Hello Project Ezra! It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be able to share these thoughts on scripture and evangelism again this week. As always, I pray they are a blessing and an encouragement to you, and I pray that as they are, you will pass them on and encourage others as well.
Our chapter this week is 1 Corinthians 15. It’s not from this week’s normal list, but I read through it as part of my regular daily reading, and it impacted me, as it always does. I thought it was particularly relevant to our current culture, since we are so deeply entrenched in relativism. One of the reasons sharing the gospel can be so difficult, at least in the Western world, is because the entire concept of truth has been twisted almost beyond recognition. Truth is no longer something absolute, something that is for time and for eternity, but is simply a reflection of what an individual feels and prefers. Things can be true for you, but not necessarily for me, and every truth is subjective rather than objective.
Of course, this is a vast departure from the message of scripture, and this chapter in particular destroys the idea of religious relativism. The truths of the death and resurrection are clearly stated, and given the highest level of importance. And even more, Paul says that if these things are not true, then we, as believers, are foolish, and the most of all to be pitied. What a contrast to the world! But while this will be scoffed at and rejected by many, it is this very fact that makes the Gospel of Jesus Christ eternally relevant. We are real people, created by a real God and guilty of real rebellion against our creator. And there is only one real solution to: the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I pray that you will be encouraged to share that reality through this week’s outline.
All for His glory,
INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND PROJECT EZRA
READ 1 CORINTHIANS 15
This chapter talks about something that is true
The idea of truth is often considered dangerous, or oppressive, or even arrogant by many in our modern culture
Never the less, God’s word claims, again and again, to be actually true, and exclusively true
It talks about events that really happened, at a specific times, in specific places, and to specific people
And as Christians, we believe, we have faith that these things are true
We talk a lot about faith in our culture, and most think that faith is a good thing
But most people think that what you have faith in doesn’t matter, as long as you believe in something
But faith is only as useful as what it is placed in. If what you are trusting in is not true, or real, it won’t help you.
And having faith in false ideas can often have severe consequences.
But when I talk about truth, I want to be clear about the kind of truth, the kind of claim that this chapter makes, and that Biblical Christianity makes
1 Corinthians talks about the truth of the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ
We are told it is not just a personal belief or an idea we prefer, but that it actually took place
Christ is proclaimed as actually raised from the dead
In fact, Paul, the author, says that these truths are of first importance. They are primary.
Have you thought about Jesus Christ as just another good teacher? This chapter destroys that notion!
The chapter tells us that if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is in vain, and so is our faith, and we are misrepresenting God
It even says that if in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied
If the resurrection of Jesus Christ did not happen, Christianity is a total waste of time
If Jesus is still dead, we have reason to be fearful, because the Bible says we are still in our sin
Every one of us is guilty of sin. And we know it.
Every one of us has a conscience, an inward awareness of right and wrong.
Romans chapter 2 tells us this is because God has written His law on our hearts, and our conscience bears witness.
GO THROUGH THE MORAL LAW AND BRING CONVICITON OF SIN
We are all guilty of real sin, and as is true of any criminal, we deserve to be punished for our crimes.
The scriptures tell us there will be a real day of accounting, when books will be opened that have a record of every one of our thoughts, words, and deeds.
If you consider, with a tender conscience, the sinful things you have done, said or thought, then you know you are guilty.
You have a court date before the judge of the universe, and when you stand before Him, he will see that justice is satisfied.
The evidence is in, the verdict has been reached, and the sentence has been passed.
The sentence, the just punishment for rebellion against God’s perfect holiness, is eternity in the lake of fire.
Hell is not imaginary, and it is not a place where you can enjoy the unrestricted pleasures of sin.
It is fire, and darkness, and pain, and separation for all of God’s good blessings for all of eternity.
That is where I deserve to go, and so do you
NOTE: It is vitally important when dealing with the subjects of sin and hell, that we approach them, and those listening, with humility. We deserve hell. We deserve God’s judgment just as much as those listening (maybe more). The only things that separate us from the sinner we are sharing with are timing, and the grace of God. NEVER forget that!!
But although you deserve to pay the fine for your crimes, there is a way we can be pardoned.
That was is through the very real fact of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Jesus died and rose so that the penalty for sin could be paid.
Jesus, God the Son, became a man and lived a perfect life because we could not.
Then He went to a Roman cross and shed His blood, so that we wouldn’t have to.
And He rose again, as He had prophesied He would, to prove His power over death.
Now he stands in the position of authority in heaven, as judge and advocate.
For those who reject their creator, for those who desire to stay in their sins, he is the one who will destroy both body and soul in hell, as they rightfully deserve.
But for those who come to Him in humility, who will turn from their sin and trust in Him, and in Him alone, to save them, He is mighty to save!
God would be perfectly justified in wiping out every one of us right now. But He has chosen not to
It could be that the only reason you are still drawing breath is because He is waiting for you to repent of your sins and put your trust in Him.
It could be that the only reason I am still drawing breath is so I would have the privilege of telling you.
But none of us is promised a tomorrow. If you were to die tonight, where would you go?
One day I will stand in heaven, though I don’t deserve it.
And when I do, I pray that I will see each of you as well.
So today, while God has graciously given you time, turn to Him and be saved. Turn to Christ, and live!