Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Taking a Stand: Hope for Eternity

A photo I recently saw on Facebook inspired me to think. It said: “Due to recent national economic situations, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off”.
This made me think about the recent debate between Kyle Butt and the atheist, Blair Scott. I think about what we have that the atheist doesn’t. It is HOPE!

This made me think about the current state of our world and how much we are in need of hope. What a sad situation to find yourself in, when your hope is lost, and you believe that the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.

Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

What are you supposed to do when you lose hope?
What are you left with?
Are we supposed to be like Job’s wife and friends?
Do we just curse God and die?
Do we just say “I can’t do it”?
What are we left with if we DO just curse God and quit?
Depression, emptiness, atheism, agnosticism, realism, what?
Where is the hope?

Zophar told Job that, though his life was destroyed, he can still repent and regain hope. Job 11:1-20, specifically in verse 18 where it says - And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. This is about the only good thing that this “friend” of Job could offer to him. Job didn’t need the advice because he already had the hope.

If there is one thing that the Bible does for us all, it is that it gives us a never ending hope. A hope that can overcome any kind of hardship, any kind of sin, and any kind of fear.

Psalm 31:24 says “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.”

Jeremiah 17:7 says "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD."
Lamentations 3:24 says “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”

If there is only one thing we as Christians have, it is the only thing that no atheist or skeptic can take away from us, that is the hope for eternity.

A hope for something not yet visible.

A hope for something not yet tangible.

We have the hope of eternal life in a PERFECT world, a world with no pain, no tears, no fear or any other bad or negative thing.
Hope………………The hope for utter perfection……….. Hope…………...

Our faith is defined by this hope, as we see in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” If we lose our hope, we have cast God aside and put mortal, perishable, sometimes sinful things ahead of God. We have closed off the pathway. We “turn off the light at the end of the tunnel.”

We have a duty to God to stand our ground!

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood their ground in the fiery furnace against Nebuchadnezzar. Job stood his ground against his friends and family who urged him to give up. Job said “I know that my redeemer lives”. This is hope in one of its greatest examples (Job 19:25). Jesus, when in the garden with the devil stood his ground, He stood upon the Holy Scriptures as his ground, which we also have!

Why did these stand their ground?
They had HOPE!
The same hope we have today, The same hope for eternity that Paul talked to Titus about in chapter 3:5-7 – 4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” The same hope that the author of Hebrews speaks of in chapter 6:19 which says We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,…” We have the hope that cannot be destroyed or taken away.

An eternal hope for eternal life.

What a sad state to find ourselves. Yet, we are there more often then we would like to admit. How many times do we put other things before God? Some things we consider large sins like, Adultery, Stealing, Lying. Some things we consider small sin, such as eating a meal without offering thanks, speeding to get to church in time for worship, swearing in the company of our co-workers.

But, the truth is that all sin is SIN! Anything that separates you from God is sin.

God can only take first place in your life! He will not and CAN not take second!

He deserves first!

What do you put before God?

How many of us will be the example that brings someone to Christ?

Let me tell you, it only takes ONE, one person to stand for what they believe, one person to take the difficult path, one person to avoid sin when faced with the option. It only takes one to show the world that we have hope.

Are you one of those whose faith is strong enough to bring someone to Christ?

Or are you one who tries to put God in your life but refuses to let Him have first place?

If you are strong in the Lord, stay strong!

If you do not put God first in your life, start today!

Give God your life now, before it is everlastingly too late. If you have not obeyed God’s will, please be buried with Jesus in the waters of baptism today and be raised a new cleansed soul, secure with the hope for eternity.