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Getting a Corner on Confidence: The Stronghold of Hope in Christ

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Getting a Corner on Confidence: 

The Stronghold of Hope in Christ

Hebrews 6:9-20                                               June 1, 1997

Scripture:  Responsive Reading #403, Hymnal

Introduction:

          What is it that gives you confidence?  You know, that gives you the will and the drive to go ahead.  It probably isn’t that someone would tell you that you are slow, immature, need to go through kindergarten again, need to eat baby food, need to figure out right from wrong again, and that it is questionable whether or not you are actually trainable.  That is where the author of Hebrews has just taken his readers as he comes into Chapter Six.  Maybe they needed that, however.  Sometimes we need a wakeup call, don’t we; a little thing to get our attention and shake us out of our complacency or get us on the right track again.  But we should never leave someone there, and our author doesn’t leave his readers, or us, there either.  He goes on to impart confidence.

          So the author has just warned the Hebrew Christians of the danger of immaturity.  They have not understood the significance of Christ’s position as high priest.  They must understand this but he is afraid they won’t or can’t.  It is only the understanding of who Christ really is and the office he performs that will keep us until the end.  (If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.)  And it is this understanding that will drive us on to greater understanding.  Their minds must be stretched or they will begin to shrink.  That is why going beyond immaturity is so important as a safeguard against apostasy (falling away).  There is no remedy for apostasy which is a deliberate and willful sin of disbelief. 

          Continuing in growth is a test of the reality of salvation.  The author has not questioned the perseverance of the saints so much as insisting that those who persevere are the true saints.  It is the experience of the church (not withstanding that it is possible for the grace of God to accomplish any act of redemption) that those who have shared in the covenant privileges of the people of God, and then deliberately renounce them, are the most difficult persons of all to reclaim for the faith.  It is the danger of becoming ‘twice dead’ in unbelief after having clearly seen where the truth lies, and even conforming to it for a time, before renouncing it for one reason or another.  God has pledged to pardon all who truly repent, but Scripture and experience alike suggest that it is possible for human beings to arrive at a state of hardness in heart and life where they can no longer repent.

          That was the bad news.  Now here is the good news.  After warning them of the potential danger of apostasy, falling away from faith in Christ alone as our Great High Priest, the author readily reassures his readers that he is confident of better things for them.  He has just told them of the danger of continued immaturity that may lead to apostasy if their lack of growth is left unchecked.  Failing to grow in the truth of the Gospel makes us vulnerable to falling away even from the truth we received.  When we stop growing spiritually, we begin to die spiritually.  The sign of life is growth.  The nature of the Word of God is that it causes growth in those who are alive to God. The believer’s safety zone is continual growth in the application of Gospel truth.  Outside the safety zone of growth is the danger zone of death.  Infants are more vulnerable than adults.  But now he builds upon what they know and spurs them on to a greater application and a greater hope.  His purpose is to impart confidence.

I.       The confidence of salvation.  (vv. 9-12)

          A.      God is just and remembers those who are saved.  (v. 10)

                   1.       Those who are saved perform works done for God.

                             a.       Those who are saved exhibit love shown to God                                                through those works.

                             b.       Those who are saved give help to God’s people                                                 through those works.

 

Gal. 6:7  Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

8  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

10  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

                   2.       Those who are saved persevere in those works.  (v. 11)

This is evidence that demands a verdict.

                             a.       Those who are saved gain a sure hope through                                          persevering in those works.

 

1Jn. 3:18  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

19  This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence

 

Mk. 9:21  Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?" "From childhood," he answered.

22  "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."

23  "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."

24  Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

It is in the act of doing that faith becomes active and remains active.  We must just be willing to work for God and then we see the reality that He is which keeps us to the end.  Did God save us just so we could do our own thing?

Carrying the ball into the end zone gives hope of winning the game.

                             b.       This sure hope is the knowledge that we are not                                                 forgotten by God because we have not forgotten                                                 him.

Heb. 3:6  But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

          B.      Those who are saved follow the way of the saints.  (v. 12)

                   1.       The saints did not become lazy in faith.

                   2.       The saints did not become lazy in patience.

                   3.       Faith and patience are inseparably linked.

                             a.       Faith dies without patience.

                             b.       Patience dies without faith.

Gal. 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

(Long-suffering - God would not have required long-suffering if there were not some things that we must suffer long.)

                   4.      The saints inherited what God promised by carrying out                                    an active faith and patience.

We inherit a promise (eternal life) by continuing to believe it.

This is proved by our actions.

Catherine Booth, wife of William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, said, “Salvation without service is no salvation.”

But it ultimately depends on God.

And we can trust God for it even as an anchor holds a ship.

II.      The confidence of God’s promise.  (vv. 13-18)

          A.      God honored his promise to Abraham (land, descendants,                                 blessings).

                   1.       He honored his promise by swearing upon the greatest                                       power in the universe - himself.  (v. 13)             

                   2.       God placed himself and his word on the line in                                          accordance with Abraham’s active faith and patience.

                             (v. 14) 

 

Gen. 15:5  He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars-- if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

6  Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Gen. 22:15 ¶ The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time

16  and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,

17  I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,

18  and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."

                   3.       Abraham received what was promised after he actively                                      believed and waited upon God.  (v. 15)

Rom. 4:16  Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring-- not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.

17 ¶ As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed-- the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

18  Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

19  Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-- since he was about a hundred years old-- and that Sarah's womb was also dead.

20  Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,

21  being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

22  This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness."

23 ¶ The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone,

24  but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness-- for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

25  He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

Even faith comes from God but we must activate it by believing.

Faith activates the promise of God in our behalf.

Heb. 11:6  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

                   4.       God honors his promise to all Abraham’s children.

Rom. 9:6 ¶ It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.

7  Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."

8  In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.

Gal 3:29  If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

          B.      We can be certain that God will honor his promise to us.

                   1.       Men confirm their words by oath in order to give some                                      semblance of assurance.  (v. 16)

Mt. 5:33 ¶ "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.'

34  But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne;

35  or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.

36  And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.

37  Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

James 5:12 ¶ Above all, my brothers, do not swear-- not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.

                             a.       They subject themselves to a power greater than                                                themselves in order to confirm themselves.

                             b.       This action is intended to put an end to any                                                       argument about the intended performance of what                                              they said.

                   2.       God confirms his word by oath in order to give absolute                                    assurance.  (vv. 17-18)

                             a.       God wants man to clearly understand the                                                  unchanging nature of his purpose.

                             b.       God’s unchanging purpose is that we become heirs                                            of what he has promised.

                             c.       We can be certain of God’s promise because he has                                  doubly confirmed it.

                                      (1)     It is confirmed first of all because God said                                                         it; it is a promise from God.

                                      (2)     It is confirmed second of all because God                                                  has sworn by his own nature and self                                                                  existence.

Num 23:19  God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

Jn. 8:13  The Pharisees challenged him, "Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid."

14  Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going.

15  You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one.

16  But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.

17  In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid.

18  I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me."

                                      (3)     God does not and cannot lie.

                                      (4)     Therefore we who have fled to faith in God                                                         have the profound encouragement of a sure                                                        hope.

This is like the cities of refuge, S. Joshua 20.

III.    The confidence of hope in Christ.  (vv. 19-20)

          A.      Our hope in God is like an anchor.

                   1.       This anchor is steadfast (it grips the solid rock).

                   2.       This anchor provides a place of refuge for the soul.

          B.      Our hope in God is like the place of divine privilege.

                   1.       This place of privilege is where God is.

                   2.       This place of privilege is open to us.

          C.      Our hope in God is through Jesus.

                   1.       It is Jesus who has made us secure in God (anchor).

                   2.       It is Jesus who has given us access to God (privilege).

                   3.       It is Jesus who has gone before us into God’s presence on                                  our behalf.

Jesus has paved the way before us to make level paths for our feet.

Is. 26:7  The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth.

                   4.       It is Jesus who has become our advocate (Great High                                Priest).

                   5.       Jesus is our only hope.

1Pe 1:3¶  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1Pe 1:13¶  Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Our confidence in the future is based firmly on the fact of what God has done for us in Christ.  No matter what our situation may be, we need never despair because Christ is alive.

   -- Billy Graham

Dr. Carl F. Henry, one of America's leading contemporary theologians, said of Jesus, "He planted the only durable rumor of hope amid the widespread despair of a hopeless world."

 

Other men see only a hopeless end, but the Christian rejoices in an endless hope.

   -- Gilbert Beenken

 

Hope has a thick skin and will endure many a blow; it will put on patience as a vestment, it will wade through a sea of blood, it will endure all things if it be of the right kind, for the joy that is set before it. Hence patience is called "patience of hope," because it is hope that makes the soul exercise patience and long-suffering under the cross, until the time comes to enjoy the crown.

   John Bunyan (1628–168)

 

Faith is the Christian's foundation, hope is his anchor, death is his harbor, Christ is his pilot, and heaven is his country.

   Jeremy Taylor (1613–1667)

 

The word which God has written on the brow of every man is hope.

   Victor Hugo (1802–1885)

 

The word hope I take for faith; and indeed hope is nothing else but the constancy of faith.

   John Calvin (1509–1564)

 

In the presence of hope, faith is born.

   Robert Harold Schuller (1926– )

 

Timeless Truth:   Confidence corner is not that of the mourner,

                             It’s the stronghold of hope in the Lord.

                             This hope in the Lord is love’s service outpoured;

                             It’s the blessing and promise of God,

                             That if you hold on to hope and follow the rope,

                             It’s an anchor of rock where you’re moored.

This Rock Is Jesus!


Getting a Corner on Confidence:

The Stronghold of Hope in Christ

Hebrews 6:9-20                                  June 1, 1997

I.          The confidence of s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .  (vv. 9-12)

            A.        God is just and r _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  those who are saved.  (v. 10)

                        1.         Those who are saved perform w _ _ _ _  done for God.

                                    a.         Those who are saved exhibit l _ _ _  shown to God                                                                         through those works.

                                    b.         Those who are saved give h _ _ _  to God’s people                                                              through those works.

                        2.         Those who are saved p _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  in those works.  (v. 11)

                                    a.         Those who are saved gain a sure h _ _ _  through                                                                 persevering in those works.

                                    b.         This sure hope is the k _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  that we are not                                                         forgotten by God because we have not forgotten                                                                 him.

            B.        Those who are saved follow the way of the s _ _ _ _ _ .  (v. 12)

                        1.         The saints did not become lazy in f _ _ _ _ .

                        2.         The saints did not become lazy in p _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .

                        3.         Faith and patience are inseparably l _ _ _ _ _ .

                                    a.         Faith dies without p _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .

                                    b.         Patience dies without f _ _ _ _ .

                        4.         The saints inherited what God promised by carrying out                                                      an a _ _ _ _ _  faith and patience.

II.        The confidence of God’s p _ _ _ _ _ _ .  (vv. 13-18)

            A.        God honored his promise to A _ _ _ _ _ _ .

                        1.         He honored his promise by swearing upon the greatest                                                         p _ _ _ _  in the universe - himself.  (v. 13)                   

                        2.         God placed himself and his w _ _ _  on the line in                                                               accordance with Abraham’s active faith and patience.  (v. 14) 

                        3.         Abraham received what was promised after he actively                                                        b _ _ _ _ _ _ _  and waited upon God.  (v. 15)

                        4.         God honors his promise to all Abraham’s c _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .

            B.        We can be certain that God will honor his promise to u _ .

                        1.         Men confirm their words by oath in order to give some                                                        semblance of a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .  (v. 16)

                                    a.         They subject themselves to a p _ _ _ _  greater than                                                                         themselves in order to confirm themselves.

                                    b.         This action is intended to put an end to any argument

                                                about the intended p _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  of what they said.

                        2.         God confirms his word by oath in order to give a _ _ _ _ _ _ _                                            assurance.  (vv. 17-18)

                                    a.         God wants man to clearly understand the                                                                             unchanging nature of his p _ _ _ _ _ _ .

                                    b.         God’s unchanging purpose is that we become h _ _ _ _                                                       of what he has promised.

                                    c.         We can be certain of God’s promise because he has                                                              d _ _ _ _ _  confirmed it.

                                                (1)        It is confirmed first of all because God s _ _ _                                                                     it; it is a promise from God.

                                                (2)        It is confirmed second of all because God                                                                             has s _ _ _ _  by his own nature and self                                                                               existence.

                                                (3)        God does not and cannot l _ _ .

                                                (4)        Therefore we who have fled to faith in God                                                                                     have the profound e _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  of a

                                                            sure hope.

III.       The confidence of h _ _ _  in Christ.  (vv. 19-20)

            A.        Our hope in God is like an a _ _ _ _ _ .

                        1.         This anchor is s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  (it grips the solid rock).

                        2.         This anchor provides a place of r _ _ _ _ _  for the soul.

            B.        Our hope in God is like the place of divine p _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .

                        1.         This place of privilege is where G _ _  is.

                        2.         This place of privilege is open to u _ .

            C.        Our hope in God is through J _ _ _ _ .

                        1.         It is Jesus who has made us s _ _ _ _ _  in God (anchor).

                        2.         It is Jesus who has given us a _ _ _ _ _  to God (privilege).

                        3.         It is Jesus who has gone before us into God’s p _ _ _ _ _ _ _  on                                        our behalf.

                        4.         It is Jesus who has become our a _ _ _ _ _ _ _  before God.

                        5.         Jesus is our only h _ _ _ .

Timeless Truth:         Confidence corner is not that of the mourner,

                                    It’s the stronghold of hope in the Lord.

                                    This hope in the Lord is love’s service outpoured;

                                    It’s the blessing and promise of God,

                                    That if you hold on to hope and follow the rope,

                                    It’s an anchor of rock where you’re moored.

This Rock Is Jesus!


 

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