This is God’s word. This is God’s promise. So when a brother is killed by thieves with a weapon – what does it mean? Does it mean the man was not a brother after all? Or does it mean that God’s promise has failed?
God makes many promises in the Bible.
• Some he has already kept. He promised Abraham a son. Abraham’s wife gave birth to a son.
• Some promises He is keeping now. He promised Abraham to bless people of all nations. Today, people of all nations are being blessed through Jesus.
• Some promises God will keep in the future. He promises a future with no more death or mourning or crying or pain. We live in hope for that future.
How can we tell which kind a promise is? How can we tell if it is a promise for us now? Other parts of the Bible tell us. We read God’s promise of a son to Abraham in Genesis 17. We read the promise kept in Genesis 21. We read the promise of blessing to all nations in Genesis 12. Galatians 3 tells us that the promise is coming true for all who trust Jesus. The Bible interprets the Bible. That is why we need to read our Bibles and be taught by teachers who are careful to read it well.
Which kind of promise is Isaiah 54:17? Already kept, being kept now or to be kept in the future?
In Isaiah 54:11-17, God is speaking to the Old Testament people about the future for Jerusalem. It is described in beautiful, lavish terms. This is the situation when God’s people will enjoy safety and peace and no weapon will prevail against them. God repeats this promise about Jerusalem when he talks of the new creation at the end of Revelation 21. It is still in the future for us. In this life, we are not safe from weapons. In Acts, we read that Stephen is killed by stoning (chapter 7) and James executed with a sword (chapter 12). God’s promise about safety from weapons will only be kept in the new creation, with the New Jerusalem.
What do we do when God makes promises?
Promises ask us to trust the person making the promise and act on our trust. If you say you will meet me at church at 10 a.m., I show that I trust you by turning up at 10 a.m. If I say I trust you but just sit at home saying to myself, they said they would be there, do I really trust you? It is the same with God’s promises. God promises to forgive those who confess they are sinners. I show I trust him if I confess I am a sinner and ask for forgiveness. If I say I trust him but just say to myself, ‘he forgives’ but never confess and never ask forgiveness, do I really trust him?
God has not promised protection from physical enemies in this life. We should take sensible precautions, we lock our doors at night, as far as possible, we seek to live at peace with all people, but he does not promise we will always be safe.
But God has promised protection from spiritual enemies, from Satan. ‘Resist the devil and he will flee from you’ (James 4:7). This is a promise of God. But how do we resist? How do show we trust God’s way of protection? The Bible explains the Bible: ‘Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes’ (Ephesians 6:10). How do show we trust God? By using God’s defences. The devil’s language is lies. We stay safe by hearing and speaking the truth from God. The devil accuses. We stay safe by trusting that Jesus has dealt with our guilt. The devil sows discord and division. We stay safe by welcoming other sinners who are forgiven like us.
Media comments on the terror attacks in Manchester and London have expressed right grief but also confusion and error. How does the Bible help us to think about these things?
The media has said these are terrible actions. The Bible agrees. These attacks are shocking because unsuspecting people have been suddenly killed. As those who love others, we are very sad.
The media has said that the terrorists are especially bad people. The Bible teaches that the root of these actions is sin. Sin is the attitude in all humans that we know better than the Living God and that we can decide the best way to live. Sin separates us from God and lies behind the actions that hurt each other (Romans 1 verses 18-32). These terrorists are like the rest of us in this regard.
The media has said seeking revenge is wrong because it will make us like the terrorists. The Bible says seeking revenge is wrong because God has put governments in charge to keep order and punish wrong (Romans 13). The Bible also tells us to trust God to punish on his judgement day (Romans 12 verse 19). Like the terrorists, we will face judgement day too. We can only be ready by trusting in Jesus.
The media have said the security services have let us down – they did not stop suspicious people who later did such harm. The Bible says we wrongly trust in what we do and what we make to keep us safe (e.g. Isaiah 30 verses 1-5). But no government, no policeman, no secret services can protect us against all danger. We are glad for the work of government and police but when we realise again how vulnerable we are, we should remember again to trust the God and Father of Jesus.
The media has said that Islam is basically like Christianity. Comparing the Bible and the Koran shows this is false. At the most important point of our belief the Koran says we are wrong. The Bible says that Jesus died on a cross for sin (1 Peter 3:18); the Koran says that he did not die and the Jews lied when they said they killed him (Koran 4:157).
The media tells us what matters is if a Muslim is peaceful or violent. The Bible says that what matters is whether or not you know Jesus, the Prince of Peace. The Koran says Jesus was a prophet (Koran 19:30) but ‘no more than’ that (Koran 5:75). It denies that he died for our sins. The Bible tells us Jesus is the only way to life with God (John 14 verse 6; Acts 4:12). We should seek to be good neighbours and fellow-workers with Muslims we know, being friendly, learning their names, talking with them. Most of all, we should pray that they would come to know the Prince of Peace, Jesus. Do you know a Muslim?
Please pray for them now.
Work in the city? or Central London? Please see the link at the bottom of this page that points to the Gospel At Work website. Share lunch and a short Christian message with other Christians and interested friends. Fellowship in the Gospel is a vital expression of Christian Love – Faith – Service.
Express yourself as a Christian at work!
Owing to operating conditions the sermon on Sunday did not get recorded. Sorry for any inconvenience. We hope normal service will return at the weekend.
Owing to an unknow fault we apologise for the loss of the last two sermons in the series on Galatians. Normal service will recomence as soon as possible…
Easter services @ DPC
Good Friday 25th March 10.30am
“Jesus is buried”
Easter Sunday 27th March 10.30am
“Jesus is Risen”
Come and understand this pivotal moment in human history. Make your own mind up.
On Sunday February 7th we will be having a guest speaker at the 10.30 Morning service and this will be followed by a church lunch at which the guest speaker will also feature. We are all are invited. If you would like to contribute to the lunch please contact Karen Fenn who will be coordinating the food for lunch.