Our faith for abundance must be based on principles related to God’s promises. Derek’s first principle is that God’s provision is made available through His promises, so we must know what these promises are. The second principle is that these promises given by God are our inheritance. They belong to us and we must take hold of them.
It’s good to be with you again as we continue to study our theme for this week: God’s Abundance.
My two previous talks this week I’ve explained that the carnal mind cannot understand God’s abundance. It can be apprehended only by revelation and this revelation must come from God’s Word through God’s Spirit.
I’ve also defined abundance and shown certain ways in which it differs from related words, such as riches, wealth, prosperity. Essentially, both riches and wealth indicate the ownership of large amounts of money and material possessions. Prosperity, especially as it’s used in the Bible, indicates primarily, success—successfully accomplishing your purpose. But abundance does not necessarily indicate ownership of large amounts of money or possessions, it indicates that you have all your own needs met and something left over to give to others. The essential thought in abundance is always that you have something over for others. Actually the word is derived from a Latin word which means a wave, a wave of the sea. So the thought of abundance is that you’ve got something that overflows to others. Keep that in mind all through this series of talks because it’s important. We’re not talking about the acquisition of material wealth or money, primarily, we’re talking about a kind of condition in which we live lives that are rich towards others or our own needs being met and I gave the example of Jesus. I pointed out that Jesus, during His earthly ministry, was not wealthy, but He had abundance. He ministered out of abundance. He was never in lack Himself. He always met the needs of others when they came to Him and when He sent His own desciples out, without any extra equipment or money, they came back and they reported that they had lacked nothing. That is abundance.
Today I’m going to begin to explain the principles on which our faith for abundance must be based. All these principles are related in some way to God’s promises. Let me emphasize that again. All the basic principles of God’s abundance are related in some way to God’s promises. You cannot separate God’s abundance from God’s promises.
Now here is the first principle. God’s provision is in His promises. I’ll say that again because I want you to remember it. God’s provision is in His promises. In connection with this I am going to read 2 Peter, chapter 1, verses 2 through 4:
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. [You’ll see the key note there is abundance. Not merely do you have enough grace and peace for yourself, you have enough to transmit to others and the key thought in these verses is ‘abundance.’ Continuing in verses 3 and 4:] His [that’s God’s] divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he [that is God] has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (NIV)
Now that’s a tremendous statement. I would like to recommend to you that at your own convenience, in your own Bible, you look that passage up and read it over and over because it’s meaning is so tremendous, it’s hard to absorb. Let me give you the reference again, 2 Peter, chapter 1, verses 2 through 4.
Now I briefly want to unfold to you what it says. First of all, I’ve pointed out that the theme, the key note, is abundance. And then it says, that it all comes through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Ultimately God is the source. Jesus is the channel. Abundance comes from God. It comes through Jesus. Don’t look for any other channel of abundance but Jesus. Then, we are told, God has already given us everything we need. That’s an amazing statement. I want you to observe the tense. It’s not saying “God will give us everything.” It’s saying “God has given us everything.” Now the carnal mind reacts and says, “Well, if God has given us everything, where is it all?” But you see, I’ve already emphasized the carnal mind cannot apprehend the revelation of God’s abundance. The answer is very clear. It’s contained in the passage I’ve read. It’s all contained in the promises of His Word. So, Peter says, “God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” Then it goes on. “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises.” So everything we need is contained in the very great and precious promises of God’s Word. If we don’t relate to the promises, then we don’t receive the provision. Let me say that that I’ve said already twice, the provision is in the promises. If you don’t know the promises, if you don’t relate to the promises, then you go without the provision. But it isn’t because God hasn’t made the provision, it’s because you haven’t discovered or are not willing to avail yourself of it.
Then there are two more breathtaking statements in this passage from 2nd Peter. The next statement is that “through the promises, you may participate in the divine nature.” I think the human mind can hardly absorb that statement. If I didn’t read it in the Bible, I’m not sure that I could accept it but it’s there clearly in the Bible. Through the promises of God, you and I, as Believers, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, coming to God the Father, through Jesus Christ the Son, you and I become partakers of God’s own nature. We receive the very nature of God within ourself.
And then the next statement is also breathtaking but it’s a very logical consequence. When this process takes place, or as it takes place, we escape the corruption that is in the world caused by evil desires, spiritual, moral, even physical corruption. There’s a way out. It’s through the promises of God. As we receive the promises of God, they impart to us the nature of God and as we receive the nature of God, we’re delivered from the corruption that is in the world through lust. All this comes through the great and precious promises of God’s Word. So the first principle is this: God’s provision is in His promises. The second principle, again, as I’ve said, is related to the promises. The second principle, the promises, are our inheritance. I’ll say that again, I want you to remember it, the promises are our inheritance.
I want to illustrate this from the historical example of Israel entering into their inheritance, the land of Canaan, in the Old Testament. Moses brought Israel out of Egypt and into the wilderness, but Moses could not bring them into the Promised Land. God raised up another leader, Joshua, and commissioned him, after the death of Moses, to being Israel into the Promised Land. And this is how he told him to do it.
In Joshua, chapter 1, verses 2 and 3, this is what the Lord said to Joshua:
“Moses My servant is dead; now therefore rise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just I spoke to Moses.” (NASB)
Again, it’s important to notice the tense of the verbs. In the first verse that I quoted, God says, “I am giving the land to Israel.” In the very next verse he says, “I have given it to you,” past tense. It’s important to see that. As soon as God gave the land, then the land had been given. Nothing had changed physically, they were still in the same position. The visible ownership of the land had not changed the least bit. But because Almighty God said, “I’m giving you the land,” from that moment onwards, legally, the land was theirs. It had been given to them. Just as we saw in the first principle, that the provision is in the promises, God has already given us everything. How? Because He’s given us His promises.
Now, the way in which Joshua and Israel entered into their inheritance is a pattern for us. First of all, they had to understand that the land from then on was legally theirs. Second, they had to do something about it, and this is what they had to do. The Lord said to Joshua, “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you.” So, they had to go in on the basis of what God had told them, believing that the land was legally theirs, and they had to assert their ownership by placing their feet on the land that God had promised. And God said, “As soon as you put your foot on any piece of soil in the land, it’s yours; legally, it’s yours already, but to make it experientially yours, to have it in actual experience, you’ve got to go in and put your foot on it.”
Now, that’s exactly how it is with us as Christians. You see, in the Old Covenant, God brought His people into a promised land under a leader named Joshua. In the New Covenant, God brings His people, us believing people, into a land of promises under a leader named Jesus, and Jesus and Joshua in Hebrew are essentially the same name. And we have to do just as Israel had to do. First of all, we have to believe what God has said, that legally it belongs to us because God has given it to us. Secondly, we have to act. We have to move in, and as it were, place our foot on every area that God has promised, and as soon as we experientially place our foot on that area, in faith, it becomes ours in reality. So, Israel entering the promised land, is a pattern for us, entering the land of promises.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. I’ll continue with this theme of abundance. I’ll be explaining further principles of abundance.