The "Let Us" Series From The Book Of Hebrews #6




TEXT:         Heb. 10:23


INTRO:       Hope has real power!  People who lose hope lose the ability to face the future.  Sometimes their entire existence fades into oblivion and despair, but hope can not only revive life, it can heal the damages of tragedy as well.


ILLUS:     A number of years ago, in a mental institution outside Boston, a young girl known as "Little Annie" was locked in the dungeon. The dungeon was the only place, said the doctors, for those who were hopelessly insane. In Little Annie's case, they saw no hope for her, so she was consigned to a living death in that small cage which received little light and even less hope. About that time, an elderly nurse was nearing retirement. She felt there was hope for all of God's children, so she started taking her lunch into the dungeon and eating outside Little Annie's cage. She felt perhaps she should communicate some love and hope to the little girl.

In many ways, Little Annie was like an animal. On occasions, she would violently attack the person who came into her cage. At other times, she would completely ignore them. When the elderly nurse started visiting her, Little Annie gave no indication that she was even aware of her presence. One day, the elderly nurse brought some brownies to the dungeon and left them outside the cage. Little Annie gave no hint she knew they were there, but when the nurse returned the next day, the brownies were gone. From that time on, the nurse would bring brownies when she made her Thursday visit. Soon after, the doctors in the institution noticed a change was taking place. After a period of time they decided to move Little Annie upstairs. Finally, the day came when the "hopeless case" was told she could return home. But Little Annie did not wish to leave. She chose to stay, to help others. She it was who cared for, taught, and nurtured Helen Keller, for Little Annie's name was Anne Sullivan. -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 289-290.


Hope powerfully transforms reality!  The lack of hope does the same thing, only in reverse.  We will never survive this world without hope beyond this world.  So much of the history of great men and women was based on a greater hope than what they were experiencing.


Jesus came into a dark world where hopelessness was gripping the world, and though He was crucified He gave hope to those who follow Him that exceeds the realities of this world.


PROP. SENT:     The Scriptures teach us that we can endure all things through Christ who alone gives us hope.  The greater the object of hope, the greater the hope in enduring whatever comes, and there is nothing greater that Christ Himself!


I.   POWER OF HOPE!   Heb. 10:23a


A.   Steadiness!    Heb. 10:23a

1.   The Hebrew writers says it straight forward, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess…” 

a.    If we profess our faith in Christ we must not back away from the hope that come sin holding onto that profession of faith.

b.    Notice that the author is saying we need to hold onto our hope “unswervingly” – we must not be unsteady in our confidence, or we will lose our hope.

2.   Remember that this is an invitation, “Let us…” - we must participate in the process of staying steady in our profession and our confidence.

a.    There are a lot of realities that can throw off our hope and confidence if we get our eyes off of the greater realities of Christ and Heaven!


ILLUS:       Several years ago the noted British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge was a guest at a breakfast in Washington, D.C. When he had finished his testimony, he made a number of comments about world affairs, all of which were very pessimistic. One of the Christians present said to the speaker, "Dr. Muggeridge, you have been very pessimistic. Don't you have any reason for optimism?" Malcolm Muggeridge replied, "My friend, I could not be more optimistic than I am, because my hope is in Jesus Christ alone." He allowed that remark to settle for a few seconds, and then he added, "Just think if the apostolic church had pinned its hope on the Roman Empire!" -- Richard Halverson in The Living Body.  Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 9.


b.   The fact is that the only thing we can be certain of is the character and Word of God Himself!

3.   Since everything else in the universe is fading away and uncertain we can only hope in Christ who is eternal and everlasting, He is the one thing we can hope in without failure.

4.   It may seem at times that it is tough to trust in Him when we can’t see what’s coming, but in those times we still be unswerving in our hope and faith as the Lord guides us along one step at a time.


ILLUS:      As I came home from church one evening, I was struggling to recognize God's guidance for my life. Suddenly, I drove into dense fog and could see nothing. Poking my head out the window, I noticed a tiny light from the road ahead. As I inched my car forward, it blinked out and another set of oncoming headlights took its place some yards ahead. I crawled along, following just the short distance I could see--one light after another--until the fog cleared. Then I realized that this is how God guides me. He shows me how far I need to go at any given moment. And step-by-step, I move from one light to the next. Confident of God's guidance, I let go of the need to see his complete plan. -- Helen Roseveare, Living Faith. "Heart to Heart," Today's Christian Woman.


5.   Sometimes we follow with limited vision and clarity, but nonetheless God is at work and leading us faithfully.  Our hope is in Him, not our circumstances or ability to always see clearly.  And it is in following Him when we can’t see clearly that we live a steady life of hope and faith.


B.   Strength!   Heb. 10:23a

1.   Hope is what gives us strength daily!  Hope gives you the ability to stay strong in the midst of difficulties and trials, even when you don’t see the end result.

2.   It is a confidence or hope in the very character of God Himself!! 

a.    He is always good!

b.   He is always faithful!

c.    He is always powerful!

3.   This allows us to feel strength even in the midst of circumstances that would otherwise drain our strength.


ILLUS:       Several years ago a teacher assigned to visit children in a large city hospital received a routine call requesting that she visit a particular child. She took the boy's name and room number and was told by the teacher on the other end of the line, "We're studying nouns and adverbs in his class now. I'd be grateful if you could help him with his homework so he doesn't fall behind the others." It wasn't until the visiting teacher got outside the boy's room that she realized it was located in the hospital's burn unit. No one had prepared her to find a young boy horribly burned and in great pain. She felt that she couldn't just turn and walk out, so she awkwardly stammered, "I'm the hospital teacher, and your teacher sent me to help you with nouns and adverbs." The next morning a nurse on the burn unit asked her, "What did you do to that boy?" Before she could finish a profusion of apologies, the nurse interrupted her: "You don't understand. We've been very worried about him, but ever since you were here yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. He's fighting back, responding to treatment--.It's as though he's decided to live." The boy later explained that he had completely given up hope until he saw that teacher. It all changed when he came to a simple realization. With joyful tears he expressed it this way: "They wouldn't send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?" -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 292-293


4.   There is healing power in hope, because our hope is in Christ who is the great healer!

a.    History is replete with examples of people who have withstood horrible circumstances simply because they held on to hope.

b.   The disciples of Jesus often didn’t understand all that Jesus taught them, but they learned to have hope in everything He said. 

c.    Hope keeps people from quitting, from giving up – because they still have hope!

5.   No wonder the writer here refers to “holding unswervingly onto the hope.”


II.  PROMISE OF HOPE!   Heb. 10:23b


A.   Savior!   Heb. 10:23b

1.   “For He who promised…” – God has not given us false hope, but real hope!

2.   Hope is not based on what we decide we would like to see, it is based on real statements and realities that God Himself has promised us.

3.   So how do we know that these promises of God can be trusted?

a.    Christ was born a baby, experienced our entire humanity!

b.   Christ lived a sinless and righteous life!

c.    Christ rose again and met with His disciples and promised them that with the same power He rose from the dead He will come again and give them everything He told them about!

d.   His very resurrection proves He has both the power and the will to fulfill those promises.

e.    Though we can’t always see the through life’s cloudy circumstances, God has a clear view of everything, and the power to uphold us if we hold to that hope!


ILLUS:     During World War II a father who was holding his son by the arm was seen running from a building that had just been bombed.  In the front yard was a huge hole where a bomb had already exploded.  Seeking shelter the father jumped into the hole and called for his son to jump down into his arms.  The boy however, standing at the rim, could not see into the hole because of the dust and darkness, but the father could easily see the silhouette of his son against the sky above him.  The boy hesitated and said, "But I can't see you dad" and the father responded, "That's o.k. son, I can see you and I won't let you fall, just jump!"  In those times when we can't see the Father we must learn to trust Him to be there anyways, prior experience with the Father will make it easier to jump when we need to. – Source Unknown.


4.   Even facing death we still have hope, for we know the one who has overcome death and promised us that we will never die, but live forever with Him.


B.   Solid!   Heb. 10:23b

1.   The final statement of this verse is as good a guarantee as can be!  “for He who has promised is faithful.”

2.   And please note that the emphasis for hope is not on YOU, it is on HIM! 

3.   If it was determined by our sheer will we would be in trouble, but the guarantee that makes our hope rock solid is the fact that all that is promised is based on Christ and His work, not ours!

4.   Too often people want proof before they have faith or will act in faith; but real hope is when we act with or without the proofs apparent, based on simply the Word of God Himself.


ILLUS:     Faith is not belief without proof but trust without reservation. -- D. Elton Trueblood, late Christian author. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 2.


5.   It is important to act on our hope, otherwise it isn’t real hope. 

a.    Hope that shows itself in despair isn’t real hope, it is a false hope!

b.   We must hold on to hope if we want it to change the way we live life.


ILLUS:      Faith is not believing that God can, but that God will! -- Abraham Lincoln, Christian Reader, Vol. 33, no. 2.


6.   We can face life - and death with hope because our hope is built on nothing less than the person and work of Jesus Christ and His faithfulness. 

a.    “He who promised is faithful!”

b.   “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope…”


CONCLUSION:   Hope is a very powerful and very real thing!  When people lose “hope” they lose the ability to continue on, to believe that life has meaning, that it makes any difference how we live.  Often those who lose hope lose the will to live or fight.  Hopelessness too can make someone ill, or prevent someone from recovering from tragedy.  However, if this is true the opposite is also true; hope restores, renews, strengthens, and motivates someone to face the future with certainty and strength.  If we are to go through this life victoriously, we must hold onto our hope without hesitation!  Keep Hope Alive!