THE PROMISES OF GOD
2 CORINTHIANS 1:20
“GOD PROMISES TO BE WITH US”
MATTHEW 28:20/HEBREWS 13:5
Are you ready to recite our declaration of faith in the promises of God? Then sit up straight, put your shoulders back & you can elbow the person next to you if they are still slumped down in the pew! Hey, I have to make this fun! Let’s fill our lungs w/air & our hearts w/hope as we recite our declaration of faith together:
WE ARE BUILDING OUR LIVES ON THE PROMISES OF GOD. BECAUSE HIS WORD IS UNBREAKABLE, OUR HOPE IS UNSHAKABLE. WE DO NOT STAND ON THE PROBLEMS OF LIFE OR THE PAIN IN LIFE. WE STAND ON THE GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES OF GOD. (UNSHAKABLE HOPE BY MAX LUCADO).
The Christ the Redeemer statue stands guard over the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The statue is 125 feet tall w/an arm span of nearly 100 feet. Perched a mile and a half above sea level on Corcovado Mountain, the elevated Jesus is visible from any point in the city, especially for those who are looking for it.
In a very real sense, God’s presence looms large over your life. God is with you wherever you go. At every stage in your life and in every situation in your life, the Lord is always watching over you, looking out for you, guiding you, protecting you. His presence is always with you.
That’s God’s promise to you. That’s the promise of God that we are going to look at today: GOD PROMISES TO BE WITH US.
I simply want to make two applications from God’s promise to be with us. The first is rather obvious. Maybe you’ve already filled in point # 1 on your outline:
Jesus made that promise to us at the conclusion of the Great Commission:
“And surely, I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Matthew 28:20
Notice that Jesus said that he would be with us always. Now, what does always mean? It means always! Jesus said that he would be with us at all times. Sometimes we only think about God being with us during the difficult times of our lives. But the Lord is with us during the good times as well as the bad. Jesus is your 24/7 Savior, your constant companion.
But when do we cling to this promise the most? When life is difficult. And there are several verses that reassure us that the Lord walks with us through our dark days.
Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 46:10: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” -
Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 43:2-3: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
The Scripture says that while Joseph was a slave in Potiphar’s house that the Lord was with Joseph. When Joseph was imprisoned in an Egyptian dungeon, the Lord was with Joseph.
Be reassured that the Lord will be with you when you go difficult days and you face problems that seem insurmountable.
Gideon found that to be true. Gideon was a judge and a prophet in Israel. One day an angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and declared: “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”
Now, I think that description of Gideon was more of a future prophecy than a present reality. Gideon didn’t seem like a mighty warrior. His response to the angel was- “if the Lord is with us, why has all happened to us?” Gideon was referencing how the Midianites had oppressed the nation of Israel.
Gideon had his questions. And he had his doubts. When the angel told Gideon that he would be the one to rescue Israel from the Midianites, Gideon responded, “but how can I save Israel?”
The Lord told Gideon that he would be able to defeat the Midianites because he would be with Gideon. But Gideon needed reassurance. So he took a wool fleece and put it on the ground. He asked the Lord, if you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised, then, in the morning, let there be dew on the fleece but let the ground be dry. And in the morning, the fleece was wet and the ground was dry.
But Gideon still needed another dose of reassurance. He asked the Lord to allow him one more test with the fleece. This time Gideon asked that the fleece be dry and the ground be wet with dew. The next morning, the ground was wet but the fleece was dry.
But God needed to teach Gideon a lesson about relying on his presence. Before Gideon led the Israelites into battle against the Midianites, God told Gideon that his army of 32,000 troops was too many, even though the Midianites outnumbered the Israelite army by more than 4 to 1. So, the number of troops were pared down to 10,000.
But then God told Gideon that he still had too many men. So the ranks were thinned down to 300 men who went into battle with Gideon & defeated the mighty army of Midian. Even though it seemed to Gideon that they were outnumbered; because the Lord was with them, it was the Midianites who were the ones who were outnumbered.
On that day, Gideon learned what God wants all of us to learn. And it’s this. All we need is the presence of the Lord. God is enough. His presence tips the scales in our favor.
God is with you in your illness. He is with you as you go through marital difficulties. He is with you if you are widowed, divorce or never married.
God is with you in your financial challenges. God is with you when you are aggravated with your boss or you are sitting in traffic. God is with you on those nights when sleep won’t come because your worries and fears are crowding your mind.
No matter what you may be up against, the Lord will be with you, leading you, guiding you, protecting you and walking through it with you. He will help you get through whatever you are going through.
So, where is it that God will be with you? Like God told Joshua, he is with us wherever you go. God is with you when you are wheeled into surgery. He is with you in the waiting room while your loved one is in surgery. The Lord is with you when you sit in the doctor’s office as the doctor gives you the diagnosis. God is by your side while you talk with a counselor. God is with you when you go to the cemetery to bury a loved one.
Here is the most important time when God will be with you. When you have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death yourself. Psalm 23:4 reassures us:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” -Psalm 23:4
God will be there with us when the moment of death comes for us. As a Christian you won’t have to face death alone and you won’t die alone. Loved ones may be gathered beside you around your death bed. But the One who loves you more than anyone else….the One who died for you will be there with you the moment you slip from this earth into eternity. The Lord your Shepherd will be there with you, to take your hand, to guide you through the valley of the shadow of death and usher you into heaven.
There is no place where you are ever totally alone and there is no difficulty that you have to go through, that you go it alone. The Lord will be with you and go through it with you. Listen to the Lord’s reassurance found in Hebrews 13:5:
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” -Hebrews 13:5
God’s promise is that he will never abandon you. There is never a moment when God is not with you.
God is our with us God. But, sometimes, it may not feel like God is close to us. When you are feeling a sense of distance between you and the Lord, just remember this promise of Scripture:
“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” – James 4:8
Sometimes, when you don’t feel particularly close to the Lord, all you need to do is to reach out to him. You’re doing that right now as you are worship him. You reach out to God every time you pray to him.
Now, sometimes, that may be some distance between us and the Lord because we have sin we have to deal with. The rest of James 4:8 tells us to wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Sin can alienate us from God. So, when that happens, the way that we draw near to God is to turn from our sin. When we draw near to God through repentance, God will draw near to us.
God is with us…at all times…in all places…in every situation. God is with us. Let that promise find a permanent place in your heart.
But here is the question I thought about as I pondered this great & precious promise of God. My question: why is God with us? Why would God want to be with us? Here’s the answer that the Lord gave me. God is with us BECAUSE…..
I found the answer in Romans 8:31:
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31
Paul doesn’t ask, “who can be against us?” You could answer that question rather quickly, couldn’t you? You know all too well who is against you and what is against you:
If the question was simply, who is against us, we could list our foes more quickly than we could fight them. But that’s not the question that Paul asks.
Paul adds one condition to the question and it’s a game changer. Paul asks, IF GOD IS FOR US, who can be against us? There it is- If God is for us. Add God to the equation and it tips the scales in our favor. When God shows up, everything changes for the better. Why? Because God is for us!
Let’s say that you are going to play a pickup game of basketball at the local gym. You choose sides and the other team is definitely better. Not a lot better. Not they are going to mop the court with you better. But just enough to beat you by say 8 points. So you start to play the game and you fall behind early. And then, all of a sudden, the door to the gym swings open and LeBron James walks in. Lebron says, “hey guys, mind if I play?” “Sure thing LeBron.” And LeBron chooses to play on your team. Now you have an unfair advantage and you win the game easily.
Dear child of God, you have an unfair advantage over the devil and anything else that stands against you. That’s because God is for you. God’s people have always enjoyed an unfair advantage because God was for them:
Beloved, you and I enjoy an unfair advantage because God is for us! Four wonderful, powerful words. God is for us. Say them with me. God is for us! One more time, as loud as you can: God is for us. Now personalize it. God is for me.
Could you say that? God is for me!
God-It’s not just anyone who is for us. It’s God who is for us. The one who runs the universe is for you.
God IS-not God might be for you or could be for us or would be for us if we could get our act together. God is for us. He definitely is for us.
God is FOR- God is in your corner. God is sitting in the bleacher calling out your name. God is the one who is standing on the other side of the finish line rooting for you to finish. God is your biggest fan and your best friend.
God is for US- If God had a refrigerator, your artwork would be prominently displayed on it. If God had a wallet, your picture would be in it. If God had a calendar, your birthday would be circled on it. If God has a tree, your name would be carved in it. In fact, there is a Bible verse where God says, “I have engraved their name on the palm of my hands.”
God is for us. And that is why God is with us. But now I found myself asking another question.
Why is God for us? And the answer to that question is both simple and profound. Because he loves us. God illustrates his love for us in this way:
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” –Isaiah 49:15
Can you imagine it? A mother is nursing her baby. She looks down and asks, “whose child is this?” “I can’t remember having a child.”
That doesn’t happen. But even if it did, here is God’s promise to you. He will not forget you. He’s forgotten your sins, but he will never forget you. He will never abandon you. God is for you. He’s by your side. God promises to be with you.
So, now, in response to God’s promise to be with us, here is……
My promise to God: I will reflect on and rely upon the presence of God every day. Let’s pray:
GOD, YOU ARE IMMANUEL, GOD WITH US. YOU DID NOT LEAVE YOUR CREATION TO FEND FOR ITSELF. YOU HAVE BEEN NEAR TO US AND PRESENT WITH US ALL ALONG. THROUGH YOUR SON, YOU HAVE SAVED US, AND WITH YOUR SPIRIT, YOU HAVE GUIDED US.
LORD, WHEN WE ARE FEARFUL AND ANXIOUS, WE CAN FORGET THAT YOU ARE HERE. GIVE US A SENSE OF YOUR PRESENCE. MAY WE FEEL YOU IN THE QUIET MOMENTS AND KNOW THAT YOU ARE NEAR. WHEN A WORRY ARISES, REMIND US OF YOUR PRESENCE SO THAT WE WILL TURN TO YOU AND NOT FEAR. HELP US TO KNOW THAT IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY AND THAT YOU ARE ON OUR SIDE, FIGHTING FOR US.
THANK YOU, FATHER, FOR ALWAYS BEING WITH US. HOW GRATEFUL WE ARE TO SERVE A GOD WHOSE TENDER PRESENCE WE CAN ALWAYS TRUST. IN JESUS’ NAME…….AND ALL GOD’S PEOPLE SAID…..AMEN
God demonstrated that he wanted to be with us by coming to the earth in the person of his Son. When Jesus was born, he was given the name, Immanuel, GOD WITH US.
Then God demonstrated his love for us by allowing Jesus to die for us, to die for our sins. He did so in order to save us. Here is God’s promise: JOHN 3:16
INVITATION TO FAITH….BAPTISM….MEMBERSHIP