Summary: Making promises and keeping promises are two different things. How can we see positive changes in our lives?
Making Promises That Stick
Purpose: To describe the importance of making promises to God.
Aim: I want the listener to pick out one change that they should make and thoughtfully promise the Lord to make that change.
INTRODUCTION: How would you like 2008 to be better than 2007? One tradition that believers and non-believers share is making New Year’s resolutions. What do you think is the most popular resolution? The 5th was to take up a new hobby, the 4th was to make more money, the 3rd most popular resolution was to improve relationships, the 2nd was to stop smoking, and the most popular New Years resolution, you guessed it, losing weight.
One young boy asked his father what his new year’s resolution was, and his father said he was going to do everything possible in the new year to make his mother very happy. The boy asked his mother what hers was, and she said, “To do everything possible to make sure your father keeps his resolution.”
One lady made a resolution to never say never. Think about that for a minute. It is a running joke that most New Year’s resolutions don’t last past the month of January.
✔ New Year’s resolutions can quickly lead us into New Year desolation.
For a Christian, though, there is a heart felt desire to change and be more like Christ.
✔ 1 John 2:6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (NAU)
In order to make promises that stick, we must understand at least three things.
I. God Takes Promises Seriously
Matthew 23:16-22 16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’ 17 “You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? 18 “And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.’ 19 “You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? 20 “Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. 21 “And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. 22 “And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it. (NAU)
In other words, anytime we make a promise the Lord takes it seriously. The religious rulers fell into the trap of hedging their promises. If they didn’t keep a promise, they would say, “Well, I didn’t promise by anything that was really important.” It doesn’t matter how important we think that the promise is. We can’t say that any promise we make isn’t important.
Numbers 30:2 “If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. (NAU)
Deuteronomy 23:21-23 21 “When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the Lord your God will surely require it of you. 22 “However, if you refrain from vowing, it would not be sin in you. 23 “You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God, what you have promised. (NAU)
Every church member here at Bethel Chapel has made some serious promises. We will look at them in a moment.
II. We Should Make Promises
Often we don’t keep the promises we make, so we might just decide not make any promises so we don’t have to carry the guilt of not keeping them.
But Paul warns us: ☛ Ephesians 5:15-17 15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (NAU)
Here Paul is giving us three reasons why we should make promises to our God.
A. Make promises because time is limited “making the most of your time”
Psalm 39:4 “Lord, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am. (NAU)
If I live to be 80 years old, I have about 9,125 days left to live.
Jesus taught that time was precious. John 7:33 Therefore Jesus said, “For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me. (NAU) John 9:4 “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. (NAU) John 11:9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. (NAU) John 12:35 So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. (NAU)