By Nathan Jones
Who truly fills the void in our lives?
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will discuss the Christmas hope mankind has through the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.
Filling the Void
Vic Batista: Nathan, as you know, there are people out there that are lacking peace. Instead, they are turning to drugs, alcohol and pornography in the attempt to try and fill a void in their heart. But, they will never be able to truly find fulfillment with those things, right?
Nathan Jones: Those things are empty and meaningless. Dead ends! You may get a little high, you may get a little buzz, but what good is that going to do you? You will just go right back into your problems once you come down. These things might fix the symptoms for a time, but the source of people's depression, problems and emptiness is because they are not connected to why they were created.
The Bible says that we were created to have fellowship with God. We are an enemy of God when we live in rebellion of God. The very reason for our existence isn't met, and that leaves us feeling hollow and empty inside. Nothing earthly can fill that hollowness. Only surrendering our life to Jesus Christ and letting His love purify us is what makes us whole and complete and gives us hope for the future.
Vic Batista: That's why we encourage people to turn to Christ today while there is still hope. Jesus loves you and He has a plan for your life. Simply believe in Jesus and trust in Him. The Bible says that when you do so, then God will give you eternal life.
Nathan, can you share a brief invitation for those who don't have a relationship with the Lord? Can you walk them through how they can come to know God personally?
Nathan Jones: First we have to realize that we are sinners. When I say sin, this means anything that is rebellion against God, not just actions, but the heart. Does your heart want to do the things it wants to do, and not the things that God thinks is best for you to do?
When we live in rebellion against God, we then are living at enmity with God. We are God's enemies. We cannot spend an eternity with our enemy.
God wants to restore the fellowship between man with God. He wants it back like it was during the time in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve walked and talked and had fellowship face to face with God. God wants that restored.
God began the restoration process by sending His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to be born of a virgin, to be raised as a human, to suffer and die, to take the sins of the world upon Himself, and then beat death by coming back to life again. We have a risen Savior! Buddha didn't come back to life. Mohamed didn't come back to life. Confucius didn't come back to life. They are all dead and buried, but Jesus Christ is alive. Because of that truth, if we put our faith in trust in Jesus, He promises to cleanse us of our sins and to take our punishment on Himself so that we can have a "not guilty" verdict. We can then live with God forever in Heaven.
Praise the Lord for the hope that is the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ!
Vic Batista: Hallelujah, that is great news!
Concerning a risen Savior, I came out of a Catholic background. Often times growing up I'd see in our parishes images of Jesus hanging on a cross, but that's not the case anymore, right?
Nathan Jones: No, and it's a shame that some groups like the Catholics keep Jesus on the cross, or they keep Him as a baby. Sure, He went through those stages, but the real victory of Jesus was the Resurrection. By Jesus coming back from death, by defeating sin, we also defeat death in our own lives. When we become saved, we have a great hope for the future. We have the righteousness of God living in us through the Holy Spirit.
Christmas is a time to be excited about! Sure, there are friends and family and traditions, and that is all fun. I love good music and good food at Christmas, but so much more, I love the real hope for the world that is Jesus Christ. Christmas is to remember His birthday. It's all about Him, and that's the real gift.
God With Us
Vic Batista: In Matthew 1:23 it says, "...and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, 'God with us.'" That means we are not alone, right? When Jesus left He left us, the Holy Spirit came, and so God is still with us today.
Nathan Jones: Exactly! We have not been abandoned. Sure, we cannot see Jesus Christ in person right now, but we can see the work of Jesus Christ through us. We cannot see the wind, but you can see the trees rustle. You can feel the wind blowing on you. Right now this is the stage in history that we are at as we wait for Jesus' return. In the meantime, He has given us His Holy Spirit, and we know that one day He will return in person. We will witness King Jesus' victory and we will get to rule and reign with our Savior throughout His Millennial Kingdom. That is exciting!
I pray that everyone will grab hold of that promise today. Give up that old rusty penny of a life that you've been holding onto and accept the bounty that is Jesus in knowing Him as Savior. Jesus is your future. Having Jesus and the Holy Spirit within you will fix your depression, the sadness and the emptiness. The part that is missing is Jesus Christ. Accept Him today, because it is your only hope for the future.
Vic Batista: I love the mandate that Jesus left for us in Matthew 28:18 and on, which was to go out and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:18-20 says:
"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen."
What a wonderful way to send out the Good News, for it is our true hope. I pray that we recognize the reason for the season. Christmas shouldn't be about depression and gloom and doom, but it about the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.
Nathan, any words of encouragement for Christmas related to our discussion about Jesus' prophetic birth?
Nathan Jones: As Christians we can get so down with all the reports of the murders by ISIS and the growing persecutions of Christians. Remember, though, that even those believers who are suffering the most become excited and alive again when they are reminded that God gives us hope, especially at Christmas time. I pray that everyone gets the same hope in Jesus Christ that we have. We should all have the same optimism and excitement for life because of our great Savior, Jesus Christ. Sure, the world is in a rotten mess, but Jesus is going to fix that by returning and defeating evil. We Christians need to be on board with that hope and give our lives to Jesus Christ.
Vic Batista: Our sin surely brings us down. I've noticed that when people are not paying attention to the signs of the times that mark Jesus' soon return, that brings me a little down. The family of Christ needs to wake up and recognize how little time we have left.
Nathan Jones: There's not much time left before Jesus returns. The signs of the times clearly point to the soon return of Jesus Christ. We want to leave with Jesus in the Rapture of the Church, when He comes to take the Church up to Heaven. We don't want anybody left behind. Therefore, we pray that everyone will give their lives to Jesus Christ today.
Vic Batista: Amen. The call is urgent.