11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end,
12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
- What he is telling them is to hang on. Hang on – look back to those who persevered – that kept holding on to the promise.
- This is NOT an exhortation to do better – stop drinking, stop playing cards, stop whatever.
- This is an exhortation to get into the Promised Land. Do not let anyone tell you this is not about gaining heaven.
- Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith
- All of the examples that we will see in Chapter 11 – The Hall of Faith – are those who hung on to the promise … even with all of their warts.
The Certainty of God’s Promise
13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,
- Abraham is a splendid example of what the author has in mind.
- Though he had God’s promise, he had to live for many years in patient expectation – with nothing but the promise.
- What about this “swearing by himself”???
- God is the covenant keeper – we are the covenant breaker
- This was the folly if you remember the group Promise Keepers – the denial that we are promise breakers.
- Think of this, God is binding his promises against his own being.
14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.”
- The promise is not theoretical – it came to fruition on the cross, as did all of God’s promises as they were pulled into the NT.
- Genesis 15 – the covenant
- Genesis 22 – the promise
15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.
- Did Abraham “Patiently Wait”??
- Have you ever heard of Hagar-the slave girl from Egypt? How about Ishmael – his first son?
- Where was the faith of Abraham? Oh, it does rear its head in Genesis 22
- OBTAINED THE PROMISE: past tense
- The Hagar incident (16) – Abe was 86– the next chapter (17) he was 99
- 13 yrs between chapters – it wasn’t like Abe and God pal around every day.
- So, here’s the deal – God makes a promise to Abe about Isaac – did he ever tell anyone about that promise? I would need to check – did he tell Lot or Sarah about this promise?
- Did he really believe it? How much do we believe the promises given us other than we keep them in the back of our mind? Do we act on them?
16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation.
- I swear on my mother’s grave!! I swear on the Bible
- We swear supposedly to make a higher appeal.
- Final – as if that is suppose to end the discussion.
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’s oath is much different than our oaths. God’s purpose is unchangeable – his means may change, but not his promises or purpose.
- God has no one to swear an oath to – but he does it to show Abe that he is serious.
- The NT says “let your yes be yes and your no be no.”
- Do we do that? Do we trust people at their word – their “yes” and their “no” – Or do we make them jump through special hoops to prove their word?
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.
- It gave the believer 2 unchangeable things – the promise and the oath.
- We who have fled for refuge – OT cities of refuge
- Where did we flee? To Jesus, where the guilt of our sin have been covered.
- Hold fast to the hope – what is hope?
- What is the opposite of hope? Despair
- Set before us – NIV “offered to 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,
- Anchor of the soul – remember at the beginning the “drifting away”? (We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2:1)
- Paying attention binds you to the anchor – not paying attention, not holding fast (v18) – perhaps you drift away.
20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
- Next week, the author returns to his discussion of Melchizedek … and so will we.