Hello Project Ezra! This week we will be reading Isaiah chapter 40. I decided to use Isaiah 40 based on its focus on the greatness of God. It is a wonderful chapter, and so different in it’s emphasis from where my mind usually goes when thinking about the things of God. Man’s sinful nature, and certainly my sinful nature, tend to draw most of our thoughts of God back toward what God does for us. God’s goodness is amazing, and we certainly should think about how His goodness is demonstrated in our lives, and particularly in the work of salvation. But if we only see the benefits, as wonderful as they are, and don’t see and understand the nature of the God who graciously gave us those benefits, we are missing a big part of picture.
I picked Isaiah 40 as this week’s chapter Wednesday night, so when I got up Thursday morning to spend my time in the word, I decided to read through Isaiah 40 prior to the rest of my daily readings. I use Dr. Horner’s bible reading system for my daily readings, as well as for our Project Ezra lists, and if you don’t have a regular Bible reading plan, I highly recommend it. After reading Isaiah 40 my first chapter for the day happened to be John 19. The contrast between the two chapters was striking. In Isaiah 40 God’s greatness, power, and majesty is proclaimed. And then in John 19 we see God the Son, the same creator being magnified in Isaiah 40, allowing himself to be bound, beaten, mocked, falsely pronounced a criminal, and then violently killed. It is only when we truly understand both the depths of our own sin, and the glory and majesty of God, that we can truly understand how amazing God’s grace and sacrifice on the cross is. It also brought to mind the beginning of John 1, which emphasizes Christ’s deity as well as His humanity. I would recommend reading sections of John 1 along with your gospel presentation. Since it proclaims His deity so clearly, it will help tie His identity to Isaiah 40.
On another note, this Good Friday will be the third anniversary of the start of Project Ezra! It’s amazing how quickly time has passed. It is a blessing that so many of you have continued with our group over the last two years, and we pray that you will not only work on continuing to participate regularly, but that you will encourage others to participate as well. Many people will seldom if ever share the gospel publicly on their own, but a little encouragement from you could change that completely. I’ve had the privilege of seeing several people move from committed Christian to committed evangelist, and have had the opportunity to encourage them in that journey. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call and an invitation to pull someone out of their comfort zone. It has been an amazing blessing doing so, and one I would encourage you toward. Many open-air preachers and evangelists have been birthed through Project Ezra as well, and it would be great to see more brothers and sisters in Christ publicly proclaiming the gospel for the first time this Easter weekend. So when the Mission Good Friday event goes up on the Facebook page and the blog this weekend, please sign up yourself, and encourage others to join us.
This week’s outline is below. I pray that it will be a blessing.
All for His glory,
READ ISAIAH 40
Behold your God! This is the command from the prophet Isaiah to the children of Israel.
I would urge you to do the same. Behold your God, as presented in God’s word, the Bible.
You may say that you don’t believe in God, or that you don’t believe the Bible is really His word. You may say that’s my opinion, and nothing more.
But my opinion about the Bible doesn’t mean anything. Your opinion about the Bible doesn’t mean anything. Only what is true matters.
The same goes for our opinions of God and His existence. Opinions mean nothing. Only the truth matters
The truth is that we all know that God exists, whether we want to admit it or not.
The truth of God’s existence is obvious, if we choose to look. His creation proclaims who He is, and His word proclaims who He is.
Hear what the prophet Isaiah says about the one true God.
He is mighty. God is powerful beyond our comprehension.
He is the creator of all that exists. Everything we see is His design.
He holds life and destruction. Not only did He create the world, but he sustains and controls it.
None is greater than Him, none can teach Him. He is not one among many Gods. He is unique.
All the nations are nothing before Him. He does not need us, and He does not depend on us. We are His and depend on Him for everything.
None can compare with Him. The highest thoughts and ideas you can imagine can not come close to the truth of how glorious His is.
READ JOHN 1:1-18
That same creator, Jesus Christ, God the Son, humbled Himself, became a man, and walked among us.
Why would the God of the universe do such a thing? So that you might be saved, if you believe, and that He might be glorified.
You see, God is holy. That means He is perfect, pure, and undefiled.
His word says His eyes are too pure to look on evil, and that He will not leave the guilty unpunished.
But you and I are guilty of breaking God’s law, more times than we can count.
GO THROUGH THE LAW, BRING CONVICTION OF SIN (For more teaching on use of the law in evangelism, check out this link: How to Effectively Use the Law)
God is just, and must judge sin. No outside law compels Him to do so. His very character and nature is to be just.
But God is also love, and in His love he made a way for us to be reconciled to Him.
God demonstrated His love in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God the Son, who created and sustains the world, was born in human flesh, and then chose to die on the cross so that our sins could be atoned for.
When Jesus Christ was on the cross, He was not only suffering from the nails through
His hands and feet, but from the wrath of God. God’s anger and hatred of sin was
poured out on Him so it didn’t have to be poured out on us.
Jesus Christ died, so that we might live.
So you must do what the Bible commands. Repent (turn from your sins), and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone.
Only Jesus Christ can save, since only He died to satisfy the sin debt that you owed.
As Isaiah says, God’s word stands forever. It says there is no other name under heaven by which you must be saved, and that will never change.
But God will change you if you put your trust in Him. He says He will give you a new heart, and new desires. He will take out your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
So turn to Him today, while He has graciously given you time. And when you do, His word says He if faithful and just, and will forgive you your sins and grant you everlasting life!