God Said It, I Believe it!

Scripture: Numbers 23:19, Joshua 23:14, Psalm 89:34
Date: 01/24/2009 
God's promises never fail. This sermon encourages us to trust in God's word. Everything the Lord promises He will keep. We should be careful in making promises.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Good morning. Incidentally, when we’ve just begun this new practice of providing a way for you to write down and bring forward your prayer requests. The pastors meet twice a week in the office and we’ll be praying over these as well as I know the church family. I kept seeing these advertisements everywhere: Free credit report. And I was just mildly curious about what that involved. Praise the Lord, we paid off our home loan not too long ago and our cars are paid off and so I didn’t need any credit; I thought my credit was perfect. Matter of fact, I don’t think a week goes by when we don’t get half a dozen applications in the mail of somebody that wants us to get one more credit card. Some of you might need an extra; we’ve got lots of them at our house… applications. But I was curious and then I saw something on the Internet. It said that these credit reporting agencies are required to give you one free credit report a year. And so I thought, may as well find out. I’m curious. I thought, well, I probably have stellar credit, industrial-strength good credit.

So I sent off for one of these free credit reports. It was pretty good, but it wasn’t perfect and that really bothered me. I thought, what in the world happened? I found out, yeah, Karen, I guess, gave the wrong address to a doctor or something. I don’t know what happened, but some doctor that we went to, we gave them the wrong address and they kept sending the bill to the wrong address and the people there didn’t want to pay it. We don’t know who they were. So they turned it over to a credit agency. We got that taken care of and everything is okey-dokey, but just in that interval that the bill wasn’t paid it blemished our credit. I guess to try and fix that… Here we’re making credit confessions right now. I guess to try and fix that takes an act of Congress. Because once your credit is besmirched you are flagged for life, evidently. Well, I’m not worried about it right now because I’m not trying to borrow any money, but some people are. I guess they’ve got this whole very elaborate system now where everything you borrow and your payment schedule and your bills that you pay and if you’re late somebody out there is keeping tabs on everything. In this electronic world that we live in right now, having perfect credit, that’s questionable.

Well I want you to know God has perfect credit. And the title of our message today is “God Said It…” and that’s of course part of a saying that we’ve said before, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” Have you heard that before? Why don’t you say that with me? “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” There are some songs that also bear that out. Well, God has a perfect credit score, I want you to know. In the Bible it tells us that His promises never fail. Right now we’ve got an epidemic of failed promises in the country and credit issues because of the financial crunch. Some people are losing their homes. They signed covenants to make payments that they can’t make, or they went to buy a car and they’re being repossessed. We look around and we see an epidemic of failed marriages. You wonder can you trust anybody’s word these days.

Does a promise still mean what it says? I want you to know when God says something He never fails. His record is perfect in keeping His word. Now I’m going to cover a lot of scripture with you today. The goal of my message today is, of course, to get you to read your Bible more and to get you to believe it more and to cash in on the promises in God’s word. Numbers 23:19 Moses said, “God is not a man, that He should lie,” God can’t lie. “…nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Why would God make a promise He couldn’t keep? Why would He do that? He doesn’t have to promise anything to anybody, does He? Sometimes we’ll make a promise to somebody because we’re in trouble or because we’re afraid, a promise that we can’t keep, but God’s never threatened with that so why would He ever make a promise He couldn’t keep? Does that make sense? Everything He says He will do. Joshua 23:14. You just might jot some of these down and look them up later and gain some encouragement. When the Lord brought the children of Israel into the Promised Land and Joshua is becoming an old man, one of his last assemblies before the people, he made a statement to the folks. “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth.” He says, I’m getting old.

I’m going to die. I’m going the way of all the earth. “And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not…” (I’ve underlined this.) “…not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you.” God has spoken good things concerning you, and the promises that He made for the children of Israel not one thing failed of everything that He promised. “All have come to pass for you, and not one word of them has failed.” So how good is God’s credit report? Perfect, but I’m not done yet. 1 Kings 8:55, 56, here when Solomon dedicated the temple. We just did a whole series on Solomon. And he blessed the people… “Then he stood and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying: ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses.’” Not one word, perfect record. God keeps His promises. He never fails and yet we fail to capitalize on His promises. Matthew 24, Jesus said in verse 35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Oh, Lord, You said You’re coming back; where are You? Has His promise failed? Well, He promised to come the first time. He did.

It was four thousand years, but He did. He promised to come again. It’s just now about two thousand years. I think He is just about to come. Everything God says will happen. The world might forget. His word… He doesn’t measure time the way we do. It never fails. Everything God says happens. Psalm 89:34. We sometimes break our promises, break our covenants, God does not. “My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.” Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands” for how long? “forever.” God’s word never fails. It is eternal. Jesus said who is going to survive the storm that is coming? He that hears these words of Mine and does them, he is like the man building on a rock. It will not move, it will not fail; you can trust the word of God.

Before I go too far maybe I should just simply define what is a promise. According to the American Heritage Dictionary “A promise is a solemn declaration assuring that one will or will not do something; a vow; a covenant; a pledge. To swear or commit oneself to a promise to do or to give. An indication of something favorable to come; an expectation.” It comes from the Latin word promittere. Pro means “forth”, mittere “to send”; to send forth. It’s something you’re sending on ahead, a guarantee. Now one reason God cannot lie is because He’s God and He’s perfect. He’s also a king and a king cannot break his word. I can think of a couple of examples in the Bible of kings that spoke, earthly kings, that then regretted what they said and maybe wanted to change it and they couldn’t. You remember when King Darius signed a law that if you prayed to any god or man except him for thirty days you went to the lions’ den. And then Daniel was brought before him because Daniel prayed three times a day publically. The king was sore displeased with himself.

He wanted to change what he had said, but a king’s word is law and the law of the Medes and Persians could not be altered. It could not be changed. It was a firm decree. Ahasuerus made a law that all of the Jews should be attacked on a certain day and then he found out that his wife was a Jew, Esther, and he could not take back that law. All he could do is make another law giving them the right to defend themselves in advance. Who was it? Herod spoke and promised that whatever Salome wanted if she danced up to half his kingdom he’d give it. She then said I want the head of John the Baptist. But because the king had spoken and his word was law he could not break his promise. Now these are vacillating, weak, indecisive, earthly, sinful kings that would not alter their word. Do we think that God is going to alter His? I heard a story one time about a man who was brought before the king and he had been condemned and sentenced to die by beheading and as he heard the judgment he began to tremble and the king said, “Well, we’ll give you one final wish.” He said, “Can I have a drink of water?”

They brought the man a porcelain cup, and he took it in his hands and he was shaking and the water was sloshing around and the king felt sorry for the man. He said, “Look, you’re safe until that water is drunk. You have nothing to fear. You will not die until that water is drunk so relax. Drink your water.” The man heard what the king said and he tossed the cup down and it crashed on the floor. He said, “You promised I would not die until that water was drunk.” The king kind of gave him a wiry smile and said, “Very clever. My word is law. You are free to go.” He could never drink that water, could he? So if these earthly monarchs realize that they need to stick to their word… Much as I respected the man, one reason Herbert Bush was not reelected is because he had said, “Read my lips; no new taxes.” And then he was pushed (by a Democratic Congress) to raise taxes during his administration, and they say that was his downfall because he, what people thought was, made a promise, and when he violated it he lost credibility and he could not get reelected.

Can we trust God to keep His political promises? Will God keep His word? And yet we are so slow to take God at His word. A promise is a promise. Now we as people should realize that promises should be kept. I’m not saying because He’s God He keeps His promises; we don’t have to keep ours. We should keep ours. We’ve all heard about Honest Abe. We heard the story about one time that he realized he was given five cents too much change when he got home from the country store and he walked ten miles back one way, twenty miles round trip to bring a nickel back because he just couldn’t keep someone else’s money. It bothered him. One time Lincoln was riding along in a buggy with a general who offered him a swig of his whisky. It was a cold day. Lincoln said, “Thank you. No.” He said, “Well, would you like a cigar? I’ve got an extra.” And he pulled one out and offered it to the president. The president said, “No, I made a promise, and I don’t drink or smoke.” He said, “You made a promise?” He said, “Here’s how it happened, general. I was nine years old, my mother called me to her side.

She was sick and dying. She said, ‘Abe, I want you to make me a promise right now that you will always keep. Promise that you will never use alcohol or tobacco.’ I said, ‘I promise, Mama.’ Then she died. I made a promise and I’ve never broken it.” And the general said to the president, “I would never encourage you to break that promise. I wish I’d made a similar promise to my mother. I would have been a lot better off.” That’s something that I think we can all learn from. That promise that he had made to his mother he realized was something that was going to last the rest of his life. Sometimes we make promises in haste and we say, “Ah, well, you know I was weak and so I made a promise, and I didn’t really mean to keep it.” The Bible tells us it’s better not to make a promise, Ecclesiastes 5:5, than to make it and not keep it. “Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” In Deuteronomy 23 verse 21, “When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you. But if you abstain from vowing, it shall not be sin to you. That which has gone from your lips you shall keep and perform…” We need to keep our vows. That would be our promises to one another.

I think that Christians should be very careful about filing bankruptcy. I remember reading the history of Mark Twain who was very successful as a writer. At one point when he was in his golden years of writing he was a very wealthy man. His books were selling all across the country Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer and others. He had become very successful and very wealthy and then he went into the printing business which was a big mistake. Figure out what you’re good at and stick to it. He was a good writer; he was not a good printer. He invested thousands and thousands of dollars in this automated typesetting machine. Back then, remember, they used to set type by hand. Some guy had come to Mark Twain and said, “I’ve got a machine that I’ve invented that will automatically set type. All of the papers will buy it. All of the publishers will buy it.”

Twain thought this would be a good investment so he poured all of his money into this automated typesetting machine. The thing was extremely complicated; they could never get it to work. They kept needing a little more time, a little more tweaking, and then they couldn’t sell it because it kept breaking down. Basically he lost his entire fortune and was totally broke. He had no money for his family, and here all they had left was their home. He had to go to a friend that loved his books to invest in trying to pay to keep his house. Twain lost everything. He didn’t want to file bankruptcy because he thought, “Look, I’ve made promises to pay these debts, and I’m going to pay them.” So this friend that had lent the money to help him keep his house, he said, “You need to go on the road, do what you’re good at. Do your lectures. Keep on writing.”

He went on a world tour and during that world tour he went to India, he went to England, he went to Australia, he sailed around the world going everywhere he could go to try and work to pay off his debts. He was already old enough to retire when this happened. He did. He finally paid off all his debts and he ended up again with enough wealth that he could retire and live out his days, but he would not give up and just say, “Oh well, I’m not going to pay,” because that was back in the days when a person’s word meant something. Well God wants us to keep our promises. Psalm 15:1, 4, by the way, would you like to know who is going to heaven? Those that believe the promises of God and those that keep their promises. Did you hear that? That would mean your marriage vows, baptismal vows. Now “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” That means someone who makes a promise, you buy something and say I’m going to pay for it and then you can’t, should you say, “Well, I tried!” and throw your hands in the air? We need to keep our promises. He who swears to his own hurt, and changeth not like Twain. If you’ve got to go around the world on a speaking tour and write until your fingers are raw you do it and you pay back your debts. I heard about a man in France, an attorney. There was a ninety year old woman that lived in an apartment that he realized had a good location and he wanted the apartment. He asked to buy it from her, and she said, “Well, where am I going to live?” He says, “Look, I’ll make you a deal. You’re ninety years old. If you’ll sell me this apartment when you die, sell it to me right now. I’ll buy it. I will pay the rent.

I’ll pay your payments for the rest of your life until you pass away.” Banks are doing that now. They call it a reverse mortgage. So she said, “Okay.” She was ninety-one. He had no idea she would live to be France’s oldest woman. Jeanne Calment lived to a hundred and twenty-one. The attorney died before she did. His family needed to keep paying her rent for thirty years beyond her ninety-first birthday. Who woulda thunk that would happen that way? but they kept their promise. You’ve got to be careful what you promise. Someone once said “He who is slow in making a promise is more likely to be faithful in the performance of it.” Don’t make promises quickly. Take them seriously if you’re going to make them. Oswald Chambers said, “It is better to run the risk of being considered indecisive than to promise and not fulfill.” Take your time.

Now when God makes a promise we can count on it that He is going to keep His promise. He never files bankruptcy. He never gives up. Now sometimes man has broken his promise to God. Sometime of those things are conditional, but God will never break His promise to us. When we fail to believe in His promises our unbelief insults God. Deuteronomy 1:32 After the Lord did all He did to bring them out of Egypt they wouldn’t believe that he could bring them into the Promised Land. “Yet, for all that, you did not believe the Lord your God, who went in the way before you to search out a place for you to pitch your tents, to show you the way you should go…”

There they had the pillar of fire guiding them through the desert. “…in the fire by night and in the cloud by day. And the Lord heard the sound of your words, and was angry, and took an oath, saying, ‘Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers…’” When He brought them to the borders of the Promised Land and those spies went and looked things over and came back ten of the spies said, “You know, we’re not so sure we can believe that He’s going to give us the Promised Land.” Why was the Promised Land called the Promised Land? Because He promised to give it to them. So when they came back and said we’re not sure He can do what He’s promised the Lord said, “Okay, then. You don’t believe My promises, you will not be in the Promised Land.” There is a very simple lesson there for us.

How many of you want to get to the heavenly Canaan Promised Land? You must believe. Without faith it is impossible to please God. You must believe He can do what He’s promised. If I were to ask you right now how many of you believe that He has a mansion He is preparing for you in heaven I think every hand would go up. I believe the promises of God. But if I were to say how many of you believe that He can give you victory over sin. You know why? Because we’ve failed so many times we think, “Well, but I believe God but I don’t believe myself.” This is probably the most important place for us to trust His promise and how it plays out in your victory.

Because we’re real long on believing that God can do what He can do outside of what He does in us. Probably the most important place for us to realize trust and faith in God is not that He can part oceans out there and rain fire and brimstone down on the enemies, but do you believe that He can keep His promise about giving you a new heart? Do you believe He can keep His promise about keeping you from falling? Come on. Let me hear an amen. Better than that. Even if you have to manufacture that amen you ought to do it because it might influence your own heart. Our unbelief insults him. When Israel stopped believing in the promises of God they lost the Promised Land. Hebrews 3:19 also going over into chapter 4, verse 1. “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” That’s still true today, friends. “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest…” not just talking about the Sabbath rest here, it’s talking about entering the rest of the Promised Land, entering the rest of Jesus. Come unto Me and I’ll give you rest. “…a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear…” Fear what? Fear that we will not believe. “…let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.” That we fall after the same pattern of unbelief. Romans 4:21 “and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” Do you really believe that He can do what He says He can do?

So how do we cash in on the promises of God? How do we finally get to where we can realize the promises of God? You’ve heard me mention before that one of the great gimmicks companies take advantage of during the holidays is gift cards. People are given gift cards in restaurants or they’re given gift cards. I feel sorry for you if you’ve got a gift card to Circuit City; they’re going out of business. People get gift cards and sometimes they’ll take it to the store and it’s got fifty dollars on it, but they only spend thirty dollars and they come back with twenty and they forget how much is on this card and they lose track of it and it’s a fact that these companies make a big profit selling gift cards because many people forget to even use them or they don’t use them all and it turns into almost fifty percent profit just to sell the card. They’re unused.

The promises in God’s word are a lot more unused than gift cards. There are so many promises here that people just do not take advantage of that are available. So how do we cash in on His promises? God’s promises become effective when we read about them accept them as our own and appropriate them for ourselves. Someone once said, “Tarry at the promise ‘til God meets you there.” He always returns by way of His promises. You can track the Lord through history by His promises. His actions are always following His promises. So often there are promises of God that are just not experienced or realized because we don’t read them and then we don’t wrap ourselves around them. You won’t enjoy it unless you see it. The word of God is everything. But the word comes alive in our minds and hearts.

It must be seen, it must be heard, it must be believed and embraced and then it happens. Wonderful things happen when we believe the word of God. Some of you remember a famous pastor who was in our denomination Glenn Coon who did these seminars on The A, B, C’s of Prayer and he talked about how important it was. A, B, C’s being “ask, believe, and claim.” That’s really the same principals for experiencing a promise coming alive for you in the Bible. Read it, say I believe it and then embrace it and say, “Alright, Lord, I’m going to thank You for this. I claim this promise.” Sometimes you basically have to present it to the Lord. The promises of God are like stars. The darker the night the brighter they are. God’s promises are an inexhaustible mine filled with wealth. Hebrews 11:33 How did the winners in the Bible win? “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises…” How did they get these promises? Through faith they embraced the promises and that’s how they “stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” Now notice that part there where it says, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of the fire.

There are Psalms that talk about victory over lions. Daniel probably knew those Psalms that David wrote, don’t you think? And I think it encouraged him. There is a promise that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could have read in Isaiah. Let me tell you what it is. Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” I believe that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego read that verse. They probably learned it at their mothers’ knee and when Nebuchadnezzar said, “I’m going to throw you into the fiery furnace,” the Holy Spirit reminded them of that promise. They claimed that promise and they said, “Our God who we serve is able to deliver us from your hand, O King.” Did God honor His word? I can just see it now as the soldiers were tying up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego they were probably muttering to each other, “Remember the promise. Isaiah chapter forty-three verse two. When you go through the fire it will not burn you. Okay, Lord, You hear that? You said it.” And they presented it to the Lord. What could God do? The whole world would have to pass away before God becomes a liar. So they get tossed in the fire and He preserved them during that time.

We’re to pray in Jesus’ name. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:20 “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes…” When you find a promise in God’s word... I don’t even have time now. There are thousands of promises in the word of God. I thought about making a list and it just kept getting bigger and bigger of what God has promised for you and me. We come to Him and we claim the promise not that we deserve it but in the name of His Son. Now think about this for a second. If God cannot lie, if His word is perfect and unfailing, and if you’re asking Him to keep His word because He said it and to honor it because you now have the righteousness of His Son, how good is the righteousness of Jesus? What’s His credit report? Perfect, a hundred percent. How dependable is God’s word? So if you approach the Father with the integrity of His word and you’re asking Him to honor His promise based on the righteousness of His Son, and He promises to give that to you by asking, what are your chances of getting that promise answered? Pretty good. I think it’s a hundred percent.

Our part is to believe in His promises, to claim them. He has promised to give us His Holy Spirit. Did you know that? it’s the most important need that anybody could ask for is the Spirit of God. Jesus said in Luke 24:49 “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” This is a good example of how the principal works. He said, “I’m going to give you the power of the Spirit to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Wait in Jerusalem until you receive what I promised.” Did He tell them exactly when they’d receive it? No, it turns out they waited ten days. Did they receive it? Yes. Does God keep His promises? They were to watch and pray for the Holy Spirit and that’s what they did. They stayed in the upper room. They waited and all that time they were waiting they were preparing as they prayed. They didn’t even know it. They put aside their differences. They humbled themselves. They emptied themselves. They read the Bible.

Their hearts were being prepared and they were assembled together praying and then suddenly the power came, the promise came of the Holy Spirit. He’s promised the Spirit other times. Acts 2:38 Peter said, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you” possibly might… any of you know that verse? There is the possibility you could… He says, “you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” In other words whosoever. Be baptized, call on the name of the Lord, the criteria of baptism and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit just as when Jesus was baptized. Part of that was the Holy Spirit came down to prepare Him for a life of holiness and ministry. God will do that for you.

I just wonder how many people have been baptized and they’ve never received the Holy Spirit because they went through the baptism part but they never went through the claiming of the Holy Spirit praying and asking to receive the Holy Spirit part. I think especially in our church… go to a Pentecostal church they don’t ever leave out the Holy Spirit part. In our church we just want to make sure it’s by immersion. Baptists also, we want to make sure we’re doing it the right way, but we forget about the most important part. You not only need to be born of the water, you need to be born of the Spirit. I wonder if it’s too late to ask for that or do you have to go get baptized again? Does God sometimes send the Holy Spirit even after the baptism? He can even pour out the Holy Spirit before you get baptized like with Cornelius.

So if you’re still waiting for the Holy Spirit maybe God has been waiting for you to ask for the promise and you need to claim it. He can still give it to you again. If you want to get rebaptized that might be possible too, but I don’t want to cause a mass rebaptism here because the Bible tells us the disciples received the baptism of the Holy Spirit after their water baptism when they learned to claim the promise. Amen? Ephesians 1:13, still talking about the Holy Spirit, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise…” I love this verse because it talks about you trusted, the Holy Spirit, promise, and then it says “you were sealed.” You know it used to be that years ago if you bought a piece of land, I’m talking about back in the 1400’s they would cut a piece of sod from that land and give it to you. That was a token that you now owned that land.

Or if you bought an orchard the farmer that you bought the orchard from would break off a twig of that tree and give it to you and it meant that you now owned the fruit of that orchard. It’s yours. You bought a house, they’d take some of the thatch from the roof and they’d tear it off and put it in your hands and that was a token that meant you now owned the house. There is a token that God gives us that we have eternal life. That token is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the evidence. Does God give the Holy Spirit, does He pour the Holy Spirit on people that are lost or does He give the Holy Spirit to His children? See, His gift is for His heirs. The Holy Spirit is a gift of the Spirit for those who are heirs of everlasting life. So when He gives you the Spirit that will encourage you that hey, I’ve got a token of His promise that He’ll save me. That’s what it says. It says you were sealed with the Holy Spirit.

God keeps up with His promises. Another promise some of us will enjoy. You might jot this down. He wants to promise to save our children. I think we want assurance of our salvation, but for those who are parents if you could choose between assurance of your salvation and assurance of your children’s salvation I’ll tell you right now I would much, I’ll sleep better at night if I could be assured of their salvation. That’s what I want. I would like promises, I like the promises of my salvation. I like that kind of assurance. But if I had to choose between the two I would want the assurance that He’ll save them and hear my prayers in their behalf. Isaiah 43, I know a lot of parents out there know this one, verse 5. “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, `Give them up!' And to the south, `Do not keep them back!' Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth…” And again Isaiah 49:25, “But thus says the Lord: "Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible be delivered; for I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children.”

You know, this is caveman theology, but it’s probably worth sharing. I think God is so honored by our faith that sometimes He will keep a promise that we find in His Bible we maybe even misunderstand. I remember one time hearing a Native American pastor get up. He had no formal education. He was reading this verse in Psalms about, he said, “my heart is fixed.” I don’t know, I think the pastor had had heart surgery or something and he thought the word fixed there meant like repaired. It doesn’t mean that; it means fixed means it’s settled like when something is nailed in place. My heart is fixed upon God when you fix your vision on something.

I heard him preaching this and I thought he misunderstands the word, but I think God is going to heal him anyway because of his faith. He was taking it as a promise. I remember also hearing one of them preach about the book of Job. J-o-b. It was a great message, but he kept saying and Job did this and Job did that. Well, that’s how you spell job, right? I’ve seen people sometimes go through the word of God and then maybe they see something in there and it really strikes them and they claim it and I think they’re reading that out of context but I’m not going to tell them otherwise because I think the Lord is glad that they’re finding a promise in there.

Rather than have one of His children doubt His faithfulness I think God will honor a promise that He didn’t even make, but you think He did. Have you ever had that happen with your kids? They’re telling you you promised something you don’t ever remember promising it. But rather than them think that you’re lying to them, say, “I don’t remember that one, but alright rather than you doubt me.” Well, if we’re like that as earthly parents, I think God is that way too. Sometimes we might read something in His word, and you might misapply it, but you know what? He might be saying something just for you. I heard a story just this week about a family of missionaries. It was, I think, on the HOPE Channel. A family of missionaries that went to the mission field and was at Indonesia, somewhere that was just absolutely rife with cobras.

The family, as they got off the plane and they saw everything, they were kind of having second thoughts about doing mission work. And the father, when he stepped out of the van onto the ground in this new mission field, he put his foot right down on a cobra, pulled it back in. They had just arrived. He said to the family, “Don’t unpack. We’re not staying.” But then he began to wonder. They’d done all this planning and preparation and thinking about now how am I going to tell everybody about my years of mission service when it only lasted thirty seconds? He said, “Well, let’s pray about it.” He said, “But, look, I don’t want to endanger my family. There are cobras everywhere here and,” he said, “I just stepped on one. I don’t want to lost my children, and God knows that. So, Lord, I’m going to do something that is very reckless.

I’m going to pray. I’ve never done this before. I’m going to put my thumb in my Bible, flip through my Bible, close my eyes, put my thumb in my Bible. If You want us to stay here I need some definite assurances because I sure don’t want to risk my children’s lives unless I know You want us here.” So he flipped through the Bible, he put his thumb there, he opened the Bible, he moved his thumb and it was Mark 16 where it says, “You will tread on serpents.” Actually that was Psalm 91. Mark 16 is another one on serpents. He said that settled it for them. They stayed in the mission field. They were there. He said they killed nine cobras while we were there and nobody ever got bit. That’s not the way God wants you to read your Bible. When you want to know what to do today please don’t thumb through your Bible and say alright.

That’s something that you might do as emergency biblical triage. But don’t do that… I think I told you one time about a lady, she was kind of becoming a spinster, didn’t think she’d ever get married and this young evangelist proposed to her. She didn’t ever dream of being an evangelist’s wife. It’s a tough life. I thought I’d get an amen. Anyway so… You missed your cue. So she said, “Lord, I normally don’t do this, but I really need to know this is Your will for me.” Opened the Bible, knelt by the bed, flipped through the Bible, closed her eyes, put her finger down and she found that place where Rebecca was called and the family said are you going to go with Eleazar to marry Isaac. She said, “If he bids me, I will go.” And that’s where she put her finger down so she married the guy and was happily married.

Anyway so where was I? Talking about the promises of God and how you can get the most out of them. Oh, yeah, He promises to save our children. He promises us eternal life. How many would like to claim that promise? Titus 1:2 “in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised…” That ought to get you to take a deep breath way down in the lower lobes of your lungs there, a sigh of relief. God has promised eternal life, and He cannot lie. So we don’t need to worry about His promise. The question is, are you going to cash that one in or are you going to have that gift card disappear somewhere in your piles of papers? You know with the contracts of men, someone said once, the big print gives, and the small print taketh away. So we’re wondering where is the fine print. Well, the fine print says if you believe, all things are possible if you believe.

If you’re not there, if you’re not in the Promised Land it’s because you didn’t believe that He could give it to you. By the way, Joshua and Caleb did make it to the Promised Land among those spies because they did believe. Caleb said, “Let’s go up at once for He is able to give us victory over the enemies of the land.” 1 John 2:25, “And this is the promise that He has promised us eternal life.” In case one witness is not enough there is a second witness for you. He has promised eternal life. You want a third witness? Hebrews 9:15, “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, …that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Wow! God has promised to give us everlasting life. Oh, but I’m not good enough. Well, He promises to fix that too. He knows you’re not good enough, but He promises to change your heart and prepare you. But I don’t have enough faith. He promises to give you faith. Everything you need to be there, He has promised to provide all things if you believe Him. Just believe Him.

Now one of the ways the promises work is not that God forgets, but He wants you to remind Him. Love likes being pursued. Love likes reminders. Next month we’ve got that nauseating holiday called Valentine’s Day where you’re supposed to go around and remind all of the people that you love that you love them. I kind of fall into the category of that old rancher that responded when his wife said, “How come you never tell me that you love me?” I say, “I told you when I married you. If I ever change my mind, I’ll tell you.” But that doesn’t work, does it? You like to be reminded. Another amen went wasted there. So God wants us to remind Him of what His promises are, not that He has forgotten. Karen hasn’t forgotten our anniversary, but she wants me to remember. You know how that works? That wasn’t even her that said amen to that one. I get little hints along the way.

Now when Jacob was wrestling with the Lord, God had made a promise to Jacob to bless his seed to do good unto him even though he had lied to his father and lied to his brother and tried to steal the birthright. God said, “I’ll forgive you. You’ve repented. I’m going to make a great nation out of you.” Now he comes back into the Promised Land. He’s been gone for twenty-one years. His brother is coming with an army of four hundred men to annihilate him, and he wrestled in prayer. When the angel appears he tells the angel, “For you said, ‘I will surely treat you well. I will do good unto you, and make your descendants like the sand of the sea that cannot be numbered for multitude.’ You promised me something.” Did God honor His promise? Jacob reminded Him. When Moses brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and all of the people sinned with a golden calf and God said, “Get out of my way, Moses. I’m going to wipe them out. I’ll make a great nation of you.” God knew what He was going to do. He was testing Moses. What did Moses do?

He reminded the Lord of what He had promised. Exodus 32:13, Moses said, “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.” Why? Because Moses conjured up the promises of God and presented them before the Lord. He wants you to learn to do the same thing. God has got a lot of promises in there, and He wants you to take them and say, “Lord, remember this?” And God says, “Yeah, I remember, but I’m glad you reminded me.” See how it works? God doesn’t forget anything. But sometimes you’ve got to say, “Remember this?” and then God acts because you’re claiming His promise. I think the devil tries to cloud God’s promises with our doubts, and when we say, “Lord, I believe this. You’ve said it and I believe it.” Then God can act upon it. He can activate His promises when we claim them. You need to present it to the Lord.

2 Samuel 7:28, “And now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant. Now therefore, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You; for You, O Lord God, have spoken it, and with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed forever.” David said, “God, You promised to bless my house. I’m reminding You. You said it, let it be established. I’m claiming it. I accept what You’ve said for my house.” Did God honor the promise He made to David? Yeah, not only did He preserve his seed even though Solomon sinned. When Solomon sinned God said to him, “Look, because I made a promise to your father, I’m going to give you a tribe in Israel forever.” Of course, Jesus came through the tribe of Judah.

Jesus, the son of David is going to reign forever and ever and so God promised to David that none would fail from his seed to sit on the throne forever is true. God’s promise never fails. When Paul was on his way to be judged he was in a storm where everybody on board thought they were going to die. Fourteen days they were lost at sea. It looked like the ship was going down. They threw the tackling overboard. Paul was totally unfazed and they wondered, “Why are you so unafraid? Aren’t you afraid you’re going to drown here in the dark, cold Mediterranean?” He said, “No, God told me I’ve got to go to talk to Caesar and I haven’t talked to him yet so I know I’m living through this storm.” God made a promise so Paul was totally fearless for himself. Instead he prayed for everyone else on the boat, and God heard his prayer and saved all the people.

Not one perished because of the intercession of Paul. Paul believed in the promise of God. I like when God said to Elisha through Elijah. Elisha said I want a double portion of your spirit, and Elijah said, “You’ve asked a big thing. Here’s how it works.” By the way this is 2 Kings 2:10, “if you see me,” there’s a conditional promise here. “…if you see me when I am taken from you,” you will receive a double portion of my spirit, but if you don’t see me, you won’t. So as they walked along and talked together a holy group of angels came down in a fiery chariot, took Elijah up to heaven and the Bible says and Elisha saw it. So when Elisha picked up the mantle of Elijah he went back to the Jordan River, he claimed the promise of God. Sometimes you’ve wondered why he said this.

Elisha said, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” and when he had said this, he smote the waters and they parted. He basically said, “Where is that promise You made? You made me a promise; I’m claiming it now.” He did the same thing Elijah did and the waters parted for him just like they had parted for Elijah because he made a conditional promise and Elisha met the conditions. If you see me, in other words if you don’t take your eyes off me you’ll receive a double portion of my spirit. By the way, that’s still true for you. Keep your eyes on Christ and you’ll receive a double portion. Some promises are conditional.

Promises for holy living; that’s what I want to read. This was our memory verse. When you’re believing in the promises of eternal life, believe this one. 2 Peter 1:3 “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness…” There’s a promise right there. His power has given us how many things? All things that pertain to what? Life, practical living, and godliness. Everything you need for godliness is in His word. “…through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises…” Not just promises, not just great promises, but exceeding great and precious promises. You can’t get a better promise than that, can you? “…that by these…” What do we do with these promises? “…by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature…” Whose nature is that?

The nature of Christ. You can be a partaker of His nature. I don’t know, Pastor Doug. Well, maybe you won’t. Why? Because you don’t believe it. If you believe it, you can. Do you believe His promise? By the promise, you’ve got it right here, you can be a partaker of His divine nature. Some would say, “Well, that just means that God looks at you and He pretends you’ve got the nature of Christ.” That’s not what He’s saying. He’s saying you partake of it. You are changed. “…having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Is that clear enough? You become a partaker of the divine nature and it is shown in that you escape the corruption that is in the world by lust. That’s an exceeding great and precious promise all in itself that we can be new creatures. Then of course you’ve what I quoted in Jude 1:24 “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy…” That’s why we used to sing that song at every evangelistic meeting, “He’s Able, He’s Able”. So you’re not trusting in your ability.

You’re not trusting in your word or promises. You’re trusting in His promises and His dependability. If you believe, all things are possible to him that believes, yes, even your holy living. Everything is possible. How many believe it’s possible for the devil to tempt you to sin? Let me see your hands? How many believe it’s possible? You’re not completely going to sin by… Do you believe it’s possible for the devil to tempt you to sin? How many of you believe it’s possible for Jesus to keep you from sin? If you don’t raise your hand the second time, but you raised your hand the first time that means your devil is more powerful than your God. All things are possible for those that believe.

I heard somebody wrote one time, Robert Murray McCheyne, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies.” Isn’t that true? If you could right now know that Jesus is in the next room and overhear Him praying and interceding for you, would you be afraid of anything? How many of you would be more confident of your victory? I didn’t finish the quote. “Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.” He ever lives to make intercession for us. Just because He’s a little further away and maybe you can’t hear, do you believe He is praying for your victory? Then it can be yours.

We need to cling to these promises that are here because it is a matter of life and death. The devil wants to break your hold on the promises of God. You’ve got to hold onto them as though your life depends on it because it does. Your eternal life depends on, your victory depends on your success, your walking in His will all depends on your trusting His word, stepping out in faith, claiming His promises knowing what they are. A lot of us don’t even know the power of them. And not letting go.

I heard about a sea captain once, recounted how he was making his way across the Caribbean to Cuba. They heard the shout “Man overboard!” The boat was frequently trailed by sharks that used to pick up the garbage that was thrown off the ship or discarded fish that they had eaten. When a man fell overboard it was a serious matter because those big lumbering ships couldn’t turn around often in time to recover them if the water was cold or if there were sharks. When they shouted “Man overboard!” they always had a rope coiled up at the stern and they’d hurl it as fast as they could and you were supposed to get a hold of it before the ship got too far away. Man overboard. Seaman at the back hurled the rope off the stern. The man who had fallen from the ship got a hold of it, and he held on for dear life because the ship was still moving.

It’s kind of like waterskiing slowly submarining through the water. He knew if he let go the sharks would probably get him before that ship could turn around, and all of the men got hold and they pulled him in, pulled him up the side, got him on board, and the captain said, “It was two hours before we could get his hands off the rope.” He would not let go of that rope. I remember one time riding a motorcycle for two hours in the rain and I couldn’t open my hands up. It was just so cold they were frozen. But that’s the idea. You get a hold of the promises of God and don’t let the devil discourage you and say, “You’re not good enough. You’re never going to make it. You can’t make it. You can’t believe it. What about all of the times you failed?” the devil is going to try and loosen your grip. Don’t let go. The Bible says “Cleave unto the Lord for He is your life.” There are lot of unclaimed promises out there that we’re missing.

Years ago when the Canadian Pacific Railroad needed to take their train track across some Indian territory the great Blackfoot Chief by the name of Crowfoot gave them permission to cross their land. In exchange the Canadian Pacific Railroad gave him a lifetime pass to travel for free on that railroad. He said he appreciated it. He coiled it up in a little scroll and stuck it in the leather pouch in a bag around his neck, but to their knowledge for the remainder of his life which was considerable he never got on the train, never took the ride that he could have taken. That’s the way it is sometimes with God’s people. We just kind of carry it as an ornament, the promises of God, we wear them instead of live them. God wants us to take the ride, to get on board, and to say I personally am going to put my weight down on the promises of God.

You can lean all you want on the promises of God, they will not break. Kind of like a story I heard one time about a man years ago needed to get across the Missouri River. It was in winter and he was making that pilgrimage with a lot of settlers across the river and he came to the banks and it was frozen. He didn’t know how thick the ice was and so he got down on all four. He figured “If I spread out and displace my weight… If I walk, you know, it’s more concentrated weight. It might break.” And so he’s crawling across the ice. Pretty soon he heard bells and he heard the crack of the whip and he looked to his left and there was a sleigh going across the river pulling a wagon filled with coal and horses galloping by him. They looked at this man on all fours crawling across the ice.

I wonder sometimes if that’s not what the angels see. God’s got these promises that have never failed and we’re tiptoeing out there on the ice and we’re getting down, and they’re going it will hold a lot more than you. The sacrifice of Jesus is adequate to keep the promises. It’s better than any billion dollar government bailout, I’ll tell you right now. There’s enough for everybody. The blood is sufficient. His promises are sure. You can set your weight down on them, friends.

How many of you would like to become better acquainted with the promises of God this year that are found in His word? You’re going to have to read them. Start underlining them. Start claiming them. Ask, believe and claim and you’ll experience transformation in your life whatever your challenges are. Whether it’s something where you work, in your character, we’ve all got that, in your family, pray for miracles. Don’t underestimate what God can do. Amen? We’re going to stand on the promises. I like this song. It’s a happy song. Let’s stand and sing “Standing on the Promises.” “Standing on the Promises” with enthusiasm.

Standing on the promises of Christ my King, Thru eternal ages let His praises ring; Glory in the highest I will shout and sing, Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior; Standing, standing, I'm standing on the promises of God.

Before we sing this next verse, verse two, I want to give you an opportunity to respond. Some of you have been tiptoeing by the edge of the river, you’ve never really ventured out or maybe you failed before because of your unbelief. Doubting yourself, don’t doubt God. He won’t let you down. You’re able to partake of the divine nature through the promises of God if you believe all things are possible, friends. You can have that assurance not based on your ability but based on His promise. He’ll give you the token of the Spirit. Would you like to lay hold of that? Get that in your heart and in your hands right now? If you would like special prayer, maybe you’ve never made a decision to accept this promise of life; you can do that right now by just coming as you are and asking. He wants to give it to you. Come as we sing verse two and we’ll pray together.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior; Standing, standing, I'm standing on the promises of God.

Before we sing the last verse, some of you who are listening today and you say, “Pastor Doug, I believe the promises of God, but I fail to believe sometimes. I want to believe every word of God and follow with my life.” Is that your desire? I’d also like any of our elders or pastors that are near the front if you could come down pray with those who have responded to the altar call this morning and provide counseling or encouragement please come as we sing the last verse together.

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, Bound to Him eternally by love's strong cord, Overcoming daily with the Spirit's sword, Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior; Standing, standing, I'm standing on the promises of God.

Is it easier to stand on one foot or two? Would you be more stable with two feet or four? You’ve got hundreds of feet you can stand on in the word of God, friends. It’s in the promises of His word. You look at them, claim them, believe them and you’ll have that solid assurance. Let’s pray together.

Loving Father, Lord, we thank you for the assurance that Your word never fails, that not one word of all You’ve promised has failed and that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Jesus Christ does not change. Lord, I pray that we can have more confidence that You will fulfill what You’ve promised, that we will do our part to lay hold on those promises, those exceeding great and precious promises, that we might partake of the nature of Jesus Himself in our lives, that we might escape the corruption that is in the world by lust and reflect Christ and be real Christians. Help us, Lord, to get the specific promises that we need not only for eternal life and the Holy Spirit that you’ll save our loved ones, but in the various areas of our lives where we struggle. Direct us to those promises that we need in Your word. I pray that You will bless these people in this church. Be with those in a special way who have come forward with some need, some who may be accepting Jesus for the first time. Come into their hearts and give them that sweet assurance that they are Your children. Also, Lord, we pray for the many who may be listening or watching, and that Your Spirit will meet when them right where they are right now, and that they can experience that assurance that peace of everlasting life that You’ve promised in Your word because of Jesus. It’s in His name that we pray and we thank you. Amen.

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