The Cross and Jesus: A Perfect Recipe for Reconciliation

This week we start on the second phase of our three phase ministry of reconciliation. This phase two is reconciling man to man. What does it truly take to accomplish this? There are so many imposter ideas on how this is accomplished. Many times we as Christians chime in saying “yes, this is what we want” but often do nothing to bring this about or at best make a token gesture. If you were to ask the everyday Christian what the ministry of reconciling man to man looked like on a daily or moment by moment basis, I believe most would struggle to give an answer. If you were to ask most Christians if they really care and if their lives reflect that they care, once again I believe many of us would have to hang our heads low and walk away. If this is true, then we have a real problem. It is a problem that not only needs to be solved but has been solved. The problem is that we are often not serious enough to walk in the solution. This week we are going to start to look at the basic philosophy that we must have to walk in the solution and be the precious agents of man-to-man reconciliation. I hope to see you this Sunday.

 

Love you all,

Pastor Michael

Passage(s): 
John 19:28-30

Comments

2017-02-05 MW

 

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10:42 - another announcement not in the bulletin. Miss Sue Campbell is turning 99 on 2/18. She’s the last remaining charter member of SSBC. She doesn’t want a birthday party. But we want to send her cards for her birthday. One of the ministries she had here was sending cards to the sick and birthday cards as well. We want to send her a myriad of birthday cards wishing her a happy birthday.

If you’d like to do that, get the address from the office. Let’s bless Miss Sue in this way as she turns 99.

 

Also, before we go further… you have to love me because the Bible says so. I’m going to do something this family wasn’t expecting. Zine, we know you’re going to be going down to get your chemo treatment. And I got to see first-hand how this decimates your body and puts stress and strain on your body. And it’s something that weighs heavy on all your hearts.

All, that’s why he has his mask on.

I’m not going to ask people to come forward to pray for them. I am going to ask them to come forward so we can pray for them.

[Smtih family comes forward]

Isn’t this a good looking family?

[Applause]

 

Praying: Lord, we come before you professing that your name is great. You are God. We omit all “religious” thought and ideology. We want to be real with you. We acknowledge that you’re great. Your wisdom is beyond ours. Your plan is more intricate than we can imagine.

I’ve been blessed over and over by the Smith family. I thank you for the testimony they have and the ministry they have to so many.

I know you see the anxious thoughts swirling around in them.

I believe in your work. That you’re the Pricne of Peace. I pray that you would flood every one of them with your peace. That every ounce of fear, doubts ,anxiety would be quenched. Give comfort and strength. Place a hedge of protection around them so they don’t gt lies and confusion.

My thoughts and imagination is so limited. I know you can give more than we can imagine. I know you love them beyond measure.

My heart yearns that your great work would be done.

I pray they’d be overwhelmed with unexpected blessing. Interaction and intervention by you. I pray for your great ministry to consume each of them.

Have your way, Lord God. I pray, I pray, I pray. I’m on my knees in my heart. I want to be completely earnest before you. I want to have all religious ideology out of the way.

Knowing I’m talking to my great Father… We pray for your mighty ministry. Your care. Your peace.

Thank you for your promises and for this precious family.

In Jesus Name. Amen.

 

10:51 Zine will be in treatment from 2/6-2/8. I encourage you to be open before the Lord and ask Him to show you how to pray.

 

I don’t want this message to be convoluted or complicated. I want you to walk away knowing what is the meat of this message. I pray you’re saying, “God, let your Word penetrate my heart so I can walk in obedience to what you’re speaking.”

 

Part of the vision God’s given us as a church is the ministry of reconciliation. In conversation with some staff, because of some of the things we’ve walked through, that world reconciliation can give us a bad taste.

Because of that word r, we have a right relationship with God.

All of us, as believers, if you’ve trusted in Christ, He’s given you the ministry of reconciliation. We look at that in three levels: man to God, man to man, and man to himself.

We’ve been tackling r of man to self. That’s important because until we understand who we are in Christ and how God has made us and how to walk in discernment and led by the spirit of God, we can’t carry out the other two areas of r.

Today we’ll start with man-to-man. And the passages will also have man-God component. But the man-to-man part is what I want to emphasize.

We talked about key ingredients to reconciliation soup. And two foundational ingredients in reconciling man to man are (and no shock to anyone):

1. The cross

2. Christ

 

These are the 2main ingredients that are needed.

 

John 19:28-30

 28* After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘‘I thirst.’’

 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.

 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘‘It is finished,’’and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

 

That last sentence: “It is finished”.

 

Gal 3:13

 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, ‘‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’’--

 

Matt 16:24

 24* ¶ Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

 

Speaking to his disciples, J says, “If you want to follow after me, if you truly want to be called Christian, you need to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.”

 

As we look at these passages, one thing we see crucially involved in each one is the cross.

As we think about the cross, it’s not as in vogue as it used to be when Madonna was wearing a cross. We do see it on top of churches and in churches. But we can lose the reality and cruelty of the cross.

When someone was crucified—the Romans wouldn’t crucify a citizen unless they were deemed a traitor. They only crucify when someone did something so despicable that they want to send a message by crucifying them. Not an instantious death.

They’d be paraded and taken to a hill or high place so many could witness. And it would take several days before they would die.

When you see the movies and the pictures, you see Jesus with a loin cloth, but the most common practice was that they were stripped completely naked for all to see and for them to experience great shame.

Not only exposed to shame, but also exposed to the elements. Birds of pray. Heat, sun, wind, cold of night.

Not only would they be shamed, but their family members would be too. “Isn’t that so-and-so’s son? They must’ve done something serious to be hung on the cross.”

Medical scientists talk about the causes of death in crucifixion: exposure, damage from the beatings that preceded it, including blood clots that go to their heart. If their legs were broken and arms go out of joint, they can’t breathe, so they die of asphyxiation or drowning.

Some of them just give up their life. They give up the will to live and yearn for death.

It was one of the most vicious and torturous ways that anyone could imagine dying.

Sometimes when we consider 21st century equivalents, it’s not the same. electric chair and lethal injection are quick. Crucifixion was about humiliation and torture.

And this is the way our Lord Jesus chose to die, in this cruel and inhumane fashion.

Why did J choose this way to die? First we need to understand he was innocent, righteous, did nothing wrong. But the people on the cross were the worst of the worst. The most vile people you could imagine. Doing the most vile things we could comprehend.

J had no sin. He could identify w/ those who had been wronged for no reason. Those talked about, lied about, mocked, ridiculed, whispered about in back rooms. Treated to injustice. Jesus id’s with that. If anyone had a right to retaliate, it was our Lord Jesus Christ.

It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, or what your people group has been through, Jesus identifies. He understands. And he did NOT retaliate.

 

In order for Jesus to die, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” and “Jesus became a curse for us.”

Juan, are you part of the “us”? Eleanor? Patrick? Seth? (Sorry, Killoughs)

Jesus identified w/ every single person. It’s important to identify w/ every single person so he could bring reconciliation to every single person to himself.

He identified where you’re at. With your struggle. With your sin. With your hardship. With your pain. With you being misunderstood. He met you right where you are.

He met us where we were at so he could id w/ us and bring us to a place of reconciliation.

 

In John 19:28-30— 28* After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘‘I thirst.’’

 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.

 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘‘It is finished,’’and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

 

That term “it is finished”—and I talked about this a year or so ago— it means “It is accomplished”. Generals looking on battles down below would tell them where to battle and where to bring the victory. And Runners would constantly run back and forth. And when they knew the victory was at hand, they’d tell them, “It is accomplished. The victory is ours.”

Jesus didn’t say this when he arose. He made this statement while on the cross. Why? Because He knew who he was—righteous, without sin. He knew death and hell couldn’t hold him.

He took on every person’s sin, identifying w/ every single person throughout the world. 

“This is something I must do.” As he took on the sins of the world, he could say, “Father, it’s accomplished. I’ve identified w/ every single man, woman, child in this world. I’ve identified with their sin, their pain, their sorrow.” He gave up His spirit.

 

People were crucified in many different ways. Historically, Jesus was crucified in this way. It’s like a cross roads. A vertical passage way from man to God. And a horizontal passageway of man to man.

To everyone who believes and receive, he becomes a child of God.

Through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, a bridge was created where man could be reconciled to man.

So when you look at someone with different skin color, different economics, I was in need of a savior just like you. Jesus became a curse on the cross, for you, just like for me.”

A unique passage way was created — man-God and God-to-man.

 

We see the cruelty of the cross. The long-suffering. The pain. The identification of the cross. With the cross being this bridge… who was the gateway? Jesus.

 

The cross was the bridge, but Jesus was the gateway. The cross without Jesus 

Jesus had to be brought to that suffering, pain, shame in order for the bridge to be opened.

 

Looking at Mt 16:24

 24* ¶ Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

 

Could you imagine living in biblical times when crucifixion was practiced? Seeing who was subjected to the long and torturous death of it? And then Jesus saying to YOU, if you want to come after me, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow.

If you imagine after, when people became followers of Christ, it became a very bold thing to be subjected to this type of death. J speaking to you and after you see what happens to J, and he had said, ‘If you want to be id’ed with me, you have to following in my footsteps: take up your cross and follow me.”

 

What is your cross? I believe J is saying, “I need you to understand that I am making you a path to light. I’m giving you a crossroad that leads to me. And that goes from one type of society and group of people to another. I’m giving you the ability to cross and reconcile others because of my sacrifice. And YOU must be the sacrifice.

WE must be the gateway. He’s saying, “See yourself, willing to walk in long-suffering. Willing to be ridiculed and misunderstood. TO do whatever it takes to reconcile man to man and man to God. That you’re willing to be that gateway that Christ was to us.

He’s saying “I’ve committed to YOU the ministry or reconciliation.

As a pastor, when I hear that, I hear—listen to be first before you ask for my resignation—that it means I literally need to be on my knees, praying that God’ll bring us encounters with prostitutes, druggeis, people with aids, others that no one else wants anything to do with. I need to be praying, “Give us those encounters. Help us to become messy for you. We know it’ll cost time and money and energy. We know it’ll take long-suffering. it means going where we don’t normally want to go and do what we normally don’t want to subject ourselves to.

What it boils down to is that when we gather as a body, the last thing we should do is be excited about how short or long the service was. But rather, for how God has impassioned our heart to fulfill the ministry of reconciliation.

It’s no longer about my comfort, but about me being long-suffering for your sake and for the sake of others. To bring the ministry of reconciliation.

Church, I’ve been guilty of this many times. I’ve heard messages and I go, “Man, this touches my heart.” I get excited and convicted. And if it really hits my heart, I’ll be that way for 1-2 weeks. And then it’s all about me, my plans, my lifestyle.

But Jesus is saying, “I need you to understand that once you’ve surrendered your life to me, you do have eternal life. And eternal life—when you first came to me, yes it was all about you—about you being met where you are and caring for your needs and struggles—but as you become my disciple in following me, a transition must happen. When you begin to live your life for eternal life, and knowing the life you live on this earth is for a mission.

Gregg, all but two of your kids are in the military… I remember when Josh was training, one of the things they had to do was literally to drown. They had to get over the fear of dying. They had to trust that when they died, they’d be brought back to life. You have to see the big picture here. IN order to be part of the special forces, you have to be literally willing to die first.

There are men and women literally willing to die for a secular cause. They see a cause bigger than themselves and are willing to literally die. Because they see the greater mission.

And Jesus says, I need you to look beyond yourself. To literally die so that others would have eternal life. So that man could be reconciled to man.

 

Remember three key things:

1. All at one time were accursed and condemned. All of us are flawed. And Jesus met us in our cursed state and become cursed for us to release and reconcile us.

2.We are all one body. When the enemy tells us something different, it’s our responsibility to shut him down by shouting out, “Because of the cross of Christ, we can be reconciled.” As Christ went on the cross, it was to eradicate self-love and instead implant the love of God and fellow man.

 

Church, there’s something I struggle with all the time. The more I walk in ministry, I struggle. I begin to lose myself, my identity. I used to think that was a bad thing. I had to come out of myself in different ways and begin to wonder, “Who ami I?”

Then it dawned me, that’s not a bad thing. “That I may decrease so that he may increase.”

 

As we close with this last song, if God is speaking to your heart, and you’re saying that you’ve never experienced the passageway that God created for us and have been able to come into that relationship with our Lord and Savior, we want to give you the opportunity to do that.

We won’t beg or plead. We’ll believe that God is already speaking to your heart.

If you have another reason why God is speaking to your heart, whatever it is, come up. There are men and women to pray with you.

Or if you need to come forward and pray, do.

 

11:37