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From Fear to Hope

Hebrews 6:18-19

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“so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. [19] We have this [hope]—like a sure and firm anchor of the soul—that enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.” (HCSB)

 A recent study indicates that those who are not "hopeful about the future" are more likely to die than those who have hope for the future. Over a four-year span, from 1992 to 1996, researches asked 795 people aged 64 to 79 whether they were 'hopeful about the future.'' 

 Around 9% responded, "no." Five years after the survey, the researches found that 11% of the hopeful died, contrasted with 29% of those who were not "hopeful about the future" died. 

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Where does this hope come from?  How can one person be drowning in despair while another is floating on hope?  Will religious fervor do it?  What about keeping religious rules or believing in a personal code of ethics?

 Later in the book the writer of Hebrews wrote, “(for the law perfected nothing), but a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.” (Hebrews 7:19 HCSB)  This kind of hope, this intangible edge that some have over others comes only through the relationship with Jesus Christ that helps them draw near to God with confidence.  In Hebrews 3:6 the writer of Hebrews wrote, “But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household, whose household we are if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.”  (HCSB)

 It is a hope that we hold to personally, but it is also a hope that can transform a group of people.  How many of you long to see God do a transforming work in our world today?

 Not long ago during a Sunday Evening service I told you guys one of my favorite stories from church history, the story of the Great Welsh Revival as recorded by J Edwin Orr in his book The Flaming Tongue.

 The Great Welsh Revival began at the turn of the Twentieth Century when a college student challenged the people of his home church to do 4 things:

1. put away unconfessed sin.
2. put away any doubtful habit.
3. obey the Spirit promptly.
4. confess Christ publicly.

 By the New Year of 1905, the Welsh Revival had reached its greatest power and extent. All classes of people and every denomination shared in the general awakening. Totals of converts added to the churches were published in local newspapers, 70,000 in two months, 85,000 in five, and more than a hundred thousand in half a year.

 After the 1905 New Year, the Swansea County Police Court announced to the public that there had not been a single charge for drunkenness over the holiday weekend, an all-time record.

 In the Welsh metropolis, the Cardiff police reported a 60% decrease in drunkenness and 40% fewer people in jail at the New Year.

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