Some things in life are necessary. We need to give them our attention and time. They are too important for us to neglect!
Take your health, for example. You health is more important to you than your money or perhaps your job. What can money or a job do if you lose your good health? Consider this event: One a very rich man saw a boy selling newspapers on the street corner. The newspaper boy was eating a hamburger. Gazing intently at the boy, the rich man said: "I would give a million dollars if I could only eat a hamburger."
Why? The rich man had severe stomach ulcers and big health problems. He had put money at the center of his life. Money was his only goal. His health? He had no time to take care of it. Then his health broke like a glass hitting the floor. And his money could not buy back his broken health. What should he have done? He should have taken care of his health.
So also, in our spiritual existence there is something that every person should do! Proposition: This message centers on the fact that every person should be reconciled to God. Look at this passage in 2 Corinthians chapter 5. It shows the reasons why every person should be reconciled to God.
I. Every Person Sould Be Reconciled to God Because of a Broken Relationship, 2 Cor. 5:18
A. Explanation of key word "reconciliation" -- Reconciliation means a change in relationship between people who were once separated and opposed to each other. They are no longer friends. There is no peace and fellowship. Their relationship is broken. But what happens if there relationship is restored? Peace comes. They are friends. Reconciliation changes their broken relationship!
B. Why every person's relationship to God has been broken -- It is broken because the Bible speaks about the relationship between God and sinners. God and sinners are separated. There is no peace and fellowship. How can there be?
God is holy; sinners are unholy. The Bible says that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Sinners break God's moral law in word, thought, and deed. Paul says, "we were God's enemies" in Romans 5:10. Both God and man need to be reconciled to each other. Then, and only then, there is peace and heavenly friendship!
The good news here is that "while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son" (Rom 5:10).
C. Exposition of 2 Cor. 5:18 – Here the Bible says, "All this is from God who through Christ reconciled us to himself" (RSV).
God is the architect of our reconciliation--the One who planned it all. Not you or anyone else could have planned this miracle of restoring our broken, relationship with God. Sinners need divine help. And God Himself stepped into the dark picture of our sinful ruin. God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins and remove the moral barrier between us and God. Then the Holy Spirit applies reconciliation to us personally in the miracle of salvation. This is when our relationship with God is changed--totally changed! All Three Persons of the Trinity are involved in reconciliation. God, the Father planned it; God, the Son, brought the plan into history at the cross; and God, the Holy Spirit, applies it and makes it real in our souls. Wonderful miracle of God's grace!
D. Application--You, too, can change your broken relationship with God. God has made it possible for you. No longer do you need to live with sin's barrier between you and God. He welcomes you to a new relationship. This will give you forgiveness of sins and peace in your soul. You can find it in this service.
II. Every Person Should be Reconciled to God Because Christ Died to Destroy the Barrier of Sin, 2 Cor. 5:19.
A. Exposition of 2 Cor. 5:19 – Here the Bible says, "God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them" (NIV). This is how God removed the barrier of sin: "not counting men's sins against them." What do these words mean?
"Not counting" is from the language of bookkeeping. Paul uses the word logizomai (pronounced, low-giz-oh-my). It pictures a person recording money owed--a debt. Our sins, yours and mine, are like a moral debt. But God did not charge them against us. We did commit them; it is true. And the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23). This is also true. But God sent Christ to die for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3).
Here then, is Paul's word picture in 2 Cor. 5:19. Our sins, so to speak are debts--moral liabilities--charged to our account by God. These debts cannot be taken away by any good works we try to do. Isaiah proclaims: "All of our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6). Again the Bible says, "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law" (Gal. 3:10).
Only Christ alone had perfect obedience. He had in Paul's word picture, no debts, no sins. His debit side of the book was clear. And on this perfect debit side God placed our sins, our moral debts. God "counted" them to Christ and Christ paid our moral debt by His death on the cross. 2 Cor 5:19 says, "God did not count our sins against us." Why? God counted them against Christ! Think of it. And you can only find reconciliation in Him.
B. Illustration of Person Trying to Get to Heaven Without Christ--Once a man had a dream. He saw a ladder reaching from earth towards heaven. The ladder did not reach high enough to get to heaven. But for every good work the man did in life, he added a new step to this ladder. So his ladder became longer and higher. Finally the ladder he built was so high it was out of his sight.
Then it happened. He died and then began to climb up the steps of his ladder. He was getting near to heaven. As the man climbed the final step, he heard a voice coming over the wall. "He who climbs up some other way is a thief and a robber" (John 10:7-9).
Immediately the ladder fell to the ground! When the man woke up from his dream, he knew he couldn't get to heaven by his own works. His sins were still a barrier to shut him out of heaven. He had only one way: It was by Jesus Christ!
C. Application--We, too, must understand that sin's barrier was removed in the death of Christ. You and I were reconciled to God in that death. Your sins and mine were put on Christ's account. Their penalty and guilt are not counted against us. We have a Savior. He takes away our hostility and makes us God's friends.
"Your sins and mine were put on Christ's account."
III. Every Person Should be Reconciled to God Because This Relationship is Waiting for Them, 2 Cor 5:20.
A. Why it is waiting for them--God Himself has already been reconciled at the cross. He does not need to be reconciled now. This is an objective fact. It stands outside of us. Even if a person dies as a sinner separated from God, he was reconciled to God. Only the sinner is to blame: God reconciled him; he didn't receive it. What a shame!
It is now our duty, our privilege, to mend our broken relationship with God. This is what we call "subjective reconciliation." We ourselves turn to God and receive it. It stands waiting for us to receive. It is heaven's offer to guilty sinners. But an offer can be turned away and lost.
B. Illustration of "I Cast the Deciding Vote"--You hold the answer to your soul's spiritual relationship to God. A person testified in a church service. He told how he was reconciled to God. It goes something like this.
"I don't know much about theology, but I can tell you one thing. I looked on my right hand and God seemed to be pleading with me. Then I looked on my left hand, and there seemed to be Satan, ready to destroy me. The battle was on. God was FOR me, and the devil was AGAINST me. The battle was tied--one to one. Who was going to win?"
"THEN I CAST THE DECIDING VOTE! I chose God; it was now God and me. Now it was two votes against Satan's one vote. I won the spiritual battle for my soul. I was now reconciled, and God and I were friends." The broken relationship was gone!
C. Exposition of 2 Cor. 5:20--Now the Bible says, "We beg you in behalf of Christ, BE reconciled to God" (NASB). This shows everyone of us how reconciliation is waiting. It is pleading with us.
"We beg you" are the words of the biblical text. The Greek word for "beg" is quite strong. It is used of the man full of leprosy in Luke 5:12. He fell down on his face and pleaded and begged Christ to heal him or he would die! The begging, the pleading is urgent, sincere, strong.
D. Application--Which way will you go in this service? It is foolish to neglect God's pleading. He is sincere and urgent. You can respond the same way. You can receive Christ and reconciliation. You do the asking, Christ does the forgiving.
--A big truth has walked with you in this service. Everyone can be reconciled to God; therefore, make this your day, your hour, your moment of reconciliation. God stands waiting. What about you?
Illustration Type of Conclusion--Here is a true story about reconciliation that was offered but not received!
Elizabeth Barrett's parents disapproved so strongly of her marriage to Robert Browning that they disowned her. She was no longer a part of her own family. Almost weekly, Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote letters to her mother and father. She wanted their love; she wanted their relationship. But her parents never replied. Her wonderful letters were never answered. After ten long years of letter-writing to her parents, Elizabeth Browning received a huge box in the mail. What was it? Elizabeth Browning quickly opened it. To her heartbreak this box held all of the the letters she had written to her parents. Not one of them had ever been opened! She looked down on them with a heart full of tears. Today these love letters are among the most beautiful letters in English literature.
Had her parents opened and read only a few of them, a reconciliation might have taken place. But the broken relationship was never healed. Her parents took this broken relationship to their graves when they died. What, then, is your response to God's love demonstrated in Christ's death for you? We beg you, BE reconciled to God.
Powerful Last Sentence
--God says, "the one who comes to me, I will not turn away."
About the Author
Dr. George Batson has taught expository preaching for over 25 years. He has taught in Bible schools and pastors' training seminars in many nations and is the author of Global University's award-winning textbook on Expository Preaching.
As a missionary, George has served at Asia-Pacific Theological Seminary in the Philippines as faculty and later as academic dean. He has also taught Bible, theology, and Greek at Continental Theological Seminary in Belgium and later served as their Dean of Graduate Studies.