OceanSide church of Christ
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OBSTABCLES TO BELIEVING IN GOD’S PROMISES (1)
Victor M. Eskew
A. The word “promise” literally means “to send before.”
1. When a person makes a promise, he reveals today that which he will bring to pass for another in the future.
2. Joshua 6:2
And the Lord said unto Joshua, See I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
a. Notice the present tense of the Lord’s words: “I have given.”
b. The city, however, still needed to be taken. The promise was so sure that it was spoken of as a present reality.
B. You and I live under a covenant that contains numerous and exceeding precious promises.
1. Hebrews 8:6
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
2. II Peter 1:4
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
a. The blood of Christ will remove our sins (Rev. 1:5; I John 1:7, 9).
b. The Bible furnishes us completely unto all good works (II Tim. 3:16-17).
c. Jesus is coming again (John 14:1-3).
d. There will be a resurrection of the dead (John 5:28-29).
e. We will be given a spiritual body (I Cor. 15:50-54).
f. Heaven awaits the faithful (Col. 1:5).
g. One day we will possess everlasting life (John 3:16).
3. These promises are to be believed and embraced (Heb. 11:13).
C. Even though the promises are great and precious, there are times when man doubts God’s promises. There are many reasons for this. Let’s look at several in this lesson.
A. Skepticism is defined as “a doubting of the truth of revelation.”
B. Skepticism manifests itself in two major ways:
a. This is just plain unbelief in that which God has said.
b. The children of Israel who had to wander in the wilderness were plagued with unbelief (Heb. 3:18-19).
And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
a. Fear is the emotion that often fuels unbelief.
b. Example: The spies and their evil report to Israel.
1) Numbers 13:31
But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.
2) Numbers 14:9
Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land, for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.
A. Stoniness involves indifference in the heart of man.
B. One said that indifference is the worst sin that we have toward our fellowman. It may well be the worst sin that we have toward God.
C. Death, judgment, heaven and hell have all been promised by God. These things seem not to move man. They are stony, indifferent, to the reality of these things.
D. Illustration: The king’s invitation to the marriage of his son (Matt. 22:1-10).
1. The reaction:
a. Verse 3: …and they would not.
b. Verse 5: But they made light of it, and went their ways…
c. Verse 6: They treated the king’s servant spitefully and slew them.
2. The king’s reaction (v. 7)
But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
A. Sumptuousness involves that which is costly, expensive, and deals with great wealth and riches (See Luke 16:19).
B. The example of the rich young ruler (Matt. 19:16-22; mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30).
1. Here was a man who believed in the promise of eternal life (Matt. 19:16).
And behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life.
2. Jesus revealed to him the one thing that was lacking in his life (Matt. 19:21).
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
3. We all recall the young man’s response.
a. Matthew 19:22
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
b. Mark 10:22
And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
c. Luke 18:23
And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
C. It seems that everyone always wants more. Perhaps the words of the writer of wisdom need to be our motto here (Prov. 30:8-9).
Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
1. Fallacious reasoning; reasoning that is sound in appearance only
2. In theology, sophistry is false teaching.
B. We see the sophists making attacks on the promises of God in II Peter 3:3-4.
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were form the beginning of the creation.
1. The promise involved the Lord’s second coming.
2. The scoffers asked: “Where is the promise of his coming?” Here, they pointed to a truth. Jesus had promised to return, but it had not yet occurred.
3. The false portion of their thinking came next. They said that everything had continued uniformly since the beginning of the Creation. Their contention was: “As it has been, so will it always be.” In others words, Jesus will never return.
4. NOTE: In the next three verses, Peter annihilates their reasoning.
a. The universal flood of Noah’s day involved a catastrophe. Thus, all things had not continued as they were from the beginning.
b. The flood pointed to another day, a day when the heavens and the earth, which are now will be destroyed with fire at the coming of the Lord.
C. Peter then emphasizes a principle that needs to be remembered with regard to all of God’s promises (II Pet. 3:8-9).
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
D. Man does not know what will happen in the next five minutes. How could he ever know the plans that God has for the future? (Ps. 118:8).
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.
A. God’s promises have been given to man to motivate him to serve the Lord diligently.
B. Sadly, there are many things that keep man from believing in the wonderful promises of God.
1. Skepticism - unbelief
2. Stoniness - indifference
3. Sumptuousness – riches
4. Sophistry – false teaching
C. Let’s fight against these things and do as the patriarchs of old (Heb. 11:13).
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.