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April 9, 2017

"AMAZING GRACE - Verse Four"

TEXT: Genesis 15: 1-6
READING:  Psalm 144: 1-15

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SUBJ: The expression of assurance and hope expressed by John Newton in the 4th verse of Amazing Grace: The Lord has promised good to me, / His Word my hope secures; / He will my Shield and Portion be, / As long as life endures.

AIM: That we might truly lay hold on the truth that it is God’s design and desire to do good to His people and that He is the good in our lives in every way.

INTR: With the 4th verse of the hymn we begin a portion that is little known and seldom sung but which is certainly in harmony with what has preceded.
1. We have considered the first verse along with the concern that we sing hymns without processing them; the second verse concerning grace that both reveals need and reveals the remedy in Christ Jesus our Lord; and in verse three the acknowledgement of divine providence whereby Grace has delivered through all obstacles to our present state of faith.
2. In the 4th verse we are brought to Newton’s expression of complete faith in the Lord and thus believing Him and the promises of eternal life to all who come unto God by Him.
3. It has been well said of assurance of hope: “Assurance is the fruit that grows out of the root of faith (Charnock);” Assurance is glory in the bud, it is the suburbs of paradise (Brooks);” “Faith is our seal; assurance is God’s seal. (Christopher Nesse).”

THESIS: The blessedness of this thought from John Newton is that the Lord is the promised good and He is as good as His word. The puritan Cruso wrote: “The being of God may as well fail as the promise of God.”

I. The promise of good
1. The Lord had just brought Abraham (Abram) to a critical point regarding promises made and assurances needed.
1) He had just returned from the battle with the kings and the deliverance of Lot.
2) He had there been blessed by Melchizedek (a most notable type of Christ)
3) He had refused to accept any reward – That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Genesis 14:23.
2. It was after these things that the Lord confirmed the promise of good to Abraham who is called the father of the faithful.
1) So, comes the promise to all who so believe: For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Psalms 84:11.
2) The presence of the Lord is greater that any material wealth: Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5
3. And we remember the ever-present Romans 8:28
4. And consider: 12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. Isaiah 55:12-13
5. And never forget: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

II. His word secures my hope which is:
1. To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Colossians 1:27.
2. WE are most certainly directed to look to the written word of God and all that is recorded therein as to the faithfulness of God: It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
1) And see, For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. Hebrews 6:13-14.
2) Including: I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Isaiah 45:23
3. But, we would not neglect the greater reference to that declared in Christ our Lord: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
1) And: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14
2) And also: Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Hebrews 1:2.
4. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: Acts 13:38

III. The hope given us – my Shield and Portion
1. The reward of Abraham and us is not to be measured in material things; it is rather the Lord Himself given as a possession (5th verse).
2. See then: But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. Psalms 3:3 AND For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. Psalms 5:12.
3. Jeremiah was kept by grace through faith: The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Lamentations 3:24.
4. Again, we invoke the word Amazing: “To confound with fear, sudden surprise, or wonder; to astonish.” Webster’s 1828 dictionary.
1) That we should the objects of such precious benefits as the Lord provides
2) That He should commit to us in such a fashion as this – to so promise and stake His integrity on the success of the things promised to us and secured for all our lives.
3) That He should engage to defend us against every enemy of our soul and
4) That He should appear to us as Peter describes: Unto you therefore which believe he is precious… 1 Peter 2:7
5. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalms 34:8.