Take your Bibles and turn to Hebrews chapter 6. Remember, I just got done with a tremendous warning in Hebrews. These are homilies. These are messages preached by a pastor. We can see the pastoral heart coming out in this passage of Scripture because now he switches to a message of hope. It’s totally a hope filled thing he’s doing here in this passage of Scripture.
We have been dealing with a very serious problem that existed in this church community. That problem does exist today in our world, in the evangelical church, in the worldwide church. It’s the problem of remaining in a perpetual state of infancy, not growing spiritually. His recipients that he’s addressing, in some respects, are spiritual babies. He’s saying to them: listen, move ahead. Come closer to the things of God. You started off being zealous for the things of God, but you have become sluggish and dull of hearing. That’s not good.
The context, though, is still pointing to Jesus as the Great High Priest, similar to Melchizedek in the Old Testament. He wants to explain that to the people because that’s going to be very important to establish them in spiritual maturity. He wants to tell them more about the Son’s typological relationship with Melchizedek, this priest-king of the Old Testament, this elusive character in the Old Testament that’s going to be explained in chapter 7 of Hebrews. I’m not there yet. He realizes he can’t do it because the people are not mature enough to take that kind of theology. He thinks they ought to get it because they need it.
I ended last time with a warning passage. That was to make of profession of Christianity, and yet have an unfruitful field which produces nothing but briars and thorns, is a very dangerous place to be. If someone says they are believer, and there’s no fruit in their field, there’s a contradiction in terms of who they profess to be and what’s growing in the field. Then, that’s dangerous. He’s warning them.
We are confronted with some who have made a profession of faith and formerly had visible signs and marks of being a truly committed Christian, but by their refusal to grow and continue in the faith, they now give fruit that they were not genuinely born again by God’s Spirit at all. They may have convinced others that they were believers. At one time, they may have even persuaded themselves that they belonged to Christ. But their so-called conversion, profession, proved to be counterfeited, proved to be spurious. When tested for their faith, and more likely that was by persecution, they didn’t want to hold. They didn’t want to stick. They didn’t want to stay. They became rebels to the way and the work of God. God calls them apostates – people who profess and yet now they reject the very basic tenants of the gospel. Therefore, if you reject that, there’s no other message to preach. So that seems like a bleak place to end, but the warning we all need to take: examine ourselves, whether we are in the faith.
You see, the issue is: if the seed of God is in you, you will produce fruit. If God’s seed is in you, you will produce fruit. Yes, in different measure, yet nonetheless you will be different and produce fruit of righteousness. You will produce fruit of the Spirit. Why? If God’s seed is in you, it is the work of God that makes a person holy in their mind, holy in their will, holy in their conduct. It is God Himself that gives you a desire to want the Word of God. God is, and we should be, concerned about our own spiritual growth and maturity, right?
We would be concerned if our child never grew. It’s fifteen years later, and they are still an infant. That would be problematic. Something is wrong. You would be going to every doctor that you can possibly go to to get help. Something’s wrong. It’s the same spiritually. God’s doing a work on you. The seed of God is in you. You will grow. You will grow even when you don’t want to grow, in some respects. We should be asking ourselves: what fruits have we produced? What have you produced since you have become a believer? Where is your work of faith? Where is your labor of love? We all have to ask ourselves those questions.
But you see, some of the problem is that we have in this area, thought that we need some kind of great work, or great fruit, that everyone notices and acknowledges to be considered significant to God. That’s not the truth at all. God’s going to take you from someone who lies to someone who tells the truth. That’s significant. He’s going to take you from someone who is prejudiced and hates people to someone who actually loves people, even people you hated the most before. He’s going to change everything about you, and that’s fruit that God’s doing in your life. That’s what God does when He converts people. You don’t remain the same. You are different.
Here in our passage this morning, there’s the transition in the passage and the pastoral desire in the message that after this strong warning, here’s his strong encouragement to the true believer. He wants to give the encouragement so his listeners press on to spiritual maturity and lay hold to the very truths that will make their faith strong. That’s what he’s doing. He’s now pressing them with encouragement. How does he start off? I see the Lord really working in this passage of Scripture as God being really the focal point here. He says, first of all, simply this: listen, God sees you. He sees you. The pastor is convinced that this warning does not apply to his true converts. Look at Hebrews 6:9:
But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.
So what is he doing here? He uses the word “beloved”. That word right there means that the one writing and communicating to his audience has fond affection for those he’s addressing. He moves them to a mood of hope. In fact, the term beloved is never used to address unsaved or apostates. It’s only used to address true believers. He is fully confident, according to the Word here, that they belong to Christ. They are in Christ’s house. They are partaker of Christ’s blessing. Isn’t that a good encouragement to have – as you go along in the Christian walk, to know that you are part of God’s work, what He’s doing.
What led him to this confidence is that he observed that they possessed something better than those who were making professions but had no fruit in their field: a faith that was living and working in their lives. He observed the outward and even some of the inward evidences that accompany salvation. That’s what he’s saying here: I see things in your life that accompany salvation. In other words, when people get saved, certain things should accompany their profession. What is it? Fruit.
Of course, we may say this: I don’t know if I see any fruit in my life. But he’s saying this: I see fruit. Sometimes you have to have other people tell you they see your fruit, that you’ve grown. From the first I met you and what was going on in your life, I see God working. I see God’s hand in your life. Sometimes, we are not always satisfied that someone else tells us that they see God’s hand in our life and the fruit in our life. He says this in verse 10:
For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.
You know what he says to them? Here’s the incredible thing that comes when it comes to our fruit and our service: it is God Himself who is taking notes. God sees you. What is it that God does not forget? Paul, he lists about three things there. Number one, it says in verse 10: your work and labor of love. People say: well what are fruits? What are the works believers have? Everything! After conversion, everything you do is somehow connected to fruit and work, works that God has ordained you.
The word for work, it’s a word for being exhausted in work. He sees your exhausting, hard, ongoing work in the Lord’s service. He sees the nursery workers, toiling down there. He sees the Sunday school teachers, studying to teach the students; the kitchen workers, preparing the food; the deacons, doing mercy ministry to the people; he elders, doing the task that God’s given them; the ushers; those who do counseling; those who order books for our book booth; those who plan and pray; those who do mall and beach and work and barbershop and family evangelism. God sees it all. He sees the praise team workers. He sees those who prepare to read the Scripture. He sees the sound booth personnel; those who pick people up for church; those who maintain the website, prepare and update the church directory, maintain the grounds, manage the office, count the money, do the bookkeeping and write the check. He sees those who host home groups and lead home groups; those who give sacrificially, who pray faithfully. those who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done with joy and cheerfulness. God sees it all and He doesn’t forget a thing. He’s not unjust to see when no one else sees your work. Isn’t that encouraging?
Of course, it also is a little frightening, because that means there must be motive connected to what I do. These people have the right motive. Look at verse 10. I not only see your work and don’t forget it, also your labor of love, the love which you have shown His name. Here’s the motive: I’m doing it for the Lord. If no one else sees, God sees, and I’m doing it for Him. Why? Because I understand my redemption. I understand the position I was in before I came to Christ, under God’s wrath and heading to hell. Now, His mercy came, and now God’s done this wonderful thing. He’s producing fruit in my life. What are the results? My motive is: I want to serve the Lord, because He sees everything. Wherever I go, God sees. That’s where I live. That’s going to put you in a place where you show love to others for the sake of God’s name. You serve in the ministry God’s given you for the sake of God’s name. You work within your family for the sake of God’s name, because everything is at stake there. They are also, of course, prompted by love for God Himself. Why do you do this? Because I love God. The name of God is the only purpose for serving.
There’s a certain level of maturity when someone comes to that place. You are not looking for accolades. You are not looking for pats on the back. It’s nice to get those things – I’m not doing saying we shouldn’t do those things, but what the point is: if no one sees, God sees. God sees exactly what you are doing. He sees the very motive of why you are doing it. If you are doing it for yourself, if you are doing it so other people see, like He says in Matthew, well you have your reward already. That’s all you are getting. That’s not a good way to serve. Serve, because God sees, because He does. He does see.
In verse 10, He goes on and says: listen, I see your past and present and continual service helping the saints, having ministered and still ministering to the saints. In serving others, we in turn are serving Christ Himself. They coming to the assistance of their brethren is evidence of their willingness to identifying themselves with a stigma attached to the name of Jesus Christ. These are Jews coming to know Jesus and are willing to help the brethren who are in persecution and not caring about that, not caring what people are saying. That shows the genuineness of their love to Christ, because they are not being moved out of the way by what other people are saying.
Notice it says: their present service – they are still ministering to the saints. Their focus here is the ministering to the saints, the body, the people who are believers. We need help sometimes, because we need to be rescued from things as we go along. Therefore, we are ministering to one another by using our gifts. Using the fruit in your life ministers to me. This is not a message that’s not been taught by the Lord Himself. From a passage in Matthew 25:34-40, I want to remind you what it says there when the Lord says:
"Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
Ministering to the saints in the body is ministering to Christ Himself. That’s encouraging. There’s no rank of what you are supposed to do. Just live your Christian life and do what God wants you to do in the very simple things of life. You will be not only doing the ordained works God’s given you, but you will be bearing fruit and building up the body. These works of love are among the most satisfaction evidence of being a child of God. Even though at times we are weak and wayward and we drop the ball, God does not forget service done to Himself and to the saints. He sees it all. He sees the motive in which you are doing it. He appreciates both the deed done and difficulty involved in doing it, the struggle you have in doing something. God sees.
Now, what is the purpose of him encouraging them in this way? Because he has a desire for them as a pastor, but notice what he says in verse 11:
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,
Who’s the “we”? I think the “we” is God and him. This is God’s plan for you. I’m just recognizing it. Listen, keep doing what you are doing. Show that same diligence, demonstrate that same diligence as you go along in your Christian walk. Why? Because in doing so, you get strengthened in your faith. Your hope gets stronger, and it finally will lead you to the end of the path, the end of the way, so you are on the path that leads to the consummation of your salvation. Don’t wander off; don’t stop. Keep going. Keep showing godly diligence in the hope that God will keep His promises and preserve you, and that you will persevere until that final day. You will have God’s blessing in your life. You will have entering into rest as confidence and your possession. You will have final salvation from sin and death; you will see that someday. Ultimately life in the city of God, in the heavenly Jerusalem, will be yours. What’s the goal for them? They begin to realize that, in verse 12, the goal is that they would no longer be lazy learners, but actually imitators of faithful men and women who were approved by God in Scripture:
so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Look in Scripture and see the ones that have gone before you and have believed the promises, held to the promises, and obtained the promises. He’s pushing them because that’s goal, not to be lazy anymore, not to be dull of hearing, but to imitate those who are mature. Someday, you are going to grow to imitate maturity. Someday, you are going to be the mature. Imitation meant not only listening to what is said, but also following the pattern of that person’s life. That’s part of it. Those worthy of mimicking, if you notice in verse 12, are marked by two things: faith and patience, or faithful perseverance. These people persist and await the outcome of God’s promise. It is those who believe the Word of God and persevere in hope that have full assurance of hope until the end. It’s those who just keep going. You are called and encouraged, because God sees and God knows what’s going on your life, to just keep going. God’s held promises in front of you, and you are to hold to those promises just like the patriarchs held to those promises. They obtained the promises, first by faith and then by actual sight. That’s what we are supposed to do.
The second thing in our passage is that God promises. What is the promise? Why should you have such assurance of hope? Because God promises security; that’s what He promises to you and I. Abraham is our example of perseverance concerning God’s promises. Even though God gave Abraham many promises, there is only one promise that God actually gave with an oath. Take your Bibles and turn to Genesis 22:16-18. I want you to notice that’s where he’s drawing from. He is drawing from the example from Abraham:
"By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."
There’s the promise that He laid out to Abraham. Brethren, that promise is still open to us today, that we are part of the promise that God gave to Abraham that He would multiply his seed. That promise of so many descendants, it’s like counting the sand on the seashore or the stars in the heavens – you can’t do it. There’s going to be so many that come to Christ over the ages. Yet, at the same time, if you look at Hebrews 6, this is what he’s saying in verse 13-15:
For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14saying, "I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you." 15And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.
Abraham, about seventy-five years old, certainly had to exercise patience before receiving the promise that was still twenty-five years ahead of him. Imagine God promising you something and then you don’t see the promise come true until twenty-five years later. That’s a long time. You have to have perseverance. You have to have trust in the person who’s making the promise. That’s what you have to trust.
It’s like you go to somebody and say: you know what, I’ve been real sick. The person says to you: well, you’ll get well. Are you going to have a whole lot of confidence in somebody who’s not a doctor, who says to you you are going to get well? Then you go to a doctor. You tell the doctor your symptoms and he examines you. He does all the tests. He comes back to you and says: let me tell you something – you’re not going to die; you are going to get well. Isn’t that a message of hope? But you are trusting in the character and the knowledge of the doctor who has something to say to give you hope.
In our passage of Scripture, we see that it is God Himself that stands up and swears by Himself. Abraham never wavered from hope and trust in the promise of God, even though it was way off. Abraham is our example to follow: an undoubting and a persevering faith which warrants our expectation of future blessing. What did he do, actually? He believed the declaration that the promise contained. He believed it, that he was going to have a son and that he was going to have many heirs from that son. He expected the blessing it referred to in the promise. Also, he patiently persevered in believing and expecting the promise to its fulfillment. Did he finally have a son named Isaac? Yes, he did. Of course, he did some other things in between – had Ishmael. That wasn’t the son of promise. Isaac was the son of promise. He did it without wavering in the middle of trials. You can see the struggles Abraham goes through in the Old Testament.
Here it’s laid out before us. Mature to the place that you can imitate guys like Abraham. How did he do it? God said something and he believed it because it was based on the character of God. Even though all the implications of the promise did not happen. He obtained it by faith. He didn’t see all. He didn’t see you guys come to know Christ as your savior. He didn’t see you, but he saw you by faith. He believed God by faith.
God makes a promise, but what’s interesting about this passage of Scripture is that God doesn’t just make a promise here. Wouldn’t you think that if God made a promise that it’s good enough? It would seem like that would be the case, but there was a thing going on in the Old Testament. It was this: if somehow the promise was in doubt in some way or someone is question it, then you add to the promise an oath. An oath would be the end of the story. The oath would bring in witnesses. Someone would have to give an oath to someone greater than themselves. That oath would confirm or backup or bolster that promise where there’d be no doubt and nothing would be in question anymore. It would be the end of the matter. That’s what the case was.
In fact, there’s an example in the Old Testament I want to go to first before I look at this next section of Scripture. It’s Exodus 22:10-11. You can see it’s kind of self-explanatory here in this passage of Scripture. There’s a neighbor here entrusted with the care of an animal by its owner. The animal is injured or stolen when no one is looking. The neighbor is, therefore, unable to prove that he is not at fault because there is no third party that can testify to what happened. In such an event. Look at what it says:
"If a man gives his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep for him, and it dies or is hurt or is driven away while no one is looking, 11an oath before the Lord shall be made by the two of them that he has not laid hands on his neighbor’s property; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution.
What’s the point here? The point is: wow this happened, but how am I going to prove it? People made oath back then and they usually made an oath to someone greater than themselves so the person can keep them accountable to their promise. In this case, when an oath was made by both parties, the matter was over. The man did not have to make restitution because people actually believed other people’s words. Words meant something. They pulled a lot of weight. This oath was something that really proved somebody was telling the truth.
Looking at that, go back to Hebrews 6:16:
For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.
The Lord says: listen, I’ve given a promise that I’ll bless Abraham. Of course, that promise led to us, that in Christ Jesus, when we believe in Him we are part of the blessing that comes from Abraham. We are part of what He promised there. Here God says: listen, I’m going to back that up with an oath; when I do, it will be the end of the matter.
Making promises today seems not have the same weight as it once did, but usually when a promise is made, a promise is only as good as the character and the integrity of the person who makes it. In very serious matters, people are asked to confirm their promise with an oath. That’s not uncommon in our own society. You go to into an American court of law, a person is about to testify. They are requested to place their left hand on the Bible, lift up the right hand, and to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and the nothing but the truth, so help me God. That’s pretty serious matter. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in that place when that happened. You see sometimes people hesitate to do that. They may do it for other reasons today, but at one time they hesitated because: wait a minute, if I’m making this oath before God who’s greater than me and knows everything (people have a sense that God does see and know everything), I better tell the truth. That’s the point. In this procedure, a person was swearing by an authority higher than himself. The highest authority is God. The person was guaranteeing the truthfulness of his testimony and invoking God to be the witness of that testimony.
It says in this passage that God swore by the greatest authority in the universe. Who’s greater than God? No one. God has to swear by Himself, putting his own integrity, reputation, and honor on the line to guarantee the fulfillment of what was promised. The fact that God swore by Himself indicates that He binds Himself to His Word by His eternal Person. Did God need to take an oath? No. Was God’s word good enough? Yes. God made an oath to prove without a doubt that His will and His counsel to make good on His promise, made not only to Abraham but to His heirs, is unchangeable. The nature of God is unchangeable when He makes a promise. What he’s getting at is this: your salvation is secure. When you come to Christ and you believe by faith, it’s secure. Why? God had made a promise. Can God go back on His promise? No. He can’t go back on His promise for several reasons. Look at verses 16-18:
For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. 17In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.
In other words, God’s made this promise. The promise is really connected to Jesus Christ and what He has done as the High Priest. Therefore, God can’t lie and what He has promised can’t change. The very nature of His character cannot change or manipulate or do anything to that promise. It must take place. He’s doing that because he’s saying, look at verse 18: you have taken refuge. Brethren, who is that? The picture here, to take refuge, should direct your mind to the Old Testament when someone accidentally killed someone. Not murder, but they accidentally killed someone. God set up, in the Old Testament, cities of refuge. When that person killed somebody by accident, they would have to get to that city as fast as they could. Why? Because the avenger was going to be after them, to get their life or get ahold of them. They were able to flee from the avenger to the asylum cities of refuge.
Brethren, who’s our refuge? Is it in Christ? To those who run to Christ for refuge, God made this promise in Christ Jesus that when you come, you will be saved and kept secure. He gave a promise. He confirmed that promise with an oath. Why? An oath added in addition to the word of promise is a confirmation. It’s a legal guarantee. Why does God, who cannot lie, add an oath? It’s to remove any and all doubt and argument from your mind that God is going to renege on His promise. He will not do so. He cannot do so. Why? Because of his unchangeable purpose.
Actually, the word unchangeable is one of the strongest words used in the New Testament. It tends to press upon us the thought “unable to be removed”. The word belongs to the legal terminology of the time and signifies a contract which was incapable of being set aside or annulled. It indicates the irrevocability of God’s purpose as expressed in His promise and confirmed by His oath.
That becomes something very encouraging to us. He’s building a case for you and I. Part of the case is this: all this has to do with Jesus Christ the high priest in the order of Melchizedek. The people weren’t making that connection. Sometimes we don’t make that connection because it was not just the promise to Abraham. The promise of Abraham could not be fulfilled if Christ did not come. It couldn’t have taken place. Of course, the blessing comes true in Jesus Christ, our great and perfect high priest. The promise to Abraham is secured by God’s oath.
There’s a question – what is it which God has confirmed by an oath to the heirs of promise? In the context, the oath is surely connected to the oath also mentioned in Psalm 110. We started out this section in Psalm 110, but we have to go back to it. What was the oath that God makes? Here’s the oath that He makes, in Psalm 110:4:
The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
There is the ultimate oath. Why? The priest was very significant in the life of Israel. Remember the one event that took place every year, the day of atonement, when the priest went into the holy of holies with the sacrifices and the blood and poured it on the mercy seat. The high priest was the only one allowed in there. His garments also were designed with bells and pomegranates on the bottom of it. Part of the reason why it had bells on it is because as long as the people heard the high priest moving around in there and heard the bells, they knew that the sacrifices was being accepted by God. If the bells stopped, he’s dead. How are we going to get him out of there? I don’t know of any place in scripture where God killed the high priest in the holy of holies. God always accepted the sacrifice when it was done correctly. Usually it was done correctly or it was not done at all. They had to do that year in and year old, so the people’s sins can be forgiven and they can be made right with God.
Jesus Christ- why is He being a high priest so significant? He does it once for all. He does it forever. He does it one time. Not only that, He goes into the presence of God and stays in the presence of God. He goes there, not alone, but in our behalf, in behalf of all those who believe. God confirmed His promise to Abraham with the oath that Jesus Christ will be the High Priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.
I’m going to jump ahead real quick. Take your Bibles and look at Hebrews 7. I just want you to see where he elaborates on this particular thing here. A priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek, lies at the foundation of the human hope in this passage of Scripture. This is the only hope. This is our hopes. Hebrews 7:20-24:
And inasmuch as it was not without an oath 21(for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him,
"The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever’");
22so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently.
For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
Do you see that this promise is signed and sealed by the oath that Jesus would be our forever High Priest in heaven? You know what that does? That totally secures your salvation. He’s encouraging you in this way – you don’t have to doubt whether you are saved or not, because you are. If you come to Christ, your High Priest, you are saved. You may be asking this question: what are the two unchangeable things in Hebrews 6:18?
so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie,
What are they? Well the first one is the promise to Abraham. The second one is the declaration of Psalm 110, that Jesus Christ is a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. That’s the second. Can anybody change that? No. Can anybody reverse that? No. Can anybody undo the work that Christ has done, once and forever? No. Can anybody pull Christ back from heaven and stop Him from interceding for the saints? No. Can anybody rob you of your salvation, when you are in Christ and He is your High Priest? Absolutely no! You realize that? That’s what he’s getting at. The hope of eternal life through the priesthood of Jesus Christ is sure and steadfast. It is being with Him, where He is, sharing His glory. All our hope rest on Christ. It’s like what Jesus Christ said in John 14:2-3
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places…I go to prepare a place for you. 3If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself…
He’s essentially saying the same thing. Our just and faithful God will not lie to us. He will not renege on His promise to us, nor will He bar anyone who takes refuge in Him at any time. The faithfulness of God secures both your perseverance in the faith, obedience of the truth, and your ultimate and complete salvation forever. When God saves, He saves completely. He brings you where you cannot go on your own. He does what you cannot do, or could have never done. This is a good pastor. Look at what he says in verse 19. I’m going to give you God’s work accomplished, your sure pledge:
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
This is what he does here. He’s building up all these words to say this. Listen, your salvation in Christ is secure! That’s your hope. From the Greek world at that time, anchor was a picture of hope. The anchor is also a picture for us that secures the ship from drifting. Then he says this: it’s a hope that is sure. It’s safe. It’s firm. It’s steadfast – that means it’s strong. Also, it includes one who enters into the veil. What is that? That’s the veil that separates the holy place from the holy of holies. The high priest was allowed to go in. Jesus goes in, rips the veil down. Now what does He do? Jesus has always opened up a way for all who desire to take refuge in Him to come. Come, and I will save you. The door to the presence of God has been blown wide open. We don’t need priest. We don’t need anybody to come, except Jesus Christ. If we come in faith and repentance to our High Priest, He will save you and He will secure your salvation. Why?
It says here that He is the forerunner. You know what a forerunner is? It’s one who runs before the crowd. It was a word used especially of the men or troops which were sent into battle. They would go and explore before the advancing troops would come in. They would secure the area, whatever they needed to do so the troops can come safely. What does Jesus do? He goes in and He becomes our forerunner, blazes His way past the veil, into the presence of God. He secures a place for us. What does He do there, as the Scriptures tell? He makes intercession for the saints. He prays on our behalf. He keeps our place secure forever and ever and ever. Here is a message of hope.
If I can say this message in one sentence, it would be this: through Jesus Christ, our High Priest, a believer’s hope is safe and securely anchored in heaven, and no one could alter that because it’s based on God’s promise, His oath, and His character. Does that not encourage you this morning, to go out? I have confidence, not in me, not in you, but in God, that when I came to Christ, He saved me. Now I can acquire spiritual maturity because my salvation rests and I can go forward. Now I’m freed from doubts. Now I’m freed from uncertainties and I can go on in my Christian life. You can go on in your Christian life, confident in your salvation, and you could do it, as he says in the passage, right until the end. You’ll persevere right to the end and you’ll go to heaven. You’ll obtain all the fullness of the promise of God, first by faith, then by sight. Just as Abraham believed God and twenty-five years later, the promise came through Isaac.
Yet, the fullness of the promise is yet to be seen. We believe that Jesus Christ will save us to the uttermost, complete and total salvation. Yet, we are not dead yet. We are not in heaven yet, but we know we are heading there. Isn’t that what it’s about? If I’m there, I can live my life with boldness and confidence that I am saved because God saved me. Although life’s storms beat against us and Satan tries to hinder us and the world is totally against what God is doing in the world, they can never destroy your position before God in heaven. Your soul and my soul is securely anchored in God’s inner sanctuary, the safest location in the universe.
God sees everything you are doing. He’s going to cause you to bear fruit. God promises and lays it before you. He’s saying: here’s my character; I can’t lie; believe my promises. God takes His promise and He bolsters it with an oath. It should be the end of the matter at that point. God lays before you the ultimate oath, that Jesus Christ’s work is accomplished. That’s the highest pledge and hope we can ever have. We can go on and live our Christian lives with boldness and gusto, with effectiveness, right to the end – right to the day we close our eyes. It’s all based on the Lord.
I was really struggling with this passage because I was going to do it in little bits and pieces, but if you do it in little bits and pieces, you lose the whole point. I took it as a sandwich and gave you the whole thing. I pray that you would take it and use it. You know how many people I’ve talked to that are not sure about their salvation? You can’t go any further if you are not. Now if you’re totally not sure about your salvation, then speak to someone so we can give you the gospel. If you don’t know Christ as your Lord and Savior, well He’s the only way. There’s no other way. You need to come to Him. He’s the one you seek refuge in. He’s the one who’s gone into heaven on behalf of those who believe. He’s the only one who could make your future safe and secure. Come to Him. Talk to me; talk to someone in the church. Don’t put it off any longer.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank you this morning for your people. Continue to grow them, Lord. Continue to bolster their faith. Continue to do in them a work You promised You said You would do by Your Spirit. Lord, give them victory over their sin. Give them victory, Lord, over the things that have held them down in the past. Lord, allow them to stick their head above the clouds and see what Christ has done for them. Then, Lord, I pray you would open their eyes, that they may relish in the things that you have accomplished on their behalf, and that they would continue to grow in maturity and in faith, so they can be used more by You in this world, so they can be more confident in Your promise and in their own salvation, so when they sing can give glory to Your great name because they understand what they are singing. They understand the implications. They understand where You rescued them from. They understand You are their refuge. O Lord, let us sing with those things in mind. Press us on, Lord, to grow in Christlikeness. We’ll give You the glory because all the glory belongs to You and only You, Lord. I pray this in Your name, amen.