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Summary: The cross makes us right with God again.

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The Reconciliation Of The Cross

Text: Col. 1:19-23

Introduction

1. Illustration: The Civil War was carnage. Then Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy died. And Ulysses S. Grant of the Union died. Their widows, Varina Davis and Julia Grant, settled near each other. They became the closest of friends. That's what we call reconciliation!

2. The same is true in the spiritual world. We were enemies of God because of our sin, but the cross of Christ reconciled us to God.

3. The cross...

A. Brings Us Peace

B. Brings Us Close To God

C. Brings Responsibility

4. Let's stand together as we read Colossians 1:19-23.

Proposition: The cross makes us right with God again.

Transition: First of all...

I. The Cross Brings Peace (19-20).

A. He Made Peace

1. January 9, 1963 was a day that most Browns fans thought they would never see. That day the owner of the Browns, Art Modell, fired Paul Brown, the only coach the team had ever known. Many people were angry with Modell over the firing, and some, like my uncle Clem, never forgave him for it. From the that day forward my uncle Clem became a Cincinnati Bengals fan because he couldn't forgive.

2. The same can be said of our relationship with God. We sinned against God, and as a result, we became enemies of God. That is why Jesus came to earth and why he went to the cross.

3. Paul tells us in v. 19, "For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ."

A. The little word for explains why Christ will have first place in everything.

B. God wanted his fullness (meaning “completeness” or “totality”) to live (meaning “live permanently”) in Christ.

C. Paul wanted to explain to the Colossians that Christ is God’s dwelling place; therefore, Christ is divine, sovereign, and preeminent.

D. Christ perfectly displays all the attributes and activities of God: Spirit, Word, wisdom, glory.

E. By this statement, Paul was refuting the Greek idea that Jesus could not be human and divine at the same time.

F. Christ is fully human; he is also fully divine. Nor is there more than one God; this one God, in all his fullness, resides in Christ.

G. Christ has always been God and always will be God. All of God (including his attributes, characteristics, nature, and being) indwells the Son.

H. When we have Christ we have all of God in human form.

I. Any teaching that diminishes any aspect of Christ—either his humanity or his divinity—is false teaching (Barton, Life Application New Testament Commentary, 874).

4. Then Paul said, "and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross."

A. God willed that through Christ all reconciliation would occur.

B. "Reconcile" literally means bringing back into proper relationship.

C. Because God was not the offender, the Bible uses the term relative to men being brought back into the proper relationship with God.

D. Reconciliation has both an objective and a subjective side.

E. Objectively, God removed the barrier between himself and sinful man by the death of Christ on the cross, so sinners may experience a living relationship with God.

F. Subjectively, people must accept the possibility for reconciliation that God has provided (, The Complete Biblical Library – Galatians-Philemon, 247).

G. This reconciliation was accomplished through Christ’s blood on the cross.

H. “Reconciliation” also means reestablishing a relationship, causing a relationship to become friendly and peaceable when it had not been so.

I. Because Christ is Creator and Sustainer of everything (1:17), his death on the cross provided reconciliation for everything.

B. Ceasing Hostility

1. Illustration: Amy Biehl died a violent death in 1993. She was a 26-year-old Fulbright scholar who had gone to South Africa to help register black voters for their first free election. But even though she was seeking to help the people of South Africa, as she was driving one day, she was dragged out of her car, stabbed and beaten to death by a mob which was committed to violence in order to overthrow of the apartheid government. Soon afterward, Amy’s parents, Linda and Peter Biehl, quit their jobs and moved from their Orange County, California home to South Africa — not to seek revenge, but to start a foundation in Amy’s name. Today, two of her killers work for the foundation. They call Mrs. Biehl "Makhulu," or grandmother, because of the way she treats them. She says, "Forgiving is looking at ourselves and saying, ‘I don’t want to go through life feeling hateful and revengeful, because that’s not going to do me any good.’ We took Amy’s lead. We did what we felt she would want." That is the picture of reconciliation. It not only forgives, it reaches out to restore. It pays back good for evil. It is following the heart and character of God.

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