Suggested readings for week of March 20th
Hello Project Ezra brothers and sisters. I hope you have had a wonderful week serving and loving the Lord! I am actually pretty excited about the reading this week. The suggested reading is Luke 12, and is absolutely packed with springboards into the gospel. This is also my favorite outreach weekend of the month for our local team (Norcal Seedsowers). Every 3rd Saturday of the month I take a group to witness in the bar and club section of our downtown area here in San Jose (Northern California). We are usually out from 9:30PM or 10PM to 12:30AM or 1AM in the morning. It makes it a little tougher to get up for church the next morning, but it is so worth it. We have had many amazing witnessing encounters down there, and surprisingly, many of the people we meet are very willing to talk. Of course, sometimes that is due to the abundance of alcohol in their system, so you do have to be careful. You might want to try this kind of outreach yourself, but be sure to keep a couple things in mind. First, this is NOT an outreach you want to bring your children to (unless they are grown), and this is NOT a type of outreach you should generally attempt solo, for safety reasons.
My plan for this reading is to use verses 4 and 5 as an anchor point and build my message from there. Indeed we should fear him who can cast both soul and body into hell. We know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and although fear should never be the ultimate aim of our message, it can be a strong motivator. We should not be looking to point a finger at people, although we should be forthright about sin, but we should encourage people, even plead with people, to examine themselves in light of scripture to see if they are in the faith. And it is very clear from scripture that those who are not right with God certainly have reason to fear.
Several sections of Luke 12 provide excellent contrasts that can illustrate this point well. Verses 8 and 9 discusses those who are unwilling to acknowledge Christ before men, and how he will not acknowledge them before God. There have certainly been times where I have failed to mention Christ due to concern for what others might think. There are many “secret Christians,” who would never think of “imposing” their views on someone else, believing their religious beliefs to be a personal thing. But God is a jealous God and clearly will not accept this. Those who are more worried about men’s opinions than God’s opinion certainly have reason to fear.
Verses 13 through 34 talk about idolatry, putting riches before God or completely in place of God. The Silicon Valley, where I live, is a world hub of technology, and this perfectly describes many of the people I meet. It’s interesting that some of the surrounding cities, such as San Francisco and Berkeley, are known for their antagonism toward the things of God, while in San Jose their seems to be more indifference. People here have mortgaged their souls for success and it has left them spiritually flat. However, God’s word is living and active, sharper that any two-edged sword, and no soul, no matter how dead, can hear it and not be impacted.
Verses 35-40 deal with another frequent response to the message of the gospel. It deals with those who think they have plenty of time to get right with God, and who think they can repent at the last minute. But we know, and we need to remind them, that none of us has been promised a tomorrow. Any of us could die at any time, and we only continue breathing minute to minute because it is God’s pleasure to allow us to do so. 150,000 people die every day. Every second two people die, and one of those seconds has our name attached to it. So remind people that death and eternity are imminent, and get them thinking about what comes next.
Finally, verses 57 through 59 talk about settling with the magistrate before we stand in court. Truly, each one of us, and every person who will hear us read the word, will have their day in court, and will have a debt due for their moral crimes. So use God’s law to show people how great their debt of sin truly is before a perfect, holy God, and how they will be required to pay every penny of that debt through punishment in hell. They perhaps they will chose to approach the magistrate and, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone, forever settle that debt and return to a right relationship with their creator.
I hope to see some more video and read some more accounts of your outreaches this week. I would love to add some material to the blog, and we have had some great stories in the past. Please consider posting yours. Thanks!
All for His glory!