Summary: God’s promise is ours for the taking if we will surrender our lives to Him.
Intro: Early in life we find out what a promise is. It is not uncommon for kids to make promises to their parents. “I promise I’ll be good. But please don’t spank me!” Or kids make promises to each other and also find out what it means when someone crosses their fingers while making a promise. Some kids learn that promises are made to be broken, and they live their lives that way. Promises can become tools of manipulation to get people to do something for you. Some become victims of broken promises, while others leave a string of broken promises in their relationships.
-If you read your Bible, you will find that God has given many promises to those who trust in Him. Some of those promises include things like this: “I will never leave you nor forsake you. Whoever trusts in me will not be put to shame. I will be your God and you will be My people. Whoever is faithful to the end will be greatly rewarded.”
-God gave a promise to Israel in the OT. He promised that through Abraham all nations would be blessed. He promised that He would raise up another prophet like Moses who the people would listen to. He promised that the Messiah to come would be a light to the Gentiles – the non-Jewish people of the world. All of God’s promises are as good as gold. He has never broken His word, and He never will. Some of His promises are conditional and require something from us, but He has never crossed His fingers while making a promise. Paul talked to Agrippa and other leaders about God’s promises, showing that they are ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. And here is our main thought for this message.
Prop: God’s promise is ours for the taking if we will surrender our lives to Him.
Interrogative: What more can we learn about the promise of God?
TS: Let’s look at several facets of God’s promise to us through Jesus.
I. The Hope of the Promise (Acts 26:1-8)
1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 "King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently. 4 "The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
-Paul clearly shows that God’s promise is the issue at hand here. Perhaps Paul’s accusers would say that they believe God’s promise, but they certainly would not link it to the man named Jesus whom Paul claims is God’s promised Messiah.
-Paul has two closely linked thoughts in mind when he refers in v.6 to what God promised their fathers. He is referring to the Messianic hope, that God would one day send a Messiah who would restore His kingdom. He is also referring to the resurrection, both of Jesus and of all who follow His life and teachings.
-See, it was Israel’s hope that the ruler God had promised would come and lead them victoriously as a nation, much as King David led Israel about 1000 years earlier. Paul was saying that this promise had been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and that it was verified by His resurrection from the dead.
-The physical resurrection of Jesus was of the highest importance to Paul’s message. Read 1 Cor. 15 to see how essential the resurrection of Jesus is to the gospel. The Sanhedrin was the religious ruling body of the Jewish nation under the Roman govt. It consisted of Sadducees, who rejected the idea of a resurrection of the dead, and Pharisees, who believed in the resurrection. However, both subgroups rejected the claim that Jesus was resurrected. As Paul makes his case for the resurrection, all of his Jewish listeners are aware that there were a few people raised from the dead in the OT. Both Elijah and Elisha were used by God to raise someone from the dead. Paul’s Jewish listeners know that Jesus raised people from the dead. They may also have heard that Peter raised Tabitha from the dead, and Paul had raised Eutychus from the dead.