Hello Project Ezra! We’re getting closer to Christmas, and as shopping and holiday events get bigger and busier, we are seeing more and more opportunities for public evangelism in our area. I’m sure the same is true where most of you are, so if you haven’t noticed those opportunities, start looking around! There are a few times of year where people are particularly cognizant of spiritual things, and this is certainly one of them. With a smile and a “Merry Christmas” it’s very easy to give out tracts. So if you have been watching and reading, but not participating lately, now is the time to step out in faith.
This week’s reading is Ephesians 4:17 through 5:21. It’s one of those passages that I’m not sure I agree with the chapter divisions, since some of the streams of thought seem to be broken up a bit. So, when I was reading through the book I decided to use the passages that fit together better. In particular I was struck by the chapter 5, verse 14, which tells those asleep in sin to arise and turn to Christ. Indeed, outside of faith in Christ we are not merely sick, but dead in our trespasses and sins, and only through faith in Him can we be brought to life.
So that is our message this week, and I pray it is a blessing. I will also be putting up a Facebook event for our Christmas reading in the next few days, so please be looking for that, and invite your friends. God bless and have a great weekend!
All for His glory,
Read Ephesians 4:17 – 5:21
Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!
This passage tells us that we are asleep and need to awake to the truth of Christ.
Many of you are asleep today, even as you walk
You, as all natural men, are blinded and lulled into unconsciousness by the works of sin and the devil
Your lusts and desires have enslaved you. You are bound, enslaved to sin.
Romans 6:16 asks Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. (John 8:34 ESV)
The descriptions in this passage of Ephesians are frighteningly accurate.
They say that for many of you, your understanding is darkened. You are alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in you, due to your hardness of heart.
You have become callous and have given yourself up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
If you look at God’s Commandments you will see that you, like every other person here, are a guilty lawbreaker before God.
GO THROUGH THE LAW TO BRING CONVICTION OF SIN
Because of our sin we are at enmity with God, and through our sin we are in rebellion against Him
God’s word tells us that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God
It says the sin and impurity you serve, and run after, will eventually kill you.
God is a holy God, and a God of justice. Therefore His eyes are too pure to look on evil, and He will not leave the guilty unpunished. (Habakkuk 1:13, Exodus 34:7)
God is not unreasonable, not arbitrary. His justice, and an eternity of punishment in a place called hell, is exactly what we deserve.
Eternal punishment and separation from all God’s goodness is what every one of us deserves
We all know we have sinned. God’s law written on our hearts. (Romans 2:15)
Not the way you learned in Christ!
Jesus came into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:17)
And Jesus, who was God in human flesh, saved all those who trust in Him through His blood, shed on the cross
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20 ESV)
Those who will repent and trust in Him, as the Bible commands us to do, will be transformed by the Holy Spirit, brought into a new relationship with God through Christ, and their heart and desires changed by God.
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezekiel 36:25-27 ESV)
Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires.
Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness
Repent, and trust is Jesus Christ to save you from your sins. Trust in the incredibly loving sacrifice that He made on the cross, that all those who trust in Him should be saved.
1 John 3:1 - See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God
Walk in love, as Christ loved us and give himself for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God
God’s word tells us that he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the turn and live. (Ezekiel 18:23)
Turn and live today!!