September 18, 2019
Rev. Everette Kitchens
“Jesus, if you are real, come into my life.”
How can I know that my salvation will still be there when I come to the end of my life? It would be terrible to believe in Jesus and then come to the end and discover he wasn’t there to take me home to heaven.
How can we be sure?
How can we know?
We find a powerful answer in Hebrews 6:13-20. We can know now, and when the moment comes, we can die in faith, knowing that the Lord will be there to meet us. Here’s a sentence that sums up this passage: God gave us a promise guaranteed with an oath that gives us an anchor for the soul that rests on Jesus who is already in heaven on our behalf.
Let’s look at the four guarantees God makes in this passage.
Guarantee #1: God Made a Promise
“For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater to swear by, he swore by himself: ‘I will indeed bless you, and I will greatly multiply you.’ And so, after waiting patiently, Abraham obtained the promise” (vv. 13-15).
What was the promise Abraham believed? When Abraham was 99 years old, God promised to make him "father of many nations" (Genesis 17:5). This must have seemed incredible. Ninety-nine is a little late to be starting a family, and even if you could, how could you ever start a nation? No, the promise was clearly impossible, a pipe dream, a vain hope, just wishful thinking by an old man.
Somehow Abraham believed what God had said. If you go back to Genesis, you find that God repeated the promise five times—in Genesis 12, 13, 15, 17, 22. It's as if God is saying, "I know you find this hard to believe, so I'm going to repeat myself until you believe it."
Here’s the amazing thing. God made the promise when Abraham was 75, but it was not fulfilled until he was 100. That means he had to wait a quarter-century to see the promise come to fruition. That’s the “waiting patiently” of verse 15. How did he manage to hang on during those long years? Many times he and Sarah must have doubted and wondered. At one point, they schemed together to “help God out” which led to the union with Hagar and the birth of Ishmael, a shortcut that brought nothing but trouble.
Abraham never gave up because he was God-centered, not man-centered. As long as Abraham looked at his circumstances, he could find a thousand reasons to give up:
"I'm too old."
"She's too old."
"Nothing like this has ever happened before."
"We've tried to have a baby for years and it hasn't worked."
"Our friends think we're nuts."
His only hope was to believe the promise of God. He did, and after 25 years his faith was rewarded.
Are you willing to believe God even when the outward circumstances argue against it? Here is a marvelous principle of the spiritual life: God wants to bring us to the place where our trust will be in him alone. He brings us to that place by removing all human supports. From time to time we find ourselves in a position where only God can help us out. At that moment, we tend to panic. That's unfortunate because when we get to a place where only God can help us out, we've become excellent candidates for a miracle from God.
That’s the first guarantee—God’s promise. If God had stopped there, it would have been enough to take us to heaven. But he added something to the promise so we could be perfectly certain of our salvation.
Guarantee #2: God gave us an Oath
“For people swear by something greater than themselves, and for them a confirming oath ends every dispute. Because God wanted to show his unchangeable purpose even more clearly to the heirs of the promise, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us” (vv. 16-18).
.When you combine the promise with the oath, you get the “strong hope” of verse 18. But there’s one more thing we need to know. Verse 17 says God did this (combined the promise and the oath) because he eagerly desired for us to trust him. The phrase “eagerly desired” more literally means “even more willing” or “abundantly willing.” The Living Bible says God swore an oath so we might be “perfectly sure and never need to wonder whether he might change his plans.” That’s important because we often change our plans. We make promises, and then we break them. We say we’ll do something and then we do something else.
God does not change, which means he will be there when we need him most. In the midst of our difficulty, when we have failed, when we say, “I deserve to go to hell,” the Father speaks from heaven and says, “I have made a promise, and I swore an oath. Your sin cannot cancel my grace.”
Thank God for his oath!
He takes us to heaven in spite of ourselves.
But that’s not the end of it. We have God’s promise and God’s oath
Guarantee #3: God Gave Us an Anchor
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain” (v. 19).
Everyone has an anchor.
The only question is, how well does it hold? If your soul is anchored to your money, what will you do when the money runs out? If your soul is anchored to your spouse, what will you do when your spouse is taken from you? If your soul is anchored in your career, what will you do when you are fired? If your soul is anchored in your happiness, what will you do when hard times come?
If you put your anchor in the sand, it will never hold. You need a place for your anchor to rest so it can’t be moved. Nothing in this world will ever be strong enough to hold when your life falls apart. We need an anchor that cannot be moved no matter what happens, which means we need an anchor that is quite literally “out of this world.”
That’s what we have!
Most of us think of an anchor that goes down to the bottom of the ocean, but we have an anchor that goes up to heaven. Our anchor rests in the Holy of Holies in heaven, behind the curtain, in the very presence of God himself.
Guess who’s already there? Jesus! Our anchor has come to rest in heaven, behind the curtain, in the presence of God.
Jesus leads us home to heaven!
You couldn’t be safer than you already are because we are already anchored in heaven! It’s not as if Jesus said, “I’m going to show you the way, but then you’re on your own.” It’s more like this: Jesus went ahead of us into heaven, and then he became the anchor for our soul.
We’re hooked up with Jesus in heaven.
We’re as safe as Jesus is safe!
If we could lose our salvation, that would mean Jesus himself had been thrown out of heaven. But that could never happen. That’s why the “hope” of verse 19 doesn’t refer to our subjective feelings. It’s not like saying, “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow because we’re going to the football game.” That’s just a human feeling. It might rain, or it might not. Our “hope” is not like that. It’s not wishful thinking. Our “hope” is the certainty that what Jesus has done for us guarantees our entrance into heaven.
That’s why the hope is called “firm.” The word means “never failing.”.”
Our anchor holds because it rests on Jesus in heaven!
If your salvation depends on you, you’re in big trouble. You’re not strong enough or smart enough or good enough to make it to heaven on your own. But when you go “all in” on Jesus, then God gives you an anchor for your soul nothing on earth can destroy. Your anchor will hold through cancer, family crisis, divorce, financial collapse, loss of dreams, and every bitter disappointment that comes your way.
Guarantee #4: God Provided a Priest
“Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because he has become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (v. 20).
We all need a priest.
God knew this, and that’s why he provided an entire system of priests in the Old Testament. It worked like this. God prescribed a system of sacrifices and offerings that the people brought to the priest who presented them to the Lord.
There was only one problem with that system.
It was never meant to be permanent.
The people had to keep on bringing the same offerings day after day, month after month, year after year. To make matters worse, the priests kept on dying because they were mortal, so no matter how good or noble or holy the priest was, he always had to be replaced.
God solved the problem in a most unusual way, one the Jews could never have imagined.
They needed an undying priest.
They needed a complete and final sacrifice.
That’s why God sent Jesus! He was the priest who was himself the final sacrifice. Because he died for the sins of all, his sacrifice was complete. Because he rose from the dead, he now lives forever. Verse 20 says Jesus is a high priest forever. He will never be replaced because he lives forever. His sacrifice ends all other sacrifices. His death defeated death once and for all. No one will ever take his place.
This means we can never lose our salvation because Christ lives forever.
It’s all wrapped up in Jesus.
If you want to go to heaven, you need to know him. There is no other hope and no other way. God has done so much and has gone so far that if you go to hell, don’t blame the Lord.
He made a way for you to be forgiven.
He offers you a new life.
He will give you a fresh start.
He will walk with you through this life.
He will take you home to heaven.
All he asks is that you trust his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 18 the writer of Hebrews describes Christians as “we who have fled for refuge.” That’s us. That’s what it means to believe. That’s how you become a Christian. If you want to be relieved of the awful burden of sin and doubt and fear of the future, if you want a refuge, if you need an anchor for your soul, run to the cross.