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The Promises of God (Part 4)

How to Claim a Promise

Scripture: Hebrews 10:34-36

I. Introduction: The Lord’s promises are expressions of His love and care for us. Through them, He accomplishes His will and plans for our individual lives as well as His purposes for the kingdom of God. His unconditional promises are unchangeable, and there’s nothing we can do to thwart them. But the fulfillment of His conditional ones depends on our responses and behaviors. However, all of God’s scriptural promises are just words on paper unless they are claimed and applied.

II. To understand how important God’s promises are in our lives and how to claim them, we must answer some questions.

A. Are all the promises in the Bible meant for us today?—No, sometimes they apply only to specific people, times, or situations. For example, His commitment to give Abraham and Sarah a baby in their old age does not apply to us today. However, many of the scriptural promises that are not to us can be for us because they illustrate how God meets needs and works in the lives of His children.

B. Who has a right to claim a promise from God?—The Lord’s promises only belong to believers, but there is one exception. Unbelievers are free to claim His promise of salvation when they trust Jesus as their Savior (Rom. 10:9). Until they take that step of faith, God will not answer their requests. However, even if we belong to the family of God, we can still forfeit our rights when we live in sin (Isa. 59:2), but confession and repentance will bring us back under His canopy of blessing (1 John 1:9).

C. Why should we expect the Lord to promise us anything?—First of all, God grants promises because He loves us unconditionally and wants to give us guidance, provision, and protection. Secondly, He reveals Himself in ways that display His awesome wisdom, power, and grace.

D. How can we be sure God will keep His promises?—The Lord’s character is our guarantee. Since He’s always perfect, never changing, constantly truthful, and all-powerful, He will not fail to keep His word.

E. When can we claim a promise?—Although God’s promises belong to us, we must understand when we can claim one for ourselves. The Lord will do so when:

1. The promise fits a personal need God wants to fulfill. For example, if our need is for instruction and direction regarding a decision, we can rely on the Lord’s commitment to teach us the way we should go because this promise fits our situation (Ps. 32:8).

2. The context of the Scripture allows it. No one should pluck a promise from the Bible and claim it. In 1 John 5:14-15, the Lord promises to answer our prayers, but the context reveals that it’s conditional—our requests must be made according to His will.

3. The fulfillment of a promise honors God. We can’t expect the Lord to answer selfish requests. But when we have legitimate needs and claim His promise of provision, He’ll fulfill our petitions because it brings Him honor.

4. The promise is consistent with His immediate will for our lives. Whatever the need, we can claim God’s promise to meet it, but sometimes His timing and methods don’t match our expectations. When this happens, we must remember that He has something better in mind. If we’re uncertain about His will in a particular situation, we may simply ask Him to show us what He desires (Matt. 7:7). This is a request He always answers.

5. The fulfillment of His promise is encouraging to others. If we ask God to provide reassurance to others, we can claim His promise to provide. When others see the fulfillment, they discover how faithful and good He is.

6. We are walking in God’s will. Living obediently gives us the right and privilege of claiming His promises, but if we’re rebellious and living according to our own desires, we’ve positioned ourselves outside His will.

7. The Spirit within confirms it. One of the Holy Spirit’s responsibilities is to reveal truth. When we’re seeking the mind of God and believe He’s leading us in a certain direction, the Spirit gives us quiet confidence. If not, we’ll feel static in our souls.

8. The Spirit gives a sense of peace. Finally, we’ll know we have a right to stand firm in our requests when there’s peace in our hearts that comes from knowing our petitions fit who we are in Christ and align with His Word.

III. Conclusion: Although God is the one who fulfills His promises, we also have responsibilities in the process. We should make sure that we meet three conditions. First, we must be living in obedience to God so sin isn’t hindering our relationship. Second, we must ask in faith. And third, we must be patient and wait for His timing. He knows exactly when to fulfill every promise because His judgment is perfect. If we do, God will always provide His best.

(By Dr. Charles F. Stanley. Copyright 2012 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org.)