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7 Things Churches Do: Penance

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Last Series Recap

Last Series -Exalt, Encourage, Equip, Evangelize
Goal of this series it to take those things and build on them. To take who we already are through Christ on the inside and bring it into tangible things that we can do on the outside.

I want to start by saying this is not a message on how to evangelize. This series talks about things Christians do. I title this series, “7 Things Churches Do,” but by extension if we are part of the Church, it is things that we do. There is a good chance that as we go through this description, we might take a look at our lives and wince a little, but my job here is not to change your behavior, my job is to give you a message of reconciliation. That is, if you find you are at odds with what His word says, the message is the same… His way is the way. It’s the only way. By ourselves we can’t get there but through Christ we are given a path to reconciliation.

Today from we will discuss being an ambassador of reconciliation for Him.

why we do it
how we do it.
And opportunity to commit to His plan.

Sidetracked

When putting any message together One of the things I do is spend a considerable amount of time studying to make sure that the passage I am preaching from is in context. To put it plainly, I want to preach what the passage is teaching.
Why do I bring that up? Two reasons:
There are incredible verses in here about the incredible things God did for us that are very difficult to ignore.
When I look at how many preachers have handled this passage, they focus on those incredible verses rather than the main point of the passage.

Today we are going to talk about this fun thing that some denominations call Penance.

We are going to talk about what it is.
We are going to talk about those incredible verses placed in the middle of this short passage and have an opportunity to respond to them.
Then we will discuss the main point of this passage and get some practical insight on what we “do.”

Penance- the thing we do.

Some definitions:

Penance
voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong.
voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong.
Repentance
Repentance
to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life
the act of turning from sin and dedicating oneself to the amendment of one's life.
As a Christian we have this incredible priviledge to operate as ambassadors for Him and provide opportunity for those who don’t know Him or those who are given

Doesn’t That Sound Fun

Sometime our Christianese sound like a different language than the one we speak today. Penance is like that. Hardly anyone uses that word anymore. So what I do sometimes is I take a look at a Thesaurus for help to describe it better. So when I looked up the word “penance” at some point my eyes fell to the antonyms. There were 2… HAPPINESS and JOY. By extension what that tells me is the talking about penance and repentance will automatically bring about a feeling of sorrow.
On top of that I am trying to tell you that talking to people about repenting and penance is the thing we are supposed to do as a person of the church.

Before We Get Started

In case I get lost I want to proclaim to you the main point of the passage.
2 Corinthians 5:18–19 ESV
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
2 co 518
The personality of the letter One of the marks of 2 Corinthians is the personal way it was written. It actually makes the book a challenge because this is more of a personal letter rather than a well thought out dissertation on a particular topic. It’s not easy to put an outline to it
If there is a main point, it is to describe and defend his ministry and ministry in general. Which brings us to the word “US.” Paul, when describing ministry is not saying “me,” that is he is joining himself , as part of a team, to every believer both in Corinth, and throughout eternity to the spot on that pew that you are sitting on.

Addressing the side bars

The incredible truths in this passage.
The Therefore is therefore
2 Corinthians 5:1–10 ESV
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
2 co 5
Our physical form is a tent that houses who we really are.
We groan to put on a heavenly dwelling.
When He says we, he really means all.
We were all created to reflect the image of God, to be a picture of who his is… yes even unbelievers
However, we (globally) aren’t all going to make it. As it says in verse 10, there will be a judgement, and our eternal judgment is dependent upon what we do in this body - good or evil.
Christ died for all
2 Corinthians 5:14 ESV
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;
2 Corinthians 5:14–15 ESV
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
2 co 5
Your life before Christ was strapped to sin. We know that Romans tell us that the wages of our sin (all of them big or small) is death… and eternal death. Without the proper sacrifice there was not hope for us.. But Christ died for all.... so that we could be different. Reconciled to Him.
We are changed.
We are changed.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Ro 5:17
This is one of the great freedom verses. Can I tell you that when I here about the horrible things that are done in the world, I am not surprised? If a person is not in Christ, they are bound to their nature. That means, they are led by their sin rather than the other way around. In addition to that they are bound to the results of that. The answer to all addictions problems and sin issues is on thing Christ. And He has set you free. I’ll say it again. He has set you FREE! Because of what He did for us, you don’t have to live that way anymore.
Our sins are separated from us..
2 Corinthians 5:19 ESV
that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
Our sins are not longer counted against us.
Psalm 103:12 ESV
as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
ps 103
East and West vs North and South
Because He was perfect.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
He was made sin
Because of that we might become the rightousness of God
Our righteousness vs His righteousness
You get to decide now.
2 Corinthians 6:1–2 ESV
Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
2 co 6
Maybe we have taken His grace in vain. BUT
Now is the favorable time, now is the day.
Give Opportunity

To the Point of the Passage

Because of everything we just went through, we have an assignment. Follow this quickly.

We Persuade People

2 Corinthians 5:11 ESV
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.
Knowing the fear of the Lord
There is a judgment coming. There is no way around it. The people around you will be judged for what they do in the body they have on Earth.
Just like you weren’t righteous and were bound to your sins (and the results of that sin) so are they.

It’s Out of Love

2 Corinthians 4:14 ESV
knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.
2 Corinthians 5:14 ESV
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;
2 co
Our delivering the message comes out of Christ’s Love
That is our love for Him and a desire to please Him
and more likely Hid love for others is placed in us that passionately want to rescue those that need it so desperately.
If, by chance, the love you have for those that need rescue is insufficient to cause you to deliver the message, that’s where we need to pray. Because that’s where the message starts… Christ’s love.

The Message of Reconciliation

That message is everything we talked about earlier, you do not have to be bound to your sin and it’s results. You can walk with the author of all joy, all peace, all power, all wisdom,..... for every one in Him is a new creation.
This is a great honor. God takes broken vessels (you and I) to carry the message to other broken vessels, to rescue Him.

A word about ambassadorship.

An easy pitfall for people to fall into is that they want to address the horrible sins people are committing 1st. That is not our job. I believe abortion is horrible. I believe that law they just passed is horrible. However, the way to make abortion stop is to give people the message of reconciliation.
As His ambassador we represent Him. The best way to do that is to act like Him and deliver His message. Not ours. Not our political agenda. Not our moral opinions about various do’s and don’ts. His message.. which is...
If any one is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. — Our best righteousness (which falls way short) is exchanged for His righteousness)
So often we get the cart before the horse. We want to fix a thing before we approach God, when in fact the best way to fix a thing is to approach God.

Another word about penance

In some denominations penance means you go to some guy and sit in a booth, on the other side of the booth with a screen for anonymity is a man that you confess your sins to. In order to be absolved of your sins this man tells you some things you need to do in order to be forgiven. Those things you are to do are your penance that you do as an act of repentance.
I don’t believe the Bible teaches us that. It does teach us the when we sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. () and it doesn’t describe a mediator in the form of a man that must be present. The mediator has done everything necessary for us to be reconciled to God.

HOWEVER....

James 5:16 ESV
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
There is something very healthy about finding another person to help you. But, it doesn’t have to be me. And whoever you choose is not the one who forgives. But, they might be able to help you by praying for you, pointing the way to Christ.

The way to appear cheery.

2 Corinthians 5:11 ESV
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.
Paul when writing this to the Corinthians was concerned with the idea that they might thing he was bragging about what he gets to do. In fact, he wasn’t simply bragging about his awesome assignment. Instead he was expressing that it is the sincerity of his heart rather than having some spectacular ministry.
2 Corinthians 5:12 ESV
We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart.
2 co 5:
He then addresses the idea that it might seem crazy that he would brag about the task.
2 Corinthians 5:13 NIV
If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.
2 co
It makes us seem a little crazy
We are poking a bear with a stick
The fear of losing friends and being shunned by them and family members is very real and can really happen
All of that is because the old man in us alway wants us to be afraid.
Now the good stuff.
Pr
2 Corinthians 5:1 ESV
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 co
2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
Our providing the message is not so much a duty as it is a compulsion.
2 Corinthians 5:14 ESV
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;
2 co 5:
2 Corinthians 5:14–15 ESV
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
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