A program on a science channel dealt with "Venus: Earth's Evil Twin." The two planets are similar in size, and according to the experts, have the same origin. But Venus is hellish, with acidic atmosphere and temperatures in the monstrous range.
Early in the program, the scientists began telling how Earth's future is to become as Venus is now. Not next week, but in the distant future.
Personally, I have no trouble with anything that occurs on this planet a billion years down the road, which is the time period the experts dealt with. For one thing, I won't be here, and neither will you. For another, Scripture says, "the heavens will be destroyed by fire and the elements will be consumed by intense heat" (2 Pet. 3:12).
Wonder why the scientists feel the need to say such things?
Watch enough such science shows, and you come away feeling that their purpose was to unnerve the viewer, to frighten the audience with the awful fate awaiting the planet and possibly to eradicate any primitive thoughts of a God who could be expected to rescue us from such a future.
I suspect their ploy works. If one watches enough of this stuff, it would.
But there is one thing—one word actually—that keeps people of faith grounded, one word that's our answer to those who would frighten us about the future of this universe.
Not religion, not faith, not hope, not perseverance or a thousand other important words. Just this one: Jesus.
Jesus Christ is the answer to our fears, the basis of our hope. He is "the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:2).
"We have this hope as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul" (Heb. 6:19).
In the introduction to the Epistle to the Hebrews, the unknown author begins, "God, who at various times and in diverse ways spoke long ago to the fathers through the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the world" (Heb. 1:1-2). Jesus is the last word from heaven.
And if that's not enough, the passage continues ...
"He is the brightness of [God's] glory, the express image of Himself, and upholds all things by the word of His power" (Heb. 1:3). That's food for reflection for the next two years.
Scripture strains at the seams with the various depictions of the uniqueness and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here are a few:
– "... and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He performed in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principalities, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come" (Eph. 1:19-21).
– "Therefore God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth" (Phil. 2:9-10).
– "He is the image of the invisible God and the firstborn of every creature" (Col. 1:15). "... both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:2b-3).
What specifically was there about Jesus that causes us to say such a thing, to make such a claim? Answer: His uniqueness.
- He was virgin-born. Only He did this.
- He was full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Only He was this.
- He lived a sinless life. Only He accomplished this.
- He died a vicarious death. Only He fulfilled this.
- He rose from the dead the third day and later ascended into heaven, events witnessed by hundreds and attested by evidence which is convincing to impartial investigators even to this day.
Message to fearmongers: Believers in Jesus Christ are forbidden to partake of the stuff you are peddling ever again.
Nothing says that better than Hebrews 2:14-15: "So then, as the children share in flesh and blood, He likewise took part in these, so that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver those who through fear of death were throughout their lives subject to bondage."
Think of that.
Fear of death causes bondage. It keeps people from doing bold things they should be doing. And the devil had been holding the power of death and scaring people. But through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that power has been restored to its rightful owner. In Revelation 1, in John's vision of the ascended Jesus, Jesus has the keys of death, hell and the grave. (1:18).
And then we have this:
"God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control"(2 Tim. 1:7).
More than anything else, our hope is based on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Do not take this lightly. Disprove His resurrection, and you have pulled the pin on Christianity.
Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:14, "For if we believe that Jesus died and arose again, so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus."
"But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 15:20).
Settle the resurrection of Jesus, and everything else falls into place. Disprove the resurrection, and it all goes away.
I suggest those wishing to pursue this read almost anything from Lee Strobel. Visit leestrobel.com and scroll down for a list of books he has authored. Or, visit an online bookseller and type in his name. His books on The Case For ... are as good as they come, and I recommend them highly.
Whatever else you do as you investigate this subject, bear in mind that the reality above all else is the Lord Jesus Christ. Keep the focus on Him.
After five years as director of missions for the 100 Southern Baptist churches of metro New Orleans, Joe McKeever retired on June 1, 2009. These days, he has an office at the First Baptist Church of Kenner, where he's working on three books and trying to accept every speaking/preaching invitation that comes his way.
For the original article, visit joemckeever.com.
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