Talking this morning about Being reconciled, we know the pain when relationships or friendships have been broken, maybe we had a close fiend that hurt us, or someone has betrayed us, perhaps we are longing for reconciliation or perhaps it hurts too much. What we often need is a healing, only God mend the broken hearted.
Christ is our perfect example of someone who showed love forgiveness and made the ultimate sacrifice to reconcile us, as innocent as Christ was we lived in a way that was against Him. When we did horrible things Christ says it’s like you did it to me. When you hurt and reject others it’s like you did it to me.
Paul talks to the church in his letter and begins to outline what a blessing it is to come into the family of God. As non Jews they were not part of the covenant family of God, they were outsiders, yet God was looking from the beginning to bring them close.
“At one time you were separated from God. You were his enemies in your minds, and the evil things you did were against God. But now God has made you his friends again. He did this through Christ’s death in the body so that he might bring you into God’s presence as people who are holy, with no wrong, and with nothing of which God can judge you guilty. This happens as we continue strong and sure in our faith. We are not moved away from the hope brought to us by the Good News that we heard.
Colossians 1:21-22 NCV
To be reconciled fully is more than accepting a friend request, from a casual fiend
Paul suggests that not only have you not always been friends but actively against God, perhaps relating to his own experience, even though part of the covenant people he was acting in a way that was persecuting Christ and his followers.
He says that there was the time when you spoke evil about me, it was the time when you were in darkness and there was a time when you would betray me.
In the strongest way possible he says, the evil that you did was not just against man but it was against God.
God’s wrath was upon mankind as they continued to sin against each other and against him.
Jesus told a story in Luke 15, where the younger son who had wasted his fathers inheritance on wild living and begins to regret what he had done, he had his speech prepared read this in Luke 15:18
18 I will leave and return to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against God and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son, but let me be like one of your servants.”’
You know the story the son left and went to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt sorry for his son. So the father ran to him and hugged and kissed him.
He deliver his speech But the father said, ‘Hurry! Bring the best clothes and put them on him. Also, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
And get our fat calf and kill it so we can have a feast and celebrate. My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost, but now he is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
Perhaps it is only when we understand the horror of what it means to be separated from God and we realise how far we have missed the mark, we understand the cry of Christ on the cross ‘why have you forsaken me’
Only when we understand his pain, can we sympathies, and the realisation it was the weight of our sin that crushed him
To understand fully what it means to be reconciled is first to understand the hopeless deprivation of the life of sin and darkness we came from.
To know what it means to be drawn into God’s presence and what a price it took
Now we are reconciled and we have been friended by God we understand that His Friendship is so important to us.
Friendship speaks of intimacy, a confidence someone you can trust with your secrets.
However when we have been lied to betrayed it would be very difficult for us to open our hearts and trust that person again.
However this exactly what God has done he bought us back as free we sold ourselves into slavery and he wants us to draw near. No longer a slave to fear but a child of God
To illustrate this God used people like Hosea the prophet who God told him to marry Gomer a prostitute, and then when she betrayed him, he was to sell everything and take her back.
The heartbreaking line from this story is..
“She puts on her earrings and jewellery and goes to meet her lovers, but me she forgot.” (Says the Lord)
Hosea took her back even after the betrayal.
God wants us to draw close to him, in our worship which is a place of intimacy.
What does it mean for us to be reconciled and be called a Friend of God
God is looking for a heart connection, a heart that is drawn near to him.
Relationship does not need a set of rules, the love that we have for our saviour draws us near.
In the book of Deuteronomy chapter 6, commands us to “love the lord your God with all your heart your mind and your soul” and then to follow the commands set out, but before all of this comes there was a constant reminder to remember What God had done for them.
Reading the wonderful book, epic of Eden
“The Israelites were not asked to obey Yahweh’s stipulations in order to obtain his grace, they were asked to obey Yahweh’s stipulations because he had already acted on their behalf “I am the Lord your God who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, therefore you shall ”
Sinai teaches the same truth as the gospel: God’s actions on our behalf precede our actions on his behalf We do not obey in order to win his grace; we obey because we have received his grace Even so, it seems that in every generation God’s people manage to enslave them-selves (and those under their care) to some form of legalism that demands obedience before grace Something about the fallen human heart compels us to attempt to make ourselves good enough for God before we feel free to embrace his offer of love for us Worse, we feel compelled to force others to be good enough before allowing them access to God’s grace But the truth of redemptive history is that we obey because we have been loved; the stipulations follow the historical prologue Perhaps if we teach this to our children, they might still want to be Christians when they come of age”
In our friendship with God we Draw to him with Nothing hidden. Not that we could ever try to hide things from Him, but also he shares his secrets with us, he shares him plan with us, he shares with us what he is doing and how we can be a part of his plan
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
In the greek "Drawing near" is a similar root to our worship.
Worship is not singing, a service, worship is an act of coming close.
Worshiping with a true heart, the word true finds it route in meaning nothing hidden, being fully aware. Knowing that we are already cleansed effects the way we worship.
In the much of the old covenant people came near to worship, not knowing if they could make it, the priest had to be perfect otherwise, he would drop dead.
It was not necessary for the worshiper to be perfect, it depended on how good the high priest was.
When we come to God it is not based on our being perfect but our high priest who is forever perfect.
God wanted people to draw near but their sin was always in the way.
What people thought about themselves often prevented them coming to him.
Feeling rejected when they failed God, people's hearts became cold and callous towards God,
Jesus came to change this.
Jesus drew people towards himself, first he called the multitude, then 70 then 12 then 3 then there was one closer than anyone else. The loved disciple, john. John put his head on Jesus chest.
Are we gonna be satisfied with just part of the crowd or are we gonna get closer
Jesus wants more intimacy than just being part of the crowd, He want us to be part of his inward circle. He wants some one on one time.
The crowds followed him looking for something
The warnings He gave to those who came to God to get bread and fish.
After feeding the multitudes. In John 6
Then Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me (draws near) shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
It goes on to say that people left him, because these words were hard to hear but The inner circle stayed as they recognised that Jesus words were life.
However, It was John the beloved disciple that found this place learning on Jesus chest.
Let us draw near and lean on Him.
In our worship we are not going through the motions we are connecting with God in a real a personal way.
In matt 15
‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honour Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. (Matthew 15:8 NKJV)
There is a deeper level of worship that God wants us to take with him, the word worship pros-koo-neh'-o comes from two words, pros to come near. And koo neho meaning to kiss
Jesus describes the Pharisees type of worship using a different word
And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” (Matthew 15:9 NKJV)
; to revere, i.e. adore:--devout, religious, worship.
The worship perhaps had become routine or some religious ritual, going through the motions.
It was always the entire being that God was looking for, it was the heart connection that God is looking for.
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship ( come near to) the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship (come near to) Him. (John 4:23 NKJV)
The father is seeking intimacy with his family.
Why would be stay away? Why would we keep at a distance?
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1, 2 NKJV)
The problem was not that God did not want to save us, or that God was not able.
God's plan was to send a saviour.
He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him. (Isaiah 59:16 NKJV)
In Christ, that which separated us was finished, the curtain torn in two, top to bottom.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Romans 8:35 NKJV)
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NKJV)
Our sin is no longer a barrier between us and God.
Let us therefore come (worship, draw near) boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)
In Jesus walk on earth there were some that we're closer than others.
The Path of intimacy
The Multitudes (came for food and miracles)
The 70 (wanted to be sent out, willing to work)
The 12 (wanted to learn, Lord teach us)
The 3 ( the inner circle, saw the Lord being transfigured)
And the one who leant on Jesus.(was close enough to feel his heart beat)
John at the lords supper. John knew the thoughts of Christ as he enjoyed closeness
No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
The highest proof of true friendship, is the intimacy that holds nothing back, and admits the friend to share our inmost secrets.
The Lord now says: "No longer do I call you servants"; with the coming of the Holy Spirit a new era was to be beginning.
Coming to the father through Christ we come near (worship) in Spirit and truth.
"The servant knows nothing of what the Lord does"--he has to obey without being consulted or admitted into the secret of all his master's plans.
"But, I have called you friends, for all things I heard from my Father I have made known unto you."
As Christ's friends we share with Him in all the secrets the Father has entrusted to Him.
He said: "The Father loves the Son, and shows him all things that he does, and he will show him greater things."
All that Christ did was God's working.
Jesus knew God's plan. And this now is the privilege of being his friends.
From the Day of Pentecost onwards, by the Holy Spirit, Christ was to lead His disciples into the spiritual understanding of the mysteries of the kingdom, of which He had spoken only by parables previously.
•Once separated from God
•Reconciled with God
•Drawing near to God, the inner circle
•Friendship with Christ delights in fellowship
Friendship with Christ delights in fellowship.
Friends dare trust to each other with secrets that they would not let anyone else know.
So... What it that gives a Christian access to this intimacy with Christ?
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. (John 15:12-16 NKJV)