Friday, November 13, 2009

Roadblocks to God's Promises

I want to talk to you today about the things that hinder you from receiving God’s promises for your life.

PRAYER: Lord open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the spirit is saying to the church.

I. THE INSTRUCTIONS ARE NOT FLAWED “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. In this passage Joshua is doing two things. He is letting Israel know that his earthly leadership is about to come to a close - I am about to go the way of all the earth. At the same time he is telling them that after he is gone there is something that remains that will continue leading them and that is God’s promises. For us to receive any of the promises of God the first thing we have to do is affirm in our hearts that this book – the Bible – is what we claim that it is, God’s word. And if we confess with our mouths that it is God’s word we must also believe in our hearts that it is. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. I want you to understand this one thing. God had given Israel the promise that He would give them the promised land. As soon as God promised it, it was done. As I said a couple of weeks ago the only thing left for Israel to do was to go in and possess what God had given them. Now Joshua says that not one of God’s promises has failed. But at this point Israel had not driven all the inhabitants of the land out and fully taken possession of the land. So how could it be said that God’s promises have not failed? You see, the problem isn’t the promise. The promise is perfect. The problem is that the recipients of the promise failed to believe the promise and in doing so they failed to believe the Promiser. When we fail to trust God’s word how do you think He feels? You see, the Bible is more than just a compilation of a collection of stories written by men. Unfortunately, that is how many people see the Bible. But it is the Holy Spirit inspired revelation of God Himself given to men that we might know Him. It gives you God’s plan for mankind. It shows you what His desire is for your lives. It reveals the blessings that God wants to pour out on you. It also reveals that there are conditions that must be met in order for you to receive these perfect promises. 1) You must be a child of God. Anyone who is not born again has no legal right to expect anything from the Father. The truth is unbelievers can pray all they want but the only prayer of an unbeliever that God will respond to is the prayer of repentance and salvation. (John 9:31) when you become a Christian your spiritual eyes are opened to the spiritual truths contained in the Bible and you begin to se the promises that are yours for the asking. 2) You have to ask in faith and believe that God hears and answers prayer. Hebrews 11:6, And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. James 1:7 says that if anyone doubts that he can’t expect to receive anything from God. God’s word is not flawed. What is flawed is man’s distortion of the promises that God has given to all Christians. “God doesn’t do that anymore.” “That’s not what that really means.” Let me tell you, I believe the Word of God and no one can convince me that His promises are not true.

II. YOU HAVE TO READ THE INSTRUCTIONS Now that you have the kind of faith you need to accept God’s promises as true, what do you do with it? What good does faith do if you don’t put it to work. And how can you put it to work unless you know what is in the word and how can you know unless you read it? Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Verse 15 says, But just as every good promise of the LORD your God has come true, so the LORD will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until he has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. The Word of God is a two-edged sword – it can either bring blessing or destruction. That is why there are so many exhortations in the word for you to study. Joshua 1:8, Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Deuteronomy 11:18-29, Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
19. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
20. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates,
21. so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. Jesus said that there was one constant that would remain in the world forever, “Heaven an earth will pass away, but My word will never pass away.” I want you to look at one more passage before we move on. Deuteronomy 30:11- 16 says
11. Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.
12. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?”
13. Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?”
14. No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
15. See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.
16. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. That takes us to our third point today.

If you violate the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the LORD’S anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you. What keeps you from receiving God’s promises? Verse 16, If you violate the covenant of the LORD your God… There are a variety of things that can happen to nullify the full impact of the promises of God. 1) Disobedience to the Word of God. Let me tell you something. We can sugarcoat this all we want and call it a mistake, a spiritual lapse, a misunderstanding etc. but disobedience to the Word of God is SIN. Unconfessed sin or continual sin will keep you from receiving God’s promises. Psalm 66:18-19,
18. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
19. but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.
2) Unforgiveness towards others. Jesus told a parable in Matthew 18 about an unforgiving servant. You know the story. One servant owed his master a lot of money and couldn’t pay it pack. He asked for forgiveness, which his master granted, and then turned around and wouldn’t forgive a fellow servant who owed him money. When the master found out he had the first servant punished. Unforgiveness is an attitude of the heart – it’s a spiritual problem and will keep you from receiving from God. 3) Unbelief. This takes us back to our first point. If you are not complete convinced that God is able to do what He has promised He would do, then you probably aren’t going to receive what you ask for. James 1:5-7, If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. Notice that it doesn’t just say that the person who doubts won’t receive wisdom. He won’t receive anything from the Lord. 4) Asking with wrong motives. James 4:2-3: You do not have, because you do not ask God. Even though God knows the desires of your heart before you ever ask, God cannot do anything until His promise is released by believing prayer. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You want what you want when you want it without any concern for God’s will. Listen to me. Every one of God’s promises is true and every one of them is for the purpose of bringing glory to God. So when we pray for healing it should be so that God receives glory. When we pray for peace, God gets the glory. When we pray for provision God gets the glory. When we pray for reconciliation, God gets the glory. In all these things God is glorified through the work He is doing in us. 5) We don’t ask in Jesus’ name. When I say “in Jesus’ name” I’m not talking about a magical incantation that I can say to make things happen. Praying in Jesus’ name means praying according to the will of God and praying with Jesus’ authority. James 5:16: The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. John 14:10-14: Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

What is it in you that keeps you from receiving all the promises that God has for you?

Do you believe the word?
Do you know the word?
Do you act on the word?

Remain blessed

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