Sermon Titled “The Reconciliation of God” (Ephesians 2:13-22) – September 8th, 2013
Last weekend’s sermon was fun and entertaining, and rightly so, because I believe the message behind the friendly humor may have been negatively received, by some, had it been delivered in a more forceful and authoritative way. What was the message, you’re wondering? Besides that of “being reconciled with God,” Pastor Reimer went into detail about what it means to be a reconciled Christian, and how Christianity is not so much about “doing,” as it is about “being.” That doesn’t sound so bad does it? Until it becomes clear what “being” a Christian is – and all that it encapsulates.
Before I go on, I have to confess that this post is one that has had me hovering all week in uncertainty. I know what I want to convey, but I’m not sure if my words will accurately portray my thoughts. I could have chosen to make it easy on myself by simply reiterating the three areas of effort that Koza Baptist members are encouraged to focus on:
- Exalting the Lord, and maintaining intimacy with Him
- Equipping the Saints, by building small community groups where fellow believers can gather together and pray, repent, and encourage one another
- Engage in the lives of others, and witness to non-believers
I feel compelled however, to veer off on a slightly different tangent and expand upon area number three – engaging in the lives of others and witnessing to non-believers. I think many Christians would agree that focusing on areas one and two (exalting the Lord, and participating in community fellowship), is fairly easy, but being asked to share our faith with non-believers is not easy for all of us. My goal then, is to hopefully write about witnessing, in a way that encourages (rather than deters) us, from sharing our faith with as many people, as often as possible.
The first verse that comes to mind is:
- 2 Peter 3:9-11 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”
1. First point: We believe in a God who loves us, and who does not want anyone to perish, but to be saved. Because He loves us so much, He has afforded us ample grace and mercy (in the form of time), that we will not miss the opportunity to turn to Him and be saved. Our appeal to others, to turn to God, should not be done with a self-righteous or judgmental attidude, but out of a genuine desire to share with them what we believe they will miss out on if they say “no” to God.
I don’t believe that Christ was looking for obedience when he instructed the disciples to go and tell the world about Him – I believe He sent them out to reach as many people as possible because the thought of many perishing was too painful to bear. I may be way off the mark, but I think that God wants us to truly understand the extent of His love for us, so that our focused efforts on “witnessing” would not be something that we hesitate to do, but something that we strive to do.
2. Second point: There are many scriptures, including that in 2 Peter above, which implore us to “look forward” to the day when we will rejoice with Christ in heaven. Part of being a Christian, I believe, is finding the courage to pay less heed to our hopes and dreams here on earth, and start cultivating in our hearts a real hope for what lies beyond this world. God has promised that we will receive,
“an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for (us).” 1 Peter 1:4.
His word encourages us to place our hope in the inheritance waiting for us in heaven, yet most of us choose to keep our minds in the here and now, praying for all of the things that we hope and wish for in this life.
I can imagine God watching us as we go through life riding the highs and lows of an emotional roller coaster. Isn’t this a huge alert in itself – the fact that we can’t seem to hold on to happiness for long periods of time? Does it make people wonder why there is a void in their heart that can’t be filled, no matter how hard they try? Surely that void was placed there by God Himself, in an attempt to draw our hearts and minds toward Him.
But still, we refuse to believe in Him, and the promise of something much better. We’re like young babies, who would rather toss the gift and play with the wrapping paper or box instead. We’re so immersed in our tunnel-visioned joy, that we fail to recognize the value of the gift. And like young babies, we toss it to the wayside, oblivious of the regret in our Father’s eyes as He watches us throw away His free gift of eternal life. How is it that we can be so concerned about our health, our finances, our careers and personal relationships – all of which are temporary, because we will all die someday, and yet demonstrate attitudes of indifference (or fear), when it comes to our eternal well-being?
3. Conclusion: With these points in mind – a) the idea that God wants us to share our faith not because He wants us to obey, but because He wants others to see His love in us, and hopefully yearn for the same, and b) while God does not wish for us to suffer while on earth, I do believe that He desires for us to keep in mind that heaven (not the things in this world), is the ultimate prize, and that a key goal for us as Christians, should be to help as many people as possible discover the prize too.