The Ministry Of Reconciliation

2 Cor 5:18 - 21

 

Intro: Have you ever wondered Why am I here? What is my purpose for Living? What Is God’s Plan for my life ? What am I to be doing?

A)I would venture to say that all of us at one time or another have wondered such things

 

B) Well in our Passage today – Paul answers the questions – why am I am here & what does God have for me – at least in a general sense

 

C) After talking about Heaven / And After stating his Primary Motive for living & for ministry [v.14 The Love of Christ]

1)   And After stating in v.16,17 the way that he seeks to view people – Know no man after the flesh – [In Christ or out of Christ]

 

D) In Christ – New Creation – old things have passed away – all things have become new –

 

E) After all of that  Paul shares what our approach is to be for those who are outside of Christ – those who don’t Know the Lord –

1) And in the Process shares about TWO KEY DOCTRINES of the Bible – The Doctrine of Reconciliation & the Doctrine of Imputation {RD V18-21

 

Now Paul mentions here a ministry that all of us have been called to:

 the Ministry of Reconciliation

Today : Note 5 things that Paul points out about this great ministry

A)1st note that this ministry comes to us from God/  it originates w/ him

 

18 Now all things are of God,

 

B)Paul wants the Corinthian Christians & us to know that he is writing of things that are of God, not of man. 

 

C) This work of being a new creation and our eternal destiny are works of God, not something we have to earn and achieve.

18 Now all things are of God who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

A)There is a Universal problem today that people have: – One of poor self worth & Poor self image{

 

B) Listen close/ [especially those sensitive to Psycho Babble] Hear my point – I think you will understand what I am saying

1) The problem with people everywhere is they have no security, no sense of acceptance, no sense of worth. Everybody has a poor self-image.

 

C) Even the most beautiful / engaging & self sufficient & Self Confident  People struggle in this area –

 

D) All their self confidence & Pride is really a cover up/ Because  Deep inside they know they are really scared, frustrated & empty

1)   Deep inside they know that something is not right / Yet they pretend that they are in control & able to handle everything

 

E) And they venture into all sorts of thing to improve their sense of self worth / to build up their self esteem

1) But the real Reason that People don’t feel Right is because they are not Right w/ God

 

They feel an alienation/ estrangement in their hearts - They are Alienated from God.

A) And The thing that they need the most is to get right w/ God – to be reconciled to God !!!

 

B) Started in the Garden Adam Sinned Because of man’s sin & rebellion he has been alienated from God – alienated from his Creator & designer

1)   Alienated from His life Source – Alienated from the one who established the purpose for his existence –

 

C) And every man after Adam has inherited that same Problem – because we have been infected w/ a disease called sin

1) It is in our nature to Rebel

 

D) So man is wandering around searching longing – Purpose – why am I here – I’ll try this / I’ll try that

1)   Never reaching lasting – satisfaction – fulfillment – Problem is they need to start at the ROOT ISSUE – I need to be RIGHT W/ GOD

 

E) Which is the basic problem – that we have w/ Psychology – it moves from the Premise – we need to do something to fix you

1) Something to make you feel Better about yourself – When in reality the real need is to fix your Relationship w/ God { Need to be Reconciled to God

 

The basic meaning of the word reconcile is “to change thoroughly.” And It refers to a changed relationship between God and the lost world.

A)Man ruined the relationship w/ God by sinning & rebelling But God would seek to fix it / God would seek to make it right

 

B) And in v.18a we are told that The Person who reconciles us to God is Jesus Christ, and the place where He reconciles us is His cross.

 

C) Thru his work on the Cross – Christ has made a way for Man & God to come together again : To be Reconciled

 

But Notice how Paul puts this in v.19a

A)God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself: Through the cross, God the Father was working IN & WITH God the Son, reconciling the world to Himself. 

 

B) The Father and the Son worked together on the cross.-At some point before Jesus died, before the veil was torn in two,

1)before Jesus cried out it is finished, an awesome spiritual transaction took place. 

 

C) The Father lay upon the Son all the guilt and wrath our sin deserved, and Jesus bore it in Himself perfectly, totally satisfying the wrath of God for us.

 1) The Father Punished His Beloved Son in order to save you & to save me!

 

D) At that Moment the Father became estranged & Alienated from His Son whom He had always been together w/ { My God …… Me }Sons perspective

1)   Ever lose your Child – Sick feeling inside – Fathers perspective – Broke his heart

 

E) On the cross, Jesus became, as it were, an enemy of God, who was judged and forced to drink the cup of the Father’s fury,

1) so we would not have to drink that cup.

 

This whole plan originated w/ them – The Son would die /the Father would Judge -

A) Even as Jesus was being punished as if He were a sinner, He was performing the most holy service unto God the Father ever offered. 

 

B) This is why Isa. would say, Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him{53:10

 

C) In and of itself, the suffering of the Son did not please the Father.  But as it accomplished the work of reconciling a lost world to Himself,

1) So in that sense it was completely pleasing to God the Father.

 

D) This is the Doctrine of Reconciliation – man was separated from God man was alienated from God – God did something about it

1)   The Father & the Son working together to make a way for RESTORATION TO take place

 

Which leads us to consider another Key doctrine mentioned in this section – The Doctrine of Imputation

A)v.19 Paul says – God did not impute our trespasses against us & in v.21 – he Paul declares

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

B) Imputation. is a word borrowed from banking; it simply means “to put to one’s account.”

1)   When you deposit money in the bank, the computer (or the clerk) puts that amount to your account, or to your credit.

 

C) When Jesus died on the cross, all of our sins were imputed to Him—put to His account.

1) He was treated by God as though He had actually committed those sins.

 

D) The result? For those who put their Faith in Christ:

1) All of those sins have been paid for and God no longer holds them against us, because we have trusted Christ as our Savior.

 

E) But even more: God has put to our account the very righteousness of Christ!

1) Imagine Prince & the Pauper [modern day terms] Pauper huge debt – Prince Enormous wealth – trade Places – { In a sense Jesus did w/ us

 

SO Reconciliation is based on imputation:

A)Because the demands of God’s holy Law have been fully met on the cross, God can be reconciled to sinners.

 

B) Those who believe on Jesus Christ as their Savior will never have their sins imputed against them again

1) As far as their records are concerned, they share the righteousness of JC

 

C) There is a lovely illustration of this truth in the little letter Paul wrote to his friend Philemon. Philemon’s slave, Onesimus ………

1)   Paul wrote the Letter to Philemon to encourage his friend to forgive Onesimus and receive him home.

 

D)“Receive him as myself,” wrote Paul & if he owes you anything  put that on my account”  Charge it to me

1) Paul was willing to pay the bill [have it added to his account]  so that Onesimus and Philemon could be reconciled.

This really is the Message of the Gospel : [the Good news of JC] Paul calls it in v.19b the Word of Reconciliation

A) Man can be reconciled to God – thru the work  JC

 

B) When a person places their faith in JC – their Sins are imputed to Christ - & His righteousness is imputed to you

1) There is finally a Way for men to be Right & to Feel Right – It is in being Reconciled to God

 

So the first thing we want to note is that the Ministry of Reconciliation originates w/ God & the work has been done by God

A)2nd thing to Note is that it is available to all – v.19 God was in Christ reconciling the world – Not the elect / not the chosen / not his favorites

 

B) Not The Jews / Not the Americans – No it says the world – John 3:16 For God so loved the World – {Mike Rozell – God so loved Lucy ….

 

C) So 2ndly – The Ministry is for the World at Large { The message from God is Reconciliation is Possible

 

3rd The Ministry Of Reconciliation has been committed to us

A)V.18 – Paul says that we have been given this ministry of Reconciliation

 

B) God has entrusted us w/ the Privilege of sharing this great Message that men can be Reconciled to God !!!!!

1) You can be reconciled to God – You can be made right w/ God

 

C) In v.20 Paul uses a very descriptive term– Ambassadors:

1) An Ambassador is one who serves in a foreign land as the representative of a King{ In our case this world is the foreign land{ Our King is Jesus

 

Now An ambassador does not speak to please his audience, but the King who sent him. 

A)An ambassador does not speak on his own authority; his own opinions or demands mean little. He simply says what he has been commissioned to say

B) But an ambassador is more than a messenger; he is also a representative, & the honor & reputation of his country are in his hands

 

 

Now In the Roman Empire, during the time that Paul was writing  there were 2 kinds of provinces: senatorial provinces and imperial provinces.

A)The senatorial provinces were made up of people who were peaceful and not at war with Rome. They had surrendered and submitted.

 

B) But the imperial provinces were not peaceful; they were dangerous because they would rebel against Rome if they could.

1)It was necessary for Rome to send ambassadors to the imperial provinces to make sure that rebellion did not break out.

 

C) Since Christians in this world are the ambassadors of Christ, this means that the world is in rebellion against God.

1)   This world is an “imperial province” as far as God is concerned.

 

D) But He has sent His ambassadors into the world to declare peace, not war. 1) To declare “Be  reconciled to God!”  And to Represent accurately Our King – Who loves lost sinners { Hates sin but loves the Sinner

 

Remember God has not declared war on the world; at the cross He declared peace.

A)Now one day, He will declare war; and then it will be too late for those who have rejected the Savior

 

B) And Satan is seeking to tear everything apart in this world, but Christ in & thru His church is involved in the ministry of reconciliation,

1)   bringing things back together again, and back to God.

 

C) Which explains the word of urgency Paul shares in v. 20  we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.

 

The word Pleading means Strongly urging – Petitioning / Begging / not taking no for an answer !!! Please be reconciled to God

A)Someone rejects your message / they are not rejecting you – they are rejecting Christ – Don’t give up to easily

 

B) OK YOU WANT TO GO TO HELL – FINE – GO THEN !!!

1) We move on – Don’t Pray – plead be persistent

 

C) We don't command them to be saved. We don't condemn them. We plead with them to turn and respond to a God of love."

 

What a Beautiful picture that Paul paints here of the almighty God pleading w/ Men – to turn from sin / turn to Him

A)The Creator & Sustainer of the Universe pleading with guilty men and women to turn and be forgiven.

 

B) Reminds me of the words of  Jesus in Matt 25:37 looking over the city of Jerusalem: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her Chicks under her wings, But you were not willing !!!

 

C) Listen is that the Story of your life today: Not saved – Has the God of Love & Grace been calling out to you { pleading w/ you – Come to me

1)   Be reconciled to me by surrendering  your heart to the work of my son

 

D) But you are not willing – [Sad day] – God’s heart Breaks

 

E) Or Christian in the mist of trials & difficulties – God has been calling Come unto me weary heavy laden – Rest –

1)   But you haven’t come – haven’t surrendered that area of trouble to the Lord – Submitted your heart – { Looking elsewhere for fulfillment

 

 

 

 

4th  and Final point – The Message involves a Voluntary acceptance

 A)How ? Two things are involved – Admitting & Embracing

 

B) Starts by admitting we are Wrong [ Sinners] which can be so hard for some people – FONZY  

 

C) Have you ever noticed how sensitive we are about whether people think we are right or not? Let somebody accuse you & what do you start doing?

1)   You start justifying yourself, don't you? And justifying is the word for righteousness in the Bible.

 

D) You start saying, "Well, I did it because of this," or, "Well, this is what I had in mind. I think I was right in doing that."

1)   We long to be right. Everybody does.

 

But if reconciliation is going to happen it starts w/ admitting that we are Not right that we are Wrong – that we have sinned

A)It starts by not making excuses for our actions but in taking responsibility for our actions

 

B) What is true of our relationship w/ God is also true in our Relationships w/ others – Reconciliation starts when we own up to our Sin !!!!

1) So it starts w/ an admission that we are Wrong

 

C) 2ndly It is obtained by embracing what God has done & what He is offering

1)We are not commanded to do the work of reconciliation between us and God. 

 

D) He has done the work; it is merely ours to embrace and receive. He doesn’t say Reconcile yourselves He says Be reconciled  “

1) Yield to the grasp of those hands which were nailed to the cross for you.”  (Spurgeon)

 

E) Give yourself to the one who wants to surround you w/ His Love