Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris McNeely] The best solution to the pain, to the stress, and the anxiety of life is found in a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ.
This is a bottle of painkilling medication. What it does is it helps people deal with pain. Now it goes by various names, if you look at what it says here it says opioid. Risk of overdose, and addiction. It’s a prescription drug and I actually have these prescribed to me for work done in the past but it helps people deal with pain and depression. In other words it helps people in some cases to even deal with everyday life. Millions of people take prescription drugs every single day for various reasons. To kill the pain from some legitimate operations or medical procedures perhaps, sometimes people take medications and go a little bit overboard for depression. And sometimes as we know, people get hooked and they take medication or drugs to escape life.
Someone very close to me a few years ago came to the point of being given pills similar to this during a challenging time in their life. The doctor opened up his cabinet and handed out a package of antidepressants and basically said to this person, “Here, take two of these, then call me in the morning.” You know it’s that easy sometimes to get drugs like that or to take them and you have to wonder is it really that easy? Does it really remove the problem? There are a lot of reasons that people turn to medication like this one to cope with life. One reason is because their lives have become empty and without hope. And drugs of various forms and shapes will take the place of that for a time. They lack or perhaps they have really never found in their life meaning, purpose. You have to ask the question, is there really a deeper solution than turning to a bottle of pills or something else?
Now what I’m going to show you today, what we’re going to discuss is, I think, the best solution to the pain, to the stress, and the anxiety of life. I think that that solution, the ultimate rock bottom solution is found in a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. Now whatever you may think or whatever you may understand about Christ, I’m going to ask you to take a deeper look to what it means for your life every day. The Bible says that we are saved by his life, we’ll read that in a few minutes. But what that means is a deeper connection that we may have thought about. I use this model of pills as an illustration of a fundamental need that people have in life. While some will turn to a prescription medication to deal with a problem, other people turn to more destructive methods to deal with this. And as I read this particular prescription medication, we know that that can lead to some bigger addictions and bigger problems. But I could have used something else. I could have brought out here today a bottle of beer. I could have brought out a deck of cards, set of dice or even a smartphone. Now I know I’m stepping on toes right there when I get to that point, or maybe even a remote control you know.
They illustrate the problem that sometimes happens to varying degrees. You see we turn to those things because we have big holes in our lives. And we fill them at times with legitimate medications or everyday distractions or sometimes even bigger problems and more harmful addictions that lead to bigger issues in our lives. And even worse, when we have nowhere to turn sometimes people will turn to extreme violence because there’s no answer, there’s no direction, there is no hope in their life for what they see right in front of them at this time. And all too often today we see people turn to the violent end of the spectrum to deal with whatever it is that is the emptiness of their life. Look at the mass shootings that we too often unfortunately and tragically see in America, and terror acts in other parts of the world. Dozens of people will be killed in wild rampages over various things, religion, religious differences, politics, ideologies, or sometimes as it really is boiled down just pure hatred of people, ideas and evil.
Strip away the guns, strip away the ideologies, and what you see and what I read as I look into all of this and try to understand it is the ideologies that have twisted minds and confused people in a world that is alienated from eternal truths that govern this world. And it seems at times that people will live out their lives in an artificially created alternate world and an alternate reality that does become their reality and they take action. And their hate is validated by the hate of others. Their sickness is nurtured by a generation of evil given over to dark satanic impulses. This is the dark side of life today, I’ts the dark side of the internet-connected global world that we live in. And for too many people, and unfortunately the victims, is the very fabric of life for many people. That’s the extreme end of the spectrum.
How about you? How about us? Ask yourself, what fills your most basic human need? Where do we go for validation? Where do we go for security? Where do we go to for self-worth and to form our identity? As we’ve thought this through and as we talk about it here on Beyond Today , we have to come to this question I think. How about going to God? How about going to God and His written Word, the Bible? What about finding meaning, purpose, identity, validation, on our knees talking to Jesus Christ and God the Father and heartfelt prayer asking their intervening hand in the affairs of this world to stop the carnage to stop the emptiness to stop the pain to stop the evil? Could such prayer begin with us? Begin with you? With me? I know it sounds simplistic but this has to be, I think, where we begin in any discussion to get to any lasting solution that will transcend the generations.
You and I will not change this world by ourselves. We’re not going to create a mass movement of social change that will turn around large segments of this world, through general…bitten with generations of ideas, that’s not going to happen, I don’t think so. But we can turn around our own private world in our mind and in our hearts. And with that turn around can come a new life a new platform from which to effectively change your life, to change your life for good. And frankly it begins with a relationship with what the Scriptures call the only true God and Jesus Christ who was sent by God. That is eternal life. This is what John 17:3 talks about. And I think that that’s where I began, and I think it’s where we should begin in our discussion of this particular topic.
To help us understand how an enduring relationship with God can instill in us real joy and purpose, we’re offering on today’s program this free copy of our Bible study, “A Jesus Christ Saved by His Life.” This very easy to read book that’s going to show you how to understand so many aspects of the actual life of Jesus Christ, to show you that His resurrection is actually bigger than any other traditional celebration that might be found in this world. We have a sidebar in there that talks about that. So go online at beyondtoday.tv or call the number on your screen for your free copy.
I mentioned John 17:3, it’s a core thought. It says in John 17:3, “This is eternal life:” and this prayer that Christ offered up to His Father before He died, “that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” That life that we talk about and Christ says this is eternal life, it really begins when we turn from sin and we accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Because Jesus Christ came as the Son of God, what the scripture reveals as the Word became flesh. And He lived a perfect life in the flesh, died for our sins, and was resurrected. Because of that we have the assurance and the hope for eternal life, as a Son of God sharing in the glory of God as co-heirs with Christ. Now in that brief statement and expanded in many, many scriptures there’s enough hope for a life of purpose and meaning when we unpack it, really begin to understand it, but most importantly begin to live it. The resurrected Christ and His life in us can change our life. His life in us today can lift the discouragement and the emptiness that is in life that comes upon us from so many different sources that we all know so well. As we think about our background, our life and the things that happen. Christ’s life in us can fill us with a positive life and give us real hope and enduring courage and commitment to change. But it’s our choice whether we will let Him live His life in us today.
Now, I know that you might be thinking this is not reality, maybe at least not your reality. You may be either too turned off by a religious message or you were just at a point where you’ve gone too far perhaps in your own life to be beyond God’s love and God’s attention and God’s care. Well either way you would be wrong. You see every one of us must have hope. Without hope we feel helpless, empty, without focus, and without meaning. We feel like life can’t go on. When we feel that empty with that big a hole in our life, then we’re setting ourselves up for something, or someone, or some idea to fill that gap that doesn’t always go well. When we have no hope we’re tempted to slip into an addiction. I read somewhere one time that those who don’t have hope are those who lose hope in their life. The next step or the next stop on the line is Prozac to fill that hope because we don’t take that path, we don’t take that right path that comes from God who has provided for us a better way.
Now in the Bible we have an encouraging passage I think that shows us the road to that hope and to that understanding. The passage was written by a man who had learned just how big a hole he had in his life, it’s the Apostle Paul. And he dedicated his life to helping other people fill their hole, to whatever degree they had it. It’s in the book of Romans in the fifth chapter. And for those of you who have a Bible open your Bibles up and let’s turn and read this beginning in Romans 5:8, and read a few verses here that talk about exactly what Paul began to show he said, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then,” Paul goes on, “having now been justified by His blood we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” We shall be saved from wrath through Him. “For 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 from that verse I take the title for this program, “We Shall Be Saved By His Life Through That Reconciliation.”
This passage gives us something to really sink our teeth into and talk about. It’s a balanced proper perspective that focuses on both Christ’s death and His life, you have to have both. There’s a focus in this passage on Christ’s passion and His death and the suffering. All of that was very important part in God’s plan of salvation that worked out because Christ’s death provides us with a sacrifice that’s necessary for reconciliation with God for the forgiveness of sin. And in that we begin to have the elements of true peace. Both of those are very important. But that only begins the process of reconciliation, forgiveness, entering into a relationship with God. As Paul writes that Christ lived again, that He was resurrected from the grave and that He lives today is necessary for us to have the hope and the understanding of eternal life. What he’s saying is we are saved and salvation or eternal life is a gift of God by grace and that’s the foundation for the hope that is in our life.
The Bible tells us that God’s purpose is to bring many sons to glory, to share that spirit life with human creation. That’s what this life is all about. Life does have a purpose, and it is to inherit the glory as a joint heir with Jesus Christ. God becoming flesh, dying, and then being resurrected paved the way, and it opened the opportunity, the door for our future, for eternal life, that we might join the family of God. And that’s the bedrock anchor of the hope that we have in this life.
Now how is this hope developed? Well the answer is right in front of us. Not just in Scripture, but frankly in your life. And the everyday matters that we have to deal with and cope with, the circumstances of our life that are designed to really help us to develop hope. As I’ve been talking so far one reason for people to turn to drugs like this or some other type of escape or addiction is because life is empty. There’s no hope. And sometimes that pain drives people to that, sometimes other circumstances and tragedies and suffering drive people. Sometimes it’s just a conscious choice. But without a meaning and purpose in life that’s anchored in God’s Word those all too often are the solutions to which people turn to. So what’s the solution? Well I think it comes down to knowing that we can have hope in salvation through the very life of Jesus Christ and be saved by His life and have that hope today guiding and directing our lives.
So again we’re offering on the program for those of you that are watching to go online to either begin reading there or to download or order free copy of this, the booklet, “Jesus Christ Saved by His Life.” So it’s free, there’s not going to be any follow up, no cost. This study aid is going to walk you through one of the key signs that proves Christ is the Messiah, it will challenge your assumptions. So, go online on beyondtoday.tv or call the number on your screen for your free copy.
The late author Eugene Peterson wrote in a book, he said, “Hope is when you buy into what you believe.” It’s a true statement. Hope is what you buy in to when you believe. I believe that that process of salvation is through the death and the life in the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The life of the resurrected Christ is our hope of that future and we buy into that. That is the basis for our hope today and it shows us how we get through the challenges of this life and remain faithful. It goes even deeper and it’s even closer. When you and I pass into a serious trying event in life, the death of a loved one, even something as mundane as the loss of a job, bad health, financial stress, something that’s emotionally challenged. Ask yourself, how do you react? Does your faith hold? Does your faith keep you buoyed and lifted up in hope or do we crumble? At the first signs of distress do we abandon our faith? Do we think God has abandoned us? And do we question even God’s love for us and therefore our love for God? You know in baseball, my favorite sport, what separates the big leaguers from the up and comers is the ability to hit the curveball. If you never learn to hit the curveball as a baseball player you’re not going to make it into the big leagues.
You know life is like that with us, life throws us curveballs. Can we hit them when they come? Can we hang in the box and swing the bat? As a pastor I’ve worked for a number of years with good people who face the challenges of life. I’ve sat by the bedsides of people who were dying, I’ve taken the 2 a.m. telephone calls from people who are facing an emergency. I’ve counseled the addicted, the destitute, the down and outers. I’ve had people come to my door in middle of the night dripping wet in the rain storm and asking my help in putting their marriages back together because it had to be done right then in their own mind. And I stood by the graves of people who watched as their stillborn children were lowered into the grave. I pray for and I counsel people today, those who are stricken with cancer and children with depressed lives. So let’s be honest, bad things do happen every day. And when it does there’s one place that I always take people to explain what God is doing. I take them to the passage in the book of Romans that we read earlier. There’s another portion of that scripture that is important to look at to help realize that the hope we have is built upon the life of Jesus Christ.
Let’s go back to Romans chapter five and let’s begin in verse one and look at this. In verse one Paul writes, “therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Think about the level of anger, the level of strife, hatred and division that exists in the world today, we see it all around us. Political division, religious strife, racial division. Look at any moment on TV or the internet and you see the examples. It affects us if we watch it, if we dial into it so often. Have you found yourself restless, agitated, angry for no reason, suspicious? Well look around at our environment, is all around. The talk we hear, the feelings that we have, it all…it affects every one of us. And frankly if we allow it it keeps us from being at peace.
A few years ago when I was in pastoral ministry I had an individual come to me that was having some emotional problems. And as we sat down and just talked for a while we discussed the situation and eventually in time we came to a solution. Because what she realized that she was doing and turned her into a kind of a just a bowl of jelly at various times, was as she drove back and forth to work every day on her commute she was listening to talk radio, argument, agitation, competing ideas. And she was listening to this drinking it in all the time. And all that argumentative polarizing talk on radio was causing her distress. She turned it off. It wasn’t any simpler than that and she found peace. How about you?
You know, Paul in this passage is showing how deep inner peace begins when we see that we have in God, a Father and in Christ, a brother and that begins to change your life. He goes on here in Romans 5:2, and he says, “Through whom, also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” We stand in God’s grace today. When trials hit it doesn’t mean God’s left us or forgotten us or He’s turned His back on us. Go back to what Paul says. He says it really gets down to this. He said in Romans 5:3, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials.” That’s odd I know, rejoicing and trials. Personally I like a peaceful life, you do too, uncomplicated but we all know the bad things happen.
What might you be facing? What might be challenging your life today? The point is, don’t turn to drugs, don’t turn to alcohol, don’t turn to anger or despair. God does not promise us a life without challenges. This life is a preparation for another life to come. And when we understand this we have a key to life that leads to hope. Paul goes on here in Romans to finish this thought off and he says that we know that they help us develop endurance is what he says. And endurance builds strength and character, and character builds hope. Trials then work endurance, character, and that character leads us to the hope that we have. That’s how we’re saved by His life in our daily life. And we have to be patient, knowing that we still have God standing with us. Remember when we have God’s favor we stand in His grace. He’s not left us. We have to remain around and we have to find out what God’s doing with us and what He’s teaching us through these experiences. And it leads us to that deep understanding that is really anchored in hope.
What can we do with that hope? We can meet each trial with determination and get through it. If the end is tragic hope can pick us up. With hope we can encourage those who are going through trials. Hope keeps us from anger, hope keeps us from denial. Our eternal life is through the life of Jesus Christ. And Christ’s life in us through the Spirit means everything to our life today, now. It saves us from despair. That’s what being saved by His life means even in this present, saved from despair, saved from fear, saved from hopelessness, saved from misery. And it all begins with what I read back in John 17:3. It begins with knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ, whom He sent. When we are anchored there as our source of hope and understanding, then we begin to understand what it means to be saved by His life. The hope of salvation and eternal life with God, but also grace in this present life and hope to deal with whatever comes, peace with God.
The booklet that we’re offering I think will take a lot of you deeper into this topic, into this study of Jesus Christ Saved by His Life. It is the most important study aid that can help you have that in the important details about this very subject. So, go online on beyondtoday.tv, or call the number on your screen for your free copy.
Our life is filled with challenges that push us to our limit. These challenges are opportunities to grow in the undeserved favor of Jesus Christ. The hope that’s maybe missing in your life, through the knowledge and assurance that comes from that relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important. We are saved by His life, the life of Jesus Christ.
[Narrator] Call now to receive the free booklet offered on today’s program, “Jesus Christ Saved by His Life.” Our free study aid reveals the inspiring purpose and rich meaning behind Christ first coming. Most people know Jesus died for our sins, but don’t know what His life and message were all about. Learn the truth from your Bible about Christ’s role. Order now, call toll free 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen. When you order this free study aid we’ll also send you a complimentary one-year subscription to “Beyond Today Magazine.” “Beyond Today” magazine brings you understanding of today’s world and hope for the future. Six times a year you’ll read about current world events in the light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family. Call today to receive your free booklet, “Jesus Christ, Saved by His Life” and your free one-year subscription to “Beyond Today Magazine.” 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv.