Jack Graham - Promise Keeper
Take your Bibles and turn with me to 2 Corinthians chapter 1 2 Corinthians chapter 1. Our series is called WayMaker: Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the Darkness. He is the Way Maker. He made a way when there was no way. When we were separated from God, Jesus came, love found a way, He was born, Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except by Me". He is the way which gives us life and gives us truth. Jesus the Way Maker. And then Jesus, the Miracle Worker. We’re focusing on who Jesus is and why He came and what He did for each one of us. And certainly, Jesus is a miracle Himself, born of a virgin according to the prophesies of God and Himself performing miracles, changing lives physically, emotionally, spiritually. Jesus is a miracle. "Oh Jesus, what a wonder You are".
So if you will look in your Bibles at 2 Corinthians chapter 1 and verse 20, "For all the promises of God", and in the Bible there are something like 8000 promises that come from God. Thousands and thousands of promises in God’s Word. And all of these promises, according to the Scripture, "find their Yes in Him", talking about Jesus the Son of God. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to the glory of God. Now throughout this message as we go, I’m going to ask you to participate a little bit. And when I ask you, I want you to say, "Yes! And Amen"! So let’s practice right now. "Yes and Amen"! So this is the way I’m going to get a lot of Amen’s today on this message, all right? So "Yes and Amen"! at every point when we cross them, these are the promises of God. There are promise makers and there are also promise breakers.
A recent Gallop... or rather Google search just coming out of this year indicated that when people looked up the word "broken promises" or "promise breakers" there were 4 million hits. A lot of broken promises today! Sixty-five percent, however, surveyed said they believed that they are promise keepers. Sixty-five percent said, "Yes, I always keep my promises". Well, as my friend Scott Seal says, "You always get an 'A' if you grade your own paper". So I don't know if 65 percent of us always keep our promises, but one thing I do know is that God always, always keeps His promises. That would be a good place for a "Yes and an Amen"! He does!
So Jesus is the fulfillment, the perfect promise of God. He is the fulfillment of all that God has said. You're in your Bibles, turn back in your Old Testament to Joshua chapter 23. If you go there to Joshua chapter 23, It's always good to bring your Bibles, to mark your Bibles, to take some notes, so look at Joshua chapter 23. Joshua says in verse 14, at the end of his life, his legacy is being casted, he said: "I am about to go the way of all the earth (that is, he's dying), and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed".
Yes and Amen! It's true. All of the promises of God are fulfilled and they are perfectly fulfilled in the Promise Keeper the Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus, after the resurrection, was walking with the two disciples along the road to Emmaus, it says that He began with Moses and the prophets, and He showed them in all the Scriptures those things concerning Himself. All of the Scriptures, the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament and the Law and the Prophets, all of it was pointing to the ultimate promise, the promise of God in Jesus Christ. You're in Joshua; go to the end of the Bible.
In Revelation chapter 19, all the way to the end of God's Word, the nineteenth chapter and verse 10. It says; "I fell down to worship him and (this was an angel and the angel said to John the apostle) Don't do that, don't worship me, but worship God for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy". The spirit of prophecy, the substance of prophecy is the Lord Jesus Christ. That's why Paul tells us that all of the promises of God in Jesus Christ are an Amen. It's true. Number one, because Jesus has come, we have the promises of God for His presences. God promises His presence. Now His presence was always available to His people before Christ came, but when Jesus came to earth, when Christ was born at Bethlehem, His name was to be called Emmanuel, God is with us. And because God is with us, we live in the security and the strength that He gives us every day. Emmanuel.
If you are a believer and follower of Jesus, then Emmanuel, God with us, He is always present every step of the way. He said, "I will never leave you or forsake you". He is in our lives for the long-run, from now until forever! That's security in Christ. We can never lose His presence. We are secure in salvation that He gives. Paul told us in Philippians chapter 1, verse 6 that "He who began the good work in you will perform it, will perfect it unto the Day of Jesus Christ". This is why we preach, this is why we teach the security of the believer in Jesus Christ. Because God is forever with us.
And even when we go through tough times and trials, He knows what He's doing; He knows where He's taking us; He is with us because He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He never abandons us. Friends may come and go. Family members can even leave. You could lose your job, you could lose your health, you could lose your strength, you could lose your life, but you can never lose Jesus! Yes, and Amen! That's affirming His promise. That's saying Amen to what we believe! When we say "Amen", that's saying, "That's right". Yes, and Amen to the promise that God is with us! He never leaves us; He never forsakes us. And even in the Bible in Zephaniah, that's one way back in the Old Testament, it tells us that when we're struggling and when we're wrestling those nights you can't go to sleep, you're wide awake, your fears and anxieties and worries, Zephaniah 3:17, it says that God is with us and sings a lullaby, He sings over us. Imagine that! His grace, His love.
Today we are remembering His love on the Advent candle, and His love never lets us go. The Apostle Paul said, "Neither life, nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, will ever separate us from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ". It's impossible for Him to leave you. He has so much invested in you, in us. He left heaven and came all the way to this world because He loves you and He has a plan for your life; He has a purpose for every day. He has saved you and you never need to doubt this if you've put your faith and trust in Him. You can trust your days and your destiny to the Lord Jesus Christ.
And we know that a better day is coming, a new world is coming. Jesus said, "I’m going to be with you in your life every step of the way". He said, "Believe this. You believe in God; believe also in Me". And He said, "In My Father’s house are many mansions; I’m going to prepare a place for you and don’t you know that if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself that where I am you may be also". We can never escape the grace of God. God is saying, "I’m going to be with you every step, every season of your life. And I have an agenda; I have an aim; I have something I want to do with your life". You’re not here by accident or chance but by divine appointment, by divine providence. God has a plan for your life. Every birthday you have.
Now because Jesus had a birthday, because Jesus was born and we celebrate His birth at this season, because Jesus had a birthday when Christ was born, your birthdays have meaning. If Jesus was not born, if it didn't matter His birth, then no birth matters. Your life is meaningless; you're on your way to an empty world and into judgment and even hell if Jesus was not born because Jesus was born to be the Savior and there's no salvation apart from Him. So because Jesus came we have the promise of God's presence, so draw near to Him. This is the time, He said, "Draw near to Me; I'm going to draw near to you". Pray, seek Him, His face, His favor. Get engaged in His plan for your life, His purpose for your life. Because of Christmas, the cradle and because of Calvary, the cross, we have Him always. This is why I say Christmas and Easter collide. Because of Christmas we have Easter and the resurrection; we have redemption in Christ. We may lose everything else but we will never lose Him.
Secondly, because Christ came, we have the promise of His peace. What did the angels sing that night, or shout that night? "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace". Even the name of Jesus speaks of His peace. "For you shall call His name Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace". Christ, the Bible says, is our peace. Peace is not in a pill; peace is not in another person; peace is in Christ and Christ alone. He said, "My peace I give to you". He was talking to His disciple in the upper room and He said, "My peace I give to you". This is not something the world can give you and therefore, it’s not something the world can take away. "My peace I give to you". He said, "In this world you will have tribulation, trouble". And we’ve had plenty of trouble and plenty of tribulation in this world. He said, "But cheer up! I have overcome the world"!
This is why even in a season like this, we can still say Merry Christmas. Because the merriment and the joy and the promises and the peace and the gladness and the goodness is ours. He said, "Peace on earth". When will that peace come? Ultimately there will be no peace on earth until Jesus the Prince of Peace comes again and establishes His eternal kingdom and we will be with Him forever and ever. In the Hebrew language the word for peace is shalom. When we travel to the Holy Land and visit the people there, we still hear these words in the air ringing as people speak even in greetings, "shalom" Peace to you. We have this peace. Peace means that we are reconciled to God. We were in a war with God because of our sin and rebellion. But God was in Christ reconciling, making peace with us and when we lay down our arms, when we lay down our weapons, when we lay down our pride, when we lay ourselves before the Lord, the battle is over. When Christ died on the cross, He said, "It is finished". The victory is ours.
There's victory in Jesus. And now we have His peace. We have peace with God and we have the peace of God living in us. "Peace, wonderful peace, coming down from the Father above". That's Jesus. Do you have this peace in your life? First do you have peace with God? Do you have a relationship with God? And then are you living in this peace? Are you resting in the peace that comes from God? So many aren’t. Those who are looking to faith and trust in Christ will discover this peace. So not only do have His presence with us but the third thing that I'm going mention is that because Christ came, we have the promise of His power! The promise of His power! The promise of peace, the promise of His presence and yes, the promise of His power. Philippians 4:13. It says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".
Now that's power. But it's not human power; it's His power! What does that verse mean? "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Well, the idea there of strength is to pour in strength. It's the idea of God, Jesus giving us strength when we need it. When we need His strength, His strength is available to us. It's poured in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. He pours in our strength. I like the way the Philipps translation gives this verse. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". It's paraphrased: "I am ready for anything because of Christ who lives in me".
Now that's a great promise. When I picked up my dad's Bible after his death, a very small Bible, a simple Bible really. Didn't have study notes in it and it wasn't marked a lot, but there was one verse marked in the cover pages of the Book and that is this verse, Isaiah 41:10. I was so glad that my dad knew the God who gave him that verse and gave us this verse. "Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed".. That is, don't live in dread. "Do not be dismayed; do not be overwhelmed with fear. Do not be dismayed, for the Lord upholds you with His strong right hand". Whatever you're going through, God's got you. And He will give you the strength.
You say, I've got serious temptations in my life. God says, "I will give you the power to overcome temptation in your life and provide for you a way of escape". I've got some really tough trials going on in my life or in my family. God promises because Christ came this power, this strength, He will enable you to go into anything that you're going through in your life. That's a promise. Any trial, any test, any battle that you're fighting. Every challenge that we face, every crisis, every command that we need to keep. We can trust God for anything because Jesus our Savior can do anything but fail. And He will never fail you! His strength is available.
This is what I’m going to call promise-thinking. You’ve heard of positive thinking. I like positive thinking. I sure like positive thinking a lot better than negative thinking. Positive thinking is good as far as it goes. But there’s something better than positive thinking and it’s promise thinking. Thinking on the promises of God. Standing on the promises of God. Strengthening in the promises of God. And all of this is because He came. Oh, the difference that Christ makes in our lives because He came. One final thing. Because Christ came, we have the promise of God's presence, Emmanuel is with us, the promise of God's peace, "My peace I give to you". Christ is our peace. We have the promise of His power every single day. What happened at Bethlehem so long ago, He is alive in us; He is born in us.
And Jesus said in John chapter 7, "He who believes in Me, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water". Innermost being literally means the womb. Jesus was born in the womb of Mary but think about it. Out of the innermost being of every believe, Christ is born and His power flows through us. But there's one final promise that I mention of so many. These are the highlights, obviously. Because Christ came we have the promise of His pardon. I'm talking about the forgiveness of sin. "You shall call His name Jesus," the angel said, "because He shall save His people from their sin".
Why did Christ come? He came to seek and to save the lost. To save us from our sin. Your greatest need, my greatest need is a Savior who forgives us of all of our sins and there are many. "All of us have sinned". If you doubt that you’re a sinner just look at mirror just a little while longer and think a little deeper because you know. What is sin? Sin is a debt that we owe that we could not pay, sin is a disobedience to God. Both sins of omission and commission. The things that we do that displease God; the things that we don’t do that honor God, that we serve Him.
And so what is our greatest need? Our greatest need is salvation; our greatest need is a Savior; our greatest need is forgiveness! And not only forgiveness but with this pardon comes power and with this forgiveness comes, wait for it, freedom. Freedom from the power of sin and death upon our lives. He sets us free. He came to set the captive free. And when you choose Jesus, you choose this forgiveness. When you follow our Lord, you invite His salvation. And Jesus came as the Savior to deliver us and save us from our sins. He was delivered, the Christ Child, the Savior of the world so that we could be delivered from sin.
What does it mean to be saved? It means that Jesus comes to live in your life, that He forgives all of your sin. And then He gives you this hope and this promise of peace and presence and power. And yes, one day the Prince of Peace is coming again! Jesus is going to break through the sky, with a shout and the voice of the archangel, the trumpet of God and He will come again. This time not as Mary’s Lamb, a little Lamb, but the sovereign Lord, King of kings and Lord of lords.