HOPE BEYOND THE GRAVE
Scriptures: Romans 12:12, 15:12–13; 2 Corinthians 1:10, Ephesians 1:12, 1 Timothy 1:1, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 11:1
Memory verse: Colossians 1:27
"Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Today's study deals with the subject of "hope." Youth filled with hope are positive about their day's activities. They see possibilities for good in all that awaits them. They tend to be optimistic about life in general.
Ask: What are you hoping for in the coming days? (Allow responses.)
Hope arises when certain facts provide a base upon which it can build. For example: (1) When you reach a certain age and school fees are placed in your hand, you hope that you will be registered for the school year. (2) If you study diligently for an exam and do well when writing it, you hope that when the grades are posted you will have a good score.
The same applies to spiritual blessings. There are certain facts in which we put our trust and faith. This produces a base of truth from which hope arises. This principle is especially evident as it relates to where we will spend eternity, life beyond the grave.
Hearing God's Word
Death awaits every human being. Hebrews 9:27 states this fact,
"Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." Transition to the next life beyond the grave is a reality confronting all of us.
Obtain what is wanted
The Scripture is clear, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Sin separates us from God and the result is, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Yet within the heart of every individual is a desire to be free from the trials of this life and enjoy the eternal joys of heaven. God in His mercy has made this provision for us, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). It is on Jesus that we base our hope.
Jesus our hope
Our expectations are centred in Jesus Christ. It all depends on Him. "All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus...The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 3:24, 6:23). "Whoever believes in him is not condemned" (John 3:17).
Standing on this truth—Jesus paid it all—we look to the future hoping for the eternal life He has provided.
Look forward to eternity
We do not fear death. Rather, we look forward to eternity because we have confidence in the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).
We know what is awaiting us therefore we have hope. We have chosen our destiny, based on the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We are travelling the road that leads to life--a life of everlasting happiness in the presence of God and the holy angels.
Our confidence is in Jesus. He is the foundation of our faith. Because we believe and trust Him, there is an assurance in our hears that something we want is really going to happen—to live in heaven with Jesus forever. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' shed blood and His righteousness.
Accepting God's Word
Hope—expectation of some good thing—is directed toward the future. Something good awaits us beyond the grave. Anticipating an eternity in the presence of Jesus will affect the way we live.
Hope in Jesus makes us want to purify ourselves from any wickedness in our lives. The apostle John put it this way, "We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure" (1 John 3:2–3).
Hope of eternal life shapes our lifestyle and causes our friends to ask, "Why are you always happy? You value life, but you are not afraid of death. Why?" These questions give us an opportunity to share about our faith in Jesus.
The Scripture encourages us to take advantage of these moments, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15). May the Lord help us to present the gospel clearly, believing that many youth will join us in our journey toward eternity.
In this study, we are focusing on the need to bring Indians to faith in Christ, but there are youth around you from other tribes too. Without Jesus as their Saviour, they are all without hope. They are travelling down the wide road that leads to an eternity in hell.
Be bold. Be courageous. Be God's messenger to them. Pray, witness and hope for them to be saved!
Meet the Zalamo
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The Zalamo are a Bantu tribe who live in the coastal plains and low hills surrounding Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's capital. Many Zalamo also speak Swahili, the language of trade and communication for much of East Africa.
During the late nineteenth century, the Zalamo became prominent traders, dealing in ivory, salt, fish, and rhinoceros hides. They were also highly involved in the slave trade and would hunt slaves from other tribes.
A unique characteristic of the Zalamo is the fact that their society is matrilineal. This means that the line of descent is traced through the females. Family names are passed down through the women. Their society is divided up into clans, or groups of Zalamo who acknowledge common descent. The children always belong to the clan of their mother rather than their father.
Zalamo marriages are usually polygamous (one man having several wives) and divorce is frequent among them. The birth of a child is a great event for the family and clan, especially if the child is a girl, as the birth of a girl ensures the passing on of the family name.
Today, the Zalamo are predominantly Muslim. Although they adhere to the teachings of the Koran and observe the basic Islamic practices, many have mingled their Islamic beliefs with their traditional ethnic religion. Islam has only gained a foothold among them in the last 100 years.
Zalamo beliefs include the idea that the rustling of leaves or a gust of wind meant that a spirit was passing by. They also believed that an eclipse of the moon was considered to be a war between the sun and the moon. The Zalamo greatly fear poison and witchcraft, which they hold to be the causes of nearly all deaths.
The few Zalamo believers need a helping hand. One way our group can help is to pray. Another way is to offer ourselves to the Lord for service among the Zalamo. The apostle Paul explained it this way in Romans 12:1, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."
God can use you. The Zalamo need you. Are you available to go as Jesus' messenger to the Zalamo?
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for the Zalamo Tribe
1. Women leaders to respond to the gospel,
2. Learn that Jesus is superior to any of their gods in the spirit world,
3. Young ladies in our class offer to go to the Zalamo as messengers of the gospel.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20)
Remember: HOPE BEYOND THE GRAVE
Memory verse: Colossians 1:27
"Christ in you, the hope of glory."
1. I trust in Jesus for my salvation.
2. I hope to be in heaven after I die.
3. I will share my testimony of hope with everyone.
Pray for the Zalamo tribe.
MORE INFORMATION: www.linkupafrica.com
Study 11 | Eternity— Apostle Paul | africaatts.org/go-teach