Summary: Keeping your promises.


Romans 4:18-21


A. One of the most devastating lessons a young person learns is that people break their promises.

- Children naively assume that if someone says, "I promise," they can count on it.

- But this assumption takes a vicious beating.

- A father vows to go camping w/his son, but weekend after weekend finds Dad too busy w/other matters.

- A mother pledges to take her daughter to the zoo, then forgets all about it.

- A child shares a secret w/a friend, only to discover that everyone in his or her class at school is in on it.

- No doubt you can give examples of promises made to you that were never kept.

- [Jonathan Swift once said, "Promises & pie crusts were meant to be broken."]

B. But God is able to keep His promises, no matter how unlikely their fulfillment may seem.

- Take the case of Abraham in O.T. book of Genesis.

- He was nearly 100 yrs. old when the Lord renewed His pledge to give him a son.

- The patriarch’s wife, Sarah, was 90.

- Romans 4:18-21 gives us Abraham’s response to this seemingly impossible promise (READ).

C. Abraham was not the only person in the O.T. who recognized God’s ability to keep His promises.

- Joshua wrote, "Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled (Joshua 21:45)."

- And later he told the people of Israel, "You know w/all your heart & soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed (Joshua 23:14)."

- A few hundred years later King Solomon reminded his generation of the same thing when he said in 1 Kings 8:56, "Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave..."

- Yes, the Bible gives ample proof of God’s ability to keep His promises, even when they seem incredible.

D. Yet most of us have difficulty believing our Lord can calm our emotions or silence the worries that nag at our hearts.

- Unlike Abraham, we do not feel completely assured that what God has promised He is also able to perform.


- The word "promise" in its noun & verb forms occurs no less than 65 times in the N.T. alone.

- Only 2 of these instances refer to human promises.

- All the rest are vows that God makes.

- Let me just point out a few of the prominent examples of divine promises in Scripture.

A. First, God promises the Holy Spirit to people who have put their faith in Christ.

- Eph. 1:13 states, "Having believed, you were marked in Him w/a seal, the promised Holy Spirit."

- If you are a Christian you possess God’s Holy Spirit in your heart.

- And the natural fruit He produces in a life is, "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22-23)."

- Because this is God’s promise we can display those virtues in our lives if we have yielded to the Holy Spirit.

B. A 2nd biblical promise is an abundant life that will never end.

- 1 John 2:25 declares, "And this is what He promised us--even eternal life."

- Many vss. teach that we believers possess eternal life right now.

- 1 Jn. 5:11-12 says that, "God has given us eternal life & this life is in His Son. he who has the Son has life..."(note the present tense) has Son has Life.

- This means we are secure in our salvation, that is God’s promise.

- Jesus said, (Jn. 10:28) "I give them eternal life, & they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand."

- What a promise!

C. 3rd, our Heavenly Father promises us spiritual rest.

- Hebrew 4:1 tells us that a, "promise of entering His rest still stands..."

- God wants us to cease striving to earn our salvation & start resting in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

- He invites us to rest from worry by trusting in Him.

- He tells us to rest in the power of His Spirit, who alone can produce holiness in us.

- Why then don’t more Christians experience this rest?

- The answer is simple: We have not put our trust in God’s promise.

- We believe our way of achieving peace & fulfillment is better than God’s way.

- And that always leads us to restlessness.

- [As Augustine said centuries ago, "You have made us for Yourself, O God, & our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You."]

D. The people of Israel under Moses failed to receive their rest in the Promised Land.

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