Summary: An evangelistic Christmas message about the promises God makes and keeps.
Note: During the service various OT & NT passages have been read, telling the Christmas story.
A couple had been married for 45 years. They’d raised 11 children. They now had 22 grandchildren. And they were asked the secret for staying together all that time - 45 years. The wife replied, "Many years ago we made a promise to each other... That promise was that the first one to pack up and leave had to take all the kids."
We live in a world where promises don’t mean much any more. So we are naturally skeptical about many of the promises we hear:
In our politics there are broken economic promises... no more boom and bust! But we were booming and now we’re bust!
In our relationships there are broken wedding promises... I do, till death do us part. And then, before we die, we part! (Maybe tonight these words touch a raw nerve; maybe you are someone who knows what it means to be hurt by a broken promise.)
In our own plans for the future there are broken New Year promises... I remember mine to myself last year: Jogging 3 time a week, O yes! I didn’t even make it out of the first week of January till I’d broken that one!
These days we re often skeptical about promises.
But tonight I want to ask us to consider a question. The question is this: Can we trust God with the promises he makes? How trustworthy is God? When it comes to promise-keeping, what’s God’s track record like? And to answer those questions we have to look at the promises God has made in history. And we did that already.
In Gen 3 we read how God promised the serpent he would one day be defeated by the woman’s offspring. Did God keep that promise? Yes! By Jesus’ death on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins, the Bible tells us Satan’s reign was dealt a fatal blow.
In Gen 22 we read how God promised Abraham that all nations on earth would be blessed through his descendants. Did God keep that promise? Yes! Since Christ came and died and rose again, people from all nations are turning to Christ and been blessed by the amazing love of God. Here in HBC we have people from at least 25 different nations! We are a living example of God’s kept promise to Abraham.
In Isa 9 we read how God promised a Divine Child would be born Who’d bring light into the darkness, beginning in Galilee. Did God keep that promise? Yes! Jesus began shining his light in Galilee. And since then all who receive Him can tell of lives lit up by His presence.
In Luke 1 we read how God promised Mary a special son. Did God keep that promise? Yes! 9 months later, though she was still a virgin, never been with a man, Mary gave birth to a son.
In Luke 2 we read how God promised the Shepherds they’d find their Saviour, lying in a manger of all places! Did God keep that promise? Yes! The shepherds indeed found the new born Saviour. And they were so excited they couldn’t shut up about it. (So am I; nor can I!)
In Matthew 2:1-12 God promised the Magi that the King would be born in Bethlehem. Did God keep that promise? Yes! After perhaps months or years of searching, the Magi found the Truth, and worshipped Him.
You see, Christmas is all about God’s promise. It’s about God keeping his ancient promise. And looking at the evidence we have to conclude that God’s got a pretty good track record when it comes to promise-keeping. He may sometimes take longer than we like; it may not be exactly what we expected; but he ALWAYS delivers.
So can we trust God with his promises? YES!
Looking at the evidence, we can only say, Yes - God keeps his promises.
So, tonight, I want to ask you one more question: What have you done with the promise God makes in our last reading?
God the Son, Jesus, says this in John 1:12-13...
Jesus promises that all who receive Him and believe in Him He gives the right to become children of God. Jesus explains that to become children of God we must be ’born of God’.
You see, being born makes us physically alive and puts us in our parents’ family.
But being born of God makes us spiritually alive and puts us in God’s family.
Being born of God gives us a family relationship with God that results in forgiveness of sinns and eternal life.
So what was the promise? It was that ’all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.’