Summary: Success in the Christian life isn’t all about our effort. While we must make an effort we are not left to do it alone. However, we can have assurance of success without yet realizing the success.
An Anchor for the Soul
At the time of his death, this man’s work appeared in twenty-six hundred newspapers worldwide, and was the basis of a franchise earning $1 billion a year. Since its modest debut in just seven papers on October 2, 1950, his comic strip became a constant feature of daily life for nearly fifty years. Ironically, this man’s work should have never been noticed. He learned his trade through a correspondence school and earned a C in “the drawing of children.” The tall, skinny outsider at St. Paul High School was a lousy student who’s only hope was that his gangly cartoons would be accepted for print in his 1940 senior yearbook. The annuals went to press without the drawings. Though discouraged, the fledgling artist was undaunted in the pursuit of his dream. Through determination and perseverance, Charles Schulz fulfilled his childhood goal and Peanuts became the most widely syndicated cartoon in the world.
(Adapted from Houston Chronicle, Dec. 1, 1999, p. 4D)
Success in the Christian life isn’t all about our effort. While we must make an effort we are not left to do it alone. However, we can have assurance of success without yet realizing the success.
I. Our salvation is secure because of who made the promise. (Heb. 6:13–18)
A. God promised to bless Abraham, and He did. (6:13–15)
B. God promised to bless us, and he will. (6:16–18)
C. We have two unchangeable things to rely upon.
1. The Promise. “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19
2. The Oath. Genesis 22
II. Our salvation is secure because of Jesus’ High Priesthood. (Heb. 6:19–20)
A. Jesus is the Anchor for our Soul.
B. Illustration: A naval officer from WWII explains the idea of Jesus as the anchor for the soul. He described how the battleship he was assigned to survived a hurricane in Chesapeake Bay. It was a similar method used by sailors in the 18th and 19th century to move their ships through tight and dangerous spots. When storms or turbulent seas threatened a ship, a crew of sailors would set out in a launch carrying with them the larger ships anchor. Going as far toward safety as the anchor’s chain would allow they would then cast the anchor down in the sea. The larger ship would then be winched forward into deeper water.
(Adapted from Leonard Sweet, taken from Damian Phillips @ SermonCentral.com)
Jesus is an anchor for the soul in this manner. Not that he is holding us secure in one spot, but that He is firm and secure and guiding us where we need to be.
C. Jesus entered heaven before us on our behalf.
1. He made access available for us. Eph. 2:14–18
2. He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him. Heb. 7:24–25
When the United States Women’s Softball team won the gold medal in Atlanta’s 1996 Olympic games, they lost only one game, but from that loss came a remarkable story about perseverance. In the fifth inning against Australia, Danielle Tyler hit a home run over the center-field fence. The American third baseman floated around the bases with a rush of adrenaline. When she was greeted by a swarm of well-wishing teammates at home plate she let the excitement distract her focus and she did not touch the base. When all of the yelling subsided, the Australian team quietly appealed to the umpire who dramatically called Tyler out. Rather than scoring a run, Tyler’s blast over the fence netted her team an out. As it ended up, had the lady slugger stepped on home plate, her team would have won 1-0. Instead, after seven innings of regulation play the game was tied at 0-0. In extra innings, Australia emerged with a 2-1 win and the U.S. team took their only loss of the Olympics. That disaster on the diamond reminds us of an important lesson in life—it’s important that we finish. It’s not enough to hit a ball into the cheap seats; you have to touch all of the bases as well. Whether you’re talking about a day, a project, a church year, or a life, it’s important that we finish. To excel for a while is no guarantee of success. In Matthew 24:13, Jesus said, “But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.” Likewise, Paul told of his strong finish when he wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course . . .” (2 Timothy 4:7).