Summary: This sermon was in response to a conference in which three bishops presented the need for a ministry of reconciliation based on Scripture.
Reconciliation by Speaking the Truth in Love
June 22, 2003
GOD CREATED RECONCILIATION
2 Corinthians 5:16 – “So from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the word to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness (the holiness) of God. As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.”
I. GOD CREATED RECONCILIATION
Let’s just look at the book of Genesis….
*Adam and Eve – he showed them how to reconcile
*Noah and his family – God’s creation needed a chance to start over – he “reconciled” his creation through Noah
*Abram and Sarah…especially, Hagar and Ishmael – Hagar wandered in the desert, fell down underneath a bush to die – God said, “Go and reconcile with your mistress…” Why? Because Ishmael was to be born. And their relationship was reconciled and Ishmael became an important part of the family.
*Abraham and Sarah – having their own child – God’s reconciliation at his best – they both laughed when they heard the news, but God reconciled their laughter into reality. God had a plan and he reconciled their laughing hearts to make it happen.
*Joseph and his brothers – another GREAT example of reconciliation!!! – Here Jospeh after his brothers had beaten him up more than once and left him for dead – said – Genesis 50:20 – “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done.”
And we could go chapter by chapter, book by book, and see God’s reconciliation happening…
But no where else can we see God in the reconciliation business more than in Jesus Christ.
II. CHRIST IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF RECONCILIATION
(Have congregation read with and invite them to say "reconcile" or "reconciliation")
Ephesians 2:14 – “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”
Romans 5:10 – “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received that reconciliation.
Colossians 1:20 – “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
I Corinthians 12:12-14 – “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body- whether Jews or Greek, slave or free - - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.”
Romans 11:13 – “I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as first-fruits is holy, then the whole back is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.”
Quoting Bishop Lee (United Methodist West MI Conference Bishop), she said, “In Jesus Christ we are reconciled whether we like it or not. Which means that if we are not fully reconciled with one another then maybe we are not living fully in Jesus Christ.”
III. WE ARE RECONCILIATION TO OTHERS
Matthew 5:23 – “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”