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. Enduring hope for 2020


We are living in a world of tremendous insecurity. Things that were sure in the past are no longer sure, unless you read all the little prophetic messages that set FB and Whatsapp alight over New Years. Suddenly all the self-appointed prophets know God’s will for 2020, and if you are privileged to somehow be linked to the social network their post is on, you are a beneficiary thereof. I feel with respect sorry for God who must perform just because it is 2020 as if our calendars twist the arm of God, and God’s newly revealed will works in seasons. Somehow, we think that God also has New Year’s resolutions, and that God’s seasons start when our old year flips over into the New one. Sadly, for many people who have been recipients of all these voices 2020 is going to be same old, same old. Same old financial struggles, same old medical struggles, same old family struggles, same old relationship issues, and the question is: how do we deal with all these worries. Is anything secure?

The sermon I want to preach today should serve as an antidote for all these worries.  Now, I cannot entitle it “hope for South Africa” as South Africa as a whole – are not children of God, and there are no national promises in the Word of God except for the Jews. But there are promises for God’s people. Let’s read together from Hebrews 6:19-20 (ESV) “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.”

Ideally, I should have preached this text from verse 13 to allow the context to speak to us in a deeper way, but then I will keep you here all morning. I want to however flip back to verse 18 and make a simple statement from there that should allow you to hang on to your hope: 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.”

So, three things you need to understand so far this morning is that you firstly have a hope set before you unlike the world that you need to hold fast to, secondly that hope is set before us and steadfast like an anchor, and thirdly, God promises it to you and He does not lie. The promise of God is to give us the deep confidence that we will inherit all that he promises us in Jesus. While on verse 18, we need to ask the simple question. What does it mean to “hold fast to the hope set before us?” It simply means to bank on that hope, to trust in it, to feel secure in it and to be satisfied with it. What else can we trust? The system of this world has failed us, our bodies fail us, our finances fail us, our friends fail us.

Let’s move now to verse 19 and 20 and see what the Hebrew writer says to us about this hope. Two points for today!

1. Our hope is our only anchor.

“19 We have this as a “sure and steadfast anchor” of the soul, “a hope” that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,”

Now we all know what an anchor is. We use it on ships, which is maybe our predominant meaning, but it is used on dry land as well to anchor anything. It can literally mean a thing or a person that provides stability. Anchors must be anchored into something that is steadfast. Unlike a dear friend of ours who owned a boat in Stilbaai in the Cape, who had a harrowing experience a few years ago as they either dropped or pulled up anchor, and suddenly the anchor started towing them and started pulling them down. They had hooked onto a whale. They had to cut the rope so quickly. That is not what is meant in Hebrews. Our anchor is not movable.

According to verse 18 this hope is before us, it is coming, we do not have it yet, but it is secure. Our hope is based on verse 20 which says it is seated “where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.” That which anchors our soul is not our subjective confidence, it is not feely – feely emotional thing, but the sure objective reality that God has promised. This is our anchor. And this is what we are to lay hold of.

Church family, we should rejoice in the fact that the hope is ‘sure’ which means that it is certain and safe. If you are truly a child of God it will never disappoint you, that is why we endure, because we know it is sure. It is ‘steadfast’, therefore firm and reliable.

Why is it sure and steadfast? Very simply because of the place in which it is anchored. It is anchored in the inner place behind the curtain. The symbolism here is Old Testament regarding the Ark of the Covenant, but here we look forward as it refers to where Jesus has gone before us.  Jesus entered the holy of holies once for all with his own infinitely precious blood and his own indestructible life so that his atoning work for us is perfect and lasts forever. Christ is the High Priest forever according to the “order of Melchizedek.”

So, our anchor — our promised future — is sure; it is steadfast; and it is the finished and purchased work of Jesus our High Priest.

So, the Hebrew writer is dangling a chain down to earth out of heaven for all believers to hold to. The one end is presented to us based on the sovereign working of the Holy Spirit in our lives that draws us to salvation, and the other end is anchored in the complete work of Christ. You can only hold onto Christ, you cannot trust in yourself, or works, or the worldly systems. “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?” But we have an anchor that keeps the soul. The worldly systems for all that it offers, fades into obscurity when you compare it with the chain bound unbreakably to the altar of God in the holy of holies so that nothing could loosen it from that end. Christian, hold tight to the end of the chain and I promise you based on God’s Word that you will have safety and firmness and assurance?

One last statement about this hope which the Hebrew writer gives us which I want to explain under 4 headings.

We firstly saw that Hope is our only anchor. Now take note of my second point.

2. Our anchor is our only hope. Why?

2.1 Because hope belongs to salvation.

The Hebrew writer helps us with this in Hebrews 6:9 (ESV) 9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.”

Again, we see that surety. Remember verse 19: “19 We have this as a “sure and steadfast anchor Now verse 9 says we are sure of better things, better because we now know that this is where our anchor is firmly attached. But now in verse 9 he tells us that it is attached or belongs to our salvation. If you are in Christ it is sure, if you are not in Christ you have no anchor but this world that will fail you and you will lose your soul. That is why Paul says in Romans 8:1 (ESV) 1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” It is another way of saying that we have an anchor in Christ. Outside Christ you are adrift in the seas of the turmoil of this world.  Let me just say this. If salvation served as a sure anchor, it must be anchored in God as the author of our salvation, otherwise it will not hold. That is why the Hebrew writer can say later in Hebrews 12:1&2 that we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and the finisher or the beginning and the perfecter or of our faith.

So, our anchor is our only hope because hope belongs to salvation, but our anchor is also our only hope:

2.2 Because we can only hold fast when we are held fast.

Verse 18 says: “hold fast to the hope set before us?” The Hebrew writer said something more about this earlier. Look at Hebrews 3:14 (ESV) 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold fast our original confidence firm to the end.” Now look carefully. You don’t share in Christ if you hold fast. You hold fast because you have come to share in Christ. You can only hold fast because you are held fast. Holding fast is simply an evidence of what has already happened. So, the moment you become a child of God, the anchor of our soul is bound to us as well as to heaven. Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:12 (ESV) 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. It is Paul’s way of saying, I hold fast because I am held fast.

So, our anchor is our only hope because hope belongs to salvation, it is also our only hope because we hold fast because we are held fast, but our anchor is also our only hope:

2.3 Because it is solidly bound to Heaven

Hold fast to your anchor, because it is your only hope, because it is solidly bound in Heaven. Look at Hebrews 3:6 (ESV) 6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

Church family, it does not say that we will become his house if we hold fast to our hope. No, it says that we are (now!) his house if indeed we (in the future) hold fast to our hope. So, holding fast is not the cause of our being Christ’s house, but the proof of it. Holding fast is not that which makes me part of the household of God, we hold fast because we are the household of God.  Being a son, belonging to God’s house is what secures my perseverance. The anchor of our souls is not a rope hanging in the air waiting for our weak hands to grasp and hold. That would be no security. The anchor of our soul is as solidly bound to us as it is to heaven.

Our anchor is our only hope because hope belongs to salvation, it is also our only hope because we hold fast because we are held fast, it is also our only hope because it is bound in heaven, and lastly our anchor is also our only hope:

4.4 Because it is God’s work in us that brings us to Heaven

Look at Hebrews Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV) 20 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.”

This verse is similar to Philippians 3:12. This anchor – excuse the pun – is not one with no strings attached. It is anchored in us doing His good will, it is anchored in is doing what is pleasing in His sight. There is no such thing as a Christian who is not a changed person. But again, it is God who is equipping us to hold fast. It is God working in us, what is pleasing in his sight. So, God has not only given you heaven, but God has given you the very faith and hope or salvation and hope that you need to enjoy heaven as the base to which your anchor is held. This anchor is fastened sure and deep in the Saviour’s love and in the Saviour’s work. We are not left to our own weak hands to hold on. The anchor of our souls is bound to us as well as to heaven.

Closing question.

Now if everything is based on Christ and His completed work, and if my anchor is secure despite me, why should I hold fast?

Let me give you a few answers that should help you understand.

  1. What Christ bought for us when he died was not the freedom from having to hold fast, but the enabling power to hold fast.
  2. What he bought was not the nullification of our wills as though we didn’t have to hold fast, but the empowering of our wills because we want to hold fast.
  3. What he bought was not the cancelling of the commandment to hold fast, but the fulfilment of the commandment to hold fast.
  4. What he bought was not the end of exhortation, but the triumph of exhortation.

He died so that you would do exactly what Paul did in Philippians 3:12 (ESV)12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”

Let me give you 5 quick ways we can make it our own.

  1. Meditate on what the Bible says about your hope is in the presence of God.
  2. Pray earnestly that God would open your mind and heart to this greatness and this certainty and incline you to hope in Him.
  3. Consider how much Christ has suffered for your hope. Consider the price He paid.
  4. Remember, that there is a great cloud of witnesses that have gone before you.
  5. Let’s exhort and encourage one another to hold fast.

So, reach out, hang in there and know that you have an anchor that will keep your soul, steadfast and sure while the billows role, fastened to the rock which cannot move, fastened firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.


Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church: 5 January 2019