Sometimes we all have a hard time communicating. We sometimes have trouble getting our point across. The best of us get tongue-tied. It’s one thing if we stumble when we’re in a political debate or when we’re giving directions. But it’s very important that we are clear when we’re communicating a message that’s important. Especially a message that’s a matter of life and death.
What is this message of reconciliation that God has entrusted to us? In order to communicate this message clearly, we have to understand the message.
First: the heart of the message is the death and resurrection of Jesus. If we are going to be agents of reconciliation, we need to understand the message of reconciliation. And if we are going to understand the message of reconciliation, we need to get to the heart of the message of reconciliation.
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. The heart of the message of reconciliation, Paul says, is very simple. It’s the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The heart of the message is an historical event that took place overt two thousand years ago. It’s about Jesus Christ, who died on a cross and who rose again. This is at the very heart of the message of reconciliation that’s been entrusted to us.
Secondly: the effects of the message of reconciliation are that we’re made new and made right. Our first problem is that we’re broken. No matter how good we are, we realize that there’s something wrong with us inside. We don’t think and act the way we want to. How does the gospel deal with this? Paul says that one of the effects of the gospel is that we are made new. Paul explains one of the effects of the message of reconciliation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Paul is saying that when we are united with Christ, we are made new. What’s broken isn’t just repaired; it’s made new.
God sets to work at restoring our souls and setting everything right again. It’s an act of God by which he imparts new spiritual life to us. The prophet Ezekiel put it this way: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26 ). When we come to Christ, every part of us is somehow affected, and we’re changed from the inside out. This deals with the problem in us. There’s something wrong with us. The gospel changes us from the inside-out and makes us new.
There is another problem. We have offended God. Whenever we sin, God is the most offended party. If, like David, we commit adultery, God is the most offended party. If we puff ourselves up in pride, indulge in slander, or nurture bitterness, God is the most offended party. demean a colleague, If we cheat on our income taxes, God is the most offended party. If we watch porn on the internet, God is the most offended party. Whatever forgiveness we try to secure, we must have God’s forgiveness, or we have nothing.
All of 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 people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore God’s ambassadors, as though God was making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God.
God has taken the initiative. Through Jesus Christ, God has reconciled us to himself. The most offended party has taken action to remove the offenses that stand between us and him so that he doesn’t count any of those offenses against us anymore. God has removed the obstacles to peace with him. God no longer counts people’s sins against them. In order for us to be agents of reconciliation, we need to understand the message of reconciliation that’s been entrusted to us. The heart of this message is the cross. And the effects of this message are that we are made new and we are made right. Are you following so far?
The how of the message is the exchange that took place at the cross. Paul tells us in verse 21, so that we will understand what took place at the cross. It says: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Here’s what this means. Jesus Christ is the only person who ever lived who was sinless. But at the cross, Christ became so identified with our sins, all the consequences and all of its guilt, – that the sinless one became sin for us.
Paul says that God has entrusted this message of reconciliation to us. It’s the most important message that anyone will leave with you. The gospel never gets old. It moves us every time. So move us today by what Christ has done for us. And may we learn this message of reconciliation so well that we can become agents of reconciliation. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
A Word About Giving – Thanks to our members and friends who continue to support the mission and ministries at First UMC Kennedale through your Tithes, Offerings and Donations. Our Mission Store provides clothing for 25 cents, If anyone is in need and unable to pay we supply the clothing. Our Food Pantry is open once a month to serve our community. As we continue to live in the wilderness of this Pandemic, job loss has effected many families. Our Food Pantry provides food for families in our community as well as outside of Kennedale. We continue to support the Back Pack Ministry in partnership with Rocking H Ranch. This outreach provides bags of food for well over 100 kids in need a week, to take home with them, so that they can have meals over the weekend. You would be surprised the number of kids who rely on eating breakfast and lunch at school each weekday, due to their family not having enough groceries.
We thank God for all of you being a part of service and love to our community. You may use our Online Giving option. You may also mail your Tithes and Offerings to the church. The church address is First UMC Kennedale, Post Office Box 146, Kennedale, TX 76060. We thank you for your Generous Giving.
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