Trusting in the Unmovable God
If you remember, last week we got back into our study in the book of Hebrews. We looked at the first twelve verses of Hebrews chapter six, and we saw how the writer of Hebrews gave us three great ways that we can draw closer to Jesus Christ. We saw how one way that we can grow in our faith is by mastering the basic principles of Christianity. If we do not have a good doctrinal foundation, then everything about our faith will be weak and shallow. The second way to grow in our faith was to refuse to turn our backs on our salvation. This is that same theme of apostasy that runs throughout the book of Hebrews. The final way he told us we could grow in the faith is to be diligent. While the Holy Spirit does all of the really hard work in our spiritual growth, we must diligently try to kill the sin in our lives, and focus on our Lord and Savior.
And that brings us to this week’s passage. The theme of the final eight verses of chapter six is the trustworthiness of God. And the author makes the point that because God is trustworthy, we should always trust in Him. Makes sense, doesn’t it? But as I was preparing this sermon, it struck me that it’s much easier to trust in God in some aspects of our lives than it is in others. Which made me wonder, “What do twenty-first century Christians have the hardest time putting in God’s hands?” So to find the answer to this question, I asked my friends and family on facebook what they struggled leaving in God’s hands. Here are some of the answers that I got. Someone said that for them, the hardest thing to trust in God about were the little things that we think we can do on our own. How true! I often seek God’s advice about life’s biggest decisions, but on the little stuff, well, I can handle that on my own. Am I the only one that way? Someone else said that they struggled with trusting God in their relationships. Especially for teenagers, there are times when you might really be fond of someone, but what happens when that person fails to meet God’s standard for a suitable friend or spouse? Will you trust your instincts, or will you trust God’s? Another person said that they struggled with trusting in God for parental advice. It seems as if a new parenting book comes out almost every day, doesn’t it? And while some of these books are good; as Christians, we are told to put our trust in parenting tips that were written 2,000 years ago! Sometimes, trusting in God is hard! But as we’re going to see this morning, we can trust in God no matter what the situation is. To see what God’s word has to say, please turn in your Bibles to Hebrews chapter six, verses thirteen through twenty. Again, Hebrews 6:13-20.
“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.’ And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest after the order of Melchizedek.”
This morning’s sermon will take a good look at what it is about God’s character that makes Him so trustworthy. You know, there are a whole lot of promises in the Bible. The Bible promises us that God has good plans for us. The Bible promises us that God hears our prayers, and that God delights in answering our prayers. He promises to forgive us of every sin when we put our faith in Him. God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. Jesus promised in Matthew chapter six that if we will seek the Kingdom of God with all of our hearts, then God will supply all of our needs, and we would never even have to worry about them. Those are some stout promises, aren’t they? And not only are they stout promises, but they are stout promises to you. And the singular question that we will focus on this morning, is “How can I know that God is worthy of my trust?” In these eight verses, the writer of Hebrews gives us two excellent reasons so that we can know with certainty that God makes good on His promises. Let’s look at what God’s word has to say.
Reason #1: God’s proven track record
Because the writer of Hebrews is trying to prove that God is worthy of our trust, he starts with an Old Testament example of a man that trusted in God even though it might cost him his most valuable possession. That man was Abraham. Look at what verses thirteen and fourteen have to say. “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.’“ There are two really important things that I want to point out to you about these two verses. The first thing is this concept of an oath that we see in these verses. In Bible times, (and really up until the past couple generations), a man’s oath was as good as a legally-binding document. And often times, a man would bolster his oath by swearing by someone that could vouch for him, or someone that could hold him accountable.
And while this may seem like a foreign concept, almost all of us have experienced this concept first-hand. Let’s say you are going to buy your first car, or you are going to buy your first house. You go to the bank, and they notice that you have yet to establish any credit. The bank might be willing to loan you the money, but what is the bank normally going to want you to have? That’s right, a co-signer! A loan is basically an oath between you and the bank that you are going to pay back the money you borrowed plus interest. And a co-signer is essentially you swearing by someone greater than yourself, someone that can put their own credit on the line saying that you are good for your word.
Or, let’s say that you witnessed a crime, and the court called you in as a material witness. Before you testify, the court is going to want you to take an oath. “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” And then what comes next? So help me God. And on top of that even, you must lay your hand on the Bible. While we don’t do these kinds of things nearly as much as they did in Bible times, we do often take oaths, and we do often swear by someone greater than ourselves. But notice what verse thirteen says about God’s oath. The Bible says that God swore by His own name, because there is no one greater!
So this fact about the oath shows that God’s word is surely worth more than anyone else’s, and Abraham knew that, didn’t he? But the second thing I want you to notice about these verses is what was going on in Abraham’s life when God made this oath. If your Bible tells you where an Old Testament quote comes from, then you’ll notice that God said this to Abraham in Genesis 22:16, 17. And by the way, this is the same chapter we studied in Sunday school two Sundays ago when Brother Morris was sick. Genesis twenty-two is a story about when God told Abraham to go up to Mount Moriah and sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. Now, if you’re not familiar with the story, you might be saying, “Hold on, what? God told Abraham to sacrifice his son? That’s not the God I know. God doesn’t want us to sacrifice our kids!” Well, guess what, Abraham knew that! Abraham knew in his heart that God would provide an alternative sacrifice. But at the same time, Abraham was 100% willing to follow God’s command, because he trusted God. Abraham took his son Isaac to the top of the mountain, and Abraham tied Isaac to a pile of wood, just as he would have a lamb or a goat. And Abraham raised his knife to slay his son, when the voice of the Lord called out to him, and told him that he had prepared another sacrifice. Abraham looked, and noticed a ram caught in a bush, and Abraham sacrificed the ram in place of his son.
Now, one thing we must know for certain is that God did not want Abraham to sacrifice his son. The Bible says that God detests human sacrifices. And yet, God wanted to see how much trust Abraham had in Him. And Abraham exhibited that trust with flying colors. But you know, this was not the first time in Abraham’s life that he trusted in God when trust didn’t make much logical sense. To see what I’m talking about, look at verse fifteen. “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Now in my opinion, this verse is rewinding the life of Abraham a little bit. I think that this verse is a reference to God promising Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son together. And you might say, that’s not that big of a deal, people have children all the time. Here’s the catch. Abraham was 99, and Sarah was 89 when God promised them a son by next year. The Bible says that Sarah couldn’t help but laugh at God. She knew that this simply did not make sense. And yet, when the dust settled, Abraham and Sarah trusted God, and they patiently waited. And just as God said, Abraham and Sarah miraculously conceived, and their precious son Isaac was born. So there were two main episodes in Abraham’s life that he trusted in God when it didn’t make sense to our little brains. First, he trusted in God when God told him that he would have a son in his old age. Second, he trusted in God when God told him to sacrifice his son.
But I want you to know that the first point is not about Abraham. It’s about God! I told you that the writer of Hebrews was going to give us two reasons why God is worthy of our trust. The first reason is that God has a proven track record! When Abraham trusted in God in absolutely huge situations, God did not leave him hanging. God swore by His own name that He would do something, and He did it. And Abraham is not alone in this, by the way. God has absolutely never gone back on His word. He didn’t do it in Abraham’s life. He didn’t break His word throughout the entire Bible. And guess what, He will not break His promises in your life, either. Let’s look at the second reason God is worthy of our trust.
Reason #2: God’s unchangeable character
While I’m not going to read them again, verses sixteen talks more about this concept of God’s trustworthiness because He made an oath to Abraham. But I want you to notice something about verse seventeen. Verse seventeen reads, “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath.” This verse is essentially saying that sometimes, God lets us know that He is serious about His promises by making an oath. Now, God’s word is obviously enough at face value. That’s why this verse says , ”willing more abundantly to show the immutability of His counsel.” God’s word is enough as it is, but His oath makes us ”more abundantly” sure that His word is good. But what I wanted to point out to you about this verse is that big word in the middle of the verse, “immutability.” Immutability is one of those big ten-dollar theological words. But thankfully, this big word has a one-word definition. Immutability simply means, “unchanging.” Verse seventeen says that God’s word is unchanging. And by extension, God Himself is unchanging.
Look at what verse eighteen tells us about God. “That by two immutable things, which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:” In this verse, the writer of Hebrews says that there are two unchangeable things that prove to us that God’s promises to us are sure. The first thing he mentions in this verse. He says that it is impossible for God to lie. Church, you aren’t going to hear me talk very much about the things that God can’t do, because God is all-powerful. And yet, the Bible clearly teaches that the only thing God cannot do is sin, because it’s not in His nature. And you all know as well as I do that lying is a sin. So the writer of Hebrews wants you to know that God absolutely, unequivocally, cannot lie. If God makes a promise to us, then He will do it, because He can’t not do it. I don’t know about you, but that simple fact both sends shivers down my spine, and calms my quaking heart. I hope that gives you peace of mind, as well. And your peace of mind is exactly why the writer of Hebrews brought it up in the first place. Notice at the end of verse eighteen he says that he told us so that we who have fled to God for refuge might have a strong consolation that He will take care of us. That is some beautiful language to describe our relationship with God, isn’t it? We who have fled to God for refuge. The old hymn is so true that says that God is our “shelter in the time of storm.”
So, if you have trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior, then I want you to know that you have already fled to Him for your refuge from hell. But, have you fled to Him in the other areas of your life? Because church, God does not just want to be your refuge from hell. He wants to be your refuge for every storm in your life. But notice that the Bible doesn’t say that God is some refuge that you just waltz on into. No, the Bible says that God is a refuge that we must lay hold upon. The idea in the Greek is that we must cling to God. Have you ever seen those monkeys where the baby monkeys hold onto their mamas’ backs? It’s amazing how the mom will just jump from tree to tree, and the baby never falls off. Don’t you know that that baby is holding on for dear life? I know I would. That’s this same idea of clinging to God. The writer of Hebrews doesn’t just want us to be aware of God’s promises. He wants us to lay hold on God’s promises and never let go, no matter what happens around us.
You know, sometimes the hardest part about preparing sermons is finding illustrations that explain the biblical concepts. But I want you to know, that very often, the Bible gives amazing illustrations of its very own. That’s what we have when the Bible says that God is our refuge. That’s an illustration of how God acts in our lives. But in verse nineteen, the Scriptures give another amazing illustration of how God works in our lives. Look at what verse nineteen says. “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.” This verse says that our trust in God acts as an anchor for our souls. So if the Bible says that our hope is our anchor, then what is the Bible likening us to? Yeah, we’re like ships! But I want you to know that our anchor helps us in two different ways. The first way our anchor helps us is that it keeps us steady in the midst of a storm. The Mediterranean Sea is notorious for how quickly the weather can change on it. It can be a nice sunny day, and the next minute the clouds could roll in and bring a huge sea storm. When this would happen, the sailors would often drop down their anchor so that the storm wouldn’t blow them off course. That’s what our trust in God does for us. Our trust in God keeps us rock solid when the storms of life blow in. I mean, the ship might rock, some waves might crash over on you, but you will not be moved. Isn’t that so nice to know?
The second way our trust in God acts as an anchor in our lives is that it prevents our sinful nature from moving ourselves off course. I don’t know about you, but most of the bad things that happen in my life are not a result of life’s storms. Most of the bad things that happen to me are a result of my own sinful nature. But church, Jesus Christ acts as an anchor for my soul, and His Holy Spirit works to keep me from ruining myself. Now, just like a real anchor, there are times when I decide that I’m going to pull my anchor up, and do something dumb. But that is not the anchor’s fault, is it? But the point is that when we are fully trusting in Jesus Christ, two things will happen. First, the storms that blow our way are not going to destroy us. Second, our anchor will help keep our hearts true to God. Raise your hand if you’ve heard of the song, “Come Thou Fount.” Quite possibly my number one favorite hymn. And this song has three verses, and the final verse of the song reminds me so much of this concept. Here’s what that verse says: “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee: prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.”
Church, our trust in God acts like an anchor to our souls. It helps keep us from wandering. Because, when we truly trust in God, we’re not going to live like the world! A person cannot have a heart full of faith and yet live as if God does not exist. But that’s what happens when we sin, isn’t it? We are pretending as if God does not exist, or at least He’s not paying attention. But praise the Lord that He is the anchor to our souls!
The final verse and a half of this chapter tell us one more thing about God’s trustworthiness. These verses talk about Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus was our forerunner, who busted through the veil for us. And in case you’re wondering what this veil is; the veil was something in the temple that separated the holy place from the holiest of holies. Inside the holiest of holies was where the very presence of God would meet the high priest once a year. When Jesus Christ died, the temple veil literally tore in half. That was symbolic of the fact that now, man and God no longer have to be separate! Jesus bridged the gap between God and man!
So this morning, we are trying to answer the question, “How can I know that God is worthy of my trust?” First, we looked at the life of Abraham. God showed His trustworthiness when He provided for Abraham. Second, we saw how God is trustworthy because He can’t be untrustworthy! It is in His very nature to keep His promises, and it would be utterly impossible for Him to break His promise to you. And finally, church, we saw how God proved His trustworthiness by sending Jesus Christ to bridge the gap. How can we know that God is going to take care of us? Jesus! The answer is Jesus!
I mentioned earlier that God has made so many promises to us in the Bible. Many of the promises revolve around God’s provision for our needs. But church, God’s promises are contingent upon our trust in Him. I mentioned Matthew six earlier. In that chapter, Jesus said that God the Father would never forget to take care of us. But Jesus said that God would take care of us if we follow the Kingdom of God with all of our hearts. You see church, the writer of Hebrews has made it crystal-clear that God is worthy of our trust. There can be no doubt in our minds. But the last thing I want to tell you, is that our trust in God is meant to be an active trust. Our trust in God should cause us to cling to Him. Our trust in God should act like an anchor, stopping us from our own sinful habits.
And as the pianist and song leader come forward, I’ll ask you one final time. Are you trusting in God for your every need? Better yet, are you clinging to God for your every need? God doesn’t want to be the last resort in your life. He wants to be the first resort. God doesn’t want to be the one you turn to just when you have a major life crisis. He wants to be the one you trust with every aspect of your life. Do you trust God completely? Do you trust God for all of your needs? Do you trust God with your children? Do you trust God with your hopes and dreams?
But above all of that, there is one thing that we must trust in God in above all else. And that’s salvation. The Bible says that we are all spiritually dead because of our rebellion against God. But because of our predicament, God sent His one and only Son to die for us on the cross. And yet, Jesus’ death does not automatically mean that every person will go to Heaven when they die. No, our salvation comes when we trust in God. When we put our faith in Him, saying, “I can’t save myself. I need you. I need your forgiveness. I need your help.” That is when salvation comes.
So this morning, if you need to make your trust in God more complete, or more active, this invitation is for you. And if you have never trusted in God for your salvation, I invite you to come do that now as the pianist plays. But before we do that, let’s pray.
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