April 5, 2020
We are all searching for a promise, a guarantee, the one thing that can bring us a little peace and assurance in the midst of the craziness. God is a promise keeper. God's promises never change because God never changes. Our circumstances might change, but our God is unshakeable.
Ryan Bramlett • Waymaker
Message: Promise Keeper
Pastor: Ryan Bramlett
2 Corinthians 1:8-9,
2 Corinthians 1:19-24
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Study Guide (PDF)
Hey, everyone. Welcome. If this is your first time watching, we would love to extend a special welcome to you right now. In the chat, just type in first time with an exclamation point and someone from our team will reach out and answer any of the questions that you’re holding onto right now.
And just so you know, you picked a perfect weekend to start watching. This is the Sunday starting Holy Week. That means that we are one week away from Easter. Next Sunday is Easter Sunday and we would love to invite you to watch one of our six services that we are going to have. I’m telling you they start at 9:30 a.m. and they are going to go all of the way to 8 p.m.
For those of you who have been hanging with us the past few weeks since we went to online only, we just want to take a moment and thank you. And just to give you an update so that you know, since we went to online only, we now have more than 10 times the normal number of people watching on a Sunday. And that is largely due to you guys sharing and inviting people that you know. And we just want to say, let’s keep going.
Easter is a very unique weekend. It’s one of those weekends throughout the year when people are far more likely to accept an invitation to church. And if you stack that with the uniqueness of this season—it’s going to be a digital invite to an online service and the acceptance rate just sky rockets. So let’s keep going.
Here are two things that we can all do this week. We have a digital invite that we’ve created just for you. It’s on all of our social media platforms as well as our website. Take that and then share it to all of your accounts.
And then the second thing, take that invite and invite your friends and family. Just find three to five people this week and send out an invitation. And don’t just cold send it out, with just the graphic but use some words. Say, “Hey, I wanted to put this out there. I know that this is a tough season. It’s unique. But my church is putting together an Easter service and I wanted to make sure that you have an opportunity to catch it if you like. It’s a great opportunity for hope. Let me know if you have any questions.”
I think if we can all band together, if we can all do that, that this year, even in the midst of a pandemic, even in the midst of a lock down, the good news of Jesus can get out more so than ever. So let’s all rally around this. This is going to be an incredible week. Excited for that.
But I’m also excited for today. Today we are continuing in our series, Waymaker. And we are borrowing this title Waymaker from a song that we’ve been singing around here for years. And really, what it is, it’s an anthem. It’s an anthem for us to shift our focus—to not be as concerned with everything that’s going on around us but to lift our heads up to see God for who he is, to focus on him. And in this song God is defined in three ways. He’s a miracle worker, he’s a promise keeper, and he’s a light in the darkness. Today, we’re going to focus in on that middle descriptive:
God is a promise keeper.
And I don’t know about you, but that’s probably the best thing that we can have in this season, it’s a promise. Because, I mean, think about it. What is it that we’re all reaching for right now? When everyday we’re waking up and things are so different. Things are changing overnight. We don’t know what to expect in most aspects of our life. Man, wouldn’t it be great to have a promise that we can hold onto. Something that we could cling to. Something that we could know is not going to get suspended or cancelled in this next season. And that is exactly what God provides. He’s a promise keeper.
But for us, from a human standpoint, we don’t have the best experiences with promises, right? I mean we can just start with kids, because they are an easy target. Kids throw out promises like hot cakes. I live with three little kids right now and promises come up every day. “I promise, I promise I won’t punch him in the face again. I promise. Take my word for it.” “I promise I won’t push her down the stairs again.”
Off of the top, these two examples may seem like my house is a little violent—it is what it is. Kids are ruthless. I don’t know what they will become when they get older, but they will be tough, and my hope is that they love Jesus.
But, promises—we kind of throw them out all of the time. I promise if you do this, I will be perfect. I promise if you by me a dog, I promise if you by me this video game, then I will change. I promise if you by me something from the dollar section at Target—man, do I miss Target.
We all have these promises. And I want you to think back to when you were younger. Think about what you wanted more than anything, what you tried to get your parents to do was to commit to a promise, because you knew if they said maybe, there was no chance that it was going to happen. But if you could get a promise, that was a game changer. And don’t even get me started with how official a pinky promise is. If you can get a pinky promise, that’s a game changer.
I know for me, our oldest daughter, when she was younger, we couldn’t put her to bed at night without doing the pinky promise. She had to have something that we would promise her. It would help her sleep better at night, it brought her peace. It didn’t even have to be anything big. Like we would promise, “Hey, I promise we will have Eggos in the morning.” “I promise we’ll have a movie night tomorrow.” And when I would extend that promise, we would link pinkies, we would bring our hands up to each other and we would seal the promise with a kiss.
Now, why? Why did she want that promise? Why did it mean so much to her? What was it doing? And why did it have to come from me? Well, you see, in her life so much was changing, so much was uncertain, so many things happened without her say so that it helped her, it brought her to know that in the midst of all of that, in the midst of all of the things that could happen, there was this one thing that she could be sure of, this good thing that she could hold onto.
Does that sound familiar? That’s not so different than what we all do day in and day out. We search for a promise. We look for something that we can hold onto that will bring us hope, that will bring us peace in the morning. And we’ve tried so many things. And we’ve been left wanting: promises that money would make, promises that relationships would make, promises that status would make, and it seems like overnight they crumble.
And I get it. I’ve lived through enough broken promises to know that a lot of us have trust issues. But the incredible thing is that God’s promises are so different than anything else that we have ever experienced. They are the things that we can be sure of. They are the things that will not change. They are the things that we can stand on and no matter what comes they won’t move. We can place all of our weight on them. We can lean all of our life on them and know that God’s promises won’t change, because God is a promise keeper. God is a promise keeper.
And maybe right now you’re starting to kind of roll through some questions in your mind. And maybe here’s something that is on your mind right now. Why?
Why can we trust the promises of God?
What is it about God’s promises that I should be so sure of? Why is it that God’s promises are different than all of the other promises that I have believed throughout my life? That’s a great question. And the biggest thing that we’re going to point to over and over again is because of how they are formed. And I’m just going to explain this a little bit.
God’s promises begin and end with him. And that is a complete game changer from most things, because a lot of our promises break or change. Things that we have held on to, they fall apart when they are backed by us. Time can ruin a promise. Stress can ruin a promise. Laziness can break a promise, but with God it’s different because it’s backed by him.
Just like we were talking about with my daughter and a pinky promise, it was sealed with a kiss. With the promises of God, he actually sealed them with his name. Let’s take a look at this. Take a look at this in Hebrews.
It says, “For example,” these are the kinds of promises God makes, “there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying: ‘I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.’ Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.” Hebrews 6:13-15 (NLT)
God’s promises are sealed by his name.
There is nothing that can move them because they are backed by the character of God. He knew that he couldn’t place that on us, that if he would have placed the onus on us, we would not be able to hold and be faithful to these promises. And since he was at the top, since he was the highest authority, the most trusted person that he could trust these promises to was himself, and he said: That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to seal these promises with my name so that you can know they are not dependent on you—that weight would crush you. But you can know that this can happen because it’s backed by me.
His promises never change because he never changes. His promises are different because he is in all ways different than us. That’s why we can trust in them. Look at what it says about God it in Numbers.
It says, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? Listen, I received a command to bless; God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!” Numbers 23:19-20 (NLT)
God’s promises can’t change because God can’t change. These are the kinds of promises that we need. We need something strong that we can stand on, something that is so strong that no matter what comes the promises don’t change. The waves can crash. The storm can fall. The virus can come, but nothing can take these promises from our unshakeable God. We need to be reminded that in this season our circumstances have changed, they will change tomorrow, but God has not. He has never failed to act. He has never made a promise that he has not kept.
So, can we, in this moment—I know it’s kind of strange, and it might be weird in this moment, but can we just take a moment and celebrate in the midst of the craziness, in the midst of the changing circumstances, just take a moment on your couch, in your chair and just stop for a moment and celebrate, to clap who God is. His promises are sealed by his name and to be reminded of what it says—that God has blessed us, and nothing can reverse it.
Let us know in the chat. Put some clapping hands in there to know that our God is faithful, that our God is good, that God has put it out there that he will bless us, that he will satisfy us, that nothing can stop that. Can we celebrate who God is right now, in this moment? Come on! He is that good. He has sealed his promises with his name. We can trust that they will be kept.
And that’s what faith is:
Faith is trusting that God will come through on every promise.
Living by faith is not some magical spell, it’s not living blind to the realities that are in front of us, but it’s being able to have the perspective, even though what’s in front of us that, “I know what was promised and I know who is behind me and I know who holds all of the circumstances together, and I’m going to trust in God’s promises.
But you see, there is a problem that comes along the way as well. And there’s a problem that confuses our promises with God. And here it is:
The problem: We hold God accountable to promises he never made, and get frustrated when he doesn’t fulfil them.
Now, we can be confident that God doesn’t break promises. But there is a chance that maybe we are holding on to fake promises in this moment. Promises that we’ve heard along the way, that maybe we took from a trusted person or family member. Or maybe promises that we’ve created in our mind because we want to believe them to be true so badly that, over time, we just took them as a promise and took them as God’s word. But the problem is that he never said them. And as a result, we’ve lost faith and lost trust in God, because in our minds he’s not fulfilling those promises.
And this might be a really good season to circle back to write them down right now and say, “Okay, what are the promises of God that I’m holding to?” Write them down and then reference them back to God’s word and say, “Did God really say this? Or, is this just a fake promise that I’ve been holding on to and it’s causing more harm than good.”
And there are a lot out there. You might be holding to promises like this one:
God will not give me more than I can handle.
God will not give me more than I can handle. Now, that sounds great. It looks great. That belongs on a coffee mug, like right there on the handle. God will not give me more that I can handle. I sip my coffee from it every single morning and I know he won’t give it to me.
The problem is, God didn’t say that. That is not a promise that God has made, but it’s a promise a lot of us are living with. And you see, where this line actually comes from is another part of Scripture where it says that God will not tempt you beyond what you can stand. It goes on to say that he’ll provide a way out of temptation---a way for you to escape. But, over time, it slowly began to be translated to God will not give you more than you can handle.
At first glance, if you just open up the Bible, really to any page, you will see that it is filled with people just like me and you who are overwhelmed. People like me and you who get more than they can handle. And I would say that’s kind of the point. Look at Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians.
He says, “We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability,” more than we could handle, “crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT)
God will give you more than you can handle. A lot of us though, when the storms come and things seem so uncertain and we come to the end of ourselves, a lot of us have this thought that God must not be here, or else I wouldn’t be experiencing this. And our faith begins to fall apart. It begins to deconstruct. Those promises begin to weaken, because they are not being fulfilled.
We think, “If God was real, I wouldn’t be experiencing this. I wouldn’t have more than I can handle.” Which, for most of us right now, if that’s a promise we’re holding onto, it is breaking in front of our eyes. It’s adding doubt and confusion on top of everything else. So can we just take a breath together in this moment, take a breath, take those words that we’ve arranged into a promise and lay them down. God did not say that.
But he did say something even better. He made a promise that is even better than not giving us more than we can handle. And it’s in that story that Paul was telling us. His experiences brought this truth to him. Look at it.
He says, “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure,” and we didn’t even think that we would live through it sometimes. “But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”
We got more than we could handle but as a result we learned to lean on God, the one who raises the dead, the miracle worker, the promise keeper, the light in the darkness—we got past ourselves and we knew in that moment even though we were overwhelmed, even thought we got more than we could handle, we were backed by the Creator of this world and that changed everything.
You see, he was brought to the end of himself and he was ushered into this season that he couldn’t control, a season a lot of us are in in this very moment—overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure. But God is there. You see, God didn’t just give Paul what he could handle, God gave Paul something that would allow him to push past himself and to begin to tap into the power and the Spirit that God had placed within him. He allowed him to be aware of what’s going on, but also who was involved, every step of the way God was with him.
See, the real promise that is in there, the one that we can hold onto, the one that we can wake up with tomorrow, one that we can know will never change no matter the circumstance, the promise that God did make—look at Hebrews 13. This is a promise:
“For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’”
This is one that is sealed by God. And I know maybe right now it’s kind of like, “Where is the promise? How do I rearrange this to find the promise? And you do kind of need a little bit of some research to do it. So I did the hard work for you. I turned this Scripture into a promise. Here’s the promise. This is what God meant when he said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
God’s Promise: I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.
In this season, as we go through it, this is a promise he has for every single one of us. And here’s what that means. That in this season God hears you, God sees you. God promises that because of our faith in Jesus, any word we utter makes its way to heaven and he hears us, he sees us, that there is nothing that can move him away from us.
There is nothing that can stop him. There is nothing that can reverse it, there is nothing that can take away the blessing, there is nothing, anything, that is strong enough. God is with you. God is on you like white on rice in a glass of milk on a paper plate in a snowstorm. There is no way that you are getting away from God. There is no storm, there is no virus, there is no season that can keep him from you. God is with you. God is for you. God sees you.
God is for you and we want to be with you. We know that this is a time where so many of us are coming to the end of ourselves, maybe for the first time in a long time. And you don’t have to go through this alone.
Today, you can go to tpcc.org/prayer. Put as much information on there as you want and someone from our team will reach out to you. We will make sure that you know that you are seen, that you are heard, that you have a group of people who are fighting for you, who are behind you—that God is for you and that we are with you.
It is normal to feel overwhelmed. It is normal to feel that you have more than you can handle in this season. That is not a knock on your faith. That is not a knock on the promises of God. This is an opportunity for us to stop relying on ourselves and to start relying on God, the one who raises the dead to life. He is with us every single step of the way.
God never promised an easy life. God never promised a life without struggle. God never promised that we wouldn’t be overwhelmed. He actually says the complete opposite. He said: Hey, get ready. Life is tough. Get a helmet, because it is coming. The shots are coming. You can take my word for it.
Jesus never promised to shield us. Jesus didn’t say: I’m going to remove you from all of the problems. He says: No. I’m going to do you one better. I’m going to be there. You can count on that. I will never leave you. I will never abandon you. I’ll give you the strength that you need, even in your weaknesses you will stand out. I’m not going to remove you from the wind and the rain, but I’m going to build you up so strong—a foundation that can’t be moved, that you will actually be a light in a broken world.
And everyone gets moved left and right, you can have my promises, you can take heart in this. Take heart. Know that the world will bring trouble. But look at what Jesus said:
“But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
“Take heart, because I have overcome the world.” This is a promise from Jesus. And this is like the cherry on the top. Because, notice the tense of the word. It says, “…take heart, because I have overcome the world.” It’s not: take heart, because you can believe one day I might overcome the world. Or, give it a little bit of time and then I will overcome the world. Or, if you do this then you can overcome the world. No. Jesus says, “…take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
And here’s the really, really good news of why we can trust the promises of God. It’s because:
God’s promises are fulfilled by Jesus.
God’s promises are fulfilled by Jesus. God is a promise keeper. And the promises have already been fulfilled. You see, we get to live in this unique span in time after the life of Jesus. But for years and years, there were people who waited, who trusted—just like Abraham—patiently for the promises to be fulfilled. They waited patiently that God would. We live after Jesus. We know that every promise that God ever made has already been fulfilled in Jesus. We can be sure of this. Take a look at this in 2 Corinthians.
“For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’” He is not a God of maybe, “He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate ‘Yes, he always does what he says. For all,” say it in the living room right now or wherever you are sitting, “…all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ‘Yes!’ And through Christ,” if you ever wondered what Amen meant, “‘Amen’ (which means ‘Yes’) ascends to God for his glory. It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything that he has promised us.” 2 Corinthians 1:19-22 (NLT)
Jesus fulfills every promise. A great way to read your Bible—you can open it up to any page that you want, any promise that you see and put it out there and you can know, without a doubt, that Jesus has fulfilled that promise, starting with the first pages in the Bible you’ll see that once humanity broke its promise to God, sinned against God, God made a promise. He told the devil that one day: I will crush you underneath my feet. Jesus was the one who crushed him underneath his feet.
If you open it up and you see the Jewish people’s time in Egypt and God said I’m going to protect you in the midst of this. Take this Passover lamb and spread the blood across your doorway and you will be protected. That was a promise. Jesus fulfilled that promise, not only protecting a small group of people, but because of his sacrifice all people—everyone has been protected in the name of Jesus. He is our sacrifice.
The Law. Any law that you see, the Commandments, everything was fulfilled in Jesus. He lived the perfect life that we couldn’t live and then he gave us the blessing and took on the curse, every single promise God has ever made was fulfilled in Jesus.
What the book of John says is that the Word became flesh, meaning every promise, everything God said would happen became manifested in the person of God—in Jesus Christ. Everything was and is fulfilled in him.
And he said: You can believe me, because there’s nothing I wouldn’t do. I would seal the promises with my name, I would send my Son to fulfill them, even when it meant risking his own life—going to the cross and sacrificing himself and dying for us—I was willing to do it to show you that I will fulfill them—everything I’ve ever said. A promised Savior. A promised victory. And then a promised Spirit that everyone has access to, available for all of us.
Jesus said that if you come to me, you can have this faith. That you won’t be shielded, that, yes, you will have days that you are overwhelmed, but you will never be alone, you will never be abandoned, and I can guarantee you that you can have this. Here’s how. Look at how he closed it out. He says the proof that he has commissioned us and he has identified as his own is by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything that he has promised us.
That’s why we can trust in the promises of God, because they are guaranteed by his Spirit. And that is One who is available to all of us right now in this moment. And there is nothing that can stop this promise from getting to you. The promise is available. There is no virus, there’s no lockdown, there’s nothing. Jesus is saying nothing can stop me from getting to you.
God moved heaven and earth to get here. God made promises. God fulfilled those promises. And then he said: I want you to trust me. I want you to know that every promise I give you can be trusted. So I’m going to give you a guarantee. The guarantee is that we all have access to his Spirit. You want to know how you’ll never be left, how God will never fail you, how you’ll never be abandoned. God has sent his Spirit to be a guarantee, to be proof of every single promise. And that is something you can respond to right now, today.
If you’re watching and you say, “I want to respond to that. I trust all of the promises that God has made. I trust that he sent a Savior. I trust that he died for me. I trust that he rose three days later. And I trust that the same Spirit that rose Jesus from the grave is the one that can live in me. I give my life to Jesus.
If that’s you in this moment, go to tpcc.org/prayer. Let us know. We would love to come alongside you to pray, to be with you, to walk in this season together knowing that you can trust every word of God, because he is a promise keeper. And why can we trust the promises of God? Here it is:
God’s promises are guaranteed by his name.
He said: I’m going to put my name on them.
They are fulfilled by Jesus.
Every word he ever said, every promise was fulfilled in Jesus and:
Guaranteed by his Spirit.
What God has blessed, no one can reverse. You are seen. You are heard. You are loved. You are forgiven in the name of Jesus. These are all promises from God. And he is a promise keeper. You can have that this week. We can go into this week with peace, knowing no matter what comes we can have this to hold onto—the promises of God.
Would you pray with me?
God, thank you so much for today. God thank you for your word. God thank you for your promises. God, thank you for the peace that you bring, the strength that they bring. God, thank you for fulfilling every single one of them in your Son, Jesus. Thank you for dying for us. Thank you for the promise of never leaving and never abandoning us. Thank you for the promise of hearing our prayers.
And, God, we ask right now that you would comfort us in the midst of this. That you would meet us in our loneliness. That we would come to the end of ourselves and, God, that you would provide because you are a Waymaker. We trust our lives to you, Jesus. And it is in your name that we pray: Amen.
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