This Week’s Reading: 2 Kings 17
A Reason to Fear and a Reason to Hope
Hello brothers and sisters. I pray you are doing well and that God is drawing you closer to Him daily. I also pray that Project Ezra will continue to be a blessing and an encouragement to you. If it is, please share it with others.
This week we will be reading 2 Kings chapter 17. The chapter chronicles the sins of the nation of Israel which lead to them being taken into exile by the king of Assyira. In the New Testament we are told that we are not of this world, and that we should not conform to the pattern, but be transformed through the renewing of our minds. But the nation of Israel is a pattern for much of what we see in the world around us, and frequently in the church as well. As with Israel, many professing Christians are very much of the world, and rather than focusing on the things of God and placing them at the center of their lives, the things of God become merely an accessory. God is not worshiped as the one true God, but given a place as one of many Gods, or one of many pursuits. We need a little morality, so we attend church on Sunday, but it’s OK if our friends don’t go to church, or if they attend a Mormon church, or a Buddhist temple, or a Muslim mosque. We know the bible claims to be the exclusive word of God, but we may involve ourselves with pagan practices, have images of false gods in our house, or simply live as if God never gave us a law to obey. So was Israel. Truly, as Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun.
I think the best way to use this type of passage, of which there are many, to launch into a gospel presentation, is to draw the parallel between us and Israel. We have been very blessed by God in this country, but have chosen to try to push Him into the background, and have reveled in our sin. The sinful things that God hates have become so much a part of our daily life that we often don’t even see them as Christians, and certainly those outside the Church don’t So list some of those sins for which Israel was condemned, and contrast them to our modern day idolatry and willful disobedience. And show that, as Israel was, we are under condemnation for that disobedience.
As with all true gospel presentations, the message of God’s wrath and condemnation must be clear, unmistakable and uncompromised. It is not enough for a man to know and admit that he is a sinner. Almost everyone will admit that. There needs to be an understanding that sin is a fatal disease, and that apart from God we are all spiritually dead. Be sure to emphasize that no amount of good works or effort can save a man. If you have spent much time sharing your faith, you know that common responses to “how will you get right with God?” involve trying harder, doing better, going to church more, etc. But our righteousness is as filthy rags next to God, and no amount of works will save us.
Although we must tell the lost clearly of God’s wrath and that they have reason to fear, we must be just as clear in proclaiming God’s mercy and a reason to hope. The cross of Christ, and ultimately the person of Jesus Christ Himself, MUST be at the center of the message. It is the intersection of God’s wrath and love. God showed His love most fully in satisfying His own divine justice through the death of His own Son. So place the weight of the law onto the lost, so they understand the condition, and then let the grace of God in Jesus Christ life that weight.
The outline below may give you some ideas for points to focus on. I will be using many of these myself on the street tomorrow night in our local bar and club district. Please take some time to head out this weekend and share the gospel with someone who needs to hear it.
Read 2 Kings 17
Israel provoked God to anger. Have you done the same?
They followed the customs of the nations around them, serving other gods. Have you? Have you mixed other religious practices and beliefs in? Have you claimed all religion the same, though God says different? Have you claimed there are many gods and many ways to heaven?
The passage said Israel secretly sinned against the Lord, doing things that were not right. What do you do in secret? Lie? Cheat on your taxes? Download music without paying? Cheat on your spouse? Look at pornography?
Idololotry is everywhere. Things that offend God and blaspheme His name are so commonplace, we don’t even notice them. Impure speech, sex, money, success, power, all are part of the fabric of our culture, and all are outside of the will of God.
We are not ignorant. You are not ignorant. We are stubborn and have refused to listen to God’s word. We despise God’s law because we want to be autonomous, to be our own gods. But there is only one God, and He has made His will clear.
Yes, we have provoked God to anger. And yes, He IS angry.
God is angry with the wicked every day. He hates all who do evil
God is not without warning. He has sent prophets and seers, teachers and pastors and faithful saints, for thousands of years. How many times have you been warned? How many church services have you sat through with a hard heart?
We are all guilty and deserving of God’s wrath, and of eternity in hell.
But God did not only send warning of sin, but sent payment for sin.
He sent his son, Jesus Christ, the perfect man, and God in the flesh, as the Lamb of God, to take away the sins of the world.
Proclaim the excellencies of Christ. He is the alpha and Omega, beginning and the end. The world was created through Him and for Him, and by Him everything is sustained. He is sinless and perfect. And this glorious God, the Son, when he was raised to life after three days, sat down at the right hand of the Father, as our advocate.
Jesus is Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world
Repent (turn) from your sins and trust in Him alone. He is the only true and living God, and there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.
Please do not presume on God’s patience. The Lamb of God will one day return as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and there will be no escape.
On that day the great men of the world will be calling out for the mountains for fall on them and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb (Revelations 6:15-17)
We take no pleasure in saying this, but this is a warning. Because we care, and want to see you in heaven, and because we want to see God glorified in the preaching of His word, we MUST tell you the truth.
For the praise of His glory,
Living Waters – The core ministry messages
Hell’s Best Kept Secret
True and False Conversion
Way of the Master
The Ambassador’s Fellowship
The Ambassador’s Academy
The School of Biblical Evangelism