Peter Herbeck’s talk delves into the transformative power of Jesus’ promises and their role in our journey towards holiness. He underscores how God’s provision through the Cross shapes our perspective, guiding us to overcome anxiety, rely on Jesus for bearing fruit, and find security in the promise of a heavenly place.
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Reflective Study Guide Questions
“Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.”John 15:4
1. Peter points out that, in the work of becoming saints, God has already provided a way for us through the work of the Cross. How might knowing that God has already done this work for us change the way you look at your journey to holiness?
2. It can be very easy for us to fall into anxiety and worldly fears in our lives, but Jesus tells us in Scripture that we need not give into worldly anxieties because He will provide all that we need. What are you most anxious about in your life? How can Jesus’ promises help you in your moments of anxiety?
3. Jesus tells us in Scripture that apart from Him, we can do nothing. He says that we are to abide in Him in order to bear fruit. Have you ever tried to bear fruit without relying on Jesus? How can you work on relying on His strength more deeply in all you want to accomplish?
4. Jesus says in Scripture that He is preparing a place for us in Heaven with His Father. How can you grow in security and peace in your life through the knowledge that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us in Heaven?
Text: The Promises of Jesus and the Path Towards Holiness
Hello friends, I’m Peter Herbeck. I’m delighted to be able to be with you for this Pray More Novenas Summer Healing Retreat. I’ll be touching on a few topics over a series of videos, along with my wife Debbie, and maybe some others will be doing it as well. But I get the privilege tonight to talk about the promises of Jesus and the path toward holiness.
The Way, The Truth, and The Life
The promises of Jesus provide for us a path toward holiness. The Lord has made a way for us. Jesus said, “I’m the way, the truth and the life.” And He’s come to reveal to us the truth about God, the Father, the truth about our lives and what the Father’s plan and purpose for us is. And from the Genesis to Revelation, there are hundreds of promises and Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises. So, I want to touch on just a few of these tonight.
So, I want to begin with the passage, John 18:37: “For this I was born and for this I came into the world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Lord, we want to hear your voice tonight, today. We want to hear the truth, we want to be people who are of the truth so we can walk in truth, walk in your way and receive the promises that you yourself have made to us. And the Father has made from all eternity. In your holy name, Jesus, we pray.
Fulfillment of them All
So again, John 18:37: For this I was born and for this I came into the world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. Holiness is possible because God is faithful to His promises. God has promised in His Son, Jesus. He promises to you and to me that because of what Jesus has done for us and because of God’s faithfulness, we can become saints. God is at work in us and through us to do that very thing, to become little Christs. And there’s nothing greater, there’s nothing more important. And the great thing is, friends, is that this whole process is, of walking in holiness, walking in God’s righteousness and becoming saints is a work of God in us. It takes our full yes and cooperation. But God’s already done the heavy lifting. He has provided a way, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, through His death on the cross, the shedding of His blood, by disarming the principalities and powers and rulers of this dark world that are set against us and against our becoming all that God meant us to be. And the shedding of His blood cleanses us and removes from us the stain of sin and the inherited fallen condition that we received from Adam and Eve. We’re by nature children of wrath and Jesus came to deal with that, to deal with the separation between us and the Father.
So that’s the starting point in the foundation, why Jesus has become one of us, what He’s accomplished for us. And now ascended at the right hand of the Father where He’s seated and all power and authority belong to Him, He now can and is fulfilling all the promises of God. He Himself is the fulfillment of them all.
We Can Lean on His Promises
So, I just want to say a couple of things before I touch on just a few areas of, key areas of key promises, you might say, of- All God’s promises are good, they’re all important. But some in particular, as I was praying, I felt like it’d be good to touch on with you.
First of all, we can lean into God’s promises for two fundamental reasons. One is the character of Jesus. God is not a man that He should lie. The Old Testament book of Numbers reminds us, God does not lie. Jesus said, “I’m the way, I’m the truth and I’m the life.” I am the truth about the way to eternal life with my Father. I’ve come to bear witness to the truth about who the Father is, who the devil is, to expose the devil, and the opposition to the Father’s kingdom. And to reveal to each one of us what does it mean to be a human being. Who are we? What are we called to? What will ultimately satisfy the human heart? And how we can reach our ultimate purpose that the Lord has set.
So first of all, we can trust in the character of Jesus because he’s a truth-teller. He is the truth itself. Number two, He’s able to make good on His promises. “All power in heaven and earth has been given to me,” Jesus said. He’s exalted at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. He has established the kingdom of God. And in everyone who is baptized into Christ, everyone who’s now been given power to become a child of God, it’s what John says, to be born again by water and the Spirit, we now are the process, the work of God in us. The great work of Jesus and the triumph and the victory of Jesus begins its work in us.
The Fundamental Promise
And the fundamental and first promise I want to talk about today, is the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that he would send the Spirit. And that’s the most, that’s the deepest, most profound and, it’s hard to even put words on it, the most significant promise that we’ve received. Because through that gift of the Holy Spirit sent by Christ, again, we are born anew, as Saint Peter said, to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled and unfading and it’s kept in heaven for you and for me. So, God is the God who fulfills His promises. He’s the God of all power, can make it happen. He’s the God of covenant love, right? So, the Holy Spirit. Just read a couple of passages, John 14:16:
Jesus said, “If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments.” You know talking, Jesus revealing to us the love language of heaven. The keeping of the commandments. He wants to enable us to do that very thing, to love the Father. Verse 16: “And I will ask the Father and he will give you another counselor to be with you forever. Even the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him, but you know him for he dwells with you and he will be in you.”
So, Jesus is going to intercede and as the right hand of the Father, he prays. And on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out. And on the day we were baptized, we entered into that Pentecostal reality. The outpouring of the love of God poured into our hearts, enabling us, as I said, to become children of God and to have right from the core of our being, the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaking to our spirit, right, leading us to understand and to believe and to confess that God is our Father. That we’re not orphans, that we’re children of God. And we can say Abba from the core of our being. This is the triumph and the work of Jesus in us. “These things I have spoken to you while I’m still with you, but the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, bring to you remembrance, all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid.”
So good in John’s, the whole section here of John’s Gospel, 14 through 17, the Last Supper Discourse. Jesus is so clear about the challenges and the tribulation of following and walking in His footsteps. But He reassures us and said, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” He gives us a command. And how is that possible to not have a troubled heart? He said, “First, believe in God, our Father. Believe in me.” Jesus said. “I’m going to prepare a place for you,” that whole thing but then he says, “I will give you the Holy Spirit, a counselor, he will lead you to all truth. Everything you need to know, you will always have with you an advocate. He’s alongside you, right? He dwells within you and he’s leading you.”
So, it’s such a precious gift, the gift par excellence. And the Lord, the Holy Spirit, gives us the power. He gives us a new power with a new capacity to be able to live a new way of life. And so the great adventure of the Christian life now is a new life in the Spirit, walking in the Holy Spirit who seeks to produce in us the fruits of the Spirit. To teach us to walk in virtue, to give us the power, you know, to live out that, you know, and walk in the spiritual gifts we’ve been given at baptism, the Isaiah gifts, you know, wisdom and understanding, fear of the Lord, things like that. But also the fruits of the Spirit, which is such a wonderful and very precious gift because what we’re doing is we’re living with the Lord on a daily basis.
And learning to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit given to us, the advocate, our teacher, the one who opens up and manifests the glory of Jesus to us, which is really the first mission of the Holy Spirit, to make known and give us faith, conviction, in the victory and the lordship and the majesty of Jesus. And to trust the Lord and to follow and to love the Lord with all our heart. That’s the Holy Spirit at work in us. And then what’s beautiful over time as we cooperate with the grace of God, what ends up happening is God produces, right? He produces real fruit in us. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness. And we begin to walk in holiness because we’re actually being transformed by the presence of the Holy One. The Holy Spirit’s given to us and we’re, friends, what we’re really calling, is really comes down to, is God makes us holy. God sets us apart by virtue of making it possible for us to become temples of the living God. We walk it out, we walk out the commandments but the heart of it is right there. God sanctifies us. And it’s such a gift to be able to believe it, to walk in it, to see that as our fundamental identity, the ground of it. Enables us to be able to cooperate then with the Lord.
Matthew Chapter 6
So, the first thing, the first promise is the promise of the Holy Spirit itself. Again, promise par excellence. The second promise is Matthew chapter 6. Now I chose this one because it’s had a big impact on my life. And this is another, one of these outstanding, you know, teachings of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. And he’s leading us, you know Jesus is talking to us about the Sermon on the Mount lifestyle, what it is we’re called to be and do and live out our life. And this famous passage beginning in verse 25, Jesus said: Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body and what you shall put on. Is not life more than food and body more than drink? Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
So, I’ve often been struck by Jesus’ directness here. And it can be even a little bit of a head scratcher like it said, be anxious- Don’t be anxious about anything. Lord, the human race seems to be anxious about everything. You know, it’s so easy to just fall into anxiety and concern and fear. And Jesus is addressing it and said no, you can actually live differently and I’m going to help you do that. And it’s critical for you to see that it’s possible. He said look around you. I’m looking out the window and there’s birds out there, right? And Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air. Your heavenly Father feeds them.” Another place he talks about, you know, the sparrows, the whole flock of sparrows, he said, you know, the sparrows themselves, the little birds, they’re being cared for and watched over by God the Father. He said you’re worth more than a whole flock of sparrows.
So, Jesus said keep that in mind. It’s really important to know and understand why you have a basis from which you don’t have to live out of anxiety and fear. But then the Lord goes on and he says, you know, it’s the Gentiles who don’t know God and don’t know the Father, who are conscious, are anxious about everything, right? But he says this: For the Gentiles seek all these things, yet your heavenly Father knows what you need, that you need them all.
Seek His Kingdom
Verse 33 is the key one: “But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be yours as well.”Instead of anxiety, instead of worrying that you have to be the total provider for yourself, you can entrust your heart and mind through the grace of the Holy Spirit that says to your spirit that God is my Father, He’s, my Abba. I’m not an orphan, I’m not on my own. But God’s love has been poured into my heart. And I can live as a child of God who has a real father who delivers on all His promises. But he said, “Seek first the kingdom of God.” He said, “If you do this,” it’s an if/then statement essentially, “If you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all these things that you need will be added unto you.” The key thing is to let go of anxiety and to lean into the Father and to seek him first.
To seek His kingdom, which means what? To seek the king, right? To first seek Jesus with all your heart, to put him first. And then to receive the kingdom he’s come to establish. He said, you know, repent, the kingdom of God is at hand. That means the rule, the dominion, and the way of the kingdom is present. And that Jesus is leading us into it. He said, if you live in that, you will receive the full provision.
The Impact of This Passage
So, the kingdom and righteousness. God’s righteousness is His faithfulness to His promises, His covenant promise fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, dealing with the sin problem that separates us from him. And he makes us righteous, right? We cooperate with God’s action at work in us rightly aligning us to our relationship with God the Father and with Jesus our Lord. I remember when I first, this passage was the first passage in my life that I remember that really jumped out at me when I was in college. I had made a turn in my later high school years, really a deep conversion happened in my life. And in college, I, you know, had some friends, some older mentors and some of them said, you know, read the Word of God every day. Read little bits of the Word of God and read and ask the Holy Spirit. This Word is breathed by God. It’s alive, it’s living, it’ll cut right to your heart. So, with kind of a patience, a patient attentiveness to the Word and a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will sometimes point out a passage. It’ll just, you’ll know that he’s trying to communicate to you. And I was in my dorm, 20 years old, and I’m reading, and I got to this verse 33: “But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well”.
And that passage just like lit up, kind of. And I felt the Lord say to me, “Peter, if you literally, if you internalize this, and you make this sort of like your life purpose, to seek first the kingdom, I will show you that my promises are true. I will fulfill what’s promised right here in this passage in your life. And one day you will testify to it.” And I’m almost 65 years old now, that’s like 45 years ago. In just a few weeks, it’ll be 45 years ago. And I can say I’m just amazed at what the Lord has done in His faithfulness. His Word is so true. And he’s provided all along the way. We’ve had, my wife and I, we’ve been in ministry for many years. We had moments where we weren’t sure sometimes what the next, you know, how secure the future was going to be. But he taught us how to trust him. And he kept bringing us back to this passage. And I just, that’s why the main reason I wanted to share it with you because it’s real and God said- I can testify to the truth of God’s fidelity to His promises in this life. Not to mention what’s coming in the future, in the life to come.
The Promise of Fruit Bearing
Okay, number three, John 15, the promises, the promise of fruit-bearing. We’re called to bear fruit. Jesus said we’re chosen. He chose us to bear fruit. And He told us if we cooperate with His plan and purpose for the fruit-bearing, we will bear fruit. And that fruit will echo into eternity and God will- We will receive a reward for it, we’ll be blessed. And there’s just so much there. So here’s the place to go, it would be John 15. Beautiful passage, John 15:1: “I’m the true vine and my Father is the vine dresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away; and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You’re already made clean by the Word which I have spoken to yo.”
By the way, that’s such a beautiful passage. You’re made clean by the Word of God. You’re washed clean, your mind is renewed, right? Your heart is purified. This Word is fire. It purifies, it changes us. It’s so critical, friends, for us to be able to grab hold of this. So Jesus is showing us something about how the kingdom works and how the Father has establish it, His plan.
So, the Father watches over the vineyard. And he’s serious about those of us who bear His image that we come under the lordship of His Son. And we’re like a branch that’s part of a vine. And Jesus is the source of life that flows through that vine, into the branches. And so the key is to be connected. The Father wants us connected so we can become the children of God and we can become saints and everything the Father wants us to be. And if we don’t abide in Jesus, the branch is going to be cut off. It’s no good, it’s dead. It’s going to be thrown into the fire. It’s kind of a sobering passage and an encouraging passage at the same time. He said, “Abide in me and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I’m the vine, you’re the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, he it is who bears much fruit. For apart from me, you can do nothing.”
So Jesus gives us the key. What does it mean to abide in the Lord? It means to live daily with the Lord, in conversation, quiet in our hearts, to talk to Jesus in simple loving ways each day. As Jesus teaches us, we thank him, we bless him, we declare him to others. But we walk with- You know, you’ve heard of practicing the presence of God. It’s another way of saying it that he’s with us. Lord, I thank you for your plan, I thank you that you’re here in the Holy Spirit today. You’re leading me to continue to walk in you and to walk further into your purposes for my life. Just little things throughout the day like that. And as you hear the Lord, say, “Thank you, Lord. Show me more. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for the understanding that you’re giving to me.” So, living in simple conversation with the Lord daily.
And then, number two is receiving His promises, believing His promises, studying the promises of God. And then leaning on those promises in such a way that if those promises weren’t there, you’d fall flat on your face. That’s like radically abandoning yourself and trust the God and the God’s promises. Say, “I’m betting everything on these promises. Because he’s the faithful one, he’s the truth-teller. He’s spoken the truth to me, and he’s got the power to deliver on all of those promises.” So Jesus is saying, the abiding- And then the third thing is literally following His leadership. So, talking to the Lord, embracing and receiving, walking in His promises and following His leadership in our life.
Abide in My Love
He said, “If a man does not abide in me, he’s cast forth as a branch and withers and the branches are gathered and thrown into the fire. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will.” It’s that beautiful prayer. And then he goes on to say, “As the Father loves me, so I love you. Abide in my love.” This strengthens us in the abiding process, Jesus said. How does he love us? As the Father loves me, so I love you. He loves us the way the Father loves him. He’ll say it later. In John 17, he’ll say “As the Father loves the Son, so the Father loves us.” How does God love us? The way God loves God, right? From all eternity. God is love.
So, Jesus goes on, “You did not choose me but I chose you and I appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide. So that whatever you ask in the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” God chose you to bear the fruit of the kingdom, right? The fruit of the kingdom, which is fundamentally holiness, it’s the fruits of the Spirit, it’s extending the kingdom of God in love and service. It’s responding to the great commandment and the great commission with all our heart, with all our soul, all our mind and all our strength, to walk in those realities. Jesus said you can’t do that on your own but if you abide in me, which is loving me, living in the love language of God, which I’ll touch on in another video more deeply, but living in that, watch me bear fruit in you. And it’s going to be fruit that will last for all eternity and will be rewarded and acknowledged by the Lord. And the Father is going to be delighted to see what His Son has done in us for the glory of the Father and the glory of the Son. So, it’s so good, the promise of fruit-bearing.
The Promise of Eternal Home
Finally, the fourth one is the promise of an eternal home. Back to John 14:3. I’m going to begin with verse 1: Let not your hearts be troubled, go back to that passage, but believe in God and believe also in me. Believe in the Father, believe in the Son. That means, by the way, a radical abandonment of our life and trust to God, right? To really put all our eggs in the basket, hold nothing back and just surrender. And you know, follow in the footsteps of, you know, Abraham who became a known man of faith. He’s our father in faith, such a good model. “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and I will take you to myself that where I am, you may also be.” Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you. You know, in His Father’s house, in our Father’s house, there’s many rooms, there’s many mansions. You have a place. You can count on it.
So, one of the reasons the anxiety can lift, the troubled heart can lift, you know the fear, the paranoia, the anxiety can lift, is because we know who it is that we’re in relationship with. We know what he’s done for us. We’ve experienced the power, the new power that’s in us in Christ and the transforming grace. We’re learning to love God, to walk in His purposes, to walk in His commands. And we see that he’s true and we know that he’s true. And we say, wow, I know where my life is headed. I don’t have to be afraid of death. In fact, the Bible’s so clear, I’m going to be dead soon, right? Life is short, it’s a passing shadow. We’re here today and we’re gone tomorrow. The big thing, the biggest thing that can happen to a human being on this earth has already begun in us. Christ has made His home in you. It’s Christ in you, the hope of glory. There’s hope in your heart. There’s confident expectation of the fulfillment of your life.
Believe to Live by a Light
Your life has a breathtakingly beautiful, powerful destiny that’s in the hands of the Lord and no one can take it out of His hands. You are in His hands, right? He’s going to prove himself true. He’s prepared a place for you and he’s going to bring you home to the Father. And friends, when we believe that, it brings security and peace. When we believe these promises of God, the darkness of the world lifts from us, we begin to live by a light. The light that is Christ, that enables us to see the real, you know, ground of what’s happening in us, what God is doing. And we believe it and we know nothing can stop it except our sin, if we turn to sin and turn away. Nothing can separate us from this power, this love and presence of the Holy Spirit and the fulfilling of God’s plan in our lives. Friends, as we believe it- You know, there’s so many people in the world today, we read article after article of the anxiety and the fear and the psychological breakdown and the disorder and the confusion and the like. This is the kingdom of darkness. The kingdom of disorder, the power of death. This disordered energy that’s released in a world that denies this fundamental truth.
There’s only two kingdoms, the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. God’s kingdom is in you. The key is don’t let the world distract you from it. Get focused on the promises of God and live through them, with them. You know, live in response to those promises. Because a person made those promises to you personally. It’s God himself. And you can bank on it. He will prove Himself true because God is not a man that He should lie. God bless you, friends.
About Peter Herbeck
Peter Herbeck is the Executive Vice President and Director of Missions for Renewal Ministries. For more than thirty years, he has been actively involved in evangelization and Catholic renewal throughout the US, Canada, Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Peter is the co-host of the weekly television show, The Choices We Face. He hosts the daily radio show Fire on the Earth. He is a frequent conference speaker, has authored When the Spirit Comes in Power, When the Spirit Speaks, and numerous booklets, and is a frequent contributor to Renewal Ministries’ popular YouTube channel. Peter and his wife, Debbie, have four children and eleven grandchildren, and reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.