Archive for the ‘Reconciliation to Jesus’ Tag

Grace To A Runaway Slave!

Part A:

Part B:

Full Message:


Bible Verse: Philemon 8-22


Introduction:

In his short letter to Philemon, Paul made an appeal for oneness and unity in Jesus Christ. He placed himself in the middle of a broken relationship between Philemon, a slave master, and Onesimus, a runaway slave. Contained within this story of reconciliation, grace, and de-exaltation is the gospel itself. A slave himself, Paul urged Philemon to consider love—not law, duty, or obligation. His instruction to receive Onesimus as a brother, not a slave, challenges us to evaluate our pride and align our perspectives of others with Christ’s perspective. In this letter, Paul helps us reflect on the racial, radical, and redemptive reconciliation Christ offers.

“The salvation secured by Christ in the gospel is more comprehensive than justification alone: it brings repentance, wholeness, love for brothers and sisters in the Christian community.” –D. A. Carson

Outline:

1. Appealing to Love, Not Obligation (Philem. 8-14)

Like Philemon, love is to be our motivation for obeying God in all things. We can easily fall into the trap of obeying God primarily out of obligation. We obey because we have to. We know we should. While this is certainly true—God has given us commands, not suggestions in Scripture— obligation cannot be what prompts our obedience. Love must be.

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commands (John 14:15). Love fuels obedience; obedience verifies love. A steady diet of love fattens obedience, but obligation will starve it at some point. This is why Jesus fused the two together. Our love for God produces obedience that pleases Him and also brings Him glory as the world around us sees us joyfully obey.

2. Accepting a Brother, Not a Slave (Philem. 15-17)

Love all men, even your personal enemies, not because they are brothers but in order that they may be brothers, in order that you may always burn with brotherly love, whether for one already become a brother or for an enemy so that by [your] loving he may become a brother.” –Augustine

3. Anticipating Grace, Not Duty (Philem. 18-22)

If we as Christians only obey God out of a sense of obligation or duty, then we commit the sin of the Pharisee: righteousness without right-heartedness. God desires that our obedience come from the heart.

After committing adultery with Bathsheba, David discovered, “The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God” (Ps. 51:16-17). God cannot overlook a broken heart. He collects them, tends and mends them. Duty is a harsh master, but through the cracks of a broken spirit, the Holy Spirit enters into us and distributes grace to every limb. Paul had a broken heart when he penned his letter—a heart that Philemon could heal by demonstrating the grace of Christ to Onesimus. “Refresh my heart in Christ,” he instructed (Philem. 20).

Theological Theme:

Christian reconciliation models the cross of Christ.

Contained within this story of reconciliation, grace, and de-exaltation is the gospel itself – a gospel that regardless of background, skin color, class, or cultural difference unites God’s [Father-Son-Holy Spirit] family members and demonstrates the reconciling power of the cross. Christian unity is not about sameness; it’s about oneness.

Christ Connection:

When Paul appealed to Philemon on behalf of the runaway slave Onesimus, he placed himself in the middle of their broken relationship. In order to make peace, he volunteered to pay Onesimus’ debt. Through this action, Paul modeled Jesus Christ, who is the peacemaker between God and sinful humanity. By volunteering to pay our debt, Jesus reconciled us to God and to each other.

Missional Application:

God, through his Holy Spirit, calls us to live as peacemakers who reflect the heart of our crucified Savior.

Conclusion:

Jesus once promised that He would “go away and prepare a place for you” (John 14:3).

After the toils of life are over, God will declare your emancipation also. Like Paul, you will escape “this body of death” (Rom. 7:24) and abscond to your mansion in glory—a home where “neither moth nor rust destroys” and “where thieves don’t break in and steal” (Matt. 6:20). This future home is what should motivate us today. Because we anticipate entering Christ’s presence and basking in His love and grace as His brothers and sisters, we give to others today what we will receive then. It is the least we, all former slaves to sin who are now one family in Christ, can do for one another.

“We have but one leading aim, to which it is our deliberate and unreserved desire that every thing else in which we are concerned may be subordinate and subservient—in a word, that we are devoted to the Lord, and have by grace been enabled to choose him, and to yield ourselves to him, so as to place our happiness in his favor, and to make his glory and will the ultimate scope of all our actions.” –John Newton

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The Preeminence Of Jesus Christ!

Part A:

Part B:

Full Message:


Bible Verses: Colossians 1:15-24 2: 3


Introduction:

What is the outlook you have in your life? Do you see Jesus?

How and what we see is so important for the life we live today, the relationships we have, and to the words we speak today. Our outlook/view is so important to our walk, ministry and testimony.

“We should be focused on The Father, Son and Holy Spirit and The God who is revealed in Jesus”

“We should be (given the context of the lives that we live today, given all things that we’re going through, through the tears, celebration, through the relationships, through the work and through the worry) focused on Jesus, who is supreme, who is central, and who is sufficient in and for all things, and for all times.”

Paul wrote the letter to the church at Colossae when he learned through Epaphras that heretical teachings were running through the church. Paul’s letter pointed the church to the person and work of Jesus Christ. The cross of Christ is not merely a theory for theologians to ponder; it’s a real-life, realtime reality that heals, restores, and reconciles. Through the cross, Christ reconciled us to the Father, reconciles all things in Himself, and reconciles us to one another.

Paul focuses on the reconciling work of Jesus and focuses our attention on reconciling in 3 different areas in our lives:

1. Christ is preeminent in His reconciling all things. (Col. 1:15-20).

2. Christ is preeminent in His reconciling us to God. (Col. 1:21-23).

3. Christ is preeminent in His reconciling us to one another. (Col. 1:24–2:3).

Theological Theme:

Through His work on the cross, Christ is restoring the world and reconciling us to God [Father-Son-Holy Spirit] and to one another.

Christ Connection:

Jesus is the preeminent one. Growth and maturity are firmly established on that precept.

“For everywhere He is first; above first; in the Church first; for He is the Head; in the Resurrection first.” –John Chrysostom

In prison, Paul encouraged God’s people by proclaiming the magnificence of Christ—His identity as God’s Son and His work on the cross to reconcile us to God. Christian growth and maturity does not take place through moving beyond the gospel to other Bible teaching but through continually refocusing our attention on Christ—who is the focus of the Scriptures and the head of the church

Missional Application:

God, through His Holy Spirit, calls us, as those who have been reconciled to God, to be heralds of reconciliation to the world.

Conclusion:

Just as Christ is preeminent in His reconciling creation, He is preeminent in His reconciling us to God, which He accomplished through taking on flesh and then laying His life down on our behalf. Because of the blood He shed on the cross, we are no longer alienated, hostile, and evil. That is the old person who has been put to death with Christ on the cross. In that person’s place, we have received new life, new identity, in Christ. And it is this new person who has been declared holy, faultless, and blameless whom Christ presents to the Father. This is the fundamental change of Christ’s reconciliation. He has undone sin’s curse. He has restored that which was broken. He has made right that which was wrong. He, not us, has accomplished this work of reconciliation. And this is why He receives all the glory of our salvation.

By the cross, Christians enter into a personal relationship with the Man of Nazareth who, being fully God and fully man, suffered with us, suffered for us, and suffers through us as we “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). The beams of the cross point us upward (Christ), downward (grounded in the faith), and outward (loving others). Be careful to keep those three beams together, for if we become deficient in one, the others will fall apart. May we proclaim a whole redemption through a whole Christ to a world that is not yet whole.

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Our Father’s Hope For All: In Jesus’ Reconciliation! pt. 5

Part 5A:

Part 5B:

Full Message:


Main Bible Verse: 2 Corinthians 5: 1-21


Introduction:

Celebrating Jesus as Our Resurrection

“Our Father’s Hope For All” emphasizes what Jesus’ reconciliation is for all, what it accomplished for all and how we, by the Grace of the Holy Spirit shared with us, can participate in what Jesus has done for all to the glory of God our Father.

According to T.F. Torrance (1992): “As our Representative and Substitute, Jesus Christ is our human response to God.’- T.F. Torrance: Union with Christ through the Communion of the Spirit

Theological Theme:

God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, sent Jesus Christ to humanity so that whomever believes in him, trusts and receives Him, would not perish due to trusting in Jesus and in His power by The Holy Spirit. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3: 16

“God loves you so utterly and completely that he has given himself for you in Jesus Christ his beloved Son, and has thereby pledged his very being as God for your salvation. In Jesus Christ God has actualised his unconditional love for you in your human nature in such a once for all way, that he cannot go back upon it without undoing the Incarnation and the Cross and thereby denying himself. Jesus Christ died for you precisely because you are sinful and utterly unworthy of him, and has thereby already made you his own before and apart from your ever believing in him. He has bound you to himself by his love in a way that he will never let you go, for even if you refuse him and damn yourself in hell his love will never cease. Therefore, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.”- (T. F. Torrance, “The Mediation of Christ,” 94)

Christ Connection:

Jesus Christ is “The Center Of The Center (of everything in Creation).” He is the world’s Lord and Savior. When you want to understand the central purpose for everything, you must look to Jesus Christ because, apart from Him, we can’t know anything as it should be known. We can’t know His Father, and we can’t know anything about his Holy Spirit, and we can’t even really know anything about ourselves or Creation.

Jesus is the Mediator between God and man. He is the One who mediates our humanity to God and who mediates God to fallen man. In total dependence we look to Him, look at life through Him, and receive along with Him His Father in the Spirit. Empowered by Him we look with Him beyond our own self-centeredness first to his Father and then in that love to our neighbors – loving them as we love ourselves and with the very love with which Jesus has loved us.

What Jesus did and does as The Resurrection is so that we might have a share in HIS LIFE, HIs Resurrection.

A life first filled with Jesus’s relationship with His Father in the Spirit. And then a life filled with his love for everyone and everything else.

Our identity lies only in Jesus Christ who has taken up our cause, our humanity, our human nature and Who alone has put us right before God, sending His Spirit that we might trust Him as the one and only source of life. JESUS – the center and core of our personal identity!

We are being encouraged by Jesus Christ, The Resurrection, to receive our new humanity in these feeble bodies now, while also looking with hope to the complete renewal of our human bodies in the future at His return. We are encouraged by our Father to prepare for the resurrected life in which we will be even more gloriously and fully human, in a human body, just like Jesus.

Jesus judged sin in sinful flesh. He killed sin thoroughly and by his life, suffering, death and resurrection. On the third day he raised up a new human nature and a new body in His resurrection. It is a humanity that is totally responsive to The Father in The Holy Spirit. This is what it really means to be a human being; what Jesus did, how He lives and responds in His human flesh.

Torrance (1986) writes: “Jesus Christ… embodies in himself what he mediates, for what he mediates and what he is are one and the same. He himself in the wholeness of his Person, Word and Act, is the content and reality of divine Reconciliation. He is the Propitiation for our sins; he is our Redemption; he is our Justification. It is in this identity between Mediator and Mediation that the living heart of the Gospel is to be found.” (pp. 475, 476)

Missional Application:

Every human everywhere has a great need for The Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the actual bond of love between the Father and the Son through whom it is possible for us to share in the love of the Father and Son. The Holy Spirit is also God of God and He is the One who makes Jesus and The Father known to us. He is the One who enables each person and all of us to trust Jesus. He is the One who empowers us to live with Jesus and to love our neighbors. In this time period where we can’t see Jesus, Jesus sends his Spirit to us to be an Advocate for us, to teach us what Jesus is doing so we can participate with Jesus, share in His power, and live transformed. We not only receive the Spirit personally, but encourage everyone else to do the same, for God desires all to be saved and to share in his love and life!

Conclusion:

When we declare that ALL are included, we are affirming:

Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of ALL humanity.

Jesus Christ died to redeem ALL. He has atoned for the sin of EVERY single person. Through what He did God reconciled ALL people to Himself in Christ.

Jesus Christ is The Mediator between God and humanity.

Jesus Christ has made ALL His own by virtue of His redeeming work. He is for ALL and against NONE.

Jesus is The Judge of ALL so that none might experience the condemnation. His saving is done on behalf of ALL and that work includes His Holy and righteous responses to The Father in The Spirit. Responses characterized by repentance, faith, hope, love, praise, prayer, worship and obedience.

Jesus is in Himself EVERYONE’S justification and sanctification.

Jesus is EVERYONE’S substitute and representative.

Jesus is EVERYONE’S hope and life including eternal life.

Jesus is EVERYONE’S profit, priest and king.

ALL PEOPLE have been included in God’s love and life in and through Jesus Christ by The Holy Spirit.

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