"19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."
This past weekend was such a blessing as we heard a message from our own Ben Mangum. For those of you who don't know Ben, he and his wife Amber lead Anchored Youth - our discipleship ministry for the teens of Calvary. It was his first time preaching from the pulpit on a weekend and he "rightly divided the word of truth" in the words of the apostle Paul. His text were the verses I've included above and I want to take the opportunity in this week's update to reinforce and remind us of the incredible truth that Ben shared with us from the book of Hebrews.
As you look to 2016 and all that is uncertain I encourage you to remember that Biblical hope is the only anchor that will hold through the coming storms. Why is Biblical hope so important? Because all other forms of hope are uncertain. Only the hope written of in Hebrews 6:19-20 is certain. As Ben pointed out, the hope we have as Christians is certain because rather than being tied to circumstance, temporal provision, or protection, it's tied to the person of Jesus Christ. In fact the writer of Hebrews uses two words that emphasize the certainty of it because of Christ: firm and secure. One highlighting the reliable nature of Christian hope, the other it's stability. Let's think about these two in a little more depth.
First, the hope we have as an anchor for our souls through Christ is reliable. You can count on Jesus. When He says that he will never leave you or forsake you, it's a fact. For a couple years now I have heard about how great Honda snowblowers are. The thing that sets them apart? Their reliability. People tell me that even after not being started for almost a year, you can count on a Honda to start right up. I have now personally experienced this reliability as I have used one for two seasons now. Even when three feet of snow comes unexpectedly and I haven't really thought about my snowblower, i can rely on it to get my vehicle out of the driveway. So it is with our anchor of hope. When the unexpected blindsides us, when the stock market crashes, when someone you loves dies, when the doctor gives you the shocking diagnosis, when the economy crashes or another terrorist attack threatens our own community, we can rely on our anchor.
Second, the hope we have as an anchor for our souls through Christ is stable. Jesus isn't just there at the moment of need (reliable), He is also steady through the trial. He isn't just there at the beginning, like an emergency responder arriving on the scene of the accident but instead of disappearing once others take over he continues to be there throughout treatment and recovery. There is nothing like the steady hand of the Good Shepherd. Jesus is that Good Shepherd (John 10). In his book, "A Shepherd looks at Psalm 23", Phillip Keller spends a lot of time focusing on this aspect of any quality shepherd. A good shepherd, writes Keller, will have a steady unwavering, patient presence in the life of his flock. He writes of his own experience with the stable presence of God:
"During my wife's illness and after her death I could not get over the strength, solace and serene outlook imparted to me virtually hour after hour by the presence of God's gracious Spirit Himself. It was as if I was being repeatedly refreshed and restored despite the most desperate circumstances all around me."
This is the stability of a soul anchored through hope in Christ.
What kind of storms will 2016 hold for you? I don't know. Perhaps relatively few. Perhaps something you could never have imagined. Consider some current realities. Unless something really dramatic happens, we will elect a new president in 2016. ISIS will continue to breath down our necks. The national debt will continue to rise. All of these realities contain uncertainty. Uncertainty can breed fear. Fear leads to sin and sin to death. There is another road. The road of Biblical hope. The reliable and stable hope of Christ that cuts off fear at the pass.
"There is no fear in love for perfect love drives out fear."
1 John 4:18
Let us go boldly into 2016 without fear knowing that we have hope as an anchor that has gone before us and will be with us through and unto the end.
Jesus is our only hope, the anchor for our souls!
For His Glory,