Hello Project Ezra! This week’s suggested reading is Hebrews 11, dealing the subject of faith. Christian faith is often misunderstood by unbelievers, and sometimes by professing believers as well. It is looked on as credulity, a foolish belief is something without, or often in spite of, the evidence. But while that may be the case with many belief systems, and even many believers, it is not at all the case with Biblical Christianity. As believers we have the witness of the Holy Spirit, which bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom 8:16), and that is more than enough. But though God is not obligated to give us any other evidence of His existence, since His law is written on the consciences of all men, and thus all men are without excuse, He has chosen to do so. The natural world around us and the evidence of history and archeology also declare much about God’s character and nature. In short, there is no shortage of evidence for the existence of God and the truth of His word. (Psalm 19:1-3, Rom 1:18-20)
But even if we know and believe in the truth of God and his word, simple knowledge and ascent to the truth of that knowledge is not enough. After all, even the demons can assent to the truth of facts about God, without being in a saving relationship with Him (James 2:19). There must be an active faith in God and in His promises, and that is what this chapter is talking about. All those mentioned believed in God, and trusted that His promises would be fulfilled. In many cases God’s promises seemed difficult, even impossible. But they knew God is trustworthy, so they put their hope and trust in Him. I am praying that this truth with impact those who hear God’s word read this weekend, and that many will turn from their sins and put their trust in Him. So pray, for your own reading and for others, that God’s word will touch many hearts, and that many will be drawn to the foot of His cross.
All for His glory,
INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND THE PROJECT
READ HEBREWS 11
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen
Many people scoff when they hear this, and when they hear stories about the faith of Christians
They think it is foolish to believe in something you can’t see, and have no proof for
Many think Christians, and all people of faith, are foolish dupes who just need an emotional crutch, something they can depend on, since they can’t handle reality.
But the list I just read to you is not the record of people foolish enough to believe in something they couldn’t see, or didn’t have good reasons to believe
It is a record of fulfilled promises, of trust placed in a God who has proven Himself to be trustworthy time and time again.
These are not imaginations or bedtime stories. They are historical records
The God of the Bible is a God of promises and a God of history. And history has shown His promises fulfilled time and time again.
As believers we trust in God because we know Him to be trustworthy
But even if you choose to deny the truth of history, and choose to find excuses to deny and reject this truth, you still have no excuse. (Rom 1:18-20)
Even if you reject God’s trustworthiness in history, you cannot escape your own conscience
The Bible tells us His law is written on your heart, and your conscience bears witness.
All of us know this to be true. Our conscience tells us that we have sinned, that we have broken God’s law.
Most people have faith that there is some way of escape from the consequences of this truth. But there is only one, and most people reject Him.
We have all lied and stolen, and God’s law tells us that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire.
God’s word tells us to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. But we are self-centered to the core, and have never for one moment loved God the way He ought to be loved.
Not only have we not loved God, but we have blasphemed His name, treating lightly and disrespecting the God who gave us life, and who holds our life now in the palm of His hand.
Every one of us has lusted and coveted after things and people. God tells us that anyone who looks with lust has committed adultery in their heart, and could any of us honestly say we have never desired something, or someone, who belongs to someone else?
We all know that we have broken God’s law. We all know we are guilty before Him.
All of us believe in something, some means of reconciling ourselves with the this wicked world and with the truth of our guilt.
What do you believe in? What are you trusting to save you on the day when you stand before God?
You may trust in the idea that God is all good, and thus would not punish sin.
But His word says He is a God of justice, whose eyes cannot look on evil, and who will not leave the guilty unpunished. (Hab 1:13, Exe 34:5-7)
You may believe that your good works will even the balance, will make you acceptable.
But God tells us that even our righteous deeds are like filthy rags before Him. (Isa 64:4)
You may even try to deny God’s existence. But God exists whether you believe in Him or not, and your denial of Him does not make your sin any less real.
Every one of us is guilty. Every one of us is worthy of God’s justice and wrath. And every one of us deserves to spend an eternity in hell, as payment for our sins.
But God also tells us He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Even though we are rebellious, God is faithful
Even though we are wicked, He is still good.
And even though He has every right and every reason to punish all of humanity, by His grace some will be saved.
We can be saved only through the sacrifice of God the Son, Jesus Christ.
Faith alone is not enough. Sincerity in belief will not help you. Faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed.
YOU CAN ALSO DISCUSS OTHER FALSE FAITH SYSTEMS AND WORLDVIEWS, AND HOW THEY FALL SHORT. IF THERE IS A GROUP THAT IS PARTICULARLY PROMINENT IN YOUR AREA, YOU MAY CHOOSE TO DISCUSS THEM. FOCUS ON THEIR SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND LACK OF A TRUE PAYMENT FOR SIN.
Only Jesus Christ lived the righteous life none of us could live
Only Jesus Christ paid for sin through the blood of the cross.
Only Jesus Christ rose again on the third day, proving His power over death, and sitting down at the Fathers right hand as our advocate.
We receive the this gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and through Him alone
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 4:12 ESV)
Whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him
So if you hear God’s calling, draw near to Him today. Do not harden your hearts. (Heb 3:8)
Place you faith in a God who is faithful and trustworthy. Put your faith in the one God who is worthy of our praise.
Turn from your sins and put your faith in the God who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that they turn, and live.
Turn and live today!