our very lives, that he can take lives away, that he can give life that even when people are sick, and it seems like maybe they're going to die, he can heal them in a miraculous way so that they live. And this is a deep thought here about God.
Another passage you could write down in 2 Kings 5:7. The king of Israel gets a letter. It's about naming the leper, if you're familiar with that story, this great military commander in Syria and the king of Syria wrote a letter to the king of Israel, saying I heard you got a prophet who can heal leprosy. He needs to take care of my man Naman, and the king of Israel when he gets the letter, he tears his clothes, and he said, my God, to kill and to make alive. So, this was something that was a common thought about God, this king of Israel. He's got no faith really here, but he knows that God is the one who takes away life and gives life. God is the one who has the authority over our very human existence. God is the one who can raise this up after we die. God is the one who can speak things that are not this is the power of our God.
Go to John 5:21 and look how Jesus refers to this way that God must have been regularly thought about and commonly known among the Jews, among the people of Israel. And John 5:21. Jesus refers to this in a way here, like he expects the people he's speaking of to know this about our God. One of the things that we're supposed to associate with the power of God is resurrection, that God can give life even in the face of death, or even in the reality of death. And he says it here, John 5:21, “For as the Father raises the dead, and gives them life.” See, he's referring to something here, and then he's going to say something new, but the thing he's expecting them to already know is that the father, he in verse 21 there, he raises the dead, and he gives them life. See, here's something I want to know about. The God who's making the promise of eternal life, that God has the power, even after we die, to raise us up. That's what Jesus is expecting people to know. But then look what Jesus says about it. So also, the sun gives life to whom He will. In John, if you look back up at John 5:18, it says, “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” So that's what Jesus is teaching here. Jesus is saying, you know, God can give life after death. Guess what? So also, I can give life after death. John 5:22, “For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father, whoever does not honor the honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” Here's a promise right here, John 5:24. “Truly, truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” Yeah, if you don't know a chapter and verse quote, of why you should believe in Jesus, let me start your study off right now, here's a promise to bank your entire life on, to base your faith on. John 5:24. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.” You are promised by Jesus, that if you believe in him, even if you die, you will live. And eternal life is not just going to heaven when you die. It's knowing God. Now, that's what it is to know the only true God through his Son Jesus, whom he sent. Everyone who hears my word and believes in him who sent me has eternal life, he does not come into judgment. Do you realize what Jesus is saying here? Jesus is saying, hey, God, has given me the judgment. And I will tell you right now how I'm going to judge you. If you hear the words about me, and you believe in God, you believe in the promise, you put your faith on that promise that everyone who believes in me will have eternal life, then you will not be judged, because you will pass from death to life. Jesus is teaching everybody right here, how to pass the ultimate test at the end of this life. See, the law was meant to teach us how we fail in this life. But the promise is meant to teach us how we pass for all of eternity. And here it is it here's how you pass, you hear the promise, and you trust in the promise. You stop trying to do it yourself. You trust in Jesus, and what he has done. And Jesus is promising you, that everyone who believes in him will not be judged, because they have already passed. They've already gone from death to life, because they have trusted in the God who raises the dead. And he's now our God and we believe in him. Say, I want you to have rock solid faith. I want your faith to have a basis for which you're standing firm. And the basis for which you're standing firm is the promise of God given to us in his Son, Jesus. Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who hears the word of Jesus and believes in the one that God sent, you will have eternal life. That is a promise you can put your faith in, that's something you can trust in every day of your life. Let me pray for us right now.
Father, we come to you. And we pray that you will give us clarity, that you will give us wisdom as we leave here this morning, that if we're feeling like we don't have faith, or we're feeling like a lack of faith, a weak faith, it's because we need to look at your promise, we need to study what you have said you're going to do. We need to get our eyes off of ourselves and on the God who raises the dead, on the God who speaks things into existence, on the God who upholds the universe. And so, Father, I pray that you would take us to your promises, promises to believe in, and then our faith would grow here at this church. So, Father, I just thank you for everyone being here today. I commit them up to you now. I pray that we will really follow in the footsteps of faith, where you made very specific promises to Abraham. You said he would be the father of many nations; you said his offspring would be like this. And because Abraham heard what you said, and he believed it, he's now held up as the example of faith to us. So, Father, let everybody hear your promise today. Let us leave here trusting in what you have said. And let us know with confidence that we will have eternal life. Let us know that you are the God who gives life, that raises the dead and no one can snatch us out of your hand. Father, let us hear the promise that Jesus made to all who hear about him to all who believe in him and come and follow him. He said that he holds us in his hand and no one not even Satan in the rest of the demons can snatch us out of the hand of Jesus. Father, let us believe as we sing this song now, as we come to worship you that if you promised that you will hold us fast and you are never going to let us go, you are never going to leave us you are never going to forsake us. And you will hold us from today, all the way until that day that we stand in the presence of your glory, and we fall on our face in worship of you. Father, let us see that you have promised, and your promises are worth believing in, and that we can live by faith in your promise this very day. Open our eyes to see it, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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