Hello Project Ezra! My apologies for the re-post last week. I was headed out for a much-needed vacation, and didn’t have time to write a full post. I got home last night, and I pray that this post will be a blessing, even if it’s a bit shorter.
The suggested reading for this week is 2 Kings 1, and the focus of the reading is idolatry. It amazes me how many people I meet on the street who not only engage in idolatry, but don’t think that God has a problem with it. Your average man or woman seems largely ignorant of God’s clear commands in this area, because usually they are. It’s not that God’s command against idolatry is hidden in His word, or hard to discern, but that people simply don’t want to accept it. They want a God who bends to their will, not the other way around. God’s word and commands are, from a worldly perspective, inconvenient, and most people would rather compromise than struggle. As evangelist Leonard Ravenhill said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been tried, found difficult and rejected.” And he is right.
So our goal in this week’s reading is two-fold. First, we want to lay out the truth of what idolatry is and what the Bible says about those who practice it. And secondly, as is always the case, we want to call people to turn from their idolatry and turn to the true Christ. Belief in false gods is false hope, that can only lead to disappointment in this life, and suffering and Hell in the next. Let’s pray that God will work powerfully in the hearts of those who hear the word this week, and that souls will be brought to salvation.
All for His glory,
(If this is too detailed, or if you have been participating for a while, consider re-writing this in outline form, with just a few words per line as cues, and use your own words rather than mine. It will help you grow as a street preacher)
INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND THE PROJECT
READ 2 KINGS 1
For many thousands of years, God has announced His will to mankind through His prophets
Though we are not prophets as Elijah was, we are still here as messengers of God
We, and all Christians, have been called to be heralds, to proclaim God’s word
We preach the truth of God’s word to glorify Him, and in hope that you may hear, and turn to Him
God word to His people in this passage is on the subject of idolatry
Idolatry is treating anything or anyone, or even any idea, as more important than God
Romans 1 says:
21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
God’s word says idolatry is not a matter of ignorance, but an act of rebellion.
In fact, it is an act of rebellion we have all engaged in.
Examine yourself, as God’s word tells us to, and you will see that this is the case.
If you have followed a faith or a world view that denies to the truth of the Biblical God, then you have committed idolatry.
If you have bowed down before a picture, or before a statue or image of wood, or stone, or metal, you have committed idolatry.
If you have followed a religion contrary to God’s word, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, the Jehovah’s Witness faith, Christian Science, Roman Catholicism, or even Atheism, you have committed idolatry.
NOTE: Each of these faiths (and yes, even Atheism is based a faith-based world view) has its own set of issues that can be addressed. In your area, there may be one of more of these faith systems that are more prominent, and you may want to focus on those. Obviously, you may be challenged by a believer in one of these systems, and may be asked to respond to an objection you don’t have an answer to. That’s OK. If you don’t know the answer, say so, and offer to stay in touch with the objector and find the answer for them. Most often the other person in bluffing, and just wants to shut you up, but if they do want follow-up, and you have to do research, it will likely be of benefit to both of you. Remember, God is true, and there is no question you need to be scared of.
If you have cared more about your job, your reputation, your legacy, the pursuit of pleasure or money, or even your family, more that you care about God, then you have committed idolatry
If you have done none of these things, but have imagined a God who is all love and no justice, one who will ignore sin and let everyone into heaven, then you have committed idolatry.
Even if you have lived a life of self-denial and discipline, doing your best to follow God’s word, but are trusting in your own good works to get you into heaven, you are still committing idolatry. You have put yourself in God’s place, intent on saving yourself, when only He can save you.
Idolatry is not a small thing, though we tend to treat it as such. It is an offense against God.
1 Corinthians 10 tells us that worship given to idols is really worship given to demons.
1 Corinthians 6 tells us that idolaters will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
If idolatry is sin, which it is, and we have all committed it, which we have, then we all have a problem.
We are guilty before God.
Every one of us is a criminal in light of God’s law, and guilty criminals deserve justice.
God is a just judge. In fact, Ecclesiastes 12 tells us God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Exodus 34 tells us He will not leave the guilty unpunished.
The punishment God has prepared for the guilty is called hell
In Hell all who remain in their guilt and their sin will be separated from all God’s good blessings, and will be forever under the weight of His wrath.
Hell is a place of fire, and of darkness, and of pain, and no one should ever want to go there (Revelation 20).
But though all men are guilty, that guilt can be taken away.
In fact, we are told that for some, God separates them from their sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103)
Those who are freed from their sin are those who have repented, and trusted in Christ alone.
Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth 2000 years ago, so that men could be free from their sin.
He lived a perfect life, a life none of us could live, and then died as the perfect and final sacrifice for sin.
Hebrews 9 says “But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
1 Peter 1 tells us that we have been ransomed by the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God
Romans 5 also tells us we have been reconciled to God by the death of His Son, and saved through His life!
But He did not stay dead. He rose on the third day, and now sits at the Father’s right hand, as our advocate for the Day of Judgment, if we will repent.
Repentance is turning from sin, and turning to Christ.
It is a realization of the depth of your sin, through the working of the Holy Spirit, and a change of direction and allegiance.
By God’s power, your heart is changed, and you begin to hate your sin, and love your savior.
Ezekiel 36 tells us that God can take a heart of stone, and make it a heart of flesh.
God is mighty to save, and if you trust in Him alone to save you, He will!
So turn from your idols, and turn to Him today, while He has given you time.
Life if short, and none of us are promised a tomorrow.
So turn to Jesus Christ today, and be saved!