RECONCILIATION FOR AN ENEMY (11 Cor 5: 18-21) (Rom 5:6-11) (Eph. 2: 14-18)
A. The second great word of the gospel that we need to understand is reconciliation.
1. It is the greatest and most magnanimous of the acts of God on behalf of mankind.
2. The New Testament that "when we were His enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son."
3. He told us to love our enemies-He certainly did it Himself.
B. Reconciliation means the ending of enmity and making of peace between persons previously opposed.
1. This word reconciliation is used everyday so it is not just a cold theological word.
2. A father and son may be at odds with each other-we know that they need to be reconciled.
3. But there is one area where reconciliation is essential and that is man's relationship to God.
4. The great call of the gospel is that we be reconciled to God.
11. What is Needed in Order to be Reconciled with God?
A. Reconciliation is not something that we do but rather something the Father has achieved for us.
1. This work of grace has as its objects the most undeserving of all people-those who have become the enemies of God.
2. God has undertaken to reconcile man to Himself so that His enemies become His friends and His loving servants.
3. There is no word that has more gospel pressed into it than this word.
B. Reconciliation is -God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing our trespasses to us.
III. What Does Reconciliation Imply?
A. It implies that I'm at enmity with God or at odds with Him over something.
1. Most of us before we are saved are unaware that we have any problem with God.
2. In Rom. 5- man is shown in a fourfold light.
3. In verse 6, he is said to be without strength. Paul is referring to our inability to extricate ourselves from the sin that we have in our lives.
4. In the same verse man is said to be ungodly, That means we are unlike God in our attitude and in our actions
5. In verse 8 we are seen as sinners, living for ourselves and disobedient to His commands.
6. Inverse 10 man is said to be an enemy of God.
B. To summarize we are helpless to save ourselves.
1. In character, we are ungodly
2. As to our condition, we are sinners.
3. As to our attitude-we are enemies.
IV. Does This Mean That God is our Enemy?
A. God is not now nor has He ever been our enemy. We are His enemies. He is not against us, we are against Him.
1. Scripture teaches in Col 1:21 - we were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works.
2. Rom 8:7 The carnal mind is enmity against God.
B. How did this all begin in the first place?
1. It began in the garden of Eden with man disobeying God's express command. Thou shalt not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
2. There were scores of trees to eat from, one was there as a prohibition to prove man's obedience to His God.
3. If there was no prohibition how would it be known whether he was obeying or not.
C. Adam and Eve committed the first sin and acquired for the first time a guilty conscience toward God.
1. That guilty conscience made them feel that God was against them, for when they heard Him coming they hid from God.
2. The thought that God was against them made them turn against Him.
3. A guilty conscience makes us feel that God is disapproving of us and therefore must be against us.
4. We then act out our hostilities against Him by defying His moral laws and going our own way.
5. This makes us feel for sure that He is against us because of the way we are living.
D. This spiral of enmity continues until every overture of God is suspected to be the approach of an enemy who is coming masked in the guise of a friend.
1. You can see this when an earnest Christian speaks to you about a personal relationship with God.
2. We watch them and refuse to believe they are for real, We sometimes are quite curt with them.
3. When trouble or adversity comes we interpret that as God punishing us for our sins.
4. A woman with cancer felt God was punishing her because she had been unfaithful to her husband. She had little reason to flee to Jesus as a refuge when she thought He was against her.
5. II Cor. 5 tells us God is not imputing our trespasses to us. Instead it says He became sin for us.
V. God Is Not Against You But For You.
A. The hostility we feel God has toward us exists only in our minds because of our guilty conscience.
1 When God came into the garden saying-Where art thou Adam.
2. That was not the voice of a policeman looking for a criminal, it was the voice of a Father who had lost a Son.
3. The unchanging love of God for the sinner is seen in the message of the angels on the first Christmas day.
4. They looked at that babe and said-Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.
5. The angels saw an indication of God's good will despite the ill will man had toward Him.
B Christ coming is an evidence of God's good will but deep down some of us still feel that God is against us.
1. If we are to be reconciled God must dispel the sinners guilty suspicious of Him.
2. God must demonstrate to man that His intentions are gracious and that He has no hostility toward us.
3. What is it that God has done to demonstrate his love toward sinners? What has He done to prove the Sword of Divine Justice need not be wielded against us?
C. What is the proof, the demonstration of love? It is a Man Nailed to a Cross.
1. Who is that Man? It is God in human flesh! Why is He dying such a horrible death?
2. Apostle Paul answers that question in II Cor. 5:19 God was in Christ reconciling the worlds to Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.
3. Think of it- God is not blaming or charging the sinner-for the simple reason He is charging our sins to the person of His Son.
4. God knew we wouldn't take the blame for our sin so He took the blame Himself.
D. That's why the gospel declares He is not against the sinner but for Him.
1 The making of amends is normally the responsibility of the offending party.
2. But in this estrangement between God and man - the injured party is the one who makes amends.
3. He does so by charging Himself with the sins man has committed.
4. He drags a cross up Golgotha hill there to die between two thieves as if He were one Himself thus paying the awful price of sin.
5. The offended one in an act of infinite grace took the place of the offending one.
VI. God sets the Cross before a guilty and suspicious world and whispers in our ear - now say that I am against you.
A. I am not your enemy or out to rob you of your happiness.
1. It is a touching sight to see God, the injured party making amends to reconcile us to Himself.
2. It is not man beseeching God to be merciful but God beseeching man to be reconciled (II Cor 5:20)
B. Think of it, God begging man to receive Son, the very one who made the reconciliation.
1. God pleading with man when it should be man pleading with God.
2. What response are sinners like ourselves called to make?
3. Our response should be to give up running from Him and this morning run to Him.