It’s our time: Ministering healing to Our Nation

Well, church family, now that the election is over the real work begins. This may be the most decisive election in the history of our nation. Sadly, Christians are calling each other names on Facebook. They are questioning each other's salvation according to their political party. News commentators are labeling and slandering voters according to how they voted or did not vote. Many are insisting this is a race issue, with one commentator stating that this election was a “whitelash” against President Obama. I overhear believers gloating or jeering and making jokes about the “other side”.  The darkness is clear. And this gives opportunity for the light to shine bright.

In this week's message, I'm sharing that God has called our church to a ministry of reconciliation, and the different ways that God has called and empowered believers to walk out the ministry of reconciliation in practical ways.

Passage(s): 
1 Peter 2:5

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[Veterans Day video. Applause for veterans.]
 
Veterans, we greatly appreciate your service. We recognize that during this season of election, because of your sacrifice, we have the freedom to go to polls and speak our minds. Sometimes we can become so self-focused that we forget those who’ve served and given their lives and lost friends.
 
I would like to pray for those standing. Please gather around them and agree with me in prayer.
PRAYING: Father, we thank you that you sent your son as the ultimate sacrifice. We’re free from the tyranny of death an sin. And we recognize with that that we have men and women who’ve modeled what it is to be living sacrifice. Taken from home and put in isolated places. Called upon to possibly give their life for their country.
We’re thankful that they answered. War is devastating. Many thing happen we don’t want to think about. Thank you for these willing to put themselves in harm’s way for us. We speak blessings and gratitude on them.
Because of you, Lord, we can be free and recognize these men and women. And we pray in Jesus’ name.
 
Welcome to Pastor Kerry Battle and our other guests.
 
We never apologize for the Word of God. We believe it’s the foundation for our lives. And the only way we can walk with peace and security is when we walk according to the Word of God.
 
We realize it’s important to speak the Word in love. One of the worst things we can do as believers is to walk in conviction but without love. When believers do that, they do more harm than good. I saw this recently.
Two dear friends who’ve known each other more than 10 year. Similar lifestyles growing up. Both desperately needed a Savior and surrendered their lives to Christ. I have the privilege of discipling them. They’re passionate for the Lord.
But something happened that caused great conflict between these friends: the elections. And now that the elections are done, one is speaking anger, and the other speaks with gloating. And they are engaged in this conflict both in person and online. Two friends because of their response to the elections are now at odds. And people look on and say, “What difference does Christ make?”\ Now the two are exchanging scripture with each other, trying to be nice to each other, but it’s awkward. It’s poky like a prickly pear.
I wrote something on fb watching these exchanges (https://www.facebook.com/michael.j.walker.549/posts/10153851080132046). My heart became grieved. I sought the Lord in prayer, “ IF you want me to say something, I will.”
The Lord led me to 1John, a passage about love. How Christ is our propitiation and atonement. That we could have the same kind of love.
So I wrote on fb that I see what’s going on here and that we’re wounding each other w/ words. And to encourage people that we’re to be brothers and friends. I wasn’t preaching. I was just trying to encourage. And there were several interesting responses.
One female in a homosexual relationship thanked me for the post. Some extreme democrats shared it. Some conservative republicans shared it. I’ve seen people from the whole spectrum share that post.
 
In Namibia, I went to a praise and worship that was very high energy. I’ve been in a worship service where they dimmed the lights and have electric guitars. I’ve been in churches that worship with Bach music.
One thing they all have in common: they love Jesus. And when you love Jesus, something happens. People are different, but we serve the same God.
The problem is we look for things that divide us rather than things that unite us. And that is our unity in Christ.
 
I’m beginning a series on reconciliation. As a church body, there’s one word that I want people to use to describe us a church body: reconciliation. It’s our goal to reconcile man to God, man to man, and man to himself, that is, recognizing who they are in Christ.
We easily condemn ourselves, not recognizing who we are in Christ. And we’re called to the ministry of reconciliation. As I look in our community and country, I see a desperate need for the ministry of reconciliation. As we look at our country today—please stay with me as I read this, there’s a purpose for it—
 
Throughout the latest 19th century, tensions grew throughout the US. IN the south, people blamed it on the freeing of the slaves. Lynchings becaome popular. Over 4743 people were lynched. Over 3000 of them were black. Not all lynchings were recorded. And some were of white people. Most of these were because they helped blacks or opposed lynchings.
Those who favored lynchings did so in order to protect their women. They felt the blacks were given too much freedom and needed to be controlled.
 
The caucasians of that time thought it was within their right to do this. And they’d quote scripture to support it.
 
And there’s a black man who shot law enforcement because he thought he had the right to do it.
 
We see men and women who believe that they’re doing right, but they’re bringing forth destruction.
 
Many times when I was a young believer, I had so much righteous indignation that when people didn’t see things my way, I knew they were wrong. And I grieve as I think about how my reactions brought destruction and not unity.
 
You can look at our country and other places where there are racial tensions. There’s an underlying way in which our country has been built upon division. Division that’s sought to bring harm. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s history. And we on’t want to go back there.
 
IT doesn’t matter what your race or your affiliation or college team fan.
 
This is our baseline. This is who we’re supposed to be.
 
1P 2:4ff 4You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.
5And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests.a Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 6As the Scriptures say,
“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,b
chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
will never be disgraced.”c
7Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.”d
8And,
“He is the stone that makes people stumble,
the rock that makes them fall.”e
They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.
 
“stumble” - ensnared, entrapped. Even believers. Because they don’t obey God’s Word.
 
9But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,f a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
“you” - as believers you are a holy what? priest. What nation do you belong to as a believer? God’s nation.
10“Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”g
11Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.h
What are you a temporary resident of? This earth. We understand what that means. When we were in Botswana, we were temporary residents. We knew our residency could be revoked at any time.
Be full of care to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors.
…Should I skip this next part?
13For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.
15It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters.i Fear God, and respect the king.
Church, these aren’t the words of Michael Walker or of some political party. These are God’s words.
If you look at Romans 13, you see that Paul was speaking to a church living under tyranny. And even in that situation, he said they were to obey those in authority.
In a moment i’m going to talk about a very practical way we can bring healing and reconciliation to our nation. Not just the what, but the why. We are a royal priesthood.
Let me tell you about who votes in our elections; Christians-conservative, moderate, liberal; atheists; lesbians and homosexuals; people born in a foreign country with different believes and ideas.
When we get down to it, this country isn’t made up of just one type of believers, it’s made up of a large group of people. We have to be poised to realize that elections could turn out any way.
When the people wanted a king, God said, “I’m your king.” But they said, ‘We want a man.” God: that’s not the answer. The people: We don’t care.
And when we go our own way, we’re always left wanting.
 
 
We’re called to a holy priesthood. What does that mean? IN the OT, we see that priests:
1. interceded for the people, standing in the gap between God and man and mediate on behalf of the people.
2. made atonement and different kinds of sacrifices
3. They represented man as well as the anointed.
4. They ministers sacrifices and offerings.
 
Ezek 22:29-31  29The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice. 30And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. 31Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord GOD.”
Because God is just, He had to give the people what they deserved.
 
Jesus is the great high priest.
Hebrews 7:25Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermostb those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
26For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
Jesus presented his blood in the heavenly tabernacle to atone for us. He FOREVER is pleading for you. FOREVER being an advocate on your behalf.
As the accuser of the brethren comes before the Father, our Lord Jesus, Savior, advocate, is advocating for you and me.
This is what the great high priest Jesus has done for us, making atonement for our sins.
What does it mean that we’re a royal priesthood?
1. We’re called to intercede. To stand in the gap. We need to be watchful. Watching the tide of the nation, the culture, society. As we see that the hearts of man are turning away from God, we stand in the gap and pray. This is our duty as a royal priesthood. We need to represent… we have a very unique position. Just as Jesus was fully God and fully man, we are no longer of this earth.
We’re called to walk this earth as Jesus prayed in John 17. We are here to be that priest and stand in the gap and pray for this country. We’re to walk in the atonement ministry.
The word “atonement” - Jesus is the ultimate atonement. Man is sinful in every way. Our heart is deceitful. Everything about us is fallen in nature and we’re in desperate need of a savior.
Jesus became that sacrifice of atonement and paid the price for our sin.
Here’s what that means for us. It means we know there’s a God that can change the herats of man. There’s a price that was paid 2000 years ago that could pay the price and atone for the sins in the hearts of man. He can plead the blood of Jesus. So our hearts and lives can be changed. So we can see His grace and mercy displayed in our lives and our country. We are to walk in the ministry of atonement. The blood of Jesus did the work.
You know those two friends I was talking about earlier. One is the biggest knucklehead ever. If these two guys were to stop and look and consider what they’d come out of and come from. When their hearts were literally set against the things of God and God caught them unaware and transformed their lives through the blood of Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God quickening their hearts. God literally transformed their thinking and their hearts.
If they’d thought about that for one moment, they’d understand that it’s their duty to enable God to do the same thing for others.
We must understand that we represent a holy nation as a royal priesthood. It’s our job to be watchful and caring for those around us. And the position God has given us to represent him.
I want to say something very practical. If you are on Facebook, before you post anything, pray. And after you pray, see that what you write lines up with the Word of God. And make sure that what you post is in love. Because what you write will be seen by people. And you are to bring hope, peace, healing, reconciliation. Pray. Check the Word. Check your heart.
We’re called to be living stones that build the temple of God.
As I was preparing for this message, I started Googling. I wanted to see different buildings with mosaic motifs. I saw beautiful amazing buildings with different colors and styles of bricks and stones. And I saw amazing pictures.
We’re called to be that beautiful mosaic temple of God. God wants people… read revelation… the people surrounding the throne… every ethnic group. People who don’t look or talk or smell like you. They don’t think like you. They don’t worship like you. They don’t cheer for the same team like you. They cheer for those with a white ball and black dots.
We’re all called to build this united, beautiful, holy temple to give praise to God.
If you truly want to change the hearts of people so that they can see the glory of God? Get a church full of different colors of people. They don’t think alike, but they’re all for the cause of Christ.
We’re called to be living stones. We must be connected together. 
I want to read one more thing as we close up today. Actually a couple scriptures.
  1Tim 2:1-4 ¶ First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4* who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Galatians 3:23  24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Gal 5:13-14  13 ¶ For you have been called to live in freedom--not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love.
 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Young people. Senior adults. My contemporaries. Love your neighbors as yourself. Millenials.
15* But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
If we’re bent on arguing, we’ll destroy one another. A house divided against itself shall not stand.
[Stand]
As we close, we always want to give opportunity. If someone needs to make a fresh or first-time commitment to God, or they want to pray for something, we want to give opportunity for people to do this with God.
As we sing this last song, as God is moving in your heart, please respond.
I want to be clear. Who are we? A royal priesthood. And our heart is to bring reconciliation and redemption. IT’s our duty and responsibility and command to stand in the gap and intercede.
Let us respond as the Lord leads.
 
11:29 Prayer -God, I’m thankful for the privilege of being called pastor of this church. When I think of the great responsibilty of being a pastor, even a follower of Christ. I pray that this message is received without condemnation. That we’d be encouraged and inspired. I pray for my brothers and sisters for their continued ministry. That your Spirit would continue in our hearts. That we would be a center that births out a ministry of reconciliation. That our hearts would be united, burdened, impassioned for the ministry of reconciliation.
O God, break us and free us. We love you.
Amen.
 
As we go out, remember we are on a mission. Amen? As we know, that mission is found in Matthew 28:19-20. Jesus says we’re called to go out and make disciples of all the nations. And to teach everyone to obey what he’s commanded because his heart is for us. And as we do, we’ll see a country that’s changed.
Be encouraged. Don’t be afraid. Be ignited and empowered. Go in peace.