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All the Promises of God

2Corinthians: Paul Most Underappreciated Epistle

Dec 3, 2017


by: Jack Lash Series: 2Corinthians: Paul Most Underappreciated Epistle | Category: Advent | Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:20–1:20
I. Introduction
 A. From a discussion of his trustworthiness/honesty, Paul has managed to bring the discussion to Jesus.
 B. 2Corinthians 1:20 “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”
 C. Long before I decided to preach on 2Corinthians, I planned to preach the advent series this year on 2Cor.1:20. I timed the beginning of the series so we would arrive at this verse this morning, the first week of advent.
 D. All the Promises of God
  1. All the promises of God: The epitome of a pregnant phrase
  2. Some of you may be thinking, “I can’t believe we’re going to spend four weeks on one verse!” Here’s what I’m thinking: “I can’t believe I only have four weeks to talk about this verse.”
  3. Hengstenberg, The Christology of the Old Testament, 1396 pages, almost 150 OT passages
  4. Today: a brief tour of a few of the most familiar messianic prophecies
II. Four foundational messianic promises of God
 A. Protoeuangelion (or protoevangel) Gen.3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
  1. Mankind created in perfection. But there is an enemy in the garden, who tempts them to eat forbidden fruit. And when they do so, God confronts them and then pronounces a curse upon the world and upon human life. However, embedded in that curse is a promise that someday a person will come along who will conquer the serpent who initiated the sin of mankind.
  2. You see, even the most idealistic and optimistic of people acknowledge that mankind is really messed up and that the world is a broken place.
  3. And the moment we’re referring to here is the moment when this darkness first swept across the earth, when dancing and joy and human flourishing turned to mourning and gloom and despair.
  4. Just as the black cloud was descending upon the world, just as mankind was being locked into Satan’s prison, God whispered this precious promise which prevents the story from ending in complete tragedy.
  5. The promise had several facets to it:
   a. There will be two great peoples at odds with one another: the offspring of the serpent and the offspring of the woman.
   b. One of the woman’s offspring will be the adversary of the serpent himself. And they will war and they will wound one another.
   c. The serpent will wound the heel of the child of the woman (, and the child of the woman will wound the head of the serpent (in other words, a mortal wound).
  6. A day of defeat is coming for Satan. A day when he will be crushed by a man.
   a. The villain who has plagued mankind, and torn him down, and viciously ruled over him, will be no more.
   b. There’s an answer to all the darkness! The present misery is not permanent. Victory is coming!
   c. And it’s coming at the hands of a man. And what a man he is!
    (1) A mighty man, a man with such might that he can take on the devil himself!
  7. This promise finds its yes in Jesus! He’s the hero who defeats the devil.
  8. Evil’s reign over the world is being broken! And there is a day coming soon when the devil will be cast into the outer darkness forever.
  9. The heal of the Son of the woman was indeed wounded – with a spike nailed through Him. But He dealt a mortal wound to the head of the evil one, perhaps symbolized by the cross like a giant spike being driven into the place of the skull.
  10. His death on the cross was the death-blow to the merchant of death.
 B. Son of Abraham — The LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” – Genesis 12:1–2
  1. A great people (numerous: see Gen.15:5, 22:17) with a great name. A great family of the blessed.
  2. And in Genesis 15:18–21 God also promised him a great land.
  3. Land was precious, family was your treasure. However, Abraham died without receiving these things. But Abraham understood that this wasn’t what all these promises were all about. He saw in it something bigger.
   a. Hebrews 11:13–16 “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”
    (1) 13a They didn’t receive what they were promised, but they weren’t disappointed at all.
    (2) 13b “having seen them and greeted them from afar” — Moses on Mt. Pisgah seeing the promised land from afar. I.e. Seeing it off in the distance, but not experiencing it here & now.
    (3) 13cThey realized that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
    (4) 14 Seeking another homeland: a promised land beyond the promised land
    (5) 16a they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.
    (6) 16b God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
   b. These fathers of the faith understood that family and land and wealth and human admiration weren’t enough. They needed something much more.
   c. The problem is not that people ask for too much. The problem is that they’re satisfied with too little! They’re satisfied with this country instead of desiring a better, heavenly country.
   d. There is another home, another place
  4. Lord, if you just gave me a husband, or a wife, or a child, or a good job, or plenty of money, or relief from my health problems, or a good friend, or a heart at peace, I’ll be happy.
   a. No, you won’t.
  5. And then, it’s taken a step further in Genesis 22:18, “In your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” (Fulfilled in Christ: Acts 3:25-26)
   a. The family would not be limited to the blood descendants of Abraham, because the blessing would somehow extend to the whole world.
  6. These promises of God find their Yes in Jesus! This is what Jesus came to do:
   a. To call and create a great people, to prepare for them a great land. To bless people from every nation on earth through His Son, the promised seed of Abraham.
  7. This is what Abraham saw from afar. These promises were all about Jesus.
   a. John 8:56 “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”
 C. Prophet like unto Moses — Deuteronomy 18:15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen.”
  1. End of Moses’ life, Joshua’s taking over, you would think that God and Moses would be drawing attention to Joshua.
  2. As Moses is departing, God uses him to set Israel’s expectation for a series of prophets to speak on the Lord’s behalf. But there is one prophet coming in particular who is somehow different from all the others.
  3. All the prophets speak for God, but this One, even more than the others, must be listened to.
  4. But instead, they are drawing attention to the greater Joshua (Yeshua).
  5. God speaks out of heaven — Matt.17:1-8 “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him!”
  6. This promise of a great prophet finds its YES in Jesus Christ – Acts 3:17-26
   a. John 5:46 “If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
  7. Hebrews 1:1–2 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
  8. And as it turned out, calling Him a prophet was an understatement!
  9. Not only as a prophet does He speak the word of God, but Jesus IS the word of God.
  10. “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” (Heb.1:3)
  11. John 1:1–2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God... 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  12. Samuel Craig: “All the words of Jesus that we possess, if separated from the narrative that they accompany, could be printed on a few pages and read easily in an hour or two; and yet insignificant as they are as regards to number they have proved to be the most living, the most potent, the most far-reaching in their influence of all the words that have ever been spoken.” (Jesus of Yesterday and Today, p.125)
  13. Luke 4:22, 32 And everyone marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth...and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.
 D. Son of David (2Sam.7:16, 25-26; 1Kg.11:36; 1Chron.17:23-27; 2Chron.21:7; Ps.89:3-4; 132:10-12)
  1. Story
   a. David is a man with a heart after God who is anointed as king. God grants him great success.
   b. Everything was OK because (unlike Saul before him) the king was right with God.
   c. And then David wants to build a temple. But, through Nathan the prophet, God says, No, I want your son to build it. God says, “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, & I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” 2Sam.7:12-13
   d. And He says many other things about this Son of David.
    (1) 1Chronicles 17:13 “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.”
    (2) Psalm 89:36 “His offspring shall endure forever.”
    (3) Isaiah 9:7 “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.”
  2. This promise finds its YES in Christ Jesus. He is the promised Son of David. He is the king of a holy nation, a heavenly kingdom. He is building God’s temple, His church.
  3. 1Peter 2:4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house... 9  you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 (You are) sojourners and exiles.
  4. What is a temple? A house for a god. We are God’s dwelling place.
III. Application
 A. All of this glorious reality is happening around us, but it is hidden. One day it will be revealed, when all men will see Christ and bow the knee.
 B. All through the OT God was lavishing extraordinary promises upon His people, promising things that seemed too good to ever come true. The prophets themselves, and even the angels, it seems (1Pet.1:12), were perplexed about how God was going to fulfill all He had promised. All the promises were focused around a coming One, who would be someone beyond all the great OT heroes of faith.
  1. At many times the people of God struggled with whether God was actually going to come through on all His promises:
   a. Was God really going to send a seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent (Gen.3:15)?
   b. Was God really going to send a son of Abraham through whom all the nations on earth would be blessed (Gen.22:18)?
   c. Was God really going to send a new Moses through whom God would speak to His people (Deut.18:18)?
   d. Was God really going to raise up a son of David who would build a temple for the Lord and sit upon the throne of his father David forever (2Sam.7:12-13)?
   e. Were all the promises of the prophets about the coming messiah really going to be fulfilled?
  2. It stretched the mind’s ability to conceive.
  3. Was it all just talk?
  4. By and large, the only people who continued to believe were the ones who had nothing else to hope for: the weak, the helpless, the poor, the small, the lowly.
  5. By sending Jesus, God declared a resounding, "YES!" to all these questions. “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.”
  6. "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Num.23:19)
  7. Jesus Christ is everything we ever longed for, all we ever needed. He is all God’s ever promised, and more! He is preeminent over all things. May our thoughts and our desires and our actions be dominated by who He is. He turned the whole world upside down, may He turn our lives upside down, so that every day is completely different, from start to finish, because of His fullness! 
 C. This is bad news for some and spectacular news for others.
  1. Some don’t want Jesus to be the real prize because to them Jesus is the means they try to use to get what they really want. They really want earthly prizes, and to find out that it’s really all about Jesus doesn’t make them happy.
  2. Jesus is not the One who will give you everything you need, Jesus is the One who gives you Himself, Who is everything you need.