Summary: In this sermon I talk about our need for reconcilation with God and how God made that possible for us.
When you have a problem or disagreement with someone how do you normally respond? What do you do to try and make right a relationship gone badly? Do you use the Hatfield and McCoy method and duke it out until there’s only one person standing? Do you just let it go? Do you turn to people you trust and have them help you solve the problem? Or do you just mark it down as an irreconcilable difference and move on? Do you wait for the other person to do something about it? Those of you who have had experience wronging someone else…isn’t it so good to hear that person we have hurt say the words “I forgive you” after we’ve said we were sorry. Isn’t it like a weight being lifted off your shoulders? You know there are a lot of people in our world who need to hear those three words. They need to know that their wrongs aren’t counted against them. There are countries who need to say, “I forgive you” to their neighbors. There are ethnic groups who need to say, “I forgive you” to other ethnic groups. There are daughters who need to hear the words “I forgive you” from their fathers. Wives their husbands, sons their mothers, etc. And finally there are so many who need to hear God say to them, “I forgive you.” And yet that is exactly what God wants to say to all of us tonight.
Let’s read our text today: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (NIV)
Tonight I want to talk about reconciliation. Reconciliation means to settle or resolve. It means a state of hostility has been brought to an end. To be brought to a state of harmony. To bring two opposing parties back into fellowship.
The first thing we must deal with when it comes to reconciliation is that fact that all of us in here need it! We’ve all experienced situations where reconciliation was needed. For instance, growing up with two older brothers was quite a challenge. Especially when you all had to sleep in the same bedroom. We were at odds all the time. I’m surprised we are as close as we are now. We must all understand though that every person in here and on this planet stands in need of being reconciled to God. We stand in need of that because we are all guilty of sin. As a matter of fact the scripture clearly calls those who are not his children as his enemies. Let’s look at some scripture:
21This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies and hated him and were separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends. Colossians 1:21 (NLT)
Do you want to know how to be an enemy of God? James 4:4 give us the answer:
4You are like an unfaithful wife who loves her husband’s enemies. Don’t you realize that making friends with God’s enemies—the evil pleasures of this world—makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy the evil pleasure of the unsaved world, you cannot also be a friend of God. James 4:4 (NLT)
How do we become an enemy with God? Form alliances with the wrong people! Now this goes far beyond the kind of people you hang out with but to who and what we give our allegiance to. The hit reality t.v. show Survivor is back on for another season. One of the main strategies that the contestants have is to form alliances with certain people in their group. The wrong move could cost you the game. It’s the same with our Lord.
ILLUSTRATION: I liken becoming a friend of the world this way. We have gotten so used to the world that God has no appeal to us. We are used to settling for sweet and low when we could have a huge ice cream sundae. Don’t settle for second best. The scriptures say: “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11
We stand in need of reconciliation because we are hostile in our minds and actions towards God. We choose the world over him. We must all recognize our need for him tonight. The awesome truth tonight is that when we are not living for God he does not look at us like an Al Quaeda soldier looks at a U.S. army Ranger. God does not abadon us. But we must make a choice are we for him or against him?
Look at what is the possibility for every person on this planet. Read 2Corinthians 5:18-19. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” We understand that the problem is sin and broken fellowship with God. The solution? God sent a mediator. He was the bridge that brought us to God! He did this for the entire world! Jesus doesn’t want to leave us in our sins. So the process of reconciliation was initiated by him even before we realized we needed to be reconciled to him. Every person has the potential to be reconciled to God. But, on a condition. We have to respond. Just like you have to want to make things right with someone you have hurt. Just like you have to want to forgive when someone asks you for forgiveness.