Summary: We love to say, "God, you promised this," or, "God, I expect this from you," or, "God, you are the giver of every good & perfect gift." And God is. But we need to realize that God’s promises have strings attached. (Powerpoint #312 available for free.)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(The Powerpoints used with this sermon are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #312.)
ILL. I wish you could have known Bessie Hanna. Hanna High School in Brownsville was named after her son. She was a long-time member of Central Christian Church there, & was 95 years old when she died. Bessie was a lovely & loving person. And for the last 22 years of her life she taught the Loyal Women’s class. Do you realize that means she was 73 years old when she began teaching that class?
By the time most people reach that age they have long retired from doing much active work in the church. But at age 73 Bessie was just beginning her teaching career!
Anyway, I was visiting her in the hospital & she was trying to find a particular verse of Scripture. The passage that she wanted me to find & read to her contains these words, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" a promise of our Lord to His people. That is a wonderful promise, & it is found in Hebrews 13:5. But it is just part of a much longer passage, & I want you to hear some more of it.
A. Beginning with vs. 1 of Hebrews 13, let me read some of it to you. "Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, & those who are mistreated…
“Marriage should be honored by all, & the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer & all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money & be content with what you have, because God has said, ’Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’" [Hebrews 13:1-5].
Beautiful, isn’t it? But I want to point out something that wonderful promise, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" is a part of something else that God is saying. God says, "Keep on loving each other . . . don’t neglect to show hospitality . . . be concerned about the prisoners . . . be faithful to your wife or husband . . . be free from the love of money."
Then, if all these things are true in your life, He promises, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
SUM: May I suggest, folks, that not only this promise, but all of God’s promises have strings attached. I’m afraid that for many of us this is a disturbing thought.
We love to say, "God, you promised this," or, "God, I expect this from you," or, "God, you are the giver of every good & perfect gift." And God is. But we need to realize that God’s promises have strings attached.
B. There is another passage very much like this one that says, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20) Of course, you know where that is found. Those are the very last words in the gospel of Matthew where Jesus is saying "goodbye" to His apostles.
But you do remember the first part of that passage, don’t you? I know that you have heard it again & again. "Go ye therefore & make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; & lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20, NKJV)