Some would say we live in a hopeless world. In America values and judgments have turned upside down. Right is wrong and wrong is right. Abortion abounds. Marriage has been redefined. The economy is on a roller coaster. Many are unemployed or underemployed. Christians are being accused of hate when they are simply taking a stand to remain faithful to their Savior. Many politicians are ignoring our constitutional rights, flagrantly designing their own “law.” Many churches have compromised in order to not offend. Those who refuse to compromise are called out as hate mongers.
And look around the globe. Terrorism is growing exponentially and becoming even more vicious. Innocent people are being tortured and killed–men, women, and children. Many times the terrorists are targeting Christians. Believers are being imprisoned and tortured because they refuse to deny Christ. Constant upheaval in governments. Most of the world turning on Israel. Earthquakes and other natural disasters grow in intensity and frequency.
Perhaps you are dealing with challenges in your own life. Sickness. Relationship problems. Financial challenges. Other kinds of loss and hurt and need.
As dreadful as they are, these events shouldn’t surprise us. The Bible described just such times in the last days before Jesus’ return.
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. (2 Peter 2:1-3)
“And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.” (Matthew 24:6-7)
“Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12)
Here’s the good news. No matter what is happening to us or around us, we can live with hope. And this Easter Sunday reminds us where we can find that hope.
No matter what we see, the Lord is with us.
I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. (Psalm 16:8)
He loves us unconditionally and nothing can separate us from that love.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
Because of his great love for us, Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. When we receive him as Lord and Savior, our sins are forgiven and we have assurance that we will spend eternity in heaven with him! We are just visiting here on earth–heaven is our home. What greater hope could we ever have!
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. (1 Corinthians 15:21-23)
Yes, he died for us. And then on the third day, as prophesied for thousands of year, he arose! The Messiah arose! Our Savior arose! He had fulfilled his mission on earth and now rose triumphant, conquering death for all of us.
So we have the hope that Jesus is with us every moment, helping us through life’s trials and challenges.
We have the hope that nothing can separate us from his love.
We have the hope of eternal life. He loves us so much he died for our sins and three days later arose to life. When we trust him as Lord and Savior, we have his promise of eternal life in heaven.
We also have hope because of his promised return.
We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-1-7)
Jesus is coming. And with all the chaos in today’s world . . . that could be soon. Very soon.