Garry started his sermon with the provocative statement ‘the promises of God are not enough on their own.’ To illustrate his point, he gave us a lesson in electricity…
A coal fired power plant takes coal, pulverises it and feeds this into a furnace; the burning coal when heated produces steam which drives the turbine which is connected by a shaft to a generator. When part of the generator revolves, this produces a current. The output of the generator feeds into cables which are connected to the power grid.
In the same way that we cannot use the electricity to make lights work without the light switch or PIR, for God’s promises to be effective, we have to either do something (likened to flicking the switch) or be something (the PIR works by detecting movement.)
Some of God’s promises are unconditional (eg Gen 8:20-22), but others require faith to be added to the mix for them to work (see Heb 4:1-2). We need to believe and act on the promises of God, asking God for what we need (see Js 4:1-3). God’s promises are backed up by His power and they never ‘go off’ (as paint does if left unusued), but we need to overcome our fear and lack of faith if we are to see them become reality. Matthew’s gospel shows us that Jesus often referred to His disciples as ‘little faiths’ (see Matt 6:29-31, Matt 8:23-25, Matt 14:25-31, Matt 16:5-8). When we energise our faith, the promises of God can become active. Our faith and trust are like the switch or PIR which enable the power of God to become active in our lives.
Josh 1:1-3 reminds us that Joshua had to set his foot on the places promised by God in order to claim them. He was urged to ‘be strong and courageous’ (see also Josh 1:4-6). Courage is not the absence of fear and trembling, but a pressing on in spite of fear. Faith as small as a mustard seed can achieve great things; our ‘pocketful of faith’ (Nick Herbert/ Tim Hughes) is all that is required to see the promises of God come alive in our lives.