2 Corinthians 5:18-20 “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
With our Senior Pastor on Sabbatical, our Associate Pastor Obie is continuing the current sermon series based upon the book of Genesis. He warns us that at some time in our life, we are going to be “wronged” (mistreated, offended, or victimized). Before the age of 40, all will experience a tragic relationship event.
In the Bible account of Joseph in Genesis, he was hated by his half-brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused and thrown into prison for years before finally being elevated to the second highest position in all of Egypt. Joseph realized that his difficult road in life was orchestrated by God Almighty for the greater good to follow, so was able to forgive his brothers for betraying him and reconcile with them on his side before they even showed up on the scene. Know that God uses difficult circumstances to shape our character and deal with your unresolved guilt or anger, and do your part to live at peace with everyone.
Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Pastor Obie gave us three four thoughts to consider: (1) Forgiveness of all is a requirement of all. We are command by God to forgive, as we have been forgiven, all those who have harmed us. Jesus is our model of how we should forgive others. We are to forgive continuously and consistently. Do not look for revenge, but look for reconciliation. Romans 12:17-19 “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (2) The Prerequisite to reconciliation is repentance. The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “repentance” as Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and is accompanied and followed by amendment of life. That amendment of life is making a 180 degree turn from the “wrong” direction (walk away from God) to the “right” direction (walk in the Spirit toward God), aligned with the Lord’s holy Word, Will and Way. There has to be a change of heart based on genuine love and care.
Jeremiah 5:25 “Your iniquities have turned these things away, and your sins have withheld good from you.”
(3) Unresolved sin blinds us from blessing. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 “If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News.” Unresolved sin of the Offender leads to bitterness and anger, resulting in robbery of their joy. Know that God has “good” in store for us, but unresolved sin delays God’s “good” intended for us. Do not live in fear and guilt. (4) Confession is the first step to repentance and healing. Our conscience is notoriously weak. Recognize what went wrong. Then, in the motivation of love and in humility, own up to it and confess to God. Own it and do some “Spring Cleaning” of your soul. 1 John 1:8-9 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Stand with God and be a “distributor of life” in Christ. There is a “spiritual famine” in the world today … people are starving spiritually. Spiritually healed people are a beacon of spiritual Light from God in the world in our dark society and culture. They have something that their soles need. On the Reconciliation Road, give mercy, give grace, give the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, because in doing so, you are giving the gift of reconciliation.
In Christ, Brian