"TAKING HOLD OF HOPE"
(A Series on Hebrews)
Westgate Chapel 6/11/89a.m. Hebrews 6:13-20
PROPOSITION: In a world full of insecurity and fear, there is a hope, based on the promise of God, that transcends this world and offers certainty, confidence and security for those who are in Christ Jesus.
- I SPENT the last few days with eleven men from the church, and my Dad.......fishing for salmon off the coast of Vancouver Island, in Canada.
- AND I learned some things about "hope" that fits so appropriately for this morning's message on "hope" from Hebrews 6:13-20.
- IT started long before we left for Canada.
- AS we would see each other in the hallways around here, I began to hear stories about last year's catch.
* How the King's and Spring's were running.
* How that they couldn't get them in the boat fast enough.........even had to use an ax to knock them back, they were so anxious to get into the boat.
* How a second plane had to be called in just to get all the fish back home.
- AND so, with these words we would encourage one another, to get our hope up for this year's trip.
- BUT that is not quite enough, so on the way up there, on the bus, you hear stories about reports from here and there, about how this year's run is doing.......and so and so, told so and so, whose cousin told us that this year is the best ever.....and you can tell by the gleam in everyone's eye that it is working.
- HOPE is beginning to rise.
- THEN we climb off the plane on Vancouver Island, and waiting to get on the plane, for their return trip, is 50 or 60 fishermen.
* So we ask, " How was it?"
* And they say, "Great! The Halibut are bigger than last year."
* And we all climb onto the bus, smiling.
- IT'S called hope.
- 75% of fishing is hope.
- THEN, pretty soon, it is your turn.
- EVERYONE else's stories and reports fade into the background......and it is your lure that is down in the cold, deep, dark recesses of the Pacific Ocean.
- NOW, the skipper of the boat is the next one to offer hope.
* He says that his scope shows big ones, at 70 feet, maybe a fifty pounder or two.
* And then it starts.
* Now it is our turn to put hope on the line......and it shows in different ways.
* Larry Chapman doesn't say a thing as he drops his lure......he just smiles.
* Bill Mc Kinley yodles.
* Warren Lashua goes "Whoooooh!"
* Gunnar Lie talks to the fish. "Now, come on......I know you are down there. This is my lure........just for you." Then when one bites, Gunnar talks to us. "This one is 53 and one half pounds. I just know it."
* Ed Lundquist was unconvinced by all the talk. He was just sure that whenever he went fishing, the fish went south. He had never caught much of anything before, and didn't expect much this weekend....until a 40 pound Halibut hit his line......then Ed got a baptism of hope.
* It was different for me. Every time my line bumped into something I yelled, "Fish on!"........which you are supposed to do to get the help of the deck hand in getting your fish onto the boat......only it is very embarrasing when he is there and the guys are asking what it is and you have to mumble something about how it got away.
- THEN there is always tomorrow morning, when we will do so much better than this morning.
- NOW it is next year. We are going to kill those Spring's next year. We have got the exact time calculated, when the run will begin and what it will be like when we get there.
- IT is amuzing when we see its characteristics on a fishing trip.......and its object is some good tasting salmon for the freezer.
- BUT hope is absolutely indispensable when it is your life that is on the line, and it is your eternity or mine that is at stake.
- ALL you have to do is look around you, and see how little hope there is to be had in this world right now.
- THE world is full of insecurity. Hope is dead.
* In China, or Poland, or the USSR, or Nicaragua.......there is little hope for a bright tomorrow, regardless of what political system is in place. Democracy is good, but it is not the "hope" of the nations. We are proof of that.
* There is little hope alive in the economy. Everyone's waiting to see if the stock market crashes again.
* Crime rates soar. Gangs roam the streets. The suburbs are not safe any more.
* The family is in jeopardy. Children of divorce are having the very foundation ripped out of their little lives.
* Politicians and evangelists are falling all around us.
* Epidemic diseases are ravaging the land.
- THE world has decided that the future is so insecure, they are just going to get drunk, let their hormones run wild, and wait for it all to end. (Party at the lodge and on the bus. It is like the fatalism you see in the book of Ecclesiastes)
- WHERE is the hope? Where is the encouragment in your life? In your family? In your life?
- WHAT is it that can put a yodle in your life, or a whoooh.......or cause you to talk with confidence to the deep that surrounds you every day?
ii. the certainty of god's word
- LET me lay a foundation for hope this morning, in your heart, from Hebrews 6:13-20.
- FIRST, in 13-15, we find certainty in God's Word.
"When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, 'I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.' And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised."
- THE key in these verses is that God spoke His Word into Abraham's heart and it lodged there.....and Abraham had hope.
- THE promise to Abraham was a promise of blessing.....and security (many descendants)....and, ultimately that through Abraham's seed the Messiah would come. (Gen. 22:18......."...all nations will be blessed.")
- AND the example that the writer to the Hebrews draws from is possibly the toughest time in Abraham's life.
* Genesis 22:16-18 was the time that God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac.
* And it didn't make sense....because Isaac was the final answer to a promise that God had made years before concerning Abraham and Sarah having a son.
* And here was the answer....and God was asking Abraham to give it up.
* Where was the hope in that?
* It would be going back to square one.
* He had come through so much already, to get Isaac......the patience.....the faith.....the failures....the discouragment.
- BUT Abraham chose to stand on the certainty of God's Word, regardless of the circumstances, or his ability to reason through the "why" of the situation.
- AND when he got to the mountain and was ready to follow through in obedience to God with Isaac....God provided a ram for the sacrifice......and then repeated His covenant blessing with Abraham.
- AND God repeated it with an oath.......swearing by Himself.......to remind us of the certainty of His Word.
- IT is only us humans who have trouble keeping our word. So we have come up with complex contracts and legally binding agreements. Our word is so frail.
- SO, to help us understand the certainty of God's Word, He swears by Himself that everything He speaks will come to pass.
- NO guess work. No questions. No anxiety. No fear.
- THIS Word is certain. God stands behind it 100%.
* It hasn't missed yet, in 6,000 years of the record of God's dealings with man, and it will not miss now.
* It says that the wages of sin is death.......but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)........so, I can have the hope that there was someone who loved me, even when I was a sinner.
* It says that by grace we are saved, through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8)........so, I have the hope that it is not my futile efforts at righteousness that save me, but His grace alone.
* It says Jesus has become, for us, righteousness, holiness and redemption (I Cor. 1:30).........so, I have the hope that everything that God lookes for in me, Jesus provides by His grace and power in me.
* It says that the righteous are never forsaken, and their children never beg bread (Psalm 37:25)........so, I have the hope that He will be with me, fulfilling His best in me, whatever the circumstances.
* It says that when I leave this old tent of a body, I will immediately be ushered into the presence of the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8)........so, in death I have hope.
* It says that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for me that where He is, there I will be also (John 14:2).......so, I have the hope that my eternity is guaranteed by the power of God.
- AND, just like Abraham, this sure Word of the Lord is there for you and me to appropriate and live by.
- WITH all the uncertainty of this life, your hope and mine is the certainty of God's Word.......heaven and earth will pass away, but not one punctuation mark will ever pass away of God's Word.
iii. the confidence of god's nature
- LET'S move on to verses 16-18.
"Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged."
- GOD'S purpose in this Word is your encouragment this morning. He says that's why He has substantiated His promises with an oath.
- WORDS have lost their authority in our age. They mean so little.......because there is so little character behind the words.
- BUT this time God says that He is going to put an end to all argument, for the benefit of the heirs of salvation (You and me).
- AND He wants the unchanging nature of His purposes made clear to us.
- THIS is the confidence of our hope......the nature of God Himself who never changes.
- AND He uses two things that never change.
* The Word of His promise.
* His oath.
- GOD doesn't change and God doesn't lie. That is His nature.
- YOU don't have to worry about getting to heaven and finding that God changed the rules somewhere in the middle and didn't tell anyone.
- IT is the hope that we have in the character of God.
- AND it is for those who have fled this passing world and all its attractions and pull........and have taken hold of the faith in hope.
iv. the security of god's son
- LASTLY, in verses 19-20, I want you to look at the security of God's Son as a basis for your hope.
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."
- AN anchor provides security for a vessel against the force of changing tides, prevailing winds, and coming storms.....that is the analogy that the writer gives us here, to describe our hope.
- HUMAN anchors cannot hold.
* Your check book cannot hold against the storm of economic collapse.
* Your health cannot hold....if disease doesn't get you, old age will.
* Your family cannot hold you.......some day you will stand over a grave of someone who held you strong for a while in your life, but will not be there forever.
* Your career will hold for a while.....but what will help you when you retire.
* Your posessions can't go with you.
* Friendships don't last forever.
- THERE is no anchor that can offer security forever for you....that is except one.
- AND His name is Jesus.
* And He came to earth in the form of a man.
* And He died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sin.
* And He rose on easter, triumphant over death and hell.
* And He ascended back to the Father, where He reigns and intercedes for you and me.
- HE is our Champion who has gone on before us to prepare the way for us.
* He is our Mediator
* He is our Priest.
* He is our exalted Savior.
- HE is Jesus....our security.
- WHERE is your hope this morning.
- PUT it in Jesus.
NO ONE LIKE JESUS