#23 The Importance of Hope

15 January 1999

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen"-Hebrews 11:1. God has supplied his children with many beautiful graces. One of the most important of these is "Hope". While the world has its definition for hope, the hope that God promises is far better. The hope of the world is based upon conjecture. "Perhaps" or "maybe" are terms that describe the way most people use the word hope today. But the "hope" that God supplies his children with is much more substantial. Since "faith is the substance of things hoped for", the ground for Biblical hope goes through faith, back to the one who has made the promise: God. Hope goes beyond the believing of the promise to the anticipation of the promise fulfilled. Therefore, hope is the anticipation of the promise coming to pass; the longing for promise; the desire to enjoy the fulfillment of the promise; the "I can't wait until it gets here". Biblical hope is strong, resolute, and enduring, just like the God that made the promise. Paul describes hope as an anchor of the soul: "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil"-Hebrews 6:19. The anchor is a small part of a ship, but of vast importance. What good is a ship without an anchor? It is by the anchor that the mighty ship may come in from the stormy sea and unlade its heavy cargo. It is by the anchor that the ship may come in to port and find rest. The anchor also exerted its calming influence as it was cast out of the ship when the storms were raging. Hope is to the soul as the anchor is to the ship. The soul must unlade its heavy cargo; it must encounter the many storms; it must come in to rest from time to time. An anchor must attach itself to something other than the billowing waves and the wind. It must penetrate through the storm and the waves to terra firma, something solid and immovable. And so must our hope. It must not attach itself to anything here on earth. These things are so transient. It must penetrate "within the vail". The Hebrews well knew the meaning of this phrase. "Within the vail" spoke of the "Most Holy place" where the high priest entered once a year to offer sacrifice for the sins of the people. It was a figure of heaven itself. Therefore, while the ship's anchor goes down to the earth, the believer casts his anchor up. Up, within the veil, to where Christ, the rock of ages, sits at the right hand of the Father. When our anchor is fastened upon this rock, the devil and all his angels can not tear the ship loose from its promise. Many a ship has perished at sea because the anchor was absent on the voyage. Is your anchor intact? Paul would have the brethren at Thessalonica cast their anchor up when they longed for their loved ones that had departed this life. He would have their anchor rest in the same place as their loved ones: within the veil. So he wrote, "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him"- 1 Thes. 4:13-14. Do you see the promise, the faith, and the longing for the fulfillment of the promise? Paul didn't tell them that they should not sorrow for their loved ones, but he reminded them that they should not sorrow as those who have no anchor. Since Jesus died and rose again, so will your loved ones. You will see them again when Jesus returns for He is going to bring them "with Him". Hope. How can we find the strength to take that final glance at our loved ones and walk away from the grave? Is it not by the strength that hope gives? Hope that they are presently resting with Jesus, happy, whole and secure. They are no longer suffering. They are at rest and we will fellowship with them again around the throne of God's glory. Have you experienced the importance of hope? Come to worship with us at HARMONY PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH, at Donaldson, where God is sovereign and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday morning. Phone 501-337-1115. By His Grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.