The Wonderful Promises of God
2 Peter 1:1-4; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 2:10; Romans 6:23; Philippians 4:19
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - June 12, 2016
*This week in the Vacation Bible School Tree House the children will learn about the wonderful promises of God. They will see that our God promises love, hope, salvation, provision and power. God promises all of these things and much more to everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ.
*The Word of God talks about His promises in 2 Peter 1:1-4, so please open your Bibles to 2 Peter 1, thinking about the wonderful promises of God.
*Have you ever told a lie? -- I don't want to single anybody out this morning, so don't raise your hand. But have you have ever told a lie? If you have, just give me a little smile. Oh yeah, there are a lot of smiling people here this morning.
*Probably everybody in the world has told a lie at some point, -- everybody but God, that is. In Titus 1:2, Paul said that he was "in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began."
*Did you hear what Paul said about God there? God cannot lie, cannot lie. God can not lie. That's why we can totally depend on the wonderful promises of God.
1. So first, let's take a look at God's promise of love.
*Many places in God's Word speak of His love for us. The best known is John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
*John 11:5 says, "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."
*John 13:1 says, "Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end."
*And in John 13:34, Jesus said: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. As I have loved you, that you also love one another."
*God's promise of love for us is so strong that one of the key verses in VBS this week is Romans 8:28. There the Word of God says this to all Christians: "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
*In other words: "We can be so sure of God's love that we know He is using even the bad things that happen to us for our good." But Church: We could never believe that, if we weren't sure of the promise of God's love.
*But we can be sure, and we should be sure of God's love. That's why Paul gave the strongest assurance of God's love here in Romans 8. Starting in Romans 8:31, Paul wrote:
31. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32. He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
33. Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
34. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36. As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.''
37. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
38. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39. nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
*This is the wonderful promise of God's love. And thank God, He didn't just promise His love, God proved His love.
*God has proved His love to us in many ways, but most of all, He proved it on the cross! So in John 15:13, Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." And Romans 5:8 says, "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
This is the proof of God's love. This is the wonderful promise of God's love. And we want all children to know about it. That's why one of the first songs we teach children is all about God's love.
*The tune was first written as a marching song for the Union Army in the Civil War: "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys are Marching." But later this tune became one of the all-time favorite Christian songs for children. And we've sung it many times:
"Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world." (1)
*Jesus loves the little children, and Jesus loves us all. This is the wonderful promise of God's love.
2. But this week in VBS, the kids will also see the promise of hope.
*God gives hope to everyone who puts their trust in Jesus, so Christians have the promise of real hope. And we see God's hope in Scriptures like Romans 5:1-2. Here the Word of God speaks to Christians and says:
1. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2. through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
*Romans 15:4 says: "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope."
*Romans 15:13 says: "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
*Now the key VBS verse for hope doesn't specifically mention the word "hope." It's Ephesians 2:10, where God's Word says this to all Christians: "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." This Scripture is talking about the hope of us having a real purpose in life when we put our faith in Jesus Christ.
*To put it in context, please listen to it again starting in Ephesians 2:8. God's Word tells Christians:
8. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9. not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
*When we put our trust in Jesus Christ, God gives us a brand new purpose for living. There are many good ways to live it out. And one of the best is by serving in VBS. Thank God for everyone who is serving in our Vacation Bible School!
*You know, working in VBS is not always that easy. Raymond McHenry told about a mom who brought her son to Bible School for the first time. This little boy was extremely active and very curious. He had enough energy to outlast most adults. Mom got to the part of the registration card that said "Remarks," and in big, block letters, she wrote: "BRACE YOURSELF!" (2)
*VBS is always a lot of work, and serving the Lord in any way can be hard at times. Why do people do it? -- Because they love the Lord, because they realize the incredible value of the cross, and because they have God's hope.
*Hebrews 6:19 tells us that God's hope is "an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil." This is the wonderful promise of God's hope.
3. But this week in VBS, the children will also see God's promise of salvation.
*The key verse in VBS for salvation is Romans 6:23. Here God's Word says: "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
*In our minds, wages are usually what we earn for our work. But in general, wages are what we deserve, and "the wages of sin is death." That doesn't mean just physical death, but spiritual death. It means eternal death, eternal separation from God, spending all eternity in hell.
*That is what we all deserve, because all of us are guilty of sin. And the only way God could have ever given us the gift of eternal life was through the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
*And the Bible tells us that we are saved when we "believe" in Jesus, who came into the world, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again from the dead. But what does it mean to believe?
*Well, again in Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." And since eternal life is a gift from God, then believing is like receiving a gift from someone who loves you.
*Think about it being your birthday, and I stop by for a visit. I love you very much, and I also happen to be very rich. In my hand is a little wrapped-up box, and inside the box is a key. Maybe it's the key to a brand new four-wheeler, or a bass boat, or a brand new car, or a new truck. It could even be the key to a million dollar home!
*I tell you how much I love you. I tell you about the gift, and I leave the box on the table for you. The key is in the box, and it's yours for the taking. But you never take the wrapping paper off. You never open the box. You never do what you can do with the gift. I really gave it to you, but did you really receive it? -- No.
*God's gift of eternal life is something like that. Jesus Christ paid the highest price for our gift when He died on the cross for us. And now the Risen Savior freely offers the gift of eternal life to us. But we have to receive it.
*In order to receive God's gift of eternal life, you don't open a box, you open your heart. And you don't take something out. -- You let someone in. By faith, you let Jesus Christ come into your heart. By faith, you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
*He wants to come in. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus said: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."
*And speaking about Jesus, John 1:12 says: "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." This is the wonderful promise of God's salvation.
4. But this week in VBS, the children will also see the promise of God's provision.
*The wonderful promise of God's provision is simply that He promises to provide everything we need. God promises to provide everything we will ever need in life. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:19, "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
*This means if we are 5 or 65 or 105, God will supply all our needs! And He can do it, because the whole universe belongs to Him! Christians: Jesus never runs out of what we need! And this is true on every level: Physically, emotionally and most of all, spiritually.
*If we need forgiveness.
7. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
8. which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence. (Eph 1:7-8)
*If we need peace, He can give us the peace that passes understanding. (Phil 4:7)
*If we need strength, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil 4:13)
*If we need comfort. He is the God of all comfort.
3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
4. who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Cor 1:3-4)
*And if we need wisdom, Jesus is our supply! "For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." (Prov 2:6)
*No wonder Paul said: "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." But notice that our supply must come through Jesus Christ. This is the wonderful promise of God's provision.
5. But this week in VBS, the children will also see the promise of God's power.
*And that takes us back to our opening Scripture today. It's 2 Peter 1:1-4, where the Word of God says:
1. Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2. Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
3. as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
4. by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
*That is the wonderful promise of God's power: The promise to save our souls and change our lives from the inside out.
*Wonderful things happen in people's lives when they receive the "divine power" of God's "exceedingly great and precious promises." That's why wonderful things can happen when we bring children to Jesus Christ. And wonderful things can happen when we bring children to VBS.
*By the time I met Mr. G. A. Neal he was a good man, and a godly senior adult. He and Mrs. Neal were married for 57 years before he passed away. Mr. Neal helped start a new church as mission, and he served as a deacon.
*But in his younger years, Mr. Neal was as lost as can be, and he had a terrible drinking problem. One night G. A. drank so much that he passed out in a pasture near their house. But they had a little dog named Fannie, and she kept going out to the pasture to check on Mr. Neal.
*When G. A. sobered up the next day, he said that if a little dog thought that much of him, if a little dog could love him that much, then he needed to do something about his life. It was a real turning point in Mr. Neal's life. But it was two more years before he and Mrs. Neal got saved. It happened one night after Vacation Bible School, on the same day that their little girl got saved in VBS.
*I think it's great that God used a little dog to help Mr. Neal. But it took God's people serving in VBS to help lead the Neal's daughter to the Lord. And it took somebody going to that home to help lead her parents to the Lord.
*Amazing things can happen when we bring children to VBS, because we are really bringing them to Jesus! Some of those children will get saved, and sometimes even their parents can get saved through VBS.
*This matters to God more than we can measure! On a scale of 1 to 10, how important would you say children are to any good parents and grandparents? Ten, of course! We would do anything we could to help our children and grandchildren.
*But how important do you think children are to church? -- Also a ten. A church without children is a dying church.
*Now, how important do you think children are to God? -- Ten times ten times ten to infinity! Children are infinitely more important to God than they are to the best of us. So God wants us to introduce them to the wonderful promises of God.
*The first step is to receive the promises of God by receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Receive Jesus Christ, and you will receive God's promises love, hope, salvation, provision and power. Call on the Lord to save you, as we go to God in prayer.
(2) Baptist Standard, June 7, 1995, p. 7 - I believe I found this story on "McHenry's Quips, Quotes, and Other Notes" by Raymond McHenry - Published by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.