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A Sure and Steadfast Anchor of the Soul

Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  25:36
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God's Oath to Jesus to appoint Him as a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek is our sure and steadfast anchor.

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Our Scripture lesson this morning comes from Hebrews 6:13-20.
Hebrews 6:13–20 ESV
For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
One of the most beloved images in early Christian artwork was the anchor. The anchor was a common symbol of stability in the ancient world. The ancients understood that where a person casts their anchor makes all the difference in how a person’s life would turn out. The early Christians took this symbol and made it their own. We just heard the author of Hebrews writing about “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” This morning we are going to learn what that anchor is.
To do this, let us review were we are at in our study of Hebrews. Before launching into his teaching about Jesus as our Great High Priest, the of Hebrews has been preparing his readers to be diligent “hearers.” Back in Hebrews 5:11 the author reprimands and then warns them about being “sluggish hearers.” They were not taking the teachings of Scripture about Jesus seriously and applying it to their lives. We know this because some them had denied Christ and gone back to the world. In other words, they were casting the anchor of their souls in the wrong place. They were casting their anchors into the shifting sands of this world.

The Shifting Sands of This World

Throughout the book of Hebrews there is a comparison and contrast between the unshakable nature of God’s rest and the shakable nature of this world. We have already seen the emphasis placed on “God’s rest” and the importance of entering into it in chapters 3 and 4. “God’s rest” is His Heavenly Temple where He reigns. The “rest” the people were to enjoy in the Promised Land was meant to be only a foretaste of a greater “rest” in heaven.
Hebrews 4:8–10 ESV
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
This teaching will reach it’s culmination in chapter 12.
Hebrews 12:25–29 ESV
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
The ancients understood that there were some bad places to cast your anchor. For example, you would not want to cast your anchor in sand. If you did so, your ship would be taken in strong currents or winds. You wanted to set your anchor to what was solid and unmovable. The author of Hebrews is taking this idea and teaching us that we don’t want to set our anchors of hope in the “shakable” things of this world. This world and everything in it is “shakable,” because it is all destined to be destroyed on the Judgement Day.
Earlier in Hebrews 6:1-2, we had a listing of the six key doctrines of the Christian faith.
Hebrews 6:1–2 ESV
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
Included in this list is “the resurrection of the dead and and eternal judgement.” Clearly, by denying Christ and returning to their old lives the apostates who had left the church demonstrated that they either did not understand or believe in the reality of the resurrection and final judgement. In Hebrews 6:18, the author refers to himself and his readers as “we who have fled for refuge.” Just like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, all true believers are fleeing from the City of Destruction. God’s holiness is a consuming fire and everyone who is not clothed in the righteousness of Christ will be consumed eternally in the fire of God’s holiness!
This leads us to the second point, there is an Anchor of the Soul and it is...

God’s Oath Concerning Jesus is the Sure and Steadfast Anchor of the Soul

The key verses of our text are...
Hebrews 6:17–18 ESV
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
What is this oath that contains two unchangeable things? It is Psalm 110:4 which the author has been citing:
Psalm 110:4 ESV
The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
“The Lord has sworn,” in other words, God has taken an oath. The author of Hebrews speaks a lot about oaths in our text. First he using the example of Abraham’s faith and patience in God’s oath to bless him and multiply him. Then he gives a truism that generally speaking an oath in a law court adds credibility to a witness’ testimony and puts an end to disputes. Then he teaches us that God has made oaths to us, not because He is capable of lying, but to give us more confidence in His promises.
So what is being promised in Psalm 110:4? Two unchangeable things: First, that Christ is a priest forever and second, that he is a priest after the order of Melchizedek. He is not a priest like the order of Aaron that has proven to be “shakable.” Again and again the Aaronic priesthood failed during the Old Covenant. In addition, Christ’s priesthood is eternal. The Aaronic priesthood only lasted one lifetime at a time. Even if Israel had a good priest, he would all too quickly die. Jesus, however will never die. Consequently, He is a priest forever!
Jesus is the refuge to which we must flee. It is into the Heavenly Holy of Holies where Christ is that we must cast our anchor of hope. Look and listen to Hebrews 6:19-20 once again.
Hebrews 6:19–20 ESV
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
Do you hear what this text is saying? Right now your hope can be in heaven, because that is where Christ is! The author of Hebrews call Jesus a “forerunner.” Jesus is like a scout that goes before an army scouting out the best and safest route. Earlier in Hebrews 2:10, Jesus is called the Pioneer or Founder of our salvation. We can have confidence to cast our anchor into the Heavenly Holy of Holies because Jesus as our Great High Priest is already there!
But this lead to the final point of this text and sermon...

Where Have You Cast Your Anchor?

For decades the Prudential Insurance Company has used the image of the Rock of Gibraltar as the symbol of their company. For centuries the Rock of Gibraltar has been a symbol of security and strength. However, as we have learned today, even the Rock of Gibraltar is a mountain of shifting sand. Have you really “heard” this message today. The difference between a “sluggish hearer” and an “active hearer” of God’s Word is application.
This truth calls for honesty with ourselves. Where are you really casting your anchor of hope? When push comes to shove where is your hope anchored? It is in Heaven where Christ is or is it in someone or something in this world? We are going to close this worship service by singing “The Solid Rock.” Listen as I read the first verse and refrain of that song:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean of Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
In this world, even the Rock of Gibraltar is “sinking sand.” The only secure place to cast your anchor of hope is in heaven where Christ is. Make sure today before you leaven this place that Christ is the Anchor of your Soul.
Let us pray.
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