2 Cor 5:16-21
So from now on we don’t look at people like the world does (what they have or how they look). Though we once looked at Christ in this way, we do not any longer. Now we see that if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: Think of it! God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
So now we are Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
God is busy reconciling Everything to Himself. From the Macro to Micro. From the furthest reaches of the Universe… to our lives… to the tiniest hidden parts of inner-space God has been at work for quite some time bringing about this massive project we call “reconciliation”
What do you think of when you hear the word “reconcile”?
When we look at the story, where do we see this need to reconcile occur?
What is broken?
After this tragedy In the story, where do you see God first working reconciliation (Earliest to Latest)?
How? (Then What?)
He Uses PEOPLE!!! Paul Points out that God has begun His reconciliation THROUGH His people… Through The Church “If anyone is in Christ they are a NEW CREATION”
Interesting: who Jesus picked to be his band of world-changers… All pretty much Galilean (from the cities surrounding the Sea of Galilee) The basic Jewish mindset of the day was “Galilee is for losers!” When Jesus is talking to some Pharisees in John 7:52 – they say: ‘No great “Men of God” have ever come from Galilee’ - Kind of a mean thing to say… The 12 he chooses are Mostly Fisherman… - Everyday people, Blue-collar workers, Small business owners. Andrew, Phillip, Bartholomew, Thaddeus, James the Less, James and John, and Peter are just ordinary fishermen *And it’s goes downhill from there. Thomas: a compulsive-doubter. Matthew: The tax collector. They were Shunned by Jewish society for their mistreatment of their own people. Simon the Zealot- A Roman Killer/ Insurrectionist/ murderer. Judas Iscariot: The disciple who later betrayed Jesus. Was the group’s treasurer and helped himself to their funds when he thought others weren’t looking. (Mark 3:19) *Not the guys I would have picked to carry on my life’s work.
Jesus’ Inner Circle: - James and John are known as the sons of thunder because they were so self-righteous and proud they wanted to burn down the town of Samaria…just because - Peter the impetuous loudmouth who’s always screwing up and second-guessing himself…A Perpetual Failure!…And this is who Jesus gives the Keys of the Kingdom to and lead this band of ragamuffins after he passes off the scene.
So from the very beginning we see Jesus choosing ordinary-scarred people to be the people he passes the torch to. And he says, “You Too Can Be My Disciple…”
Most of us are no different today. We are ordinary. We are all scarred from sin. None of us is perfect. We all fall short. Yet He uses the imperfect to bring about His perfection… He uses those not fully-reconciled to bring about His Reconciliation. He calls us “The Righteousness of God.” That’s hard to wrap your mind around… That turns conventional wisdom on it’s head!
I Cor 1:20-30
“What happened to those wise people? What happened to those experts in the Scriptures? What happened to the ones who think they have all the answers? Didn't God show that the wisdom of this world is foolish? …God was wise and decided not to let the people of this world use their wisdom to learn about him. Even when God is foolish, he is wiser than everyone else, and even when God is weak, he is stronger than everyone else…My dear friends, remember what you were when God chose you. The people of this world didn't think that many of you were wise. Only a few of you were in places of power, and not many of you came from important families. But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame. What the world thinks is worthless, useless, and nothing at all is what God has used to destroy what the world considers important…God did all this to keep anyone from bragging to him. You are God's children. He sent Christ Jesus to save us and to make us wise, acceptable, and holy. So if you want to brag, do what the Scriptures say and brag about the Lord.”
-Paul (I Cor 1:20-30)
This task of reconciliation is impossible for us For so many reasons…
1) It’s too big of a task! (Cure all diseases? Heal all relationships? Rearrange the cosmos? Love one person perfectly???)
2) We aren’t even fully-reconciled…etc.
How is that possible???
Because The Reconciliation begins with God… what Christ is doing within us… the resurrection applied BY His grace and through His Holy Spirit within our lives… As Peter says, “Once we were not a people, but now we are the people of God…” He called us! He chose us! He gave us our identity! He’s equipping us and enabling us for the task!
What’s amazing about all this is that the pressures off us!
"The blessing of mission is ours while the burden of mission is God’s." -Jonathon Dodson
What’s that mean??? We can rest in the work... God’s is at work doing it already...
But how does reconciliation occur with us? Salvation! “Salvation” is not a one time act but a life-long process! (unfortunately many Christians have relegated it to some prayer you pray one time, or some one-time act of conversion…) I think it’s amazing to have a moment of conversion, but salvation is a process…
Salvation begins with our justification, continues with our sanctification and ends with our glorification… What that means is that salvation Begins with my response to God’s irresistibly gracious call upon my life, continues transforming me throughout my life, and finally ends as He calls me home to the resurrection life…
I’ve been saved from the penalty of sin, I’m being saved from the power of sin, and one day I’ll be saved from the presence of sin…
So let’s not limit Salvation to a term that simply describes who’s in and who’s out… Salvation is the work of a Sovereign God calling me to himself and changing me to become more like Him And what’s crazy is, I don’t! I don’t look like him!!! The point is God is at work reconciling us and has given us the job of reconciling our world… While we are still imperfect…
We catch up to these same followers of Jesus 3 1/2 years later. 1 gave up! And gave out under a load of condemnation and ended his own life. Another betrayed Christ in a different way and pushed himself to the brink of insanity. (You could preach a whole sermon on that… They both –Peter & Judas- Betrayed Christ, but one gave up in His mess, and the other repented and fell at the feet of the savior) Many ran away and left their rabbi to suffer alone. They failed, questioned, doubted, wept, struggled, and fought. Eleven of them persevered. And when these disciples have gone through their maturing process for a while, and trials and temptations, they emerge as totally different people in the book of Acts… Still imperfect! Still Screwing things up, disagreeing, and walking in grace!
Paul confronts Peter because of his hypocrisy (stops eating “unkosher” food he knew he had liberty to eat and had been eating with the gentiles because some legalistic Judaisers came into town). Paul and Barnabas, the great missionary team, split because they argue over John Mark They get into huge arguments about whether or not they should make everyman who follows Christ get circumcised like the Jews!
Over and over again they fumble and screw up And over and over again they are forgiven and forgive one another and begin to see glimpses of God’s reconciliation and Kingdom Heroes ONLY because of Christ’s sacrifice And They’re turning their world upside down as a result!
This rag-tag, motley crew of losers becomes the force that brings to its knees the single-most powerful empire this world has ever known. They have: No Superpowers or Greatness on their own. Just a bunch of issues, insecurities and failures…changing history... Not on their Merit, but because they opened themselves up to God’s reconciling work in their lives.
Who are some imperfect people we see in The Story of God, that God uses inspite of their imperfections?
(How were they imperfect in the story and how did God use them?)
Adam & Eve: Ate of the tree, yet still received a promise from God -
Noah: Saved world then got drunk -
Abram: Stumbled at the promise of God -
Sarah: Laughed at God -
Moses: Doubted, struck the rock & couldn’t enter Promised Land -
Joshua: Didn’t drive out the idol worshippers of Promised Land -
Israel: Wavering & Worshipping False gods, Not following God’s commands for celebrations n Not taking care of those in need
Look @ the list of Heroes of the Faith (from the beginning of the story to the end…in Hebrews 11
- And other ordinary radicals…
And this passage refers to them as: “Of whom the world was not worthy.”
God wants to use you in your mess. To change the world around you. To be His hands and feet. To love that person who’s driving you crazy… To forgive that thing that was done to you so long ago… To begin to look beyond yourself and see the Kingdom in everyday life… To bring healing to a hurting friend… To see people and situations through the eyes of Jesus… To be sensitive to the leading of His voice… He’s not waiting for you to be perfect!
It’s not about having it all together, It’s about giving the broken pieces you have to God and letting Him do with it as He will. Because when the Love and Grace of Christ grip your heart, it will mold you and shape you into a new creation So when we look at the areas of life that are broken,
- My sinful nature
- This idol factory I call my heart
- The problems without me and within me WHEN we look, we see that God is working through us and in us to bring about this incredible plan of reconciliation… Reconciling Creation Reconciling Humanity Reconciling Ourselves
Looks very similar to what we talk a lot about here…
Communion/ Community/ Commission Communion
- Reconciling ourselves Community
- Reconciling Humanity Commission
- Reconciling Creation
We call this living an ‘Incarnational Lifestyle.’ Taking this Gospel Word of reconciliation and Incarnating it… fleshing it out This is the work that God began, … that was continued through His chosen people, … that was made perfect in Christ … and is now declared through His church/body
WHY do we seek to reconcile these things to God?
Identity: This is who we are in Christ (we already are, so now we live out of that! We don’t “do” to attain our identity)
How do we “minister reconciliation” in each of these areas? What are some daily ideas?
- Word of God
- Becoming like Christ
- Applying His Word to our lives
- Living grace-filled lives
- Growing in Maturity
- Living out our beliefs (faith in action)
- Serving/ Blessing
- Caring/ Meeting Needs
- Listening/ Counseling
- Modeling Christ
- Living as family
- Serving/ Blessing
- Caring/ Meeting Needs
- Engaging/ Transforming Culture
- Gospel Intentionality
- Caring for Nature/ Stewardship
- Loving our City
- Feeding/ Clothing/ Visiting
- Healing Sickness/ Brokenness