Here are my Bible study notes for fellowship this evening. Enjoy.
The Bible is a book of promises. Not men or women’s promises, but God’s promises. It has been estimated that there may be as many as 30,000 promises in the Bible. How many do you know? How many do you believe? What are we to have faith in as Christians? We are to have faith in the promises of God that God breathed out into His Word, the Bible. What is a promise? It is defined in the dictionary as “a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that guarantees a particular thing will happen. It is to assure that one will definitely do, give or arrange something. It is a commitment by someone to do or not to something.” It is an indication of something to definitely come and is rooted in the character and veracity of the promisor. There is always an air of expectation with the promise.
The problem we have with promises is if you have lived life for any length of time you have experienced thousands of promises broken to you by friends, mates, workers, family, politicians, salesmen, and religious leaders. We don’t trust the promise, because our experience tells us that the promise is usually a lie couched in pleasant terms or false assurances. We have been burned by the promise. We have been hurt by the promise. We have been crushed by the promise. We have become disillusioned with the promise. So we just don’t believe any promises anymore because no one tells the truth. We live in a culture that loves the lie as Rihanna and Eminem sing about. Unfortunately we have lumped the promises of God into this same category because we have become so frustrated with the promises of men and women.
But the Bible makes an astounding statement in John 17:17 and that is that God’s word, God’s promises are truth not lies. It is absolutely impossible for God to ever lie, even once. So let me ask you how great, how faithful, how awesome does this make the promises of God? We will never be disappointed in the promises of God. We will never be let down with the promises of God. The promises of God cannot fail. The promises of God cannot come up short. The promises of God cannot be untrue. The promises of God are reliable. The promises of God always come to pass when believed with faith. We can always trust God’s promises for they come from the heart of God. God’s promises are His will for our lives. Our lives must be built as Christians on the promise of God or we will never get past square one in our walk with God. Isn’t it time you begin to believe the promises?
Joshua 21:45 (NIV): Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
Joshua 23:14: (NIV): “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.
How much more will God’s good promises given to His born again sons and daughters by birth and who are part of the Body of Christ not ever fail but be fulfilled? Would He do any less for you and me? Of course not!!
II Peter 1:3, 4 (NKJV): 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, 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.
The promises of God contained in the Bible are exceeding great and precious. As we believe the promise, God’s heart and nature are built into the fiber of our being allowing us to live above the lies and corruption of the world. There is power in the promise to live a divine life. The promises are our guidebook for living. Without the promises, our lives will be full of fear, worry and doubt. Without the promises our lives will be a mess of uncertainty built on sinking sand. The promises of God are the firm foundation for us to build our lives.
Given (1433) (doreomai) means to bestow gratuitously and carries with it the idea of the worth of the gift. The perfect tense again indicates that the giving occurred in the past as a completed action but the effect still going on. This speaks of the permanence of the granting!
Precious (5093) (timios from time = to value or honor) describes that which is valuable, highly prized, desirable, costly, as a precious stone, an apt adjective to modify the spiritual riches inherent in the promises of God – they have genuine worth and thus should be held in high esteem. Dear Christian, do you hold His promises and His Word in high esteem? Do you handle His promises (and His Word) like fine china or like Tupperware? They are precious because their value is beyond calculation. If we lost the Word of God, there would be no way to replace it.
Magnificent (3176) (megistos) is the superlative of megas. What is a superlative? A superlative is an adjective which relates to the degree of grammatical comparison that denotes an extreme or unsurpassed level or extent. The idea of superlative is that it surpasses all others! Superlative speaks of the highest degree. Since megas means great (including great in power, authority, etc), you can picture the idea inherent in the superlative megistos, which means greatest, exceeding great or preeminent.
It is surprising that this verse marks the only use of megistos in the New Testament. Stop for a moment and meditate on what Peter is saying. He is speaking of the incomparable magnitude of God’s promises. In truth we cannot even fully comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth of this truth. But we all know what it means to “exceed” the speed limit. When we exceed the speed limit, we go beyond. What Peter is saying is that God’s promises are the greatest. God’s promises exceed any human promise you have ever heard or will ever hear!
These promises are magnificent because they come from a magnificent God and they lead to a magnificent life.
Application: Do you search the Scriptures for God’s golden promises like a miner seeking for precious gold? Beloved, don’t be apathetic, lazy and prone to procrastinate or you will miss out on the boundless provision of promises that God has granted us in Christ Jesus. God’s promises exceed anything, any problem, any affliction, any trial, etc, that you will ever face dear saint.
John Piper says that:
Very practically I think this means we must day by day go to the Word of God and search for great promises. Fix one or two in your mind and hold them there before you all day. And use them to overcome temptation to sin and to incite you to daring acts of righteousness and love. (Liberating Promises)
Promises (1862) (epaggelma) refers to a declaration to do something with implication of obligation to carry out what is stated. This word implies an emphatic public announcement. In Classical Greek the distinction is made between promises which are “voluntarily or spontaneously” made (epaggelma) and promises made “in response to a petition.”
All of God’s promises are sure and are as reliable as His immutable (unchanging) character! Men make promises and often break them, but God never will. The certainty of God’s promises is directly related to His omnipotence for if God were not omnipotent, He would be unable to keep His promises. But God is omnipotent and as such is the only Being Who can do everything He wills to do and everything He promises. You can stake your life on these bedrock truths!
God is a God of promises kept. That’s why you can trust Him. He is not like men who give their word and then don’t do it. When God speaks, He commits His character. He never lies and He never fails to fulfill. If we are going to hear and obey, we must first understand the absolute reliability of God. Since there are no human beings that have ever been completely and entirely faithful to us, we must take a step beyond our personal and corporate experience. We must look at the past record of God to determine His unwavering trustworthiness. That’s why the Biblical record constantly reminds us that this is the God who rescued Israel out of Egypt, the God who parted the Red Sea and the Jordon…You can’t trust a person who does not present you with a history of faithful actions. You can hope but you can’t have settled confidence. God knows this. So, He provides ample evidence of His constant ability. He is faithful.
Titus 1:2 (NIV): in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,
A W Tozer agrees adding…
I must confess that in my ministry I keep repeating some of the things I know about God and His faithful promises. Why do I insist that all Christians should know for themselves the kind of God they love and serve? It is because all the promises of God rest completely upon His character. Why do I insist that all Christians should search the Scriptures and learn as much as they can about this God who is dealing with them? It is because their faith will only spring up naturally and joyfully as they find that our God is trustworthy and fully able to perform every promise He has made…We need today a fresh spirit of anticipation that springs out of the promises of God. We must declare war on the mood of nonexpectation, and come together with childlike faith. Only then can we know again the beauty and wonder of the Lord’s presence among us…True faith is never found alone; it is always accompanied by expectation. The man who believes the promises of God expects to see them fulfilled. Where there is no expectation, there is no faith.
Do you truly expect to see the promises of God fulfilled in your day to day life?
Skip Moen- What God speaks out is His word…How are we to treat His word? The answer is obvious. God’s word is the very substance of life. Not only must we have it in order to live but it is also God’s word that calls everything, including us, into existence. God’s word is the instruction that will not disappear even if heaven and earth disappear. God’s word is the permanent declaration of His will, His character and His authority. When God speaks the angelic hosts revel in His majesty…Do we treat God’s word with the reverence it deserves?…When it comes to the Word of the Lord, all life falls under His purview. Sometimes we forget that God has an interest in everything about us.
The Bible is full of promises of God believed or rejected and not believed and the blessings or consequences from these actions. We are robbed of seeing the great blessings of God when we fail to believe the promises. Either we believe the promise or we don’t. Either you have faith in the promise or unbelief in the promise. All of our life will revolve around what we do with the promises of God. What are you going to do with the promise of God is the one great question of life?
Tried and Proved
In the margin of many pages in D. L. Moody’s Bible, he wrote the letters T and P, meaning “Tried and Proved.” He had put into practice passages (including precious and magnificent promises) from God’s Word, proving that they “work”, which of course they always do. You too can try and prove God’s wonder-working, supernatural, precious and magnificent promises that provide everything needed for life and godliness (Joshua 23:14, 21:43, 44, 45, 1Kings 8:56 – He is the same trustworthy God to you as to D L Moody – Heb 13:8)
C H Spurgeon comments on these precious & magnificent promises:
If you would know experimentally the preciousness of the promises, and enjoy them in your own heart, meditate much upon them. There are promises which are like grapes in the wine-press; if you will tread them the juice will flow. Thinking over the hallowed words will often be the prelude to their fulfillment. While you are musing upon them, the boon which you are seeking will insensibly come to you. Many a Christian who has thirsted for the promise has found the favor which it ensured gently distilling into his soul even while he has been considering the divine record; and he has rejoiced that ever he was led to lay the promise near his heart. But besides meditating upon the promises, seek in thy soul to receive them as being the very words of God. Speak to thy soul thus, “If I were dealing with a man’s promise, I should carefully consider the ability and the character of the man who had covenanted with me. So with the promise of God; my eye must not be so much fixed upon the greatness of the mercy-that may stagger me; as upon the greatness of the Promiser-that will cheer me. My soul, it is God, even thy God, God that cannot lie, Who speaks to thee. This word of His which thou art now considering is as true as His own existence. He is a God unchangeable. He has not altered the thing which has gone out of His mouth, nor called back one single consolatory sentence. Nor doth He lack any power; it is the God that made the heavens and the earth who has spoken thus. Nor can He fail in wisdom as to the time when He will bestow the favors, for He knows when it is best to give and when better to withhold. Therefore, seeing that it is the word of a God so true, so immutable, so powerful, so wise, I will and must believe the promise.” If we thus meditate upon the promises, and consider the Promiser, we shall experience their sweetness, and obtain their fulfillment.” (Morning & Evening July 27)
A promise is like a check. If I have a check what do I do with it? Suppose I carried it about in my pocket, and said, “I do not see the use of this bit of paper, I cannot buy anything with it,” a person would say, “Have you been to the bank with it?” “No, I did not think of that.” “But it is payable to your order. Have you written your name on the back of it?” “No, I have not done that.” “And yet you are blaming the person who gave you the check? The whole blame lies with yourself. Put your name at the back of the check, go with it to the bank, and you will get what is promised to you.” A prayer should be the presentation of God’s promise endorsed by your personal faith… The common-sense way is to go to the counter and show your check, and take your money, and go about your business. There is a style of prayer which is of this fine, practical character. You so believe in God that you present the promise, obtain the blessing, and go about your Master’s business.
If you had in your house a number of checks which you believed to be good, I do not suppose that you would long be unaware of their nature and value. No merchant here would say “I have a number of bills, and drafts, and checks at home somewhere: I have no doubt that they are all good, and that they are my lawful property; but I do not know much about them. Their value is quite unknown to me.” Such ignorance would argue insanity. Will you know your earthly wealth, and never consider your heavenly riches? (the promise of life in Christ Jesus). In the Bible there are “exceeding great and precious promises”; shall it be said that some of God’s children do not know what those promises contain? They have read them, perhaps, but they have never really searched into their meaning to see what God has promised.
Romans 4:20 Amplified: Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.
NLT: Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.
Phillips: Yet he refused to allow any distrust of a definite pronouncement of God to make him waver. He drew strength from his faith, and while giving the glory to God,
Wuest: Moreover, in view of the promise of God, he did not vacillate in the sphere of unbelief between two mutually exclusive expectations but was strengthened with respect to his faith, having given glory to God,
Young’s Literal: yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God.
God always gets the glory when you believe the promises of God. Abraham never wavered on the promise of God, but simply believed it. He is the father of all those who believe. A believer by definition never wavers on the promises.
Waver (1252) (diakrino from diá = separation + kríno = judge, decide) means literally to separate one from another.
Metaphorically, diakrino means to distinguish, discern, judge, decide, and came to mean to be divided in one’s mind, to hesitate and to doubt. In the present verse diakrino means to to think that something may not be true or certain and thus to waver, doubt or be divided in one’s own mind. In a number of languages `doubt’ is expressed by means of idioms, for example, `to have two thoughts’ or `to think only perhaps’ or `to believe only a little’ or `to question one’s heart about.’
Godet explains diakrino, noting that it…
properly signifies to be parted, or to be divided into two men, one affirming, the other denying; one hoping and giving himself up, the other waiting to see: “but in regard to the promise, there was no division in him.” (Godet, F: The Epistle of St Paul to the Romans)
The idea of diakrino is that Abraham was not divided, did not vacillate between two opinions, between belief and unbelief or between faith and doubt like many believers do. When from the human viewpoint things are going well, it is easy to trust God. But when things seem impossible, it is often easier to not to trust Him.
Romans 4:21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.
Amplified: He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything he promised.
NLT: He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything he promised.
Phillips: remained absolutely convinced that God was able to implement his own promise.
Wuest: and was fully persuaded that what He had promised with finality He was able also to do.Young’s Literal: and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform.
Being fully assured (4135) (plerophoreo from pleres = full + phero = to bear or bring) means literally to carry fully and so to bring to fullness or to bring to a full measure. To fill completely. To satisfy fully. To be completely certain or absolutely sure as here in Romans 4:21 which speaks of Abraham’s faith. To fulfill or fully accomplish as in (2 Timothy 4:5)
This verb is frequently used in the papyri in the sense of finishing off.
All of the meanings in the NT are figurative and can be divided into either (1) to fulfill, accomplish or achieve, carry out fully or (2) to be fully convinced, to be wholly certain or to be persuaded as in the present verse.
We carry God’s promise in our mind and heart until the fullness of it is completely manifested in our lives. Literally until our lives are filled to full measure with the promise. Overflowing like a river from within with the promise. We carry the promise with absolute certainty that it will come to pass and nothing can talk us out of this full persuasion of heart, soul and mind.
Able (1415) (dunatos from dunamai = be able, have power by virtue of inherent ability and resources) means to possess the ability to perform some function. Abraham was not just wistfully hoping that God might be able to fulfill His promise. Abraham knew what the Bible clearly teaches, that what God promises, He always performs! Abraham’s faith in God was complete and unqualified. But note that Abraham’s faith was not merely in what had been promised, but was faith in the God Who had promised (He is able).
This verse reiterates the thought in Genesis 18…
“Is anything too difficult for the LORD? (Clearly not for) At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” (Ge 18:14)
As MacDonald points out…
Abraham did not know how God would fulfill His word, but that was incidental. He knew God and had every confidence that God was fully able to do what He had promised. In one way it was wonderful faith, but in another way it was the most reasonable thing to do, because God’s word is the surest thing in the universe, and for Abraham there was no risk in believing it! (MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Matthew Henry writing on the phrase “He was able to perform” notes that…
Our waverings rise mainly from our distrust of the divine power; and therefore to fix us it is requisite we believe not only that he is faithful, but that he is able, that hath promised.
Acts 2:39 (ESV): For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”Christianity begins with the promise of the gift of holy spirit and salvation to all those who believe. God’s promises are for all those who God calls to himself.
II Timothy 1:2 (KJV): Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
The word “life” is zoe in the Greek and is life in all of its manifestations originating in God. Truly meaningful life, life on the “highest plane”, life that is really worthwhile, is found only in the promise of life in Christ Jesus. The promises of God are all rooted in Jesus Christ and they bring life. Nothing compares to the promise of God in life. Nothing that man offers or the world offers is even one millionth of what God offers as life in the promises of God.
John 10:10 (KJV): The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
John 10:10 (Amplified): The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).
This more than abundant life in Christ Jesus, the Word of Life is a supernatural life which will endure throughout eternity but which begins even now in time! How many believers are experiencing this quality of supernatural abundant life in this present evil age based on the promises of God? Our Father’s desire for all His children is eternal life, and a more than abundant life of a heavenly quality and quantity now, a life which can never be lost. Beloved, eye has not seen and ear has not heard and it has not entered the heart of man all that God has prepared for those who love Him (1Cor 2:9). Let God’s sure promise of our future life in Christ Jesus motivate present supernatural living for and in Him. Let God’s promises of life now and how we should live and respond to any circumstance in life be our guidepost, our life, our instruction book and our sure and steadfast polestar of our life. Without the promises of God we are nothing and have nothing.
Hebrews 10:23,36-38 So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the]hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word.
36For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.
37For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay.
38But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live]by his conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him.
Do not shrink back in fear of the promise, but hold fast to it without wavering and God will be the coming one and fulfill the promise in your life in His time. His timing is always perfect and He will not delay. Life is exciting and adventurous lived in the promises of God. Never doubt your God. Never doubt His promise. God was is and never will be a promise breaker. His promises are faithful and true to a thousand generations. How many do you know and are applying to your life? How many promises are living in your heart? How many promises to you know and believe? It is time again for Christians to rise up to the promises of God and simply believe them.