Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris] This is a bottle of anti-depressant medicine. It goes by various names but they all do the same. They help people deal with depression and it helps them cope with everyday life. Millions of people are helped by drugs like these. Millions are given hope for each day of life by taking these drugs.Someone close to me came to the point of being given some of these pills a few years ago during a challenging time of their life. The doctor opened his closet. He handed a package of antidepressants and he said, “take two of these and call me in the morning.” It’s that easy…or is it?People have to do what they have to do to cope with the stresses of modern life, and drugs are just one.There are many reasons people turn to medication like this to cope with life. One reason is because their lives have become empty and without hope. They lack or they’ve never found true meaning in life.But could there be a deeper solution?On today’s program, we are going to look at what the Bible shows to be the solution for every one of us when it comes to a lasting hope in life. Join us on Beyond Today as we look at how we are “Saved By His Life.”[Announcer] Join our host Darris McNeely and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today ![Darris] I use this bottle of pills as an illustration of a fundamental need that each of us has in life. While some prescribe medication to deal with a problem, other people turn to destructive methods to deal with this issue. I could use a bottle of beer, a deck of cards or a set of dice or even a computer to show the problem. Many of us have a big hole in our lives that we fill with legitimate medications, or even harmful addictions.It is a need for hope. It’s a need for meaning and understanding of who we are and what life is all about. We need to understand that there is a God. We need to see why human life is on this earth. And we need to understand who we are as individuals and what our purpose and destiny can be.That purpose is not found in any bottle or through any chemical or any other common addictive pursuit. Life’s meaning is found in the Bible—in the Word of God. And there is hope in that purpose. There’s enough hope there for a lifetime of meaning and fulfillment.So in today’s program I am going to walk you through a passage of Scripture that shows this hope and gives us understanding to maintain hope even when life throws us a curve that could turn us upside down.It comes down to knowing we have hope in salvation through the life of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ came as the Son of God and lived a perfect life in the flesh, died for our sins and was resurrected, we have the assurance of hope for eternal life as a Son of God—sharing in the glory of God. Here, in this knowledge, is enough hope for a content life of purpose and meaning.Let’s understand.In previous episodes of Beyond Today we have laid out the biblical teaching that shows God’s purpose and His plan for human life on earth. We’ve shown God’s will to redeem our lives through the death and the life of Jesus Christ. That Jesus Christ died and that He rose from the grave three days and nights later—it’s the most important news you can have.The resurrected Christ can change your life.His life in you today can lift the discouragement and the emptiness from your life.His life can fill you with positive life, real hope and enduring courage. It’s our choice whether we will let Him live in us today.Now you may be thinking, this is not reality—at least not your reality. You may be either too turned off to a religious message or feel that you are too far gone to deserve God’s love and attention. Either way, you would be wrong.Because every one of us must have hope so that we can live a stable life with purpose and meaning. Without hope, we feel helpless, empty, without focus and meaning, life can’t go on. And when we feel that empty—with that big a hole in our life—we are setting ourselves up for something or someone to fill the gap…and that doesn’t always go well. When we have no hope we are tempted to slip into an addiction. But you don’t have to take that path because God has provided a better way.In the Bible, we have an encouraging passage that shows us this road to hope. It was written by a man who had learned just how big a hole he had in his life. He then dedicated his life to helping others fill theirs.Look at what the apostle Paul writes in the book of Romans in the New Testament as he conveys this truth. He says, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:8-10 8 But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. ×).This passage gives us something to talk about. We need to have a balanced, proper perspective that focuses on both Christ’s death and His life.There is focus in this passage on His passion and His death. Christ’s suffering and death is a very important part of God’s plan. Christ’s death provides us with the sacrifice that’s necessary for the reconciliation with God and the forgiveness of sin. Both very important!But this only begins the process. That Christ lived again, was resurrected from the grave and lives today is necessary for us to have any hope of eternal life. We are saved, and salvation—or eternal life—is a gift of God by grace.This is the foundation for hope in our life—that Christ rose from the dead and lives today as the Son of God at the right hand of God as our High Priest. His life makes possible our hope for an eternal life with God.The Bible tells us God’s purpose is to bring “many sons to glory”—to share His spirit life with the human creation. That’s what this life is about. Life has a purpose and it is to inherit glory as a joint heir with Jesus Christ.This is why Christ was born of a virgin, why He lived and why He died as a sacrifice for you. That you might share the glory of a spirit life with God for eternity, and that is what eternal life is. God by becoming flesh, dying and being resurrected paved the way for your future eternal life. And this then is the bedrock anchor of the hope we have in this life.Now, how is this quality of hope developed? Well the answer is right in front of us every day. You see the circumstances of our life are designed to help us develop hope.We will look at that in a moment. But I want to mention our special supplement to this program. We have prepared a special study aid as a help to your understanding of this subject.As I’ve discussed so far, one reason many people turn to drugs today is because their lives have become empty and without hope. They have never found true meaning in life. So what’s the solution? It comes down to knowing that we can have hope in salvation through the life of Jesus Christ.To help you discover how an enduring relationship with Him can instill in you real joy and purpose, I’d like to offer you a free copy of our Bible study aid: Jesus Christ: Saved by His Life . This vital publication will provide you with important details about this serious and absorbing subject, and will only be available in print for a limited time. To order your own free copy of Jesus Christ: Saved by His Life call us toll free at: 1-888-886-8632. That’s 1-888-886-8632, or go online to BeyondToday.tv . Or, you can write to us at the address that is shown on your screen throughout the program [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].Author Eugene Peterson says that “Hope is when you buy into what you believe.” This is a true statement.What do you believe? Is it based on the Word of God? Is it grounded in spiritual reality? When something bad happens to good people, how do you react?Even closer, when you and I pass into a serious and trying event, whether it is of health, a financial stress, or emotionally challenging—how do we react? Does our faith hold? Does our faith keep us buoyed in hope? Or do we crumble at the first signs of distress and abandon our faith and our love for God?How do we react when life throws us a curve? In baseball what separates the big leaguers from the up-and-comers is the ability to hit the curve ball. A batter who can’t hit the curve ball in baseball is in trouble.Life’s going to throw us curve balls. Can we hit them? As a pastor, I have worked for years with good people who face the challenges of life.I have sat by the bedside of the dying. I’ve taken the 2 AM phone call of distress. I have counseled the addicted, the destitute and the down-and-outers.I have had people come to my door, dripping wet in the rain in the middle of the night and needing help to put their marriage back together.I have stood by the grave with parents and watched as their stillborn child was lowered into the grave.And even now, I pray for and counsel people dealing with cancer, stricken children and depressed lives. Let’s be honest. Bad things happen to good people every day and when it does, there is one place I take them to explain what God is doing. I take them to the passage in Romans that we read earlier.Let’s look at another portion of this scripture. It will show us why hope is built upon the truth that we are saved by the life of Jesus Christ. Let’s go back, let’s look at what it says.In Romans 5:1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:×, it begins this way, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done…”Peace with God. Think about the level of anger, of strife, hatred and division that exists in the world today. We see it all around us: political division, religious strife, and racial division. Look at any moment on television or the internet and you see the examples.It affects each of us. Do you find yourself restless? Agitated? Angry for no reason? Suspicious? Well, look around at our environment—the talk we hear, the feelings we have. It all affects us. It keeps us from being at peace.A few years ago, someone came to me who was having some emotional problems and as we discussed the situation it came out that the solution that she came up with really would help. She decided to turn off the talk radio that she listened to each day on her commute to work and home. The argumentative polarizing talk of talk radio was causing her distress. She turned it off. How about you? Are you at peace?Paul in this passage is showing how deep inner peace begins when we see that we have in God a Father and in Jesus Christ a brother—a real brother. And that changes our whole life.Paul goes on in Romans again and he says, “ Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory” (Romans 5:2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.×).What he means is that once we enter a real relationship with God we have His favor and His good will. God looks at us like a good father, humanly would look at his own son and that is with affection and love. We don’t need to fear that we might somehow be thrown out of the house if we are bad in our homes. God doesn’t work that way either. God is not abusive.My wife was telling me a story recently where she was discussing with a woman about how the other woman had packed up her stuff one night and left her home because her mate was upset over the fact she’d packed up a number of items, and one of them was a cherished cookie jar. And she had sent them off to the Goodwill store. Well he got upset. Now he didn’t get physically abusive or whatever but he was upset. He just didn’t want his cherished cookie jar given away. It meant something to him, didn’t mean anything to her. But, because this woman had been in another abusive relationship in the past, she interpreted his disfavor as personal and she packed up and left that night. When he came after and apologized and explained that his love really hadn’t changed, he was just upset she had sold his cookie jar, she realized she had overreacted. When my wife heard this she told her that, look, you need to learn that in some relationships you are going to hit times of disagreement but you don’t have to run away. You stay and you work it out.Well, we stand in God’s grace today. And when trials hit, when difficult things happen, even when we know that we might be at fault, it doesn’t mean God has left us, or forgotten us or turned His back on us.