Our God Is Able
This is my teaching at the Cornerstone Church on Sunday, May 20, 2018.
OUR GOD IS ABLE
Part 2 of CHAPTER ONE
GOD IS A PROMISE-MAKER
Our God is a promise-maker. One promise that has shaped human history is the covenant he made with Abram/Abraham:
In 2081 BC, God made a promise to Abraham that he would give his descendants a land. (See Appendix A for more verses)
In 1446 BC, God told Moses, “I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession ...” Exodus 6:8. Two million people left Egypt because of God's promise of land. They left their homes and everything they knew on the strength of a promise.
In 1406 BC, Moses died within sight of the promised land. All Israel stood on the border wondering what to do. I think they were asking: "Did God's promise die with Moses?"
God has made a covenant with you - if you are in Christ by faith. He has promised you a fresh start and his friendship. That promise is called the New Covenant and God is so serious about it that he sealed it in the blood of his Son on the cross (Hebrews 8:7-13 and Appendix B).
"I will be their God, and they will be my people ... 12 And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins." Hebrews 8:10, 12 (NLT)
But our lives are similar to the history of Israel. There are delays and detours. There are desert days and dark-valley days and days of doubt. We falter and we fail. And we can wonder, "Can God keep his promise in my life?"
GOD IS A PROMISE-KEEPER
Joshua chapter one teaches us: When God makes a promise, he is able to keep it. Even when it's a long time coming. Look at verses 1-2:
"After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites."
God said, "Moses is dead, but I'm not. My promise is on track. Get ready to go."
I want you to see how committed God is to promise-keeping. A couple of weeks ago, we were studying the letter to the church in Colossae. That church had gotten sidetracked into some strange stuff. They were pretty messed up, but the Apostle Paul knew something. God's promise never fails.
Colossians 1:28-29 Jesus Christ is the one we proclaim ... so that we may present EVERYONE fully MATURE (teleios = God's ultimate goal) in Christ.
When God sets a goal for our lives, he always hits it. His promise guarantees it. You may be off the rails, but God's promise is still on track. You may feel like you missed plan A. Your Father in heaven says to you today: "My plan is working just fine."
God always gets it done:
"Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish." Isaiah 46:10 (NLT)
So God told Joshua to get ready to go. And then God gave Joshua something that gave him the courage and the confidence to lead two million people across the Jordan River and into the land.
What did God give Joshua?
HOW TO LIVE THE PROMISE-DRIVEN LIFE
God gave Joshua six promises because he wanted Joshua to experience the freedom of a promise-driven life. God's six promises to Joshua are in verses 3-5:
Verse 3: I will give you every place where you set your foot.
Verse 4: Your territory will extend from ...
Verse 5: No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life.
Verse 5: As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
Verse 5: I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Verse 6: You will lead these people to inherit the land.
Joshua faced many challenges, but he never faced them alone. His success never depended on what he could do in his own strength. God said, "I've got this."
God offers us a promise-driven life. He doesn't want us driving & striving in our own strength. He wants us to experience all he has for us. Here's how it works in my life:
To help me fall asleep: "Nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus." - Romans 8:37
When I don't measure up: "Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Romans 5:1 (NLT)
When I'm struggling to stay in faith: "I am more than a conqueror through him who loved me." - Romans 8:38-39.
When I'm ashamed of my failures: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." - Romans 8:1.
When my prayer life is pathetic: "We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." - Romans 8:26
When I'm scared: "The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?" - Psalms 27:1
When I'm dog tired: "Those who hope in (wait on) the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." - Isaiah 40:31
I've got Psalm 23 on speed dial. God's says to me, "Peter, I've got this."
COMMIT TO THE PROMISE-DRIVEN LIFE
One of my favorite preachers is Chris Bridges. He's the pastor of Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, AL. When he and his wife face a major decision or situation in their lives, they find a Bible promise to stand on. They memorize it. They pray it. They ask God to fulfill it. The Bridges are living the promise-driven life. It's working for them. It will work for you.
This church was built on the promises of God. 21 years ago today, we had our first worship gathering. We were not well prepared. We had about a week to get ready and really I was too shell-shocked to think much about what we were doing. But, I knew one thing for sure: Jesus would be the foundation of our church.
I was here the day the builders poured the footings of this building, but I knew that concrete wasn't our true foundation. Jesus is our Cornerstone. He's the rock on which we stand. He's the promise we depend on. The Cornerstone Church stands on two amazing promises. Ephesians 2:20-22:
"Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."
The promises: Jesus will build his church and the Holy Spirit will fill his church. We're built on the person of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. We've been depending on those promises for 21 years. How fitting that our anniversary falls on Pentecost.
Before you leave today, make a commitment discover for yourself the freedom that comes from the promise-driven life. Start with this one:
"If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." - Romans 10:9 (NLT)