Greetings Project Ezra! Since I'm leaving for vacation tonight, this is a re-post an outline from a couple of years ago, with a few small tweaks. I'm already working on the next post and, God willing, it will be up on time next week. This week’s suggested reading is Psalm 104. The Psalm starts with a declaration of the power and majesty of God, and then goes on to examine that power and majesty as it is demonstrated in His creation. Indeed, it is impossible to have your eyes opened to the wonders of God’s creation and not stand in awe. But over time it’s easy for us to take it for granted, so it’s a good thing to just stop and think about. As I write this I’m typing on an amazing piece of human ingenuity called a computer, surrounded by many hundreds of books containing more information than I could every adequately process. But how often do we think about the fact that something like the houseplant on the windowsill, which seems so simple and takes so much less maintenance, has more order, complexity, and beauty then them all? It simply boggles the mind.
So the focus of the outline this week, like the focus of the chapter, is greatness of God in His creation. If we can take creation for granted, the unbeliever does so even more, so we want to bring it to their attention through our preaching. We will also be contrasting the foundations God has laid and the boundaries He has set for the rest of creation, with the moral foundations He has laid for us and the boundaries He has set for mankind, which they frequently ignore. I pray it will be an effective transition to the gospel.
All for His glory,
INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND PROJECT EZRA
READ PSALM 104
READ PSALM 104
Today I want to proclaim to you the greatness of God as it is expressed in His word
In Psalm 104 it declares that God is the creator of all, and that He is clothed in splendor and majesty.
In His power he laid the foundations of the earth, making them immovable, and stretched out the heavens.
He comes in power, and the clouds are His chariot
It tells us that during the flood He covered the world with the deep as with a garment, and the waters stood above the mountains
Then at His cry they fled away, and He set boundaries for them that they could not cross.
All creation is sustained and held together by Him, and by Him alone
He declares the times and the seasons
He causes every plant, and every tree to grow
He provides for every creature, every beast, every bird, and every creature of the sea, and they look to Him for their daily food
He also provides good food and drink to men to strengthen them and to make their hearts glad
Everything good thing we have, we have from God, and from Him alone.
If God created us, we are His. You may not believe in Him, or trust Him to save you, but He is still your Lord, God and king, whether you accept it or not.
And just as He laid the foundations of the world and set the boundaries for creation, He laid our moral foundations and set boundaries for us
His word said he set boundaries that creation may not pass, and His creation obeys. He set boundary for us as well. Have you obeyed as the rest of creation does?
One of the boundaries God set for mankind is His moral foundation, His moral law.
If we examine His law, as we would a mirror, we see how we compare with and reflect His perfect holiness
God is holy, holy, holy. He is perfect, He is pure, and He is set high above His creation, although He is not separated or distant from His creation.
God’s holiness and purity demands our holiness and purity. He can not and will not allow evil in His presence, and every wicked act will receive perfect justice.
Some may balk at the concept of hell, the idea that God would punish finite sin eternally
But because of God’s perfection and holiness, even the smallest sin is infinitely sinful against an infinitely holy God. And every one of us has committed more sins than we could possibly count.
We have lied, when God is a God of truth, and His word says all liars will have their part in the lake of fire
We have stolen something, whether it is possessions from others, or honor, glory and worship belonging to God, and to Him alone. God hates theft, and no thief will enter His kingdom.
We have committed adultery, either by giving our mind over to inappropriate sexual thoughts, or giving our bodies away to those to whom they don’t belong. In fact, when Israel, God’s chosen people, turned away from worshipping Him, He declared that to be spiritual adultery as well.
More than anything we have failed to give God the worship He is due. We have either ignored Him, or created an image that makes us more comfortable, one that looks like Santa Clause as gives us what we want, rather than the true God of the Bible.
Because of our sin, and our willful rebellion, God will, and must, by His own nature and character, punish our sin. He is a God of justice, and His justice must and will be satisfied.
He has told us that His enemies will be bound and thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping, and gnashing of teeth. This outer darkness, this place of fire and pain and torment, is what the Bible calls Hell, and punishment there will last for eternity.
You may ask “What about God’s love?”
Truly, God’s love is beyond comprehension, and His patience is beyond measure
But God did not show His love by ignoring sin, or He would also be ignoring His justice
God demonstrated His love by the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, as the payment for sin
2000 years ago Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, came to earth and lived the perfect life you and I could never live.
Then He went to a Roman cross, and while He was on that cross God’s wrath was poured out on Him, so it didn’t have to be poured out on us.
Romans 3:23-25 says - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation (or a satisfaction of our debt) by his blood, to be received by faith.
Now, God commands all men everywhere to repent, to turn to His Son and be saved. That is our call to you today.
Acts 3:19 says - Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
Let God change you, transform you, and refresh you. Only through Him, through the power of His Spirit, can you be saved, made right before Him.
So come to God today. Humble yourself before Him, throw yourself on His mercy, at the foot of His cross. Repent of your sin, and put your trust in Christ alone.
If God changes your heart and you are born again, then you too will be able to sing His praises, as we do.
God, may your glory endure forever, and may I sing to you as long as I live!