Sermon #93[1]                                                      Hebrews Notes


     Title:            Never!

     Text:            Hebrews 13:5

     Readings:     David Burge & Bobbie Estes

     Subject:       God’s Promise Never To Leave or Forsake His Own

     Date:            Tuesday Evening – September 22, 2002

     Tape #         X-22b



Paul is rapidly bringing his epistle to the Hebrews to its conclusion. This epistle was written specifically to Jewish believers in the first century. But we must never imagine that it was not also specifically written for us. It was. Paul’s personal intent was to minister to those earliest men and women among Abraham’s physical descendants, who were born of God. But the Holy Spirit’s intent was to minister to the needs of all God’s people in this world throughout this gospel age.


(Romans 15:4)  "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."


Throughout these thirteen chapters the Spirit of God is speaking directly to us (as he does in all the Word of God). He is encouraging those who have been saved by the grace of God to persevere in the faith of Christ. Though we are required to constantly engage in spiritual warfare, though the religious world we have left despises us and ridicules us, though family and friends forsake us, we cannot go back. We must run with patience the race that is set before us. We must follow Christ, who “endured such contradiction of sinners against himself.”


The message to us is this: “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” In this chapter, Paul admonishes us to faithfulness in all things.


·        Be faithful in love to one another (v. 1).


(Hebrews 13:1)  "Let brotherly love continue."


·        Be faithful in hospitality, charity, and kindness (v. 2).


(Hebrews 13:2)  "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."


Use what God has given you to minister to the needs of others. With open heart, open hand and open doors, serve the needs of others. God never gave us anything, except that which he intends for us to use for others.

o       Nothing to save!

o       Nothing to cherish!

o       Nothing to show!

o       Nothing to leave!


·        Be faithful in intercessory prayer for your suffering, tried, afflicted brethren (v. 3).


(Hebrews 13:3)  "Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body."


·        Be faithful in your homes (v. 4).


(Hebrews 13:4)  "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge."


Let every man have his own wife and every woman her husband. And let them love, serve, and care for one another with tenderness and faithfulness in every aspect of life. Marriage is honorable among all and the marriage bed is undefiled.


·        Be faithful to Christ in all things (vv. 5-6).


(Hebrews 13:5-6)  "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (6) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."


The word “conversation” means “manner of life”. Paul says, “Let your life be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have; for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”


Tonight, I want you to hear this word of promise from our great God. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Here is a word from God that is full of spiritual meaning and instruction. This is bread for the Father’s children. This is a staff upon which weary pilgrims may lean. It will give us strength for our journey, comfort for our souls, and vigor for our hearts. This sentence is a chest full of rich treasure. May God the Holy Spirit graciously open it and cause our souls to be enriched by it. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”


Proposition: The Lord our God promises his perpetual presence and care to every believer forever.


Divisions: Let me show you five things about this blessed word from God. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Here is:


·        A quotation from the Old Testament Scriptures.

·        A promise from the Triune God.

·        A motive for contentment.

·        A reason for courage.

·        A promise to be believed.


I. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” This is a quotation from the Old Testament Scriptures.


How many times have you heard someone deny the application of a promise, a warning, or a doctrine by saying, “That is in the Old Bible,” or “That is in the Old Testament”? Many are of the opinion that only a very small portion of the Bible was really intended for us in this day. They say, “The Old Testament was for the Jews. The four Gospels are for the ‘tribulation saints’. The Book of Revelation is for the ‘Millenial saints’. The epistles of Peter, James, and John were for Jewish believers in the first century. And Paul’s epistles alone are really intended for the Gentile believers of this age.” Rubbish!


In this text the Holy Spirit led Paul to quote a promise from the Old Testament. In doing so, he is teaches us to honor the Old Testament Scriptures as the Word of God, just as we do the New Testament. And he is tells us that the promises of God made to his ancient people are the promises of God made to his people today.


(2 Corinthians 1:20)  "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us."


A. We find this promise given five times in the Old Testament.


1.     It was given to Jacob at Bethel, when he was on his way to Laban’s house and fourteen years of great trial. (Gen. 28:15).


(Genesis 28:15)  "And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of."


2.     It was given to Moses just before the Lord took him up into the mountain to kill him, a promise by which God assured Moses that everything would be well with Israel after he was gone (Deut. 31:6-8). This is what the Lord told Moses to tell Israel and Joshua…


(Deuteronomy 31:6-8)  "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (7) And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. (8) And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed."


3.     It was given to Joshua when he was commissioned to lead the people of God in Moses’ place and again just as he began the work to which God had called him (Deut. 31:7-8; Jos. 1:5).


(Deuteronomy 31:7-8)  "And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. (8) And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed."


(Joshua 1:5)  "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."


4.     It was given to Solomon when he was about to assume the throne of Israel and was commissioned to build the house of the Lord (1 Chron. 28:20).


(1 Chronicles 28:20)  "And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD."


5.     It was given to God’s afflicted people when they had to face their mighty enemies (Isa. 41:10-14; Isa. 43:1-5).


(Isaiah 41:10-14)  "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (11) Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. (12) Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. (13) For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (14) Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."


(Isaiah 43:1-5)  "But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (2) When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (3) For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. (4) Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. (5) Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west."


B. What are we to learn from the fact that Paul, by inspiration, gives us the same promise that God gave to Moses, Jacob, Joshua, Solomon and Israel?


1.     You will notice that Paul gives us the sense of the promise, not the very words of the promise, teaching us that the sense of Scripture, the spiritual message of Scripture, is the meaning of Scripture.


Many know the Scriptures “by heart” who do not know the heart of the Scriptures!


I know there is a danger here. We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of Holy Scripture. But we do not interpret the Scriptures in a strictly literal way. The Spirit of God gives us spiritual understanding to discern the message of Scripture. And the message is always a spiritual, Christ centered, Christ honoring message (Lk. 24:27, 44-47).




(Exodus 3:6)  "Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God."


(Mark 12:18-27)  "Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, (19) Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. (20) Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. (21) And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. (22) And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. (23) In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife. (24) And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? (25) For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. (26) And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? (27) He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err."


2.     It is also evident that every word from God to any believer is the Word of God to every believer.


·        God who made the promise never changes (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8).

·        All the promises of God in Christ Jesus are yea and amen (2 Cor. 1:20). (Conditioned on Christ alone!)

·        All believers in Christ are one body (Eph. 4:4).


This makes the Bible a Book written for me. It is a word from the Lord directed to me. “Every word of divine love and tenderness that he has written in this book belongs to me” (M’Cheyne). So this promise from the Lord is God’s promise to me particularly. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” And this, my brother, my sister, is the promise of God to you.


II. Second, this is a promise from the triune God.


“He hath said.” I like that! God has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” This is a remarkable, unconditional promise. Literally, “God has said, I will never, no never, no never leave you or forsake you.”


Amplified Version Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down ( relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]


·        This is a promise which assures us of God’s constant help.

·        It guarantees the greatest possible good.

·        It secures all our needs.

·        It is comfort for every trouble.

·        It is substantiated by God’s immutability, faithfulness, and love.

·        It is confirmed by the observation of faith.


These are not the words of an angel, a mere man, or any creature. These are the words of God himself.


A. God the Father will never leave his children, nor forsake them (Isa. 49:13-15; 54:7-10, 14-17).


(Isaiah 49:13-15)  "Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. (14) But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. (15) Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee."


(Isaiah 54:7-10)  "For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. (8) In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. (9) For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. (10) For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee."


(Isaiah 54:14-17)  "In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. (15) Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. (16) Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. (17) No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD."


B. God the Son will never leave nor forsake the people for whom he suffered and died (Matt. 28:18-20; Phil. 4:4).


Once the Lord Jesus comes to a sinner to be his all, he will never forsake that sinner and be nothing at all.


·        His immutable love will not allow it.

·        His precious blood will not allow it.

·        His covenant engagements will not allow it.

·        His faithfulness will not allow it.


C. God the Holy Spirit will never leave nor forsake those in whom he dwells (John 14:16).


God forsook the tabernacle in the wilderness, and the temple at Jerusalem, but he will never forsake his living temple. We are the habitation of his delight. God once forsook his darling Son, when he was made to be sin for us. But, since Christ has put away our sins, God will never forsake any sinner for whom Christ died, because he can never have any reason to do so!


This is the sweet promise of God to every believer: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”


·        David (Psa. 27:10; 73:25-26).


(Psalms 27:10)  "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up."


(Psalms 73:25-26)  "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. (26) My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."


·        Mary (Lk. 10:42).


III. Third, Paul shows us that this is a motive for contentment.


This is what Paul says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have.” And he gives this for the motive: “For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”


If the Lord my God is with me, and promises never to forsake me, want should never be an emotion felt in my heart (Phil. 4:12-13).


(Philippians 4:12-13)  "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."


This is my earnest prayer to my God: Lord give me a content heart. Teach me contentment! I want to be…


·        Content with your providence!

·        Content with your provision!

·        Content with your presence!


Someone said, “He who possesses him, to whom all things belong, possesseth all things (Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 3:21, 23).


(Romans 8:32)  "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"


(1 Corinthians 3:21)  "Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;"


(1 Corinthians 3:23)  "And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's."


Child of God, let your riches consist not in the largeness of your possessions, but in the fewness of your wants. Contentment makes poor men rich; and a lack of it makes rich men poor. Our wants ought to be always limited to our present possessions and present circumstances.


This I know: It is my responsibility, if I follow Christ, to make all material things immaterial, and simply trust my heavenly Father for all things. And if I believe him, I will (Matt. 6:20-34; 10:39).


Someone once said, “It takes as much grace to trust God a the breaking of a piece of fine china as it does at the death of an only child.”


IV. Fourth, Paul shows us that this is a reason for courage.


“He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”


A. The Lord, who is my Helper, is greater than all my foes.

B. All my foes are entirely in the hands of my Lord, and under his control.

C. It matters not what men do to me, the Lord will sustain me.


“He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”


V. In the last place, let me show you that this is a promise to be believed.


The Lord our God says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Children of God believe him. Trust his promise. Trust his grace.


A. He will not leave you in the time of your greatest guilt and sin (1 John 2:1-2).


(1 John 2:1-2)  "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."


B. He will not leave you in the time great temptation, trial, and danger (1 Cor. 10:13).


(1 Corinthians 10:13)  "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."


C. Though others forsake you, and they surely will, the Lord will not forsake you.


(Lamentations 3:21-26)  "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. (22) It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. (23) They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (24) The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. (25) The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. (26) It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD."


For six thousand years, the Lord has confirmed his promise. It never was broken yet. And it never shall be. “He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee!” How far does that word “never” reach?


·        The Deepest Agonies Of Your Soul!

·        The Lowest Pit Into Which You May Fall!

·        The Grave!

·        The Judgment Seat!

·        Eternity!




“Eternity alone will unfold the riches of this promise. He who died for us will be our eternal Friend; and he who sanctifies us will forever dwell in us; and then God, who loved us, will be ever with us. Then will we get into the meaning of his promise – “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’ – (M’Cheyne).

[1] Todds Road Grace Church, Lexington, KY (Wednesday 10/30/02)