A DIVINE PROMISE - "SURELY"
Scripture Texts: Genesis 2:15-17; Isaiah 53:4-6; Revelation 22:20
I believe that it is obvious, to even the most casual observer, that in each of the three portions of the above-mentioned Scripture Texts, there is a certain word which denotes the highest degree of certainty and assurance. The word to which I refer is the word "S-U-R-E-L-Y"; yes, "SURELY".
Friend, I don't doubt that we've all experienced, at some time in our life, the bitter disappointment that follows the fact that we have been the victim of a falsehood. Yes, even those whom we may have considered our best friends will, under certain conditions, distort the truth to satisfy their own selfish desires. Ah, but not so with God! No, in all the history of mankind, not once do we know of God, the Creator, telling a lie. No, not once do we find an incident where God failed to keep His promise. And what's more, He never shall; for He would cease to be God, if He did !
Friend, the very essence of God's character is one of absolute holiness, with a bitter hatred for sin. That's why we're told in Romans 3:4, "Let God be true, but every man a liar." This fact is confirmed in Titus 1:2, where we read that "God cannot lie"; and in Hebrews 6:18 where we're reminded that it is "impossible for God to lie." Yes, and it is a real comfort to all truly "born again" Christians who are SURE of being in Heaven for all eternity; why? - because God has promised eternal life to all who accept His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as their own and personal Saviour.
What I'm leading up to is simply this, in the biblical book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we read the very first promise of God in verses 15-17 of chapter 2. Over in Isaiah 53:4, near the middle of the Bible, we have a most important and prophetic promise of God. Then, in the last chapter of the last book in the Bible, Revelation 22:20, we read the final promise in the word of God.
Now with the imperative help of the Holy Spirit of God, I would like to bring before you some interesting and vital facts concerning these three promises involving the word "SURELY". And in doing so, I trust that you will give heed to the fact that these three promises, respectively, bring before us man's ruin, God's remedy, and man's responsibility, in view of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ, which will terminate the day of God's marvelous, matchless, and sovereign GRACE.
First of all, we read in Genesis chapter 2, some facts concerning God's placement of man in the beautiful Garden of Eden. Yes, man was created pure and sinless from the hands of God, and he was placed in an earthly paradise with all that he should possibly desire. And the only requirement imposed upon him by his Creator, was that he should not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and then comes the warning and promise of God, "for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt SURELY die." Now friend, you'll notice that God is very clear in His promise; no room for being misunderstood. He makes it quite clear as He declares in all simplicity, "thou shalt SURELY die."
And I'm sure, that most of you reading this message today, are familiar with the most important facts concerning what immediately followed this warning, and promise of God. Satan came on to the scene, discredited the word of God, beguiled Eve into eating the forbidden fruit and then giving it to her husband, Adam, and in one bold stroke of S-I-N, sin, mankind had fallen. Yes, mankind was ruined in the sight of a Holy, Just, and Righteous God. He had sinned against the God of all creation, and he had disobeyed the One in Whose image he was formed. He was now spiritually dead, and from that moment on, his body began to die physically. And something that was unknown before, began to take place. The beautiful flowers, plants, bushes and trees began to die. And eventually the ground was cursed, and all because of S-I-N, sin.
Friend, all that God required of mankind, in order to have eternal life, with full communion and fellowship with his Creator, was simple obedience concerning not eating of the forbidden fruit. But mankind had other ideas, so he yielded to "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life". And today, if a person is not "saved", or "born again", through faith in God's only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that person is SPIRITUALLY dead, separated from God, and is but a short time away from the unavoidable, and promised PHYSICAL death.
Now perhaps someone is thinking, "Well, just because Adam and Eve sinned, and were spiritually dead, is no reason for me to be spiritually dead also." My friend, when our first parents succumbed to the lies of Satan, we fell right along with them, because we, being descendants of Adam, have inherited that same sinful nature. That's the reason we read in I Corinthians 15:22, "In Adam all die." And then God tells us in Romans 5:12 that "Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."
Yes, and the man after God's own heart, David the Psalmist, reminds us in Psalms 51:5, that we've all been born in sin and shapen in iniquity. And it is just as natural for you and I to sin, as it is for a fish to swim, or a dog to bark. Furthermore, since we are inheritors of a sinful nature, contrary to God, it is therefore necessary for us to be regenerated, or "born again", by the Holy Spirit and word of God, if we ever expect to reach the glories of Heaven. That's the reason that the Lord Jesus Christ, three times over, told the religious leader Nicodemus, in John chapter 3, that "except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Friend, whether you believe it or not, God's word declares that you're spiritually dead if you've never been "born again". Over in Ephesians 2:1, the Apostle Paul reminds the assembly at Ephesus, "And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins."
Now friend, let's be honest about this matter, and just take God at His word, because as we mentioned earlier, "God cannot lie", and "it is impossible for God to lie". In the prophecy of Ezekiel, chapter 18 and verses 4 and 20 both, God says that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." And the Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 6:23 that "the wages of sin is death", and the wages of sin have never been reduced. Yes, God's word clearly and unreservedly declares that everyone of us, if we're not saved, is spiritually dead, and all this is because of S-I-N, sin. Friend, our sins and iniquities have SURELY separated us from our Creator, God; and we can only be restored to a new and proper relationship with God, through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now that leads us to our second main "Scripture Text" of assurance, which is Isaiah 53: verses 4 and 5. There God tells us, "SURELY, He (meaning the Lord Jesus Christ) hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." Well friend, to a sinner like me, those words of assurance are worth more than all the wealth in this world. And if I had no other claim today, then I claim the God-given fact that His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, died for my sins at Calvary's cross. Yes, God says "SURELY", and that's good enough for me, but is it good enough for you ? I sure hope so!
The word of God declares in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God"; and the reason is simply because if we're not saved, then we're spiritually dead; but it doesn't stop there, Ah no! God has provided the only sacrifice for our sins in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, over 1900 years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on Calvary's cross; He was the Just One dying for we, the unjust, so that He might bring us back to that new and proper relationship with His Father, God, the One in Whose hand is our every breath. And even though He, Himself, was sinless; the Lord Jesus Christ became sin for us, so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Anyone reading this message today can become a child of God, through simple faith in the precious blood that God's Son shed at the place called Calvary. And in I John 1:7, we're told that "the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." Again, in I Peter 2:24, God declares that His Son "bare our sins in His own body on the tree." Then I think of that simple statement of fact in I Corinthians 15:3, "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures".
Now perhaps someone is thinking-"Well, why did Jesus Christ die for me; why didn't He let me remain spiritually dead?" Friend, the answer is found in a 4-letter word-"L-O-V-E", yes, LOVE ! Fortunately, it is only the marvelous, matchless, sovereign and immeasurable LOVE of God that makes eternal salvation available to all mankind today. Otherwise, we all would be SURELY doomed and damned to an eternity of torment. But "thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift", and His great heart of LOVE, we can be saved, or "born again", and as SURE of going to Heaven, as though we were already walking the "street of gold".
In Romans 5:8,9 we read, "But God commendeth His LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." And I'm SURE that many of you reading this message today, are quite familiar with the best-known verse in the Bible, John 3:16, where the Lord Jesus Christ declares, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Friend, are you going to cast aside the love of God, and end up in Hell ? Remember, even though you may be spiritually dead today, if you place your faith, or trust, in the sacrificial death of God's Son, you can immediately pass from spiritual death unto spiritual life. Another SURE promise is given by the Lord Jesus Christ in John 5:24, "He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
Tell me, friend, what are you depending upon to get your soul into Heaven, if it is not the blood of Jesus Christ? If it is so-called "good works"; you'll be in Hell ! If it is your "religious heritage"; you'll be in Hell ! If it is your "religious activities" such as baptism, dedication, confirmation, teaching Sunday School, reading your Bible, saying your prayers, or even being a member of the so-called "clergy", then friend, as SURELY as you're reading this message today; you'll SURELY be in Hell, and the Lake of Fire, for all eternity. And sad to say, you'll remember me warning you, that you would be there !
Sinner friend, would you like to be saved today? If so, then look by faith to Calvary and see the Son of God, Jesus Christ, dying on the cross for your sins. He was sinless, spotless, holy, harmless and undefiled; yet, in love for all mankind, He willing suffered, bled and died as our Substitute, our Sacrifice, our Saviour; and all we have to do is to BELIEVE IT, NOT ONLY IN OUR HEAD, BUT WITH ALL OF OUR HEART. In Romans 10:9,10, we read ,"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine HEART that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the HEART man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Don't be like many people today who are missing Heaven by about 18 inches. I was just like that many years ago. I was actually preaching the Gospel with my head knowledge of the Scriptures, but it had never reached my heart until I was saved on June 2, 1952.
And let me emphasize another very important item, and that is the fact that faith in God's ONLY Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the ONE and ONLY means of securing everlasting life. No, you can forget about Buddha, Confucius, and Muhammad too, because if they could speak to you from where they are now, they would be SURE to tell you that there is ONLY one Saviour for all mankind, and that is Jesus Christ, God's ONLY Son. In Acts 4:12, the Apostle Paul declares emphatically, "NEITHER IS THERE SALVATION IN ANY OTHER: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." And even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself tells us in John 10:9, "I am THE DOOR: by ME if any man enter in, he shall be saved." Again in John 14:6, He further declares, "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE: no man cometh unto the Father but by ME."
Friend, when the Lord Jesus Christ had come to the end of His suffering for our sins on Calvary's cross, he cried out, "IT IS FINISHED !" Yes, He had completed the work which God had given Him to do; and He had satisfied all the claims of a Holy God against sin; my sins, and your sins too. And today, those who trust Him as their Lord and Saviour, can rest where God rests, in the finished work of Jesus Christ. And friend, if you're not depending on what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for you at Calvary, upon what, or upon whom, are you depending for your soul's salvation?
Well, there's one thing SURE, if you're not depending upon what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for you at Calvary, by shedding His sin-cleansing BLOOD for you, then you're only a heartbeat from the place of eternal torment; the place that Jesus Christ called "HELL".
But friend, this is still the day of God's marvelous GRACE, and you can be saved TODAY, "without money and without price". But please don't procrastinate; No, don't "put it off". There are untold millions of people in eternal torment who had expected to get saved, "SOMEDAY", but they were cut down unexpectedly, and even now they are weeping, and wailing, and gnashing their teeth. In II Corinthians 6:2, God warns,"Behold NOW is the accepted time; behold NOW is the day of salvation." In Proverbs 27:1, we read, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Then two chapters later on, we're warned again, in Proverbs 29:1, "He that being often reproved (or warned) hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
And friend, remember that God gets no pleasure seeing His creature, man, rejecting His salvation, and going down to Hell. We're told in II Peter 3:9, that God "is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Yes, and in I Thessalonians 5:9, the Apostle Paul states, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." So friend, what is your excuse for not being saved NOW; not TOMORROW, but NOW ?
And that leads us to our third, and final main "Scripture Text" for today, Revelation 22:20; and it is also the final SURETY promise of the Lord Jesus Christ, of which we read in the Bible. Yes, the last recorded words of God's Son, before the scriptures were completed, are these words of assurance, "SURELY, I COME QUICKLY." What a blessed hope that is to those of us who are saved. Just to know that someday SOON, PERHAPS TODAY, the Heavens will open and out will step the Lord Jesus Christ, coming to claim from the world His own; those for whom He died; and those who were wise enough to accept Him as their own and personal Saviour.
Yes, we have the SURETY promise in I Thessalonians 4, beginning at verse 16, "For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." And what a comfort it is for the true Christian, to know another promise of SURETY, given in Hebrews 10:37, "For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry."
Friend, there need be not one prophecy fulfilled before the Lord comes to the air and takes the true Christians, whether dead or alive, home to Heaven with Him. And it is nice to know that "the Lord HIMSELF" is coming to take us up to Heaven; He's not sending some angels or seraphims, but He is coming "HIMSELF". What a joy it will be to see the One Who loved us unto death, even the cruel and ignominious death of the cross. Yes, we're going to a place called "HEAVEN", the dwelling place of Deity, and those redeemed of the Lord. A place of no more sin, sorrow and sickness; no more tears, trials and temptations; no more despair, defilement and death; and no more apprehension, anxiety and animosity.
Yes, and we'll not only be WITH our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, but we'll also be LIKE Him. In Philippians 3:20,21, we read, "For our citizenship is in Heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." Still another similar SURETY promise is found in I John 3:2,3, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purified himself, even as He is pure."
I'm certain that many of you reading this message today are quite familiar with those words of SURETY which were uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ, at the beginning of John chapter 14, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN, AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF; THAT WHERE I AM, THERE YE MAY BE ALSO."
Now friend, these precious and promised words of SURETY in John chapter 14, were given only to those who are saved. But how about those who are unsaved; those who've never accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour; how about them ? Friend, if you're not saved when the Lord comes again, you'll be left behind for the eternal and righteous judgment of a Holy God. Yes, as far as you're concerned, the day of God's grace will have ceased to exist; and you'll be as SURE of being in Hell, as though you were already there. And friend, if you're not "born again" soon, you'll wish that you had never been born at all !
So, in closing, I plead with you to acknowledge your sinnership in God's sight, repent of your sins, and trust in the precious blood of JESUS CHRIST ALONE, to cleanse you from all sin. If you do that right now, the SURE word of God says that you'll be saved, not only for time, but for all eternity. And remember, my friend, this is for eternity. YES, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY !
Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk