Backyard rainbow

I Promise

Backyard rainbow

I Love Rainbows

I. Love. Rainbows.

How about you?

And one of the greatest things about living in Strasburg, Colorado is that not only are there quite a few of them, our open fields mean often we can see them end-to-end…resulting in some spectacular views.

When you see a rainbow, what does it remind you of?

A pot of gold at the end? 🙂

Something else?

For me, it brings to mind what may be the most famous promise from God in the Bible. Backstory is that humanity has become so degraded and evil, God kills all but eight with a worldwide flood (see 1 Peter 3:18-22). Noah and his family are spared…and afterward…I suspect…might worry about it happening again. Enter God:

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth (Genesis 9:8-17).

So…when I look out past my backyard and see a rainbow…I remember God’s gracious promise to…even if we deserve it (and we probably do)…flood the world again.

Oh, and is that promise for us? How do you know?

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the “extras” that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

Yes, it is…and we know because it says “and your offspring after you.” We are all decedents of Noah…his offspring.

What’s in a Promise?

Before we continue the topic of promises…what is a promise? My Mac’s dictionary defines it as “a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen.”

However, in my mind, a promise additionally means the person promising it to you has the opportunity to not fulfill it. For instance, I can state, “I promise the sun will rise tomorrow.” But, is that really a promise or a statement of fact?

If, instead, I say, “I promise this sermon will be significantly shorter than the last two weeks’ talks were”…that is something I can totally fail at. It could be longer.

But, by the way, I promise this sermon will be significantly shorter than the last two week’s talks were. 🙂

I mean, it’s a holiday weekend…put God first…but spend time with your family!

Biblical Promises

Back to biblical promises.

We have read the most famous one together…God will never, ever, ever, ever flood the entire world again…and sends us rainbows to remind us of that. Let’s look at some others…

First Promise

What is the first promise in Scripture?

Understanding the Bible does not record everything our Lord has said…I think it is this:

14 The LORD God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,

cursed are you above all livestock

and above all beasts of the field;

on your belly you shall go,

and dust you shall eat

all the days of your life.

15  I will put enmity between you and the woman,

and between your offspring and her offspring;

he shall bruise your head,

and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15).

Have you ever heard the funky Latin term for that promise? “Protoevangelium” or “first gospel.” It is felt that God, right from the fall, promised our Savior…”her offspring”…Jesus…overcoming the serpent.

Now, that is an awesome first promise, isn’t it?!

Okay, I do realize that you could argue that earlier in Genesis when God says, “…but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17)…some might call that a promise…or a threat for that matter…but I would call that a statement of fact.

Fact: sin kills.

So…first promise…and God did not have to do this…the Most High promised to send a Savior to fix the problem of sin.

Favorite Promise

Okay, we’ve seen the most famous promise and the first promise…but what is your favorite promise in the Bible?

[ Wait for responses. ]

My immediate reaction to that question is found in Hebrews 13:5…but we’ll read verses five and six:

5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;

I will not fear;

what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

God will never, ever, ever, ever leave us, His adopted children. Awesome promise, eh?

Let me sneak in two other quick ones that top my list. First, Jesus promising to come back and get us:

14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going” (John 14:1-4).

Jesus is preparing a place for us…and if that isn’t enough…He’s going to personally come back and escort us to our new home. And yes, we do know the way to where He went…it’s through Him!

Okay…before we head on to the final section of this talk…this one also tops my list of favorite promises. Sadly, it’s because I need it so much. 🙁

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Yes…I did include that verse in last week’s talk too. Here’s hoping that you don’t need that promise from our Lord as much as I do…but I suspect…if you truly understand how horrible even the “smallest” sin is…you are also comforted by those assurances. Something we should probably remind ourselves of daily.

Most Important Promise

Time to wrap things up.

See, I promised this would be significantly shorter. 🙂

We’ve looked at the most famous promise, the first promise, and favorite promises.

What is the most important promise in the Bible?

Now, the answer to that question…short of God specifically stating which one is is…is subjective like, “What is your favorite promise?”

However, I would argue that…

  • Given what happened in the Garden that led to the first promise in Genesis 3:15
  • Given our frequent personal need of the promise in 1 John 1:9
  • And given what would happen to us for eternity if it weren’t for this guarantee

…this is the most important promise in the Scripture:

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God (Acts 16:25-34).

Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.

Simple words. Infinite promise.

Simple solution. Infinite results.

Yes, other verses note the importance of repentance and so on, but if you believe in Jesus…truly believe in Him…you will repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38) and you will “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” (Romans 10:9).

And you will be saved.

Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.

Simple words. Infinite promise.

Simple solution. Infinite results.

Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.

If You Have Not…

If you have not taken that step. If you have not recognized where Jesus belongs in the universe.

Where He belongs in your heart.

Why not?

Sin is a fact.

The untreated results of sin is also a fact…an the eternal results of your untreated sin is an even worse fact.

But the treatment is free via a simple, but infinite, promise.

Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.

If you accept that promise, then Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you.

I promise.

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Alan is an ordinary guy, living in a small, high plains Colorado town...and humbled to be a minister of God...

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