A Message of Hope

Posted: October 30, 2014 in Personal Evangelism

A number of years ago a sociology study identified four decades of losses among American Youth. The study revealed the decade of the 50’s was a loss of innocence, the decade of the 60’s a loss of authority, the decade of the 70’s a loss of love and the decade of the 80’s a loss of hope.

For three decades now we have been living in what many would call a post hope era.  To turn a phrase, it is a terrible thing to lose one’s hope, but that is exactly where many people find themselves today.  Sadly, all the things we once looked to for hope have failed us.  Science, for instance, with its emphasis on evolution has no answers for our hopeless condition.  Indeed, the thought that we are nothing more than a chance biological being whose only “feelings” are the result of random chemical interactions does little to produce any hope in me. The thought that what I see and experience here is all there is, doesn’t make me jump for joy over my current condition or my future prospects.

Atheist organizations have been quick to point out the horrors caused in the name of religion; they are less than candid about the horrors visited upon man in the name of atheistic philosophy.

Humanists tout our humanity as the epitome of experience.  They seem to turn a blind eye to man’s inhumanity. Even here, however, we discover that life only has meaning from cradle to the grave and that leaves mankind with little hope.  My question is, if humans are at the top of the evolutionary chain, when did evolution cease?  Why instead of getting better and better we find ourselves getting worse and worse?  If you doubt that assessment, just watch the local news.

As hopelessness increases despair prevails.  As despair becomes the predominant emotion the expected response is going to be increasing violence; an increasing attitude of “get what you want however you can,” the ends always justifying the means.  While atheist organizations decry the evils of religion, I do not see atheists rushing into harm’s way in West Africa to relieve the horrible plight of suffering there, but I do see Christians who are willing to face death to help people they don’t even know!  Why?  Because we Christians have hope, not only for this life, but we believe that there is a life to follow.  We don’t believe this because ‘the Bible says so’. We believe it because of the testimony of eyewitnesses who recorded some remarkable events in history. In fact, it is the remarkable nature of these events that has so many today claiming that they are therefore totally unbelievable and trying to come up with alternative explanations as to how a Jewish Carpenter can receive more press than a Roman Emperor.

When the facts are honestly considered one has to wonder how the message of Christ ever made it out of the first century.  I think the answer to that question has to go back to an event—what the witnesses said they saw—rather than a belief system that modern critics claim did not codify until the fourth century.  And it is in the person and works of Jesus Christ, not in His teachings, that millions around the world have found hope.

One of the remarkable things that Jesus spoke on was Heaven.  For the last number of weeks, “Heaven is for Real” has been on the list of the New York Times 10 top selling list.  Why? People are desperate for hope, and if anything offers hope to this darkened world it is the belief that this world is not all that there is.

On Saturday, November 1st, we at Gateway are showing the film “Heaven” on the lawn of our church at 7:30 PM.  If you are looking for hope, I want to invite you to come and be a part of this 30 minute program.  You may decide it’s not for you after you see it.  Then again, you might discover the reason that millions around the world can find hope in what otherwise seems to be hopeless circumstances!  Admission is free—bring a blanket or lawn chairs and all concessions are free as well!  What do we want to gain from this?  Only for you to discover hope.

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington, GA.. For more information visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org

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