Archive for the 'Regeneration' Category

What hope is there in hopeless situations?

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Hope

(courtesy ChristArt)

By Spencer D Gear

If you watch the nightly TV news in Queensland, you’ll know about the bikie violence on Queensland’s Gold Coast[1] and a police officer shot in the face.[2]

But you won’t hear about this very often:

designRed In Australia about 100,000[3] babies are murdered each year, with 45-50 million slaughtered annually worldwide by abortion.[4]

But where is that on the TV news?

designRed In the state of Victoria, Australia, about 20,000 unborn babies ‘are mercilessly cut to pieces, poisoned, burned or butchered each and every year. And in 2008 one of the world’s most liberal abortion laws was passed: the Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 (Vic)’.[5]

I’ll be surprised if you heard too much of that on TV, radio or newspaper news here in Australia.

clip_image001

Where in Africa is Guinea? (About.com: African history)

Have you heard about this on your TV news?

Christian families in the African nation of Guinea are in a desperate plight, having been forced to live in makeshift shelters in the bush after their homes were destroyed in a severe outbreak of violence. Churches and Christian properties were targeted by a Muslim tribe in N’Zerekore and two other towns in the south-eastern Forested Guinea region in mid-July [2013]. Within the space of 24 hours, 11 church buildings were destroyed and the homes and shops of many Christians looted and torched.

Christians suffered horrendous violence during the rampage. One woman was seized by the Muslim attackers, who tortured her and covered her in petrol before setting her alight. They left her screaming in agony, saying, “She is dead, let us not waste our time here.”

Miraculously, she survived, after hiding in an abandoned building for three days with severe burns to her head, back, shoulders and arms before being taken to hospital (The Barnabas Fund). [6]

This was just one of many shocking cases that you probably didn’t hear on your nightly TV news.

Where is hope?

How can hope be found in these kinds of hopeless circumstances? To be honest, the hope that comes to bikies, those who shoot policemen, women (impregnated by men) having abortions of unwanted babies, Christians being persecuted in Guinea and many other parts of the world and others, is found in this:

cubed-iron-sm Jesus said, ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10 ESV).

cubed-iron-sm  ‘His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire’ (2 Peter 1:3-4).

cubed-iron-sm ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come’ (2 Cor 5:17).

God calls this kind of change …

From God’s side, this change of heart is called regeneration, the new birth, being born again. From the side of human beings, it is called conversion to Christ.

matte-red-arrow-small ‘We may define regeneration as the communication of divine life to the soul’ (John 3:5; 10:10, 28; 1 John 5:11, 12),

matte-red-arrow-small as the impartation of a new nature (2 Pet. 1:4) or heart (Jer. 24:7; Ezek. 11:19; 36:26),

matte-red-arrow-small and the production of a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10; 4:24),

matte-red-arrow-small Henry Thiessen put it this way, ‘The term heart in Scripture means the soul, the self. It is that which thinks, feels, wills and acts. It is clear from this that regeneration involves the whole soul’ – the entire person (Thiessen 1949:367).

What needs changing?

Bikies, police chasing bikies, doctors killing unborn children, those persecuting Christians here and abroad, are doing that because by nature, human beings cannot have fellowship with God.

murky-arrow-small A moral change needs to come to all human beings and that can only happen if God regenerates the human hearts of bikies, police, doctors, pregnant mothers, persecutors – in fact, all human beings.

murky-arrow-small The Scriptures call this the new birth by which rebels become children of God. It happens this way: ‘But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God’ (John 1:12).

murky-arrow-small Why oh why do all people need this change? Because by nature all people are ‘children of wrath’ (Eph 2:3), ‘sons of disobedience’ (Eph 2:2), ‘sons of this world’ (Luke 16:8) and ‘children of the devil’ (1 John 3:10).

This is the HOPE!

John 3:36

(courtesy ChristArt)

Seeing the evil around us and all over the world has placed a big sign of HOPE in my vision. This is the HOPE:

snowflake-red-small Bikies need the Gospel;

snowflake-red-small Police need the proclamation of Christ;

snowflake-red-small  Pregnant mothers planning abortion need the hope of change through regeneration that only Christ can bring.

snowflake-red-small Persecutors in Africa need to find new life, from the inside out.

snowflake-red-small There is only one way that I know that will absolutely guarantee that Christians will not be slaughtered and persecuted – that’s through the change of hearts of persecutors that only Jesus can bring.

snowflake-red-small How will they hear without a proclaimer? Romans 10:14 in the New Living Translation states, ‘But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?’ How will we make Christ known to people in your suburb?

snowflake-red-small Our city desperately needs everyday people who will do what Paul said to Timothy, ‘But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry’ (2 Tim 4:5 NIV). It would seem that Timothy’s primary gifting was not evangelism, but Paul said to him what he says to us today: Even if you don’t have the primary gift of evangelism, do the work of an evangelist, evangelise your community. Church leaders! Equip your people – all of them – to do the work of an evangelist.

snowflake-red-smallThat’s the only hope I can see for bikies, police, persecutors of Christians around the world, pregnant women wanting to kill their unborn babies. It’s God’s only message for all kinds of rebels. Jesus changes people. God regenerates antagonists. He changes them from the inside out. People need to be born again; regenerated by God through receiving Christ.

snowflake-red-small Will you do the work of an evangelist in your community, with your neighbours? How about it?

snowflake-red-small It’s God’s only hope for our depraved world.

Globe The Content of the Gospel (and hope)

Works consulted

Thiessen, H C 1949. Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Notes:


[1] See, 18 charged after bikie gang brawls on Gold Coast’ (ABC News, 28 Sept 2013); ‘National anti-gang squad formed to fight bikies amid fear of backlash against Queensland crackdown’ (ABC News, 3 October 2013); ‘Scores of bikies arrested as gang war looms’ (GoldCoast.com.au, 28 September 2013)

[2]Qld cop shot on force’s most sombre day’ (7 News, 27 September 2013).

[3] ‘”Somehow up to 100,000 abortions a year is accepted as a fact of life, almost by some as a badge of liberation from old oppressions,” Abbott told parliament’, The Australian, ‘Don’t mention the A-word: Abortion’, August 14, 2010, available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/dont-mention-the-a-word-abortion/story-e6frg8y6-1225904661029 (Accessed 8 October 2013).

[4] ‘According to WHO [World Health Organisation], every year in the world there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day’, Worldometers: Abortion, available at: http://www.worldometers.info/abortions/ (Accessed 8 October 2013, emphasis in original).

[5] Bill Muehlenberg, Culture Watch, ‘This is why we march’, 7 Oct 2013, available at: http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2013/10/07/this-is-why-we-march/ (Accessed 8 October 2013).

[6] The Barnabas Fund, 4 October 2013, available at: http://barnabasfund.org/Guinean-Christians-forced-to-flee-violence-need-help-some-lost-everything.html (Accessed 8 October 2013).

 

Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 3 November 2015.