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Every Promise in the Book is Mine
04/06/2008
Scripture: Hebrews 10:19-23; 1 Kings 18:1,39-46; Ti...
Track 6 of 10 in the Elijah: The Humble Hero series
Running time: 54 minutes, 10 seconds.


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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


Every Promise in the Book is Mine?

God keeps his promises! That is a statement that all of us Christians totally depend on. Imagine if God were a being where he changed his mind from time to time and what he said couldn’t necessarily be counted on. One day he promised us something and on another day changed his mind. What would our lives be like of we couldn’t count on God to keep his word?

I don’t know about you but there are things in my life I just don’t worry about anymore because I know they are handled. God promised that certain things in my life were fixed and I don’t have to deal with them nor worry about them. One of the promises is salvation. In fact, we are assured that we are saved. God wants all of us to know who have accepted him as Lord and Savior that salvation is ours…for real, count on it.

Hebrews 10:19-23 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

God can be counted on. He is not fickle nor does he get moody. He never lies. What he says is always the truth and he proves it through his promises and he always keeps his promises. The Old Testament is a great example of that. In fact, that is exactly how Elijah came onto the scene in 1 Kings, He made a promise and followed through with it. He had Elijah give a message to Ahab, it wasn’t going to rain until God said so. And that is exactly what happened as we saw these past few lessons.

Do you really believe that God keeps his promises? How many of you are willing to stake your life on it? How many of you are willing to give your life over to him totally to prove God keeps his promises? One promise God gave us is we can’t out give him. How many are willing to try and prove him wrong?

If there is one truth we need to understand from the past few lessons, no matter how much Ahab thought he had life under control, in reality, the God of Israel lives and he alone, determines what will happen and when. God wanted Ahab’s attention and he got it by promising a drought and he lived up to his promise. Too often when we think of God’s promises, we usually think of the positive promises. But how many times do we test God and overlook or miss the other promises that are not so good.

What are some of the promises that God gives that are not so good?

Time can fool us. God’s promises aren’t limited by time nor space. Did you ever do something as a kid and knew punishment was coming only to find that dad got preoccupied by something and the seriousness of the crime seemed to be forgotten? You think to yourself that dad is busy, off doing something else and punishment wasn’t going to happen? Then all of a sudden, dad deals with you and you thought you had been spared pain, wrong. The opposite also can happen. God got busy and no longer remembers what he promised.

Have you ever forgotten a promise? Why did that happen or how?

This lesson is for those people who think that God just might forget or not live up to all His promises. You might be a person who is depending on God coming through for you with an issue you have prayed about but at the moment, the promise has not been fulfilled. God keeps his promises. Agree with it or not, His word is final. Life might be passing by and the facts might seem to stack up indicating God forgot or was just too busy, God never forgets anything He promises. That right…never.

I find it absolutely awesome that when the sacrifice that Elijah gave was totally consumed by fire, how all the people fell on their faces immediately and proclaimed that the Lord was God. Elijah didn’t have to plead with them for their cooperation. They had had it with the drought and they were willing to try just about anything. Their priest were frauds and had taken them down the wrong path and the people paid dearly for it.

1 Kings 18:39-40 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!” Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.

It didn’t take a whole lot of coaxing for the people to do what Elijah asked them to do. He didn’t have to beg them. The fire from heaven may have convinced them that he was God but the never-ending drought had already sucked dry most of the confidence they’d had in the pagan leaders they once followed. God’s delay of his promise worked wonders and most of the time natural calamities normally turn hearts toward God, not from Him.

Finally, the rain came. What relief that drought must have brought. I find it interesting that throughout the time of the drought, Elijah never complained. Even though he also was affected by the drought, we never read one word of discouragement or dissatisfaction from Elijah’s lips. The difference between the people who suffered and probably complained everyday and Elijah who never complained is simple, Elijah was fully persuaded that God would keep his promise.

Let’s Clarify Some Things About Promises. The Bible is full of promises. I read where a guy tried to count all the promises in the Bible and he found over 7,500 promises. Not all of them are as specific as the one given to Elijah by God but there are numerous promises found in scripture.

Here is a question to ponder: Can we claim every one of those promises personally?

There is a Sunday school chorus that starts like this…Every promise in the Book is mine. We have to understand that that is not true. That is a major overstatement. There are some who will challenge me on that statement but I feel it is a dangerous thing to practice. To understand the promises of God, we also must understand the context the promise was given in and to realize that many of the promises were made to specific persons for one particular situation. Some today practice that all the promises can and do apply to them and can be used I every circumstance in life. It is important to know the difference between personal and universal promises.

When we read a promise of God and before we go to claim it in our lives, it is really important to know which category it falls in: There are questions that have to be answered:

- Was it meant for a unique situation and given to a specific person or group of individuals?

- Did it apply to them and only them at that time or did the promise have a much broader-based universal application?

To determine the answer we must check the context, read the passage carefully. If it was meant for a specific person or group, stay away from it and don’t try and claim the promise for your life. It will keep you from massive disappointment. If the promise is one that is universal and for everyone, then claim it and count on it.

Example of a promise that is specific: Joshua 6 – the battle of Jericho. It worked then but not a good idea for today’s military battles. Also Mark 16

Mark 16:15-18 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

What are the dangers when claiming promises out of their context?

Example of a promise that is universal:

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Sometimes claiming a promise requires further discernment. We can then look to see if the promise is conditional or unconditional.

A conditional promise won’t be fulfilled until we keep our part.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

What does this mean, if I refuse to confess my sins, I can’t expect God to automatically forgive my sinfulness. In other words, I can’t claim the promise until I do my part.

Is Matthew 21:22 a conditional promise?

Matthew 21:22 Believe and you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

How many people believe this? First of all it is a trick question. It actually states that if you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Is it a conditional prayer? What happens if you do believe, then what? Is it then conditional?

Psalms 66:18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

Unconditional promises are just that: there are no conditions. They are neither qualified nor limited. What is promised by God will occur regardless of anyone’s response.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

Elijah Claims a Promise. For three years the land didn’t see any rain. There was nothing but death and desolation. Then in his own time, God came to the rescue of Israel. He broke the silence and instructed Elijah to declare his will to Ahab.

1 Kings 18:1 After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.”

When God speaks to Elijah, He offers Elijah a promise. Notice that the promise is a personal promise made to one specific man meant for a specific situation. Also notice that the promise is a conditional promise…”go show yourself to Ahab”. God was not going to send the rain until Elijah did his part.

We saw last week when Elijah met the condition, the marvelous power of God was displayed. The results were dramatic. But Elijah wasn’t through yet. The land was still suffering from the drought and God promised to send the rain. Elijah knew God was a keeper of promises so that led Elijah to say the following to Ahab.

1 Kings 18:41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.”

How easy is it to claim a promise from God when you can see it coming?

I don’t want you to get the wrong impression here. When Elijah says this to Ahab, according to the verses that follow, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It is like Noah telling everyone it is going to flood 100 years before the event actually happened.

So what did Elijah hear? Elijah was hearing the sound of God’s voice and the promise He had made that if he would go to Ahab, then God would send the rain. Elijah was certain that the rain was coming, not because he heard the sound of the storm approaching but because he claimed the promise of God.

1 Kings 18:42-44 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.“Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”

There are 5 wonderful components in Elijah’s prayer as he claimed God’s promise:

1) He separated himself: Never underestimate the place of prayer. One of the reasons we are so lax in our prayer life is because we have not prepared a place to pray. We have lives that are so busy and distracting. You need a place that is apart from the daily distractions of life.

2) Elijah humbled himself: Notice his position for prayer. The most vulnerable moment is right after a great victory. Elijah doesn’t go off and celebrate, he stops to pray. In his humility he puts his thoughts in the proper perspective

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

3) Elijah was specific: Elijah was looking only for one thing, rain. God had promised rain and that is what Elijah expected, confident that God would keep his promise. When you pray, be specific. Let God know exactly what it is you need.

4) Elijah was persistent: Elijah knew God would keep his promise so when the first time the servant went to look for rain and there wasn’t any, Elijah sent him back a total of 7 times until God fulfilled the promise. He would have done it 70 times if needed. He did the same when he raised the boy from the dead. 3 times he laid on the boy until he came back to life.

When you pray, how easily do you give up when asking God for specific things?

5) Elijah was expectant: God again showed his sense of humor. On the 7th try a cloud finally showed up. The cloud was not some huge raging storm. It was the size of a man’s hand. It was tiny. But that was enough for Elijah.

1 Kings 18:44 So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”

1 Kings 18:45-46 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the LORD came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

That trip was about a thirteen mile run!