Hello Project Ezra! I pray this week is going well for you, and that you will have the opportunity and privilege of joining us for outreach this weekend. Our suggested reading is Jeremiah 18, and our focus is on the sovereignty of God. This is one of the Biblical passages that refer to God as the potter and us as the clay. It is an apt description, but one that we fight against. The source of much of man’s sinful attitude is pride. Men want control and autonomy, so the idea of God’s sovereignty, His absolute authority over every aspect of our lives, frustrates and angers them. But by the power of the Holy Spirit that pride can be broken, and even the most rebellious heart can be remade by God to love and serve Him. Let’s pray that God works through our preaching this weekend to bring hearts to Him.
All for His glory,
INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND THE PROJECT
READ JEREMIAH 18
The God of the Bible is sovereign
What that means, simply, is that as creator and sustainer of all that exists, He is in complete control
Everything that happens on this earth God either allows, or directly causes
Nothing surprises Him, and nothing can stop Him
In this chapter Jeremiah compares God to a potter, shaping a clay vessel
If the clay goes out of shape, the potter simply reworks it into something else, as it seems good to Him
Of course, the analogy breaks down, as all analogies do, since God does not make mistakes
But the principle remains. We are the creation, God is the creator, and He has the right, and the ability, to do whatever He wants with us.
This God who owns us is a good and patient God. He tells us in this chapter, and in others, that if those deserving of His justice repent of their sin against Him that He we relent of the disaster He intended for them
But we are by nature rebellious against God. We would rather go our own way
We cry, as in verse 12, ‘That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’
Our nature is that of rebellion. The Bible says the same of human nature in other places as well
Genesis 8 tells us that the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth.
Ephesians 2 tells us that we are by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind
Romans 3 says even more. It tells us:
None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." 13 "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." 14 "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." 15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known." 18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
You may think that this doesn’t describe you. You may claim that you are not a rebel against God
But God says those that love Him keep His commandments. Have you kept His commandments?
GO THROUGH THE LAW TO BRING CONVICTION OF SIN
In truth, we are all guilty before God. And if God is a good God, and a righteous judge, what must
He do with people like us?
Scripture asks rhetorically, will not the judge of all the earth do right? Of course He will!
A perfect judge means perfect justice, and perfect justice, and perfect justice means we are in trouble
Hebrews 10 tells us
26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hell is a real place, and terrible beyond human understanding
Those who go there will not enjoy unlimited sin, as some seem to think
They will never enjoy anything again. All enjoyment comes from God, even if we use it wrongly
In Hell we will be forever separated from all God’s goodness, and will be under the weight of His anger and wrath for all eternity.
But you don’t have to suffer for your sins. God, because of His great grace and love, has provided an escape
Though God is the potter, and we are nothing but clay, though we can offer nothing to Him, still He cares for us
He cares enough that He sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to be the sacrifice and payment for our sin
Colossians 1 says of Jesus:
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 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. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus:
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Jesus Christ, for whom and through whom all things exist, humbled Himself, came to earth, and died on a cross for our sin
Then He rose again on the third day, defeating sin and death, and proving who He was
Now He offers salvation to all those who will repent and trust in Him alone for their salvation
The Bible talks about being born again, and that is what happens when we trust in Christ and are saved
Salvation is not just a decision that we make to do better. It happens when God makes a supernatural change in our very nature
Ezekiel 36 describes it this way:
25 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. 26 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. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
Only through Jesus’ sacrifice as payment, and through this work of the potter, reshaping you for His purposes, will anyone be born again
God is a good God. He is mighty to save. He will save you today, if you call out to Him in humility, and in repentance
He will make you a new creation, and will separate your sins from you as far as the east is from the west
Tomorrow is not promised. The rest of today is not even promised
Any one of us could step out of this life and into eternity at any time
While God has given you time, turn to Him and be saved!