Sermon: Our Soul’s Anchor (Hebrews 6:13-20)

Our Soul’s Anchor

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,  [14] saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.”  [15] And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.  [16] For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation.  [17] 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,  [18] 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.  [19] We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,  [20] where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

We live in an age where someone’s word really doesn’t mean much.  It’s an age of loopholes and broken promises.  Between unfulfilled wedding vows and unfulfilled political agendas our age is an age where human words are really worth next to nothing.

With divorce on the rise, the words for better or for worse must not really mean for better or for worse.  They must mean for better or for best.

The promises of politicians for the most part are worthless.  There is always a reason that their words remain unfulfilled.  I wonder how many people are actually taken in by the political debris of these promises that cannot possibly be kept.  A Balanced national budget, Healthcare for everyone, Jobs for everyone who wants one.

We’re so used to not believing promises that we may be tempted to not believe God’s promises.  We’re so skeptical when those on the television make dogmatic statements that it may often carry over into our spiritual life.

There is a difference between a man made promise and a promise made by God.  While man’s promises have many different reasons for not coming true, God’s has a million reasons that guarantee them.

Man, at best makes a promise and hopes it comes true.  God makes a promise already knowing His decreed future.  He knows that it is as good as fulfilled.

Primary ClaimHold fast to the promises of God because they are sure.

The difference is this:  Picture yourself hanging over the edge of a cliff with the rocks that you’re holding onto crumbling in your hands and under your feet.  The average politician is above you and says take this rope; it’s tied to my latest proposal.  I don’t think I’d trust my life to the latest whatever.  Polls are taken opinions change.  On the other hand, there is God who says look beside you and stand on the step.  You place your foot on the step and then there is another.  You step on it and there is another.  Before you know it you are safe and on a solid foundation.

I want you to see the difference between man’s promises and a sovereign God’s promises.  Man’s are like flipping a coin, God’s are like concrete.

Can you think of any reason not to trust God?  I pray that as we look together at these verses and consider what they mean to our souls we’ll be even more convinced that God is a sure anchor for our souls.

1. God’s Promise to Abraham (Hebrews 6:13-17)

For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,  [14] saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.”  [15] And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.  [16] For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation.  [17] 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,

Here, the author is seeking to remove all our doubts.  He’s showing us that unlike man’s futile and often failing promises, God’s are different.  We can believe God because He is unchanging.  The same God who made this promise to Abraham tells us through Christ great and awesome truths that we must hold tight to.

What promise is the writer referring to?  Specifically in this case, he’s referring to the promise is found in…

Genesis 12:1-3 (ESV)

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. [2] And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. [3] I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

What’s key to the writer’s intention is that Abraham didn’t immediately receive what God promised.  Years passed before Abraham actually began to receive the promise.

having patiently waited, obtained the promise.

One aspect for us to remember is that we can hold fast to God’s promises because they are sure, even though they haven’t come to pass yet.  The promise of the resurrection is an example case in point.

1 Thes. 4:16 (ESV)

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

As God’s people, He calls to believe future promises.  Not only must we believe them in our head but also live lives that prove we believe them.

How did Abraham live in light of God’s promise?

Genesis 22:1-14 (ESV)

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” [2] He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” [3] So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. [4] On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. [5] Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” [6] And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. [7] And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” [8] Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

[9] When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. [10] Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. [11] But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” [12] He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” [13] And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. [14] So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

God’s promise is unchanging, namely, that through Abraham all the nations would be blessed.  All the peoples or families of the earth will have representatives who will experience salvation and the resurrection.  Abraham believed this promise that God made to him.

Place yourself in Abraham’s shoes for a moment.  God promises an offspring that will be very famous and bless the nations.  We know exactly what God was talking about.  We know that Jesus was the seed of Abraham who was to be this blessing.

It took years for Abraham’s son, Isaac to be born.  The line of Abraham hinged on him and Sarah having a baby.  This was a miracle in and of itself.  Both Abraham and Sarah were way up in years and way past the age of having babies.  Physically it couldn’t be done.  Nevertheless, the day came when infant cries were heard coming from the nursery at Abraham and Sarah’s house.  Can you see the neighbors shaking their heads?  Young Isaac, the son of promise as he is called, begins to grow.  He’s now in his early teens and Abraham hears from God again.  This time the Lord commands Abraham to take Isaac up on top a mountain and sacrifice him???

We see Abraham’s trust in God in an amazing way.

Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”

Abraham didn’t know exactly what was going on but he knew that the covenant God had made with him was unchanging and would come to pass.  Again the covenant promise was that through you, Abraham will come a descendant that will be a blessing to the nations.  Abraham knew that this covenant hinged on Isaac remaining alive in order to have children.  What’s even more amazing is that Abraham saw Jesus Christ in this promise.  He didn’t know everything about Christ but I truly think he knew much more than we might think.

Speaking to the Jews, Jesus said,

John 8:56 (ESV)

Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”

When Isaac was born Abraham saw the promise being fulfilled.  Step one of God’s great promise had taken place right before his eyes.

How did Abraham live in light of the promises of God?  He immediately obeyed God’s Words.

Genesis 22:15-18 (ESV)

And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven  [16] and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, [17] I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, [18] and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

He proved his faith was genuine by acting on what God said.  He obeyed God and so showed the world that his allegiance was to the Lord.

Not only did God make a covenant with Abraham which was proof number one that it would happen, He also swore an oath to Abraham that it would happen.

[17] 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,

God swore upon Himself because there is nothing greater by which to make an oath.

By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord God said in Genesis 22.

Just as Abraham held fast to the promises of God, we too must hold fast.

What would a Christian look like who lived in light of the promise?

A Christian who walks by faith in the promise won’t be placing such a strong emphasis on the things of this world because there is a better world to come.  Houses, Cars, Jobs, Businesses won’t have such a strong hold on us or I should say we won’t have such a strong hold on them.  Hold fast to God’s promises not our possessions.  Hold fast and live a life that shows where your allegiance lies.  Christ is the fulfillment of the promise.  Hold fast to Him above all things.

2. God’s Sure and Steadfast Hope (Hebrews 6:18-20)

[18] 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.  [19] We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,  [20] where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

God desires our faith and trust in all things.  He has given His unchanging and trustworthy Word.  Then, He makes an unchanging oath swearing upon the greatest thing possible which is Himself.  Then the writer reminds us that God’s Word and His oath are sure because God cannot lie.

Here’s the difference between man’s promises and God’s

Numbers 23:19 (ESV)

God is not man, that he should lie,

or a son of man, that he should change his mind.

Has he said, and will he not do it?

Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

God tells us to examine the claims.  See without a doubt that His great promises are supremely trustworthy and then hold fast to them.

When life seems spinning out of control run to the Lord and His promises.  When sickness or an unexpected hospital visit happens run to Christ and tell Him that you’re not sure what’s going on but I trust you and your unchanging Word.

Think of calamity as a time to show the Lord and the world what you really believe about God.  We can make very bold claims when everything is going our way but when events happen that are out of our hands we must trust the Lord with every fiber of our being.

God, through His sovereign grace has given us these same promises.  The Abrahamic Covenant continues through Christ.

He reminds us just how important it is to have a sure promise to gain stability in this life.

In the same way an anchor keep a ship from drifting in a storm, so God’s promises keeps us from drifting when we encounter storms and trouble in life.  God’s promises keep us from drifting.  God’s promises secure us in the deepest ocean.

The picture presented for us is one that we must catch.  Normally, an anchor is used to keep a boat secure in the ocean.  Here it says that this anchor is hooked not somewhere in the sea but onto someone who has entered into the Holy of Holies on our behalf.

Can you see the chain of the anchor lying on the ground in the temple?  The anchor itself is hidden by the veil.  All that is seen is the chain going under the veil and hooked to us.

But then on the cross when Jesus died the Bible tells us that the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom.

Jesus is the secure solid rock that the Christian is anchored to.

Now the illustration goes a step further.  After Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, our anchor was still hooked to Him. Through the blood of Christ, His people are forever in Christ. For all of God’s people there is an eternal fixed chain that stretches, as it were, from Jesus to our souls.  This chain cannot be severed or in any way broken.

This is the image the writer wants us to see.  Jesus is the solid unchanging rock we must be anchored to prevent us from drifting.

There is one final piece to this image.  The death of Jesus for His people is so powerful that the chain is secure on both ends.  When He died the link between His people and Him was permanently fixed.

His death did not simply make salvation a possibility but His death saved His people.  Through the blood of Christ we are forever secure.

The promise of God in the Old Covenant basically said, Obey and you will be blessed, disobey and you will see the curse.  Jesus, on the cross, purchased for us the obedience we need to secure God’s eternal blessings.  Jesus purchased the blessings of the New Covenant for us.

Luke 22:20 (ESV)

And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,  [21] equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Like with most things in the Christian life, God’s elect are eternally secure on the one hand, on the other hand we are commanded to hold tight and persevere.

By holding fast to Jesus Christ, the world sees where our affections lie.

Unfortunately, most people are chained to their sin or some earthly pleasure, whether it be money or a house or whatever.

I pray that as believers we are completely sold out to Christ.  Our faith in God’s eternal promises keep us forever.

Thanks be to God that He is working in us the power to hold fast to the promise which is Jesus Christ.  Rather than holding fast to this world and all it has to offer, we must be holding fast to Christ who is the fulfillment of God’s promise.

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