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Got Hope? Or Are you in Despair?

We aren't asking about wishful thinking about what MIGHT happen for a temporary period of time. The hope we desire for you to experience involves certainty and absolute confidence about what WILL happen which will last forever. Perhaps for you, the following objection comes to mind,

"There are no certainties in this life. Nothing is sure to last."

If your hopes are in the things of this world, then your objection is true.

The Bible, God's Word, affirms that the things of this world are temporary and uncertain:

Wealth & Things Are Temporary & Uncertain:

Matthew 6:19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." (NIV)

1 Timothy 6:7 "For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it." (NIV)

Physical Life Is Temporary & Uncertain:

James 4:14b "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (NIV)

Proverbs 27:1 "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth." (NIV)

Everything In This World Is Temporary & Uncertain:

1 John 2:17a "The world and its desires pass away..." (NIV) The hopes of this world are empty, deceptive, and false. While there are no certainties for which you can hope in this world, hope can be found. There is a living hope which causes those who have it to be optimistic about what the future holds.

The Bible says:

1 Peter 1:3-4 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade kept in heaven for you." (NIV)

From these verses, we learn the following about living hope:

1. THE INHERITANCE KEPT FOR THOSE WITH LIVING HOPE LASTS FOREVER.

God has prepared a place in heaven for those who are born into His family through faith in Christ.

John 14:2-3 "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (NIV)

The believer's inheritance in heaven is:

  • A. Decay-Proof- "that can never perish"
    • Unlike the things of earth which are all subject to deterioration, the inheritance of God's children is imperishable.
  • B. Stain-Proof- "that can never... spoil"
    • The inheritance of God's children is not susceptible to any flaw, stain, contamination or defilement that might spoil it.
  • C. Fade-Proof- "that can never fade"
    • Unlike the fading beauty of this world, the inheritance of God's children will be eternally fresh, bright, and beautiful.

2. THE BASIS OF LIVING HOPE IS THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST-

"THROUGH THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST."

The Bible says: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." (NIV)

After Jesus died on the cross in our place to pay for our sins, He rose to life from the grave three days later. Jesus' resurrection to life gives believers hope that we too will be raised to life.

For those who believe in Christ, being resurrected with Jesus is a certainty:

2 Corinthians 4:14- "...We KNOW that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus ..." (NIV)

At a moment in time that is yet future, all believers in Christ will be resurrected to heaven where they will experience the eternal inheritance promised in God's Word and kept secure by Him:

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." (NIV)

The resurrection to heaven to be with God forever will not be for everyone. It is only for those who have been "given...new birth" spiritually [1 Peter 1:3].

In order to be resurrected to spend eternity in heaven, one must respond in faith to the following truths from God's Word:

1. ALL ARE SINNERS

Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (NIV)

We have all sinned against God by not obeying His Word and have thereby fallen short of His glory. God's glory represents the sum total of who He is in terms of His character which is perfect. No one is perfect. We have all failed to measure up to this standard. Do you recognize that you are a sinner who falls short of God's standard?

2. SIN HAS A PENALTY

As mentioned earlier, not everyone will be resurrected into heaven. Sin keeps people out of heaven.
Revelation 21:27a says about heaven, "Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful." (NIV)

Romans 6:23a says, "For the wages of sin is death." (NIV)

If you were to work for someone for a day and were to receive $100 for your labor, $100 is the wages you have earned. By our sin, we earn death. Death in this verse is not talking about physical death only, but also spiritual death. The spiritual death earned by our sins involves eternal separation from God in a terrible place the Bible calls the "Lake of Fire," but most people today refer to it as "Hell." Do you realize the consequences if you reject Christ and therefore die in your sins?

Revelation 20:14 tells us what happens to those who do this: "Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death." (NIV)

Perhaps you have always thought that you are basically good and that you have not committed enough sin to earn the penalty of spiritual death.

However the Bible teaches:

Romans 3:10-12 "As it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.'" (NIV)

3. GOD SENT JESUS TO DIE TO PAY THE PENALTY FOR SIN.

The penalty which we deserve for our sins, death, was placed on Jesus Christ. He died for our sins in our place which is an expression of His great love for us.

The Bible says:

Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (NIV)

1 Peter 2:24; 3:18 "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness... For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God." (NIV)

Christ died so that you could be forgiven.

The Bible says in Hebrews 9:22b: "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (NIV)

By Christ shedding His blood, your sins can be covered and your life can be cleansed and one day made perfect by Christ which will allow you to enter into heaven. In order for this to happen, you must trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior.

4. THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST ALONE WE CAN BE SAVED FROM SIN'S PENALTY.

Perhaps the following objection has come to your mind,

"I am going to be able to go to heaven because of all of the good things I do, like being kind to others, going to church, reading my Bible, being a good person."

The Bible says:

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast." (NIV)

Romans 4:4-5- "Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a fit, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trust God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness." (NIV)

There is nothing we can do to earn our way to heaven through the works we do. For us to make it to God by our works, the Bible says we would have to be perfect (Matthew 5:18) and no one of us is able to do that. Our works are not able to save us because they can do nothing to cleanse or erase the sin in our lives which separates us from God.

Jesus is the only way to God:

John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (NIV) Through faith in Christ, trusting Him alone for forgiveness of sins, we are saved from sin's penalty and able to experience eternal life:

The Bible says:

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)

John 3:36 "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." (NIV)

Romans 10:9-10, 13 "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved... for 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'" (NIV)

- Does this make sense to you?

If you would like to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin and to be given living hope, then express your trust in Him right now through prayer:

"Dear God, I am a sinner who has sinned against you and deserves to be punished. I desire forgiveness for my sins. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and rose again to life from the grave. I trust Christ alone as my Savior. Thank you for saving me from sin's penalty. Thank you for forgiving me and giving to me the living hope of everlasting life. In Jesus' name, amen."
 
If you have made the decision to trust Christ as your Savior,
we would like to help you to learn more and grow in your walk with Him.
Please give us a call at 910-347-1506 or e-mail us at office@jacksonvillebiblechurch.com