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From reconciliation to restoration

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The Beginning

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The word of God, the word of the LORD, spoke life into existence. God created humanity in his image, male and female he created them. God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and Adam’s bones rose from the dust of the earth and on that day humanity became a living being. God stepped back and looked all that he had made and declared that it was very good.
God placed Adam and his wife Eve in the Garden of Eden
God Placed Adam and his wife Eve in the garden of Eden and charged them to be caretakers of his creation. He told them they were free to eat from any tree in the garden except one, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve enjoyed a perfect relationship with God their creator. They enjoyed walking and talking with Him in the cool of the day. That relationship would be broken.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the animals the Lord God had made. Satan, the deceiver of the people, the father of lies entered God’s good creation and deceived Eve into eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He asked Eve didn’t God say you could eat of any tree in the garden? Eve gave into the temptation and ate the fruit, and she went to Adam and shared the forbidden fruit with him. Humanity fell and brought sin and death into God’s good creation. The relationship between God and humanity was broken and as a result Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden. Exiled from the land that the Lord their God had given them.
Adam and Eve were banished because they broke the one law rule God gave them. They broke the covenant that God had made with them and so they were exiled. God’s chosen people Israel have suffered a similar fate. They have been carried off into exile many times for breaking the covenant God had made with them. Ezekiel prophesies to the people during one of these times.
Like Israel, like Adam and Eve all of us fail to keep God’s covenant, the law. Because of this we all suffer broken relationships with God our Father. Thanks be to God for his love and mercy for us there is always a path to reconciliation and restoration. This is the path; hear the word of Lord and allow him to breathe life into you, and he will restore you to new life in his Kingdom, in his garden, when his sanctuary is within you. Hear the word of the LORD this morning be reconciled to God, that he may be our God, and we will be his people.

Israel’s Hope of Restoration

Ezekiel’s prophecy at the end of chapter 37 is what happens as a result of the prophecy in the beginning of the chapter. In part one of the prophecy we see dry broken scattered bones coming back to life. In part two we see a divided Kingdom of Israel given the promise of unity, of restoration to the land God had promised their ancestors. There was also the promise of restoration of the throne to the line of David.
Israel as a result of breaking God’s covenant and putting other God’s before him, the Nation of Israel was divided into two the Northern tribes of Joseph and Ephraim and the house of Judah. They are two sticks that use to be one stick and now they are broken and scattered because of their disobedience to God.
God commands Ezekiel to again deliver the word of the Lord to the people of Israel.
-The broken stick
-God’s sanctuary (dwelling place) among them forever 1 Corinthians 3:16
-Throne restored to David
-Israel is given hope of restoration, we are given hope of restoration
1 Peter 2:1-12

Our Hope and Joy

-The word made flesh
-Cross of Christ, two sticks
-reconciled to God through Christ sacrifice
-restored to new life in his Kingdom by the same spirit that rose Christ from the dead.
-He will be our God and we will be his people when his Spirit lives within us.

In the United States, businesses use millions of wood pallets each year to haul products. After a pallet has borne heavy, sometimes crushing weights and taken abuse from truck travel and forklifts, eventually it can no longer be used. Now cracked and smashed, or loose and floppy, pallets are something businesses must pay other companies up to five dollars per pallet to dispose of. Disposal companies burn the pallets, chew them into wood chips, or dump them in landfills.

One nonprofit company in New York had a better idea, writes Andrew Revkin in the New York Times. Big City Forest in South Bronx takes other companies’ junk and turns it into treasure. The raw material of pallets is valuable hardwoods like rosewood, cherry, oak, mahogany, and maple. Big City Forest workers dismantle the pallets, salvage the usable wood, and recycle it into furniture and flooring. Recycled wood chips are worth only $30 a ton. But when used as flooring the value of the recycled wood is $1,200 a ton, and as furniture $6,000 a ton.

If that is what can be done with lifeless wood, how much more can people be restored to lives of value. Like Big City Forest, God is in the business of restoration. He takes people that seem worthless, people broken by the weight of sin, and transforms them into works of beauty and usefulness.

The Kingdom of God!

As we rise to new and unending life through Jesus Christ our Lord we are reconciled to almighty God creator of heaven and earth who because of Christ’s shed blood we can boldly call our father. He is our God we are his people. God’s Spirit resides with us and in us. We are restored to right relationship with God and are part of the Kingdom of God that is here and now and we look forward to the Kingdom that is to come.
Revelation 21:1-7
Revelation 21:1–7 NIV
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
I ask you today have you been reconciled to God this morning? Can you cry out Oh God you are my God, and I will ever praise you this morning? I want to play a song in response to the message. Its called step by step by Rich Mullins. As the song plays I invite you to prayerfully reflect on what God is saying to you this morning. Perhaps you want to cry out for the first time today Oh God you are my God, God’s grace is here and available to you this morning. As we respond this morning perhaps God is calling you to come and pray at the altar. The altar is open, let us hear the word of the Lord this morning.
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