Summary: When we come to Christ, we are born again into God’s family, through which we find help and hope.
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In our passage for today, Paul tells of a love relationship that makes an eternal difference. It is a love relationship with the God of the universe, Jesus Christ. Let’s consider what Paul tells us here about the difference Jesus makes.
Verse 13 is the pivotal verse in this passage (Read Verse 13). In the verses preceding, Paul tells us what life is like without Christ and in the verses following, he tells us what life is like with Christ. Let’s notice what he has to say about the difference Jesus makes.
1. Without Christ - vs. 11-12
A. I am without help - v. 12a
Paul explains how these Gentile believers were cut off from any help in this world. He speaks of them being “separated” and “excluded.”
The same is true for too many today as well. They find themselves alone, even when they are in a crowd. This world is filled with lonely, hurting people.
Two psychiatrists met at their 20th college reunion. One looked as though he had just graduated. The other appeared weary, worn, and much older than his colleague. The aged one asked, "What’s your secret? Listening to other people’s problems every day for all of these years has made an old man oat of me." The spry looking doctor replied, "Who listens?"
Were it not for the credentials of the Associated Press this might sound like something from a notorious tabloid. On March 17, 1992 an 84 year old woman was found dead on her balcony in Stockholm, Sweden. She was sitting in a chair, dressed in a coat and hat with her forehead leaning against the railing. Upon further research it has been learned that she may have died as early as New Year’s Eve while sitting on her balcony watching fireworks. Just inside the door of her apartment, policemen found untouched newspapers that dated back to the beginning of January.
(In Sweden, papers are delivered to apartments through the mail slot in the door. Margaretha Marsellas, a neighbor, realized something was wrong when she saw the woman on the balcony around the clock despite freezing temperatures.
This story graphically illustrates the kind of world we live in. it is a lonely world, where, too often, many live in isolation from one another, living quiet, helpless lives. But Christ can make a difference!
Without Christ, I am without help and . . .
B. I am without hope - v. 12b
Without Christ, I am without hope for today.
A hydroelectric dam was to be built across a valley in Maine. The people in the town were to be relocated and the town would be submerged. During the interim time between making the final decision and actually evacuating the people, the town, which had once been a well-kept place, fell into disrepair. The townspeople saw no reason for maintaining their town. One resident said, "Where there is no faith in the future, there is no work in the present.” We must have some hope for the future. With Jesus Christ, there is always hope!
2) Without Christ, I am without hope for eternity.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you.” - 1 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV)
One year, Ben Wofford caught a bass worth $21,786 at the Texas Bass Championship Tournament on Lake Conroe. His 7.64 pound fish was the fourth largest fish overall but according to Rule Number 6, Ben’s fish didn’t qualify. The fish was fine but Ben wasn’t. Rule 6 clearly stated all contestants must wear the official tournament hat they were issued at check-in. Ben opted instead to wear his “lucky” cap and left the tournament cap in his partner’s truck. Because of Ben’s small error he was denied any prize money.
The Bible is clear, salvation requires identification with Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord - you must wear His hat. Unfortunately, though, many feel their “lucky” cap is a better option and they end up forfeiting the greatest prize of all - eternal life.
Without Christ, I am without help and without hope. But . . .
2. With Christ - vs. 14-22
A. I have a new family - vs. 14-18
When one comes to Christ, he is born into the family of God. In Christ, each of us, despite our differences, have this one thing in common - our spiritual parentage - v. 18.
I wonder, how to think of your church? Do you think of your church as family or something else?
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