I Promise You

When was the last time someone made a promise to you… and broke it?

slide3“Yes, honey, I’ll take out the trash after dinner.”

“I promise we’ll give you a promotion in six months.”

“I’ll be there. I promise.”

If you are like most people, you make commitments to others all the time. Question is – how often do you keep your promises? When you don’t keep a promise, even a small one, it communicates to that person that you don’t really give a rip about them and that they cannot count on you. A promise is a promise after all.

When someone else breaks a promise to you, doesn’t that make you feel violated or cheated? You wonder whether you can ever trust that person again. When you break a promise it can damage a relationship or your reputation. Tiny fissures develop in your relationships marked by broken promises.

Scripture is clear on the importance of keeping promises. “If a man . . . takes an oath to bind himself . . . he shall not violate his word” (Numbers 30:2). King Solomon wrote, “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:5).

If you can’t keep a promise, don’t make it. If you can’t deliver on something because of an uncontrollable event, such as an illness or accident, most people will understand. On the other hand, breaking a promise due to laziness, lack of planning or doing so intentionally is different.

So what happens when God makes a promise? This is a no brainer; when God makes a promise, he will always come through. The Bible is full of promises. The word promise appears 111 times in the Bible. One person suggested that there are 3573 promises in the Bible. Another Bible student, a school teacher named Everet Storms, came up with 7487 promises. Bible Scholar, Herbert Lockyer wrote a book called “all the promises of the bible” and listed some 8000 of them.

I don’t know how many promises there really are in the Bible… but you can bet one thing. God always fulfills all his promises. Count on it! Depend on it. Believe it! That is really what Peter is saying in these verses. God has some very precious promises, and one of the most important is that He will carry you though. Listen to just a few of his promises:

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said it, and will He not do it? has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

Joshua 21:45 Not one of the good promises which the LORD made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

2 Cor 1:20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!”

With God’s promises on your side, things are good! Let’s examine one of God’s precious promises deeply so that we come away encouraged. The first thing we should ask is, “to whom were these promises made? Did God promise me?”

Simon Peter, a bondservant 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,

This is

slide4A Promise to those with like precious faith

Peter wrote this book. He called himself a servant and an apostle. He had the highest rank in the church, and yet, following the example of Jesus, he took the most lowly position. Apostle and servant.

In one of the clearest statements in the New Testament, Peter calls Jesus both “God and Savior.” You might want to underline it. Jesus IS God. As Christians we believe in what is called the Trinity. The Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. Three persons; one God.

In verse two, Peter writes a common greeting to believers; Grace and peace be multiplied to you. We have noted before that Grace is the common Greek way of saying “hi” and “bye,” (charis or charin), while Peace is the common Hebrew way of saying “hi” and “bye,” (Shalom.)

But what I really want us to see today are the recipients of this letter. Verse one; “To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

How do you obtain this “like precious faith.” The first thing we need to understand is that the like precious faith in this verse is a noun, not a verb. What is the difference, if I have faith in Jesus – that’s a verb. Faith is an action that I take; I believe. However If I say that all of us in this room subscribe to “the faith,” that’s a noun. In this case, faith is the sum and substance of what we believe.

Peter is writing to a group of people who have subscribed to the truth that Jesus is our God and Savior and that his death on the cross made us right with God. Sometimes we urge people to have faith, and forget that faith must be in something! It must have an object. We don’t just have faith in faith! We don’t just have faith in a generic god, or whatever you choose to believe in. If you want the precious promises in this book, you need to have faith in THE faith!

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,

A Promise of Divine Power for life slide6

Like precious Faith in Jesus ignites God’s divine power that will transform your life!

So how powerful is God? Business insider claims that hypernovas are the most powerful thing in the universe. A hypernova occurred in 2008 when a star, 150 times the size of our sun exploded producing the brightest light and most powerful energy release in the universe. In 23 seconds it put out more energy than our Sun will ever produce in its entire lifetime, or about the same amount of energy in 10 trillion trillion billion megaton bombs! If your home planet is in the way, say hello to a complete mass extinction. Scientist worry that events like these could be sterilizing the universe.[i]

That explosion didn’t even make God flinch. It didn’t surprise him, and didn’t affect Him. And as powerful as it was, it isn’t nearly as powerful as the God who created the entire universe.

So read the verse again; God’s divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Just in case you are in depression, God has enough power to conquer it. And if you are struggling, it’s nothing for God to strengthen you. And if you despair of ever being able to live a life of godliness, peace and joy, just remember this, Jesus has enough power to give you the life you have always wanted to live and to give it more abundantly, and that with so much divine power to spare that it is beyond all that you could ask or think! Just so you know.

And how do you get this power? “Through the knowledge of him who called you!” How does knowing him give you that power?

Let’s just say you are writing a book. And you’d like to get the endorsement of Billy Graham. Can you imagine the power you would have to sell books you’d have if Graham endorsed your book? But the problem is, you don’t know Billy Graham. And it is unlikely he’s going to endorse your book. But can you imagine what would happen if you did know him and he knew and loved you? You could sit next to him and say, “Dr. Graham, would you do me a favor? Would you endorse my book!”

That is like the power you have when you know Jesus. “Jesus, would you give me everything that pertains to life and godliness!” Done! The more you know him, the more power you can claim. Faith unites the weak believer to the Mighty Savior! What a precious promise.

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.

A Promise to partake in His Divine Nature slide8

We have been given exceedingly great and precious promises. that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature.

I want to show you a couple of parallels in these verses. Here is our first one: Our like Precious Faith, in verse 1 – obtained through Jesus, grants us exceedingly Precious promises in verse 4 given by Jesus. If you have the precious faith, you get the precious promises! Nice? Huh?

Here is our second one. His divine power in verse 2 makes us partakers of his divine nature in verse 5. If you have his divine power, you partake of his divine nature! Incredible!

This is an exceedingly precious promise. Verse five tells us that we were sinners at birth. The corruption that is destroying the earth was destroying us. We were born with a sin nature, and because of that nature, we hated and lusted and bent toward pleasing self (Romans 5:12; 7:14). No matter how hard we may try to do good, our motivations and underlying desires are to please and promote self. That sin nature keeps us from fellowship with God, keeps us in bondage to sin, and leads eventually to spiritual death (Romans 6:16, 23; 7:14; 2 Peter 2:19). We cannot free ourselves from sin because we cannot change our own natures, just as a tiger cannot change its own stripes.

When we come to Christ in faith, accepting His death and resurrection as our substitute, we declare Him to be the Lord of our lives (Romans 10:8–9). At that moment, the Holy Spirit “births” us into the family of God. Our old nature is defeated, and we receive a new, divine nature that desires the things of God (2 Corinthians 5:17). When Christ died for us, He became our sin, so that when we come to Him in faith, we gain His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It is a divine exchange: Where once you had nothing but a sin nature, you now have a divine nature! God’s Holy Spirit in you is the way of escape from this planet of corruption!

You can be pure! How? The closer you draw to the Savior, the deeper your relationship with Jesus, the more you know the Father, the further you will escape from all that corrupts you! This is your promise for today, and for life! Claim it! Believe it! Trust in your Savior God and spend serious time every day with Jesus. He will give you life and give it more abundantly!

That’s what Jesus said. “I promise you!” Trust Him.

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[i] http://www.businessinsider.com/hypernovas-are-the-most-powerful-thing-in-the-universe-2014-9

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Comments

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