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A Believer's Message of Reconcillation

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Good Morning (Evening),

For those of you who didn’t know, I’m not Edwin.  I know, I know, we are very similar but he is on vacation in Oregon and I have the privilege to speak to you today.  I’m Aaron Giesler, the youth pastor here.  I’ve been jokingly telling everyone that I’m the 4th string guy around here.  I once heard Tom Osborne talk about the time when put his 4th string QB in.  He was the punter.  The other 3 guys were injured and they were up by 14 points starting their drive from their own 1 yd line.  He told the punter I want you to run the FB dive 3 times and then punt the ball.  Don’t fumble it and don’t let them get a safety.  The first play he handed it to the FB and he ran for 45 yards.  The second play the FB took it 24 yards.  He gained 29 yards on the 3rd play.  So on 1st and goal from the opponents 1 yd line the coach remember what he told the QB.  He tried desperately to send a different play in to the QB but before he could they were lined up in punt formation and you can guess what happened. 

So, I will try not to punt this one away on 1st and Goal. 

I joke around and say that I’m the 4th string pastor but that’s not a bad thing.  B/c I preach with the indwelling of the Spirit, the authority of the Scriptures, the strength from the Lord Jesus, and the protection of the Father.  In God’s Kingdom even the 20th string QB is able to make that TD pass. 

1. You have already turned in your Bible’s to 2 Corinthians 5:18 so let’s take a look at this “new ministry” Paul talks about.  This new ministry is based on our NEW POSITION in Christ.  Paul is talking in previous verses about the comprehensive change that happens in the life of the believer.  Wholesale changes happened when you and I became a believer.  We were dead according to Eph 2.  We were lost but we have been found according to the parables in the gospels.  And now, in 2 cor. 5 Paul tells us that we are totally new.  Not only new but new and improved.  The new is fresh and untouched, untainted, and far superior to the old.  And that is what you and I are.  We are new creations in Christ.  Far superior to what we were.  And in 5:18 Paul says that whole process of becoming new is “from God.”  Much like the prodigal son, we came hat in hand and threw ourselves at the mercy of our creator.  But instead of condemning us he made us new.  Before we were enemies of God, we believed the lie that satan told us.  We were children of satan and thought that God was out to get us or wrong us in some way. 

Like the prodigal son’s father God saw us coming from afar off and ran to us.  No penance was required.  We didn’t have to make up for the wrong we had done, nor did we have to attempt to undo the evil and shame we had done to God.  None of that was required.  Instead, God did all the work.  He sent his son to reconcile us to him. 

What does it mean to be reconciled?

Reconcile means to restore a relationship to harmony.  And that is what Christ did for us. We become new and superior to the old self.  And part of that new creation is the ministry of reconciliation.  Like with a new job, or title, this ministry is one of our responsibilities.  It’s part of the “good works” our Lord has prepared for us.  In fact, the word for ministry here is the same word for service. He has given us the service of reconciliation.  This is the same root word for the English word for Deacons.  This is down and dirty, hands on serving.  Service involves meeting people where they are and doing whatever it takes to meet their needs.  This verse reminds us that our new position is one of a servant.  The first shall be last and last shall be first in God’s new order of creation.  Therefore, we are called to serve others so they might be reconciled to God.  Can you remember someone who met your needs and earned the right to share the gospel with you? That person who you could call anytime who showed you what it was like to serve and helped you understand your need to be reconciled to God.  Christ served us so we should serve others. We are called to be that person because of our new position.

Therefore, we are called to the ministry of reconciliation because of what God did for us. 

2. We have the Ministry of reconciliation and next Paul gives us the Message of Reconciliation.

And in case you are a little dense like I am Paul goes on to explain a little further about what this ministry involves.  “In other words…”  Okay so God used Christ to reconcile us to him, now he uses us to help reconcile others to himself. 

In 2000 a film called Pay It Forward came out about a kid who was trying to change the world by being nice.  The idea is that you do something nice for someone but when they try to repay you you simply tell them to do something nice for someone else in need.  This is what God is doing.  He is telling us to pay it forward.  While we were dead in our trespasses and sin Christ died for us and it is through him that we are made alive and whole.  Now, when we think about what Christ has done for us it makes us want to do something nice for him.  The catch is God does not need anything or want anything you could give him.  What could you give God that he does not already have?  I know that toaster is nice… but he could just move his toast a little closer to the sun if he really wanted toast. 

He doesn’t want it.  He wants us to pay it forward.  You and I have been blessed by a great and magnificent gift and now we are to give it away.  We have a message.  A message for people that says, “You don’t have to be condemned for your sins.”  “He doesn’t hold them against you!”  This is the WORD or message, or logos in Greek, of reconciliation.  And God has entrusted this message to us. 

He did not entrust it to Angels.  He did not say only prophets, apostles, or pastors have this message.  NO!  He says that since you are a new creation you have everything you need to testify to the lost world about the wonderful works of Jesus Christ. 

You are an expert on the forgiveness of Christ.  Sure you might not understand everything about the doctrine of forgiveness or be able to name the different views of justification.  But that is not what is important.  You are an expert b/c you have witnessed it first hand and know that it really works.  Testimonials work.  Think about every infomercial you’ve ever seen.  There are ALWAYS testimonials.  They are not from experts in the fields but regular guys and gals who have used the product and can attest that the claims are true. 

The guy comes on the TV and says how much he used to weigh and that by following a few simple steps he is now in the best shape of his life.  The lady comes on and talks about how slicing vegetables used to cut her hands up and be such a hassle.  But now with the super slicer 3000 it’s so easy. 

These people may not know the science behind the diet or the name of the space age polymer that makes the super slicer 3000 indestructible but they have used it and it works.  You and I don’t know how God put our sins on Christ.  We don’t understand what about God’s judgment makes this possible.  All we know is that it works. 

Much like when your friend offers you some food that is made from ingredients that don’t sound like they go well.  They offer it and exclaim, it shouldn’t taste good but it certainly does.  Likewise, we can tell the lost world, “I don’t know why or how this works but it does.  Christ simply does away with your sin!  I’ve done it and it works.” 

This is our message, “Christ doesn’t hold your sins against you.”

We have our Ministry of Reconciliation, our Message of Reconciliation, now verses 20-21 give us the Mode of our Reconciliation.

Let’s look at those verses. 

3. We find our role in Kingdom of God not as spectators, or simply beneficiaries.  Instead, we are ambassadors for the kingdom.  In the first century as today an ambassador is a diplomat of the highest rank sent to live as a resident representative of the sending country.

This is a picture of a 1st century ambassador but also a picture of us. 

We were once part of the world, but when we passed from death to life we became citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.  We are now foreigners and sojourners in this world.  But we live here as the representative of the Living God.  We don’t act on our own authority, rather the authority of the ONE who sent us. Ambassadors plead the case to the country where they live on behalf of their sending country.  Another function of a first century ambassador is that they were sent as sign of goodwill to “establish a good relationship or RE-establish a relationship with another country.”  Is this not a great picture?  We are Christ’s ambassadors.

We are not spies or peace-keepers, or rulers, etc… We don’t serve in the army of this world.  We really do not have a controlling interest in this world except to redeem it.

We live in this land that is not our home.  We have authority based on the Christ’s authority.  We plead the case of our King to the citizens of this world.  All the while, we are trying to reestablish the relationship between people and God. 

And God is pleading with the world through you and me, begging them to be reconciled to God.  And then he gives the recap of the Gospel message. God sent his sinless son to be sin for us so that we might be the righteousness of God. 

Let me just encourage you to be an serve the lost, earn the right to speak to them the message of reconciliation, and always understand that you are an ambassador in Christ. 

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