Summary: Part 6 of our Hebrews study- Optimist or Pessimist in Christ?

Hebrews – Encouragement for a life of Faith

Part 6

“There has to be a pony in here somewhere”

Hebrews 6:18-19

Have you ever stopped to consider the difference between an optimist and a pessimist?

There was a research team at a college who received a grant to study just that thing

The difference between an optimist and a pessimist

In order to make a determination of the difference

They took two young boys and asked them to be part of a study

After a series of questions to both the kids and their parents

A plan was made and a rough determination of which one was a pessimist and which one was optimist was made

So for the first part of the test

They took the young man that they had determined to be the pessimist


Placed him in a room of brand new toys

He was surrounded by everything you could dream of

In another room

They placed the boy who they determined to be the optimist

This room was piled about 2-3 feet deep with horse poop

They left both the boys in the perspective rooms for about an hour

A video camera was set up in each room to allow the researchers to watch the responses

As they watched the first room

They noticed that

Inside the room the young boy was just sitting

Nothing had been opened

Nothing had been played with

He appeared to be very sad

So next they started watching the boy in the room full of Horse poop

The video showed the boy in that room very excited and franticly digging in the horse apples

So the team took their clip boards and went to each room and began their interviews of the boys

They asked the first

What’s wrong?

Why have you not played with any of the toys?

Do you not like them?

He said” I am afraid if I play with them, I might break them and that would make me sad”

They took their clipboards

Made their notes


They confirmed their theory on Pessimism

As they entered the next room

The team was a bit perplexed

This boy was still digging

They asked


What are you doing?

He said” In a room this full of horse poop, there has to be a pony in here somewhere, and I am going to find him”


Unfortunately as Believers we often tend to be like the first kid instead of the last

It is my desire today to try to show and teach why we should keep digging when life gives us less than we desire or even hope for

Continuing with our study of Hebrews today

We are going to shift just a bit from the mashing that our writer has been doing

Neither he nor I will or should or apologize for the toe stomping that has been prevalent in the messages the last few weeks


We need to hear the hard stuff

We need God’s word to show us what is wrong in our lives

And we need to make changes in our lives when it does


We also need to be encouraged sometimes

Please open your bibles to Hebrews Chapter 6 this morning

I need to tell you there are more toe stomping words in chapter 6 of Hebrews

It would have been very easy to continue on the path we have been on

But my desire this morning is to preach a softer

Kinder message

One that prayerfully will still cause conviction in our hearts

But one will make us feel good about being a believer

And encourage us for the things we do right

And cause us to keep digging when life does not turn out like we wish it had

We will cover the hard words in our bible study next week, so once again I encourage you to consider coming and being part of it

I need to do something right now

Those who come to the studies, I do not want to embarrasses you but I would like to ask that you stand up

For those not coming

I encourage you to go and talk to these that are standing

Hear their stories about their spiritual growth

Ask them questions about how God’s word is changing their lives and their outlook on life


In order today to see how we become spiritual optimists instead of spiritual pessimists

We need to go back to Hebrews

Please open your bibles to Hebrews 6

Throw your bulletins in there as we will e going back there several times this morning

“Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.”

The writer of Hebrews says that his desire for his congregation is that they will keep on loving other for as long as they live

The first way we shift from spiritual pessimism to spiritual optimism

Is to keep loving others

And doing so will cause what we hope for to come true

We will discuss hope more in detail latter

For now let’s look at what loving others means

In order to illustrate this point

I need to take you back to Chongwe village in Zambia

Last week I told you about the medical assessment side of our mission work there

I told you all about the malnourished kids

Today I want to tell you a bit more

Another aspect of our work was helping to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the people in the area

What I mean by this is we provided bibles

We boldly preached God’s word

We prayed for and with the people

We had the privilege of baptizing a few

We cried with and laughed with them


We attempted to let them see and feel the love of Christ

We attempted to make them feel both loved and needed

Something many of them had never experienced

In doing so we helped providing spiritual and emotional healing though Christ

On the physical side

We built shelves and did repairs on the orphanage

We cooked for the people and helped provide clean water

We continued to provide medical treatment and medicine for those who needed it

We attempted to drill them a new well but our attempts at drilling a well were unproductive

But we were able to make arrangements to have the water tower filled daily by hauling water with oxcarts from a nearby well, providing clean pure water for our news friends

We also provided coats, blankets and other clothing

Something that was much needed as the people in the area were very poor

Many of those items were provided by our home churches and the love of many who sweated and sewed to make that happen—once again thanks to those who helped from home

God knew what he was doing on the day we handed out the coats

Kids came from everywhere

The school that was at the orphanage typically taught 40-50 kids

But on this cold, windy, wet and cloudy day

About 100 kids showed up

God in his wisdom and his mercy provided just enough jackets to go around

Here is where I want to show you a picture of love

And it is a picture that I think clarifies the writer attempt to challenge us to keep loving others

This part of our trip had a huge impact on me

I pray my sharing it will have some impact on you as well

One of the young boys in the village really touched my heart and we developed a strong bond

I don’t know if I will ever see him again in this life

I know I will see him in the next

But David still lives in my heart and in my thoughts and prayers

The day before we handed out the coats had been a very windy and cold day

It was July but that is winter in Zambia

For us 70 is not all that cold

But for Africa where the temperatures are usually over 100 it was very cold to them

I along with most of our group gave the light jackets that we had brought to the young men and ladies in the village that had been so helpful in our ministry

I made myself a poncho out of a blanket, causing me to look a little like I imagine John the Baptist or Elijah must have looked

But I digress

The boys and especially David were so proud of their new coats

They were strutting around



I imagine they must have thanked us a 100 times

Their joy made us very happy

So on the day we were handing out the rest of the coats

I was a bit surprised to find my young friend David

Huddling beside the mud school house out of the wind

Shivering to keep warm

So I asked him


Are you cold?

Yes – was his answer

They spoke very proper English in Zambia

None of the naah and yeah that we tend to hear in our country

Yes he said

I asked him

David, where is the coat I gave you yesterday?

He pointed to another young man and said

He was cold so I gave it to him

I need to tell you I broke down

They have video of me sobbing

The show of love that David expressed for his brother was amazing

Later when I was able to get my composure

I asked David

Why did you give him your coat?

He said, he was cold and I knew God would provide me with another when he was ready

This is the kind of love that our writer is talking about in this verse

Love each other as long as you live

Love like Jesus loves


Sacrificial love

Loving enough to place ourselves and our needs second or third or 100th away from the needs of others

Loving them enough to let them see Jesus in us

Loving them enough to tell them about Jesus

I can tell you when I looked at David for the next week and when I see him now in my mind

I see Jesus

And in his words I hear Jesus

And I know that though his love


Will receive the blessings that he hopes for

And I also know that David is an optimist in Christ

He hopes for a better future and one day when this life is over he will find it

But for now

He just keeps on digging

He lets his love shine in spite of being an orphan

In spite of poor unclean unhealthy water

In spite of lack of food and clothing sometimes

In spite of the poor health and death that abounds due to malnutrition and all it brings

David finds the hope through his love

And he finds hope though the love of Christ

He finds hope by showing this love to others

You see he does this

Because he does not allow the hard times to have an impact on how he loves

Or how he feels the love of his savior

I learned a lot for this 15 year old spiritual giant

And prayerfully you will as well

Love and loving others is one of the keys to being a spiritual optimist

And it is a true sign of the spiritual growth that we learned so much about last week

Let’s go back to the book of Hebrews for my next point

Hebrews 6:12

“Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.”

Last week our writer warned us against becoming “stunted” in our growth

This week from these writings he says

We become spiritual optimists when we practice our faith and have endurance

What is faith?

Let’s go forward just a bit in the book of Hebrews for a definition

Hebrews 11:1

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”

Faith shows us HOPE or the reality of hope

Again we hear the word hop and again we are going to address it father down

It shows us proof of what we can’t see

The writer of Hebrews goes on to say in 11:6

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”

Faith is a necessity for a Christian

Without faith we can’t please God

Without faith

We can’t find hope

Without faith we cannot get to God or to the things he has for us

It is Faith that causes us to admit we are sinners

It is Faith that causes us to cry out to Jesus for salvation

It Faith that shows us our sin and makes us want to change

You see without Faith we can’t get to God

We can’t get to heaven

We can’t find rest in this life

Because without faith we can’t have Jesus

Then after salvation

The faith must continue

We can’t stop at the cross

We must have faith to trust Jesus in our everyday life

We must know that he has got his all under control

It is that faith that lets us unwrap the gifts he gives us and more importantly

Use them in our lives

Unlike the kid in the room full of toys, just sitting there

Scared he might break something

Lacking faith

And being a pessimist

Faith lets us unwrap Joy

Faith lets us unwrap peace

Faith lets us unwrap love

Faith lets us unwrap contentment

Faith itself is a gift that allows us to unwrap and use the other gifts

It was faith that caused my friend David to have the assurance that he would get what he hope for

Because he had confidence that Jesus was already working on it

And faith

When practiced

Produces the next part of this verse


Faith produces endurance

When you have faith

You can finish the race no matter what comes

I have been watching some of the Olympics this last week

And over and over again I’ve seen athletes showing amazing endurance

I don’t know where some of them are in their spiritual life’

But I can tell you the faith they have that allows them to endure the hardships and keeping pressing for the Gold medal is inspiring

If we as Christians could or would express that type of faith

There would be no stopping us

And no stopping the spread of Christianity in this world


Faith to know that no matter what

Nothing can separate us from God’s love

Faith that he will fulfill his promises

Faith that his word is pure and true and good and right

Faith to Know that you know that no matter what

God will keep his promises

That brings us to my last point

How do we become spiritual optimists when the rest of the world is being a pessimist?

We must have confidence that God will keep his promises

Let’s go back to Hebrews 6

Verses 16-20

6 Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. 17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. 20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

The world as a whole

The unsaved


Do not believe that God will or has kept his promises

They may not even believe that he ever made them to begin with

Many if they even admit that there is a God

They say God has changed

Or his word is just outdated

They are pessimists in this world

Not able to move towards unwrapping the gifts

Maybe they can’t even see the gifts

Or if they see them they don’t believe they can get them or worse yet are not willing to do what it takes it receive them

Just sitting


Afraid and lost

They don’t know or understand true love

They have no faith in the things that matter

No faith in the only one who can deliver them

No faith in Christ

So they lack endurance

This world is a dog eat dog place

Survival of the fittest

We should expect this from the world

Satan is the ruler of this world and his desire is to kill, steal and destroy

He masquerades as an Angel of light

Selling his lies to all who will listen and accept

There are millions of people in the world who are lost and believing these lies

Unfortunately many believers fall for the lies of Satan

Many who call themselves Christians do not believe that God keeps his promises

Satan asked Eve in the garden

“Did God really say you can’t eat the fruit from the trees in the garden?”

Satan plants doubt through deception in Eves mind

She doubts God’s promises

We do the same thing

And this lack of belief produces spiritual pessimism

Worse yet it stops forward motion’ it causes us to drift away from God’s word

It stunts our spiritual growth

You see

God promises us that all sins can be forgiven

But Satan tells us we are too bad

We doubt and pessimism creeps in

He tells us everyone who believes will be saved

But Satan says only if you do this or that

We doubt and pessimism creeps in

God promises that he will never leave us or forsake us

Satan says when it gets hot ----God is gone

That you’ve been abandoned

We doubt and pessimism creeps in

You see Satan wants us to doubt God’s promises

For the lost

Believing these lies can cost way more than they were expecting or willing pay

An eternity apart from God in a place called Hell

But for the believers

Believing these lies steals the joy of the gift that Jesus died to give us

Not salvation itself but the joy of our salvation

If we want to be spiritual optimists we must keep digging

When it gets hard we must know and trust that he is fully in charge

When the wheels fall off our lives

And they will

It is just a matter of time

Mike Morrow is fond of saying we are all either in a wreck

Just recovering from a wreck

Or headed for a wreck

Tough times

Hard times

Storms and wrecks come into the lives of everyone on earth throughout all time

How we deal with it makes the difference as to the effect it has on us

On our lives

On our relationships with others

Ourselves and with God

How we deal with the hard times

Makes all the difference in our spiritual growth

When we love others as Christ loves us

We stop focusing on ourselves

Pride takes a back seat to humility

Love shines though

When we keep our faith

No matter what

We become a beacon to the world

A world that is searching desperately for something and

Sometimes not even sure of what they are searching for

Until they see Jesus in you

Until they see the optimism that comes from assurance


Loving others produces hope

Faith produces hope

Faith in Jesus for salvation

Faith in Jesus for daily living

Faith in Jesus in the good times and in the bad times

Produces endurance

And endurance produces hope

And it is confidence the God does and will keep his promises that gets us to the hope we are striving for

There is an old Hymn the sticks in my mind from time to time

It is called “Standing on the promises of God”

This standing is what creates optimism in our Christian life

Let’s stand together and sing

1. Standing on the promises of Christ my King,

Through eternal ages let His praises ring,

Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,

Standing on the promises of God.

o Refrain:

Standing, standing,

Standing on the promises of God my Savior;

Standing, standing,

I’m standing on the promises of God.

2. Standing on the promises that cannot fail,

When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,

By the living Word of God I shall prevail,

Standing on the promises of God.

3. Standing on the promises I now can see

Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;

Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,

Standing on the promises of God.

4. Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,

Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,

Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,

Standing on the promises of God.

5. Standing on the promises I cannot fall,

List’ning every moment to the Spirit’s call,

Resting in my Savior as my all in all,

Standing on the promises of God.

Close from the heart