Hello Project Ezra! This week our suggested reading is from 2 Thessalonians chapter 1. Paul encourages those in the church he planted, and then reminds them of the Day of Judgment, and the wrath that Jesus Christ will bring on those who have rejected Him. This is a Jesus that most people don’t like to think about. Often Jesus is thought of as kind and meek, in contrast to the angry, wrathful God of the Old Testament. But this is just one of many passages that demonstrated that is not the case. Jesus Christ is our savior, but He is also judge to those who remain in their sins. We want people to see all of who Jesus Christ is, so that they will repent of their sins and trust in Him, rather than remaining in their sins, unworried, believing God is all love, and that they have no justice to be concerned with. I pray that God will be with you in your outreach this weekend, and that souls will be saved.
All for His glory,
INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND THE PROJECT
READ 2 THESSALONIANS 1
Many of the books in the New Testament were not written as books, but as letters
The Apostle Paul, likely the greatest missionary the world has ever known, wrote many letters to churches he had planted, to instruct and encourage them.
2 Thessalonians is one of those letters, written to a church in the city of Thessalonica
Paul starts by letting them know he has been boasting to the other churches about their endurance under persecution.
He then reminds them that God will eventually bring them relief, and judge those who have been attacking them.
He talks about the day of final judgment, and his description is sobering.
He describes Jesus Christ coming in power, with an army of angels at His side.
This Jesus is not the meek and mild man many have imagined Him to be.
This Jesus comes in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance.
He comes not only to judge those who chose not to obey His message.
The passage says He comes also to judge those who do not know Him.
Ignorance will be no excuse before God, on that final day.
All those who fall under God’s judgment will be punished forever. The horror of that judgment is beyond human comprehension.
Does that shock you? Does it bother you to think about spending eternity separated from God’s goodness, and under the full weight of His wrath, in a place called hell?
The idea of Hell should bother you, but for a different reason then it probably does.
It probably bothers you because you think it is unfair. It should bother you because you know in your heart that it is what you deserve.
If you look at yourself in light of God’s law with a tender heart, you will not see it as unfair or arbitrary.
When looked at through the mirror of God’s law, we see that punishment as it truly is. We see it as justice.
When is that last time you compared yourself to God’s law, in light of God’s perfect holiness?
Habakkuk 1 says “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.”
Yet we have done evil in God’s site
Exodus 34 tells us that you will not leave the guilty unpunished.
Yet we are guilty before Him
GO THROUGH THE LAW OF GOD (10 Commandments) TO BRING CONVICTION OF SIN
But we are not here to condemn you. Your condemnation comes from God, not us.
John 3 tells us:
Whoever believes in him (Jesus) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
But we are here because we wish for you what Paul wished for the church in Thessalonica
We pray that God may make you worthy of His calling, that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you.
None of us are truly worthy of God’s calling. But by His power, our lives can be changed.
Biblical salvation is not something we choose to do, but something God does in us.
Ezekiel 36 describes it like this:
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. 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. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
This is what happens when someone is born again, when they repent of their sins and trust in Christ alone.
Repentance is a change in direction. It means turning away from sin, from those things that God hates and commands us to stay away from, and turning our eyes to Christ.
We must trust in Jesus Christ alone, because only He paid the penalty for sin.
2000 Years ago Jesus, God in human form, came to earth and lived the perfect life we could never live.
Then He willingly went to a Roman cross, and died a horrible bloody death, so that our moral crimes could be paid for, and we could go free.
Now He sits at the Father’s right hand as our advocate, our lawyer for the Day of Judgment.
Because of His sacrifice, all those who turn from their sin and trust in Him alone will be seen as clean.
Christians are right before God not because they are good, but because of the perfect goodness of Jesus Christ.
Only if we are clothed in Jesus Christ’s righteousness, only if His perfection has covered our sin, can we enter heaven.
So put your trust in Christ today. Humble yourself and cry out to Him, and He will save you!
PLEAD WITH PEOPLE TO TURN TO CHRIST. YOU MAY WANT TO REVIEW THE BASICS OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE AGAIN, WHEN CALLING PEOPLE TO REPENTANCE.