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Living by Faith (Vol 03) - Hope: Soul's Anchor

Sunday English Service - 22 JUL 18

Transcript

Please turn with me to Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1.Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.We began two weeks ago toteach on faith.Wecalled the series living by faith. It's going to be based on Hebrews chapter 11. Hebrews chapter 11 is a very powerful passage of scripture where he brings in so many examples to the life of faith. In the first few verses, he describes faith and defines faith and thenhe presents examplesof faith of various peopleand how they lived by faith. So it's a wonderful chapter. And from there, we will launch out into the entire Bible literally looking into all these different characters and all these different people and different things in the Bible and in different places to really understand faith. Now, the first thing that we need to understand faith I told you is thatas the definition says Hebrews 11:1 is probably the best definition of faith available. It says, Faith is the confidence of things hoped for.In my Bible, and I don't know what kind of Bible you have, in the margin, there is a marginalrenderingthat says substance of things. But by substance there is a number and you look at the corresponding number in the margin it says confidence. Faith is a confidence of the things hoped for.

Remember the first week I defined faith in a very simple way, that faith is the expectation of the good things to come. But in the second week, we went further with the definition. We said biblical faith is not just an expectation of good things to come, but it is a confident expectation. The word confidence is what makes hope, biblical hope. It's not just the expectation, everybody says, I hope this, I hope that. I showed you last week how built into that expression is a doubt, whether it may happen or not. “I hope I get this job,” you say, that means you may not get the job also.But biblical faith is not like that. When you say, “I hope,” in the biblical way it means I'm certain. I am very sure of this thing. This is my hope. My hope is this.In a Bible hope is different. So I want you to realize that Bible hope is about confidence.Confidence in the promises of God.That what God has said, He will do.So when hope comes in it’s like a small ray of light in the midst of darkness. But when the confidence in the word of God becomes full, and reaches a full state, that is when it becomes faith. Hope becomes faith when the confidence becomes full. That's what I showed you in the second week.

Now, in the second week I also showed you, we looked at a passage in Hebrews chapter 6. I'm going to go little more into that, into hope today, but let me just clarify something from lastweek so that you will keep that in your mind.In Hebrews chapter 6 verse 11 and 12 is what we concentrated on last week. There we are told this, Hebrews chapter 6 verse 11 and 12, And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience, inherit the promises.He is encouraging the first century Christians who are troubled, persecuted, and so on. He says, “We desire that you show some diligence,” diligence to do what?Diligence to the full assurance of hope. Make sure that you're diligent to achieve full assurance of hope.“Till the end get the full assurance of hope,” he says. Why?So thatyou will imitate those who through faith and patience, inherit the promises. So there I showed you is the clear proof that it is hope that literally becomes faith when it reaches a full assurance stage.When hope becomes a full assurance,the fullness of that assurance is what makes it faith. So hope and faith is not that much different. Hope is the full assurance. That's why Hebrews 11:1 says, hope is the confidence of the things hoped for.You can say it like this, hope is the full assurance of the things hoped for.

We looked at another passage, Chapter 10 of Hebrews, verse 22.Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, it says, Now here, it is not talking about full assurance of hope. It's talking about full assurance of faith, because faith is the full assurance.When hope reaches full assurance, it becomes faith.So you can call it full assurance of faith.Having our hearts sprinkled from evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who has promised is faithful. In verse 23 it says this, hold fast the confession of our hope. So what he's saying is this,be sure that you confess your hope all the time. Don't confess anything. Confess what you hope. What is your hope?Only speak in line with your hope.Why?Then only the full assurance will come. That's the message there. Then I went to Romans chapter 4, if you remember, I just have to go through this in order to get into the nextthing that I want to get into today. Romans chapter four in verse 18, we read that,contrary to hope, in hope Abraham believed.What does he mean? It’s talking about how God promisedAbraham saying that,“You'll be the father of many nations, your seed shall be like the stars of the sky.” This is the promise and there is noearthly possibility, it looked. It looked like this man is old, his wife is old, they’ve gone beyond the stage of bearing children. So, there is no possibility plus they haven't had children all these years. So it seems like there is no possibility. So contrary to hope, he believed in hope, it says.Everything says in other words, “There is no hope, you can't do it. It won't happen.” But he still believed because God has said it. He knew this much about God that He never lies and he knew that God is almighty, He can do anything. So even though nothing looks good, there is no evidence, contrary to hope, he believed in hope. Now let's look at what happened that believing brings about the power of faith.

Verse 19 says,and not being weak in faith.See when he believed contrary to hope, when he believed in hope, in spite of all the outward evidences being against that hope, it did not give him any hope, he still believed in hope and by doing that he did not become weak in faith. Instead, he became strong in faith. Next verse says, He did not waver at the promises of God, verse 20 through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith.He became strong in faith, in fact, giving glory to God. And then verse 21 says, and being fully convinced.See there it is again, full conviction,being fully convinced that what He had promised He was able to perform. So what is faith? Faith is a full conviction, full assurance, full confidence.So what I want you to catch that thing about faith.Faith is the full assurance, full confidence, fullness in the confidence and theconviction that you have about what God has said.

Alright, today I want to go a little bit more about faith. Talk about how faith really is given to us through the word of God. I showed you Romans chapter 15 verse 4, that Paul says that Old Testament scriptures. He is referring to the Old Testament scriptures. He says, “These are written for us so that we may become people of hope, so that it can give us hope.” Now, I know these days, a lot of people say,“You don't need the Old Testament. All we need is the New Testament.” I always ask them,“Which New Testament did you read?” Forget about the Old Testament. Are you reading the right New Testament? If you read the New Testament, the New Testament says,“The Old Testament was written to give you hope.” Paul says in Romans 15:4 that the Old Testament scriptures were written to give us hope.The stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, the people of Israel and all that happened and all that God did, is there recorded for us to go and literally feast on it so that we receive hope and that our hope becomes full.That we be filled with the conviction that God will indeed do for us, just like He did in their lives also.That's why it's written for us.

All right.Now going back to Hebrews and still describing how it's the conviction or confidence of the things hoped for, I want to talk about how this hope comes and how it becomes the full assurance.We looked at verses 11 and 12 chapter 6 last time. This chapter is full of discussion about faith. So I want to go from 13 to the last verse today. Verse 13. Let me begin to read from verse 13. And God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.Talking about Abraham. He patiently endured, and obtained the promise.For men indeedswear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.I can really see that some of you are thinking,“My God what kind of passage is this?This looks like so complicated.” Not at all. This is the most amazing passage and you'll have an appreciation for it when we get through it in a few minutes.

What is happening is this, in verses 11 and 12, he has said that we wish that you have the same diligence.Diligence for what?Diligence to develop the full assurance of hope.Why?So that you can be like your forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and so on, who by faith and patience obtained the promises of God. “So make sure that you're diligent enough to develop full assurance of hope,” he says. And now after having said that, in verse 13 he begins to give an example of how it actually took place in a person's life. Right? That's what is happening here. Now this man who's writing the book of Hebrews is a great expert of the Old Testament.Among all the New Testament writers here, the Old Testament is taken apart literally, interpreted most beautifully. He must have been a greatscholar of the Old Testament. Plus, not only a scholar, but he's a man of revelation. He is a Christian who has received a revelation concerning Christ from the Old Testament. He can look at the Old Testament scriptures and see Jesus everywhere, and see how He's been foretold in the Old Testament. So he understands the Old Testament perfectly, and has a great appreciation for the Old Testament. So he is picking an example now to show how hope and faith works, how a hopeless person begins to get hope and how he begins to respond to hope and how it becomes full assurance and becomes faith that moves even mountains and makes him perform great things for God.

So the example chosenis of course, Abraham.The Jewish people were so proud of Abraham. Remember, to Jesus, the Jewish people said, “Our father is Abraham.”They were so proud of being the children of Abraham. And Abraham is discussed in the New Testament a lot.In Galatians, in Romans and here in Hebrews and so on. Abraham is usedso many times again and again to teach faith to us, to teach so many other things. All right. Now Abraham is taken as the example.Now in what particular event in Abraham's life this man takes here, in this passage he...Later on in Hebrews 11 we’ll come to another passage and so on. But here he picks from Genesis chapter 22, something that happened to Abraham in Genesis chapter 22.When you read verse 13 here, that God made a promise to Abrahamand when He made the promise He could swear by no one greater, so He swore by Himself. He’s talking about God giving a promise and swearing in order to confirm the promise. So he's talking, that happened only in Genesis chapter 22. What is happening in Genesis 22, turn to Genesis 22 and let me just give you the background for Genesis 22.Because this man has read that passage, meditated upon that passage and understood that passage. His eyes have been opened to certain facts from that passage and now using that passage, he literally preaches. Hebrews is literally a sermon to encourage people. So he has read and studied and received a revelation of these things and understands these things.He wants to encourage the people who are troubled and taunted. In the first century, the Christian people were going through a lot of problem. He wants to encourage them.

So what was happening in chapter 22 of Genesis? You rememberGod tells Abraham to go and offer his only begotten son Isaac as a sacrifice.And lo and behold, Abraham takes his son, leaves early in the morning takes him to offer him as a sacrifice. And he literally, this man is unbelievable.Because God told him to go and offer his son, he takes his son to the mountain and lays them down on the altar, ties him down and lifts up his knife to kill him, ready to sacrifice him.Just imagine the kind of faith this man had.He totally believed God. Everything rests on Isaac. In Isaacis his future, all the promises that God made to Abraham cannot come to pass if Isaac is killed, if Isaac’slife comes to an end day today.Then Abraham has nothing to live for. Even if you asked Abraham to give his life that would have been a lighter thing than ask him to give Isaac's life because his entire future and the purpose of his existence will be over. When Isaac is dead, everything was over. So that much rested on Isaac. Isaac represented everything that Abraham had.Abraham puts everything that he had on the altar by putting Isaac to die there and raising his knife to kill him, and he would have killed him if God did not stop him.He was ready to give everything because God told him and God stopped him and said, “No, I didn't bring you to make you sacrifice your son. This is about something else.” God says to him. What is it about? See Abraham was in a covenant with God. God had made a covenant with Abraham and this has been going on from chapter 12. God comes and speaks to him and makes a covenant with him and the entire story of Abraham, there you see the various stages of the covenant.

You know, in the old days... you know, today we have contracts, we understand contracts, but contracts are useless. You ask a lawyer, he'll tell you, it doesn't mean a thing many times.They say, “What's the use of a contract?”They can tear it up, they can say, “I never signed it,” it has no value basically.“That's the way the system is,” they say.But covenant is something very precious in the Old Testament times. The covenant is something that no man dared to violate. If you violated a covenant you are considered cursed, you're finished. Such a person does not deserve to live.So nobody violated a covenant, and blood covenant was used commonly among the people.One person will make a covenant with another for various reasons. Onegroup of people, a village people,or a country’s people, a nation will make a covenant with another nation. One race will make a covenant with another race. This kind of covenant is very common. The blood covenant is a very precious covenant. When you cut the blood, shed the blood, and mingle the blood and make the covenant, that is considered literally divine, you cannot violate for any reason.

The covenant had certain terms and conditions. One of the terms or conditions of the covenant is this, that the two parties entering into a covenant say to one another or commit to one another in such a way that they say to one another.One says,“Everything that I have is yours because you're my covenant partner,”and the other person also says,“Everything I have is also yours. If you ever need anything from me,if you ever lack anything, and you need anything and you are needing some helpfrom me, from my side, I'm ready to give.How much will I give? I will give to the extent of giving everything that I have, even to the point of giving my life, I'm ready to give for you.” That's what a covenant meant. So covenant is a very special idea. So in the background of that covenant, this is happening. God has made a covenant with Abraham. So God has said to him,“Everything that I have, Abraham, I'm going to give you. I'm going to bless you. I'm going to just make you astonishingly a blessed man. I'm going to bless you like you can never imagine in your wildest dream. I'm going to bless you and give you everything that you need.”

And now God wants to check and see if this man will give everything he's got. See that's the condition, right?So that is why chapter 22 verse 1 begins like this. It says, Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham.Oh my goodness. I've heard a lot of preaching on this, that God will test you like this. He will take away your son or your daughters.Don't show too much so much love on your children because God will take what you desire best, what you want best in this life God will take it away from you. What is most precious to you God will take it. No, no God is the one that gave Abraham this child. Not so that He can take away. He gave Abraham the son with a great purpose and a great future is planned for him. So God is not in the business of taking his son. God is not a grabber. God is not someone who just comes in and loots you for whatever you have. God is a covenant keepingGod. He is a faithful God. He is a loving God. He’s made a covenant with this man. He is trying to find ways to bless this man and shower His blessings upon him. So He's found a man finally who trusts in Him and now He wants to check him out. That's why verse 1 begins like that.

Then the story goes that He asked him to go and offer his son as sacrifice and lo and behold, Abraham responded totally by faith, because he completely believed in God, never questioned God. He went and offered his son Isaac, he would have killed him if God didn't stop him. And God was so pleased with it. God said, “Wow. I said, ‘I'll give you everything that I have to you. You are my covenant partner. And that cannot be possible. That covenant will not be valid. If you're not ready to give me everything that you've got.’” It's a covenant relationship. How many of you know that being a Christian is a covenant relationship? Hello.Now I'm coming to the point.Being a Christian is a covenant relationship. It's not a contractual relationship. It's a divine covenant relationship where God has made a covenant with us and said, “Everything that He has is ours.” That's the covenant.And He wants to know if everything that you have is His. Hello. That's the test.Is everything that you have His?That's a true Christian. A true Christian is not someone who has a membership in the church.A true Christian is one who says,“Nothing is my own. I am not my own. I belong to God. Even if God asked for my life, I'm going to give it to Him. Everything that I have, every resource that I have, all that I am in my spirit, soul and body, everything that I have in this earth, everything that belongs to me and precious to me, belongs to God because I'm in a covenant relationship with God. I am not my own, I belong to Him.” That's what a Christian is all about.

First of all, please understand that our relationship with God is a covenant relationship.So that kind of a deal is going on here. God is testing Abraham and Abraham passed. Will you pass? Abraham passed and God was so pleased.So now since Abraham passed, God comes to him and He says this. Now turn with me to chapter 22 in Genesis. Let me read to you from verse 14.And Abraham called the name of the place,The-LORD-Will-Provide; you remember God stopped him from killing his son, then show them a ram caught in the thicket and he takes that ram and kills and sacrifices that ram on that altar and names that place Jehovah Jireh. So that's the verse here.Abraham called the name of the place the LORD Will Provide; as it is said to this day,“In the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” That's the meaning of the word Jehovah Jireh. Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven. First time he called out of heaven to stop him from killing his son. Now second time he's calling out from heaven, and said:“By myself, I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son - blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

Twice he mentionsthe reason for the blessing. What is the reason for the blessing? He says, “Because you have done this thing.” In verse 18, he says, because you have obeyed My voice, because you were ready to even offer your son in whom rests yourwhole future, your whole life. You are ready to give everything to Me. You are a committed person, you are committed to Me in that way in the covenant, I want to tell you Abraham, I'm going to bless you like you have never imagined. I'm going to say to you that I will... blessing I will bless you, multiply, I will multiply you.” What a way to say it. Normally, He’ll say, “I’ll bless you.” He says,“In blessing I will bless you, in multiplying, I will multiply you.” That is a way of emphasizing that,“I'll surely do it. I will certainly do it.” It's a double emphasis, alright.

And then as the stars of the heaven, your seed will be and the sand of the sea shore your descendants shall possess the gates of their enemies. That means your descendants will have power and victory over every enemy, over everyone that comes against them in the world. They will be totally victorious and triumphant.“You'll be blessed, you will multiply and you will have power and victory over all your enemies,” He says.Now the author of the book of Hebrews knows this passage.Like I said, he's a great expert in the Old Testament. So he knows this passage and he has studied it, he has meditated upon it, thought about it, prayed about it. Now he has a sermon for the people, theJewish converts to Christianity in the first century to which Hebrews is written. He has a message for them, to encourage them. So he goes back to this passage, and he is very impressed about one thing. He sees two things here. One is, God has made a promise. The other is, in the promise there is an oath to confirm the promise. Now, he's not that much excited about the promise. The promise is there. He is used to that, but he is very impressed about the oath.

Why did God swear an oath to Abraham? Why did God put it this way? So he goes into that.Why God swore to Abraham.Why should God have to swear? If anybody that doesn't have to swear, God doesn't have to swear because He's not a liar, He can never lie. He speaks the truth.Plus even in the earth when good people tell us that they will do certain things sometimesthey are not able to do what they told us that they will do because they are not Almighty.But God is not a liar,He is also Almighty.So there is no reason for God to swear by an oath, it is not necessary at all.He is not a liar so He's never going to change His mind and He is almighty so He’s never going to one day stand and say, “Sorry, I couldn't do it.” He can do it. So He doesn't have to swear.When He says it's like you've said it 1000 times.In the world people say, “If I say once, you know,” but they say. Who knows whether they're going to do it or not.But when God says it once you can believe it, because He can carry it out. He can totally do it. That's the kind of God our God is. He doesn't have to swear. Then why did He swear? A very interesting reason he comes up with. This man interprets the whole situation here in Hebrews. That is what is most interesting. In Genesis, we are told the facts that God swore by Himselfbecause there was no one greater than Him to swear by. So this man takes it and preaches a whole sermon on that.

Go back to Hebrews chapter 6 verse 13, he says, For God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself.Immediately he gets on the swearing business. He is very impressed by it. God not only made a promise, He swore by Himself.And then he says, saying, “Surely I'll bless you, multiply I’ll multiply you.”And so, after he patiently endured, he obtained the promise.For men indeed,he describes the swearing now, the situation of swearing. How does swearing happen, why it happens normally among men.He says,For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all things. Why do people normally swear among human beings? They swear in order to confirm what they're saying. Let’s say, “I swear to you that I will do it,” right? But they swear by something, swear by something greater than themselves. Now this is a problem for God because He's got to find somebody greater than Himself. Now, that's a very difficult thing.He can swear by the sun, moon and the stars, but they are not greater than God. He can swear by the mountains and by the oceans and so on,but they're not greater than God. God made all these things. So where can you find something greater than God? He could not find anybody greater than God. And you cannot swear by anything lesser than yourself. Have you seen people swear? Will they swear by their little cat they have. “I swear by my cat, by the life of my cat.” “ I swear by the life of my dog.” Nobody will accept that kind of swearing. Who's going to care when a cat dies or a dog dies? I hope those people that areanimal lovers don't come after me.I'm just talking about some other subject here.Not about animals. Got to be careful these days. I'm all for animals. God bless the animals, your cats and dogs. But nobody's going to swear by their cats and their dogs because you're swearing by something far lesser in value than yourself.

How do people swear?They swear by their mother. Have you noticed? By my mother, I swear.All over the world I've seen this. Why mother?Because you respect your mother very greatly. She's certainly without any context she is greater than yourself, and you love her and you don't want anything bad to happen to her. So by swearing by your mother, you’re saying,“If I don't carry out what I promise you,let something bad happen to my mother.” That's what you're saying. And nobody will say that.No person in his right mind will say that about his mother. You don't want to lose your mother, have your mother die or something. So nobody will say that. So they'll swear by something that is of greater value. That is how people swear by. But God had a problem,He could not find anything of greater value. So the author of Hebrews says, “He swore by Himself.” That's why. Why did he swear by himself? He swore by Himself. But why? He says, “People swear. Why? Because that is an end to all dispute.” When you swear, you have any doubt about a person, whether he'll do what he says, then you begin to discuss that and then finally, he swears.After he swears you don't discuss that anymore. That is the end of all disputation. That's what he's saying.Why people swear, because that puts an end to all disputation, all doubts, and questions about whether a person will carry it out or not.That's why people swear.

Why did God swear?And very interesting reason he gives. Look at this. Why did God swear? Why does God swear?He says in verse 16 and 17 men indeed swear by the greater and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute.For men, it's an end of alldispute when an oath is given, that's an end of all dispute.Thus God, next verse,determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath.Now, this is the most attractive verse as far as I'm concerned. It brings great comfort to me.Brings great consolation to me. It strengthens me so much. You know why? This verse says, why did God swear?He swore not to put an end to all dispute. See, Abraham had no dispute. In fact, Abraham was already proven that he completely trusts God. He had no dispute about what God has said. He believed God.Already God has promised him,he totally believed God and he had a son. God has given him a son. He's walking by faith, he totally trusts God. By this time he's got full assurance.He has no problem.

So therefore he went and offered his son, was ready to kill his son as a sacrifice. So Abrahamis not trying to dispute with God and God is not trying to put an end to the dispute. Normally men do that for that purpose, he says. Then why did God do it? God determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath. Why did God make an oath? Because he wanted to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise, this is the most interesting interpretation. Why did God swear?So that He can show men and women who will tomorrow become the inheritors of the promises of Abraham and the blessing of Abraham. Hello.We come in the picture here.It is for us that God swore. God swore to Abraham not because Abraham was disputing and questioning God’s claim and God's promise.He swore anyway.Why?Because He was keeping us in mind that tomorrow when we hear about what He did to Abraham that we will have abundant proof abundantly shown to us through the oath that God will indeed do what He says to us. He not only did it to Abraham that God will do it for us, whatever He says. I like this God. That's why I love preaching about this God. You must get a good picture of God my friend first.That is one thing that happened in my life that I appreciate because some people treat God like this. They think,“God, go ahead and give me the commandments. I'll do it.”They think like God is acruel person sitting there. Give one commandment after the other. Do this. If you don't do this, you go to hell. Come on do this. Here's a list.So people have this attitude. Come on.Bring it on, God. What’s the next commandment? I'll do it.That kind of attitude that God is only interested in throwing out His commandments and looking to see whether we did it so He can send us to heaven or hell.

But I see a different God. I see a God who's concerned about me, who's thinking about me. He wants me to have abundant assurance and surety and confidence that He will do what I said. He knows that He's promising some great things that big things but He wants me to be able to believe.He is interested that I am being helped to believe, that I must have some help from Him, in order to believe.That he must help me to believe. He wants to me to believe. He wants me to succeed. So He wants to give abundant proof, he wants to do whatever He could from his end to make it very clear, that He will do what He says he will do because his promises are so great and so incredible. Thus God determining to show more abundantlyto the heirs of promise.Heirs of promise? Now you may say, Well,He's talking to Abraham brother. Certainly the heirs of the promise of Abraham are the Jews, the sons of Abraham or the descendants of Abraham, the Jewish race, the Israelites.That is where you need to go to the Bible again.In chapter 17 of Genesis verse 4, God says,“AbrahamI'm entering into a covenant with you. You shall be the father of many nations.”

So God when he began with Abraham itself he declared in the beginning stages itself that He is not going to be the father of just the Jewish race or the Israeli people, that He's going to be father of multiplied nations.Hello? There is an indication there that God will become a father of many nations. That is one thing. Secondly, in Hebrews chapter 3 verse 19, we read that the people that came out of Egypt, the bondage of Egypt, traveling to the promised land didn't make it except two?They perished in the wilderness. Why? Even though they are Abraham's children, descendants of Abraham, they did not enter to that which was promised. They did not get what was promised. Why?The same scriptures were given to them. Same promises were given to them. Whatever God said He's ready to do and he's willing to do, He’s able to do. He’s almighty God but they never made it. They all perished in the wilderness. Why? Verse 19 in chapter 3 of Hebrews says, because of unbelief. So that means even though you could be the descendant physically of Abraham, it does not guarantee that the promises will belong to you just because you're a descendant of Abraham.Hello.

So God has already promised Abraham that he will be a father of many nations, not just one race, but many nations. That means many kinds of people.Secondly, not everybody that is from the race of Abraham, that is a descendant of Abraham, is guaranteed the blessing just because they are the descendants of Abraham. Thirdly,we readsomething here that in Genesis chapter 22 verse 16 when Godpromised blessing, when He said, “In blessing I will bless you, in multiplying I’ll multiply you,” to Abraham, it was said not because he belonged to the Jewish race or that he was Abraham but because heresponded to God by faith. Because of faith only God blessed him.Faith is the reason. God clearly says twice,“Because you did this, because you obeyed My voice. I do this for you. I'll bless you.” So because of faith, not because he was of the Jewish race or something like that. No, because of faith. Therefore, fourthly, we conclude that even though we are Indians,mostly, and even though we belong to a totally different race, we have had the privilege of becoming the sons and daughters of Abraham, because we have the same faith of Abraham.We have become the descendants of Abraham by faith. If Abraham was given the blessing because of his faith, then the same faith in me and in you will get the same blessing.You and I can have the blessing of Abraham.

Now the point is this, verse 17 says, people make an oath so that it can put an end to all dispute. So God determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise. Now the heirs of promise is not the physical descendants. Therefore,the heirs of promise is us. Heirs of promise are the first century Christians to whom the book of Hebrews is written. The author is saying,“You are the heirs of promise.Not just because you're a descendant of Abraham, but because you are of the same faith of Abraham.By faith you become the descendants of Abraham and the recipients, or heirs, is the right word of the promise.You become heir because you have faith, the same faith of Abraham.” And we have become heirs also 2000 years later we live, and we have also become heirs.So the message is to the first century Christians and then on all the way to the past 20 centuries to every Christian who has put theirfaith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The promise is to them. God is interestedin every Christian believer receiving an abundance of consolation and strength from what He did. Therefore, even though Abraham did not require an oath, Abraham was not disputing with God, questioning God concerning His promises. God nevertheless gave him the promise with an oath to confirm it. The oath was not for him, the oath was for us.He was thinking of us in His mind.The heirs to the promise. We are in His mind, you and I were in His mind. Christians of all these centuries were in His mind and to give us great comfort He gave the oath.

I am not interpreting like that, the author of Hebrews is interpreting like that. I'm simply preaching what he is saying. Preaching is not about bringing our ideas in. It's about bringing out what they are saying, right? I'm simply bringing out what he’s saying.So again, let me read it.Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel.That is the unchanging will of God. That's what immutability of counsel means. God wanted to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the changing nature of His will, and plan and purpose.Confirmed it by an oath. You know, blessing is part of God's unchanging purpose. God is not confused whether to give you blessing or curse. God has an unchangeable purpose, blessing.In blessing I will bless you, in multiplying I will multiply you, your descendants will rule over their enemies is the plan and purpose of God for all the heirs of promise. Such a blessing belongs to each and every believer. That's the only plan and purpose that God has for you. Blessing is part of the immutable counsel of this wonderful, good God. Immutable meaning unchanging. Unchanging counsel of God. He is not confused.Blessing, blessing, blessing. That's the only plan. There is no other plan.

One fellow said there may be blessing sometimes.No, only blessing. That's His plan. Blessing is the plan. I'm convincedand He wants me to believe that. He knows that I'll have questions about it. That is why He already gave an oath when He spoke to Abraham, who did not really need an oath.He has already proven his belief. He gives the oath to him anyway so that that oath can help me believe,and put an end to all disputation that I will believe and stand on God's word.That word God has said that He will perform.Amen.So I'll bless you. What does that blessing mean? Blessing means, I'll accept you, I’ll forgive you. I'll cleanse you, I’ll lead you, I’ll guide you, I’ll be with you. I'll fill you with every blessing in spirit, soul and body. Never leave you nor forsake youthroughout your whole life. And when you die one day, I'll be with you as you cross from this life to the next life and walk with you throughout all eternity and care for you forever and ever and ever.

That's the blessing. The blessing is an all-encompassing blessing. It encompasses everything from the time I put my faith in Christthroughout all eternity. Itencompasses everything. My spirit, my soul, my body. It encompasses my material life, my spiritual life, my every aspect of my life.See, God is not in the business of dividing material life.No, no. Everything is life.Everything is part of me. So in every way, God says, “I'll bless you.” That is what God says. So the author of the book of Hebrews is excited about this oath and the swearing and he swore by himself. Now, what does swearing by himself mean?What does swearing by your mother mean? That means if I don't do it, then something bad will happen to my mother. That's why we don't swear. We are very careful if we swore by our mother.We fulfill it, right?By God swearing by Himself mean, it means that God was saying something like this. May God be ashamed if I did not bless you.May God be cursed if I did not bless you and make the promise real. May God cease to be God, if I don't bless you. May God be condemned, if I don't bless you.May God be a liar, if I don't bless you. God is saying, “If I didn't bless you, I will not even be God. I will not be called a holy God anymore. I will become a liar. I will not be God anymore.Instead of being the blessed person that I am, I'll be the cursed person I am if I don't do it.” That is what swearing by Himself means.

That's New Testament teaching, New Testament preaching.We're hearing the first century message all over again, preaching the same sermon.What a wonderful sermon.And why does God swear like that? He has not really given thefull thing here.Look at the reason why he gives this, why He swears. Verse 18,that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation. Some translations say, strong encouragement. How we may have strong encouragement, by these two immutable things. What are the two immutable things, two unchanging things? The promise can never change. ‘I'll bless you’ can never change, ‘I’ll multiply you’ can never change. ‘Your descendants will rule over their enemies’ can never change. Total victory can never change.It can never change, by these two immutable things. That is, one is promise.The promises of God never change. If He has uttered it nobody can change it.Two, the oath that never change.By these two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation. This is the real reason for giving us both the promise and the oath. Giving Abraham the promise with an oath. Why?It is for the benefit of the heirs of the promise so that when they look at these two immutable things, the promise and the oath,it’ll help them to believe that it is impossible for God to lie and that we will have strong encouragement.

Sometimes I've needed strong encouragement. Strong encouragement. I remember first when I came and started ministry here, I used to go and sing for another man very often back in my teenage years. Good preacher. He saw me on the way one dayand he stopped me and said,“Oh, you’ve come back.You're going to...” I said, “Yeah, I'm going to do ministry here.”In Tamil he said... that means, “Yeah, we've all succeeded big time and you're going to try in this place.” In other words, he's saying, “You’regoing to terribly fail because you’ve come to the wrong place.” And my head immediately hung. I was so young and I was just starting out and, here the words are coming forth from this man shaking me,jolting me literally. Said, “Maybe I'd done the wrong thing. My God, I made a wrong decision coming here and preaching. Nobody succeeds here.” That's the message that I got from him. We need some strong encouragement and many times it has happened to me like that. Words of people, opinions of people can discourage you easily. Situations can discourage you. Circumstances can discourage you. But when situations and circumstances discourage, I have found a way to get hope, to cling on to hope. That is to focus on God's word and not focus on what these men say. Not talk about those things that they say but talk only about what God says. Not think about what these people say but think about only what God says. Never mind what people say but always keep in mind what God says. Look at the word, meditate upon the word, feast on the word, digest the word, go over the word again and again. And I tell you, that is how hope becomes full assurance.When it becomes full assurance even mountains will be moved because that's faith, mountain moving faith.

Alright, now finally,let's look at this and close.Verse 19. So we might have strong consolation. Verse 18 says, we might have strong consolation. Everybody say, strong consolation. And look at the way he describes the Christians. We might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

It talks about as people who have fled for refuge.That means we were into all kinds of... we were believing some wrong things. We were pursuing after wrong things, living a different kind of life, living in sin, did not even know the living God. We were worshipping dead something somewhere, following some custom, some practice.We were like that but we fled from that.We escaped from that.We ran away from that and we took refuge in Christ, believed in Jesus.What a wonderful description. Even the heirof promise is a wonderful description. Heir of promise. You can’t become an heir without total commitment to Christ.It’s not a religious thing. It's not like belonging to the Jewish race. It's not like belonging to the church membership. It is a total commitment. How do you become the heirs to the promise of Abraham, the blessing of Abraham? Becoming like Abraham. Abraham said, “Everything I have belongs to God. So I'm going to lay everything on the altar. If He wants anything from me, I'm ready to lay it on the altar.”Total commitment is what makes you the heir of the promises. All right.These things are brought out here.

Now verse 19, This hope, he's still talking about hope. He's trying to tell us how hope comes and how hope is developed and how it works in us and what it does in us. He says,This hope we have as an anchor of the soul.Nowthat is a wonderful image here. I want to just talk about the anchor of the soul and then finish.This hope we have as an anchor of the soul,and then he describes in a threefold manner,sure, steadfast and which enters the Presence, with a capital P,behind the veil. Sure, steadfast and enters into the Presence within the veil. Now, this hope is the kind that is sure and steadfast. We know that alreadyand we'll understand more of it when I explain the other thing now, and that is this hope is something that entersthe presence behind the veil. What does that mean? That is a language that many people cannot understand. See, he’s coming from Old Testament. He’s an Old Testamentscholar, man who knows the Old Testament. In the Old Testament there was the tabernacle and then the temple.In that there were three parts.The outer court, the holy place and the holy of holies. The outer court is where people came, holy place is where the priests ministered, and the holy of holies is where no one entered, except the high priest once a year, taking the blood of the sacrifice to make atonement for the sins of people. So the holy of holies is where they believed God dwelt.In that place, there was the Ark of the Covenant with the TenCommandments and so on.

So the holy place is a very special place and there was a veil.That's the way he’s referred it. He’s got a picture in his mind. He has meditated about these things. And he's preaching now to these people to bring great encouragement and strong encouragement to them. He says, “This is a hope that enters behind the veil.” What kind of hope is that?What is he trying to say?When he said that this is hope that enters the Presence behind the veil.The Presence refers to God. It’s in capital P. The Presence is the presence of God. God is dwelling there, and nobody can enter there except through the blood. And in the Old Testament, they did it all the time. Every year, the high priest will shed the bloodof the goat that they offered a sacrifice and take that blood and enter in behind the veil, to sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, upon the Ark of the Covenant for our sins to be forgiven.This is what happened in the Old Testament. But he says, “This is a hope which is sure and steadfast,which enters the Presence behind the veil. And it particularly specifies where the forerunner has entered for us.”And which forerunner? He said, “Even Jesus.”Particular.He says,“Jesus.”“I'm referring to the entrance of Jesus behind the veil into the very presence of God,”he says.Having become a high priest, He entered there foreveraccording to the order of Melchizedek.

So what is he saying when he says, “This hope is a hope that enters the Presence behind the veil”?Since the veil could only be crossed with the blood.You can enter only with the blood. What he's saying is, Jesus, our forerunner, even became our high priest. He became our Lamb that was sacrificed for us. He took His own blood. Unlike the Old Testament priests, He took His own blood and He rose from the dead. He's not going to ever die again. He’s the ever living high priest. Unlike the Old Testament, Aaron and others who had to be replaced often because of death. Here he sheds His own blood, enters in as the ever living high priest.Because of the blood He is now able to enter in to the presence of God Himself. He is carrying the blood for the remission of our sins, for the forgiveness of our sins, for redemption for us. He goes in there and sprinkles the blood in the presence of God as a proof that the blood has been shed, atonement for sins has been made and God is present there.So what is this author saying?This author is saying,“My hope is in that.My hope is that which enters the Presence behind the veil.”When I say hope, my hope is resting on Christ, resting on what happened on the cross, resting on the shed blood of Jesus and how Jesus has become a high priest.Ever living high priest has entered God's presence on my behalf to present His blood as atonement for my sin. That's my anchor.This hope is my anchor.

Anchor is usually lowered in the waterand when the anchor is working properly what happens? The boat or the shipis not tossed about by every wind, it is not crushed, dashed against some kind of a rock or something. It stands in one place, steady even though the wind may be blowing, the wave may be beating upon it, a storm maybe there.No matter what is happening, no matter what the circumstances are, there may be a big tsunami happening but this thing is standing, unshaken, unmoved. “Sure and steadfast,” he says. Sure and steadfast,sure and steadfast.That is what anchor does. What does hope do? Hope does exactly what the anchor does.That is why anchor is called the anchor of my soul. That is why he talks about the anchor of my soul.In the soul God has given us an anchor so that when circumstances are tough, when things are difficult, when you're faced with problems and difficulties, you are not tossed about by every wind, you are not beaten, you don't come to pieces, you don't break down but you are able to stand and stand solid no matter what.The wind blows and blows and even for many days and hoursit may blow but you still stand.In the end you're still standing and the wind is gone.That's what an anchor is.

There is an anchor given for our soul so that our soul is not tossed aboutwith fear, with anxiety, with worry, with all kinds of troubles. Our hope makes us stand steady in the midst of all that.All right, that's one side of anchor that has gone behind the veil. But the anchor has another end. The end that belongs in the boat.What if they properly anchored that other end but in your boat where you're standing, the rope is just lying there, it is not even hooked up. Then you are in danger.Even though the other end is hooked up very well, ifthis end of the rope is not hooked up very well to the boat, then no matter how strong the other end is,how sure and steadfast the other end is, you're in trouble because this is not hooked up.That is why he talks in verse 18 about how we have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope.In this end, it must be hooked up, on our end.It’s the anchor of our soul. The one end is God in heaven.Jesus has entered there with His own blood, presented it.Everything is alright. God has forgiven me. God has accepted me and I am His child. His blessings are upon me. This is my hope. And this hope can never be shaken because Jesus entered there and wrapped thatanchor around all these facts, and God has His almighty hand upon it. Therefore, this boat is not going to break, it's going to stand. It's very strong.

But my end, how is that? Now my end also does not depend upon me. Everything does not depend upon me.And I will argue from the point of view of the new covenant and what it does. See, we're talking about the blood of Jesus that opened the veil.Right? What does the blood of Jesus do? It does two things. One, it is shed for the forgiveness of our sins. So my sin problem is taken care of, I'm forgiven.But blood of Jesus,the Bible, I'll show you, says another thing. The Bible says another thing about the blood of Jesus that many people miss.The Bible says, the blood of Jesus has not only brought about the forgiveness of my sins, but it has brought about another component that is called that transformation of the sinner.So the blood of Jesus it does not only has the sin forgiveness component, it has got the sinner transformation component.These two things are important: sin forgiving is one thing,sinner transformation is another thing.

I'll read you some verses quickly and then we'll close.Turn with me to Deuteronomy chapter 30.Deuteronomy 30 verse 6.And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul, that you may live. That's the problem with the Old Testament. They were not right in their heart. They were not able to love the Lord their God with all their heart, mind and soul. That's why they perished. Now he says in the new covenant,he’s talking about the new covenant, in that he says, “I will circumcise your heart.Something is going to happen to your heart by the new covenant.”What will happen? Your heart will change.What will happen?You’ll love the Lord your God. Your heart will be able to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul that you may live. That is the foundation for our success. Another verse, Ezekiel 11:19. It's all about new covenant and what it does. Particularly the sinner transformation component is what I want you to look at. A lot of people think about it as this sin forgiving thing. The blood as a sin forgiving thing, but this other component is very important - sinner transforming. It changes the sinner, not just forgives the sinner.If He forgive us and left us like that we’ll be powerless as ever.Sinner is transformed. The new covenant does it. 11:19, Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh. Something is going to happen in the heart that's going to change the heart.

Jeremiah 31:33 another famous passage about the new covenant. 31:33,But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. And what is the main thing about the new covenant.I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts. It was written on a stone and given to them but it didn't help. They could not do it because their hearts were evil, full of sin. “I will now write it in their hearts,” He says, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Jeremiah 32:40,And I will make an everlasting covenant with them.This is about the new covenant,that I will not turn away from doing them good; I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.When I read that I imagine the rope on my end, the anchor’s other end, my end. When God says, “I will not allow them,” or,“I will put my fear in their heart so that they will not depart from Me.” That means that the rope is not dangling here. That means the rope is not hanging there unhooked to the anchor. It is secured very tightly, because God says,“I'm going to do something so that they will not depart from Me. Because I'm going to put My fear in their hearts and My law in their heartsand I'm going to give them a new heart,” He says.

Remember Luke 22:40, we say that all the time in the communion, it says, After He ate the breadHe also took the cup saying, “This cup is the blood of my new covenant.” The blood of Jesus is the blood of the new covenant. Finally turn to Hebrews chapter 13 verse 20and 21.Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, through that covenant blood,make you complete in every good work. So the completion work is done by Him to do His will. How do I do the will of God?Not by my trying, but by His doing. He gives me a heart, He puts the spirit within me. He gives me everything.Every way I am equipped to do the will of God. He says,every good work to do His will,working in you what is well pleasing in His sight. He is the one working in me,and works in me what is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ.So it is Him.At the end of the day, whenwe come to the last day it's not going to be,“Oh Joe, you had a great muscle.You were able to hold on to your end very securely.Look at the weaklings, they're all laying in the water, perished and dead and gone but you are holding on because your strength is so great. You got all the muscle you need.” No.That is why here it says at the end, it says through Jesus Christ to whom be glory forever and ever.

In Christianity there is no place for our boasting and our glorying.Our boasting can only be about Jesus Christ and the cross of Calvary. Even securing the anchor on our side is done by Him so that we don't fail on our side. Amen. That is the most beautiful thing about the Christian life.And Philippians chapter 3 verse 12, Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me. That's Christian life.I lay hold. Why?Because He has laid hold of me.“For whatever He's laid hold of me I lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me,” Paul says.He got me. He saved me. He brought me into the fold for some purpose. So because He's done that now I'm laying hold. See, that is the way we must think about laying hold of the faith. It is not just me trying to do it.Because He has made it all happen, because He has brought everything to pass, because He has saved me, He has made me His own, now I lay hold of that for which I am laid hold of.You're holding on not because you decided to hold on.You're holding on because He decided to take hold of you.Having been taken hold, now you lay hold. Amen. That's what Christian life is all about. And I hope that this brings great encouragement to you. No matter where you're at in your life, what problems you're going through, what challenges you face, I say to you, faith comes through the word of God but it begins in the form of hope and then goes on to full assurance and then faith begins to do its work. Then you, by faith and patience, obtain the promises of God.

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