Every week, on Monday, we will have a blog for you with resources for diving deeper into the sermon.
This past weekend was the second week of our Ambassadors series where we are talking about how we have a message of reconciliation from the King to give to the world. Pastor Andrew’s sermon this week covered 2 Corinthians 5:14-19 and discussed what the message we carry is: Jesus gave his life for the reconciliation of the world. That’s the message.
In verse 14, Paul speaks of being controlled by love. The message that Jesus has come down and given his life that the world might believe in him and find salvation has captivated Paul, and now his whole life is controlled by the love of Christ. You see, the gospel changes everything. Many religions say we need to try to love God to make him happy. Yet humans aren’t built to muster love for God but to respond to his love for us. When we see his love, we live for him. Verse 15 shows this. He died so that those who live would live for him who died and was raised. That’s the symbolism of baptism. Baptism is the outward sign of a life no longer lived for yourself. In baptism, as we go into the water, we are united with Christ in his death, and when we come out, we are united with Christ in his resurrection to live a new life in service to him. Baptism is the first step of obedience in the life of a new believer.
Verses 16-17 show that Paul no long regards people based on the flesh, that is, according to their status, their obedience, their riches, etc. Rather, everyone should be regarded by what God has done for them through Christ. And if anyone is in Christ (having accepted him by faith) then that person is a new creation. Jesus didn’t die to make you better; he died to make you new.
There are two direct applications from this text: 1) Be reconciled to God and 2) Carry the message of reconciliation to others.
Be reconciled to God. Verse 19 says that God offers reconciliation through Christ by not counting peoples sins against them. But they had to be paid for, and that’s what Christ did on the cross. God forgiving our sin was a commitment to pay the price for the damage our sin causes. Reconciliation is not something we do; it’s something we receive.
Carry the message of reconciliation to others. The way we got in is the way others get in, by hearing and receiving the message of the gospel. So, this Easter season, we ought to be planning on inviting many people to the Easter service so they can hear the gospel preached. Anything we care about we strategize for. If the love of Christ has filled our hearts, we’ll want to tell others about it, and we’ll make plans to do so. Reconciled people seek to reconcile people.
2 Corinthians 5 reading guide: We have broken the chapter of 2 Corinthians 5 down so we can read it over the course of the whole Ambassadors series together. The guide also includes prayer points as we had into Easter. This companion reading guide can be downloaded in full (with an introduction to the chapter) at the link provided. Or you can have the verses, prayer points, and commentary sent to your email every day by texting MHPLAN to 41411.
-Alex Nolette (Equip Coordinator/Community Groups)