THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 6-20-04
LESSON TITLE: "IMPORTANT DOCTRINES OF GOD: THE DOCTRINE OF RECONCILIATION"
The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want! Who is your shepherd on this wondrous Lord's day? We hope and pray that it is God and that you've joined us today as His child - to worship before His throne.
As followers of God, how blessed we are to have opportunities like this to praise our God and to do those things according to that which He has asked of us through His will. Are you willing to do your part this morning to make this time successful in the service of God?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
This morning I would like to encourage all those who live in the Springfield area to visit with one of the faithful congregation which meet in our city. Today, may I introduce you to the North National Church of Christ. This fine congregation meets regularly to worship God. In fact, even today they will assemble before His throne, beginning with Bible classes as 9:00 o'clock, then a worship assembly at 10:00 a.m. On Sunday evening this congregation also gathers before God at 6:00 o'clock. A mid-week service is also offered as well, as another opportunity to praise God, this service is at 7:00 p.m., every Wednesday. So let me encourage you to visit with these brethren whenever you have the opportunity. If you need further information please contact their minister Bill McFarland at (417)866-0915. We thank these brethren for their continued help and assistance with this work of our Lord.
Now it's time to join in our first hymn of the day. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing, "His Yoke Is Easy."
(SONG # 1)
In life, we have all benefited from our relationships with others. For example, maybe you knew someone and were able to get a job you wanted! Sometimes we would like to do something or meet someone and we are able to do so through a mutual friend. Possibly you can remember many times in your life when your relationships and associations with others have really paid off and help you to achieve goals you have hoped to accomplish. Well, I hope all of this helps us to realize how much we need others in this life. I also hope it sparks our mind to understand that in this life, it is really hard to accomplish things completely on our own or alone.
With all of these things in mind consider the privilege we have to come before our God and Father in Heaven. What an honor it is to have a God above whom we can call our own and of whom we are able to be His children. But the question is, "how do we come before this God." Or, "how can we approach the almighty?" Read with me if you will the words of Jesus in John 14:6, there He says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Did you catch that? We need to have a relationship with Jesus if we are to be able to approach the Father above.
Another verse which helps us to understand this idea is found in 1 Timothy 2:5, there we read, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus," Here we read there is one God and one mediator! Then Paul clarifies that the only mediator to bring us before the Father is Jesus Christ. But why is He worthy? Verse 6, of the same opening says, "who gave Himself a ransom for all...." Jesus is the only proper mediator because He was willing to pay the ultimate price for our sakes. Oh, what a true friend Jesus is! So have you known and befriended the Son in order to know the Father? If not, learn of Jesus today and obey His precious Will.
Today we will be continuing our series entitled, "Important Doctrines Of God!" Our lesson of the day will deal with, "The Doctrine Of Reconciliation!" So stay with us and after our next song together, I will lead us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "His Grace Reaches Me."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Behold all things have become new." Here in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 17, we read of a wonderful thing that we in Christ Jesus and through Christ Jesus have been made God's new creation. We no longer are old, but yet now we are new. We no longer are involved in the past, but now in those things that are before and those things that are holy and pure. In fact, the idea that is well presented here is the same as Paul also spoke of to the Roman brethren in Romans chapter 6 as he clarified well there the concepts of the old man being put away as well as the new man coming to light when we have obeyed the precious gospel of Jesus Christ, when we have responded to the Word of our Savior. What is it here in this passage that is being referred to as a part of God's doctrine? Obviously we see the need to become a new man, a new woman before God, putting away the old man or the old woman, being a new creature, a new creation through Jesus Christ. But what is it here that gives us that opportunity, that gives us that ability? Well there's a word that we'll study this morning in relationship to the doctrines of God which is reconciliation, to be reconciled by God. In fact, the word itself if we were to break it down means to again make friends with. The "re" there meaning the concept of again and then to make friends with is the concept of the conciliation and as we put the word together, making friends again, we understand I think more what it is all about. What does it mean when we say that we are reconciled again to God? It means that we have again become friends of. We have become one with. We are now sharing again with God in something that we had before. Now think for a moment about who is our creator, God. When God makes us, He makes us as the Bible says there in the book of Genesis, in Our own image according to His likeness. He makes us as beings that are good and wonderful and really perfect until we allow ourselves to do things that make us imperfect.
In fact, you might also notice there in scriptures that we have references there in the book of Isaiah as well as other places that talk about the separating factor that really estranges us from Christ, that makes us a stranger from God and that characteristic is sin. When you and I have allowed ourselves to be caught up in the things of this life or the world, attitudes, actions, things that we do and say or even in participate in things that are wrong or contrary to God's Will, then we begin to understand what it means to be reconciled. We are of God and from God and made by God. We leave God in a sense by turning to the world and sin and participating in that which is contrary to Him and then we are reconciled, again made as friends of God.
We are made as friends of God and that's why in our text again this morning in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 18. We've read verse 17, but verse 18 goes on to say, "Now all things are of God." Well you and I already know that it is because of God, by God and through God, that everything is that is and that we have all that we have. Certainly our God created us and even as we find again in the scripture there, even Genesis that "He breathed into our bodies the breath of life. He has made us who we are, unique and special, fearfully and wonderfully made," as the prophet said. But notice here in verse 18 that as he again clarifies that all things are God's, notice what he goes on to say. "Who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation." Two important facts are brought out here in this passage. First of all, that it is our God who not only as it says here is over and about and really in control of all things, but secondly that it is our God who has reconciled us. Reconciled us to who? Our God the Father who has reconciled us to Himself, the verse here says, through who? Well the verse again very clearly says, "Jesus Christ."
We have been no longer made as strangers or kept from God or from our Creator but yet we have now been brought to Him and made again one with Him as we are reconciled through the son and made now His ministers. Well that's another point that is actually brought out there, that even now you and I have as well been made these ministers of reconciliation. In understanding the doctrine of reconciliation we see that God hath provided us an opportunity to be reconciled through His son. Reconciled to whom? Again, reconciled to Him. That I as a man on this earth that makes mistakes and sins and do things that keep me or would keep me from God, but God has then done what was necessary by giving His son and allowing Him to die on the cross to reconcile me again to Him, to bring me from my earthly state and fleshly state to again a state that is proper and worthy before Him. Only through Jesus Christ can God do that because Jesus was the son of God. "Jesus was God in the flesh," John 1:14. And Jesus was the perfect sacrifice with the perfect blood to give us full forgiveness and pardon and reconciliation to the Father above. And notice what it makes us once again, as well, ministers of reconciliation. Not only was it Jesus' part to reconcile us to the Father, but it is our part as those who love God to speak about Him through our example and our works to show others in our lives who God is, that they might see our lights as they shine, that as cities on the hill we don't allow ourselves to be hid, but yet people look to us and they see God and thus desire as well to be reconciled.
Now do I have the ability to reconcile someone to God? No, but I can be a minister of reconciliation. I can preach the reconciliation. I can proclaim it. I can speak of it from the mountain tops and I can tell people that through Jesus Christ they can be reconciled again to the Father and put away those wicked things that certainly are below and of the world.
Verse 19 helps us further with the idea of reconciliation and the part that Christ plays as the verse goes on to say that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself." That He was reconciling the world that which you and I, we live on it. We are a part of it. He has reconciled the world and those of the world to Himself. Now how has He done that? Through Jesus Christ. Even in verse 19 there it says that "God was in Christ and through Christ reconciling the world."
Now in the fact that He has reconciled us, in the fact that He has brought us back to Himself through reconciliation from the world and the sins thereof, what is it that we further learn? Well it says there that we not impute trespasses to them, or that not imputing their trespasses to them and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Oh how wonderful it is to see the beautiful picture, the flower as it opens up so to speak of reconciliation, how that you and I now have been reconciled to God and then in a nutshell, He tells us here what has given us the ability to not allow those sins or those trespasses to be imputed or brought against us or to keep us away from the Father, but that which again reconciles us, Jesus Christ, but even more specifically as He says here, "and His word." Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the light." Jesus said in John 17:17, "Thy word is truth." Jesus being the word, the word that He spoke, the word that He spoke as well as clarified was from the Father. Here we clearly see that it is the word that reconciles us.
Again let me help you understand that. Let's discuss that just a moment as we see again Jesus. How do I know who Jesus is? How do I proclaim who He is? How do I tell you who He is? How do I help you to know and read for yourselves and learn for yourselves about this Jesus? There's only one place I know of that is perfect, that's complete, that's pure and really the whole revelation that God intended - the Bible, the Word of God. So as we think about that and then he says down in verse 19 again, "and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." We find there that Jesus has been revealed. Reconciliation has been made available through God's Word which we know the Savior. We know the Mediator that we mentioned this morning in our opening comments from the book of Timothy. The Mediator, the one Mediator between God and man. That again is Jesus Christ. The one there who through the Word is revealed and shows us that we might obey and follow and know Him and obey Him.
Well we don't need to end there because really he goes on to clarify our part as well again in verse 20 of the same text, 2 Corinthians 5. We've seen the fact that we are now in the ministry of reconciliation. Verse 20 again says, "And now we are ambassadors." Let me remind you here it was Paul talking to the Corinthian church and he said, "We the workers, the writers are ambassadors." You, as well as us, we are ambassadors for God. What is an ambassador? Here from the United States we send ambassadors to other countries as good will agents who speak on our behalf to those countries who present and promote a good will according to the laws and the things that we believe in this country. Well the same is true of God. We have been made through the Word, reconciled and now give as ministers of reconciliation the things which we have been entrusted as ambassadors of God . So therefore, when he said that "we as the apostles are the ambassadors," that as well would spill over to us, that we are ambassadors for Christ as though God were pleading through us, as though God was screaming through us and proclaiming through us and even the idea of imploring on our behalf and through Christ who He was, who He is and who He will always be, according again to His Word, that we be reconciled to God, that we minister and bring others as reconciled before God and that all through Jesus Christ might be complete and fully reconciled with the Father in heaven and again made to be friends with God, followers, children, obedient and loved individuals who put God first and who do all according to His Will.
Finally in verse 21, we see what reconciliation has done of the utmost importance as clarified by the Hebrew writer in Hebrews chapters 8, 9 and even in chapter 13, in other places that are even from the old, in Jeremiah 31 where we find the ideas that God will forgive us and remember our sins no more through the blood of Christ. Even Revelation chapter 1 and verse 5 talks of the blood of Christ, the cleansing power of reconciliation, the power now that as it said in verse 21 hath made Him who knew no sin to be sent for us that we might become the righteousness of God.
I hope you see in our passage this morning from chapter 17 through 21 the whole picture of a Christian is seen. The new creature leaving the old, becoming the new. All the way to the end there in verse 21 that we strive as new creatures to be the righteousness of God. How do we do that preacher? Well we do it according to the Will of God and through the Word as we make known Jesus Christ, as we become ministers of reconciliation, as we become those who are ambassadors in the things of God and those who certainly not only ourselves obey but strive to help others as verse 20 says to know God, that we plead on His behalf and that we strive to implore others to know that they might also be reconciled to their precious Father in heaven and that they might be forgiven of sin and be taken away from the world and made righteous and holy as God is righteous and holy through reconciliation that certainly has been offered through all those who will believe. No matter who we are. No matter what color we are. No matter what culture we are of. No matter where we live. No matter what job we have. No matter how much we make. In God, in Christ we all are one. We all are reconciled to the same Father in the same way.
The question you must ask today is, "Have you been reconciled to your God?" If not, choose today to do so.
(SONG # 3 - "Let Jesus Come Into Your Heart!")
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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Thanks be to God that we have been reconciled to Him, through His blessed Son - Jesus Christ. What a privilege it is to be true Children of the King!