Today’s we are going to start a new blog series about the promises of God. The Bible contains many promises of God which help us deal with life. That’s because each promise is an expression of God’s wisdom.
I think everybody will agree that we live in a difficult time in world history. Our world today is an extremely dangerous and troubled place. Just before Jesus went to the cross He told His disciples that this would happen. Let’s look at John 16:33.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
The setting for this passage was the upper room where Jesus celebrated His last Passover with the disciples. The disciples knew He was the Messiah, and they thought He was about to establish the Kingdom of God. But, instead, He told them that that He is going to be killed. This was not the first time Jesus told them that, but for some reason they never fully understood it. That is — until then. And, as you might imagine, they were very upset. So, Jesus attempted to comfort them, and His efforts are recorded in the Gospel of John in chapters 14-16. Finally, in John 16:33 – the passage we just read — Jesus said, “Take heart, because I have overcome the world”.
OK, so what does He mean? Well, before we answer that, let’s talk about what it means to “overcome the world”. As we have just said the world is an evil place. Since the fall of Adam and Eve – God has allowed Satan to have limited influence in the world. The Apostle, Paul, understood that, and in 2 Corinthians 4:4 he called Satan — “the god of this world”. Paul recognized that Satan had some influence over the world’s values. And — people who live in the world – who are part of the world – accept these values.
For example, the world says there is no absolute system of morality. It says that moral standards are whatever you think they are. So, if it’s right for you — then it’s right – as long as you don’t hurt anybody. The world says we have to be politically correct, so it accepts things like: same sex marriage, gender change, euthanasia, abortion, global warming, and so on.
The world also embraces false belief systems — like materialism, atheism, communism, socialism and many other isms. The world says that position and power and money and personal beauty are the most important things. So, the world promotes pursuit of empty and meaningless idols of all kinds. The result of all this is sin.
People sin with impunity – and they don’t care. Everyone falls short of God’s righteous standards. Paul summarized this in Romans 3:10-18. Let’s look at what he said.
“As the Scriptures say, ‘No one is righteous— not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies. Snake venom drips from their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace. They have no fear of God at all.”
As a result, death has entered the world, and people who are in the world are hopelessly stuck. That’s a accurate description of what is called the human condition.
Well, Jesus solved the problem of the human condition by “overcoming the world”. He did that by dying on the cross for the sins of mankind – by paying the entire sin debt of the world. But Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose from the dead. He defeated death, and He broke Satan’s control over the world. So, He said take heart. We now have a choice. We can follow Him instead of Satan
This whole process of overcoming the world is called salvation. Salvation assures our eternal destinies. That means after we leave this world, we will live in heaven forever. We will be perfect — there’ll be no more tears or pain or sorrow or grief. We will do incredible stuff with God – way beyond our wildest imaginations — for all eternity. We will never be tired or bored. We will be in a state of constant exhilaration.
Well, that all sounds great – and we all look forward to it — but what about the remaining time we have here on earth? We’re still in this sinful world – filled with flawed people. We still have a sin nature. Satan is still here – and he’s still committed to make us fail. We’re still confronted with all the natural disasters, and wars, and famines and pain of this world. And we still sin. So how are we supposed to deal with all that? Well, God has given us some resources.
These resources are His promises in the Bible, and – as we have said — there are many of them.
There are different opinions about how many there actually are. Some people think there are just a few and others think there are many. Dr. Herbert Lockyer has written a book entitled, “All the promises of the Bible.”
He says there are over 8000 of them, which he had documented in his book.
OK, so, what exactly are the promises of God? Well, very simply they are God’s offer to help us deal with the problems in our everyday lives. There are promises that relate to fear, peace, pain, suffering, grief, happiness, prosperity and so on. The list is pretty endless.
Well, that sets up our discussion for next week. Next week we will start looking at some of God’s promises and talk about how to use them.
See you then ….