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Feb 19, 2023

The Ministry of Reconciliation

The Ministry of Reconciliation

Speaker: Dennis Gallaher

Category: Sunday Morning

Why did Jesus come?

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their wrongdoings against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Jesus came so that we could be friends with God again. Reconciliation means to restore friendly relationships with each other. Sin broke our relationship and communication with God. God's Word, from the beginning in Genesis, tells us throughout that He wants to be friends with us. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for our sins restored communication between God and ourselves. Then He gave us the ministry of reconciliation - that we would take this ministry forward as His church, as ambassadors of reconciliation. 

2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. "Therefore" is repeated many times in these chapters. Paul is getting our attention and getting us ready for what's next... trouble is coming but we will be with the Lord someday... live now as we will experience rewards then. So how do we live now? telling others about Jesus as we see people the way Jesus sees them. We are the official representatives of God

Jesus saw people alone and needing relationship and He came alongside. Like the woman called out for adultery... Jesus knelt down next to her. The ministry of Jesus included naming sins but mostly He is reconciling people to God. Jesus wanted to reconcile our debts - to take them away. We are slaves of sin and it is impossible for us to stop sin without the power of God. That is why Jesus came - He came to set us free from sin and the power of sin. "Therefore" - so...we are the ones to take this ministry of reconciliation to the world that needs freedom from sin through Christ. Jesus lets us live in freedom from sin. Jesus' power will release us from our addictions. Jesus came to set us free.

Isaiah 55:1-3 You there! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David.

God, the Father, invites everyone to His table...

  • The Unbeliever. Though you reject the whole concept of a loving God, His hand and heart remains open to you. 
  • The God-fearer. Those whose view of God as a distant judge to be feared instead of a loving Father who desires your friendship.
  • The Broken Christian. Those who fear that through sin they've been abandoned and have no hope for restoration, or has suffered a great loss and can't imagine life without a hole in your heart.
  • The Seeker and the Saint. Those who are both seeking for the true God and those who have found Him. 

All are invited to the table - a table overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit... love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 No matter who we are... we are invited to His table. Open your heart to God's reconciliation. Real life begins...

  • When we invite God into our lives,
  • When we have a relationship with God,
  • When we are reconciled to God,
  • When we desire to know God and to be known by God. 

What does it mean to be reconciled to God? 

  • Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Sin causes us to be separated from God. God showed how bad sin was in the Old Testament by the system of sacrifices and the shedding of animal blood was made to cover that sin. Then God tells us that those sacrifices didn't take away the sin in our hearts. The atonement was made - but it covered the debt temporarily. Sin destroys our relationship with God and then the evil in our hearts destroys relationships with other people.
  • Matthew 20:28 Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. God provided a sinless sacrifice for our sins - Jesus. Jesus' death was an atoning sacrifice to God, paid once and for all. Jesus died on the cross as payment for our sin and Jesus rose from the dead breaking the power of sin and of death.
  • Ephesians 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall. Jesus takes away our guilt; guilt being a constant reminder of our sin. God's mercy and unfailing love through Jesus erases our guilt. Jesus paid it all and we just need to receive. 
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have comeHe gives a new life of freedom and relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We can know that our sins have been paid for - it is the power of the cross.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. All are invited. All sin has been paid for. Be reconciled today. 
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Open our eyes and heart to God's appeal to us to become His children, to become a new creation. God is seeking each one of us to be His child for the first time or to return to the Lord's invitation to His table. Will you come? 

How would you describe reconciliation? 

How does reconciliation involve an invitation to His table?

How have you been reconciled with God?

What area (battle) in our lives needs reconciling?