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Reconciled To God in the Cross

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THE CROSS - THE PLACE OF RECONCILIATION
TEXT:
INTRODUCTION:
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AS WE APPROACH EASTER, OUR THOUGHTS TURN TOWARD THE VICTORY THAT WE FIND IN THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST.
BUT BEFORE THE RESURRECTION, THERE WAS THE CROSS.
THE CROSS IS ONE OF THE CENTRAL THEMES OF OUR FAITH.
TO DIMINISH THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CROSS IS TO DIMINISH THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SUBSTITUTIONARY SACRIFICE OF JESUS CHRIST.
A COMPOSER ONCE WROTE, "I SHOULD HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED, I'M THE ONE WHO SHOULD HAVE SUFFERED, BLED, AND DIED, I SHOULD HAVE HUNG ON THE CROSS IN DISGRACE, BUT JESUS, GOD'S SON, TOOK MY PLACE.
THE APOSTLE PAUL RECORDED IT THIS WAY, "IN CHRIST, GOD WAS RECONCILING THE WORLD TO HIMSELF,” AND, “HE MADE THE ONE WHO DID NOT KNOW SIN TO BE SIN FOR US, SO THAT WE MIGHT BECOME THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM.”
THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS IS OFTEN DEPICTED WITH A SERENE, PLEASANT-FACED JESUS HANGING IN A VERY FLATTERING POSE.
BUT THERE ARE TWO PROBLEMS WITH THAT.
THE FIRST IS WITH THE SYMBOL ITSELF. IT’S OFTEN SEEN LIKE THIS ON NECKLACES AND WALL HANGINGS.
BUT HERE’S THE PROBLEM. MY JESUS IS NOT ON THE CROSS.
THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT THE CROSS IS NOT THE END, AND THAT WHEN JESUS WAS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS, THE STORY OF REDEMPTION WAS NOT COMPLETE, BECAUSE THE MESSAGE OF REDEMPTION INCLUDES THE HOPE OF EVERLASTING LIFE, WHICH COMES FROM THE FACT THAT JESUS WAS RAISED ON THE THRID DAY.
THE SECOND ISSUE WITH THIS SORT OF DEPICTION IS THAT THE CROSS WAS A BRUTAL FORM OF PUNISHMENT.
TO THE ROMAN SOLDIERS THAT TOOK PART IN IT, IT WAS A FORM OF ENTERTAINMENT. IT WAS LIKE A SPORT.
THE CROSS CANNOT BE GLAMORIZED.
THERE IS NO WAY TO MAKE IT A PRETTY SIGHT.
A BRUTAL, BLOODY EXECUTION TOOK PLACE THERE.
AND SO WE HAVE THE CROSS.
BUT WHY? WHY THE CROSS.
WELL, THE ANSWER IS FOUND IN THE SCRIPTURE PASSAGE WE JUST READ.
“IN CHRIST GOD WAS RECONCILING THE WORLD TO HIMSELF.”
WHAT WE FIND WHEN WE ENCOUNTER THE CROSS IS THAT THROUGH THE DEATH OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS, GOD MADE A WAY FOR ANYONE WHO WOULD PUT THEIR FAITH IN CHRIST TO BE RECONCILED TO HIM.
THE CROSS IS A PLACE OF RECONCILIATION.
THERE ARE 4 QUESTIONS I WANT YOU TO THINK ABOUT IN THE TEXT THIS MORNING. HERE IS THE FIRST…
I. WHO WAS ON THE CROSS?
a. THE BIBLE MAKES IT CLEAR THAT GOD WAS.
b. "IN CHRIST GOD WAS RECONCILING THE WORLD TO HIMSELF."
c. A MAN WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND THE CROSS UNTIL HE UNDERSTANDS WHO IT WAS THAT DIED THERE.
d. JESUS WAS NO ORDINARY MAN.
i. IN ALL OF HISTORY, THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANOTHER LIKE HIM.
e. HAD YOU KNOWN HIM PERSONALLY, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN OBVIOUS THAT HE WAS A MAN.
f. HE HUNGERED, HE THIRSTED, AND HIS BODY NEEDED REST.
g. MEN CAN VISIT HIS PLACE OF BIRTH; I’VE BEEN THERE MYSELF.
h. HE OPENLY CONFESSED HIS MOTHER AND ACKNOWLEDGED HIS BROTHERS AND SISTERS.
i. HE WAS TRULY AND COMPLETELY A MAN.
j. YET, IT WAS EQUALLY OBVIOUS THAT HE WAS MORE THAN JUST A MAN.
k. NICODEMUS RECOGNIZED THIS SAYING, "RABBI, WE KNOW THAT YOU ARE A TEACHER COME FROM GOD, FOR NO ONE CAN DO THESE SIGNS THAT YOU DO UNLESS GOD IS WITH HIM.”
l. PHILOSOPHERS TELL US THAT JESUS WAS THE BEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED.
m.BUT UNDERSTAND, HE WAS NOT JUST A MAN, EVEN THE BEST OF MEN.
i. THE BIBLE SAYS, "IN CHRIST, GOD WAS RECONCILING THE WORLD TO HIMSELF."
ii. JESUS WAS GOD MANIFEST IN THE FLESH.
n. JESUS WAS NOT SIMPLY A MAN OF GOD, BUT GOD WHO BECAME MAN.
i. PETER’S CONFESSION OF CHRIST IS THE MOST ACCURATE IN ALL OF SCRIPTURE.
1. IN , THE BIBLE SAYS THAT PETER, RESPONDING TO JESUS’ QUESTION ABOUT WHO HE IS, SAID THIS, “YOU ARE THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.”
o. THIS MEANS THAT JESUS WAS THE ETERNAL, OMNIPOTENT, HOLY GOD; CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH AND ALL THINGS.
p. THEN WHAT WAS HE DOING ON THE CROSS? WHY WAS HE THERE?
q. THAT’S THE SECOND THING I WANT YOU TO NOTICE.
II. WHY WAS JESUS ON THE CROSS?
a. BECAUSE HE WAS "RECONCILING THE WORLD UNTO HIMSELF, “NOT COUNTING THEIR TRESPASSES AGAINST THEM.”
b. CHRIST WAS ON THE CROSS BECAUSE MAN WAS UNDER THE CONDEMNATION OF SIN.
i. IN VERSE 17, PAUL DECLARED THAT WHEN A MAN IS IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE - A SAINT, A HEAVEN BORN SON OF GOD.
c. SO APART FROM CHRIST, MAN IS A SINNER.
i. MAN IS CONCEIVED IN SIN - WHICH MEANS EVERY PERSON INHERITS A SINFUL NATURE FROM HIS PARENTS THAT POISONS EVERY PART OF HIS BEING.
d. TELLS US THAT MAN IS CONDEMNED IN SIN.
e. IN , PAUL WRITES THAT ALL HAVE SINNED.
f. IN 5:18, HE WRITES THAT ALL ARE UNDER CONDEMNATION.
i. AND IN AN UNREDEEMED STATE, ALL MEN ARE GUILTY BEFORE GOD.
g. PEOPLE WANT TO ATTEND A CHURCH WHERE SIN IS NEVER SPOKEN OF AND THE SINFUL ACTIONS OF PEOPLE ARE MINIMIZED, BUT YOU CANNOT DO THAT AND PREACH THE CROSS OF CHRIST.
h. AT SOME POINT, YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE QUESTION OF WHY CHRIST WAS ON THE CROSS. AND THERE IS JUST ONE ANSWER.
i. JESUS DIED ON THE CROSS SO YOU AND I WOULDN'T HAVE TO.
j. DID YOU SEE THE STATEMENT IN VERSE 19, NOT COUNTING THEIR TRESPASSES UNTO THEM?
k. THE SIMPLE FACT IS THAT ALL HAVE SINNED, ALL ARE UNDER CONDEMNATION, AND ALL DESERVE TO DIE.
i. WE DESERVE THE CROSS - AND MUCH WORSE!
l. GOD COULD REENACT CALVARY A THOUSAND BILLION TIMES OVER, A CROSS FOR EVERY MAN AND WOMAN SINCE ADAM AND EVE, AND BE JUST IN DOING SO.
i. BUT INSTEAD OF CHARGING US WITH OUR OWN SIN, GOD LAID THEM ALL UPON HIS SON.
m.CHRIST, BECAUSE HE LOVES US, TOOK YOUR SIN AND MINE AND MADE THEM HIS VERY OWN.
n. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MY HANDS NAILED TO THE CROSS.
o. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MY BLOOD THAT WAS SHED AT CALVARY.
p. BUT JESUS TOOK MY PLACE. HE DIED SO THAT I WOULDN'T HAVE TO.
III. BUT WHAT DID HE ACCOMPLISH?
a. WELL, HIS ACCOMPLISHMENT IS THAT WE'VE BEEN RECONCILED TO GOD.
b. IN VERSE 17, PAUL WRITES THAT ALL THINGS HAVE BECOME NEW.
c. THAT IS THE MEANING OF RECONCILIATION.
d. IT IS SPEAKING OF ONE’S RELATIONSHIP TO GOD.
e. WE WERE SINNERS, NOW WE ARE SONS AND DAUGHTERS.
f. WE WERE CONDEMNED, NOW WE ARE JUSTIFIED.
g. WE WERE ENEMIES, NOW WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.
h. AND RECONCILIATION GOES BEYOND FORGIVENESS.
i. YOU CAN FORGIVE SOMEONE WITHOUT BEING RECONCILED TO THAT PERSON.
ii. YOU MAY PUT AWAY THE OFFENSE, BUT NOT RESTORE THE RELATIONSHIP.
iii. AND GOD HAS DONE BOTH.
iv. HE HAS NOT ONLY PUT AWAY OUR PAST DEBT OF SIN, BUT HE HAS ALSO BROUGHT US INTO HIS FAMILY.
v. HE HAS PREPARED A PLACE FOR US IN HIS HEAVEN, AND PROMISED THAT WE WILL BE WITH HIM FOR ALL ETERNITY.
vi. WE'VE BEEN MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD.
vii. GOD TOOK MY SINS, AND CHARGED THEM TO CHRIST'S ACCOUNT.
viii. IN RETURN, HE TAKES CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PLACES IT TO MY ACCOUNT.
ix. THAT IS THE BASIS OF OUR NEW RELATIONSHIP TO GOD.
x. GOD CAN NOW FELLOWSHIP WITH US BECAUSE, IN CHRIST, WE ARE AS RIGHTEOUS AS HE IS.
xi. ALL OUR SINS, PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE HAVE BEEN PAID FOR BY JESUS' DEATH.
xii. THEY ARE NO LONGER ON GOD'S RECORD BOOKS.
xiii. INSTEAD, WHEN GOD LOOKS AT MY ACCOUNT, HE FINDS ME TO BE AS RIGHTEOUS AS HIS SON.
xiv. GOD MADE HIM TO BE SIN FOR US SO THAT WE COULD BE MADE THE VERY RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD.
xv. YOU ARE A NEW CREATURE - A SAINT - IN AN OLD BODY OF FLESH.
xvi. AND ONE DAY, MY RIGHTEOUS BEING WILL RECEIVE A RIGHTEOUS BODY LIKE THE ONE THAT JESUS WEARS TODAY.
xvii. WE WILL BE LIKE HIM … BECAUSE OF CALVARY.
xviii. BECAUSE OF THE CROSS.
xix. NOW WE COME TO THE LAST QUESTION. WHAT DOES GOD EXPECT US TO DO WITH THESE FACTS?
IV. WHAT DOES GOD EXPECT US TO DO?
a. BE RECONCILED TO GOD (20B)
i. IF YOU’VE NOT ALREADY DONE SO, YOU CAN BE RECONCILED TO GOD:
1. BY AGREEING WITH THE SCRIPTURE THAT YOU ARE A SINNER.
2. BY BELIEVING THAT CHRIST DIED IN YOUR PLACE, TO PAY YOUR SIN DEBT.
3. AND BY CHOOSING TODAY TO ACCEPT CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR.
V. AND THEN BE AN AMBASSADOR FOR CHRIST.
a. MAKE IT YOUR BUSINESS TO SPEAK TO OTHERS ON BEHALF OF THE SAVIOR, ENCOURAGING THEM TO BE RECONCILED TO GOD.
CONCLUSION:
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