God Is Unchanging

God Is... June 23, 2024 Hebrews 6:13-20 Notes

In a world where everything is in flux and constantly changing, don’t you wish you had something or someone that you could depend on? Someone who didn’t change?

God is unchanging. That’s what we want to “know” more about God today. In Hebrews chapter 6, believers were reminded that they could hold fast to an unchanging God in an ever-changing world.



All right. Good morning, church. It's great seeing all of you here this morning. I'm thankful to be back. I've been on vacation and also took some time to look at some future things that are going on in our church and where our city is headed.

And so I appreciate and give you thanks, church, for allowing me to "sharpen the saw," to go off and get refreshed a little bit with my family and also some time alone with the Lord to study some things. And so we're thankful. I'm also thankful for our teaching team that filled in for me while I was gone. I've heard great reports. I've been able to watch some of the online videos.

I hope to watch them all to encourage our teaching team. I think we have a great teaching team, don't you? And so we're just happy about that and thankful for each of them. And we're in this series entitled, "God is..." and we've been going through the attributes of God, and that's what we've been working on. This will be the fifth Sunday now, and so I'm happy to tag in for my opportunity to preach in this series.

And I want to mention a couple other things. One is, how about these young people down front, these students down front? And wow, I was really happy to hear the report about you having such a great week. I was talking to some of the adult leaders and one of them told me, "you know, I knew I was doing this to help the students. I didn't realize how much this week would mean to me personally."

And so don't be surprised, adults, when you go on one of these trips that maybe you grow as much or more than the students do. But hearing those results that were announced earlier means a lot to me, especially the one. Well, not especially, but of interest to me, is that seven people made a decision that they felt like the Lord was calling them into ministry. And don't be surprised by that. Most people that are in ministry, most pastors, most missionaries, most people that are in ministry made the decision.

They had a call from the Lord when they were teenagers, many of us, myself included. My grandmother used to say to me when I was like nine or ten years old, "Gary, you're going to be a preacher." In fact, she was kind of old school. She'd say, "Gary, I think you're going to make a preacher." That's some unusual English right there, isn't it?

That's what she used to say. And I'd say, "No, granny, I'm going to be a chicken farmer with my Paw Paw," you know, because I used to spend summers on the farm with him. But from an early age, people began to tell me they thought I was called to ministry. And I was 19 when I stood at a conference and said “yes” to the Lord. And so whoever you seven are, get to work.

And the rest of you get to work too. And so we're glad you're here on the front row. I expect for you to really encourage me now as I'm preaching, I'm pretty fired up. I'm really fired up because you're here.

Okay, so we're talking about these things. A couple more things I want to mention quickly. I was glad to hear the update about Kidzfest. Kidzfest is almost here. It's one of the most important things we do in our church.

In fact, many of the new families that begin to come to our church come as a result of meeting us during that week of Kidzfest. And Kidzfest is like VBS=10 for us. And it's not just for our kids, but it's for the children in our community. So volunteer and be part of that.

One other thing I want to mention is the Uganda team. That's nine people from our church. They're getting really close. I think they have one or two more team meetings. So be praying for our Uganda mission team. That will be two weeks in Uganda with my good friend, my brother in Christ, Pastor George Mybonye of Kisoro Hill Baptist Church and with other churches in Uganda.So we've been sending teams to Uganda for years now. And so we want you to be praying for them and talk to them and find out where they're at on their support raising and so forth. Be talking to them and so updating on that.

And, you know, I come back and I've got so many things to talk about, but make sure you stop at the Choices Women's Center table before you leave today. Members, I'm talking to you. Stop and say “hello” to our director who attends our church and she's running the table out there. And stop and talk to her about the opportunities we have to support the Choices Women's Center here in Wilson, who we partner with. Well, that's enough of those announcements. Let's dig into this message. We're talking about knowing God.

This is what John says in his Gospel. He says, John 17:3 (ESV) And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. So what is eternal life? It's knowing God. What's the purpose of life?

For us, it's to know God. A theologian, an author, that affected me from the time I was in college. I remember reading this book when I was a freshman in college, “Knowing God.” It's a Christian classic.

If you haven't read it, you really should read the book, “Knowing God” by J.I. Packer. Here's what he says, “What were we made for? To know God.

What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God… Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.” Why did God make us?

He made us for himself so that we might know him and be fully known by him. And so this is life. And that's what this series is about. It's about knowing God better. It's about growing in your knowledge of God.

And so we've talked about these different attributes of God so far. We've talked about how God is love, how that's really his chief attribute. God is love. That God is merciful, that God is father, that God is mighty. So that's where we've been.

Now, today we're going to talk about this reality, that God is unchanging. God is unchanging. Or as theologians call it, God is immutable. Immutable, which means that he's fixed. He cannot be altered.

He never changes. He is perfect, and he never changes. Now, that's important, isn't it? That there's someone that never changes. Now, in our invitation, we've already mentioned it before.

We invite you to change. We say, “Come as you are and be forever changed by the love of Jesus,” because we need life change, but we need a lord. We need God to be the same today, tomorrow, and forever. We need a God like that in this changing world. Indeed, in this ever changing world, we can depend on a never changing God.

And that's what we're talking about this morning. I don't know what's going on in your life. Maybe you're going through a time of decision. How many seniors have I got in the group in front of me today? 12345.

Okay. Some of you aren't sure. You think. Okay, so we got a bunch of seniors, I heard, “I think.”

Was it nine? Nine that you have in the total group, nine seniors? And so you guys are at a big change point in your life, a big transition point. And that's good. It's exciting, but it's also scary, because change can be really scary when you're going through big change and life is like that.

It's wonderful to have an unchanging God that you can hold fast. To the one who says, I never change. I'm the same yesterday, today, and forever. It's wonderful to have that. And this world is changing so fast, so fast today.

So many things are changing in our culture. So much is changing about morality, so much is changing about our economy, our politics. Everything is changing so fast. And maybe even in your life, there's been changes in your life that it's really challenged you. It's great to have an unchanging God.

Here's what Charles Spurgeon, that great Baptist preacher, said about this topic of God's immutability. He said, “Would you lose your worries and fears this day? Then you must immerse yourself in the immensity of God…

He never changes. His being, and nature, and perfections can’t be altered. Nothing can be added to the infinite God and nothing can be taken from Him. What God is today He always was.

What God is today He shall always be…He is all-wise; He need not change. He is perfect; He cannot change.”

We worship an unchanging God, and in a time when so many things are changing, in fact, everything seems to be a constant flux around us, we can take hold of him and hold fast to him as a sure and steadfast anchor for our soul. Well, let's look at the text. Hebrews, chapter six. In this book of Hebrews chapter six, believers are reminded that they can hold fast to an unchanging God in this ever changing world. And as we look at it, I believe that we too can hold fast to this unchanging God in this ever changing world.

As we look at the text, we'll be looking for four reasons why this is possible. Let's look at it. We're in Hebrews chapter six, starting at verse 13. Hebrews 6:13-20 (ESV) 13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.

16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

This is God's word. Amen. Amen. We're looking for four reasons that we can hold fast to an unchanging God in an ever changing world. Here's the first reason.

1. Because of God’s unchanging perfections.

Because of God's unchanging perfections. When we use the word perfections, what are we talking about? It's another way of describing God's character traits or his attributes. We call them perfections because all of his character traits, all of his attributes are perfect.

They're whole, they're complete. They miss nothing. They need nothing added to them. Where do we see this in the text? Well, notice that in verse 13, it says that God made a promise to Abraham.

And when he made the promise, he swore an oath by himself because he could think of no one greater than himself. Just think about that. God. If he was going to swear an oath, he could find nothing greater than himself to swear it by. This is what he says.

So he swore it by himself. Why? Because he's perfect. He's the great one. He has all of these perfections.

We've mentioned several of them in previous weeks. Chief among them, we say, is God is love, that his love is whole. It's perfect. We've talked about God being holy. God is just, God is mighty.

These are his perfections. Every character trait of God is full and perfect in every aspect, and so he's greater. And then take note, this word is in here twice, and it gives us the title for our sermon, verse 17 and 18. You'll see it in each of those verses. Circle the word in your notes if you're taking notes.

”Unchangeable.” Do you see that in the text, verse 17 and 18? “Unchangeable.” First we see the phrase unchangeable character, that the promise has an unchangeable character of his purpose and is so unchangeable there. And then we see it again.

He says two unchangeable things in verse 18. This is where we get our title, “God is…Unchanging.” From that two time occurrence of those words. If you're looking at the King James, it says, “immutable,” which is the same word. It's a synonym.

It means “fixed and unchangeable, unalterable cannot change.” This is so important because we look to our God as one. Okay. Is he loving all the time, or does he have a bad day?

Sometimes he just wants to be hateful? You know, sometimes we ascribe that to God if something happens and maybe you're afraid of God in the wrong way. I don't mean fearing him as in respecting him, but actually being afraid to give your life fully to him. Many of you know the story of my early life, that my father died of cancer when he was 39 years old. I'm the firstborn.

I was eight years old when my daddy died. When I was 13, I was a believer. I prayed to receive Jesus the year my father died. I saw the reality of life and death. I grew up really quickly as a result of that impact.

Then when I was 13, someone was talking to me at school, and they said, “Gary, have you ever given your life fully to Jesus?” And I said, “What do you mean by that?” “Like every aspect of your life.” I'm a believer.

This person was actually a senior in high school that was talking to me. So I looked up to him and he really hurt my feelings. He said, “Because your life doesn't look like it.”He began to point out some things about the way I was living.

I didn't like that, but he was correct. He said, “Your dad, when he was still alive, I mean, if you were to go to your dad and say, ‘Dad, I want to be just like you when I grow up,’ would he lock you in the closet and make you eat spinach or something? I mean, what would he do to you? And I said, “no.” Actually, I used to say things like that to my dad when he was alive. I'd say, “Daddy, I want to be just like you when I grow up.”

And he'd say, “Son, I'm so proud of you. I just want you to be whatever God wants you to be.” I didn’t have to imagine that. This senior said, “Well, your father in heaven loves you so much more than your father on earth could ever love you. And if you go to him and say, ‘I want to be just like you, I want to follow Jesus fully in my life in every regard,’ then you can trust him and know that he loves you. He's not up in heaven with a whip in one hand and a chain in the other trying to make your life miserable.

No, he sent Jesus to die for your sins.” And he loves you and he loves you and he loves you and he loves you. And his love is perfect. And so you think about these perfections. You don't have to think of God the way you think of another human.

He's constant. He's unchanging. And not only that, speaking of his perfections, he never lies. Do you see this in verse 18? “...it is impossible for God to lie.”

Unusual phrase in the Greek. It literally means he is without strength to lie. He's impotent to lie. The all powerful God, the one who has the power to do all things, the scripture says he has no power to lie. It seems a little paradoxical on the face of it, but it makes perfect sense.

Dr. Barnes says in his commentary, "the impossibility is a moral impossibility," because God is truth. Therefore he cannot lie. It's impossible for him to lie. This is just one of the perfections of God. His word never lies.

His written word, which is from the father, never lies. And so he cannot lie. In fact, Jesus, when he reveals God to us, he says, "I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the father but by me." It's impossible for him to lie.

When Dr. Louis Berkhof, in his systematic theology book, talks about God's immutability, he says, “That perfection of God by which He is devoid of all change, not only in His Being, but also in His perfections, purposes and promises.” You can count on him. He does not change. The prophet Malachi in Malachi three says, speaking of the Lord, Malachi 3:6 (ESV) “For I the Lord do not change…”

In James 1:17 (ESV), he writes, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” There's no shadow, there's no cloud, there's no imperfection. Light here is symbolic of truth. Can I give you three logical reasons for his immutability, for his unchanging nature?

First, God is eternal. And since change takes place over time, thank you Facebook for reminding us of this with the Facebook memories, right? Here's your memory from ten years ago… and there's a selfie of me. That's when I still had dark hair.

Yeah, thanks Facebook, for that memory, you know. But we change over time. As time goes on, we change. But God is eternal. He stands outside of time.

In fact, he created time. Time has no effect on him. He is unchanged. He's eternal. God is perfect.

If he's perfect. If he's perfect love, there's no way you can add or subtract to that which is already complete and perfect. God is perfect. To make him better or worse in any category implies change, and he does not change. He's perfect. God is omniscient, which means all knowing.

If he's all knowing, he can't forget, nor can he learn because he already knows. He's omniscient. Those are just some logical things I'm helping us think through. When we think about how God in his perfections is unchangeable, he's unchangeable. Does everything around you seem to be changing?

Is life becoming overwhelming, confusing? Hold fast to God and his unchanging perfections, his unchanging love. In an ever changing world, we can count on a never changing God. Here's the second reason. The first is that God is unchanging in his perfections.

The second is:

2. Because of God’s unchanging promises.

He's unchanging in his promises. Because of God's unchanging promises. Circle the word, “promise.” You'll find it there three times in the text. If you look at the text three times in the text, you'll see it in verses 13,15 and 17.

Our God is a promise making and a promise keeping God. And that's something. He makes promises and he keeps promises. Here he's talking about a promise he made to Abraham. He tells us a little piece of the promise

in verse 14. He says, in verse 14, he says, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” That's kind of a “cliff's notes” version of what he actually said. We can go over to Genesis chapter 22 and see what God said, which is what is being quoted here. He says, in Genesis 22:16-18 (NKJV) 16 “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore;

and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Twenty-five years prior to that, God had first told Isaac, I know you're old. I know that your wife is past the age of childbearing. But you're going to bear a son

and from him, you're going to be multiplied to the point that your children, your offspring, are like the number of the stars in the sky. The number of grains of sand on the seashore. And Abraham believed him. He believed him. And then he patiently waited.

And it refers to this in verse15, “And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.” God came through, and God gave him a son, Isaac, whose name means “laughter.” And so he has Isaac. And then God tested Abraham's faith and he said, take your son, your only son, up on Mount Moriah. I want you to offer him to me as a sacrifice.

And Abraham got up early the next morning and immediately took off. And when Isaac asked about it, he said, “Father, I see that we have wood, and I see that we have fire, but we have no lamb.” And Abraham says, “My son, God will provide a lamb.” And so they go up on the mountain, and as he lifts the knife to take his son's life, an angel of the Lord appears and stops him. And he sees a ram with its horns caught in a thicket.

And God provided the ram, and God took care of that. So that's the context of the story. He says, I will bless you because of this, and through your seed, everyone will be blessed, all the nations. When Paul looked at this, he took note that the word, “seed,” was singular, not plural. And he took note of that.

Here's what he said in his letter to Galatians. He said, Galatians 3:16 (NKJV) Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. You see the promise that God gave to Abraham, Abraham never saw its complete fulfillment.

He got a partial fulfillment when he got Isaac, but he never saw that the whole purpose of this miraculous promise was that through Abraham, through Isaac, Jacob, and so forth down to David. And then in the line of David would come Jesus. He's the promised seed by which all nations will be blessed. This is the promise that God made with an oath, swearing by himself because there was no one greater than himself. God does not lie.

He fulfills his promises and he keeps his promises. It says in Numbers 23:19 (NIV) “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” These are rhetorical questions.

God keeps his promise, all of his promises. Indeed, you might say, well, do these promises affect me? Well, if you're a follower of Jesus, guess what? All of God's promises are “yes” in Jesus. Look what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV) For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.

And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. All of this. You could call this book, “God's book of promises.” It's so filled with promises. Do you feel like God's far away from you today as a believer?

Do you feel distant from God? Remember, he says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” and believe the promise and ask, “Well, God, why do I feel this way? Because you promised never to leave me or forsake me. Open up my mind and my heart so I can understand why I'm having these feelings. But I want to believe your word over my own feelings.

I want to bring my life into alignment with your word.” You could just look at so many promises and claim them because “yes” is the answer. Yes, this promise is for you in Christ Jesus. Now I have a question for the young people because you're close enough to see. I don't know if everybody can see. What is this?

It's a $100 bill. Does anybody have one of those? What about you? Okay.

I'm not going to ask for it. You can keep it. Oh no, the preacher's going to ask for money. So some of you seniors, I know some of y'all got some of this, right?

Got some money, you know, hope you did. Hopeyou're putting in a savings because you're going to need it. So what do you think this is worth? Hundred dollars. That's what it claims.

This is a promissory note from the US government, one of the most important large, powerful nations that maybe has ever existed on planet Earth. And it promises that this is worth $100. I remember if I got one of these when I first got married. I got married in 1979. When my wife and I first got married, if somebody gave me one of these, I was like, ‘yeah, you can get some stuff’ because you know what this was worth in 1979, it was worth $400.

You could buy $400 worth of goods with one of these promissory notes from the US government that said $100. Because here's what's happened. There's this little thing called “inflation” that since 1979, it's now only worth 25% of what it was in terms of its spending power. The US government, the most powerful nation on planet Earth, can't even keep its promise about this $100 bill. It can't because it keeps changing.

Inflation, deflation, depression, economic factors. But God keeps every promise. He keeps every promise perfectly. Without inflation, deflation, without lying, without any change. God's promises are permanent and unchanging.

Some of you older people that are close to retirement, does your 401k look like a 101k? Are you concerned? You think, it looks like I'm going to have to work longer because you can't depend on the world, but you can depend on God, our God.

In this ever changing world, we can depend on our never changing God. Here's the third reason:

3. Because of God’s unchanging purposes.

We've talked about his perfections, his promises, and now we talk about his purposes. Look at verse 17. Circle the word, “purpose.”

Do you see it there? His purpose is unchanging. You could look at this and say, “What do we mean by his purpose?” Well, we mean his will, his counsel, his plan. And so God's purposes will come to pass.

They will stand. I know I keep talking to the young people, but they're up here where I can see them. Good. So I'm going to keep talking to you. Do you ever think, what's God's will for my life?

Does it ever cross your mind, like, what's God's will for my life? Seems like you old people figured that out, but we're still working it out. Now, let me just explain something to you. The old people don't have it figured out either. They have you fooled.

That's one of those questions, like, “What's God's will for my life?” But when you are young, you do have certain details that you're looking for. Like, if you're young and single, you ask, “God, what's your will for my life, for marriage? Where is he right now? Have I met him yet?

Where is she? How do I find her? What's God's will for my life, for marriage or not? If you're calling me to be single…” I know some of the guys are right now going, “Please, God, do not give me the gift of celibacy,” right? Right?

You know, give that gift to somebody else. But some people, that's the perfect gift, right? So what's God's will for my life? What's God's will for my calling? Like, what should I major in?

What school should I go to? And these kinds of things, these are the kinds of things that young people are asking. But as you get older, you keep asking these kinds of questions because life keeps changing. And as you get older, some people call it a “midlife crisis.” Do I need to change some things?

Like, what do I need to do? How do we decide, how do we find out what God's purpose for our lives is? Here's the thing. Proverbs 19 says this, many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. You can make your plans, you can come up with all kinds of great plans, but the truth of the matter is only God's purpose will stand.

Our calling then, as believers, is to try to bring our purpose into alignment with his, to bring our plans into alignment with God's plans for us. This is the challenge. And I think God's not hiding his will from us. He wants us to talk to him about it, because he's a revealing God. He's a promise keeping God, and he's a purposeful God.

He has a purpose for your life. Now, what is God's purpose for your life? Would you like to know? I can tell you right now. Here's God's purpose for your life.

It's that you would come to faith in Jesus Christ and that you would become more and more like him until you ultimately are fully conformed to the image of Christ, so that you can live forever with God, forever in a new heaven and a new earth. That's God's overarching purpose, that he would redeem the fallen humanity and the fallen creation, that we would once again become the image of God that he first made us in, that we would reflect his glory. This is his overarching purpose. And so everything God is doing is working towards that. You probably know this verse.

It's in Romans 8:28 (KJV) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” You know what's great about this verse? This Romans 8:28 verse? Even the places where you have messed up, you've taken a wrong turn, you got caught up in a bad habit, maybe it was an addiction, maybe you've blown it in a relationship, you've made some mistakes, maybe your deepest wounds, your deepest hurts, you've lost a parent, you've lost a sibling, you've lost a grandparent, and you've been wounded.

Those very places God can take your deepest hurts, your deepest wounds, your deepest sin areas, your deepest mistakes, your addictions, everything. He can take it all. Romans 8:28 says he causes “all.” How many things? We know that most things, no, it doesn't say most, many things.

No. It says all things work together. So here's what God can do. He takes your junk, he takes your ugly, and he makes all things beautiful. He makes all things beautiful.

If you'll give it to him now, you have to get your little hands off of it and give it to him. And if you'll give him even those places that you've kept secret that you've hidden from God, he can take it and make it beautiful. He can actually make it the part of your life that's the most important part of your life that I used to be. Like the blind man said, “I once was blind, but now I see.” And that becomes his biggest testimony.

I once was this, but now I'm becoming like Jesus. This is God's purpose. In the book of Genesis, Jacob had twelve sons, and his eleventh son was his favorite son because this son was born to his favorite wife. He loved Rachel, and so his name was Joseph. And the other eleven brothers were jealous of Joseph, and so they sold him into slavery.

They saw their chance to get rid of him and they sold him into slavery. And the Edomites that were in the caravan there carried him and they sold him to a man in Egypt. And then this man ultimately was displeased with him and he put him in prison. But it was when he was in prison. So you just visualize, here's Joseph favored son, slavery, prison.

He's just going down, down, down. But yet he never lost his faith in God. And while he was in prison, God had given him the gift of interpreting dreams. And so he was able to interpret a dream for the pharaoh, the king of Egypt. And as a result of interpreting this dream, Pharaoh brought Joseph out of prison and made him the second in command.

The only person greater in all of Egypt was pharaoh. Joseph was the number two man in Egypt. He went from favored son to the second in command over here. But boy, it was a journey. It was down, down, down before God raised him up.

And then this famine came. And even his father and his family and all those brothers, they had to move to Egypt because that was the only place where they could find food, because Joseph, in his foresight from the Lord, was able to feed them. And when Jacob, his father, died, his eleven brothers were afraid because they knew they had sold him into slavery. And so they went to him and they bowed down and they were like, our father said you'd take care of us.

Okay, now that dad has died. He's going to remember. He's going to want blood. They were afraid. They were thinking like that. That's not what Joseph says.

Look what Joseph says in Genesis 50:20 (HCSB) “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people.” What a godly man Joseph turned out to be. His brothers sold him into slavery, and he ends up caring for his brothers and making sure their families are taken care of.

Why? Because he looked at it from God's perspective and he said, you tried to hurt me. You meant evil for me. But God used it, or else we wouldn't be here today. See, sometimes you have to look back on your life and go, you know, I wouldn't take nothing from my journey now because God has used it to bring me to this place in my life today.

He's an unchanging God. He has an unchanging purpose. Hold fast to God. His purposes will stand in our ever changing world. We have a never changing God that we can hold fast to.

Here's the fourth reason: 4. Because of God’s unchanging High Priest. Yeah, we finally made it to Jesus. That's where we're at here in these final verses of our text today. Look at verse 20.

Who is our high priest? It's Jesus. He's our great, perfect high priest, the one to whom we hold fast. Verse 18 says, “so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge

might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” We've run to Jesus. We've gone to him. He is our refuge. Now. Where is he?

Well, the author goes on here, and he says that he has gone past the curtain. What curtain are we talking about here? Do you see that in verse 19, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,” What in the world is he talking about? Well, he's talking about the heavenly temple, of which the earthly temple was only a type.

Because on the earthly temple, the Holy of Holies was on the other side of a veil, on the other side of a curtain. And inside the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat, the Throne of God. And only the high priest could go in there. And then only one day a year, on the day of atonement, Yom Kippur. And so here's what the author is saying.

Here's what the book of Hebrews is saying is that Jesus has already gone in there as a forerunner, representing us, and he's already in there, and he's our high priest. He's our go between. We don't talk a lot about priests today, but what it really means, the one that stands as a mediator between God and man. And so we can hang on. It's almost like we could say, hope is not like worldly hope.

You know? I say something like, “I hope it'll rain.” And by the way, I pray it'll rain. We need some rain. I was reading about farmers that are really struggling right now.

We need some rain, but I hope it'll rain. But that's all. I hope that's what. Well, I hope this, or I hope that. But Christian hope is stronger than that.

Christian hope is more like a rope. It's more like this. It's like we're hanging on to this rope that Jesus has, if you will, kind of tied around his waist. And he's gone as a forerunner, and he's already pulling us in. There's no way that we're not going to be with the father someday.

He's got us, and so he's our forerunner. He's gone ahead of us. And our hope is so sure. It says, we have this, in verse 19, as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. So we're anchored in him.

In fact, the book of Colossians says, we're already there. That you should set your minds and your hopes upon the Lord because you're already there positionally. You're already in Christ, and Christ is in you. And so we can flee to him.

We can run to him. Are you afraid? Are you nervous, seniors? Are you nervous about this Fall?

Do you know who your roommate is already? Do you know who your roommate is?

Going into my freshman year at Radford University, my best friend growing up was going to be my roommate. Then, a month before we were supposed to go to school, he chickened out because he was dating a girl that was in the 11th grade, and he was afraid they'd break up. He stayed home for a girl.

And then guess what happened to me? I got there and was wondering, okay, who am I gonna get for a roommate?

So one day, this guy showed up and he was from Iran. His name was Merehegan Lofi Najafar Bardi.

And that was my roommate my freshman year. That's a story for another time. And so you just don't know. Sometimes. You don't know what changes are coming.

But we can. Listen, you don't have to be anxious. Do not worry, because God has got a future for you. He's got a purpose. He's made a promise, and he's got this great high priest, Jesus, that you can hang on to as a sure and steadfast anchor.

He's our forerunner. Now, this final comment it makes here is a little bit obscure. He says he's a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. And so I would direct your studies to the book of Genesis. Melchizedek in the Hebrew means “king of righteousness.”

He was the king of Jerusalem. When Abraham had won a battle, Abraham came before Melchizedek. And Melchizedek, it says, he brought bread and wine, and he blessed Abraham, and Abraham gave him a tithe. Many people think that Melchizedek was the pre-incarnate Christ. He was what's called a “Christophany,” an appearance of Christ before he came, in the Old Testament.

And so this is the Melchizedek we're talking about. I don't have time to go further into that, but he's from that order of priesthood, not from the order of Levi, which was the Mosaic law, that everyone that was a priest had to be a son of Levi. But this Jesus is a son from the line of David, and his priesthood comes through the order of Melchizedek. Well, that's the backbone on why it talks about that in that place, Jesus is unchanging. It says in Hebrews 13:8 (ESV) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

He is our mediator, our great go-between, the one who's gone ahead of us, preparing a place for us so that we don't have to be anxious or worried. Now, this past week, I was at Nag's head with my children and my ten grandchildren, from little babies all the way up to age 15. Now, the little babies were my wife's department. She likes to sit in a chair under an umbrella and rock them until they go to sleep. My job is entertainment, so my job is to keep them busy making sand castles or in the water.

And on the last day we were there, we finally had some good waves. We had not really had good waves, but the last day we were there, we would have some really good waves, but they were breaking a little bit offshore. So that kind of scared some of my younger grandchildren. So my granddaughter, Addie, wanted to get on a boogie board and really catch a wave and so I said, “I can show you now.”.

My wife looked at me like, no, don't you go out there; we've already replaced your knees and back surgery. I know how to catch a wave. I hadn't forgotten. My body might have forgotten, but I still remember. And so I went out there, and Addie wanted to catch a wave, but it was over her head where the waves were breaking.

But I'm bigger than her, I'm stronger than her, taller than her, and I know how to catch a wave. And so we're out there, and she's got her boogie board and she tries to catch a wave. I said, “No, that's not the one. That's not it.

That's not it.” Here comes another one. Not it. Just turn this way. Turn this way.

And then a big one comes. She goes, “Oh, papaw!” because it was a big one. And then I edged her into it, and, boy, it blasted her off. It threw her up on dry sand. I mean, it was a good one.

Go, Addy. And she looked back at me with her lower lip trembling and ran to the umbrellas.

Apparently, it was too good. That wave was too good. That's how I roll sometimes. We caught a good wave. Here's why I'm telling you that story.

For her, she needed someone bigger, stronger, taller, and more knowledgeable than her before she could catch a wave. Now, the wave scared her, but she came to her paw paw to help her with that. That's a small little story, right? It's a funny story.

But God wants you to live into your purpose, and he's unchanging. He's bigger, stronger, taller, smarter than you. He's perfect in all of his ways. And you can give your life fully to him. And he's going to take you out there on the bigger wave where it's over your head.

Trust me. He's going to test your faith. He's going to take you somewhere that's going to challenge your comfort zone. But that's where you meet the joy and the adventure of following Jesus, our great high priest. He's unchanging.

Our God is immutable in his person and his perfections, in his promises, in his purpose. And finally, in this great high priest, Jesus, who is the anchor for our souls. Let's pray. Lord, thank you for your word. Thank you that we can talk to you knowing that you never change, that you're the same yesterday, today, and forever.

And thank you that we can pray to you through Jesus Christ, our Lord. And I pray right now for that person that's here this morning that's never given their life to you. The word of God says that if you confess Jesus as Lord with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. So right now, wherever you are watching online, right here in our building, sitting in one of our seats, you can do business with God. You can talk to him right now.

Just pray with me. Pray like this. Dear Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner. I repent of my sin and I turn my life over to you. I believe you died on the cross for me and that you were raised from the grave and that you live today.

I believe that. Come and live in me. Save me, Lord, and forgive me of my sin. Make me a child of God. I want to follow you all the days of my life.

If you're praying that prayer of faith, believing, he'll do that, he'll forgive you, he'll save you, he'll make you a child of God. Others are here today, and you have received him as lord and savior. You're a follower, but you're going through a storm right now, or you're going through a transition of change. And you have to admit you're anxious, you're worried. You're afraid.

Why not, right now, take hold of that anchor, Jesus. Take hold of Jesus afresh. You already believe in him, but take hold and say, lord, I don't know everything, but you do. I don't know how this is going to work out, but you do.

And I trust you. And so I've decided not to worry, but instead to turn my worries into prayers. I'm trusting you right now with what's going on in my life, knowing that you'll cause all things to come together for good. To those that love you and those that are called according to your purpose, Lord, in Jesus’ name, Amen.



Morning, church. It's really great to see all of you this morning. We are going to be in the book of Hebrews, chapter six this morning, and we are continuing our series called God is. We're in the fifth part of this. We got a couple more weeks where we're really diving into the attributes of God and understanding him better and what that will mean and how that applies to our life.

And this morning we're talking about the idea that God is unchanging. You probably noticed, I hope noticed a theme in the music, that everything we were singing about was about his faithfulness and his unchanging and the fact that he is true every time. And that's the theme of today. But I want to pause for just a second and celebrate something that happened this week. Our youth just got back from camp.

We sent a few from our Rocky Mount campus, and we sent a whole bunch as a whole, as a church. We sent 48 students this year. I think that's the most we've ever sent as a church, and that's pretty great. They had six decisions for Christ over the week, eight rededications and seven calls to full time ministry. I don't know who those seven were, but buckle up.

I told the Lord yes when I was 14 at a youth camp, and look what happened. So whoever those seven were, God bless them. We are in our fifth week of this wonderful series exploring these character traits, and really, it's a worthy pursuit. We've kind of already talked about this a little bit, but John chapter 17 says it very well. That eternal life, that eternal life is knowing God, and that they know you, the only true God in Jesus Christ, whom you have sent, that knowing him is eternal life.

Theologian and author Ji Packer once wrote in this book, book simply titled knowing God. He said, what were we made for to know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life to know God? Disregard the study of God and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction, no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.

So knowing God is, it makes a lot of sense if you just think about it logically. If in fact there is a God and there is and he's creator and he created you, then he is in charge of what you should be up to. And so knowing him, what could be more important? That makes a lot of sense. And this series about knowing him, I hope has really helped you.

We've been dealing with his love and his strength his might over the last couple of weeks, his mercy and the fact that he's a father. But this one is both deeply theological but also extremely important. The fact that God is unchanging. The biblical word is immutable. That's not a word we use very often in English in our everyday life, but immutable.

That's what the King James says in today's verse. And that is this idea that God never changes. Now, some of you in the room, this, this, I hope, is really good news, because what I hear so often from people is our world is, like, unraveling. And I've heard this from different ages of people. Now, maybe if you're a teenager here today, you can't honestly say the world's unraveling.

This is the only world you've known. And maybe for you, you're like, I don't quite get it. For some of us, we're thinking, boy, this isn't like, these aren't the nineties. All right? I grew up in the nineties.

It was wonderful. Lots of wonderful cartoons that you actually had to wait for. But I kind of think things have gone backwards because at least we went to a time period where we had DVR and you could fast forward through commercials. You can't fast forward through commercials again. What has happened?

Technology's gone. I remember in the eighties and nineties, you couldn't fast forward. And then we got better. And now look at us with all of our streaming devices, and we can't fast forward the commercials. Crazy.

I do miss the Thundercats, y'all. Those were good times. But, and most of you didn't understand that because I got no. Did y'all miss the Thundercats? Go check it out.

All right. Anyway, a lot of us are living with this sense that our world is ever changing. I can see it. Some of you see it even better than me, that the world is in a constant state of flux. Well, guess what?

It always has been. Things are developing. Things are changing. Sometimes they feel more rapid than others, and that might make you feel a certain way. You might look at your bank account and go, wow, there's a lot less in there than there was, you know, a couple years ago.

You might be thinking this stuff is just in constant fluctuation, and I don't know how to plan for tomorrow. And maybe it causes worry and anxiety and, yeah, the world. The world's chaotic. I think we can agree on that. And we can't really determine what's going to be said or what's going to happen.

To us, even when we leave this place, much less tomorrow. And so it hopefully is good news to hear that in spite of all of that, the one who's in charge is unchanging. The one who's in charge of it all, who created it all, is not in a state of chaos, is not in a state of fluctuation. He's locked. He's immutable.

The Bible says so. Those worries and those fears. I hope today, as we dig into Hebrews, that you'll be encouraged and challenged to lay that at his feet and say, I know that you're in charge, and I'm not going to worry about this. I'm going to trust you. That's the end game is that when you see an unchanging God, you would trust.

Charles Spurgeon once wrote on this very topic. He said, would you lose your worries and your fears today? Then you must immerse yourself in the immensity of God. He never changes. His being, his nature and perfections can't be altered.

Nothing can be added to the infinite God, and nothing can be taken from him. What God is today, he always was. What God is today, he shall always be. He is all wise. He need not change.

He is perfect. He cannot change. God is unchanging. The more you know him, the more you lean in the stabler your life will get because you're no longer anchored to something that moves. We're going to be in the book of Hebrews six.

Here, the writer of Hebrews reminded believers that they could hold fast to an unchanging God in this ever changing world, and we can do this too. So I think the text will give us four really clear reasons that we can hold fast to an unchanging God in an ever changing world. Here we are, Hebrews, chapter six. A few verses together, starting at verse 13. It says, when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, surely I will bless you and multiply you.

And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes, an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise, the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath. So that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. For we have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

God bless the reading of his word. Amen.

How to hold fast to this unchanging God. The first reason to do that is because of God's unchanging perfections. His unchanging perfections. I love how this verse starts. It's almost humorous to me.

I don't know if you found this funny at all. But he says, God made a promise to Abraham, Abraham. And the one he swore to was himself. Because we like to say something like this, I swear to God. I hear people say this all the time.

Now, I grew up in a house where you do not do that. All right? You better not say that. You definitely didn't want to say that in one of your grandparents house. You better not swear to God, and they'd break the Bible out, you know, don't.

In the word of Jesus says, let your yes be yes and your no be no. You know, you don't need to swear. But God here, he says, I know that you people, I know you're making oaths. I know you're swearing to God. I know that you're claiming, well, you know, on my future salary or on my future self, I swear I'm gonna do.

On my parents grave, on my mother's grave, people say, I swear on my mother. Oh, no, God here, he says, I can't really swear to anyone higher because I'm it. So I just swear within myself. I make an oath to you because there is none greater. That's hilarious to me.

He says, I'm the perfect one. I make the oath. And then verse 17 says several times, verse 17 and 18, this word unchangeable. Again, I said this earlier in the King James. It's the word immutable.

It's the idea that something is fixed, that it's unalterable. In fact, he goes on in verse 18 to say that it is so fixed that it makes it impossible for God to lie. Now, not every one of you are weirdos like me, but as soon as I read that, I went, I have a problem. All right. I have a theological conundrum, if you will, because I believe these things about who God is.

Follow along with me for a second. If God is perfect, he's omniscient. That means all knowing. He's omnipotent. That means all powerful, that he's truth.

He's all love. He's all mercy. He's all grace. He's all. But if he's omnipotent, the word here for impossible is adunitas, which means without power.

I went, how is that possible now? In the same voice? I'm thankful that we serve a God who will not and cannot lie. I'm very thankful for that. But I had to wrestle with that for a moment and think, okay, I'm made in the image of God, and yet I have the power, if you will, to lie.

It's a terrible power, I have to admit. It's horrible. I wish I didn't even have that power. So how is it that God is. It's impossible for him to lie.

I like what one commentator said about this. This helped me a lot. If you were for some reason having a weird theological moment like me, but I wanted to share it with you. This commentator, Albert Barnes, says, this impossibility is not a physical impossibility, it's a moral one, because we know this about God. God is truth.

So it's impossible by his character to lie. He cannot be something he is not. So that's what he was getting at there. And that helped me quite a bit, because as much as I would and some of you might would like it, as much as you might say, I wish I weren't the child of these two parents, you can't affect that. There's nothing I can do to say I'm not the offspring of Gary and robin Combs, all right?

I can run from them. I can change my name. I can do all kinds of things in the current society, but nothing really technically changes that and sort of thinking that way. That's really what God is saying here I am truth. I cannot be a lie.

I cannot be falsehood. Now, wrestling with that makes me land on the other side and go, but I'm super grateful for a God who doesn't lie to me and isn't false. If you've ever read any roman or greek mythology or even some of the other gods of the world today, you will find out that these are wicked gods that were flippant and are like chameleons. They'll change their colors every day. Read some of this stuff.

And there are world religions right now where their gods are this way. One day they're happy, one day they're not. They're in flux. It says, no, God is truth. Our God is truth.

He does not lie. He's immutable in all of his perfection. I read a little bit this week of a systematic theology book that I've never looked at before. And you're thinking, whoo, like, I don't want to, but I'm that guy. Anyway, Louis Berkoff has this old theology book.

It was like $2, y'all. Holy molytaindeh. Amazing. That perfection of God. He says, that perfection of God by which he is devoid of all change, not only in his being, but also in his perfections, in his purposes and his promises.

So I have to mention him today because I got to admit, he said it too well for me to not just roll with it. All right, so that's where I got the first three p's, if you will, of today's text. Because yet again, I love you. I want you to remember stuff. All right, so they're p's today.

Can you remember my four p's? The first is perfection. He's unchanging in the fact that he is perfect. The Bible mentions this many times. Here's a few.

Malachi. Three. It says, for I, the Lord, do not change. James, chapter one. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights, with whom there is, there's not even a variation of shadow of due to change.

It's not even a hint to change.

Now, here's a few logical reasons that his immutability, his unchangingness relates to his perfections. Here's just a couple I could have mentioned a lot. First of all, God is eternal, which is unique to him and totally separates him for us because we change over time as something maybe that scares us more than anything that time. If we're honest, maybe time is the boogeyman. But for God, change takes place.

No, change takes place over time. He stands outside of time. If you understand this great God, he invented time. Well, that's a wild thought, one that kind of explodes my brain when I get into it. God is perfect in that no change for the better or worse could ever happen.

He needs neither, and he's omniscient. There's nothing he's ever forgotten. And he can't learn anything new, which makes, makes our redemption so much more amazing. Because although he sees every little snag, every little hang up, every little thing, he knows them all deeply. He still forgives, does everything around you seem to be changing and overwhelming and confusing.

Would you hold fast to this God that is altogether perfect? And if that's not enough for you, I've got three more even better reasons. And here's the next. Because of God's unchanging promises, did you know, he's made promises to you, oaths to you, and which he cannot lie about, promises that he has already begun to fulfill. He's done maybe the largest piece of the promise already, and he's got more to come.

He says several times, if any word sticks out in this text, it's the word promise. He says it three times in the text. It literally means that having made promise something, he's already done a good blessing. And then he quotes, the writer of Hebrews here, quotes Genesis 22, where Abraham is given this blessing right after he was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, and God stopped him. It's an amazing story.

But Genesis, chapter 22, it says in verse 16, by myself, again, God says, by myself, I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, you have not withheld your son, your only son. Blessing. I will bless you and multiplying. I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.

In your seed, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed my voice. This is the promise that he made. Then that was actually an eternal promise. It wasn't a promise just to the people of Israel. It wasn't a promise just to the nation of Israel, the Jews, even the modern Jews, although it was a promise to them, it was a promise to all people.

Note the word there, verse 18. It says, in your seed. That word in Hebrew is singular. Now, some might argue, well, he means Isaac. No, no, because this goes back to a previous promise, Genesis, chapter two and three.

There, where man falls, and God says, by the womaN's seed, you will stomp the head of the serpent, if you will. This is this great, great big promise, this grand narrative story. In case you're wondering, the BIbLE is one big narrative meant to show you maN's fall and God's restoration and maN's redemption. That's the ark. And he's already told us one great promise.

He does it early, that by this promise to Abraham, by one seed, who is that? That's Christ. That is Jesus in the line of Abraham. And those promises go forth. They go beyond.

It says that Abraham patiently waited for it. That was counted as a blessing to him. Galatians three, in fact, argues about this. It says, now, to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He does not say, and to seeds as of many, but as of one, and to your seed, who is Christ.

So there Paul is making it clear to the Galatians what I've just said. And he's made an oath. He's pledged and promised an oath, like in a courtroom with a witness putting their hand on the Bible saying, do you swear to tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help you you? Because we would say, so help you God. But he says, I swear by myself.

And God does not lie. He fulfills all of his promises.

This might all seem very heady to begin with, but I pray it moves from here to here that you would begin to think about this thing, because for so many of us, and I know so many of your stories, a lot of worry and concern about what's coming and what doesn't make sense in the world today, and maybe even a sense of uncertainty about heaven and the promise of God. We just spent several weeks on that. But here's something I know to be true because God's word says it again and again. And that is his promise, is sure. This person, this Jesus, was more than enough for God to save you and is continuing to be more than enough for him to take you on, not only in the journey of this current life, but on.

And so the fears and things that you have, some of them might be warranted in the sense that there's a problem you need to solve. And I'm not saying that we should be the kind of believers who just step back and say, I'm just going to let the chips fall as they may. There's nothing in the text about that at all, but to come at it and do everything that you can by the power and mind and strength that God has given you. As you make decisions when you've done them, and you feel a sense that you're doing what God has and what's best for you then to worry and doubt past that, that's where you're no longer feeling a sense of God's unchanging promise. That's the moment where you say, but I've done the legwork.

I'm now going to lay it at your feet and say, God, my anxiety is not from you. Now, if I'm just doing nothing, I'm being lazy, I'm being passive. There might be a reason, but that might even be the spirit's conviction saying, hey, boy, get up and work. But there's these other occasions where you just can't get peace. And do you believe that God is altogether good and altogether loving?

If so, lean in. Get to know him. Lean in closer, lay this stuff at his feet and say, I believe in your promise. I believe that you're perfect and your will for me. Numbers, chapter 23.

It says, God is not human, that he should lie he's not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and then not fulfill? In fact, God's promises are all yes in Christ. Listen to this.

Second Corinthians, one. For no matter how many promises God has made, they are yes in Jesus Christ. And so through him, the amen is spoken by us to the glory of God. What makes them all true? The seed, Christ, what makes them true?

The promises are now true. For you, it is Jesus, and he is yours.

There's a fascinating thing that's happened over. It didn't happen in my lifetime. It was before me. But this, I don't normally have these, but I got a crisp, pretty crisp 100. All right.

And there was a time where this was connected to something. It was never true in my lifetime. This used to be connected to this thing called gold. It's not been connected to that for a long time. In fact, in the corner it says a Federal reserve note.

This is what you call a promissory note that you can go buy stuff with. But we're basically putting trust in a promise that the government has made to us that this is worth $100. Now, here's the problem. Here's the problem with trusting something like this. In 1985, when little old Jonathan was born, this hundred dollars could buy a lot more stuff than it could buy now, because now this $100 is now worth.

In 2024, it's worth 291.31. It has now tripled. And you might say, well, wow, the 100 has tripled. That's not how this works. I can now buy a third of what I could buy with this 100.

What used to cost me $100 now cost me 300. And this promissory note, now, this isn't meant to be, you know, political or something like that. I'm simply arguing for the fact that we shouldn't trust in anything but Jesus, all right? We shouldn't trust in the promises of some corrupt governments, all right? We just shouldn't.

And it's not just this government. It's all governments all around the world. They have this one common problem. They're not God. It's the common flaw in absolute power corrupts absolutely.

And eventually you will see people fail you. There's inflation, there's promises being made, and yet again, the promise of God is fixed. This is wild. 2000 years later, what was true about faith in Christ is still true today. His goal.

His desire for you has not changed. He simply wants, yes, I believe, yes, I am yours. Yes. In fact, all we're really doing is, I agree with what's already true, and because of that, I want to be a part of what you're doing. God, this is all yours.

I just want to be a part of it.

Some of y'all, your 401k is starting to look a little bit like a. You're getting real worried about that. You're getting really concerned when you look at that bank account or some other decline, maybe your health.

That's a terrible thought. You know, to think for so much of my life, I put so much faith into this well operating body that God gave me. But it doesn't take very long in the scheme of things for me to start going, this thing's got issues. Like, you can't just get an oil change with this thing. There's problems.

You start worrying about all these ever changing promises you've been made. And people, some of you, have spent so much of your life dealing with ever changing promises from people, and they failed you. Someone said yes. Someone said, I do, and they didn't mean it. They're not here anymore because they didn't mean I do.

That's some of your stories. You've been promised things by your parents, maybe that never came to fruition. And so your trust is God. I want you to hear this morning, God's promises have been true, will be true, have always been true, and he doesn't inflate the price. I pray that that's encouraging you today.

The third is this, that God has an unchanging purpose because of God's unchanging purposes. His purposes will stand. The word. Their purpose means his counsel, his will. Even proverbs 19 says, many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Paul writes in romans eight, we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. This brings me to a really challenging story in the Old Testament, this story that we see where. Where Jacob has all these failings. I would encourage you to go back and read some of the book of Genesis, but he starts pretty poorly, stealing the birthright from his brother. He goes on to get himself cheated by his uncle, marries two girls, and he didn't want them both.

And one of them he kind of mistreats. But then God blesses Leah. She has all the kids, really, but the woman that he really loved, Rachel, has two sons. And the. The second one, she dies in childbirth.

Benjamin. The first one, Joseph. This is just a story of so many flaws of man. Jacob so loves Rachel that he treats Joseph a little bit too special. He gets a special.

He gets a special shirt, the coat of many colors. He's got special garments, and he's treated differently. And, you know, there's a lot we could take away from that. Those of you with multiple children, your love should be spread out evenly. Some of them.

Here's a newsflash, parents. I have four of them. Some of your kids aren't as easy to get along with. Do you know why? Because two of you had them, and they come out with very strong personalities that are connected to one of you.

And the things that bug the snot out of you about your husband or wife, they're in that kid. And now all of a sudden, you're like, but I really like the third one. The third one's like me. Oh, whoop de do. Love them evenly.

You keep on loving your spouse, even though, wow. Sometimes you're like, your brain makes no sense to me. That's your kids. In fact, I would argue that your kids get, like, an extreme variation of you. Like, when I look at my.

For instance, when I look at my family and my dad is one way, when I look at myself and my brother, we're like the opposite sides of my dad's spectrum. So my dad is more. He can be very heady at times. He can be serious. He can be funny.

But sometimes he has a big heart, but he kind of leans more towards the logical side. You know what I do? I take that and I run way, this way with it. I'm just a brain. Sometimes I wonder, why am I not?

I should be crying about this. That's me. It's nothing wrong with me. It's just who I am. So sometimes I have to go.

Heart. You might want to think about this heart. My brother. However, if you've met him, not led by his brain, led by his heart, he's. He's a heart guy.

It's great. We're very like. We're like polar opposites of what if my dad was center? And my kids. I'm observing this, too.

I'm a bit of a clown. I can be very curious and chaotic. That's Kinsey to the extreme. And I like that. I like that one.

But it drives me crazy sometimes, too. Anyway, that's an aside. Love your kids evenly. And this is the problem here of Jacob and Joseph. He's got all of these sons.

And God was at work and all this, and somehow Jacob just wasn't in tune with what God was doing. He lifts Joseph up on a pedestal so much that Joseph starts kind of walking around like some kind of rooster. Oh, I'm having dreams, guys. I'm having dreams where I'm going to be in charge. And his brothers are like, yeah, we're not good with that.

We're not good with that. Some of them wanted to kill him. By the grace of God, they sold him into slavery instead, which, I don't know, maybe that's worse. It was pretty terrible what he had to deal with for a while. They finally have this reunion in Genesis, chapter 49 and 50.

And the brothers are terrified because at this point, Joseph has, in fact, fulfilled everything God had sent him in dreams, everything that God had prophesied to him. He's come to Egypt and now has been put in charge of things because God has revealed mysteries to him. He knew that the famine was coming and they prepared for it. And now his brothers have come to town because they're starving. And they find out it's Joseph and they're terrified he's going to kill him.

And honestly, he had every right to do it. And yet, here's what he says. He says this to them. Genesis 50, chapter or chapter 50, verse 20. You planned evil against me.

God planned it for good, to bring about the present result, the survival of this people. Another version says, what you planned for evil, God planned for good. I want if something could impact you today, that you would see some of the dark moments in your life and go, man, some people have mistreated me. There's been some terrible things that have happened, but maybe it is that God has prepared in advance that you would come out on the other side looking more like Christ than you would have otherwise. And I know that's a difficult thought, but there are people surprised.

There are people in this world who could care less about you, and they could care less what happens to you on the other side. But God does. And his purposes are sure. And his purpose isn't your comfort all the time. It just isn't.

In fact, I would argue it's rarely your comfort. But if you're into a good story, if you're into being something, it's not really what you long for anyway. If you would just check your heart for a second, what you really long for is that you would be the hero of your story and that when you put Christ in charge and put him on the throne, when you make him the hero of your story. You get to be this wonderful knight in his crew. You get to be this wonderful piece of the puzzle.

But when you walk around constantly just seeing the woes and what people have done to you and never, never just stepping back for a second and saying, like, joseph, you know, you guys meant it for evil. But God's taking care of me. His purpose for me is sure, hey, if you're worried about the direction of this world, hold fast to God. His purposes will stand. Some of you in this room, and I understand you've got a lot of eggs in the basket, that things in our society, at least in America, are going to improve.

And we could do a lot about that. As the church, we should be preaching truth and what is right and the gospel. But it's not up to us what comes next. Who gets elected this year? Do you understand that?

I guess in the scheme of eternity, that's irrelevant and that our world is going to be constantly shifting. America is not even mentioned in this word. Some would argue that there are certain pictures, maybe that represent the United States. But here's what I know is here. The church and the ever changing world is irrelevant when it comes to this unchanging church that he set aside for eternity.

So stop worrying so much and put that stuff at his feet. I want to address for just a moment, I got just a hair bit of time to do it, that there's certain stories in the Bible that might make you have a head scratching moment. And one I want to bring up is the idea that God has, if he has these unchanging purposes for us, why does it seem on a few occasions that God changes his mind? And some of you students of the Bible can think of a few of these. For instance, the one we just mentioned, he tells Abraham to bring Isaac up there and sacrifice him.

And then it seems like he changes his mind and stops him. And I could get into more details about that story. The one I want to bring up that I find extremely fascinating is this story of King Hezekiah, where King Hezekiah is told by the prophet, you're going to die soon, and you've screwed up royally here in the end of your life. If you read about Hezekiah, he was a great king until the end and made some big mistakes. And then a prophet comes and says, hezekiah, you're on your deathbed.

This is the end. And then Hezekiah prays to the Lord that he would give him more time, essentially, and God does.

There are several stories like this in the text that make you go, are we sure that God doesn't change his mind sometimes? I want to let you in on the economy of God, at least as I understand it, and how prayer seems to work, at least from my understanding of the Bible. This is going to sound wild, maybe to some of you, but here's what I think God has done. God has this overarching plan, this wonderful plan, and he's got, like multiple avenues planned, and prayer will access a different story. This is sounding wild.

I know. Just follow along for just a second. So here's my thing. Had Hezekiah not prayed to God, give me more time, he would not have gotten it. In fact, Jesus says, you have not because you ask, not now.

Some people use that to say, well, I'm gonna pray for a million dollars. I may be mad when he doesn't give it. That's the prosperity gospel. There's no truth in that. However, when you come before the Lord and say, God, I long to be healed from this sickness, would you do it?

Maybe he will. Maybe it is in his purpose. It's kind of like, and this is a really shallow example, but I hope it helps you understand it a little bit. If you've ever seen the show, let's make a deal, okay? When you get the first door open and it's not a zonk, you can stop and say, all right, I'm good with this price.

But they'll say, well, there's some more doors that you can try to open. Say, I'm scared to open those doors. Could be zonks in there. So I'm not going there. In a weird kind of way, that's, I think, how prayer works with the Lord, that there were other avenues, if you would pray about them.

It's not that God has changed his mind. He's immutable in the sense that he has all these different timelines planned. Y'all can talk to me some more about that afterwards. You might be thinking, I'm a little kooky on this. This helps me a lot, though, in my own prayer life, that God actually intends very well.

Would very much love to give me the thing that if I would ask for it, it would activate. But he's not going to activate it, because this one's activated by prayer.

And hopefully that helps you. Because if you take the unchanging, immutable character of God too far, you might begin to believe that the world is simply static, that God himself is a fixed rock. And once he says to you, my boy, you're done, that there's nothing that will change that. No, no, no. He's immutable in the sense that he's already God, that all planned.

But prayer will activate a new timeline sometimes, which means prayer still matters, which means his character is not so static that even prayer is irrelevant. Because if you take him to that point, to this ditch, and say, God is simply immovable in his passion for me, then you won't pray anymore, because what would be the point? Prayer moves him.

And to think that God is static in some sense, that he's not active is the very opposite of his character. In fact, it seems to me God doesn't take breaks. Some of the old philosophers says he is, and I can't remember this latin word, but it's the sense that he is ever active. Not only is hedgestheendeh all powerful, he is never chilling. He doesn't rest.

And if that's true, then God is on the move. Here's the fourth and maybe the most important reason of all, at least to us, because of God's unchanging high priest, his perfection, his promise, his purpose, his priest. That's how this verse ends. That's why the writer of the Hebrews ends this section there, because he says, because of this one, this Jesus who has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. I don't have time to get into that.

We're going to be in Hebrews again at the end of the year where we're going to dig in again on who this guy is. But the idea here is that he is the eternal priest. There's never been one like him. There's never going to be. He's the one, the eternal priest forever, the one who the verse now says is our refuge.

He's our strong encouragement. Look at 18. He's our hope. He's a steadfast anchor for our soul. He's the one who pulls back the curtain so that we can walk in and talk to the Lord.

He's the access. What a wonderful way to end this section, that our priest is unchanging every other priest, including myself. I might wake up today. I might wake up tomorrow with some indigestion. I might wake up not feeling great and treat you a way you shouldn't be treated.

Cause I'm not perfect. And yet that's not this Jesus. This Jesus loves you so much today, same as he'll love you tomorrow. He's a steadfast, a sure anchor, and he's not gonna wake up tomorrow with you. Because he doesn't need to wake up.

Because again, I don't think God rests. But he's not going to come in with you to the holy of holies tomorrow and say, yeah, but you know, Jonathan, last night, really, he said some stuff to his wife he shouldn't have said. We're not letting him in the curtain today. Aren't y'all thankful that that's not the God you serve, that's not the son, that's not Christ. He has every right tomorrow.

Now, you might feel this way. You might wake up tomorrow and go, I don't know if I can pray today because I said some stuff last night I shouldn't have said. Guess whose problem that is? That's your flesh. That's a sin.

That's not the Lord. The Lord's saying, let's work it out. Come on in. Curtain's getting pulled. Let's go in here together.

He's the unchanging priest. The forerunner hebrews later in chapter 13 says it very plainly, and we sang this together earlier, that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. He will, he is and will always be your savior and your access.

I'm thankful that Christ is unchanging with people. It's always dependent upon their mood with people. If I rely on them, and so many people in your life do this, if they were honest with themselves, they would say that their God is their. Their relationships or their bank account or. I mean, if they were honest, they would say, the thing they truly worship is their family.

And at the end of the day, here's what I've observed. Those people, I love them. Those five people the Lord has given me that are in my house day in and day out. I love them a lot, but they get on my last nerve because sometimes I'm moody and sometimes they're moody. Sometimes they're a mess.

Sometimes the little ones are disobedient. Sometimes they just. I go day after day. Sometimes, y'all, I feel like all I do is play referee. I don't know why my kids hate each other.

I can't figure it out. I don't think they really do. I know I fought my brother and sister. It's funny how we have rose colored glasses. I look back and go, I always kind of liked them.

Yeah, but probably we were the worst. I don't know. I look at mine and go, did you not see the love pouring out from your mother and father to you? Why do you constantly bicker? Oh, they're little moody.

Little monkeys and so am I. I'm thankful that my life is not anchored to them as much as I love them. Them. It's not anchored to this. It's not even anchored to this.

This could end. Y'all could say we're sick of that guy. He preaches a couple minutes too long every week. We're tired of him. No, no problem.

Because my life is not anchored to this pulpit, nor is yours to your work. It's anchored to this unchanging hybridization. I pray today that that encourages you. There are storms and waves pounding on your life. There's chaos.

There's bad diagnosis. There's. There's not enough money in the account. There's. There's stuff going wrong in your family.

That stuff is happening, will happen. It's gonna happen. And yet we have an anchor that doesn't move. I pray that encourages you today. Would you lay your worries?

Trust him. Let's pray now together. Heavenly Father, we thank you that you are a God who loves us. We thank you that you are indeed an unchanging, immutable kind of God, that you indeed are everything your word says about you, completely loving, completely perfect in your knowledge and your wisdom, completely perfect in your mercy, also completely perfect in your justice. And that you figured out how.

How to balance that for us. And you did that by your son Jesus, that you can be completely just and completely merciful at the same time through your son Jesus, and that you can completely restore us so that our lives are no longer anchored to something that is no anchor at all, moving us here and there.

God, I'm thankful for who you are to us, and I'm prayerful for your people, because I know, at least in my heart, and I know the hearts of many of the people here today, that there are worries, there are stresses, there are things that cause us doubt. There's stuff that's got us shaken. A lot of things are out of our control. It feels like pure chaos sometimes in our lives, lord, people we love are sick. I can't seem to control my kids.

This person's let me down. Work's a mess. We just got a new boss, and he's the worst. There's just chaos, and that's just in my household, Lord, when I turn the news on, I get scared.

God, I'm thankful that all of that stuff, instead of just keeping it in and worrying and letting it tear me up, that I can lay it there at your feet, knowing that you are outside of all of this, unaffected by time, unaffected by mood, unaffected by the chaos. Of this world. No, you stand outside of it. And you are a solid, sure anchor. God, I pray first for myself.

Lord, here's my worries. I lay them here before you. I'm terrified about what will happen next with my children. I'm doing my best, Lord, to lead them towards you, but I can't make them choose you. That's scary for me.

Lord, I'll lay that at your feet, knowing that you are a sure anchor.

Lay your worries and cares there. Today I pray church for you, that you would trust him. I pray that you would have a sense of peace, that out the other side of this, you would experience a stability, a joy and a peace like you've never known.

Pray all of these things in Jesus name. Amen.

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