(2Corinthians 5:17 & 18 KJV) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
I think I want to start with the true story of a woman who discovered the ministry of reconciliation in a very dramatic way. This woman, and please excuse me for not remembering her name, was at one time a very wealthy and powerful member of the upper class of Korea before the occupation by the Japanese, which ended in 1945 with the surrender of the Japanese in the second world war.
This woman tells the story of how there came a time when the enemy forces had surrender their home and she tried to hide. She ran to a closet and put on some old rags trying to disguise herself as a poor peasant. As she began to walk down the road she was arrested and thrown into prison. As she was being interrogated the enemy knew that she was not a poor woman because her hands were so soft. They could tell that they were not the hands of a peasant. She was condemned to shot in the morning.
That night in here prison cell she could not help think about how just yesterday she had it all; money, position, all the finest things in life, and now she was sitting in rags in a dark, damp prison cell, waiting to be executed at dawn.
The morning came too soon and she was blindfolded and marched out to be shot. As she was being walked to here grave site she thought about the little Methodist church she had attended for many years, but just out of obligation and to be seen. Now she was thinking about the message of God’s love for her through Jesus. She remembered the preacher saying that you needed to invite Jesus into your heart to be saved. She never had.
So as she was marched up a little hill she said a small prayer to God asking him to forgive her of her sins and asking Jesus to come into her heart as her LORD and savior. Suddenly she began to feel that warmth of love fill her from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet. She actually had no more fear and began to sing hymns of praise to the LORD as she was marched off to her death.
The solider who was to be her executioner began to quickly dig a hole for her to be thrown into after he shot her. She simply continued in peace to praise God for his love. Then she heard the shovel being thrown down and the solider pick up his weapon ready to fire.
He asked her if there were any last words she would like to say before he shot her. Without hesitating she told him how she had just invited Jesus into his heart and had never before felt so much love. She asked him if she could pray before she died. He told her to make it quick. So, she knelt down in the hole which was to be her grave and asked God to forgive the young man who was about to shoot her. She thanked God for loving her and prayed that the young man with her might some day discover the great love that she had found that day.
When she had finished her prayer she told the solider that she was done and that he could shoot her now.
Nothing happened. She said again that she was finished praying and that he could go ahead and shoot. Though quiet sobs the young solider told her that he could not shoot her. He told her how she reminded him of his mother who use to pray for him the same way she was praying for him now. Every time he pointed his weapon at her he saw himself pointing it at his own mother.
She told him that he had to follow his orders or he would be the one that got shoot. He told her that he couldn’t and untied her and told her to run away and he would fire a shot in the air and they would think he had done his job and killed her.
She does not know if that young solider had ever excepted Jesus after that encounter but she spent the rest of her life telling the world how the love of God saved not only her life that day but her eternal soul.
Jesus came into this world so the through Him the world might be saved. He died upon the cross so that your sins would be forgiven. The church today is spending too much time looking back at their own experience to do the job they have been called to do today.
Your excepting Jesus did not simply buy you some fire insurance so that you could escape the eternal flames of Hell. Your salvation is so much more. It is your union with Christ. His heart beating in your chest. His Spirit awakening you to a new life full of purpose and power.
There is another scripture verses that describe the message for today, and hopefully you will take something with you when you go throughout the week ahead.
(Ephesians 2:8-10 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
(Eph 2:8-10 CEV) You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God's gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isn't something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about. God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That's why he sent Christ to make us what we are.
“God planned for us to do good things and he sent Christ to make us what we truly are.”
He has first reconciled us to himself then he has given us the ministry of reconciliation. That was what he had planned for you from the foundation of the earth. That you would be one with him, and he one with you, and you would know his heart, and live in Him, for him, with him. When it becomes all about Jesus you begin to do what Jesus did.
And Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
(Luke 19:10 KJV) For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
(Luke 19:10 BBE) For the Son of man came to make search for those who are wandering from the way, and to be their Saviour.
(Luke 19:10 CEV) The Son of Man came to look for and to save people who are lost."
The first step is your reconciliation. It is you that needs to move over to God. In reconciliation two things that are unequal come together and become equal. It is used a lot in accounting. My wife is constantly trying to reconcile our check book after I forget yet again to write down things that I used the atm card for.
The bank says you have one thing and you think you have another. Well, most of the time it is you that have made the mistake so you have to go back through the transactions and reconcile the difference. But once in a wile it is the bank at fault so don’t just take it for granted because you can bet that if the mistake is in their favor they wont be checking it twice.
In the same way you better be checking out what a minister tells you too. Even I am human… Ok I am real human, meaning I make a lot of mistakes and so it is usually me who has to do the reconciling.
But God doesn’t make mistakes. It is you and I who have to do things God’s way.
Let me just give you an example that you will not lant to hear because it cuts too close to your heart. But as long as we are talking about reconciliation. Most of the time it is with relationships that reconciliation needs to take place. Whether it si with a brother or a sister, or a father or mother, or your spouse or you neighbor. Now our way is to get and stay as far away form the people that have hurt us, or think that we hurt them.
But God says that we need to forgive them and love them and pray for them. Even the ones we know will never change their attitude towards us, or the rotten way they live their lives. Even those who have passed on and the hurt is so deep the only thing you remorse about their death is that they are not alive so you can kick the snot out of them.
It is you that God is speaking to today. It is you that God wants to reconcile himself with. He loves you so much that while you were yet a sinner Christ died for you.
God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is holy, perfect, without blemish. It is us who our like filthy rags. It is us who rebel and kick against the pricks. It is us who choose to do things our own way and suffer the consequences then to repent and be reconciled to God.
If you choose to hold unto your resentments and anger and spite towards anyone, next time things start falling apart in your life and you turn to God and ask Him why. Know this that you are the one that are planting these seeds of pain.
Change your mind, Change your attitude, Change your life. Be reconciled to God and pick up the mantle of reconciliation.
I have to tell you the truth that it is sometimes a lot easier to preach it then it is to live it. Amen? Let me give you a personal example. This past week I had the privilege of auditioning for an infomercial for Sky Angel, which is the Christian satellite broadcasting system.
Well before going into that audition I went through some deep soul searching. I realized then that my attitude about myself will make more of a difference then any other trait or talent I possess. For many years I had a real bad self-image. I was an alcoholic and drug addict. I was not a real nice guy. In some circles they say that the drugs and alcohol were just a symptom for a much deeper problem. And do you know what? They were right. Boy were they right. Do you know people who have quit drinking but are still just as mean and ugly and unpleasant to be around as they are when they are drunk. I DO!
You cant just change your ways, You have to become a completely new creation. You have to be reconciled to God. And it can not just be a one time prayer. It has to be constant and continual renewing of your mind. Because if I had allowed myself to I could have convinced myself that I was too old, too ugly, too stupid, too this too that… I would convince myself that I was a failure.
If you ever start hearing yourself do that to yourself remember. That God is the one who decides your worth. And he knows that you are worth the world to Him. You are the head and not the tail. You are more than conquerors in Him; you can do all things though Him, Nothing is impossible with Him. All things are working together for you good. No weapon formed against you will prosper; by His stripes you are healed!!!!!
Don’t believe the lies of the enemy. You are a child of the king. You have been bought for with a great price.
Are your ready to be reconciled to God. Are you ready to have all your sins forgiven. Are you ready to give up the resentments and become even just a little bit more like Jesus. You might not be changed over night, but if your are ready then God will take you from glory to glory to become more and more like Jesus.
Oh to be like Jesus:
To see the smile upon his face,
To feel his warm embrace.
I want to be like Jesus
I want to run the race.
He lived and died for love
From the Father up above
He died for you and me
He came to set us free
His purpose he made clear
He holds us all so dear.
It is with a longing in my heart
That I choose to do my part
He came to seek and save the lost
So no matter what the cost
I will live my life in Him
To that even one might invite him in.
Once I was lost and alone
Jesus came in and gave me a home
Today you might be that one,
That hears the knock of the Son
He came to forgive your sin.
won’t you welcome him in.
OK,OK It doesn’t quite work but at least I tried. That was the first poem I tried to write in years. Notice I said “tried.”
The point is first you have to be reconciled to God then you don’t just sit there and wait to die and go to heaven, You go tell it on the mountain. You be His hands and His Feet. You fulfill your true purpose in life and shine forth the glory of God in your life. He created you to shine. So shine on you crazy diamond….