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Summary: There are some things we need to know about receiving the things God has in store forus.

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September 21, 2008

Evening service

Text: Joshua 21:43-45

Subject: The Promises of God

Title: Receiving What God has Promised

Do you remember the days when a man’s (or woman’s) word was as good as a contract? I wonder how many business transactions have been sealed with a handshake instead of a legal document? Today it is a different world though. Today, instead of standing upon an agreement made in word much of the business world and society in general looks for the fine print and a way to sidestep the commitment that was made.

Booker T. Washington describes meeting an ex-slave from Virginia in his book Up From Slavery : "I found that this man had made a contract with his master, two or three years previous to the Emancipation Proclamation, to the effect that the slave was to be permitted to buy himself, by paying so much per year for his body; and while he was paying for himself, he was to be permitted to labor where and for whom he pleased.

"Finding that he could secure better wages in Ohio, he went there. When freedom came, he was still in debt to his master some three hundred dollars. Notwithstanding that the Emancipation Proclamation freed him from any obligation to his master, this black man walked the greater portion of the distance back to where his old master lived in Virginia, and placed the last dollar, with interest, in his hands.

In talking to me about this, the man told me that he knew that he did not have to pay his debt, but that he had given his word to his master, and his word he had never broken. He felt that he could not enjoy his freedom till he had fulfilled his promise."

That is a great story of integrity from a human standpoint. But I want to talk to you tonight about the integrity of God and how if He has said something, His word is good.

1 Samuel 15:29, He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.”

What God has written in His word is true and I want to show you some steps to receive God’s promises for your life.

43So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. 44The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. 45Not one of all the LORD’S good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.

I. THE LORD GAVE LAND. 43So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers … I want you to notice something about this. The land that God was giving the nation of Israel began with a covenant with Abraham. It really had nothing to do with the righteousness of those who were about to receive the land. Even though they were not part of the original covenant, God is still faithful to do what He said He would do. The word sworn in the original Hebrew has a stronger meaning than the English translation gives it. It means, to seven oneself, that is, swear (as if by repeating a declaration seven times. The number seven is the number of perfection in the Bible so we see that when God makes an oath of swears to something it is a perfect declaration of what He is going to do – in this case He gave to Israel the land He had promised their forefathers. Now, you would think that would be good enough wouldn’t you? I mean if God has promised us something and has even gone the next step and given it to us what else do we need? A couple of years ago after we had sent Christmas presents to our daughter in Denver we noticed that we forgot to send a package. That gift was hers. We purchased it for her. It had her name on it. It was intended for her to use as she saw fit. But as long as it was here it wasn’t doing her any good. Look at what has to happen before God’s promise has any value to you. 43So the LORD gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. Let me help you understand this a little better. Over two thousand years ago Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead for our salvation. It was already yours before you ever confessed your sins and asked Jesus to come into your heart. The price was already paid. It was nicely bundled up as a free gift for you. As a matter of fact in my case God tried to give it to me many times. It was already mine but it was no good to me until I took possession of it. Jesus said in John 10:16, I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen… He was talking about those who would later accept His offer of salvation. He spoke like it was a done deal – because it was. The word that is translated “take possession” has as its primary meaning, to occupy by driving out previous tenants, and possessing in their place. So since God had given Israel the land all that was left was for them to take possession of it. That is what we have to make our minds up to do – to drive out the enemy – and take back what he has stolen from us


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