Monday, 6 August 2012

The Promises of God: 6th August 2012, Devon UK

This week I am part of the New Life Conference at Rora House in Devon UK. This is a multi-purpose site which includes a local church and conference facilities. It is a beautiful spot and the rolling Devon hills provide a backdrop for a week's residential, mostly camping, conference where people will gather from many nations. We have looked forwards with anticipation to the prospect of a week's worship and fellowship; and now its here!

I am leading four morning Bible studies on the theme of 'The Promises of God'. What a topic! On average I would think there are a dozen on each page of the Book! So where do we begin and what shall we leave out?

For this morning's session I intend to look at the whole nature of God and his promises. Why does God use the pattern of 'promises'? If God is almighty and there is nothing he cannot do why go through the patterns of promises, why doesn't God just do it! If he wants something he is fully able to just do it; surely that would be more efficient? Well it might be more efficient but for God the journey is as important as the arriving and God has determined that his greatest purposes will be achieved, not in spite of, but through a living partnership with his people.

There is a famous verse that may help us.
For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 2 Cor 1:20 NKJV.
It's quite a complicated verse and needs a little unpacking. It is really saying that all that God has promised to do rests in the safe hands of his Son. He is the guarantor that God's purposes will be accomplished. That's the 'all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen' part of the package.

Then there's the part which says to the glory of God' so we know where this verse is heading. All things are to be accomplished for the 'glory of God'. An old writer once wrote that 'God's glory and man's good are so inter-twined that whatever prospers the one prospers the other'. Man's joyful fulfilment depends on God being given his right place in our thinking and in our universe.

But look at the last ingredient… 'through us' . Really, are we part of this amazing story? Yes. God will not impose his salvation on human beings, that would be to distort what it means to be 'a human being'. God has settled his 'modus operandi'; his way of doing things. The channel that he has chosen to use is 'human beings'. This unique part of his creation has been described as an amazing mixture of 'dust and destiny' and so we are. God's purposes are to be achieved by grace, through faith… and so God has set himself to fulfil his purpose of grace through the believing co-operation of his people. I may be a 'nobody' but in God's plan and purpose I am to be a significant nobody!

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