Good morning Project Ezra! I pray that you are doing well, and that the less than wonderful weather that we’ve had in the last few weeks, at least here in the States, hasn’t had too much of a negative impact on you. It’s been rainy and windy here, but praise God, no real damage or serious inconvenience yet out here on the West Coast. I’m praying for good weather for the weekend, so we can get out and share the gospel Saturday night in our local bar district. Your prayers are appreciated.
This week’s reading is Exodus 19. This is the account of God speaking to Moses, directing him on how to prepare the people of Israel to stand before Him. God was very specific in His expectations, as He often is with regards to proper worship. There were purification rites and rules that had to be followed. The people were to go to a certain point at the foot of the mountain, and no further. Then they were to wait for God’s appearing. The people of Israel said they would follow His direction, and prepare themselves to meet God, and to stand in His presence.
God did come down, and He did meet with Israel. He came down in power. Fire and smoke shrouded the mountain as the Lord descended, and He spoke with a voice like thunder. The people trembled before Him, and appropriately so. Yahweh is a good God, and a good king, but he is a king none the less, one with the power of creation and destruction at His command. He had been very good to Israel, despite their disobedience and grumbling, but their knowledge of His goodness did not keep them from being awestruck at His presence.
This passage seems to have two themes that should be instructive to the church, and can be very useful in sharing the gospel as well. First, God is not just an idea to follow or model ourselves after. He is not just a buddy willing to help us out of a bad spot, and He is not just a source of help in time of need. Yes, He is a very good God who does help us and who does save us, and does call Himself our friend. But He is also our sovereign king. It seems that the picture of God as our father and friend has eclipsed our awareness of His majesty, holiness, and glory. But He is all of these things and more. To have a good friend to help you in times of need is a wonderful thing. But it can’t compare to the loving friendship of a king, especially one who is powerful and good beyond our imagination. When we only think of Him in terms of human friendship and help, we cheat ourselves of true comfort and joy and greatly dishonor Him.
Secondly, and stemming off this first thought, is the truth that we must come to God on His terms, not our own. We are no longer bound by the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, and I am not in any way suggesting that through legalism, through strict obedience to the law (which we can not achieve anyway), that we can be made right with God. We are indeed saved by grace through faith, not of ourselves, but as a gift from God. But we do not have the right to take that truth, and twist it so we can do it our way. God defines what salvation is and how it was and is achieved.
This is strongly contrary to our human nature. We want to follow God “In our own way.” I have heard it said that men are often very willing to give God the glory, provided that they can have the control. That’s why salvation through works is so attractive. Your average professing Christian (and I have talked to many of them over the years), will frequently proclaim his own goodness, or even just his attempts at goodness, as his ticket to heaven. But scripture says that salvation is by grace, not by works, so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:8-9). But we want to boast. I can’t think of any sin I wrestle in prayer over more than pride, and I imagine many of you would say the same. Men, because of our pride, want to come to God our way, and want to take credit for what a wonderful job we did in doing so. But we were created for God’s glory, not our own, and salvation was accomplished solely through Jesus Christ, and His sacrifice on the cross. We can’t add a thing. We can only respond in gratitude for the amazing gift He has given us.
So here is an outline that I pray will help you in presenting the gospel this weekend. Please post your testimonies, pictures and videos on the group page, or send them directly to me. We have not posted a member praise report in quite a while, and they are a huge encouragement to the group. Please consider sharing yours when you get a chance.
READ EXODUS 19
The true God of the Bible has been largely forgotten.
God created us in His image, and ever since then man has been trying to return the
God is indeed a God of love, but He is also our sovereign king
God is mighty, powerful, and sovereign
We do not have the option of coming to God on our terms. We must come to Him on His
His terms are perfection and holiness
The purity God demands, we can’t achieve
The Bible says there is a Holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14)
Go through God’s law. Show our inability live up to it’s standard (Romans 3:20)
If we depend on ourselves, we will not see the Lord. We can not make ourselves right with God. Our righteousness is as filthy rags next to God (Isaiah 64:6)
But God is not only mighty in power, but mighty to save (Isaiah 53:1). He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him because He always lives to intercede for them (Hebrews 7:25).
Jesus Christ, though He is the judge of the universe (Acts 17:#1), did not come into this world to judge it, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17)
The creator and king of the universe humbled himself, removed His royal robes, and put on human flesh.
He lived the perfect life and then paid the price on the cross so we could be seen as holy and righteous. He was the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. (John 1:29)
Jesus Christ is a good God, and a loving king
He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that they turn and live (Ezekiel 18:23)
Turn to God, submit to His rule, throw yourself on His mercy, and be saved through Christ’s shed blood and broken body. There is no other name under heaven by which
you MUST be saved! (Acts 4:11-12)
Have a blessed weekend!
For the praise of His glory,