Friday, September 27, 2013

Proverbs 14 - The Way That Seems Right Which Leads to Death

Proverbs 14 
Hello Project Ezra!  My apologies for missing last week’s post.  Last weekend was Norcal Fire, our local evangelism conference, which I help to run, and I was indeed running for most of the week, trying to make final arrangements and make sure no detail was forgotten.  By God’s grace, it went very well.  The preaching from Tony Miano (who founded this group), Andrew Rappaport from Striving for Eternity, and Matt Slick from CARM was excellent, and many people were blessed and encouraged.  The sermons will be available soon, and I would encourage you to check out the Q and A session I did with the speakers here: was a lot of fun to do, and there were many good subjects regarding evangelism that were addressed 

This week’s outline is below.  The recommended chapter is Proverbs 14, and I have focused on verse 14, which says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”  This is perfect description of the behavior of a large part of modern society.  The outline points this out, and gives several examples of how our society's view of right and wrong are contrary to God's word.  I would encourage you to search the scriptures, consider the news, the entertainment industry, etc., and come up with your own additional examples, and share them with the group if you would like. 

Thanks for being part of Project Ezra.  I pray this outline is a blessing to you, and convicting to those who hear the gospel preached.        

All for His glory, 



Proverbs 14 tells us, among many other wise statements, there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death 

There may be few other passages of scripture that I can think of which describe our society better 

Our society in general, and each of us in particular, are in nearly constant rebellion against God, and His word. 

We call evil good, and good, evil.  (isaiah 5:20)   

We marginalize God’s law, or deny His existence all together. 

But in our hearts, we know that God exists, and that He has spoken. 

God’s law is written on our hearts, and our consciences bear witness (Romans 2:15) when we sin against Him. 

Yet this society of rebels not only accepts many of those sins, but celebrates them. 
We celebrate moral relativism, saying that everyone should be allowed to define their own morality.  Yet scripture says there is only one lawgiver and judge, Jesus Christ (James 4:12).  When we define our own morality, we commit idolatry, attempting to usurp God’s authority. 

We celebrate Religious pluralism, and the idea that we should all coexist.  Yet scripture tells us that God is a jealous God (Deuteronomy 6:15), that sacrifices offered to false gods are really offered to demons (1 Corinthians 10:20), and calls worship of any but the true God spiritual adultery. 

We celebrate sexual freedom, claiming that our bodies are ours to do with as we please.  But God created sex, just as He created everything else, with a purpose.  When we reject that purpose, through pre-marital or extra-marital sex, homosexuality, pedophilia, or any other sinful act or thought, we blaspheme God and spiritual as well as commit adultery. 


In all these we break God’s law, and rebel against Him, earning His wrath. 

In fact, scripture tells us we are all, by nature, children or wrath (Ephesians 2:3). 

Every one of us deserves death and fiery hell as punishment for our sins against God. 

God, who is just, will see that justice is satisfied, and that every sin is paid completely. 

But the same passage that tells us that we are by nature Children of wrath, also has good news. 

It tells us of a God who is also loving, and merciful (Ephesians 2:4-7). 

It tells us of a God who gave us the immeasurable riches of His grace through Jesus Christ. 

Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, was the one man in history who lives as God had commanded. 

He lived the perfect life we could never live, and then died the criminal’s death we deserved. 

He rose on the third day, proving His power over death, proving who He claimed to be, and is now seated at God’s right hand, as our advocate. 

Now, if we will trust in Him, if we will, in humility, turn from sin and trust in His sacrifice for us, then we will be saved. 

Fix your eyes on Christ, my friend.  Trust in Him alone! 

There is no other name under heaven by which you must be saved (Acts 4:12).  There is no other hope in 
heaven or on earth. 

If you do not trust in Jesus as God, you will die in your sins (John 8:24). 

If you reject His sacrifice as payment for your sins, you will spend eternity paying for them yourself. 

So turn to Christ today, and live!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Psalm 116 - Purpose and Thanksgiving

Hello Project Ezra!  I pray that you are having a blessed week, and are looking forward to sharing God’s amazing message of grace this weekend.  Our suggested reading for this week is Psalm 116, which is a prayer of thanksgiving for deliverance.  It’s an encouragement for me, because even though understanding of the law and bringing people to conviction over their sins is vital, it’s too easy, for me at least, to swing to far in that direction and to forget to praise and thank God for His grace toward me.  Legalism is always a danger, and leads us to an idolatrous attitude where we see ourselves in control and our obedience as the deciding factor in our salvation.  I believe that the way to avoid going down that path is to rejoice in the grace we have been given, and to spend time praising God, first for our salvation, and secondly for the changing of our hearts and minds that demonstrates that our salvation in secure.

In our outline, we will be talking about the source of comfort and peace for the unbeliever.  In truth, there is no peace for them, since true peace only comes from a right relationship with God, and that’s what we want to point out.  In our hearts we know we have sinned and deserve judgment, but those outside Christ try to fill space with everything other than Him.  We want to call them to abandon those worldly pursuits and come to Christ instead.  Then they will be able to give God praise for the gift of salvation, as the Psalm writer did.

I pray this is an encouragement, and that through your faithfulness to God’s call, that many will hear His word proclaimed today.

All for His glory,



I love the Lord because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful

You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling

Our gracious God is the source of our salvation and comfort, and true peace is only found in Him

Is He your source of comfort?  Or is He a source of fear, or hatred or loathing?

What are you trying to find comfort in?

Are you searching for comfort in Money?  Fame?  Education?  Success?  Physical pleasure?  Entertainment?

None of these will ever satisfy you, because they are not what you were designed for.

Your existence is not an accident.  You were beautifully designed with a purpose.

You were designed to glorify and have fellowship with God (Ephesians 1, 1 Corinthians 10:31)

But we often search for comfort, peace, and fulfillment outside God, to maintain our own autonomy.

We want to be free, free to make our own choices and chart our own path.  We want to be our own gods.

We rebel against God, even against His goodness, because we think we know ourselves better than He does.

But God is our creator.  He knows our design and our purpose.

When we break His law and deny His rule over our lives, we rebel against our design and purpose.

We will never find true peace in rebellion against God, only His righteous judgment.

We all deserve God’s judgment for our sins.  Sins are moral crimes, acts of rebellion against who He is, and what He has told us to do.

God will judge us for our lying, because He is a God of truth.

He will judge us for stealing or coveting, because God has graciously given us all we need, and we have no right to demand more.

God will judge for lust and adultery, because He is a faithful God, and our relationships are meant to mirror His faithfulness.

He will judge those who murder, whether in deed or in hateful thoughts, because all life belongs to Him, and we have no right, outside of His righteous laws, to take that life.

And in all these things we set ourselves up as higher than Him, and wiser than Him, and commit idolatry by trying to make ourselves god in His place.

We are all, by nature, rebels against our king.  We are all, by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2).

But our king is merciful.  Though we deserve death for our rebellion, He will deliver our souls from death, if we will humble ourselves and trust in Him.

2000 years ago Jesus Christ, God in human form, came to earth to suffer, die, and rose again so our souls could be delivered.

Jesus willingly went to a Roman Cross to that justice could be satisfied (Colossians 2)

Our God is a just and righteous God, who told us that He would not leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34)

So Jesus took that guilt, our guilt, and bore it.

Isaiah 53 tells us:
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6, ESV)

God provided a payment for sin.  Through repentance toward sin and trust in Christ alone, we can be made right with Him.

Through Jesus sacrifice, we can find true peace, and a restored relationship with our creator.

What will you do with that truth?

Will you turn to Christ and live?  Or will you remain in your sins and receive the judgment you deserve in hell.

There is no second chance, and there is no alternate plan.  All other God’s are false, and all other means of reconciliation are lies from Satan.

Turn to Christ today, and you, like the Psalm writer, will be able to come before your God, not in fear, but in worship and praise, lifting up His name in thanksgiving.

What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me?

I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord

I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people

I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord

Friday, September 6, 2013

Job 9 - Our Sovereign God

One of the most vital aspects of God’s character, yet at the same time often the most misunderstood, if not downright vilified, is the concept of God’s sovereignty.   The idea that God not only created everything, but controls everything and dictates how we should act, is repugnant to the natural man.  As Christians, we know that God’s sovereignty is truly a gift, not a curse, but those outside of Christ, because of their fallen nature, cannot get past their desire for freedom (so called) and autonomy to see who God truly is, and what a blessing it is to be His bond-slave.

I don’t believe there is any message that is so clearly presented in the book of Job than the message that God is sovereign.  It is very clearly the point of God’s questioning of Job in the final chapters.  But even as early as chapter 9, this week’s suggested reading, it is clear that Job understands something of that truth.  However, he is not rejoicing in God’s sovereignty.  He is complaining about it.  He doesn’t understand what God is doing, he knows he has no recourse, and he’s frustrated.  If you have spent any time sharing the gospel on the street, you have heard similar complaints, and likely have talked to people who have walked away from church when things in their lives have gone wrong.  The problem of pain and suffering can be one of the most difficult questions to deal with, for believers and unbelievers alike.  But when God brings you to a deeper understanding of what His sovereignty means, it turns from a source of frustration to an amazing blessing and a joy.  Yes, God has allowed pain and difficulty, but He has also promised that He will wipe away every tear from those who are trusting in Him, and bring them into His kingdom.

So this week I encourage you, as you are reading, to challenge others, and yourself, regarding the sovereignty of God.  Present a God that is sovereign in His power over His creation, and in His judgment of His creation’s disobedience.  Then, present a God who is sovereign in salvation.  Our God is mighty to save, and  as Psalm 138 tells us, the Lord will fulfill his purpose for you, and He will not forsake the work of His hands.

All for His glory,



In Job 9, Job asks questions and makes statements about who God is, and what He is like 

They are questions that ought to make us pause and think. 

Stop and listen for a moment, and you will see how these truths impact you 

Job asks "Can a man be in the right before God?  Who can contend with Him?" 

Then Job talks about what God is like, about His power.

Job says that God removes mountains, and overturns them in His anger 

He says that He shakes the earth out of its place 

He commands the sun and it does not rise, and He seals up the stars 

Job tells us God made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades.  These are star clusters and constellations we still recognize today. 

He says God passes by, but we do not see Him, that He moves but we do not perceive Him. 

He ask  if God snatches away, who will turn Him back?  Who will say "What are you doing?" 

And Job reminds us that God is not a man that we might answer Him, and there is no arbiter between us. 

This whole passage emphasizes a message that is at the heart of the book of Job, and indeed the entire Bible.

It is a message Job understood in part, but not fully, until the end of the book.  And it is a lessen all of us need to learn, or to understand better. 

That truth is that God is sovereign.

When we say God is sovereign we mean that He has the authority and ability to do what He desires with His creation.   

It means nothing happens in this universe unless He either causes it, or allows it. 

1 Chronicles 29:11 says "Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all." 

Psalm 115:3 tells us "Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases." 

The idea of a sovereign God is a wonderful thing when He is a God who will take our side, and be our support.

But we get much more uncomfortable when He becomes our ruler, one who dictates what is right and punishes what is wrong. 

We don't want someone to control us.  We want to believe we can and should control our own lives. 

It is that desire that drove Adam and Even to sin in Eden, and it is that desire that drives us to deny or rebel against God today.   

It come from a desire for autonomy, and ultimately, from pride. 

But we are not our own.  We belong to God, and He has made His power and authority clear, in the world around us, and within us.

God has revealed Himself to us in His creation

Psalm 19 tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the work of His hands

Romans 1 also tells us that what can be known about God is plain to those who deny Him, because He has made it plain to them.  For His invisible attributes, He eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from the things that have been made, so they are without excuse.

God has also revealed Himself in His word. 

2 Peter 1 tells us how men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit

2 Timothy 3 reminds us that all scripture is breathed out by God

But even if you disagree with these truths, you cannot escape the law God has written on your heart

Our conscience is God’s internal witness to His existence.  You know you are wrong when you break His law, even if you try to suppress it.  You feel guilt when you sin, because you know you are guilty.

We will all stand in judgment before God one day.  You may not have thought much about that, or you may have thought that was OK, since God sees your heart and knows your good intentions.

But God does know your heart, and that’s not a good thing

Consider the 10 Commandments.  You would probably agree with many of them.  But a moment of reflection will show you that even those you agree with, you have not kept.


In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus Christ told His followers to be perfect, as His Father was perfect.

All of us have fallen far short of perfection.  All of us are guilty of breaking God’s law.

Guilty criminals like us deserve to be punished, and the punishment we deserve for our rebellion against the God of the universe, is eternity in Hell.

In Hell, those who have rejected God and broken His law will suffer in a place of fire and darkness and pain, paying the price for their past and continued hatred of God.

But though we deserve pain and punishment, God, who is not only sovereign but loving and merciful, made a way of escape.

We could not satisfy our sin debt, so Jesus Christ, God the Son, satisfied it for us on a Roman Cross.

When Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago, He lived the perfect life we never could, and then died a perfect death.

He nailed Himself, and our sins, to the cross.  And there, justice was satisfied.

Then He rose from the dead, ascended, and now sits at God’s right hand.

Now, if you turn away from your sins and put your trust in Christ alone, you will still stand before God one day.

But when you do, God will no longer look at your sin.  Instead, He will look at His own Son, and see His perfection credited to you. 

Only through that gift of grace, only through that perfect life, substitutionary death, and representation before God on judgment day, can you escape the Hell you deserve.

I deserve Hell, but I won’t go there. 

I will spend eternity in heaven, but not because I’m good. 

I will spend eternity in heaven because GOD is good, and because Jesus Christ died to save me.

Are you trusting in Christ?  Are you trusting in the only way to salvation?

If you are not, please, turn to Christ and live.

God is sovereign, and God is good.  Humble yourself, throw yourself on His mercy, and He will save you.

And because God is sovereign, He will keep you, and you too will have the joy of knowing God, and spending eternity in loving worship of Him.

Then you can say, as Paul did in his letter to the Philippians, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ!