Here’s an interesting story for you: A man named Russell Edward Herman left trillions of dollars to thousands of people he’d never met. What was the catch? Russell Edward Herman didn’t have trillions of dollars, he was just a simple, poor carpenter. While the wild, wild will of the late Russell Herman never paid off for his “beneficiaries,” it certainly enlivened conversations. Take the tiny Ohio River town of Cave-In-Rock, for example, Herman bequeathed $2.41 billion to them. Cave-In-Rock’s mayor, Albert Kaegi had this to say, “It’s an odd thing to happen, isn’t it?”
While the will would never pay off, the mayor had no trouble imagining uses for the willed imaginary monies. Russell Edward Herman had great intentions, but he lacked the resources needed to make them a reality. The greatness of God, however, stands in sharp contrast. God not only has made great and precious promises, He has the ability to follow through on every single one of them, AND HE WILL!!!
If you were here last week, then you will remember that we have begun a new sermon series titled: “God’s Faithfulness and Ours.” Last week we spent our time celebrating just how faithful our God is. We discussed the fact that the Bible not only declares that God is faithful, it reveals the history of His faithfulness. Today, I want us to be reminded of the fact that God is faithful to his promises.
I really like what Peter wrote about the promises of God “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4).
Just how many of these great and precious promises do you think are in the Bible? 100? 1,000? 10,000? It might surprise you to know that according to a man named Dr. Reginald Dunlap there are approximately 30,000 promises in the Bible! Peter calls these “PRECIOUS” promises and it seemed that he liked that word. He used it at least 5 times in his two books: Precious Faith (1 Peter 1:7, 2 Peter 1:1), Precious blood (1 Peter 1:19), Precious stone (1 Peter 2:4-6), Precious Lord (1 Peter 2:7) and Precious promises (2 Peter 1:4).
What is it that makes them so great and precious? Because, they come from a great God who can do the impossible and because they lead to an abundant life. Listen to some verses that declare that God is faithful to His promises. Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” 1 Kings 8:56, “Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.” Joshua 21:45, “Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; everyone was fulfilled.”
God wants us to lean on his promises. He wants us to stand on them. And count on them. Here’s a wonderful thought and reality: Peter declares that claiming these precious promises makes us “partakers” with Christ. A “partaker” is a participant, partner, or sharer. Thus, we claim these precious promises as our own when we become a Christian. But this new nature is not automatic. We must flee, “escape” the corruption that is in the world by evil desires. But when we do, we can know that God’s is Faithful to His Promises.