A number of years ago, I was speaking to an audience about the tremendous promises available to us as believers in Jesus Christ. In one particular message, I had determined to speak to them about what Jesus had done on the cross, and what they could receive as a result.
As an illustration of the promises available, I said to the audience, “Now—if you people were all hungry and I were the owner of an orange grove, I could approach this situation in two ways. I could go to my orange grove, take an orange, bring it to you and say, ‘Here, eat this.’ That action would temporarily satisfy your hunger. Or, the other approach would be to invite you to the orange grove, show you the grove with all the fruit on the trees, and then invite you to walk around and help yourself.”
Then I said to my listeners, “The second approach is what I’m going to do tonight. I’m not going to offer you an orange—I’m going to take you to the orange grove.”
Similarly, I hope to take that second approach with you in these studies on the topic of “Walking Through the Land of God’s Promises.” I am going to take you to the orange grove—and it will be up to you to help yourself.
In each section of this series, I will be dealing with some need or problem that commonly arises in our lives. In essence, I will be “taking you to the orange grove”—showing you practical ways to meet those needs or solve those problems. How? By helping you locate and claim the specific promises of God’s Word that are appropriate for each particular situation.
The first point in this initial teaching on the theme of “Walking through the Land of God’s Promises” is a very important one: God’s provision for us is found in His promises. The key Scripture supporting this point is 2 Peter 1:3–4.
“[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 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)
We need to pay special attention to two truth sin these verses. Both of them are stated in the perfect tense, meaning they have already been accomplished. Verse 3 tells us God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. Please notice that this verse does not say God is going to give us everything we need. Rather, it says He has already given it to us.
Verse 4 further emphasizes this point with the second truth: “[God] has given us his very great and precious promises.” Clearly, God has already given us everything we are ever going to need. How does it come to us? He provides it in the form of His promises.
We come now to our second point in this initial teaching segment: God’s promises are our inheritance. In examining this truth, we can see how closely the New Testament mirrors the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, under a leader named Joshua, God led His people into a promised land. In the New Testament, under a leader named Jesus (the same name as Joshua in the Hebrew form), God leads His people into a land of promises. God’s promises are therefore our inheritance.
Our ultimate goal in these messages on “Walking through the Land of God’s Promises” is to develop a clear view of our inheritance and then understand how we can possess it.
Far beyond a mere intellectual discussion, this teaching series will be extremely practical. Each segment will deal with a specific need or problem that commonly arises in our lives. I will then show you—in a very practical way—how to meet that need or solve that problem by locating and claiming the specific promises of God which apply to it.
As the basis for all that is to follow in this teaching series, I want to put a foundational principle in place. To do so, let’s examine a promise which, in a sense, is the key to claiming all the promises. It is a statement the Lord made to Joshua when He commissioned him to lead His people into their inheritance. This wonderful promise is found in Joshua chapter 1, verse 8, where the Lord said the following words to Joshua:
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (NAS)
What a statement! I suppose there is no promise that gives more complete assurance of total success than this one given to Joshua. “Then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have success. ”This wonderful encouragement involves two results: prosperity and success.
I have discovered in my dealings with human beings over many years that nobody really wants to fail. Deep down, every human being is born with a deep longing to succeed. Therefore, when people fail, it is not because they want to fail. They fail because they simply do not know how to succeed. Fortunately, the verse we have just examined tells us exactly how to succeed. The promise to Joshua is God’s guaranteed pathway to success.
It is important at this point for us to examine the conditions God has laid down. These conditions are expressed in certain key phrases in the verse we have just been examining. First, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth.” (Pay special attention to that word “mouth” in this passage.) Second, “you shall meditate on it day and night.” Meditation has to do with the heart and the mind—that is, our inner being. The implication is that we must allow His Word to penetrate deeply into our inner being. Third, the verse goes on to say, “so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.”
The key words here are “mouth,” “meditate,” and “do.” In response to them—and I am going to change the order for a moment—what do you have to do? You have to think God’s law, speak God’s law and act God’s law. This entire process involves right meditation, right speaking and right action. The rightness of our thoughts, words and actions is determined by whether or not they are in accordance with God’s law.
To further establish these truths in our lives, we will now look at the New Testament. The passage we will examine is Romans 10:8–10, one which states the requirements for salvation according to the New Testament. Speaking here about the Word of God, Paul says:
“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (NAS)
A more literal translation of verse 10 would be: “with the heart man believes to righteousness and with the mouth he confesses to salvation.” Please notice that throughout these verses, we see the joining together of the heart and the mouth. (Later in this teaching, we will explore the order in which Paul presents these steps.)
First of all, I need to explain two important concepts which are used here. The word “confess” has a special meaning in the Bible. Its literal meaning is “to say the same as.” Therefore, when we confess, we are saying the same with our mouth as God says in His Word. This applies to whatever topic is being covered in the Word of God—whether the reference is about sin, salvation, healing, or prayer. Confession is making the words of our mouth agree with the Word of God.
The word “salvation” in the Romans passage is an all inclusive term which covers all the benefits provided for us through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. It includes spiritual benefits, physical benefits, material benefits, benefits in this life and in the next—benefits in both time and eternity. Bearing this in mind, let us look now at what Paul says about the relationship between the mouth and the heart.
Paul uses this pair of words three times—once in each verse. In verse 8, he says, “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” Notice that the mouth comes first and then the heart. In verse 9, he says, “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Notice again that the mouth comes before the heart. But in verse 10, where Paul repeats this pair of words for the third time, he reverses the order: “for with the heart man believes unto righteousness, with the mouth he confesses unto salvation.” There the heart comes before the mouth.
I believe there is a very practical reason for this change of order. Many times, the way to become convinced of God’s truth in your experience is to make the right confession. Even when you may not feel in your heart that you believe a particular truth of God’s Word, you affirm your belief with your mouth that it is God’s Word, and that His Word is true from beginning to end. For this reason—because God says it—you are willing to say it. In a certain sense, you humble yourself—you abase your own carnal mind before the authority of the Word of God. Because God says it, you say it with your mouth.
Remarkably, from your mouth it moves into your heart. You say it twice with your mouth, and by that time, it is established in your heart. Then it is natural for you to say it—because it is in your heart, and it readily comes out of your heart to your mouth.
This is often the way we establish ourselves in the truth of God’s Word. First of all, we confess ourselves into the salvation of God. The Word goes from our mouths into our hearts, and then from our hearts back to our mouths. In this way, confession is made unto salvation.
But confession is only the first step. Action has to follow. The following verses from James 2:17 and 26 bear out this truth—that after God’s Word is established in your mouth and in your heart, you act it out:
“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (NIV)
And then again:
“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (NIV)
In other words, it is not enough merely to believe and say it. We also have to act it out. So, we come back to exactly the same principle that was established for Joshua: think God’s Word, speak God’s Word, act God’s Word. The result is guaranteed: success.
Do you desire to see the kind of success talked about in this teaching? Are you longing to see it become a reality in your own life? If you would like to let the Lord know that it is your desire to move forward in this area of your relationship with Him, let’s express that willingness to Him now with the following prayer:
Lord, I firmly believe You have many promises for me and my family. I know those promises are clearly stated in Your Word. Help me to develop a clear view of Your inheritance for me, and then empower me to step into it by faith.
Today, Lord—with this prayer—I express my longing for the fulfillment of every promise of Yours which applies to me. I want to think Your truth and speak Your truth. Then I want to put that confession into action in my life. I believe in Your power to bring me through to the ultimate result—success in You.
Thank You, Lord—for Your promises which are my inheritance. Amen.