Summary: This sermon deals with reconciliation in terms of the truth that being really reconciled Reveals a problem, Restores a relationship and Relates to persons.
Randy felt like a vending machine. Anyone wanting something could pull an invisible lever and get it. On the job, at home, in church or during leisure time Randy was continually being called upon to carry other people’s responsibility. And Randy deeply resented those people who by demanding so much time from him – left little time for himself. Yet, he just couldn’t say no. He longed for the approval of others and believed that by agreeing to their every wish, he would win that approval.
Many of us are a lot like Randy. We spend much of our time building relationships, striving to please people and win their approval. Yet, after all our sincere effort, it takes only one unappreciative word from somebody to ruin our sense of self-worth. How quickly an insensitive word can destroy the self-assurance we’ve worked so hard to achieve! Then, arrives anger and alienation, separation and hostility.
But you see, reconciliation reverses those attitudes of mind. By the blood of Jesus you are approved by God Paul says in Colossians 1:20-23. You’re unconditionally accepted because there are two things implied in the verb “to reconcile.” First it indicates there was a previous state of estrangement, separation, alienation or hostility. However, the work of being changed thoroughly or completely from enmity to friendship is done by Jesus Christ. Therefore, being really reconciled means that although you were at one time hostile toward God and alienated from Him, you are now forgiven and have been brought into an intimate relationship with Him. Consequently, you’re totally accepted by Him.
However, the world we live in is filled with people who demand that we please them in exchange for their approval and acceptance. Those demands lead us directly to another deception of Satan – “I must be approved by certain others to feel good about myself.” We’re snared by this lie in so many subtle ways. Believing it, causes us to give in to peer pressure to gain approval or we join organizations to find a placeof acceptance or we identify with certain social groups believing that being with others like ourselves will assure our acceptance and their approval. That’s not being really reconciled! Being really reconciled: Reveals A Problem, Restores A Relationship and Relates To Persons.
I. Being Really Reconciled Reveals a Problem
One assumption in reconciliation is that there was a previous state of estrangement, separation or alienation between God and man. Because of sin, man is born alienated from God. And he becomes ever so hostile in his mind toward God. Then he acts it out in rejection of God and other people.
Virtually all of us fear rejection. We can fall prey to it even when we’ve learned to harden our defenses in anticipation of someone’s disapproval. Neither being defensive nor trying to please another person’s every whim is the answer to this problem – reconciliation is!
You see, rejection is a kind of communication. It conveys a message that someone is unsatisfactory to us; that they don’t measure up to a standard we’ve set. Sometimes, rejection is willfully used as an act of manipulation designed to control someone else. Usually, rejection is manifested by an outburst of anger, a disgusted look, an impatient answer or a social snub. Whatever the form of behavior, it communicates disrespect, low value and lack of appreciation. Nothing hurts quite like the message of rejection. That’s why I say “Being Really Reconciled” Reveals A Problem. Secondly:
II. Being Really Reconciled Restores A Relationship
We need to be restored to a right relationship with God because of sin and our fear of separation, alienation and rejection will control us to the degree that we base our self-worth on the opinion of others rather than our relationship with God. In Galatians 1:10 Paul clearly draws th line concerning our search for approval. “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Here he says, we can ultimately seek either the approval of men or God as the basis of our self-worth. You cannot seek both.
God’s solution to the fear of rejection is based on Christ’s sacrificial payment for our sins which is the basis of reconciliation. In Him we find forgiveness, reconciliation and total acceptance. God took our sins and cancelled them by nailing them to Christ’s cross. In this way, God also took away Satan’s power to condemn us for sin.
So you see, nothing you will ever do can nullify your reconciliation to God and make you unacceptable to God! Reconciliation means essentially to change thoroughly or completely and this has been done by God through Christ. Your unconditional acceptance in Christ is a profound, life-changing truth. Because of reconciliation you’re completely acceptable to God and you’re completely accepted by God. Thirdly: