Positively Promised

Walking with Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  32:17
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For every Christian a time comes when we need to recall the promises of God.

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HUM - During the wedding rehearsal, the groom approached the pastor with an unusual offer. "I'll give you $100 if you'll change the wedding vows," the groom said. "When you get to me and the part where it asks if I promise to 'love, honor and obey' and 'forsaking all others, be faithful to her forever,' I'd appreciate it if you'd just leave that part out." He passed the minister a $100 bill and walked away satisfied. The day of the wedding arrived, and they reached the part of the ceremony where the vows are exchanged. When it came time for the groom's vows, the pastor looked him in the eye and said: "Will you promise to prostrate yourself before her, obey her every wish and command, serve her breakfast in bed each and every morning of your life, and swear eternally before God and your lovely wife that you will not ever even look at another woman, as long as you both shall live?" The groom gulped, looked around, and replied in a meek voice, "Yes."After the wedding, the groom pulled the pastor aside and hissed, "I thought we had a deal!" The pastor put the $100 bill into the groom's hand and whispered, "Sorry, son, she made me a much better offer."
PO - Just as April is a promise that May shall keep, our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection in every leaf of spring.
INTRO - Today we consider some of God’s amazing promise. We know He promises to come and take us with Him, yet reaching heaven is only part of God’s promises to his followers.
TRANS - Let’s go together now to the time of Jesus. Let’s sit in to hear again from our Lord and Master and seek to understand who He is, what He says, and how we should respond.

What does it say?

Mark 10:29–30 ESV
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.

What does it mean?

Promised Prosperity

How does Jesus’ answer in Mark 10:29–30 reassure Peter and the other disciples?
Jesus assures the 12 they will receive a hundredfold in this life for all they give up for the sake of Him and the gospel.
Now, as noted last week, this does not imply “name it and claim it” prosperity gospel.
However, God does make us a prosperous promise; just not as the world describes prosperity.
Followers receive houses, family, and land through the new associations established by Jesus.
Consider how many of your friends you’ve come to meet because they are Christians.
Consider how wonderful it is we have this building; a sort of home for this our “bigger family.”
With that, however, they must understand that persecutions accompany earthy rewards.
As all of life, in this life, we can expect the advisory to seek to mess up a good thing.
But, when our focus in on the “bigger picture” nothing can keep us put of out of sorts.
You see, the best part is that which is yet to come, eternal life.
And, even with demands of ministry and persecution, Christ followers can look forward to Christian company.
Now, that’s a present promise that fills my wagon!
In what way do followers of Jesus receive back these losses a hundredfold in this life?
You get a new family in the fellowship of the church.
This blessing is only a foretaste of the blessing of family life yet to come.
For Jesus’ followers, the gains far exceed the losses.
Note the missing “father” in the second line.
That’s because we gain a heavenly Father.
ILL - I was blessed to know Jordan, a boy birthed into this world through rape of his mother. The mother considered the boy God’s blessing through her torment. Not only that, but the boy knows his Father, at least the one he calls Father, his Heavenly Father. You see, both the mother and her son are blessed being part of a new family. Without the family of God, both could never be complete. Yet, because of grace and our Heavenly Father, the mother was able to move on and her son has the finest Father any boy could imagine.
Oh, what joy the Christian knows for fact; to be related to God Himself!!!

Promised Persecution

Why does Jesus include “persecutions” in the list of rewards, and how would this have impacted Mark’s persecuted readers in Rome?
In terms of percentage, Mark highlights the theme of sacrifice more than any other Gospel.
With the blessings of new society comes the realization of realism garbed in the presence of persecution.
Let’s be clear; identifying with Jesus and the gospel has blessings, yet the forces against God do not go quietly.
Perhaps this presented some prediction of the intense persecution to come to Jesus’ followers in Rome during the time on Nero.
Many suffered intensely in Rome during that period.
For those Roman Christians, undoubtedly reflection back on the words from their Savior provided much needed encouragement for enduring suffering for Christ.
The promise of God in the life to come anticipates a time well beyond the many conflicts, sufferings, and persecutions know to Christians throughout the ages.
Now, persecutions come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
ILL - The Christian population in Iraq alone has plummeted from 1.5 million in 2003 to current estimates of 275,000.
This past Palm Sunday was a dark day in Egypt. Suicide bombings at two Coptic Christian churches, one in Alexandria and the other in Tanta left 45 people dead and many more wounded.
The Middle East accounts for a majority of countries ranked in the top 10 for extreme persecution of Christians.
The Center for the Study of Global Christianity, an academic research center that monitors worldwide demographic trends in Christianity, estimates that between the years 2005 and 2015, 900,000 Christians were martyred — an average of 90,000 Christians each year.
Let us get this, real persecution, the kind that takes the lives of our fellow brothers and sisters is happening as I speak this morning.
For those blessed saints, looking to Jesus as they loose their lives, is a blessing they cherish.
Looking to Jesus, they see hope, family, and future.

Promised Provision

How does Jesus’ concluding statement in Mark 10:31 answer the implied self-interest in Peter’s claim to have “left everything”?
Understandably, Peter did wonder about himself.
Last week we heard from the passage leading up to our text today; particularly Peter’s statement:
Mark 10:28 ESV
Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.”
Matthew’s gospel leaved not doubt about Peter’s self-interest.
Matthew 19:27 ESV
Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
Certainly we need to take care of ourselves, yet when we serve the wrong master, our faith takes a HUGE blow!
Perhaps Peter was thinking like a salesperson; how to get the best deal.
Perhaps Peter was curious about things holy.
How does Jesus bring Peter back to the correct line of thinking?
Some defend Peter, to which many commentators say we judge Peter by our own ethical standard.
Others go the the opposite extreme stating we can only consider Jesus’ reaction as based on Peter’s worldly ambitions.
Yet, doesn’t it stand to reason that a man is innocent unless proven guilty?
As such, we truly can’t judge Peter to any charge.
Perhaps Jesus is communicating that we should not base reward on some merit so we don’t become complacent and caught off guard.
Think about the Rich Young Ruler mentioned just prior to today’s text.
Certainly Jesus was following through on that thought holding Peter to the level of disciple and not considering him a business partner seeking profit.
What some perceive to be Peter’s self-interest seems most likely Jesus clarifying a Kingdom attitude Peter can display when properly motivated.
Keep in mind Jesus knows Peter’s heart; as God, he looks beyond the condition of men to the bigger need.
Consider this from Samuel:
1 Samuel 16:7 ESV
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
“the Lord looks on the heart.”
This is not a rebuke to Peter, but Jesus’ continued teaching to one called a disciple.
In Jesus’ words to Peter, we see God who is always with us, providing hope, security, and encouragement.
Jesus pours out his Spirit to us, that same God who offered hope to Peter, who takes the persecuted to be at rest with Him, makes His promise to always be with us.
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Joshua 1:5 ESV
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5 ESV
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
God’s Word will not return void.
Take Him with you always.
Colossians 3:16 ESV
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
When it seems difficult
When down and out
When at a loss
Let’s seek to always remember God’s promises.

What do I do now?

Jesus promised rewards to His faithful followers.
Sometimes we mistake our desires for God’s promises.
We become disappointed when the result doesn’t meet our expectations.
Let us look to God’s Word for His trustworthy promises.
Learn to accept the results on His terms.
And, be whole, happy, and secure.
Lastly, before we pray, let’s consider just a few of the thousand’s of promises Gad makes known to us.
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
John 6:37 ESV
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
1 John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Romans 8:28 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Isaiah 41:10 ESV
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
John 11:25–26 ESV
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
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