Date: 30 November 2014 – morning service Preacher: Pastor Francois van Niekerk
Text: Hebrews 6:19 (MSG) ‘It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God …’
Theme: Strong hope
Sermon: The power of hope
Introduction Hope is extremely powerful. It has proved to keep people alive in the greatest of peril and through the most difficult circumstances. Inspiring accounts confirming the power of hope abound. Think of survivors of the Nazi concentration camps, and people who stayed alive after being afloat on the ocean in only a life raft for days (Poon Lim survived 133 days on a wooden raft in the South Atlantic). The strength of hope has been tested, tried and proven!
Main points Strength of hope as described in the Bible God’s Word uses the picture of an anchor to describe the strength of hope.
The Message uses the words ‘an unbreakable spiritual lifeline’ to describe its power.
‘We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God … (Emphasis added) Hebrews 6:18-19 (MSG)
‘We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God … (Emphasis added) Hebrews 6:18-19 (MSG) The hope we receive from God is an unbreakable lifeline!
2. Hope through connection Hope draws its power from connecting us to God’s presence. Connection to God and His presence communicates many things to our souls – not always in words, but also in deep understanding. It always confirms that He is able and all-powerful, that nothing is impossible for Him and that He will never leave nor forsake us. This is the unbreakable hope-line to which our souls need to be tied. It gives us the assurance that with God there can be change and there is a way through.
In The Message Hebrews 6:19 describes it as ‘reaching past all experiences right to the presence of God …’ Sin separates us from God but Jesus restored our connection by paying for our sin on the cross. For this reason Jesus’ coming brings such hope! The hope we have from God reminds me of the line used by cave divers. This adventure sport has many perils.
It might be dark and it can feel like they’ve lost their way, but as long as the divers stay ‘on the line’ …
… they will come through and make it back to the light. Let’s apply this picture to our own lives. We might experience times of darkness, fear and feeling lost but, as long as we stay connected to God’s line of hope, we will always come through. That line of hope in unbreakable.
3. All is not as it seems In Hebrews 6 the Word says that the lifeline of God’s hope stretches past appearances and I would like to focus on this. I believe it warns us not to be led by appearances. How things are portrayed in the natural, may not always be in line with what is real in the spiritual dimension. Things may have looked hopeless at times if it wasn’t for God’s presence. We can call it the But God factor. Things may appear to be a certain way … but God steps onto the scene, and light and hope floods in! Circumstances may present you with the present reality but connecting with God will present you with His presence reality. In the reality of His presence He throws you an unbreakable lifeline of hope. His presence creates a different reality. Let’s choose to live by the reality that His presence brings. This is where we find hope to keep our souls alive! The prophet Elisha was a wanted man. He was a pain to the King of Syria in his fight against Israel. Elisha kept on providing the Israelites with divine intelligence, which caused them to stay a step ahead of the Syrians. In desperation, the King of Syria sent a whole army with chariots and horses to capture Elisha (2 Kings 6:8-23).
When the prophet’s servant went outside early that morning he was greeted by a great army that had surrounded the city. It appeared that they were greatly outnumbered. It appeared to him that they were going to be crushed by this great army. Yet, this is not what happened. As he alerted Elisha, the prophet prayed that God would ‘open his eyes’ (Verse 17) so that he may see past what appeared to be real and see God’s reality. That’s when the servant saw the fiery army of God’s angels that were far greater than the Syrian army. Elisha had a hope-line connected to God that bypassed all facts and logistics. It caused what appeared to completely disappear! The truth is that they were not alone. As a result, what appeared to be real was not God’s final picture. It turned out to be a great victory for God. Don’t bow before appearance. Let God’s presence fill you with hope. Filled with His hope, our sight is adjusted to see past the appearance of things and into victory! Don’t make your hope dependent on your perception of things. Allow God to adjust your perception. His Hope gives divine insight! Without our connection to God we are left to the unmerciful, hopeless picture and appearance of things created by our human insight and experience. But with His hope we receive His redemptive picture.
Application No matter how dark or desperate your situation, you can have hope because you have God. The hope that flows from God’s presence is powerful. It is strong enough to bring you through anything. From our text there are applications for two groups of people:
Firstly, for those who have not yet run to God for life. Have you run to or from God? Decide today that you will run …
… to God for your life. Secondly, for those who have already run to Him, grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go!
The Power Of Hope | 30 November 2014 | Francois van Niekerk