Mercy Me is a Christian band (I Can Only Imagine) and recently they sang a song called, “Hold Fast.” Bart Millard tells the story of the inspiration for “Hold Fast”. “I was standing in the back of the bus going to our next concert. We were in a traffic jam and we passed a horrible wreck. I kept praying that the people in that wreck would just hold on until help would arrive.”
Guideposts sponsors an outreach on the internet through a web site called, “Our Prayer.” They post prayer requests on that web site and frequently I pray over those. This past week they had a desperate cry for prayer from a lady that stuck with me. She requested prayer that she get a job so that she could leave her mother’s house. She has been unemployed for several months and had to move back in with her mother. None of her family are Christians and they constantly belittle her for her faith. Her husband left her a few years ago. She frequently goes to her room at her mother’s house and cries. Being a new Christian she is trying to make friends with people at her church but has been unable. She is bankrupt financially and emotionally. Ever since she has come to faith in Christ, things have not been easy. The preacher at her church recently started a series on “restoration and reconciliation,” and this just seems to add salt to her wounds. She tries to be reconciled to her family but every move just seems to make things worse. She doesn’t feel restored at all because she has nothing. She asked the question, “I think I will go back to my old way of life. At least then I was on my own, and no one made fun of me.”
As I prayed for this lady, all I could think of was the words of “Hold Fast” from Mercy Me.
To everyone who’s hurting To those who’ve had enough To all the undeserving That should cover all of us Please do not let go I promise there is hope
Hold fast Help is on the way Hold fast He’s come to save the day What I’ve learned in my life One thing greater than my strife Is His grasp So hold fast
Hebrews 3:6 the NIV says hold on, the King James says hold fast.
This carries the picture of us gripping onto God. Some think that God is holding out his hand and we are the ones who have to hold on with all of our might. God does very little. I don’t think so. God does the greater work of holding onto us. We have to participate and hold fast.
In the plant world, there are plants who hold fast onto objects like rocks. Their root system is called a holdfast. Many people associate holdfasts with seaweed. If we have ever attempted to pull a piece of seaweed from a rock, we can understand the name of this plant structure; we will typically tear the seaweed apart before forcing the holdfast loose.
This is how we need to be. We are so holdfast to God that we cannot survive without Him.
Thesis: Let’s talk about 5 things we need to hold fast.
The Scriptures are comparing Jesus and Moses. Jesus is worthy of greater honor than Moses.
We can hardly criticize the Jews for holding Moses in the highest regard. Moses is certainly to the Jews as Mohammed is to the Muslims, and even greater.
Kent Hughes points our six identifiable characteristics by which the Jews acknowledged him as the greatest of all men. 1) He was divinely chosen for the task of delivering God people. 2) He was the deliverer of Israel by means of unparalleled displays of power. 3) He served as the greatest prophet, with whom God communicated directly. 4) He was the law-giver delivering the Ten Commandments to God’s people. 5) He served as Israel’s greatest historian recording the first five books of the Old Testament. 6) And in spite of all his accomplishments he was more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth (Num 12:3).
Moses was faithful in all God’s house. But the first readers of Hebrews needed to be reminded of the words of Moses and also the words of Jesus.
Words of Jesus- John 5:45-47: But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?
Words of Moses- Deuteronomy 18:15: The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. The Lord says in just a few verses after this in Deuteronomy 18:18: I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.
The temptation for these Hebrews Christians was to abandon the faith of Jesus and go back to Moses. They were rejected by the Gentiles as a Jewish sect. They were rejected by their fellow Jews as unfaithful to the Law of Moses. They felt rejected by everyone.
John 9:28- Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
John 1:17: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Moses pointed to Christ because no one could keep the Law. Jesus came and showed us that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God- the truth. Then he gave us grace through the cross and empty tomb.
Joshua 23:14: You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.
2 Corinthians 1:20: For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.
We have better promises according to Hebrews.
Genesis 12:2-3: You will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse
Hope (Vs. 6)
When life hurts and dreams fade, nothing helps like hope.
Without hope, prisoners of war languish and die.
Without hope, students get discouraged and drop out of school.
Without hope, athletic teams slump and keep losing.
Without hope, addicts return to their habits, married couples decide to divorce, inventors, artists, entertainers, and entrepreneurs lose their creativity.
Without hope, even preachers, and strong Christians, struggle to press on.
We have a better hope according to Hebrews.
There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them. Because He lives I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone, Life is worth the living just because he lives.
Barney Warren- Hold fast for that beautiful land in view, Hold fast for the crown that’s awaiting you; Hold fast for the meeting of loved ones there, Hold fast for the bliss they have gone to share.
Because we know that we are going to heaven, we can look forward to better things in every areas of life.
Courage (Vs. 6)- 2 Timothy 1:7: For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Confidence (King James)
Hebrews 3:14: We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.
Hebrews 13:5-6: God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
Barney Warren- Hold fast, never doubting, withstand the foe, Put on the whole armor and onward go; Determined to conquer in Jesus’ might, Ne’er run from a battle, but face the fight.
Boldness (American Standard)- Proverbs 28:1: The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. Think about people like Peter, John, Stephen.
Jesus (Vs. 1) Fix your thoughts on Jesus
The word apostle literally means one sent out as to do a mission. We usually think of the 12 apostles that Jesus sent out. Main task was to set up the church.
In a broader sense Jesus was an apostle. He was sent from the Father. John 1:14: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Son- Now it may seem more than a stretch to draw from a modern fantasy tale for my illustration, but the story line of Batman offers very good examples of our point. In that story, the boy who will eventually become the crime-fighting Batman, named Bruce Wayne, loses his parents at a young age to a cold-blooded murder. He is left alone in the world with only the faithful family servant, Alfred, and the family estate consisting of a mansion, a successful business and millions of dollars. The boy, being the son in the family, is technically master and owner of all by virtue of his bearing the family name. The servant, though having served the family for several generations and now the elder of the household, remains yet a servant with claim to nothing other than his charge to be faithful to the son. In the fullness of time Bruce, the son, would come to take control of the business and truly be master of all things in the house. The servant, while having access to all the comforts and conveniences of the house, uses them, cares for them, keeps them in order, yet is owner of none of it. Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant. Jesus was faithful as Son. We do not look up to the servant but to the Son. Why? Because the Son went to the cross and died for our sins. The servant did not.
Barney Warren- Hold fast, hold fast, Hold to the Savior, He’s all in all
Fanny Crosby- Hold fast a moment more, Behold a light upon the shore; Tho’ scarce a beam thine eye can see, Thy Savior comes to rescue thee.