Today Derek looks at two more principles; the first being that all God’s promises are now available to us through Christ. Jesus is the channel and it is only through Him that we receive anything from God. The fourth principle is that the promises of God are expressions of His will, so when we pray according to a promise, we have faith to believe that He will answer that prayer.
It’s good to be with you again, as we follow through with our theme for this week: God’s Abundance.
In my previous talks this week I’ve shown you that God’s abundance can be apprehended only by revelation and that comes to us from God’s Word through God’s Spirit.
Yesterday I established two great principles found in God’s Word upon which our faith for abundance must be based. The first principle—God’s provision is in his promises, and I always like to say that twice; it’s so important. God’s provision is in his promises. I hope, as a result of this series, you’ll have something imprinted in your mind which says, “God’s provision is in His promises.” 2nd Peter, chapter 1, Peter says, “God has already given us everything we need,” and then he goes on to explain, “It’s in the exceeding great and precious promises of the Word of God.” The provision is in the promises.
Second, the second principle, “The promises of God are our inheritance,” and I compared this with Israel in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, under a leader named Joshua, God brought Israel into the promised land. In the New Testament, under a leader named Jesus, which in Hebrew is the same word as Joshua, God brings His people into a land of promises. That’s the difference—Old Testament, a promised land; New Testament, a land of promises. In the Old Testament, Israel had to place their feet on every part that had been promised them. Then it became experientially theirs. So we, in a symbolical way, place our feet on everything that God has promised us and it becomes ours.
Today I’m going to share with you two more principles that are basic to God’s abundance.
The third principle is this: All God’s promises are now available to us through Christ. I want to emphasize three very short, but very important words in that statement. The three short words are: all, now and us. All God’s promises are now available to us through Christ. All—now—us, keep those three short words in mind. Now let’s see this clearly stated in 2 Corinthians, chapter 1, verse 20. This particular verse is not very easy to translate into English. There are a number of different ways of translating. They all amount to the same thing in the end. I’m going to quote two translations, first of all the King James, then the New International Version. The King James says:
“For all the promises of God in Him [that’s Jesus Christ] are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”
The New International Version says:
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
Consider that second version for a moment. It says, “No matter how many promises God has made, they’re all ‘yes’ in Christ.” In other words, every promise God has made, if we come to him in the name of Jesus and claim it, God says, “Yes.” And then, this version continues, “So through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
When God says, “Yes,” then we respond with “Amen,” and that settles it. Our responding with “Amen” is like our putting our feet on that particular area of ground. So every promise you can find in the Bible, if you come to God on the basis of that promise, through Jesus Christ, God says, “Yes.” And when God says “Yes,” you say “Amen” to that promise and that settles it.
Now, to bring out the full scope, I’m going to go back to the King James translation which is a little easier to explain. “For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” Notice the following points. It’s “all,” not “some.” All the promises of God—every promise God has ever made is “yes” in Christ. Then it says “are,” not were nor will be. All the promises of God now are. So many people believe God did wonderful things in the past. They believe He’ll do wonderful things in the future; but just at the moment, they view God as being kind of bankrupt. He’s got nothing to do for us. His promises are in abeyance. That’s not what the Bible says. The Bible says all the promises of God now are “yes” and “amen.”
Notice thirdly, that it’s in Him. Jesus is the only channel. I said this yesterday, God is the source; Jesus is the channel and abundance comes to us only from the source, God, through the channel, Jesus. Outside of Jesus we have no claim on God’s promises or God’s abundance.
And then it says, “to the glory of God.” I pointed that out in my first talk this week. The ultimate purpose of God’s abundance is God’s glory. That’s the purpose of everything that God does, ultimately that He will be glorified. And so, in claiming the promises of God, we bring glory to God. It’s most important to see that that’s how we glorify God, by claiming His promises.
This is beautifully illustrated in the life of Abraham. Paul speaks of this in Romans 4, verses 20 through 21, about Abraham. It says:
“He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” (NIV)
Notice how Abraham gave glory to God. It was on the basis of God’s promise. God’s promise is the basis on which we can give Him glory. We give Him glory when we believe and receive the fulfillment of His promise. We all have robbed God of His glory. That’s the very essence of sin. We’ve robbed God of His glory. The only way we can restore the glory due to God is by receiving and experiencing His promises. All the promises of God, in Christ, are “yes” and “amen” to the glory of God. Bear in mind, the ultimate purpose of all that God does for us is His glory.
And then, let’s look at the two final short little words in the King James Version. “All the promises of God in him [Jesus] are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” Never leave out those last two words—by us. Who are us? The answer I always give is us, is you and me. It’s not by some special group. It’s not by the apostles. It’s not by preachers. It’s not by evangelists; it’s by us, you and me. All the promises of God are available to people like you and me. They’re all there. Let me read that statement once more: “All the promises of God in him [Jesus] are right now “yes” and in him “Amen” to the glory of God by us.” Can you absorb that?
We come now to the fourth principle which is this: The promises of God are the expression of God’s will. God never promised to do something that it was not His will to do. This is very simple, very logical, but very important. You see, in most cases, where our faith is being tested or where we’re seeking answers to prayer, the vital issue is the will of God. This is expressed in 1st John, chapter 5, verses 14 and 15:
“This is the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (NIV)
Notice the issue is “the will of God.” If we know that we’re praying acording to the will of God, then we know that He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, then we know that we have what we ask of Him. It’s granted. It doesn’t mean that we have it immediately in experience, but we know it is settled; it’s there for us.
So the vital thing in prayer and in the whole life of faith really, is knowing the will of God. Now God has graciously been pleased to reveal His will to us in His promises. That’s how we know the will of God. If God promises to do something, it’s His will to do it.
Let me give you a simple example. Suppose a father says to his young son, “Son, I want you to clean out the garage; if you’ll go in and sweep it up and make it real nice and clean and do a good job, I’ll give you a couple of dollars.” So the boy goes off and he works for a couple of hours and he comes back all hot and perspiring and he says, “Dad, I’ve done just what you asked, I want you to come in and see the garage, it’s really nice and clean.” And the father walks in, inspects the garage, and says, “Yes, it’s nice, it’s good.” And the son says, “Dad, can I have my two dollars?” The father says, “Oh, I never intended to give you the two dollars.” How would you estimate a father like that? He couldn’t have your confidence; he couldn’t have his son’s confidence. What I want to tell you is, God is not a father like that. God doesn’t say, “If you do something I’ll give you two dollars,” and when you’ve done it, say, “Well, I never meant to give you two dollars.” In other words, whatever God promises to do, that’s His will to do.
So, when you find a promise of God, and in due course in these talks I’m going to deal with how to meet the conditions. But setting that aside for a moment, when you find that clearly stated promise of God in the Word of God, that tells you the will of God. God has never promised to do something that it’s not His will to do. He’s not inconsistent. He’s not illogical. He’s not whimsical. He didn’t have to make these promises. They’re all the expression of His grace. He could have given us no promises at all but in making His promises available to us, He made Himself available. He revealed to us His will. “nd so, when you come to God, on the basis of His promises, clearly stated, and you know you’ve seen them and read them and understood them the way they were intended, when you come to God on that basis, then you know that’s the will of God. So you can pray in faith knowing the will of God and knowing that when you pray He hears you and you have what you prayed for.
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 one more vital principle connected with God’s promises.