Friday, April 27, 2012

Job 38 - 39 Revisited

Hello Project Ezra!  This week we will be looking at Job chapters 38 and 39.  We looked at them about a year and a half ago, but they are well worth looking at again, as we have done with several other chapters.  However, we really won’t be looking at a different theme in these passages, as we’ve done when repeating chapters in the past.  Rather, we will be shifting the emphasis a bit.  My reasons for doing so are partially self-reflective, so you may not need to change the emphasis as much as I likely will when I preach it.  Then again, maybe you will.  Either way, I pray it will be helpful and encouraging.

One issue that I believe God has been driving me to consider more lately, and which I think is vital for a proper understanding of who God is and how to share His gospel in the most appropriate, Biblical manner, is the importance of having a more complete view of His nature and character.  Our views of God have a tendency to be one-dimensional.  The Bible says that God is love, and He is.  That is certainly the trait most commonly emphasized by the world, because it is the most convenient excuse people have for convincing themselves that God will ignore their sins.  For those of us trained in Biblical evangelism, and I speak very much for myself, it is easy to skew the other way, toward God’s law, and toward His justice and wrath, in response to man’s sinfulness, and because of the neglect of this message by most of the modern church.  But we can’t forget the importance of expressing God’s love.  If we express either truth to the exclusion of the other, we are not preaching the gospel Biblically.

This can be an extremely difficult balance to strike, but I believe it is vital in being faithful to God’s word.  It is impossible, outside of the leading of the Spirit of God, and each one of us will need to be convicted in different ways.  But I think we need to consider this carefully, not only this week but every week.  Every time we head out to share our faith, we need to pray fervently that the Holy Spirit will at the center of our witnessing, and that through His power we will not only have the boldness, but a biblical balance in our presentation.  So this week I will be putting less emphasis (although the emphasis will still be strong) on the power, sovereignty, and justice of God, and try to tie it in more with the amazing truth of His grace and mercy, and how profound it is that the creator and sustainer of all that exists would chose to suffer and die for our sake.

Rather than a full outline, the list below highlights the major points of a gospel presentation and provides some supporting Bible verses for each point.  I would encourage you to spend some time in prayer regarding the proper expression and emphasis for each, and add your own verses as appropriate, praying for the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  If you find a verse that is particularly profound regarding one of these subjects, but which is not listed, please share in on the Project Ezra wall in the Facebook group, or post it in the comments on the blog, so it can be an encouragement to others as well.

All for His glory,

God is the creator and Lord of all that exists.
            In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 ESV)

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
who formed you from the womb:
“I am the LORD, who made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,
(Isaiah 44:24 ESV)
God’s purposes are frequently beyond our understanding.  He is never obligated to explain Himself to us, though He often chooses to do so.
                Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
                “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
                Dress for action like a man;
                I will question you, and you make it known to me.
                “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
                Tell me, if you have understanding.
                Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
                Or who stretched the line upon it?
(Job 38:1-5 ESV)

                For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
                neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
                For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
                so are my ways higher than your ways
                and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV)

As His creation, we are obligated to serve and obey Him.
                Know that the LORD, he is God!
                It is he who made us, and we are his;
                we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
(Psalm 100:3 ESV)

None of us has obeyed Him.  Mankind is, by their nature and their choice, in rebellion against God.
                For I know my transgressions,
                and my sin is ever before me.
                Against you, you only, have I sinned
                and done what is evil in your sight,
                so that you may be justified in your words
                and blameless in your judgment.
                Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
                and in sin did my mother conceive me.
(Psalm 51:3-5 ESV)

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
(Romans 3:10-18 ESV)

Bring conviction of sin.
  Go through the law and 10 Commandments, and show them they are guilty of breaking His law
                Deuteronomy 5, Exodus 20 – The Ten Commandments

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
                (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV)

We deserve judgment and Hell for our sin and rebellion
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.              
(Romans 1:18-20 ESV)

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
(Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
(Revelation 21:8 ESV)

God desires us to be reconciled to Him
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live
(Ezekiel 33:11 ESV)

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(1 Timothy 2:1-4 ESV)

God’s patience, loving kindness
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 ESV)

The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
(Exodus 34:5-6 ESV)

The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
(John 1:29 ESV)

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain
And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
(Revelation 5:6,9-10 ESV)

Jesus, our great high priest – Our intercessor and representative before the throne of God
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)

                This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.                                              
(Hebrews 7:22-26 ESV)

God’s grace and mercy, in spite of our sin and wickedness
                The LORD is merciful and gracious,
                slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
                He will not always chide,
                nor will he keep his anger forever.
                He does not deal with us according to our sins,
                nor repay us according to our iniquities.
                For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
                so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
                as far as the east is from the west,
                so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
(Psalm 103:8-12 ESV)
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV)

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV)

Repentance and faith
                No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
(Luke 13:3 ESV)

But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
(Acts 3:18-19 ESV)

how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Acts 20:20-21 ESV)
let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
                (Acts 4:10-12 ESV)

“Seek the LORD while he may be found;
                call upon him while he is near;
                let the wicked forsake his way,
                and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
                let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
                and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
(Isaiah 55:6-7 ESV)

Psalm 51

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