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12:00 PM   [23 Feb 2020 | Sunday]

Hopelessness and Depravity

 Hope plays a bigger role in life than we may realize; in fact, it even impacts entire nations. If you remove hope, you remove restraint. It creates a vacuum which people try to fill in a variety of ways. They range from the minuscule to the outrageous. This is especially true if you remove true biblical hope. Even Paul eludes to it in his letter to the Corinthians: “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die”(1 Corinthians 15:32). True hope is attached to God, which is why the fear of the Lord plays a role in our hope. If you have no hope, neither do you have God; much less, the sense of accountability to Him. As believers we have it and the fear of the Lord, and yet, our primary restraint is love.

   Just as faith works by love, hope is also attached to it. Those who reject God, reject His love. And when you eliminate love, you eliminate faith and hope. Which, in turn, creates turmoil or an internal uproar, and in some cases rage. Scripture points out that hope calms those storms. Psalm 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance (see also Psalms 42:11; 43:5). Hope lifts up the heavy-hearted!

   When the prophet, Jeremiah, was sent to speak to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem in order to bring them to repentance, they rebelled. Look at what they said: “There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart” (Jeremiah 18:12 [see also Isaiah 57:10; Jeremiah 2:25]). Their despondency led to rebellion. And of course, rebellion will also lead to hopelessness. Have you ever blown it, and felt an initial sense of gloom? “What have I done?” You know, you had a moment after you did something you knew better than, but did it anyway. Perhaps, there was a certain foreboding. Fortunately for us, God has given us a place of repentance.

   1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.  

   When someone is lost in sin, he or she is without hope. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we have the words of eternal life -the Message of Hope. It’s not only for individuals, but entire nations. Think about this: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). Jesus is our righteousness (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). A nation does not need more social programs, it needs Jesus! And that is not a cliché. Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20). We are to make disciples of individuals, but notice what else He said: “Teach all nations,” which means He intended for us to influence entire countries.

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