February 24, 2008
Make Things Right
Series: Above All
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Time:
Colossians 1:19-28
Scripture: 
Topics: 

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In the series Above All, Pastor Philip De Courcy highlights the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ as presented in Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Christ is above all powers and all things. To go beyond Christ is to leave Christianity behind. In Above All, Pastor Philip reminds us that the Lord Jesus Christ is creation’s only source, man’s only Savior, and God’s only Son, and He must be understood accurately.

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Transcript

(00:00):
Let’s take our Bibles and turn to Colossians chapter one. We are in a section of this book that will bring us to consider the enormous meaning and message of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians chapter one in verse 19 is where we’re at this morning as we come to consider the subject making things, right. See, that’s what God did in the Lord Jesus Christ. He made things right. He came to fix us and he came to ultimately fix the world. And that’s the tremendous impact and importance of this season of the year. Colossians one verse 19, For it pleased the Father that in him all the fullness should dwell. And by him to reconcile all things to himself by him, whether things on earth or things in heaven having made peace through the blood of his cross and you who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works yet now he has reconciled in the body of his flesh through death to present you holy and blameless and above reproach in his sight.
(01:18):
If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven of which I, Paul became a minister. Well we’re trust that God will bless his word to our hearts. That’s one of the things I’m thankful for this morning for a congregation that comes with open minds, bide hearts and Bibles that are brought to hear the word of God spoken. Some years ago, I read the story of a commercial venture that misfired in one of the nations largest department store chains. It proved to be an absolute financial flop. It was a doll in the form of the baby Jesus. It had been advertised as been unbreakable and washable and cuddly.
(02:12):
It was packaged in straw. Jesus was set in a satin crib, there was plastic surroundings and there were appropriate biblical text added to the box to make the scene complete, but it didn’t sell well. And so the manager of one of the stores panicked and in a last ditch promotion to get rid of the dolls he decided to brandish a huge sign outside his store, that read quote Jesus Christ marked down 50%. Get him while you can. Folks marking down Jesus Christ has been the activity of more than this one store manager. The pages of history tell the story of those who have sought to remake the Lord Jesus Christ in their own image. For them the biblical Christ is too big. For them, the biblical Christ is too menacing, imposing and so he must be purred down. So that he’s less exclusive, not as threatening and easily fits with other religious traditions. This is the Christ that most people will settle for. A Christ who is less than God, a Christ who may be more than most man, even divine, but not Supreme in any sense.
(03:38):
I don’t know if you’ll find this… I’ll find this as a Christian, that when the world loves Christ, it is often the keenest that it loves Christ because they have mirrored him into something he is not. Listen to these words by Erwin Lutzer. I’ve discovered that the less some people know about Christ, the more they like him. The baby in the manger touches even the most cynical soul who has long since given up on religion. The secularist who has bent on reforming society, quotes selected verses from the sermon on the mount with reverence. And the religious types use him as their example of humility and sacrifice and basic goodness. He is worthy to be spoken of in hushed tones. He is, as some say, the first among equals. Since Christ said that the world would hate him, we can be quite sure that when the world loves him, it is because they have mirror him into something he is not.
(04:41):
The biblical Christ cannot be dismissed. He stands in our path, forcing us to a decision either to the right or to the left. In his presence, neutrality is impossible. The baby in the manger quickly grows and becomes God, the King. And that’s what we’re going to see this morning. We’re going to see that the baby of the manger is God, the King. He is Supreme. He is menacing. He is imposing. He is powerful and intrusive, and he will not allow himself to be marked down and sold at bargain basement prices. In fact, it was the marking down of the Lord, Jesus Christ that provoked this letter. Remember we saw at the beginning of our series here, that there was a strand of nasty Judaism that was devaluing stock in the Lord, Jesus Christ. He was being diminished in the eyes of the Colossians by these false teachers who said that Christ was simply a ripple of divine affluence, a spirit being who was simply an emanation of God, an angelic spiritual entity. He was a small piece in the puzzle of spiritual understanding.
(06:01):
He was anything, but God, the invisible mere visible. He was anything, but the creator of all things, the ruler of all spiritual dominion and the only bridge between man and God. And yet, that is how Jesus Christ is presented to us here in the text of Colossians chapter one. he has created all things. He controls all things and he cleans all things. He is the ruler of all spiritual dominions and domain. The reduction and the redaction of the Lord, Jesus Christ by these heretics caused Paul to declare and to defend the expansive person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. And so we come back into the flow of these verses here in Colossians chapter one. And they remind me as I’ve studied them again this week of one’s experience of climbing a range of mountains. Perhaps this has been your experience that you have reached a certain peak only to find that it is not the summit, but it opens up to you new horizons and new heights that have yet to be conquered. New elevations that have yet to be scaled.
(07:12):
And as we come back into Colossians chapter one a new vista opens up to us concerning the supremacy of Christ. Paul has declared that he is Lord of the creation. Paul has declared that he is Lord of the church. And Paul wants us to see here in verse 19, following that Christ is Supreme in the creation and that Christ is Supreme in the church by virtue of his work of reconciliation. This text assumes the fall of man and descend and the resulting estrangement of the creation from God and therefore Paul argues that Christ is above all others in that not only did he make all things in the beginning, he will remake all things in the end. All things will be reconciled to him. This is another evidence of his supremacy, his sufficiency. This is why Jesus Christ cannot be marked down. Not only does Jesus Christ hold all things together, Jesus Christ in the end will bring all things together.
(08:22):
He will reconcile all things to God in him and through him. God and man are brought together. Heaven and earth are brought together and time and eternity melt together. In fact, the word reconciliation is our key word, and that’s going to be really where we focus the sermon this morning. It appears in verse 20, and then it appears again in verse 21. For it pleased the Father that in him, all the fullness should dwell. And by him to reconcile all things to himself by him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of its cross and you who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works yet now are reconciled. This is the supremacy of Christ. He is able to reconcile us to God. And in the end, he will reconcile all history to himself. Let’s just define reconciliation here before we get going.
(09:22):
The word basically means to change or to exchange. In it’s original meaning it was used of exchanging coins of equal value. And then it evolved into the idea of making a change or an adjustment. And we understand that when we say, well he reconciled himself to a situation. Somebody finds themselves in a set of circumstances, not to their liking, but they realize that, you know what, they can’t bump their head up against reality so often without getting bruised. And so they adjust, they reconcile themselves to the situation. They make the best of where they’re at or what they have. That’s the word. It’s to change, it’s to adjust. It’s perhaps to exchange an attitude. We also realize that the word also grew to embrace the idea of changing one’s attitude towards someone else, with whom you’re at variants with. But the theological meaning of the word centers upon the restoration of a right relationship between God and his creation based upon the cross of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
(10:39):
It’s what we find here. And this is what we find also over in Romans chapter five in verses eight and nine. Listen to Paul. But God demonstrated his own love towards us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then having I been justified by his blood we shall be saved from wrath through him for if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his son, much more having been reconciled we will be saved by his life. The whole concept of a reconciliation from a theological point of view is that you and I who were once enemies of God have been reconciled to him. We are now at peace with him. As Lewis Johnson states it this way, reconciliation is the finished work of God, bringing man from a state and an attitude of enmity to amity by the work of Christ on the cross.
(11:37):
In case I’ve lost you, let me just put it as simply as I can. Reconciliation is the making of things right between God and man by God through Christ. You see that’s the scandal and that’s the story of Christmas. That God came in the person of Jesus Christ. That God added a human nature to his divine nature so that as the God man he might bridge the gap between man and God. Let’s look at a number of things that this text teaches us about reconciliation which I believe will be helpful and exciting. Just look at three things. There’s four things in these verses, but three will do us this morning. Want us to see the grace of reconciliation.
(12:26):
I want us to see, first of all, that this reconciling with God is something that God does for us. It’s not something we do for ourselves towards God. I say the grace of reconciliation because Colossians one verse 19 tells us that it’s the father’s good pleasure to send his son to be the means of reconciling us to himself by Christ’s death on our behalf. For it pleased the Father that in him, that is Christ, all the fullness should dwell and by him to reconcile all things to himself. And the means of that is the blood of his cross.
(13:14):
What’s the implication of this text? It is this. That in an act of sheer grace and in an act of undeserving mercy, God was found in the person of Jesus Christ reconciling the world to himself by means of Christ’s death killing, wrath quenching, sin atoning, guilt removing, life giving death for us on cavalry’s tree. That’s the gospel. Second Corinthians five 19. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. That’s the amazing thing that reconciliation is a gift. Reconciliation is something that God has accomplished for us through the work of his son, the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, Paul wants the Colossians to understand that Christ was no mere man. The one who died upon that cross was fully God and holy man. This is the implication of the text that the fullness of God dwelled in Christ. He wasn’t a mere man. That he came by means of the Virgin birth, the eternal son of God undertook to himself human nature. The fullness of God dwelled in human form.
(14:41):
That’s what the text is telling us. This isn’t really a defense of the deity of Christ as much as it is helping us understand the implication of the incarnation. God dwelled in Christ in that sense. Christ was fully God and by implication, holy man. The word fullness here means complete, total. Paul’s point is very simple. The completeness of deity dwelled in Christ. Now that was the word the gnostics liked. You see, they were offering the Colossians, a fullness, a completeness that they argued couldn’t be found in Christ. And yet Paul argues back and to the Colossians, why are you looking for something to complete you when in Jesus Christ, we have the completeness of deity in bodily form. Paul wants him to know that Christ is not one of the lesser gods of fullness. He is the fullness.
(15:39):
I like the way [Arcan Hugh 00:15:41] puts it, Christ is the exhaustion of God. Christ is the exhaustion of God. In him all the fullness dwelled that by him, all things might be reconciled. Let me apply that. The implication of that is amazing. Rub the sleep from your eyes. Join me again because the implication of that is amazing. What this text is teaching us is that Christ as God came to heal the breach that sin had created between the creator and the creation.
(16:26):
The gospel message is this. That God sought to reconcile man to himself in a great act of divine initiative. Reconciliation is something that God accomplished. Reconciliation is something that God achieved. Reconciliation is something that God did for us in the giving of his son to the cross. Reconciliation is God’s unassisted work. Listen to what Paul says in second Corinthians five about the whole issue of reconciliation. It’s important to note this. Now all things are of God who has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ. High is a man made right with God. By God, through God in Christ. That’s an amazing implication. That is the grace of reconciliation, that the word was made flesh and dwelled among us so that in the body of his flesh, Christ could die for our sins. Verse 22. That’s the amazing reality of what we’re talking about here this morning. Remember what we said? Reconciliation is a finished work of God through Christ’s death on the cross.
(17:51):
Christianity then is not about human beings finding their way to God. It’s about God freely and sovereignly making a way back to himself by a gigantic act of condescension. When all the fullness dwelled in Christ and by the fact that Christ in the body of his flesh give himself to the suffering of Calvary’s cross on our behalf towards God. You see, when you and I think of conflicting parties and they’re being reconciled, we usually think of a 50/50 agreement. We’re kind of one gives grown to the other or one makes certain concessions or sacrifices that gradually bring the two entities closer and closer together until the estrangement is at an end. But you and I need to leave that thought aside when we come to consider rocking silent with God, because as far as the Bible is concerned here, reconciliation is not something produced by a combined effort on God’s part and our part.
(19:00):
It is not even a work that God begins and we complete. It is something achieved and offered to us as a gift. This is what’s unique about the Christian gospel. We do not have to atone for our sins. Reconciling ourselves to God is not something we do. God is not the object of reconciliation in the Bible. He is the subject and man is the object. That’s the amazing thing. For it pleased the Father that in him, all the fullness should dwell and by him to reconcile all things to himself for he made peace through the blood of the cross. Folks, that’s an amazing reality. If you’re to establish a right relationship with God this morning, it will be on the basis of God’s grace. And it will be on the account of what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross. You have nothing to offer. You come to God on his terms, not on yours.
(20:07):
It’s not by works of righteousness, which we do, but by his mercy, he saves us. God reconciled man to himself through Jesus Christ. That’s the grace of reconciliation. Let me just illustrate that and we’ll move on. I don’t know if you use the phrase here chance in your arm. It’s really an Irish expression. And just recently I learned where that phrase or that statement comes from. If you were to visit St. Patrick’s cathedral in Dublin anytime soon, you’ll find hanging there an ancient door with a rough, hew and rectangular open hacked in the center of it. It’s called the door of reconciliation. And there’s a story behind it. In it there were two Irish families that feuded, the Ormondes and the Kildares. And in one particular aspect of this bitter feud, the Ormondes were chased into St. Patrick’s cathedral in Dublin. And they took refuge there in the chapter house of the chapel, and they closed the door behind him and there they were besieged.
(21:20):
The Ormondes were inside and the Kildares were outside begging for blood. But in an interesting twist of events, the Earl of Kildare began to reflect on what was going on. There they stood two Irish families waring in God’s house. And he said to himself, you know what, both of us worship the same God, both of us come from Irish families. We share common soil. And so he decided to put feuding aside and he begged for the Ormondes on the inside to come out. But they thought it was a trick. They smelled a trap. And so what he did was he took a spear, the Earl of Kildare took a spear and he hacked a hole in the center of the door and he stuck his arm in, what did he do? He chanced his arm. Could get hacked off, but he was chancing his arm in reconciliation.
(22:20):
As I thought about that great story, this week I reflected on the fact that God did more than chance his arm at reconciliation. He gave his whole self in the coming and crucifying of Jesus Christ for us. Then this one solitary unique life we come toe to toe with our creator. In the person of Jesus Christ, the visible God was made visible. The invincible God was made breakable. So that by means of his death in the body of his flesh, Christ might give himself for us. So that in meeting God toe to toe in the person and work of Jesus Christ, we might be able to look into the face of God forever and know his kiss of forgiveness. Which brings us to the ground of reconciliation. We’ve already hinted on it, but let’s explain it further. The ground of reconciliation is this, that reconciliation is a work that God did for us.
(23:19):
God, made peace for us through the blood of the Lord, Jesus Christ. That’s what Paul is talking about here. A change in disposition between God and man from that of enmity to amity is grounded according to this passage in the blood soaked soil of Calvary. By what means has God gone to reconcile all things to himself. On what ground were those who were once alienated and enemies of God in their mind demonstrated in wicked works. In what ground were they reconciled to God. It’s clear through the blood of the cross. That’s the ground. That’s the means. The alienation that existed between man and God was bridged by the separation of Christ suffered on the cross. The word blood here carries the thought of sacrificial death. Sacrificial death for sin. There’s nothing magical or mystical in the blood itself. Christ gave his blood in violent death as a means of atonement and sacrifice for our sin towards God.
(24:35):
And this is the ground of our reconciliation. Paul made it abundantly clear to the Colossians that the ground, the means of the reconciliation was the son who took their fleshly nature and as a man died for them. Now you need to understand this because as we have said, God was not reconciling himself to man, because God was not the offending party. God was the offended party. Man needed to be reconciled to God. God didn’t need to be reconciled to man, but the Bible’s very clear about this. Reconciliation is not God word it’s man word. It is not man reconciling himself to God. It is God reconciling man to himself. And this is what the cross is all about because God had to reconcile something within himself before he could be reconciled to us. How could God forgive us? How could God accept us when sin evidenced in entity of mind and wicked works, that marks the life of all men stands in the way. God could not live with himself and be in fellowship with us.
(25:53):
His holiness could not allow it. His righteousness could not bear it. His justice would indict the almighty himself. Therefore, before man could be reconciled to God, the offense of man sin and the obstacle of man sin had to be removed. And there is a sense in which God had to reconcile something within himself. His holiness had to be reconciled with his love. His righteousness had to be reconciled with his grace. How could he show us love? How could he forgive us in grace and not deal with that which created a wall and dug a chasm between God and man. but that’s exactly what he did. God removed the offense. God lifted the obstacle by means of the death of his son because the Lord Jesus Christ came as God in fullness in bodily form, giving himself to the cross for us as the one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.
(27:01):
And friends this morning, you and I can be reconciled to God because God’s justice has been satisfied. God’s forgiveness of us, God’s acceptance of us, God’s reconciliation for us is not a work of love alone. It is a work of law. Christ had to remove the penalty of our sin, the guilt of our sin, the offense of our sin. And he did it by the giving of himself in our place. When he was made a curse for us. Husband and wife had been estranged and decided to separate. The husband left to city in which they lived and went to live in another part of the country.
(27:43):
But business brought him back to the city and he decided while he was in the city to go and visit the grave of his only son. And while he stood there over the grave in memory and respect, he heard footsteps behind him. As he looked over his shoulder, he was surprised to find his wife. His estranged wife. His first impulse was to just walk away, but he didn’t. And both of them stood over the grave and before long they were holding hands as they mutually mourned the memory of their son. They were reconciled in a way by death. And that’s what Paul is telling us here in Colossians chapter one, that you and I can be reconciled by the death of another. The one who died in our place and for our sin.
(28:36):
And that’s why when it comes to God, we must come to God on his terms, not ours. It is God who writes the contract. We sign it. But let me tell you about this contract. It’s got very favorable terms. God asks you to come in repentance and faith toward his son. The one who built the bridge between God and man through his death and resurrection. That’s the terms. And God asked you to sign the contract. Ted Turner is wrong when he says, what is wrong with saying, we are basically good. Nobody has to die on a cross for us. That’s not true. The Bible tells us we are not basically good. We’re at war with God. Our minds are enmity with him. Our wicked works prove that.
(29:31):
And if we are to be right with God and if God has been reconciled to us, Christ had to die on the cross. And it is the cross that lifts you to heaven. It is the death of Christ that brings you life. Brings us to the final thought this morning. We not only have the grace of reconciliation and the ground of reconciliation. We have the gamut of reconciliation. This text not only sees God as the author of reconciliation and not only sees Christ as the agent of reconciliation. It sees the universe as the theater of reconciliation. Paul introduces us to the scope of what Christ did on the cross. He not only made it possible for man to be reconciled to God. He made it possible for all things to be reconciled in him. This is tremendous. This is colossal. As Paul looks at the cross, he does it with a wide angled lens.
(30:32):
He just doesn’t focus on the fact that God saves people by the cross. That God is creating a new humanity on the old earth. Now Paul comes to help us see that Christ is not only creating a new humanity on the earth. He is creating a new humanity for a new heaven and earth that will come about at the end of history at the appointed hour. Look at the scope of this reconciliation. It has a universal scope that’s future, and it has a unique scope that’s present. We’ll look at those quickly. It has a universal scope that’s future. As we’ve just said, Paul wants us to know that this reconciliation is not limited to man only, it’s cosmic in its significance. Look at verse 20. And by him to reconcile all things to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of his cross.
(31:38):
There’s a dimension to what Jesus Christ did on the cross that throws its arms around the whole universe. You see, when man fell, the ground was cursed wasn’t it? The Bible wants us to know that when the judgment of God fell upon Adam and Eve, it did not fall upon them alone. It was sown into the weft and the warp of creation. According the Romans chapter 8, the creation was made subject to vanity unwillingly. The creation became a victim of Adam and Eve’s crime and ever since their fall into sin, ever since God’s judgment upon the ground, this old world has grown and moaned and screamed to be delivered from the weight of God’s curse upon the planet. And this is what Paul has in mind here. You and I realize don’t we intuitively and then we realize by the clear testimony of God’s word, that this world is not what it once was.
(32:44):
It’s not what it should be. Scientists call it the second law of thermodynamics, which is what, entropy. That all things deteriorate. Which means that everything that you and I see including ourselves was once in a better condition than it is now. Absolutely true. Just look in the mirror. Okay, things are not what they once were. We’re not what we could be. This world has been we’re dying and subject to God’s judgment upon sin. The fall not only brought enmity between God and man, but hostility and futility within the creation.
(33:28):
Genesis chapter three, verse 17 and 18. Romans 8 verse 19 to 22. Listen to these words. Do they not ring true? While the beauty and promise of earth is apparent, so too is its fallenness. We see it in the savagery of raw nature as seen in the animal kingdom, the absurdity of floods that destroy whole communities while others burn in forest fires. The extremes of bitter winters which kill justling side by side with scorching temperatures, which also claim their victims. Amidst the beauty there’s evidences that there’s hostility and futility within the creation and Paul envisions a day in the future, Jesus Christ is going to fix what is broken.
(34:18):
Jesus Christ is going to return this earth to paradise. We will have Eden regained. There’s going to be a new heaven and a new earth. The world that is presently wear done by the curse of God, screams in that hope like a pregnant woman, longing to be delivered and set free. And they will indeed be delivered in the delivery of a new heaven and a new earth where in dwells righteousness. Second, Peter three verse 13. It’s not just about Jesus Christ coming to save his people from their sins. As glorious as that is, it’s about Jesus Christ coming to in fact a change in the universe. When at the end of history because of what he did on the cross in defeating principalities and powers, in displaying his sovereignty over death, Jesus Christ has come indeed to reclaim the earth and renew it. That’s a wonderful hope to hang on to. When you live in a body that’s deteriorating, in a world that’s deteriorating as the clock ticks towards the dooms they are. Let me illustrate this and we’ll move.
(35:41):
I’m sure many of you have been to Universal Studios in Florida or in California. We have as a family. And you’ll remember that part of the park involves this ride on this tram car, where you go run all these kind of famous movie sets. Remember where the train takes you into that scene, where out of the movie Earthquake, and you’re sitting kind of there surrounded by an underground train platform. And all of a sudden everything starts to shake and there’s pyrotechnics and smoke appears, and water begins to appear as the pavement cracks and explodes. There’s a tanker that begins to jackknife towards where you’re sitting. Explosions take place. And just as you’re holding on your heart to your left side, there comes this underground tram that crashes and everything’s hay wire near you were in the midst of the chaos. Anybody been there? Okay.
(36:44):
But after that’s all kind of done and you’ve kind of cut your breath and that your little train beginning to pull out, what happens. Some geezer somewhere, you didn’t see him. He hits the button and everything returns to normalcy. The pavement comes together. The tanker goes back up to where it once was. The train goes back out of the station. My friend, that’s what Jesus Christ is going to do. There’s going to come a day, maybe sooner than we can anticipate when Jesus Christ is going to put everything back in its please. All the gamut of reconciliation. It has a universal scope that’s future and finally it has a unique scope that’s present. Having talked about what Jesus Christ is going to do and reconciling all things on earth and then heaven in that future day, Paul makes a present application to them. He says, we’ve got that to look forward to.
(37:43):
And that’s a real expectation for us because we ourselves have a real time experience of the reconciliating power of Jesus Christ. Look at verse 21, and you who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works now he has reconciled in the body of his flesh through death. Folks, having written of God’s far reaching plan of reconciliation, Paul and I applies it directly to his readers. The future comprehensive expectation of which he has just spoken as a real time experience for them. There is a come in a new heaven and a new earth, but presently on the old earth, there is emerging a new humanity, a new creation within the old creation.
(38:33):
Those who are in Christ for if any man is in Christ, Paul says elsewhere in the new Testament, he is what, a new creation. Every Christian here this morning is just a harbinger of what Jesus Christ is going to do across all the universe. He’s going to reconcile it all. And the proof is that right now we are reconciled. We’re in a right relationship with God through the blood of Jesus Christ on the basis of the cross of our great savior. And in a wonderful picture, we are the first rays of that new day that still the dawn.
(39:11):
And in a sort of before and after picture, Paul reminds them of what they were outside of Christ and what they are now in Christ. Before being reconciled to God through faith in Christ, they were estranged from God in their thinking and in their living. Their minds were at enmity with God and their thoughts produced actions, wicked works.
(39:37):
Godless living, the breaking of God’s law. That’s man’s condition apart from God’s reconciling grace and Christ redeeming work. Man’s minds are a conveyor belt of idol and immoral thoughts. And as one period and put at their hearts are a factory of idols. And then Adam, there we stand separated and estranged from God and a great barrier between us and God in all his holiness and righteousness. And that barrier is the offense of our sin and the obstacle of our transgression. But Paul says, isn’t this wonderful Jesus Christ came and removed that obstacle. Jesus Christ came and erased that offense by what he did on the cross.
(40:26):
In the body of his flesh given in death for us. And that’s God’s grace in a great change that takes place in the life of a believer where we exchange Christ’s life for ours and his righteousness for our unrighteousness. And that is possible through what he did on the cross in quenching God’s wrath and satisfying God’s justice so that God need not turn away from us, but that God might turn towards us and bring our hostility to not. He did it not by chancing his arm, but by stretching out his arms in the person of his son upon the cross. That’s God’s present and glorious work. That’s God’s present and glorious work. There’s a future work, but his present work right now is reconciling man to himself through Jesus Christ. Let me ask you this morning as we close, are you reconciled to God?
(41:30):
It is our conviction of us Christians that in this one solitary unique life, we find God in fullness, in the form of the man Christ Jesus. And through this God man, God and man might meet and be reconciled and be at peace with one another. That’s the message. And that’s God’s present work. He likes people to make peace with him through faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War was giving a lecture when he referred to those in the south in very sensitive language and words, he called them the erring human beings, which was rather soft term as far as his audience was concerned. And so at the end of the dinner, a woman accosted him and said, you know what? All they deserve is death. We need to wipe these southerners off the face of the United States. We need to destroy our enemies and you need to talk tougher, Mr. President. To which Abraham Lincoln replied, do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends? What a wonderful picture of what God has done in the Lord Jesus Christ.
(43:05):
God destroys his enemies by making them his friends. Yet, for those that will not be made friends with God, they will be destroyed as enemies. And so this morning you have a choice to make. And in the words of the apostle Paul in second Corinthians 5:18, be reconciled to God. That’s a passive verb. You say passive, what does that mean? It means that the person in question is being acted upon. Let me read it the way it could be literally read. Be reconciled to God by God. Being in the right relationship with God is something he does for us and with us through Jesus Christ.
(43:55):
And if you’re without Jesus Christ this morning as your savior and your sin bearer you’re in this world without God and without hope. Peace has been made. All you have to do is lay down your arms and embrace the mercy of God. How foolish we thought to find that for so many years, we were still finding Japanese soldiers in some of the islands of the Pacific Ocean who had not realized that an amnesty had been signed and Japan had surrendered and the war was over. There was peace and yet they were fighting. There was reconciliation and yet they were at war. And that to me describes so many people in our city who are at war with God when peace is being declared through Jesus Christ. My friend, lay down your arms and find peace with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.