Summary: our ministry is based on the work of the cross
Intro: if you have ever done any counseling where there are two parties that have conflict with each other, it is a great joy when you can help reconcile the differences and re-unite the two in right relationship. A ministry of restoration and reconciliation is not just the call for counselors, but every believer has been given the opportunity as an Ambassador of Jesus Christ, to reconcile sinners back to God. Tonight, let’s look at this wonderful opportunity we have in the ministry of reconciliation.
MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION
Paul sees the work of Jesus Christ on the cross as a mandate for all believers to share this good news. He defines it as a ministry of reconciliation. We have the call to share Christ where people who are the enemies of God, can now through Christ be made the friends of God through Jesus.
I. Knowing the Consequences—v.11 we persuade men out of the knowledge we possess of the terror of the Lord. We realize even though hell is an outdated message to some, that it is still a relevant message for the sinner. We persuade men to surrender to Jesus Christ because we don’t want them to face an eternal separation from God.
II. Love Compels Us—(constrains) v.14 we share Christ out of a two-fold love that we have in our hearts. First we share Christ out of a love for Him and His wonderful work on the cross. We share it took amazing grace to save us, and because He loved us so much, we share His gospel with others.
But not only our love of Christ, but His love for the lost, compels us to share the message. Because it is His desire that none should perish we preach the good news. Because He desires that all would come to repentance, we carry His message into the highways and byways.
III. Convinced of the Work of Calvary—v.14-15
This ministry of reconciliation is birthed out of our conviction that Jesus died for all. He died for the entire world, God sent His Son, God gave His Son, that through His death we might have life everlasting. We share the message that just as we identify with His Death, since He is alive forevermore, we identify with His life. This message of reconciliation is that as through one man all sinned, through one man Jesus Christ, we are all made righteous.
IV. The Blessed Opportunity—v.17 probably one of the greatest verses in all of scripture. This ministry of reconciliation shares that even though your past is one of separation from God, your new life in Christ is one of reunion with God. Your old life of the flesh is dead, and your new life in Christ, is a life of Spirit. You no longer walk around with guilt and condemnation, but you walk in the righteousness or right standing with God.
V. The New Standing—v.18-19 God was in Christ and reconciled the world to Him through Christ. Jesus took our sins, the sin bearer, carried them to Calvary, bore our suffering and shame, and presented it to the Father. We are now accepted in the beloved. No greater love has any man than this, than that he would lay down his life for his friends. God commended His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
VI. Our Ministry and Mission—v.20-21 Ambassadors for Christ- we don’t see ourselves as just church folks, members or weekend warriors. We see ourselves as constantly on the mission field. Everywhere we go we have this treasure in earthen vessels. You don’t have to go to the other side of the world, but across the street, on the jobsite, at school or anywhere you have the opportunity to share the message of salvation. Freely you have received, freely give.
Close: it is such a joy to see someone who you helped in a marital struggle doing well years later. Imagine how much joy there will be in heaven when you see someone who you reconciled to God through the message of Jesus Christ. The ministry of reconciliation isn’t reserved for just a select few, we all are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, that we might show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into His glorious light.