Heirs of the same promise - Pastor Sabu Thomas
For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:39)
Peter in his sermon, speaks of the ‘promise’ of the Holy Spirit just after the New Testament Church has been formed. The resurrected Christ has ascended into Heaven and the Holy Spirit has descended upon the Church. The Holy Spirit, sent from the Father is the one to establish the Church. This ‘promise’ is for us, the body of believers who are a part of the church. Not only are we heirs of the promise, but our children are joint heirs with us of the same promise
“and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Six hundred years before Peter stood up to give this sermon, Isaiah the prophet saw through prophetic eyes those who were going to be redeemed.
As Isaiah 44:3 states “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring;”
This verse is not addressed to the geographical Israel, but Isaiah prophesies about a spiritual Israel on whom God would pour out His Spirit. There are two types of Israel, one is the Old Testament Israel and the other is the chosen Israel.
In Isaiah 44:1-2 God says “Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant, and Israel whom I have chosen. Thus says the Lord who made you, And formed you from the womb, who will help you; Fear not, O Jacob My servant; And you, Jeshurun , whom I have chosen.”
Here Jacob refers to Jacob the deceiver, who by the ford of Jabbok wrestled with the Angel and got hold of the promises after which God changed his name to Israel. Isaiah spoke prophetically about the chosen Israel that would be birthed six hundred years hence.
A child of God should have the conviction that he is no ordinary person, but a chosen Jeshurun. God has broken off the natural branches of the olive tree and grafted us in who are branches of the wild olive tree. Rom 11:17-24.God saw us before we were formed in our mother’s womb and made us heirs of the promise as stated“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Peter, the prophet of the New Testament, quotes this Scripture when he witnessed the Holy Spirit descending in tongues of fire upon the church, the chosen Israel.
In 1 Peter 1:18-19 mentions “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Before we conducted ourselves unknowingly in aimless traditions like bowing before statues, holding religious processions, offering penances etc from which God in His mercy has redeemed us. If we walked aimlessly before, now a child of God should walk with the aim of winning souls to Christ.
Abraham who was the son of an idol maker once walked aimlessly through the streets of Iraq. But when God called him out of his father’s house to go to the land He was to give him, Abraham’s walk had a meaning. God also changed his name from Abram, the father of nation to Abraham, the father of many nations and he received great blessings. When our walk changes, our situations change and blessing overtake us.
1 Peter 1:9 says “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”
a light so marvelous that no power house or thermal plant can produce. Revelations 22:5 says “And there shall be no night there. They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light”. When God calls us out of darkness into His marvelous light ,we are to proclaim his praises. We should use our tongues to glorify God and not to speak evil and slander others.
In Heb 11:9-10 mentions “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God”.
Here we see Abraham, at the age of 170, dwelling in tents with his son and grandson probably aged 70 and 20 respectively. Abraham was agile even when he was approaching death because he was a worshipper of God. He worshipped God along with Isaac and Jacob, impressing upon them that they were but strangers and pilgrims on the earth, waiting for a heavenly country, “the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God”.
In Genesis 22:6, Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, laid it on Isaac , took the fire and a knife and the two walked together to Mt. Moriah .Isaac asks his father,” Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”.When we go to offer a sacrifice, our conversation should be about the sacrifice, the things of God and not about worldly matters.
Ephesians 6:4 “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
The Bible says there are two things we are to give our children: training and admonition.
Hebrews 12:5-6 says “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”
If God chastises the children whom He loves, parents too should chasten their children. Parental discipline must be patterned after divine discipline.
Proverbs 13:24 says “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”
A parent doesn’t show his love for a child by overlooking the child’s faults and disobedience and neglecting to discipline him, but rather by influencing him to go the right way and prohibiting the child’s self-will from gaining control over his life. If God chastises us so that we become what He wants us to be, we too should chastise our children so they lead a blessed life.
In 1 Sam 1:11, we read where Hannah promised God that if He gave her a male child, the child would be dedicated to God all his life. When we dedicate our children to God, it doesn’t mean that they should serve as full time ministers, but in whatever field they are in, they should serve God.
Hannah brought a robe for her son when she came yearly for the sacrifice. Though Hannah didn’t see Samuel over the year, she knew in the spirit how much Samuel had grown because she was a praying mother. Even if our children are miles away from us ,if we are parents praying in tears for our children, they would never be lost.
Samuel dwelt among the wicked sons of Eli whose wickedness extended even to the sacrificial altars. Only certain portions of an offering were for the priests and the fat had to be burned before offering to God. But Eli’s sons disobeyed in that they took any part they wanted before burning the fat. Besides they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting thus invoking God’s wrath. But Samuel ministered to the Lord because he had a praying mother.
Even if we heap all the material blessings upon our children, we cannot ensure them of a godly life. But if we are praying parents ,bringing them up in the training and admonition of the Lord, they would never stray from the path of God. Then we who are heirs of the promise can say with all boldness that our children are joint ‘heirs of the same promise’