Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Hope

Then The Gospel Came…

Imagine a world where few are Christians.  Most of the culture is full of idolatry.  The love of money.  The love of sports.  The love of sex.  The political leaders are corrupt.  Politicians in general are corrupt and not trustworthy.  The leaders of the nation are pagans and they despise the gospel.  At every turn the nation is against the gospel it seems.  They despise biblical authority, despise its truth, attack the truth of the gospel, attack those who follow Christ.  They seek to cast Christians off as strange, aliens, and out of touch with reality.  In fact, they believe Christians just want to destroy their fun!

Sounds just like the wicked nation I live in.  But this nation is the Roman Empire at the time of the book of Acts.  A wicked depraved time.  One biblical commentary stated that the Roman empire was much worse in terms of Christian persecution, rejection of biblical authority, etc. than any time in history.  We might could point to the communists nations that openly hated God but few compare to the Roman Empire.  It heavily persecuted Christians and killed many of them including most of the Apostles for their faith in the Lord Jesus.  While the Romans were busy worshiping idols and the emperor, the Christians were calling for them to repent and turn to Christ (Acts 17:30-31).

What gives me hope is that the gospel transformed the empire.  From its humble beginnings in Acts 2, by the time we finish with the book of Acts we find Paul the Apostle in Rome preaching the kingdom of God (Acts 28:30-31).  The very next book in our Bibles is the book of Romans with a church alive and well in Rome (Romans 1:7).  The book of Revelation (which I know some will take exception with me here because of my preterism) was written to encourage persecuted saints of God (Revelation 1:9) in the Roman Empire.  The book of Revelation promised them victory (Revelation 2:1-7 for example).  They are told that Jesus is “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14).  Our victory is sure for Jesus is our King!  This was the hope for the saints of God!  It is our hope as well!

We look around at our wicked world.  Here in the United States we see violence, hatred, lack of respect for authority, pride, all types of wicked sins including idolatry and sexual immorality.  We see the wicked sin of abortion where millions of people are being slaughtered all in the name of conveyance and sexual sins.  We see lying politicians and corrupt leaders now openly attacking the gospel and questioning God’s absolute authority in all things.  We see Christians bowing their knees to the false gods of money, power, sex, sports, and all types of wickedness.  We no doubt live in an evil age.

Yet I have hope in the gospel.  The gospel promises the sure victory of Jesus (Psalm 110:1).  Jesus will win (1 Corinthians 15:24-26).  The gospel will go forth and we have victory through Christ alone (Matthew 28:18-20).  The nations belong to our King (Psalm 2:8).  While the United States and other nations may be wicked, they will not last forever.  Only the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ will reign forever (Daniel 7:13-14).  I have hope that the gospel will win.  The nations will bow to the Lordship of the King.  Every knee in fact will bow to the glory of the Lord Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11).

I write this  because it is easy to be discouraged.  Islam is growing.  The cults are thriving.  The false gospels are being preached.  Jesus is being attacked at every turn.  The national media hates the gospel.  The President of the United States is a pagan.  The nations reject the Word of God.

Yet Jesus is still Lord and He will reign forever!  I pray that the nations repent.  I pray that our nations turn to faith in Christ.  I pray for the gospel to go forth and sinners turn from their sins and turn in saving faith to the Lord Jesus.  I pray that God Almighty would have mercy and send a revival to the nations.  He can turn the tide.  The Lord turned the tide in ancient Rome and He can turn the tide in our wicked nations.  I pray He does for His glory and for His name.

Jesus is My Hope

I have thought hard about why a person would want to end their life.  I know that great men of God in the Bible often prayed for God to take their life (Numbers 11:15; Job 3:20-23; Jonah 4:3) and even Paul the Apostle understood that it was better to depart to be with Christ (Philippians 1:20-23) but none of these men committed suicide to obtain that goal.  I too have wanted to die before.  Not from pain but mainly just to be with Jesus.  This world can be so full of despair and agony as you watch sin abound, as you watch the devil attack those you love, and as you watch people reject the gospel.  The church here in the United States often can a place of misery as well as the church can be bent on money and success instead of caring for the saints and building each other up (1 Corinthians 14:26).  I personally have been attacked by pastors who were all about business instead of helping.  These men did what was best for them and their needs and not the saints.

Life can be hard.  Life can be depressing.

But what keeps me going, what keeps me lifting my head is the knowledge that Jesus is my hope.  I have faith in the sovereignty of God.  I have faith that Romans 8:18 is true.  I have faith that Romans 8:28 is true.  I have faith that Romans 8:24-25 is true.  I have faith that Jesus keeps me and He sustains me.  I am able to worship because  of Him.  I am able to keep breathing, keep working, keep praying, keep reading my Bible all because of Jesus.  Jesus gives me hope.

Job found encouragement in his God.  Job longed for death to come to him after all that he had gone through (Job 1:13-20; 2:7-8).  Yet the Bible is clear that Job did not give up hope in God (Job 1:22; 2:10).  Job’s faith remained despite all that he went through.  Job lost everything yet he was confident in the Lord his God.  Job drew closer to the Lord in the midst of his trails.  So should we.  As we suffer through life, draw close to the Lord and He will sustain us.  He will uphold us by His power (Psalm 55:22).

Speaking of Psalm 55.  David trusted God through it all.  Unlike King Saul, who committed suicide in 1 Samuel 31:4, David grew closer to the Lord and increased in strength (1 Samuel 30:6).  In Psalm 55:23, David prays to God:

But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction;  men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days.  But I will trust in you.

The unusual deaths of Absalom (2 Samuel 18:9-15) and the suicide of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23) were perhaps what David had in mind as he wrote Psalm 55:23 under the inspiration of the Spirit.  Absalom was dead.  Ahithophel was dead.  But David would trust in the Lord.  David’s faith was that God would see him through all his days.  And God did (1 Kings 2:10).

I pray that while many around me abandon faith in Christ and live lives of compromise, I pray that I would trust in the Lord like David.  Like Job.  James 5:11 even calls us to imitate Job’s perseverance.  We need not grow in despair but we need to draw closer to Jesus and realize that He will keep us.  He will never forsake us (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).  If we will draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).  The reluctance is not on God’s part but our own.

Hope exists in Jesus.  He is the keeper and sustainer of my soul (Psalm 121:7-8).  As Jude 24-25 reads:

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Or as Romans 8:38-39 reads:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus is faithful and He gives me a reason to live.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/11/2013 at 11:58 AM

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