6 promises for Disciples

These promises i read in Patrick Johnstone’s book, ‘the church is bigger than you think’. They where really blessing me so i wanted to bless you with them as well
Patrick describes six promises of God for us. All found in Isaiah 54.

  • We have freedom of fear.
  • We have union with Christ.
  • Gods purpose and guiding for us.
  • Gods’s redemption from every failure.
  • Eternal fruitfulness.
  • Supernatural protection.

It is a lot of text but God promises are always worth while taking time for. be blessed!God is more interested in us as individual people than for the work he can squeeze out of us. We are not toothpaste tubes to be discarded when the contents are finished. He did not redeem us for service but for fellowship with himself for ever. He is less concerned about our structures and strategies than he is about our relationships with Him. Each one of us is special to Him.

The Six-fold promises of God for Harvesters:

1: Freedom of Fear (Isa 54:4)

Fear of the unknown, of people, of failure, of poverty, of danger, of bugs, of spiders, of disease and a host of other phobias keep many from wholly following the Lord in obedience to whatever he calls us to do. The command “fear not” comes with great frequency in scripture. Isaiah said:

Fear not; for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded; for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.

This is a double promise. Firstly there is no need to fear the future, and secondly that the things of the past need no linger tie us down with feelings of failure and inadequacy.

God guarantees our future integrity whatever our outward circunstances. The Lord Jesus Christ will be with us, the Holy Spirit will empower us, and the father guarantees that we will not be put to shame by the enemy, by those who oppose us, or even by fellow Christians. We believe Paul’s words to Timothy; “i am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”. we can then have an unshakeable assurance in the character of our God who undergirds these promises. He will perform what he promised whatever the physical evidence may be to the contrary.

The promise is also for our past. Isaiah makes mention of two tragic types of event; the shame of youth and the reproach of widowhood. Our past foolish mistakes, our sinful actions, our wrong life-style and also tragic events in our lives leave wounds and scars. God forgets them all. They no longer need cripple our future ministry, but can even become weapons in our armoury for that ministry. The blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse those who repent and give us a testimony of power to help others. The indwelling of Jesus lifts us up to resurrection life where the pains and wounds of past events and the sins of others against us no longer restrict our freedom in serving the Lord.

2: Union with Christ (Isa 54:5)

Salvation from sin is the negative; the positive is that the saved are brought into a union with the Lord. This thogoughly new testament truth is foreshadowed in the words:

for your Maker is your husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer, the God of the whole earth is he called.

That we be married to our Maker, joined to the Holy One of Israel is overwhelming. The love and care he lavishes on us, on me, his bride, are more than the most perfect earthly, doting husband could ever bestow! From the New Testament perspective, Jesus is my Lover, my Provider, my All! All is mine in Christ. I can face the world and all its scorns and opposition with confidence because greater is he that is within me than he that is in the world. Paul said, “for if while we were enemies we were saved by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” For too many servants of God, their ministry is one of striving rathter than resting. There yet remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

It is not me but him in me – no cause there for pride. If it works, it is him, if it doesn’t, it was me interfering. That is why we have confidence that the lordship if Jesus will be manifested in this age and before the return of Jesus in Muslim Mecca, in Hindu Varanasi, in Tibetan Buddist Lhasa, in Communist Beijing and that peoples at present with no disciples of the Lamb will soon be provided with them – such as the Quashqai of Iran, the Maldivians of the Indian ocean, the Mzab of the Sahara and the Qatar Arabs of the Gulf.

3: Purpose and guidance (Isa 54:6)

These words are hauntingly beautiful: For the Lord has called you Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit like a wife of youth when she is cast off.

It is moving to see the pathos of this poor woman deserted and thrown out by a husband who obviously did not deserve her. In the midst of the grief, overwhelming self-pity and hopelessness, she is called, given a welcome to a perfect union, and offered a prospect of fruitfulness.

That forlorn woman is you and me! God calls us in our desperate hopelessness not only to a salvation for misery, but to a union with him, and to a life of purpose and usefulness. Maybe I am taking some exegetic license in applying this to the call to Christian service and the assurance of guidance in that service, but I think not! God has a plan for you. There is a YOU shaped hole in his kingdom that only YOU can fit!

God has an eternal purpose for us that we should live to his praise and glory here on earth and later in heaven. He also has an earthly purpose in the works ordained for us that we should walk in them. He reveals that purpose, for, indeed, it is our birthright, for all who are led of the Spirit of God are the sons of God (Eph1:3-14; 2:10; Rom8:14). So within his calling to himself is also embedded the guarantee that he will never leave us in the lurch without a knowledge that we are in the centre of his will.

We must know his general leading as revealed in the Scripture, but we must also know his specific leading in the personal and in the detail. The life of Peter and Paul in Acts demostrates this again and again. It is just as valid for us today. Yet it is in this area I find so much confusion and uncertainty today. Many ask, “how can I know the will of God, how can I be absolutely sure?” Here are just a few words to you if this is your problem.

We are guided by the Holy Spirit – we know, but may not be able to explain why we know! As we move ahead with what we already know is right, the peace of God in our hearts is a precious assurance from the Holy Spirit. We can get it wrong, and therefore there must always be a gracious humility to those who may question or challenge us.

God’s guidance is conditional. Romans 12:1-2 shows that the good and acceptable and perfect will of God can only be proved after three tough conditions:

  1. Presenting you bodies as a living sacrifice, all must be yielded to God. How can he guide you if you have a bias in your thinking, a sin in your life or an unwillingness to d anything he desires?

  2. By not being conformed to this world. How can you know God’s will if you want to please others or yourself, or it you are more concerned about what others think or say?

  3. By being continually transformed by the renewal of your mind. Your mind must be bathed continually in the word of God; your mind set on the godly, the good, the wholesome. Then you can hear the still, small voice of God in your spirit.

God’s will is proved or confirmed through four safeguards:

  1. it is in accordance with the revealing will of God in the Bible? Personal guidance will never be in contradiction to what has been recorded in God’s Word.

  2. Is it with the prayerful agreement and approval of the leadership of your church of fellowship?

  3. Is in line with other confirming circumstances in your life?

  4. Are there any unsought, but beautiful evidences of God working things out for you in a supernatural way? This could be a special ordering of events, a word of prophecy or knowledge from the Lord, a vision, a special word from God in your daily reading of Scripture.

Any one of these can help towards provind God’s will, but ultimately you must gather the pieces of evidence together to conclude what God is really saying about his will. It is a risk, but our Father has his ways of checking us even if, with all the best intentions of our heart, we make a mistake.

In Christian ministry there must be the deep assurance that God has personally led you. This is ultimately the one thing that will keep you true to that calling when the going gets rough.

4: Redemption from every failure (Isa 54:7-10)

Isaiah has a word for who fail:

for a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will draw you. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.

God sometimes seems far off, the heavens life brass, prayer a battle and service a dudgery. We can even feel rejected by God. None of us can look back in our lives and say we have never made a mess of things. We have all had times of failure.

Yet this wonderful promise assures us that we have never gone too far for the Lord not to pick us up again, forgive, restore, and even lead into a new ministry of a fruitfulness that would never have been possible without the failure. His grace cannot be explained, but is marvellous! There may be consequent limitations with which we must live – divorce, harm done to others, or an illegitimate child, but the Lord takes us up where we are and has a new start for us. What love. What Father, what Redeemer! Let nu failure rob you of the expectation of further usefulness for world evangelization. God is resourceful – he always has a plan “A” for you and me, whatever our past.

5. Eternal fruitfulness (Isa54:11-13)

Now follow three verses that are both beautiful and poetic. Their meaning is not easy to discern, but these are fragrant promises for the servants of the Lord involved in the world evangelization. Here i see our fruitfulness assured. Here are the words themselves:

O afflicted one, storm tossed, and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your walls of precious stones. All your sons shall be thaught by the Lord, and great shall be the prosperity of your sons.

In spite of agonies and suffering, the Bride will be complete, beautiful and glorious. The imagery is a preview of the New Jerusalem in Revelations 21, filled with the redeemer of the Lord. Yet the precious stones are, in other parts of Scripture, identified with God’s people.

We are promised fruit. The Church will be perfect and complete and we will have had a part in that completion by our commitment to world evangelization.

Then follows a promise for our spiritual and physical children. They will be taught of the Lord, and be prosperous. As we go out in obedience to disciple the nations, we can expect the Holy Spirit to work in them just as in us. Some are afraid to obey because of the effects of that obedience on their Children. Our loving Lord never forgets them! His call to the parents is just as valid for our children. We do not deprive our children in obeying God’s call, we enrich them with a heritage and blessing otherwise unobtainable.

6.Supernatural protection (Isa54:15-17)

We are involved in the greatest and most bitterly fought war ever to be waged. The enemy will not surrender his final grip on his crumpling empire until the King of kings and Lord of lords comes in triumph at the end if time. Every stronghold, every bunker, every sinful heart will be a battle. Our wounds and casualties will be severe. Suffering and martyrdom are our expected lot. Yet we have the promise of supernatural protection in it all! Isaiah’s words assure us of this:

If any one stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you… no weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, says the Lord.

The words of Jesus give the same message. He warned us that in the world we would have trouble, but assures us that he has overcome the world. He told us that he has given us authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Paul assured us that in all trials and difficulties and all that the world and the devil can throw at us we would be more that conquerors (John16:33, Luke10:19, Rom8:35).

Conclusion

What promises and what assurance of victory in world evangelization! We are privileged to be able to participate in the most certain final triumph of the Crucified Lamb. We are even more privileged to be alive today to see consummation of all things unfolding before our eyes. My prayer is that this book will, in some small part, contribute to uplifting the hearts of God’s people by showing that this is so, and to better equip them to be participants in the action that brings it about.

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