Hello Project Ezra! This week’s reading is John chapter 1. I was surprised when I realized that I had not used this chapter in the past. John 1 is one of my “go to” chapters when I am open-air preaching. Since I rarely if ever start an open air presentation without reading scripture, there are a few chapters I always have ready, such as 1 John 1, Isaiah 53, Ephesians 2, and this one. John 1 has so much to say about who Christ is, and the world is so often in denial about who he is (or just take it for granted without really considering what it means), that it is one of the best foundations to build on.
The one thing I did not include in this particular outline is additional scripture. Though the passage can stand on its own, I would encourage you to spend time memorizing scripture dealing with the gospel if you plan to share it regularly (as every Christian should). It will ground and strengthen your gospel presentation, allowing you to keep the focus on God’s word, where it belongs. So spend some time looking up key verses and integrating them into the message. You might even want to keep a notebook, so that you can make note of relevant passages while doing your daily Bible study. I have done so for several years now, and it’s been a great blessing.
Thanks for being part of Project Ezra, and I pray that blesses your efforts this weekend!
All for His glory,
INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND PROJECT EZRA
READ JOHN 1
The book of John is one of the gospels, the accounts of Jesus’ life.
In chapter 1 we are introduced to who Jesus Christ is, and why He came to earth.
The chapter presents many powerful truths about the Christ
He is said to be the Word, the speaking of God, God’s representation of Himself to us, full of grace and truth
We are told He was in the beginning, and that the world was created through Him
We are also told that He became flesh, taking on a human body and living here on earth
The chapter tells us that He was rejected by men, and history certainly bears that out
But most importantly, it tells us that all who receive Him, who believed in His name, have the right to become children of God
It is amazing to think that God would become man and walk among us
It is hard to image the being that created everything that exists taking part in His creation
And what a gift and privilege it must be to become one of His children!
But then, later in the chapter, it gives Him a stranger title. It calls Him a lamb
Jesus Christ is called the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
But what does it mean that He is a lamb? And what does that have to do with sin?
In the Old Testament, during the history of Israel, the Jewish nation ended up as slaves to Pharaoh, in Egypt.
And after many warnings in the form of miracles and plagues, God warned Pharaoh, through His servant Moses, that He would kill every first born son in the country, of both people and livestock.
Make no mistake my friends, God is a loving God, but He is also a God of justice and wrath.
When God was preparing to kill the first born, He commanded the Israelites to slaughter a lamb, and mark their doorposts with its blood, so that the Angel of Death would pass them by.
The Israelites did this, and were delivered from Egypt.
In the following years the nation of Israel celebrated the Passover, where they remembered God’s mercy and deliverance
Both in the Passover, and later in the temple sacrifices, the nation of Israel presented sacrifices, often a perfect lamb, at God’s command, to show His covering of their sins
God also gave His law, so that they would be aware of their sins, and look to His coming deliverance
Like those of the nation of Israel, we are all law-breakers
Scripture tells us God has written His law on our hearts, and our conscience bears witness.
It also tells us that God’s existence is clear us in what He has made, and that we are without excuse
Our conscience within and creation without clearly shows us that God exists. If you deny that truth, then you are simply lying to yourself.
But that is exactly what we do. We deceive ourselves so we can live the way we want
We deceive ourselves and cling to our sin.
GO THROUGH SOME OF THE COMMANDMENTS TO BRING CONVICTION OF SIN
We, like Israel, have no excuse for denying God’s existence, or His goodness to us, or denying our own sin
But just as God was merciful to Israel time and time again, He has been merciful to us
He provided a sacrifice, a perfect sacrifice, so that our sin could be dealt with
But the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God did not merely cover sin, but wiped it out completely.
On a cross on Calvary, nearly 2000 years ago, God the Son bled and died so that our sin could be atoned for
Then He rose again to stand for us at heaven’s throne, our advocate before the judgment seat
So that those who turn from their sin and trust in Him will be saved, and spend eternity in heaven with Him, instead of receiving the judgment they deserve
It is a gift we did not earn, and don’t deserve. But it is a gift we all desperately need.
Without the sacrifice of the Lamb of God for our sin, we will spend eternity in Hell, under the weight of God’s justice
But through Christ’s sacrifice that justice has been satisfied
So don’t be foolish, as the Israelites, and put your trust in other things
Human power or wisdom will not help you. Wealth cannot save you. Worship of false gods will only bring greater wrath
Truth in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God
Trust in His death and resurrection as your only means of salvation
Turn to Him today, and be saved!