It’s been a difficult couple of years. 2020 was the shutdown year, where we were going to flatten the curve, and those in high risk health situations were supposed to be vaccinated. Last year was the year of the attempted mandate, where government, medical, and business bureaucrats decided that everyone had to be vaccinated. But something happened on the way to the mandate. Several things happened, I should say. First, some vaccinated people started to feel privileged and empowered, like they were now in charge of the world. Next, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against the mandate. Then finally, horror of horror, the vaccine did not work. Uh oh, that’s a big problem. Vaccinated people started getting Covid. Not just a few either, 50-60% of the cases were those who had been vaccinated.
This then created a truth problem, because inherent in the mandate for the vaccine, is that the vaccine worked. No matter how much our leaders desire to pretend, federal government leaders, big Pharma leaders, medical leaders, and certain local government leaders want to pretend, you cannot hide the truth. Sadly, the vaccine was not as effective as promised. Because ultimately, most of us will end up getting Covid. The Covid shot is like, and will be from now on just like our annual flu shot. Something some people take, and some years it is more effective than other years.
So let’s stop worshiping the vaccine, it is a false idol. It always has been. Any healing that we receive comes from God. Do not forget this. God is the author of all medicine and the healing that comes from that medicine. Follow the science, not the pretend science, which is scientism. If you want the vaccine, by all means take the vaccine. Just don’t bully others into taking it. Why? Because if something bad happens health wise to them after taking the vaccine, their friends and family will look to you.
Hear me as a pastor, suggesting a pastor’s wise counsel, “Don’t recommend treatments for others”. Let individuals and their health care providers make those decisions. Instead, let us focus on prayer.
As your pastor, I am here to testify that I am not in the health care business, I am in the soul care business, and I do not worship at any other altar other than the altar of the Lord Most High. The promises that I recommend we put our faith in are those passed down through generations and they are recorded in the Bible. These are not promises from people in D.C, Raleigh, or Concord and Kannapolis.
These are tried and true promises. Scoffers and naysayers have tried for centuries to disprove the promises contained in this book. No one has succeeded in casting doubt on these promises. However, as discerning disciples, we have to understand the types of promises contained in the Bible so as to see if they do pertain to us.
There are hundreds of promises in the Bible, and as I was researching this subject, I ran across a professor from Pepperdine College in California that stated that he had found over 8,800 promises in the Bible. He may be right, I don’t know, but the total is not what I’m interested in.
I want to know, we want to know, which ones pertain to us, right? How can we tell between general promises in the Bible that apply to everyone, and specific promises that apply to an individual in the Bible?
A general promise is one that is given by the Holy Spirit to every believer in every age. There are no limitations on the time period or the recipient. A great example of this is 1 John 1:9, One of my favorite verses.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
This promise is based on God’s grace and forgiveness that is available to all who call on the name of Jesus. Another example of a general promise is another one of my favorite verses, Philippians 4:6-7,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
This promise is made to all believers who refuse to worry, and with a thankful heart, pray. Again, these are general promises, meant for all of us.
There are specific promises though, meant for an individual. 1 Kings 9:4-5 is a specific promise made to King Solomon.
“As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.”’
This is a promise from God, to Solomon, not to me, not to you.
Now all three of these promises ARE examples of conditional promises from God. A conditional promise usually, not always, but usually contains the word “if” somewhere in the promise.
God’s blessing is conditional on some action that we as the believer are supposed to perform. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins”. If we confess our sins, then God’s promise is that he will forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Before God’s forgiveness and cleansing takes place, God wants us to confess our sins first.
God gives us these promises to help us submit or conform to his will. A promise does not make God bend to our will. This is part of the Holy Spirit’s transformational process. A very large part of sanctifying grace, which we covered last week.
1 Kings 9:4-5 is a conditional specific promise, also containing the word “if”. “If you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws”, then blessings flow from this behavior by Soloman. Again, promises help us to bend to God’s will, not the other way around.
An example of an unconditional pledge would be Genesis 9:11, where God makes this covenant,
“Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
No matter what, God will not flood the earth again.
God gives us his promises to help conform us to the image of Christ. If we respond to these promises we will grow spiritually. This is one of the reasons God has these promises in His Word.
Another reason is that these promises also show how much God loves us and wants to bless us.
Hear me please, we are blessed. We are a blessed people. Do not be distracted by Covid, potential war in the Ukraine or Taiwan, political problems, church problems, problems in Canada or at the southern border, whatever problems. These problems are always present in some mix and some fashion. Despite this constant drumbeat of problems, God loves us and wants to bless us. Look at God's promises, you will see what I mean.
This is exactly what we’re going to do up to Easter, we are going to look at some of God’s most wonderful promises. We will focus together more on God’s promises and less on the world. Let’s see if our worry and fear lessen, and our confidence and faith grow. Because I’m sure they will. 2 Peter 1:3-4,
“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 of the world caused by evil desires.”
Let’s participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption of the world caused by evil desires together.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
Love and blessings always,
And Harmony UMC