Reconciliation (Unified with God without record of any lapse) 2 Corinthians 5:18
2 Corinthians 5:16-20The Message (MSG)
Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
- Focus: Explain what it means to be reconciled with the Creator of the universe and what that looks like in our everyday living.
➣How does our reconciliation with God shape our relationships with others? How does this become a lifestyle? How can you personally help FOL live this out cross-culturally?
Incarnation—> Atonement—> Justification —> Reconciliation
- The entire process of offering us Heaven’s Best was an act of love~
- *Image of parents looking for a lost child ~ this process was actually a vigil
- What The Father did for us through Christ was out of love!
- This is extremely important if our faith in God is going to last an eternity!
- It was our conscience God can to clear…not His!
- He came to deal with the way sin had dealt with us. He didn’t only come to deal with the ultimate enemy
If we don’t understand the love that motivated God’s pursuit of us, we miss the power and strength of our gift of salvation.
When this happens, we:
- Underestimate the Father's love for us
- Overestimate our ability to distance God from us
- See God as only punitive ~ not as loving
- Our misperceptions about God is what hinders our relationship, not the Father’s misperceptions or misgivings about us
The Concept of Heaven’s Best is mind boggling because…
- It assumes that God offers us something that is ultimately supreme
- It is a gift and we cannot earn, create or manage it
Hebrews 9:11-15The Message (MSG)
11-15 But when the Messiah arrived, high priest of the superior things of this new covenant, he bypassed the old tent and its trappings in this created world and went straight into heaven’s “tent”—the true Holy Place—once and for all. He also bypassed the sacrifices consisting of goat and calf blood, instead using his own blood as the price to set us free once and for all. If that animal blood and the other rituals of purification were effective in cleaning up certain matters of our religion and behavior, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.
Hebrews 10.19-25 The Message (MSG)
19-21 So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body.
22-25 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
Ezekiel 36:24-28 The Message (MSG)
24-28 “‘For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!
Story lines to consider:
- Debt forgiven, debtor forgetful (Matt 21:18-35)
- Jesus washing disciples’ feet (St. John 13)
Challenge: Stop living in fear of God. Stop living out of the reach of God's love.
Next Step: 1. Put yourself around people who can help you grow and make that transition. 2 Live out your understanding of God's reconciliation by reaching out to those you’re distant from; and by learning to share your faith with others.