God’s Promises are Sure

Text: Hebrews 6:9-20

 

I.         The Bible contains many promises of an eternal home in heaven

            A.        How can we be sure it is really there?

                        1.         None of us get to visit it before hand. It is not like a hotel where you might check out the beds or see if the view is nice.

                        2.         We don’t personally know of people who have been there who can tell us what it is like

            B.        The writer of Hebrews was concerned that Christians would give up

                        1.         There was the possibility of drifting away - Hebrews 2:1

                        2.         People could lose their faith - Hebrews 3:12

                        3.         We could come short of the goal - Hebrews 4:1

                        4.         We could become disobedient - Hebrews 4:11

                        5.         We could become bored - Hebrews 5:11

                        6.         We could become lazy - Hebrews 6:12

                        7.         We could become willful - Hebrews 10:26

                        8.         We could become fearful - Hebrews 10:35

                        9.         We could become distracted - Hebrews 12:1

                        10.       We could become bitter - Hebrews 12:15

            C.        To counter this, the writer wants us to have confidence that heaven is really there waiting for us

                        1.         If we really believe it, then we will work hard to gain it - Hebrews 6:11

                        2.         But to have that confidence, we first must have confidence in the one making the promise

                        3.         God did not just say “trust me.” He offers proof from His past dealings with men.

II.        God made promises

            A.        The promises were not like men’s promises were people speak of their intentions, but then often fail to keep them

                        1.         There are numerous reasons people don’t keep their word: forgetfulness, laziness, hindrances

                        2.         To counter this, people bind themselves

                                    a.         If I forget to make my car payment, I’ll pay extra the following month.

                                    b.         If I get three months behind, you can reposes the car

                        3.         Sometimes we do cosigning where a person with a better record of paying promises to pay if we don’t - Hebrews 6:16

            B.        A formal promise is called a covenant - Ephesians 2:12

                        1.         It specifies the agreeing parties

                        2.         It sets out the terms of the agreement

                        3.         It establishes the consequences of either breaking or keeping the agreement

                        4.         It establishes a reminder or witness to the fact that the covenant exists

                        5.         It is sworn to by an oath.

                                    a.         A sacrifice made to someone greater, such as a sacrifice to God

                                    b.         But who can back up God’s promises, since there is no one greater?

                                    c.         Hence, God backs Himself up - Hebrews 6:13

III.       The history of God’s covenants

            A.        Covenant after the Flood - Genesis 9:1-17

                        1.         Made between God, Noah and his descendants, and all living creatures - Genesis 9:9

                        2.         The term is that God would never again destroy the world by water - Genesis 9:11

                                    a.         No conditions are placed that would make the covenant void

                                    b.         There are commands given to men and animals, but they do not change the terms - Genesis 9:2-6

                        3.         The consequence was a blessing to be fruitful and multiply - Genesis 9:1, 7

                        4.         The reminder or witness is the rainbow Genesis 9:12-16

                        5.         The result? The world remains.

            B.        The covenant with Abram - Genesis 17:1-14

                        1.         Made between God Almighty and Abram and his descendants - Genesis 17:7

                        2.         Terms:

                                    a.         God would give the land of Canaan to Abram’s descendants - Genesis 17:8

                                    b.         God would make Abram the father of many nations - Genesis 17:6

                                    c.         Abram would change his name to Abraham - Genesis 17:5

                                    d.         God would be Abraham and his descendants’ God - Genesis 17:8

                                    e.         Abraham and his descendant would be circumcised - Genesis 17:10

                        3.         Conditions

                                    a.         Abram was to walk before God and be blameless - Genesis 17:1

                                    b.         His succeeding generations must keep the covenant - Genesis 17:9-14

                        4.         Witness or Reminder - The circumcision - Genesis 17:11

                        5.         The result? All came to pass - Joshua 21:43-45

            C.        God’s covenant with Israel

                        1.         Made between God and Israel - Exodus 19:3-6

                        2.         Terms:

                                    a.         God would make Israel His special people

                                    b.         Israel would have to obey God

                        3.         Conditions:

                                    a.         Extensive set of laws given in Exodus 20-Deuteronomy 31  

                        4.         Consequences

                                    a.         Curses - Deuteronomy 27:15-26 (especially 26)

                                    b.         Blessings - Deuteronomy 28:2-14 (especially 2)

                        5.         Witnesses

                                    a.         Heaven and Earth - Deuteronomy 4:26

                                    b.         The ark of the Testimony - Exodus 25:19; 40:20

                        6.         The result?

                                    a.         Israel broke the covenant - II Kings 17:7-23

                                    b.         God declared that it would be replaced - Jeremiah 31:31-34

            D.        God’s Covenant with Christians - Acts 2:37-39

                        1.         Made between God and mankind

                                    a.         Including Gentiles - Ephesians 3:6

                        2.         Terms:

                                    a.         God would forgive man sins

                                    b.         I John 2:25 - Eternal life

                                    c.         James 1:12 - A crown of life

                                    d.         James 2:5 - heir of the kingdom

                                    e.         Hebrews 4:1 - A promise of entering God’s rest

                                    f.         Hebrews 9:15 - A promise of eternal inheritance

                                    g.         II Peter 1:4 - Partakers of the divine nature

                                    h.         II Peter 3:13 - A new place to live

                        3.         Conditions:

                                    a.         Man must repent and be baptized - Acts 2:38

                        4.         Consequences

                                    a.         Man would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (salvation - Ephesians 1:13-14)

IV.      God keeps His Word

            A.        Why did God bother making oaths and covenants? - Hebrews 6:17-18

                        1.         To demonstrate His unchangeable purpose

                        2.         To give us a solid hope - Hebrews 6:19

            B.        When we talk of faith, we are talking about people who showed confidence in God’s promises - Hebrews 11:1

                        1.         Abraham believed God and was made stronger as a result - Romans 4:20-21

                        2.         Joseph knew God would bring his family out of Egypt - Genesis 50:24

                        3.         David knew God’s words were true - II Samuel 7:28

            C.        God cannot lie - Titus 1:1-2

                        1.         II Corinthians 1:20-22 - All of God’s promises are “yes.” They always happen.

                        2.         Hebrews 10:23 - God is faithful

V.        Do you trust God’s promises?

            A.        Hebrews 11:6 - Must believe that God will reward

            B.        II Corinthians 7:1 - Having the promises, let us accept the terms

            C.        Christ died to cleanse a people to Himself - Ephesians 5:25-27

            D.        Will you be one of that number?