Sermon Transcript: Reconciliation 10/6/2019 Jeff Schwarzentraub 45 min read Well, thank you so much for choosing to worship with us today. Just say a call out to the men as a reminder, immediately following this service, we're doing our men's kickoff for the fall. I invite you to stay. When we planned it today, we didn't expect the Broncos to be o and four. So if you don't want to stay for the game, totally fine. But between the time the service ends and the kickoff, it's going to be a great time at least. So, I would invite you to stick around, there'd be great food and we'll have a great time. With that, let's go before the Lord as we get ready to hear His living and active Word. Would you pray with me? Lord Jesus, we just thank you so much that you do deserve the highest praises. You are the Lord of all. There is no other. And Lord, we gather here today to give you worship, to give you praise because you and you alone are worthy of that. Lord, at the same time, we thank you for your word, you're living an active word, that every time your word is opened and faithfully proclaimed that you speak. And so our prayer this morning is, Lord, speak for we are ready to hear. And so now all of God's people who have gathered, who are ready to hear His word and believe what Jesus says about Himself, believe what He says about out you and put into practice the very things that He asked you to do, would agree with me by very loudly saying the word. Amen. Amen. Amen. Oftentimes, when you're getting ready to go on a trip, you will check with people who have gone before you to ask them what might be some of the attractions that you want to see. And when you do that, there can be times where people will say to you something like this, "Don't miss this. Make sure if you do anything, don't miss this. This is the one thing you've got to see." For instance, if you ask my kids about Disney world, I believe the one thing they would tell you don't miss would be splash mountain. They would say, "Don't miss Splash Mountain. If you're going to miss Splash Mountain, you may as well not even go to Disney world." According to my kids. It's the place you want to be. Well in God's word in Colossians 1:21, 22 and 23 it's, "Don't miss this." In this entire book, where Paul is calling the Colossians church to be focused on the Lord Jesus Christ and who He is, three short verses is a section, you don't want to miss. Make sure you get this. You get this right, not only will you understand the rest of this book, not only will you understand who Jesus is and how you can relate to Him, but you will continue to grow on Him. You miss this section, you get this wrong, you not only get Colossians wrong, you get the entire Bible wrong. You get wrong why you're even placed on planet earth. So what we're going to talk about, this morning, is of vital importance for every person on the planet that these three verses would be understood and owned in what they do. So I encourage you to open up your copy of God's word to Colossians 1:21, 22 and 23. If you don't have a copy, it's under every other seat where you're at, please open it up. Get your eyes on it for yourself. Let me read this, and then what we're going to do today is we're going to take a look at four questions and answer them based upon what this text. It says, "And although you were formally alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him, holy and blameless and beyond approach. If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and which I, Paul, was made a minister." And in these three short verses, we really see the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now there's a lot of words that are used to define the gospel. One word that's used in the New Testament is this word, justification. Justification means, declared righteous. It's a legal term that when by faith, you trust in Jesus Christ alone, you've been declared righteous. Justification can mean, just as if I've never sinned, or more importantly, just as if I've always been righteous. When God declares you righteous, that's how He sees you. He sees you as perfect in His son. Justification is a word that's used talking about this salvation. Another word that's used at times, is this word, adoption. This picture that we get is that we are estranged children, and that God by His grace has adopted us and brought us into His family and that we are not illegitimate children. We are sons or daughters of the Most High God. We took a look last week at the word redemption. Redemption means to be bought with a price. It means to be purchased off the slave block, so to speak, and what we've been slaves to is our sin. And Jesus Christ in His grace has paid a price to purchase us back to freedom so that we can be free to live out the gospel mandates. And a very simple word, yet profound, is this word, forgiveness. And the word forgiveness really defines this idea that you had a debt that you could not pay on your own, and that God by His grace paid all the debt for you. It's what we see when Jesus is on the cross in John 19, where He says, "It is finished," or paid in full. Today, when we'll be taking a look at the word reconciliation, which is another term to describe the same event that's taken place in salvation. But reconciliation, it's a relational term. It involves a change or an exchange, in our relationship to God. It's when we take all of our sin and give it to God and we receive all of Christ's righteousness. It's when we go from being dead in exchange for getting all of Christ's life. It's when we exchange all of our I hate you for all of God's I love you. It's this change in the relationship that we would be reconciled to God. Now I want to ask four questions about this text and answer it the way the text would define. And the first question is this, when we talk about reconciliation, why is reconciliation a necessary? Well, why even talk about reconciliation? Why do we need to do this? And here's the answer. You need to understand this answer. This is where we're going to spend a majority of our time because you have to understand the need for reconciliation. And why is reconciliation necessary? Because of this, your relationship with God is broken. Your relationship with God is broken. Now, before you shirk that and say, "Not mine. Mine's fine." Okay. When you go see a doctor and the doctor diagnosis you or you do your annual checkup, if he comes back with a diagnosis that you don't like, it may not be that the doctor is wrong. Maybe you want to get a second opinion. But if you go to another doctor and the doctor is like, "Not only is that wrong with you, but let tell you three other things that he didn't catch." Just because you're given information doesn't mean that the person that's giving you information doesn't like you. It means that the person is giving you this information so that you can have knowledge that you can assess to see what next steps you need to take. The reason that God writes to us in the way He does is we need to understand that our relationship with God is broken. Your relationship. Notice what the text says. I mean, the text makes crystal clear, "And although you." Well, who's you? It's the entire Colossians church. It's every person that's ever breathed, it's who you are. You are formally what? Alienated, and hostile in mind, and engaged in evil deeds. So He is going to spell out three different ways for us to understand who we are as we've been conceived and born into this world. And the first one is alienated. Alienated means this, you're on the outside looking in. Alienated means you're cut off. It means you don't get to be part of what's going on. Alienated is the idea that if you decided you wanted to go to a sporting event or a concert or something like this, but you didn't have tickets, and you showed up at the event, and you went to the gate and they said, "Where's your ticket?" And like, "I don't have tickets. I just want to come in." And they would keep you outside the gate. You've been cut off. You've been alienated. What the Bible says is because of your sin, there is no one good. No, not one. We've all been cut off. Because God is perfect, and He's holy, and He's righteous, and none of us are, and our sin has made separation between us and God. Notice how the prophet Isaiah spells it out in Isaiah 59:2. Here's what he says. He says, "But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear." It's why when we're born and we're growing up. It's why many of us are like, "Where's God? How come I don't experience God? How come I pray but God doesn't answer? How come I don't experience him? Why don't I see him? Because you're alienated from Him. Your sin has caused separation. There's a chasm between you and God. Every single person that's conceived, there's a chasm between them and God. Every beautiful little child that is brought into this world, that you hold in your arms, and you bring home, is separated from God. You say, "Well, why is that?" Because they have the heredity of sin. And your children caught it from you, the same way you caught it from your parents, the same way their parents caught it from their parents, all the way back to Adam and Eve. Because when Adam and Eve sinned, and then they conceived, they produce [sinlings 00:08:55], and sinlings came all into the world and you have a DNA of sin. It's who you are. And you need to understand that diagnosis. And you can study it all throughout God's word. It's everywhere. Romans 3:23 says, "For we've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Now here's what it means to be alienated. It means there's no one that's innocent. There's no one that's innocent. What about that innocent person over there? Well, there's no one that's innocent. All have sinned. You've sinned. You're separated from God. That's where we start. That's what the Bible wants us to know. That's what God is pointing out to us today. Notice number two. Not only are we alienated, but notice this, we're hostile in mind. If our condition is the fact that we're alienated, we have an attitude then that we're an enemy of God. It means that we're hateful towards God. That's what the Bible points out. Now, before you say, "I've never hated God. I've always grown up in the church. I've always been nice to God. I've always prayed." No, no, no. You're an enemy of God when you're born. And how do you know you're an enemy? Because when you see God's holy perfect standards and you start hearing about what they are, you reject them and you rebel against them. It means that there's only one God, the Lord Jesus Christ. That He created all things. That He sustains all things. That He is the one and only God and there is no other way to the Father except through Him. And if you haven't repented and trusted in Jesus, you do not have a relationship with the God of the universe. And He, and He alone sets the standards. And He's given us His 10 commandments and He's given us His law. And He's given us everything that He thinks is perfect. And every single one of us is like, "Why can't I do that? Who made that rule? Why can't I follow in this?" Because we hate God. We don't love His standards. We don't love His statutes. That's just who we are. We're enemies of God. That's how we're born. That's how God spells it out. And you would say, well, I don't know that I am. He goes on to tell us how we know that you are, because number three says you're engaged in evil deeds, which is your behavior. So how do you know that you're hatred towards God? How do you know you're an enemy of God? How do you know that you're alienated from God? Very simple. I'll just put it in really simple words. You enjoy sinning. When you enjoy sinning, you hate God, because God hates sin. So anytime you sin and it doesn't bother you, that's hatred towards God. And all of us have Sin and fallen short of the glory of God. Some of us have done it more publicly. Some of us have done it more grievous ways. That's why I love preaching in prisons, because when I preach in prisons and talk about y'all are sinners, there's nobody there that's like, "Not me. I didn't do anything wrong." I love preaching in prisons. They get their DNA. They get their nature. The harder group to preach to is church people. Amen. Amen. Church people don't think they're like that. Here's your sin. You think the people in prison are worse than you. That's your sin. Come on. See, that your pride is that, "I haven't sinned that bad." "God thank you that I'm not like them." Yes. Okay. Okay. That's called pride. Yeah. That's worse than the other sins. Yup. That's this internal DNA that says, "I'm better than other people." And all of us have sin and fallen short of the glory of God. Yeah. And we have some weird hybrid of it where we're prideful about certain things, where we've tried to do good, and we're shame about other things that we haven't done so well. But the Bible would spell out, "Here's what you need to know. You're a sinner. You've been enemies of God, and you've demonstrated that by your behavior." Now here's why that's important. Because when you die, you will show up before the Lord Jesus Christ. And here's what Romans tells us about the law. Romans 3:19 says, "Now, we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law," so that what? "So that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God. Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in His sight for through the law comes the knowledge of sin." Why did God give the law? So that He would shut your mouth. Come on. There's nobody that's going to stand before God and say, "Hey, judge me on my deeds." The law will say, "Shut your mouth." Because the law says, "You have to be perfect, 100% of the time. Shut your mouth." There's no one that gets into heaven by good works. No one. There's nobody in their flesh that says, "I deserve to be here because look at my resume." Everybody's resume is sin stained, alienated, hatred towards God, and your behavior has demonstrated that from the time you were born. Good teaching. Okay? So you didn't become a sinner when you started sinning, you started sinning because you were already a sinner and a hater of God. I mean just take some of you. I mean, I'm so excited. Every time I hear about people I know I've been watching, some of you are ready to deliver a child again, real soon. Others of you just delivered a child. I mean, you get that child and it's so joyous and it's awesome and then you bring that child home, and you realize they caught your sinful DNA. Because when they're hungry, that's your problem. And when wet, that's your problem. And when they haven't slept well, that's your problem. And when they're uncomfortable, that's your problem. And when they feel like moving around, that's your problem. And who cares it's the middle of the night? That's your problem? And wouldn't it be cool? I mean, it's just little kids that do that. I mean, we grow out of that, don't we? Sure. I mean, I know people that are my age and older that are still like. Every restaurant they go to, everywhere they go, that's your problem. My life is about me. It's sin. Right. It's caught every single one of us and it doesn't just go away. We can't just kind of glide it away. It's just part of who we are. Now, here's the problem with that. God judges justly, He's a just God. He can't just discard our sin and say, "Don't worry about it." If you study Islam, I'm not an expert on Islam, but I know enough about how they talk about salvation. That if you're going to get saved, it's because Allah decided to let you in. That's right. Yeah. But here's what doesn't happen in Islam. There's no justice. I mean, where's the justice in that? You can send all you want and I'll just let you in, but I'm not letting you in because you... I mean, how's that fair? See, here's why Christianity is not just merciful, it's just. Because Jesus Christ, the righteous one, came and God the Father took all of His wrath that was destined for you, and He poured it all over His son. And justice was served at the cross. And because justice was served, now mercy can be released to anybody who would call upon His name. There's justice. I mean, you think about it. I mean, when we hear of a court case where somebody is tried, we know they're guilty, we know they're wrong, they even admit to their wrong and the justice system says, "Ah, don't worry about it." There's something that goes off in us and says, "That's not right. It's not fair." That'll never happen in the kingdom of God. Everybody will stand before Jesus Christ to give an account for his or her life, and only those who have trusted in Him and Him alone will be entered in. And those who don't will be departing from Him. And they say, "Well, why is that important?" Here's why. This is the very sobering part of this message but you hear this. Because in our day and age we don't teach this enough. You are an eternal being. You will live somewhere forever when you die. You will. Every single one of you will live somewhere when you die. If you are alienated from God now, you will be alienated from Him for all eternity. But when you're alienated from Him for all eternity after you die, it's separation in eternal place called hell. It is a very real place. People don't like to preach on it anymore. People like to preach heretical books like Love Wins, where everybody is going to heaven no matter what, unless maybe you're Hitler. And then even then maybe God will love you enough that He'll melt your heart and bring you to heaven. That is not biblical teaching. That's right. It's not biblical teaching. And the reason I'm telling you this is because I love you enough that you can hear this. I mean, when God called the prophet Ezekiel to prophesy to the nation, He told him what he needed to do, and here's what He said. In Ezekiel 3:17, He said, "Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel. Whenever hear a word from my mouth, warn them from me." So the purpose of a prophet of God is to speak on behalf of God what God is saying to the people. How does a prophet of God act in today's day and age? He preaches the Word because this is the Word of God. Okay? Why do you do that? God said, "When I say to the wicked, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to him, to warn the wicked from his wicked way, that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but His blood, I will require at your hand. Yet, if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered Him yourself." What's He saying? "Hey, prophet of God, warn the people about who I am and all the full counsel of me. Tell them the truth. That way, if they still rebel, and they still die in their sin, and they still go to help, you've been faithful. I won't hold you accountable. But if you don't preach my Word and you don't tell people the truth, not only will they die in their sin, but I'm going to hold you accountable as a preacher for not telling them the truth." Friends. I'm not going to be held accountable for not telling you the truth. [crosstalk 00:17:59] Word it. I am telling you the truth, that you will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ to give an account. The only thing that will matter is what happened with your sin and what did you do with it? Either you gave it to Jesus or you kept it yourself. And if you kept it yourself, here's what He's going to say, "Depart from me you worker of inequity for I never knew you." Now. This is not an exhaustive treatment on hell, but I just wanted to read a couple verses to you. And before I do, I mean, I want you to hear this in such a way. Like Charles Spurgeon, the great preacher of the 1800s, paraphrased Ezekiel's words that I read and here's what He said. I cried when I read this earlier this week. "If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees, let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for. Amen. Amen. Okay. Now listen to these scriptures. This is not exhaustive. You may want to write these verses down you can study them for yourself, so that when you hear people say, "There's no such thing as hell, how could a loving God send people to hell?" Here's how. Because He's a holy righteous God and He deals with sin justly. That's right. Come on. And anybody who dies in their sin will be separated from Him and for all eternity. I mean, these are just some verses is not exhausted. Matthew 7:13,14, "Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow, that leads to life, and there are few who find it." What do you learn from this text? A lot of people go into hell, few people getting saved. Now, He doesn't give us numbers, but look around. Most people you see, on their way to hell. Few people you see, on their way to heaven, according to the word of God. "Many will say to me on that day," this is Matthew 7:21 and following, "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? And in your name cast out demons and in your name performed many miracles.' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you depart from me you who practiced lawlessness.'" What's that teaching? There's going to be people who preach and proclaim, who cast out demons in and heal, who are used by God that don't even know who He is. Wow. Scary? Yeah. Matthew 13:49 and following, "So will it be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous and will throw them into the furnace of fire. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." What is hell a place of? Weeping, because you're separated from God forever. Gnashing your teeth, because you're still hostile towards the God who is going to give you salvation and you rejected His invitation. There's anger towards God. You still hate God. What about Matthew 23:15? Where Jesus is talking to the religious people of the day. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. Because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much of a son of hell as yourself. You serpent, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?" Matthew 25:41, this is beautiful. "Then He will say to those on His left, 'Depart from me, a cursed ones, into the eternal fire.'" Now, notice when we talk about eternal life, we have no problem saying, "There's eternal life." There's also an eternal fire, which has been prepared for who? The devil and his angels. This is beautiful. Notice this. God did not create hell for you. God didn't make hell and then make you and form you and fashion and said, "You're going there." No way. God created hell for the devil and his angels who have outright rejected Him, and for anyone else who would remain alienated from God. That's who hell is for. It wasn't designed for you. That's why you don't want to go there. But He's willing to send people there because Matthew 25:46 says, "These will go away into eternal punishment but the righteous into eternal life." This is hard for us to grasp. It's hard for us to grasp. It's hard for me to teach, but I want to be a faithful preacher of the Word of God. Eternal punishment is as long as eternal life is. That's right. There's no such thing as annihilationism where you go, "It's got to burn up and move on with your life, and finals take my chances." No, you will suffer conscious torment forever and ever. You say, how could that be? Because God is just, and you've offended an eternal, holy God and so your punishment is eternal. Your reward is eternal. It's true. For all those who are listening to my voice who say, "That'll never happen to me." I promise you, it will happen to you according to the word of God. It's sobering. It's sobering. It's painful. Because even for those of you who are believers, you can think about family members and friends, as you're listening to this message say, "They don't believe this. They don't believe this." This is why we need to be very adamant about preaching the gospel. Mark 9:43 says, "If you're hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It's better for you to enter life crippled than to have your two hands and go into hell, into the unquenchable fire." Luke 12:5 says, "But I warn you whom to fear. Fear the one whom after He has killed has the authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you fear Him." And why is this so important? Because John 3:16 says that, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but would have eternal life." I mean, it's a gift. But in that very same text of scripture, John 3:36 says, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but He who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him." I mean, if you haven't trusted Jesus, God's wrath is still on you. You're a child of wrath. If you've been born again, you were once a child of wrath. Why? Because God hates sin and He has to punish sin. He's a just God, He will do that. He is holy. He's righteous. He's good. And I'm just telling you on the authority of God's word, and I wish all pastors would preach the truth of this. If you don't realize that that's your condition, then why would you ever need Jesus in the first place? If that's not your condition, then why did Jesus die on the cross? Like what the heck did He die for? Well, He was a good example. Well, yeah. But I mean, He could have been a good example without dying on the cross. He died on the cross to pay for all of your sin. Praise God. It's why He came. And here's the problem. We don't like to see ourself as sinners. I remember growing up. I didn't view myself that way. Now, I went to church every single Sunday, pretty much, Sunday school as well. Went to a Lutheran grade school. Memorized scriptures, even memorized Luther's Small Catechism. I thought that counted for something. And by the way, I'm a pretty good guy and I'm glad God's going to take me to heaven. And when my young life leader had the audacity to tell me that I was dead in my sins, I remember looking across an inner tube in a lake to Him saying, "You got to be kidding me. If what you're saying is true, that means God would love rapist, and murderers, and ex-murderers the same way He loves someone like me." And He said, "That's exactly what I'm telling you." And I said, "If that's what's true, I've never served a God like that. Because I've worked hard. I've tried hard. If God doesn't like me the way I am, I'm mad at Him." But praise God, by the power of His Spirit, He got a hold of my life and showed me how I was dead and in need of Him and all I needed to do was call upon His name. And my life has been changed ever since. Just understand. This is who you are born, and this is who you'll stay unless something changes. This is how everybody is conceived. This is how everybody is born, unless something changes. And if you don't believe that, you don't have a need for Jesus. Even though you have a need for Jesus. So it begs the second question. Then how can you be reconciled? Because if you really get a hold of this, this should be the question you're begging to have answer like, "Okay. What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?" It's the same question they were asking in Acts 2 when Peter was preaching, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, what do we got to do to be saved? Just tell us, we'll do whatever. Get me out of this thing. I don't want to go to hell. I don't want to do any of this stuff. I want to get rid of my sin. What do I do?" How can you be reconciled? Here's the answer. Only through the death of Jesus Christ can you be reconciled to God? Only through the death of Jesus Christ can you be reconciled to God. Notice what He says next. Verse 22, "Yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death." Now we've been talking in the passage previous, how He's the King of kings, the Lord of lord's, the creator of all things, the sustainer of all things. He's God. He's God. Jesus Christ is God. Guess what He also is? He's fully human as well. Notice what it says. "He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death." Was Jesus, God or is He man? Is He God or is He man? Yes. He's 100% God. He's 100% man. If He ceased being God at any point in time, your sins aren't forgiven. If He ceased being man at any point in time, you have no connection to the holy Father. It's Jesus Christ and in Him alone, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Now why is His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead so central? It means it doesn't matter what your skin color is, what your nationality is, what your ground is, where you live, what religious beliefs you have, you can only be saved through the cross of Jesus Christ. Amen. Period, end of story. Amen. Amen. When I've gone to India and preaching to 95% Hindus, that's the message I preach. When I'm in Europe and I'm preaching to atheists, that's the message I preach. If I was in Africa, preaching to animist, that's the message I preach. It's Jesus Christ and Him alone. And even in this passage that we looked at last week of you flip your eyes up to verse 20, in the middle of verse, "Having made peace through the blood of His cross." It's Jesus Christ, and His cross, and His cross alone that saves. There is no other way to God. You won't get to heaven and meet people that were of other faiths. That will say, "I was just a real devout Muslim." "I was just a real devout Catholic." "I was just a real devout Baptist." "I was just a real devout this. I never really trusted in Jesus for anything." They won't be there. But you'll meet people from every tribe, tongue and nation, who've come to the recognition by grace through faith, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God, and they placed their faith and trust in Him alone. That's how you'll know. And you say, "Well, I don't know if I like that." That's why you'd hate heaven. You won't want to go there. Heaven is for people that are saying, "Jesus, thank so much for forgiving all my sins. You're worthy of my worship. I can't wait to spend eternity with you, thanking you for all you've done for me." If that makes you mad, why would you ever want to go to heaven? Because there's going to be a bunch of people thanking and praising Jesus for all He's done in their life. And you'd be there saying, "I hate this. It's so boring." That's heaven. Hell is a gift to you since you hate God so much. I mean only through Jesus can a person be saved. And when I talk about that, I'm not talking about like, "Hey. You know, just go to church, pick a good church and go there." I'm saying this, according to the Book of Hebrews 9:27 and following, here's what we read. It says, "For its appointed unto man to die, and after this comes judgment." Everybody gets to die once, after that you're judged for your sin. Okay. Every single person that dies is held accountable for their sin. "So Christ also having been offered once, to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation, without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await for Him." Here's what He says. On Jesus Christ's first trip to earth, why'd He come? He came to take care of sin because He didn't want you to have to live in it anymore. He came to bear the sins of the world on the cross because He wanted you to be forgiven and set free. He came because He wanted to be reconciled to you so you could have a relationship with Him. When He comes back the second time, He ain't coming back to deal with sin. He is not coming down to take care of sin. He's already dealt with that. Why is He coming the second time? He's coming for all of us who have taken care of that, at the cross of Jesus, who are eagerly awaiting His return. That's why He's coming the next time. Hallelujah. And just so that you know, because I've said this before, when Jesus Christ comes, sometimes we have this false image of Him floating on a cloud. Like, "You know, He is going to take like 30 minutes to get here." So when you see Him, once your television program is over and then you can kind of repent and get right. It ain't going to be like that. Here's what's going to happen. The sky is going to open and bam there's Jesus. And it's going to be way too late for you to have made a decision. Where are you at with Him now? That's the question. Because it's only through Jesus you can be reconciled. Why only through Jesus? Because you're the one who's made a mess of your life. Either in your sin, or the sin and the pride that you have, you're the one that's messed it all up and Jesus Christ is the only one that can fix it. Earlier this week I was on my way into church and I decided to swing by Starbucks and grab some breakfast and I texted a few people here and asked, "Hey, can I pick you up a coffee or something?" And people started texting me orders, and so I got them and I brought them back to the church. And I got right by my office and I had all these coffees in a tray and I had my breakfast sandwich. I had all this computer and stuff. All I remember I set it down on the counter and I turned to open my door and all I heard was this huge crash. Oh, no. And I turned around and everything had tipped onto the ground. I mean, all the coffee is gone. They're all on the ground. People in front came out of their office are like, "Well, thanks Jeff. That was a nice try. Don't worry about it." So I'm cleaning it all up. I had time, so I'm like, "I'll just go back. I'm going to reorder it." And then I couldn't find my breakfast sandwich. Like, "How do you lose a breakfast sandwich?" I lost it. I couldn't find the breakfast sandwich. So I went back to Starbucks and they saw me and they're like, "Oh you're back." And I'm like, "Yeah. You know, I spilled it all." And so the manager came over. He is like, "Hey, Hey, I know this guy." He goes, "Just enter it in one by one." He goes, "We're going to pay for each drink. Just tell them what you need." And I'm like, "Well you don't have to do that. I mean, but you can." And so he re-entered all my order and I said, "You know, I had a breakfast sandwich too. I can't find." He's like, "Put that in there." At five o'clock that night, my son gets in my truck and he's like, "Dad, what is this breakfast sandwich doing here?" I'm like, "Ah, slipped." Point is, there was nothing I could do. It was already messed up. I thought I was going to have to go pay for it. He said, "No, no, no. You're not going to pay for it. I'm paying for it. I'm taking care of all." That's what the cross of Jesus Christ is all about. When you make a mess of your life, it's not about you getting it right, and you working it all out, and you make sure you're good. It's going to the cross and saying, "Hey, here's what I did. I totally messed it up." And hearing the Lord's voice saying, "Yeah. I already knew that took care of all." [crosstalk 00:31:52]. Hallelujah. Glory Lord to God. Yes. Yeah. "I got this." [crosstalk 00:31:55] That's what the gospel is. That's how it means to be reconciled. And when you know somebody loves you enough, even in your own mess, it's beautiful. I mean, it's one thing when you think people love you because... "You know I love you because you're my pastor." "I love you because you're a nice person." Or, "I love you because you treat me well." [inaudible 00:32:11] It's another thing when someone loves you even though they know all your mess on your inside. Yes. Those are the people we're closest to. Let me tell you what Jesus knows about you. He knows more about your sin than you even know. I mean, you think you know your sin? He knows it times 10. There's things He hasn't even revealed about how wicked you are. He just knows it. And guess what? He loves you. He loves you. And He loves you with an unconditional love and that's why He came, because what you couldn't do to get right with the Father, He came to make right with you and His dad. Our Lord. That's the glory of the gospel. That's why I'm not ashamed of the gospel for it's the power of God for salvation, for everyone who believes. For the Jew first and also me. I'm not ashamed of this message. I'm not ashamed if you don't believe it. I'm not ashamed if you say, "I'm just going to go ahead and be my own religion." I'm not ashamed if you say you're going to be a spiritualist. I'm not ashamed, I know what I'm preaching is the entire truth of God's word, and He and He alone, is the author of salvation. Come on. That's really cool when we start thinking about all that. Because it says that when we've been reconciled that Christ, we are a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Old things have passed away, behold all things have been made new." You're a new creation. And God's good given you the ministry of reconciliation and the message of reconciliation which means we get to spend our lives basking in the fact that God sees us different, loves us. We're unique to Him. We're His beloved sons and daughters, then we get to tell other people about that, and how they can come into a relationship with Jesus Christ too. That all their sins can be forgiven because of the cross of Christ. It's beautiful. It's the most precious message in the world. So you say "Well, how do I get it?" I mean, the Bible says the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. So how do I get it? Romans 10:9 tells you. That if you confess with your mouth, that Jesus is Lord and you believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you'll be saved. It's coming to the recollection and the understanding by God's grace in your life, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father, and you're going to give all your sin to Him and He's going to give you all His righteousness. That's what it means. I don't want to be dead anymore. I don't want to be lost anymore. I want to be found. I want to be made alive. I want what Jesus offers. I know that He's the Lord, I'm confessing Him as Lord. I am turning my sin over to Him and He is giving me all His life. That is what salvation is all about. It's not a work. It's a response of God's grace in your life. So here's the question. When were you reconcile to God? I mean, we know on a human level that when relationships get broken, they don't just automatically come back together. Okay. If you're married and the relationship is a little bit estranged, it doesn't just automatically come back together. If you have a good friend and it's kind of broken, it doesn't automatically come back together. You know when it's put back together. Or you also know, "Ain't so good right now." Here's the truth. We're the one that broke the relationship and yet God says, "Guess what? I'll be the one that fix." It's beautiful. The story of the gospel is you broke the relationship. You're the one that did your own thing and Jesus said, "Okay. But I'm here to fix it all. I'll take every step to make it right, all you need to do is respond to me." So when did that happen for you? Because it's not about when you prayed a prayer or when you woke up one day and decided. It's about that moment, that you knew that you knew that you knew that your spirit bore witness with the Holy Spirit that you are indeed a child of God. When you wanted your sin gone and you wanted the righteousness of Christ in your life. How can you be reconciled? Only through the death of Jesus Christ can you be reconciled. It's through His death on the cross that you've been reconciled. It's from His resurrection, from the grave, that you can have life and have life in His name. So then we got to ask this question. So then what's this purpose of reconciliation? What's the purpose of it all? I mean, most of us would say, "So I can go to heaven someday." But that's not what the Bible teaches. That's a byproduct of being reconciled. But here's the purpose. The purpose of retaliation is to present you holy and blameless before God. Notice the end of verse 22, "This gospel is in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach." So let's talk about this for a minute. God is holy. Here's what holy means. Holy means separated or set apart, or unlike us, God is holy, we're not he's. He's not like us. He's God and we're not. So what does it mean for us to be holy? It means that we become separated from our sin and we become separated unto God and we desire what God wants. And we want Christ in us to reflect His Lordship in and through our lives in every way. That it's not about us getting right and us doing all these things for Jesus and sweating every single day. "I got to pray. I got to read. I got to study. I got to go evangelize. I got to do..." No. It's, "God, this is who you are in me and come live your fullness through my life because I want to be who you say that I am. That's holy. I don't want to continue these sins anymore. I want to do things your way. Lord, if this is really your way, even though it's uncomfortable for me to go that way, I want do it your way. I want to separated from my sin. I want to do it under you, but I don't even know how. Lord help me." Separated. What else? Blameless. Blameless. Blameless means pure. It means unsullied it means not tarnished. It means, "In my life, I'm a reflection of the glory of God in me." It means, "I want my life to be aligned with Jesus in such a way that when He's living His life through me, people see Jesus in me. They see the fullness of Christ in me. That I'm growing in that. That I'm pure, I'm blameless before the Lord." Which is what we get into beyond reproach. What's beyond reproach? Often in the New Testament, when it talks about beyond reproach, we think about elders. That elders are called to be beyond reproach. It means when a charge comes against you, it won't stick. It just won't stick. I mean, people can make accusation. The enemy of our soul, the accuser of the brethren, or Revelation 12:10, is called the accuser of the brethren. He accuses us day and night before the throne telling us how awful we are. None of those stick because of who we are in Christ. It's not who we are. And so when we think about our lives, we want Christ to be able to live His life to the full in us, so whether we're talking about money, or our choices, or our sexuality, we would say, "No. Those are separated under God, we're wholly in them. I'm blameless in them. I'm beyond approach in them. Even if an accusation came, it wouldn't stand because that's who I am." Now, let me be clear here. This is not about you getting right so that you can become that. This is about through the shed blood of Christ, this is already who you are. You are holy, and blameless, and beyond reproach. When I was in Hawaii, about a month ago, I bought my first pair of sunglasses that cost more than $5, I think ever in my life, because I lose them all the time. I've never bought expensive sunglasses. But when I was in Hawaii, I was in a sunglasses store and they told me, "You can walk outside and take a look with these." And I put them on, I felt like I was on a different planet. Because the waters were more blue and I could see through them and the mountains had different colors on them and everything looked awesome. I can only imagine how good I looked. I was wearing them and I'm like, "I got to get these. My whole world looks different now. And I'm mature enough, I probably won't lose them, even though I can lose a breakfast sandwich. I probably keep these." So I bought them. My whole trip was different because I was viewing it different. Let me tell you what happened to you. When you trusted Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, the Father put on divine sunglasses. And His sunglasses have the Blood of Jesus on Him, and when He looks through those, here's what He sees in you. Holy, blameless, and beyond reproach. It's your identity. It's who you are. That's how He sees you. Now we look in a mirror and we're like, "That ain't me. I know I'm not there yet. I know I'm not there." That's how He sees you. At the end of the Book of Jude, it's one chapter, it's right before the Book of Revelation. When he's signing off, Jude says these words, and I love them. It says, "Now to Him, who is able to keep you from stumbling," which is beautiful. That means Jesus is going to keep you from stumbling and be able to make it to heaven. "And to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy, to the only God our savior through Jesus Christ, our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever more. Amen" I mean, the beauty of this passage, don't miss these words that you had in Colossians 1:22. He's going to have you presented before Him, holy, blameless and beyond reproach. Notice what the text doesn't say. He doesn't say, "You're still a sinner, but compared to some of your friends, you're going to look holy and blameless and beyond reproach. Because He's going to dress you up enough so that when you're around other Christians, you're going to look holy, blameless and beyond." No. He's going to present you before His father, who is holy, blameless and beyond reproach. And when He does, you are going to be holy, blameless and beyond reproach because the blood of Jesus Christ has washed all your sins away, and so that's how the Father sees you. That's an amazing thought. That this perfect God that we could never, ever, ever serve, this perfect God that demands us to be perfect says, "Through my son, I will make you perfect." And the Son will take great joy in presenting us before the Father, because that's who we are in Him. It's awesome. The purpose of the gospel is to present us holy and blameless before God. It means this, as a Christian, don't compare yourself to other people. Pastors don't compare yourself to other pastors. Wherever you live, don't compare yourself to other places. It's not a comparison. It's knowing that through Jesus, God is making you holy and blameless and beyond approach so He can present you before His father with exceedingly great joy. That's who you are. It's your divine right in Christ, as a co-heir in Him with all of His riches. So that's the purpose of reconciliation. I got to ask the final question. How do you know that you're reconciled? How do you know? Like, "I think I am. I'm 90% there. Maybe I'm only 10%. I don't know. How do I know?" Here's how you know. You are faithful and steadfast in the hope of the gospel. Notice what he says. Verse 23, how do you know? "If indeed you continue in the faith, firmly established, and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel." If you continue in the faith. How do you know that you're saved? You know that you're saved when you are hanging onto the gospel and you will never ever let it go. Amen. You're not going to let go of Jesus because you know how could you? It's interesting in Jesus' ministry, in the Book of John, after He gives them some hard teaching about what it's going to look like to follow Him and what they're going to need to be able to do. In John 6:66, it says this, "As a result of this, many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore." So Jesus had all these disciples around Him. He had His 12 apostles. He had all of His disciples around Him and everybody's following Him. They're trying to learn from Him. They're doing the things He's telling Him to do. But when Jesus makes certain statements, he says, "From that point on many, no longer followed Him." "We're out of here." So what does Jesus do? Jesus looks to the 12 and He says, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" And Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." I mean, it's interesting. We live in a day and age where we're always trying to bring people in and we're trying to lower the bar, and God is not all that holy, and He's not all that good. Just trust Jesus and drink your lattes, and it's going to be just fine. And we don't want to lose anybody. Here's what happened to Jesus. He starts raising the bar and the standard and people start leaving and He looks at His 12. He's like, "You're not going to leave too, are you?" And Peter's like, "Well, where are we going to go? You have the words of eternal life. We're not going anywhere." Like, "I'm with you no matter what." And then what does Jesus say? It's really amazing. He says this, "Did I myself not choose you the 12, and yet one of you is a devil?" Wow. Now, He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the 12, was going to betray Him. So, Peter is saying, "We'll never leave anywhere." He's like, "Yeah, but you need to know, one of the 12 of you, is a devil." Now, isn't it interesting that at the last supper, when Jesus says, "One of you will betray me," the response of the disciples? Remember the response?Is it me? Please tell me it's not me. It's not me, is it? Is it me? Is it me? And Jesus said, "The one who dips his bread in with me is the one." It was Judas Iscariot, which He knew from the beginning he was going to betray Him. Notice what the disciples don't do. When Jesus says, "One of you's going to betray me," he doesn't say it. It wasn't like all 11 looked at Judas and was like, "Judas, we knew it. Every time we went out to preach the gospel, nobody got saved. And every time you tried to heal, nobody got well. And casting out demons, you were pathetic at that." Nobody says that. Do you know why? Because He was preaching the gospel and people were getting saved and people were getting healed and people were having demons cast out of them. But guess what he wasn't? He wasn't a convert. "Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom. But on that day, many will say to me, 'But do we not cast out demons? Do we not do this?' And then I will tell them, 'Depart from me you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you.'" This should scare us a little bit, or at least be sobering enough to know that if one of Jesus's closest apostles, closest friends, who traveled with Him for three years, wasn't even of Him. How much more should we search our own soul to make sure that we're walking with the Lord? Scares me. I mean, we want to make sure that we're reconciled and that we're walking God's way. And this is why you see in the scriptures. I mean, 1 John points it out in 1 John. We have this confusion in our culture when people depart the faith. Like, "What happened? They went to church for like 20 years and now they're not here." Here's how John would answer it. 1 John 2:19 says, "For they went out from us because they were never with us. For if they had been with us, they wouldn't have left us." This is not mean that Christians can't stumble. Doesn't mean Christians can't backslide a little. It just means if you're a Christian, you're going to persevere to the end. If you depart the faith and say, "Enough of Jesus. I tried that Christian thing, I never want anything to do." You didn't leave the faith. You never had the faith. Yes. And it's interesting because when you study the word faith, faith and obedience are so integrally linked in the New Testament, you just can't get away from it. Like Romans 1:5 talks about the obedience that comes from faith. And in James, who's the half brother of Jesus, when he talks about this, here's what he says. In James 2, when he's talking about faith, here's what he says, "Even so faith, if it has no work is dead, being by itself. But someone may say, 'Well, you have faith and I have works.'" He says, "Show me your faith without works and I'll show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one, you do well, even the demons believe that and shutter. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?" What's He saying? Let's be crystal clear. Nobody is saved by their works. Have we made that clear today? Nobody is saved by their flesh or good things they done. Nobody. But if you are saved, there will be works that come out of that because when you've faith in Jesus, and you're putting your trust in Him, there are good works that are going to come from your faith in Christ. Obedience to Jesus is not a secondary step 10 years down the road for super Christians. Obedience to Jesus is natural for anybody who has truly been born again. Faith without works is dead. "I believe in Jesus. I just don't want to do anything He wants me to do and I don't really like Him, and I'm never going to do any..." That's because you're not saved. If you have faith in Jesus, to forgive all of your sins, and He's living in you, then there will be a growth in all sorts of areas of obedience. It's interesting here because in our culture, many of us would talk about experiences we've had with God from the time that we were little boys or little girls. We would talk about, "I remember being at church and I was singing a song and I could kind of feel my heart move." Or, "You know, there was this thing that happened where my dad was going to die, but he didn't. And I really prayed about it. I felt like God saved him." Or, "You know what? I was at this camp and there was a speaker and I just could sense God's presence all over." The Bible doesn't say when you have an encounter with God, you're saved. That's just God's glimpse of showing you that He is who He says He is, so you would be brought to a place of repentance and place all your faith and trust in Him. The question is, when did you place your faith and trust in God, in such a way where there was a desire on the inside now, to live obedient to Him? Because the Bible would argue with you, that if you say you placed your faith and trust in Jesus, but you have no desire on the inside to live things God's way, that you're just not saved. That's why. "But Pastor Jeff, that makes me mad." Yeah. Because you're evil. We've already been over that part. That's where I was. We make all these cases to say, "No. Just ask Jesus in your heart. Just pray this prayer. Just say it this way." It's not so much the language, it's an attitude of your heart of saying, "I don't want to live in my sin anymore, and I want Jesus, and I want the fullness who He is, and I'm taking all my sin and I'm giving it to Him and I'm receiving all of His life. That's what I want and I want to do things His way." That's salvation. When was that? When did reconciliation happen? I'm not asking you, "Name the date, place and time." I'm asking you, "When did you come alive in Christ? When did you know that you were in relationship again?" Roman's 8:16 says, "Our spirit bears witness with His Spirit that we're children of God." I know that I know that I know that I'm a child of God. And it has nothing to do with anything I've ever done. It was Christ in me, the hope of glory. Amen? Amen. That's why when Jesus was so clear on this, when He went on and taught, and keep talking about this because I see it so clear on the parable of the soils. Some fell on hard, some fell on rocky, some fell on weedy, some fell on good. Hard soil, doesn't spring up at all, taken away by Satan. Rocky, springs up, that's awesome. But no root, falls away. Nothing. Weedy, comes up but the cares of this world, the deceitful of wealth, choke it out, making it unfruitful. No fruit. Unsaved. Hard soil, rocky soil, weedy soil, unsaved. But when the seed falls upon good soil, what does it produce? A harvest of 30, 60, or even 100 fold. Fruit, more fruit, much fruit. The evidence of being saved is a desire to live obedient to Christ. And in areas where you're not, the Holy Spirit is convicting you, where you're saying, "I need to repent of that. I know I'm not living the way God wants me to live." And yeah, I get it. There's times, there can be months, there can be seasons we go through like, "I'm not doing that. I'm not doing that." I get that. But I'm saying over a time, a Christian is always going to do what God wants him to do. A person who has faith in Christ will always do. Do you have that? I mean, this is sobering. I'm teaching you the truth because I know this. I know every single one of us at some point in time, either when Jesus Christ comes back in all of His glory, or we die, are going to stand before all of His glory and give an account for this message. You can't miss this one. You can't pocket this one. You can't shelf it. You can't say, "Well, Pastor Jeff, that's a hard one. I'll think about it." If you're thinking about it, that just means, "I'm not ready to be saved yet." And just know, I'm telling you on the authority of God's word, you need to be made right and you need to be made right now. And Jesus has done everything to make you right. There's nothing you need to do but receive the gift, and take it, and know that it's yours. "Yeah. But Pastor Jeff, I've grown up in the church my whole life. My parents think I'm Christian. I memorized the Word, but I'm hearing you today and I realize I'm not saved." Then get saved right now. Who cares what your parents think? In eternity, you won't care what anybody thought. I don't care. I want to know that I know that I know that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. And oh, by the way, for those of you that are here, that are like, "It's into my heart. Hey Pastor Jeff, preaching the truth, this is how I got saved. This is the truth. But I've already done that." Then would you take these four questions to some people outside of the walls of this church and help them understand the answers to these four questions this week? Pick two people that God brings into your path and use this message. This isn't for you to hoard and keep. This is a message for you to share with the world. So the way I wanted to end today is just by praying and giving you an opportunity to respond to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and what He's doing in your life. And if you have a relationship with Him, to allow Him to bring people into your life that you can share the truth of this message with, because friends, this is sobering. I've done a lot of funerals. And although we as Christian have never been at a Christian funeral, or a pagan funeral, where anybody would walk up to the casket or urn and say, "I know that person's in hell. I know that." Nobody would say that because it sounds so harsh. But we know the truth of the Word of God that a majority of people that pass away, that's where they're going. It's a real deal. But the beauty of it is, God doesn't want anybody to go there, it's why He sent His son Jesus Christ to die. You do not have to go to hell. You do not have to go to hell. He didn't create hell for you. He loves you. He wants to be in relationship with you. Would you come home to him? Would you pray with me? Lord, we give you the highest praises for who you are. And Lord, we pray in this moment just for you to do some of your reconciling work you've been doing it in this message already. But if you're here today and you would say, "I'm not reconciled." Here's how you can pray. Lord. I just admit to you, I know I'm a sinner. I see it all over my life compared to you. I see it. But Lord, I believe that you came to this earth, that you fulfilled the law, that you'd die on a cross in my place for all my sin. You took the justice of your dad. You took all of His wrath for me and you were crucified and dead. I also believe that you rose from the dead and that you've offered life to me and you want to be reconciled. And right now in this place, I confess you as my personal Lord and Savior. I believe you rose from the dead. It means, Lord, I just want to give you all my sin and I want to take all your righteousness. I want the exchange. Lord, do a work in this place. And for those of you who have been saved, who have already experienced the great divine miraculous exchange, Lord, would you just open up opportunities for us to share the truth, hope and love found only in the gospel. Paul ends that section by saying, "This is a gospel of which I was made minister, which has been preached to everywhere under heaven," means everywhere we go, we can preach this truth. We know it's true. This is the gospel, there is no other. Lord, be glorified here this morning as we give you all glory, honor and praise. In Jesus name. Amen.