How Can the Cross Reconcile Us?

Meditations on the Cross March 17, 2024 Colossians 1:19-22 Notes


Have you ever experienced a break in a relationship? A broken relationship is often one of the most painful things we ever experience. And reconciliation? Well, that might be one of the most difficult things to accomplish.

In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he explained that it was trusting in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross that reconciled them to God. We can trust in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross to reconcile us to God.

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Transcript

Good morning, church. It's very good to see you today. My name is Pastor Jonathan Combs. I'm the pastor at our Rocky Mount campus and I'm thrilled to be with you today. I don't get to see a lot of you very often, and so it's a real pleasure for me to be here today.

It's hopefully a pleasure for my dad, Pastor Gary as well. We're trying to do a little bit better this year of getting to see one another and let both of our campuses know that we are one church, two campuses, and there's a lot of people up there that don't know him anymore. And so I'm getting to know some new people with you today. I'm thankful to be preaching today in this series called Meditations on the cross. We're starting part two together today.

If you missed part one, you can go online and catch up on that this week sometime and see. We asked this question, why the cross last week, and I think it was valuable and encouraging to our faith. And today we're asking a follow up question to that. Really? And that is, okay, there's this cross thing, but how does that reconcile me?

How does that fix anything in my life? I've got some things I'm dealing with. How does the cross inform any of that? And I hope and pray today as we dig into the book of Colossians today, that that question will be answered for you, because I recognize something. We are in a constant state of working out relationships, both human relationships and our spiritual relationship, that there's always work to be done, if you will, like in a relationship with your spouse.

There's constant work to be done in the relationships you have with your kids or workers, employees, employers, coworkers. There's always opportunities for reconciliation because there's always stuff said or done that puts a hindrance between people. It's happened to all of us. It may have happened to some of you this week. You may have had an argument with somebody this week, and at this very moment, you might be thinking, wow, it's going to be difficult to get through this, but we need to reconcile.

It's even harder when you consider this, though, when you're thinking about the way you feel in a spiritual sense. It's even harder when some of you in the room, believers in the room, you feel a distance from God today. And maybe you know all of the reasons as to why you feel that way. And you feel a sense that reconciliation really needs to happen. And I'd love to know how the cross affects that.

And I pray today that you'll be encouraged by this, that reconciliation in Jesus Christ is more than just possible. It's right there and available to you. I want to share a story with you for just a second to kind of set this up for you. There's a famous poet in the 19th century named Elizabeth Browning. Some of you are into literature, into maybe british literature or something like that, or at least into poetry.

You may have heard one of her sonnets, which was called how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Some people may have heard of this, but what a lot of people are unaware of is that she got married to a man named Robert Browning against the will of her family and was disowned by her parents. And she went on to write all of this famous stuff. She moved to Italy with her husband and lived out her life there, never seeing her parents again.

And she never lost hope, though that possible reconciliation could be possible. And on a regular basis, she wrote letters home, wrote letters for ten years, in fact, and never got a reply. One day, ten years later, she receives a box in the mail. That was all of the letters she had written. Not a single one of them had ever even been opened.

And it's interesting, those letters have now gone on to be some of the most beautiful pieces in classical english literature, that those letters to home have gone on to be something people have truly valued. She believed that she could restore that relationship. And I wonder, had her parents read any of those, if something could have changed. Now, I found that story to be interesting this week because we have these kinds of problems in our human relationships. But it's fascinating when we have these kinds of distance and non reconciliation with our heavenly Father, when he, in fact, has also written us a box of letters, if you will, 66 of them, in fact, all pointed to one main topic, and that is reconciliation through the Son, reconciliation through the cross of Christ, that they all point to that, that like any great story, and this one being one that's both historical and life giving and saving, that they all come to this point, this climax, if you will.

And for us, it's the cross. That's why we take time this time of year, as we should take time often to meditate on the cross, because we never get tired of what it's accomplishing in our lives, that even believers in the room, we have to constantly be reconciled with the Lord. And he has paid the ultimate price. He has written us a letter. And I wonder, like the parents of that dear poet, if we would spend some time in it if we might receive also restoration with the Lord.

And that's what we're going to do together today. We have these broken relationships, but one of them doesn't have to be broken. One of them can be restored. The apostle Paul's letter to the Colossians. He explained to them that by trusting in Christ's death on the cross, they could be reconciled to God and we can trust him.

This is a timeless principle, that trusting in the sacrificial cross of Christ will allow us to be reconciled with our heavenly Father. I believe the text will give us three reasons that trusting in his death will reconcile us to God. Let's dig in together. We're in Colossians chapter one. If you've got your bibles, it'll be on the screen as well.

Colossians chapter one, starting at verse 19, it says this, for in him, him being Jesus. Here all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he is now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death. In order hear this church in order to present you, holy and blameless and above reproach before him. God bless the reading of his word.

Amen. I hope that this encourages you today to know that your God has done what is necessary to reconcile himself to you. What a wonderful idea that the sacrifice of the cross has reconciled us.

1. He took our separation and he offered us his sonship.

He took our separation what we deserved and offered adoption sonship.

This is the beginning of a series of amazing trade offs that God has made with us, that God looked at us. One passage says, while we were still sinners, he demonstrates his love and that he died for us while we were still enemies of his. That's the kind of trade that God has began in what we're reading together here, that what we deserve is to not be reconciled with a God who is just. This is this fascinating paradox, if you will, about who God is. And if you're on Instagram or on various things, you might see various points of view.

If you're watching pastors or other people talking about God is all love and the whole message is about that. And that's true. But you know what? God is also all just. And that's true.

And you'll see these two different camps that sometimes will oppose one another. But this is the truth. They're both right and this is the paradox about who God is. But it's also amazing, because without this, we can't fully understand what God has done through his son Jesus, and that he is wholly just, but is entirely loving and looked at us and said, how could they ever be reconciled to me? How could they ever, unless I do something about it, unless I invade the story?

That's what's so fascinating about this collection of letters, is that most great stories, the author is on the outside writing and telling the tale, but our author invades his own story and does something about our separation and adopts us into his family. Look at verse 19, just so it's clear and plain to you. In verse 19, it says that the fullness of God dwelled in him. Now, this is important. This is important because some people, maybe even you today, maybe you've come today, and this is where you're at working this out.

And there's a belief in culture and in a lot of other world religions that Jesus was a good man, was a good prophet. Most people in general that you talk to, they like Jesus, but they probably wouldn't like Jesus if they really understood what he is and who he says he is and what he's done to accomplish. They may not like him as much if they realize that he has claimed to be God. He's not just a man. He's not just a prophet.

Paul reminds us of this here. He says, the fullness of God was pleased to dwell in him. Jesus is completely divine. And if he wasn't, let me tell you, this church, if he wasn't, we are a pitiful people because God and God alone could pay the debt that we deserved. No one else could do it.

None of us were even close. So he better be holy God or we're in big trouble. But Paul says, look, look, he is the fullness of God. One commentator says, in fact, everything about Jesus was completely God. Everything that God is, Jesus is Barnes, another commentator, says that he had such dignity and authority and power and moral excellence as to be fitted to the work of creating the world and redeeming its people and supplying everything we needed for salvation.

This is Jesus, the fullness of God in the incarnation of Christ. And it goes on to say that he was pleased to do it. Now, that's really great. That's really great. That God didn't do this begrudgingly, that God didn't in fullness, dwell in the incarnation of Jesus and become a man, that he might die and save us and reconcile us to himself, that he didn't do that and go, well, I guess I gotta.

Which is how most of us respond to these kinds of things. When we're asked to do something that's hard and we don't want to do it and it's going to be painful and we're like, oh, I guess if I have to do it, I'll do it. But Jesus, it was pleasing to him to do it. For the joy set before him endured the cross. Not that he enjoyed the cross, but the joy on the other side of it, which is you and I sitting in this room 2000 years later.

What a mystery that is. People from all kinds of nations and tongues and tribes gathering for worship. That's the joy set before him says he was pleased to do it. He was pleased to do it. To do what?

To reconcile. Verse 20, how much? What did Christ reconcile? It says all things. It's simple in the greek pas, which means everything, all things.

And if you missed it, Paul's like, in case that wasn't good enough for you, everything in this earth and everything in heaven, everything in the created order of what God has done, guess what he's done? He's reconciled it. There's nothing left out there. There's nothing under the sun or above the sun that God has not reconciled. How did he do it?

By the blood of the lamb, by making peace. It says in verse 20, by the blood of Christ Jesus that we finally could have peace. Now, I have to admit that's something that in my heart I long most for. And I think some of you are aware of that maybe. In fact, it seems to me the more that I'm on this earth, the more I long for true peace.

And there was a lot of things I've tested. I don't know about you. I've tested a lot of things so far to see, hey, does this give me peace? Does this give me real joy? Does buying this or this material good or this career path or this relationship?

I've tested some of these things. Some of you have tested more. Here's what I've found. I can't find any peace or joy in those things. And yet this peace which comes by the blood of the lamb and this restored relationship with Christ, which he is in constant process of doing, that's where I keep finding peace.

When I come back to the feet of Jesus where he is reconciling me to himself, then I'm like, okay, that's who I really am. That's what I was really made to be. I was simply made to be your kid. Yeah, it's great that I get to pastor a church. That's cool.

It's great that I get to be a husband and a father. Those are all great gifts that he's given me. But what did he make me for to simply be his kid? This is a funny thing. The other day, me and my wife were having some kind of weird conversation, and for some reason it turned on, like, well, I don't entirely always know what God wants me to do, was the question I posed to her.

I know that's scary. Your pastors are saying stuff like that. Just so you know. Guess what? I don't know.

I don't know everything. And I'm confused sometimes. And I don't know what God's doing in my life, and I don't know what God wants. I said something like that, and my little five year old walks through the kitchen and goes, dad, God just wants you to be good.

I think that's true. God just wants me to be his kid. He just wants me to be good. Just walk with him. I don't have to be like, doing some kind of miraculous thing or chasing some dream that's foggy to me.

The thing I can do most, that's the most peaceful, joyful, is I am a son of the king and I'm just going to walk with him. And then all of those other things will start making so much more sense. He says, I'm going to make peace with you. I'm going to reconcile you by the blood of the lamb. This is what John writes in chapter one.

He says the next day. This is John the Baptist speaking the next day, he saw Jesus coming and he said, behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This is what people began to observe in the life of Jesus, is that God was preparing the passover lamb right there before them. That's what the gospel is all about. And in fact, only the Son of God makes it possible for us to be sons and daughters of the king.

It's only through the blood of the lamb. Paul writes to the galatian church, when the set time had fully come, God sent his son, born of a woman born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship, that we all get that level of inheritance. Because you are his sons. God sent the spirit of his son into our hearts, the spirit who calls out, Abba, Father, we get to go into the throne room now and say, father, Abba, dad, I'm your kid and I have all of the sonship, which is that's how the inheritance is passed on. Men and women alike get to come into that throne room, Abba.

Father. He writes to Timothy, for there is only one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. This is what the letters, this wonderful box of letters, this book of letters, has been prepping us for all this time. This is why we, as the church, should meditate on the cross often, because right in the center of the story is the thing he's been prepping us for. And now we're on the other side of this mystery, and we should never tire of it.

That we can go back to the book of Exodus and see how he has began the story of the Passover lamb. And then for millennias, we've been preparing for this opportunity for the savior, the Passover. You can go back and read this this week. I'd encourage you to do so. In Exodus, chapter twelve, you see the Lord speaking to Moses and the people of God there and telling them, hey, there's a plague coming, the ultimate plague.

There's an angel of death coming through. And the only way that you will be passed over is to put the blood of the Passover lamb over your doorpost. This is a famous story. But what's interesting about that is all of the things that are described about this Passover lamb could also be said of our Lord and savior, Jesus, that he's a male lamb without blemish. That piece alone, let's just admit together, is an impossible peace without blemish.

None of us in this room are without blemish. Not I, not you. That means perfected. That means blameless. Only God himself could do such a thing without blemish.

And it goes on to say that none of the bones were to be broken. John, chapter 19, in fact, says these things took place, that the scripture might be fulfilled. Not one of his bones will be broken. This is what Jesus has accomplished. He said on the cross, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why does he say such a thing? Because it's in that moment he did the thing that was so powerful for us today. He took our separation upon himself. For the first time in his life, he felt a distance from God that some of you feel today, but he's paid for that now. So if you linger in that place, it's not because God is far.

It's also not because something is left undone. The only thing left now is for you to come into the throne room and say, abba, father, I'm your kid, and I recognize today that I'm not enough apart from you, but with you, with belief in the son of God. I have sonship. I'm adopted. What fascinating news.

What amazing news this is. And he goes on to say, it is finished. And I give up my spirit such that the soldiers then came later and because guess what. Guess what time of year this is. Of course, Passover time, because it was all meant to illustrate it perfectly to the people, that they wouldn't miss it, that he's the Passover lamb.

And so the Jews ordered the soldiers to go through and let's get these people off the cross tonight because it's Passover and we can't have them hanging up there overnight. And so they go through and break the criminal's legs because they're still alive. And immediately, this is terrible, terrible stuff. But they began to be asphyxiated at that point because you have to lift up to try to breathe, and then at that point, you're going to die. But they come to Jesus, and he's already passed.

They didn't break any of his bones as the prophets had foretold. I've often said that it's pretty difficult to do the 300 or so prophecies about being the messiah born in a certain place and doing all these things, and yet Jesus did all those things. It's also really hard to die the specific death that's been foretelled. Like, how could he have possibly determined that he wouldn't have shattered bones or other things? And yet all of these things came true so that we would look at him and know, at a bare minimum, he's the guy they've been talking about.

Now it's up to us. What do we think about this messiah? Do I want this sonship? Do I want this for myself? Or do I want to remain separated from him?

I want you to understand something, believers and non believers alike. God has done everything necessary to be one with you. He's reconciled you to himself. Would you receive it? Would you receive it?

The second reason is this.

2. Because he took our death and offered us his eternal life.

Now, that first trade off was great. It was amazing. This second one's even better, that he would show up and take the death I deserved.

Now, that is the kind of love and friendship that you will almost never see. In fact, Jesus says there's no greater love than this, than a man laid down his life for his friends and Christ Jesus did it not just for his friends, but for his enemies, those who were hostile and far from him. This is how the letter continues in verse 21 to the Colossians. And you who were once alienated. Now, who's you?

Who is this you? Well, certainly it's the colossian church. You think that was it? I'll tell you who is. It's me.

It's you. Who is you? It's us. We're right here. And this describes us all.

It says you were once alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds. And you might think to yourself, yeah, well, I guess. But here's the facts, is that we come into this life alienated from God. This word could be translated estranged from him, like in a broken marriage where two people become estranged, that is their fellowship, their intimacy becomes broken. That's how we've entered this world, is that we don't have an intimate relationship with the Lord.

We don't. He's done everything necessary to fix that and yet we've come to this place alienated and hostile in mind. That means we quite literally want the opposite of what God wants.

Now, I would encourage you just to look in the mirror for a second and ask yourself, isn't it true that I tend to want things that God has no interest in? Isn't it true that when I watch the news or when I watch what's going on around me, people don't seem to really care about what God wants? I never hear anybody talking about it. Maybe you work in the most wonderful sector of our society. What I see people wanting and going after are not the things of God.

But it's nothing new. It's been this way since the beginning of time, since the fall of Adam. So we come hostile in my wanting things, material goods or relationships or things, successful things or things that will give us comfort constantly desiring and wanting, not the things of God, not that any of those things are specifically evil. But when we put God out and make other things our gods, then we're hostile. We're hostile to him.

Who's the you? Well, it's us and we are this. And yet, verse 22, what does it say? He reconciled us in spite of that. And how did he do it?

By the body of flesh, by his death. Now, that's careful language, and I don't think it's particularly surprising to us now, but it was very important to Paul and some of the other apostles who are writing in this time frame, who are dealing with a cult called gnosticism. They're dealing with a group of people who have been saying and spreading information that Jesus didn't truly die in the flesh because they viewed the flesh as strictly evil and not of God. And so there's no way that the son of God could have been in the flesh. And so Paul is very careful to say, no, it's the body of his flesh that died.

It's very important. You know what? It's still important today because there are other world religions and other people who would make very careful to say this. Jesus did not die on the cross. It's a major hang up for a lot of the world religions and some of your friends and family, perhaps.

And Paul says, no, I want you to understand something. He had to die. He had to experience the physical body pain that we deserved. Don't miss this. Don't look away and go, oh, that can't be true.

No, look right at it and go, yes, he absolutely took this on himself, not just his spiritual life. His physical body was broken for you. How does this help us? Well, because that's the death I deserved, and now I get to inherit his eternal life. Let me give you just a couple of passages in Romans that really point us in this direction.

Romans 323, it says, all have sinned and falls short of the glory of God. That's all of us again, that word pos that's all of us goes on in 623. Then to say, well, the wages of that sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. We all come into this place sinful and broken. The wages, what we are owed by that is death.

Yet a trade's been made. Romans 610 says, the death. He died. He died to sin once for all.

Do you see the trade off? Can you believe it, that the God of the universe would care that much about little old me? Little old, you say, I'll make a trade. I'll trade you my life for your death. Wow.

I'm curious as to why you would say no to such a trade that you might would look at that trade and say, yeah, but doesn't that mean my life has to change? Yeah. And you're seeing it wrong if you think that's not a good thing, that now you can be rescued from your hot mess. Wow. Who knew that was the trade?

Because that's where he continues. He continues in verse 22, to bring you blameless. Now imagine this. You go into a courtroom, and behind the courtroom seats sits a judge, and he's ready to accuse you. Well, not accuse you, but to declare you guilty or innocent.

And believe it or not, this time it's your father. It's a loved one. For me, it could be my father. And I come in there, let's say it's a speeding ticket or something. I come in there, yeah, I was going way too fast.

The gavel hits and it's guilty. And instead of me having to go pay the bailiff, now, my dad steps out from behind the booth and pays it for me. That courtroom is not the norm. And yet God has done that. And so much better, so much better that God the father sits behind the throne, ready to judge accurately, justly.

And I come in with way worse than a speeding ticket. You and I, we come in there, murderers. It's what we do. We come in there broken and sinful, and having done all, probably messed up every one of the ten, and that's just the Ten Commandments. We come in there going, I didn't do any of this, right?

And right before the gavel hits, someone steps in our place and says, yeah, he is guilty. He does deserve it. And I'll take it. I'll take it. This is what's happened for you.

It's done. It says, for sin. He died once for all. What are you waiting on, believers in the room? When you continue to live in guilt and shame and not lay it at his feet, not filling a sense of reconciliation for the father, you loosen the power of the cross in your life and you say, this isn't enough.

Oh, it's absolutely enough. That guilt and shame, that's not of God. He looks at you and sees something different. He sees Jesus. It's been paid for.

God has done it. He took our death and gives us life. Believers and non believers alike receive life. And here's the third reason, and this is the greatest trade of all.

3. He took our sin and gives us his righteousness.

Oh, it wasn't enough.

It wasn't enough that he paid my sin debt. It wasn't enough that the distance for me and God has closed the gap. That wasn't enough for him. He looked at my bank account and said, that thing is at zero right now. We need to do something about that.

I've done some poor things in my life with my money. Some of you have done great with your money. I'm so proud of you. I've done some silly things over the years, and there have been times where the bank, because I had no money, they took my money, which is fascinating to me. I understand there's got to be some kind of discipline so I don't keep screwing up.

But I look in my bank account, and I've overdrawn. And they say, well, you need to pay 35 more for that. Okay, well, now I got to pay what I didn't have, plus what I really didn't have. And that's how my life is. So is yours.

We're way overdrafted, and a penalty has already been lodged. That penalty is death. And what he's already done and everything we've already read, he said, okay, I'll pay that debt. I'll pay that penalty. We'll bring you back to zero.

But who's surprised that that wasn't enough for a holy God, that a loving God. Yes, he's entirely just. And how do I know that? Because he paid the penalty. Yes, he's also entirely loving because he said, now, guess what I'm about to do.

I'm about to make a deposit that no one can ever overdraw. I'm about to put a deposit in your life, believer, that you can't mess up.

He takes our sin and gives us the deposit of his righteousness. Look at verse 22, says, yeah, you were a mess. Yes, I died for it. In order that what? Verse 22, in order that I might present you holy, blameless, and above reproach.

I'll take any of those. Thank you, Jesus. I didn't need all three, but thank you. Holy would have been good enough. He says, I will bring you before the father, before the judge of all the earth, and I will bring you sacred and holy.

How? Because he's going to see me. When he sees you, I'm going to bring you blameless. The greek word here most closely means unblamable. So when you approach the throne, there is no one who can lodge a complaint.

Believers in the room. I got to tell you, if anyone's lodging blame against you, it's probably the man in the mirror. It's not the savior. It's not the father. When the father looks at you, he sees the son.

He sees the righteousness of God imputed into your life. So when you live in guilt, when you live blamed, it's the man in the mirror. And the only thing I know to tell you to do with that is stop hoarding that inside. Stop constantly saying, oh, woe is me, without bringing it to the one who can do something about it. Say, yeah, I've made an awful mess of myself.

Yeah, I've been an alcoholic. Yes. I've been an abuser. Yes, I've done this. Yes, I've mistreated my kids.

Yes, I've made this mistake at work. Yes. I've lied and I've failed. And I just look in the mirror and I harp on it over and over and over again and I can't get over it. I can't possibly believe that God could use me in this life.

And he looks at me and sees Jesus. So what do I do? I got to take all that baggage of things that were true but are not any longer and lay it at his feet. This is not who I am. This is not who I am anymore.

It's yours. That's all I know to do with that. So then he does this amazing thing in verse 22 that now when I approach God, I can say, as we read earlier, Abba father, I'm your kid. I am blameless, not by any good I've done, but because of what Christ has done in me. What a deposit.

Now, Paul says that's not like a deposit so that you can go on sinning. He says, absolutely not. Because, in fact, when you rightly understand what God is doing in you and you're constantly coming, Abba father, he's changing you. He's working out the details. Yeah, you're not perfect, not on this side of heaven, but you're certainly not living as you once were.

He says, you're holy, you're blameless, you're righteous. Christ took our sin that we might become righteousness. This is at the heart of this verse, two Corinthians, chapter five, one of my favorite verses. It says, for our sake he made him to be sin, Jesus to be sin. Who knew no sin was blameless so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

This is the exchange that's been made. Can you receive this today? Christian in the room, can you receive this today? The separation you're feeling from God is not on his part and he is ready to receive you once more. You might say, well, you don't know, Jonathan, what I've been doing this year, it's a real bad stuff.

It's a big mess. And God is up there going, let's talk. I'm ready to deal with this with you. You're trying to handle it on your own, believer. His separation is done.

Be over it. The death penalty has been paid and he sees righteousness. You're holy church, you're the saints, you're holy unblamable. Come before the Father. Say, daddy.

Abba. Now, I know there's some of you in the room perhaps that don't really like this random pastor from Rocky Mount coming in here and saying, you're a bunch of sinners. I know you don't care too much for that. There's a couple of you in here maybe thinking, I'm a pretty good person. I've done as right as I could in my life.

And all this talk about how bad I am doesn't make me feel so good. Doesn't make me feel good either. Sometimes the truth really stinks.

Here's what I've observed is that there's just no perfect people. Never met them. I mean, if that's you today, and if you want to come up afterwards and say, jonathan, I'm the perfect person you've been looking for, I can't wait. I can't wait to talk to you and find out what's you been doing. How's that been going?

Every thought captive, every action perfected. Because the moment that you begin to think, I'm good enough and I don't like being called a sinner. And this cross of Christ, it might be for some of these other knuckleheads. I don't think it's for me. And then Jesus goes off and does some things he did in his life in ministry, which if people would really dive in, they would begin to go, okay, I really do love this Jesus, and I can see that he loves me.

But let's be honest with ourselves. We're far from what we need to be apart from him and Jesus. On the sermon on the mount, one of the most famous passages where people love to go that blessed are the peacemakers. And I really love what Jesus says there. Keep reading.

Because he goes on to say, you've heard it said, don't commit murder. And all of you are like, good. Yeah, I hadn't done that. I didn't kill anybody. Praise the Lord.

And then he goes on to say, but whoever calls his brother Raca will be liable to the hell of fire. Raca simply means empty head, dumb, stupid. I have an older brother, y'all.

I've said Raca a lot. In fact, we're little PKs, both him and I. And we would sometimes throw this verse at each other. That's the kind of random, silly arguments we were. I can't believe you just called me that name, Stephen.

Fire of hell. It's coming your way. I mean, I just got bad news for you. We knew just enough scripture to absolutely misuse it. But he goes on in that passage to say, you've heard it said, you shall not commit adultery.

Okay, I hadn't done that. But I say to everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. He gives case study after case study so that we might say, guess what the problem always was? It wasn't just the action, it was the attitude underneath it. That sin started in the heart.

The action was just the fruit of that. Jesus says we have a heart problem and we can't fix it, but he can. So I'm sorry, my friend, that today I've called you a sinner. I've called myself it. We're together in this.

We have a heart problem that he is repaired. If we would receive it, that we don't have to be separate. None of us are perfect. None of us are without sin. We've all gone astray.

But one who is perfect has come and paid the ultimate price so that we could be one. Isaiah 53 says, we, like sheep, have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way. And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Church, will you receive this trade?

Why wait any longer? Why wait that God has made you a son and daughter of his kingdom? You're adopted into the family. You're one. Why wait?

You're no longer guilty of sin. The death has penalty has been paid. Why wait? And he sees righteousness in you. All believers, I pray you would receive that today, that you wouldn't linger in your guilt and shame anymore.

Let's pray together now. Church. Heavenly Father, we thank you. First of all, we thank you for something you did that not only could we not do it, we weren't even aware of how far we had fallen. We couldn't have even asked for the right thing.

That's how far off we were, that our brokenness had put us in a place where we could not be reconciled with you. God, I'm thankful for who you are. If nothing else today, I'm just grateful that you love me enough to save me. It doesn't matter what you've commanded me to do in this moment or in this life. Those things are important.

I'm thankful right now, though. I'm grateful right now that you simply set me free by your own standards and by your own love. I didn't do anything to earn that, and I couldn't. God, thank you for who you are. I pray that you would really fill this room with that type of gratitude that if nothing else, we walk out of this place knowing my God loves me and has done everything necessary to reconcile with me, and I don't have to live in shame anymore.

Whatever brokenness I've accrued in my life, he has paid for and more. His sacrifice was more than enough. God, would you do that in us? That we would leave this place, some joyful believers, some peaceful believers, that people wouldn't look at us at this church and go, wow, I don't want to be anything like them. They're worse off than we are.

How could that possibly be? So when we look at the cross and go, wow, look what God has done, supplying us joy and peace that surpasses understanding God, work out in us. I know there's some people in the room right now that have brought a great deal of baggage into the room, and maybe they're feeling, I just don't know, that how could God really?

He absolutely can, and he absolutely has. My friend, if that's you, would you lay that at the feet of the cross right now? At the foot of the cross? Like, call it out by name in prayer to him? God, this is what I've been up to, and I can't see how you would forgive me for this.

It's killing me, the guilt I feel. Lay it at the foot of the cross. God, would you not only heal me of this brokenness, but heal me of the guilt and shame? Do that in us. Do that in your church this morning.

Lay that by name at the feet of Jesus. Perhaps, dear friend, you've come today. Maybe somebody dragged you in here, I don't know. And the truth of the cross of Christ, it's maybe something you've heard, but you've not made it your own. Maybe people in your family have believed it or whatnot, and you've been on the fence about it, but I pray today that you would feel the Lord's call to come and be adopted as one of his sons and daughters in the kingdom, that he has done all that's necessary to make you well and to free you of your brokenness and the things you've been so struggling with.

If that's you today, my friend, you've come today, and you feel the Lord saying, come, receive this. Pray simply with me, as Paul writes in Romans, chapter ten. If you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. That's the beginning of salvation. Pray with me this simple prayer, my friend.

Jesus, I believe that you are Lord of my life. You're in charge. You've always been king. I've been sitting in the driver's seat for too long. But Jesus, I believe you died on the cross for my sake.

My sin, my guilt, my shame, all that stuff that just so holds me down. You paid for it. I believe that today. And God, I believe you raised Jesus from the dead. That gives me incredible hope knowing that Jesus, you haven't only conquered this sin penalty in my life but you've also conquered death itself.

I'm staking my faith and my hope in that today. And I'm asking, Lord, would you now guide my steps, reveal to me the purpose that you've designed me for in this life. Dear friend, if you prayed that prayer with me. Welcome to the family of God where we are all adopted sons and daughters of the king. And we're praying right along with you.

God, guide our steps. Continue to help us be reconciled to you that we wouldn't hold anything back. No skeletons in the claws it anymore. We lay them at your feet that you would heal us and restore us and continue to do the thing you said you will be doing. And that is to present us holy and blameless.

We pray all these things in Jesus name. Amen.

Audio

Transcript

Man, what a great time of worship to prepare our hearts to hear God's word today. And my wife Robin was on the keyboard today. In both. You got a two for today. You didn't just get a preacher, you got a piano player, too.

And so we're thankful to the worship team for the singing and the worship that they brought to us and to prepare us. And we're thankful to you, too, as a church that you've been faithful these eight years. Can you believe it? It'll be nine years in September since we launched our Rocky Mount campus. The church is 32 years old.

We started, my wife and I started with seven people in my living room in 1992, and the church has grown. And we changed the name to eastgate some years ago because we really couldn't be Wilson Community Church in Rocky Mount, could we? That's how we started Wilson Community church, but we changed it to Eastgate because we have a desire to plant churches, more campuses in eastern North Carolina. The soil east of I 95 is some of the most difficult to plant churches in. But we found one of the best ways to plant new churches is to team up together and collaborate.

So that's our vision together. So we're thankful for you for your faithfulness in Rocky Mount. So we're continuing, this is the series that we've entitled, Meditations on the cross. And we're in part two today. And today we want to talk about how can the cross reconcile us?

How is the cross God's reconciliation unto us? That's our question that we want to deal with today. Now, before I begin, I want to make sure that there are no hard feelings in the house this morning. Okay. I was looking around to see.

I don't see any red. Anybody wearing red today? So is there kind of no NC state people here? Okay. But you didn't wear red today.

You're just not going to brag, you're not going to rub it in, okay. Okay. You're keeping it on the DL. I appreciate that. And so maybe the rest of you are in mourning.

I do see some blue here, and I hope you're okay. If there's any need for reconciliation afterwards, I'll be in the back corner and we'd be glad to try to do that. The truth is that reconciliation is hard if you've been alive any length of time, you've had a broken relationship, you've had a friendship that fell apart. Maybe you've had a marriage that didn't work out. Maybe you're in a situation right now where even one of your children might be alienated from you, or an uncle or an aunt or a family member.

It's a painful thing, isn't it, not to be reconciled to someone that used to be, that you were close to. And so that's really what we're talking about today, that Jesus Christ, through his sacrifice on the cross, has become God's reconciliation to us. And it was a needed reconciliation. Now, I'm sure you've heard of the famous 19th century poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She wrote many great poems.

What you might not know about her is she had a broken relationship with her dad. It was reported that he was somewhat tyranical and ruled over her. And when she met Robert Browning, he refused to bless, to give his blessing to the marriage. But she loved Robert, and so they went away and got married on their own in 1846 and moved to Italy and moved away. And it was said that she wrote many, many letters.

In fact, she wrote at least once a week to her father and mother, asking for forgiveness. And over a ten year period, she wrote letter after letter after letter. And after ten years, her father had passed away. And her mother sent her a box. And she was excited when she got the box because she thought, this is the first time I've heard from my parents in ten years.

And she opens up the box, and there inside the box was every letter she had ever written, unopened. Every letter. If only they would have opened maybe one or two letters, maybe they would have been reconciled. But they didn't even open not one letter. You know, God has written us a letter.

Right here it is. Right here it is. There's 66 little letters in here. In this box we call the Bible, 39 in the old and 27 in the new. And have you ever opened the box?

Because here's his love letter of reconciliation in the centerpiece of the Bible, on every page, if you'll look closely, if you'll read it with eyes of faith, you'll find Jesus there. And at the centerpiece of the story is the cross. And he's written us this letter. In the apostle Paul's letter to the church at Colossae. That's where we'll be today.

In Colossians chapter one, we see that he talks about the importance of the cross. And he explains to the church at Colossae that it was their trusting in the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross that reconciled them to God. And I believe today that we can understand that it's when we trust in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross that this too is our reconciliation. In fact, it's our only reconciliation. And as we look, we'll see three reasons that trusting in Christ's sacrificial death is our reconciliation to God.

So let's look at the text. We'll look at Colossians chapter one, picking up at verse 19. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you, holy and blameless and above reproach before him. This is God's word.

Amen. We're looking for three reasons that Christ's sacrificial death on the cross reconciles us. Here's the first reason. It's because he took our separation and offers his sonship. He took our separation from the father, and he offers his sonship, his relationship to the father.

Let's look at just the first two verses, verses 19 and 20. You'll notice that there are a lot of he hims and his and himselfs here. And one of the things, when you're studying the scripture, is to run down those pronouns and to decide who's who. And as we begin here, for in him in verse 19, we're speaking of Jesus. The hymn, the pronoun here refers to Jesus.

For in Jesus all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Jesus to reconcile to God the Father. That the himself, I'm convinced, refers to God the Father, all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of Jesus, cross, of the cross of Christ. You see how important it is to go through and identify those. So you know who you're talking about. And so we're talking about Jesus, and we're talking about how his cross, how specifically his blood, which was shed on the cross, is what reconciles us to the father, putting our faith in that reality.

Let's look at his credentials. It says, for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. How much of God is Jesus? It says, all the fullness. All the fullness.

This is not talking about the idea of filling up a cup. It has more the idea of totality. Whatever God is, Christ is. That's really what all the fullness means. Whatever God is, Jesus is.

Now, this is a paradox. It's difficult to understand. He's 100% human, yet 100% God. This is what the scripture teaches us. And whatever God is, that's what Christ is.

He's the only one qualified who has the credentials to make us right with the father. Because he is God's reconciliation. Why? Because he's the only one right with the father. You need a mediator.

We need a mediator. We need a go between that could reach out a hand between heaven and earth and take hold of our hand and make us right with the Father. He's God, a very God. Dr. Barnes said that in him there is such dignity, authority, power and moral excellence as to be fitted to the work of creating the world, redeeming his people, and supplying everything needful for their salvation.

He's God. Whatever. Whatever God is, Jesus is. He's God of very God. So this is his qualification.

This is why he can do something about our separation. Now you might be saying, well, when was I separated from God? You were born that way. You were born that way. From the time of Adam and Eve's sin, every little baby boy and every little baby girl has been born separated from God.

And only Jesus can make us right with the father. This is the reality. It's that longing that we have inside of us. It's what the philosopher and great french mathematician Pascal talked about, this hole that's inside of our soul. He says there's a God shaped vacuum in the soul of every man that can only be filled by the person of Jesus Christ.

We're all born with this hole in our soul, and we try to put stuff in it. We try to put other relationships. Maybe you're a young woman and you think a man will fill that spiritual void. Or you're a young man. You think a woman will fill that spiritual void, or you'll think materialism or owning more.

Or we try all kinds of things to fill that spiritual void. But the hunger remains. It's because we were made by God and for God, and we're built for him. And we have a longing. As Ecclesiastes 315, Solomon was meditating on this, and he was talking about how God has put eternity in our hearts, that there's a desire for something that lasts.

I don't know if you've ever tried to go back home again. If you're getting older and you try to go back home again. If I go back to my mother's house, someone else lives in it. Now the house looks the same pretty much on the outside. They took the fence down, which bothers me.

I drive by and I go, where'd the fence go? And then they cut down the big maple tree that I was accustomed to climbing. Where'd the big tree go? I can't just pull up in the driveway and knock on the door and see my mother come running and hugging me, because my mother's in heaven now. You know that you can't go home again.

And that's this longing that points to our true home. We're just pilgrims passing through. And so he's God of very God. And notice that God is pleased to dwell in him. This speaks of God's pleasure.

It reminds me of how in Matthew that we read in Matthew, chapter three, when Jesus was being baptized by John the Baptist, that the Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove. And a voice was heard from heaven where the Father said, this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.

Now he's not pleased with us apart from Jesus. You can't please the Father. You can't be good enough. You can't do enough. Isaiah said, our righteousness is as filthy rags before the can't.

There's no scale in heaven, that our good works are on one side and our bad works are on the other. Put that thought away. That's not the way God will judge us. He'll ask you, what did you do with Jesus? I was pleased with him.

I offered him. He has my pleasure. If you wanted me to be pleased with you, you must trust in Christ Jesus. He says he was pleased to dwell in him. Verse 20 says, and through him.

Through who? Through Jesus, to reconcile. The word reconcile has the idea of to restore a broken relationship, to make that which was apart one again. Maybe you've had someone that you tried to reconcile to and you forgave them and they forgave you, but you kind of agreed, let's not hang out together anymore, though. Like, okay, we're not mad at each other anymore, but I really don't want to see you anymore either like that.

And that's not really reconciliation. That might be forgiveness, and it might be real forgiveness, and it might be for the best in this world. Because sometimes human reconciliation always falls short of that which God wants. But what God wants is he wants to not only say that you were in rebellion against me and you'd become enemies, but because of Jesus. If you'll believe in him.

I will adopt you into my family.

This is the kind of reconciliation the world does not understand. Not only do I forgive you, but because of Jesus and his payment on the cross, I want to adopt you, to call you my children. What we have here is this imagery that Paul's clearly a jewish audience would have picked it up quickly. This language is very sacrificial in nature. And through him to reconcile himself, and through Jesus to reconcile to God all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood.

We talked about this last week that some people just don't like that part of the story, the bloody part, that people want to. We talked about a young woman last week who left Christianity, she said, because it was just too bloody for her, she needed something more uplifting and more encouraging, because there's something about the blood of the cross which shows us the depth of our sin. And so we want a cleaner religion, one not so messy. But the truth is, if you think about who we are in Christ as he adopts us in the family, we're all a mess. In fact, I heard in the announcements that we have a membership class coming up next month.

And if you're thinking about joining a perfect church, this is not it. And besides, if you try to join a perfect church, you know the story, right? Don't join it, you'll just mess it up. Because none of us are perfect. We need the blood of Jesus.

This bloody talk reminds us of the lamb. Now, when was Jesus crucified? Wasn't he crucified? We call it Passion week, which comes from the idea of the idea of Pascal or from Passover. And so it points to the fact that he's the lamb of God, doesn't it?

This language, this sacrificial language, this bloody language, he says, whether on earth or in heaven. Some have said, what does this mean? That he's reconciled both everything on earth and in heaven. And so if you read commentators on this, they'll have different views. What needed to be reconciled in heaven?

Like what's in heaven that needs to be reconciled? Someone said, well, one third of the angels fell, and so they've been kicked out, but two thirds are still up there. So maybe his grace and his sacrifice confirmed by grace that they now will never fall. The other two thirds, they haven't fallen, but it confirms that they'll never fall. That's what several commentators said.

Someone else said, well, perhaps it points to all the saints of old, prior to Jesus, that now they've already moved into what is called in Luke Abraham's bosom or to heaven, but they've already passed away. Maybe he's paying for them, kind of like whenever it doesn't really work anymore because of technology. But when we first got married, Robin, you probably remember this, get paid on a Friday or something like that. And maybe the money hadn't hit yet, but you could go and write a check for groceries and not worry about it until Monday like that. Because there was like a delay, right?

And so you could kind of ride that check. And that worked most of the time, except when it didn't work, but it worked most time. There was kind of a float of. You write a check and then you could put a deposit three days later and cover it. Well, you can't do that anymore, man.

You give somebody a check today, first of all, they go, what's that? I can't do that. But even if you do, then they rent it right through and it goes out of your bank just like that. So you can't do that anymore. But all those lambs and all those bulls that were sacrificed and all that blood had no value.

It was all like checks written on a future deposit. And that deposit was made by Jesus. This is why John, when he saw him coming to be baptized, John the Baptist said, behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He's the lamb of God. He's the only lamb of God.

He's the only one qualified, because the fullness of God is all the fullness of God is in him. And so he's qualified, and he's the only one qualified to adopt us to sonship. Galatians, chapter four. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his son, born of a woman born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons.

God sent the spirit of his son into our hearts, the spirit who calls out, Abba. Father. Now, ladies, you might be offended that you've been adopted as sons. You might be thinking, oh, well, don't some of the modern translations say children? They certainly do, because of their concern for you.

But it's better to be adopted as a son if you consider what was being implied here is that you get full inheritance rights. You see, in the first century, women didn't have the same inheritance rights, that sons daughters didn't have the same rights as sons. But Paul is clearly saying no because of Jesus. Doesn't matter if you're male or female. You're all one in Christ Jesus.

And you get whatever Christ has, you have, because he's the firstborn from among the dead. He's the one who reconciles us. And through him you're adopted with the rights as sons. So that's why I chose carefully translation that would get that part clear so that you would understand that. Yeah, okay.

Your daughters, your children of God. But guess what? You get the inheritance of sons. And not only that, but Jesus is the only mediator. First, Timothy Paul writes this, for there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

There's only one. Why? Because all the fullness of God dwells in him. He's the only one qualified. He is the lamb of God.

We consider, as we said before, that the weekend of Easter, the weekend that begins with palm Sunday triumphal entry and goes through that week and ends with Easter resurrection Sunday. That's Passover week. That's the week where they would be following what was given to them, instruction wise from the law concerning Passover. And if you read about in Exodus, chapter twelve, there's a description of the Passover lamb. Here are some details.

First of all, the lamb must be without blemish. It must be male. You shall not break any of its bones. And you must be careful with the blood because you need to take the blood and drain it. And this was at that time whenever the first Passover took place in Egypt, and to take it and paint it on the doorpost in the lentil of your front door to your house.

And this was the instruction that God gave Moses to give to the people. And he said, I will pass over you and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt at Passover. And so is the blood of Jesus shed on the door of your heart. You see, it's the blood of the cross that reconciles. It's not any action that you take.

There's no effort, because he has taken the entire effort upon himself. As Paul says in one Corinthians, for Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Jesus is our Passover lamb. He is the one who makes us right with God. He's the one without blemish, without sin.

He is the one who cried out from the cross, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Many look at that from a place of doubt, a place of agnosticism. And they go, see, he was just caught up in this political mess, and now he's feeling the rejection of failure. No, far from it. Here's what happened at that very moment in time, the son of God, who had never for one moment for eternity past been separated from his father, took my separation.

Took your separation. In that very moment, he said, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Because he who knew no sin became sin, that I might become his righteousness. And so he took my separation. You ever thought about that?

He was separated from God so that I could be adopted as a son. This is the word that we see here. This is why he cries out. But then he cries out like the champion, the finisher. He says, it is finished.

He's accomplished it. That's why he came. And it says that after he cried out, he surrendered his spirit. He surrendered his spirit to the Lord. And then the Jews who were concerned because it was the day of preparation.

Now the day of preparation is the Friday before Sabbath. And this particular Saturday, this particular Sabbath was called the high Sabbath. Why, every Sabbath is high, but this one's called the high Sabbath because it was Passover Sabbath. So it's the highest Sabbath of all Sabbaths, right? And it's Friday, and Sabbath doesn't start the next morning.

Do you all know when Sabbath starts for the Jew? Friday at 06:00 p.m. That's when it starts. And it ends Saturday at 06:00 p.m. Did you know that?

And so it runs from twilight to twilight. That's when it runs. And so they have to get everything prepared, all the Passover meal, everything they're going to do. And if they have family coming over, they have to get it all ready by twilight. On Friday, it's preparation day.

And so then the other thing is, it's a curse to hang on a tree. We can't have these guys. We wanted him crucified. But can you get him off the cross? Now they go to Pilate and the pilot's.

I'm sure he's like, you Jews are driving me crazy. I didn't want to crucify him. Now you want him off the cross and like would break his legs so he dies and we can get him off the cross before twilight. We don't want him hanging on the cross on high Sabbath. And he goes, okay.

And he sends the roman soldiers up there to break his legs. And so they break the other two thieves'legs. And you understand what that accomplished. The only way you could breathe on the cross would, because of the way your body is pressured outward like this, you would drown in your own fluid. And the only way Jesus could breathe would be to take hold of those spikes and to press up with his feet that were held together by one and pull himself up to catch a breath.

This is why when the soldiers came to him, they were astounded that he had already passed. Well, he said, no one takes my life from me. I give it up freely. He surrendered his spirit and they were astounded, and so they thought, it looks like he's dead. So one of them put a spear into his side to verify his death.

And what came out? A mixture of water and blood. Medical doctors have looked into this and they say it looks like what would happen when you have a congestive heart failure where fluid is built up in the lungs. And this is from shock and from the beating he took and the hanging on the cross. And he couldn't breathe, and so fluid built up and so he passed and they didn't break his legs.

How coincidental is that? The lamb without blemish, a male lamb without blemish, not one bone shall be broken. So that John writes in his gospel, for these things took place, that the scripture might be fulfilled. Not one of his bones will be broken. Make no mistake, he's the only one who could have accomplished our reconciliation and to adopt us into his family as sons of God.

This is the first reason why the cross can reconcile us and only the cross of Christ. Here's the second. I got really excited on the first one, so I have to go faster. Now, does Jonathan do this? Does he get really excited on the first one?

And then he has to look at the clock and go, oh, boy. Second and third point. I got three points. Number here's the, here's the second reason. Because he took our death and offers his eternal life.

Because he took our death and offers his eternal life. We're at verses 21 and 22. Now. Now let's notice the you pronouns. We've gone from he and himself to you.

Who's you? It's you and me. That's right. That's who. He's talking.

He's talking to the Colossians. But through the Colossians, he's talking to us and you, who once were alienated, hostile in mind, doing evil deeds. He's describing that we are sinners apart from this reconciliation, that that's who we are apart from Christ. He's describing who you are, who I am apart from Jesus. You look at alienated.

This means to be estranged, shut out, completely cut off, completely alienated from God, hostile in mind. This means to have a mind that is in opposition to what God wants.

I don't know how many have raised children. Many people go, well, that child's just innocent. Well, let them start talking as soon as they can talk. And they say something to you like, no, back to you. Or they say, I do it myself, like that.

I think that's the first complete sentence that our first born said to us. I do it myself. Which is the attitude of a mind that's in opposition to authority. And we're born with it. No one has to teach that to us.

We're all born with this rebellious kind of attitude, which the Bible has this little three letter word to describe called sin. And so we think of sin, we think of murder, or we think of some of the Ten Commandments. Because a lot of us don't agree with all the Ten Commandments, but some of the Ten Commandments. And we think, well, I've never done that one, so I'm as good as everybody else. But that's not what he's talking about.

He goes, it's hostility of mind. This is the attitude of sin that we're born with. We're born with an attitude of rebellion, of opposition. And then he says, doing evil deeds, which is the activity of sin, which comes first. Well, the attitude always precedes the action.

The attitude precedes, I want to do it my way. I want my way. I don't know if Burger King still offers that. Have it your way. Does Burger King still offer you to have it your way?

That's the attitude that we want. We want to have it our way. I want to have it my way. And certainly we live in a generation today that has taken that to the limit. We want it our way.

Wanting to do it myself our way. And then he goes on, and you, who once were alienated, you were against God and cut off from God. Hostile in attitude, hostile in your mind. Opposition against God, doing evil deeds. He.

Who's he? It's Jesus. Now we're back to that. We've been talking about you and me. Verse 21.

Let's get through that. That makes me sick. Let's get past 21. He is now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death. Now we're not talking about his blood now we're talking about his body.

At the end of the service, we're going to offer you an opportunity to take the Lord's supper. I want you to think about what we're studying together as you do today. The body and the blood. We see the blood and the blood. That's where your DNA is.

And his blood was pure and his blood was right with God. And when the blood is applied to my heart, now I'm right with God. Now I'm adopted. But I owed a debt that I couldn't pay. Well I could, but that would leave me separated from God forever.

It's my death that I owe. It's your death that you owe because the wages of sin is death. And so he took my death in his body. Do you see it in verse 22? He, Jesus, has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death.

He took my death. He took our death and offers his eternal life. This is the holy exchange. He took my separation and he offers his sonship. He took my death and he offers his eternal life.

Romans 323 for all have sinned and falls short of the glory of God. That includes everybody in this room. For all of sin, for the wages of sin. Romans 623 is death. What's the result of sin?

Death. That's the debt I owe God. That's the debt I owe because of my sin. But Jesus said, let me pay that debt. So in his body, make no mistake, the Muslims get this completely wrong because they misunderstand the mercy and love and righteousness of God.

They seem to understand the holiness and the judgmental nature of God but they completely miss the part about his love and his mercy. And when they look at the cross they say that wasn't really Jesus, that was an imposter because God wouldn't have allowed the prophet Isa Almasi, Jesus the messiah, Isa Almariyam Jesus son of Isa bin Maryam, Jesus son of Mary. So they dispute the cross. They love Jesus. By the way, if you talk to a Muslim, they believe in the virgin birth.

They believe in so many stories, they actually believe he's coming again, will stand against the more. He's the only figure in the Quran that performs miracles. Muhammad doesn't perform any miracles. They have a high view of Isa Jesus but they can't deal with the cross. But it's only the cross that reconciles because his blood gives us the right of sonship and his body dies.

His body takes my death and your death. It says in Romans 610, for the death he died. He died to sin once for all. He died for you and me. Perhaps if you heard me talk for any length of time, maybe you've heard Pastor Jonathan.

There's a young man whose father is a judge and he gets a speeding ticket and he decides to go to court to see if his father will let him off so he doesn't have to pay it. And so his insurance won't go up, right? Which is actually his father's insurance anyway, right? But he goes to court and he's sitting there and the judge says, how do you plea?

And he interviews. And the police officer comes up and he goes, well, I got him. He was doing 70 in a 55. And he goes, I can't lie, dad. Guilty.

And he goes, guilty as plead and pay the bailiff, whatever it is. The boy gets up and he walks up to the bar and he goes, pulls out his empty pockets and he goes, but, dad. And so the judge steps out and he pulls up his black robes and he pulls his wallet out and he pays the price. This is the picture of what the father has done through Jesus. We couldn't pay it.

We couldn't pay it. Think about, have you ever overdrawn your checking account? You ever done that? Been talking about checks a lot for some reason today. You ever overdrawn your checking account?

And so you get one of those letters in the mail that says, NSF non sufficient funds and $35 service charge. So not only you might have said, but I only wrote a check for $5. Well, now you owe 40. That doesn't seem fair. Well, life's not fair sometimes.

Go try to argue with the bank about that. They're like, no, we need $40 to get you back to what? Zero? Now I got nothing. Got zero.

And this is what the death of Christ and his body accomplished. It got us back to even. He paid the debt. He took our death. He got us back to even.

He got us back to that place. I think about that. And I think, well, that wouldn't be enough for the wages. He took my death. I need a deposit because, well, the reason I got in trouble is I didn't have any money and I had to borrow the money from you to get me back to even.

Well, could you help a brother out here? Could you give me a deposit to get started? And that leads us to the third reason. It's because he took our sin and offers his righteousness. We're at the final part of verse 22.

Now, we've been unpacking these verses very carefully together. We're at the final part. And what we have here in the Greek is called a purpose clause in order that. In order to all of this comes to the. Here's the deal.

In order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, the hymn here is the Father, Jesus did all of this so that he could bring all of us before the Father and say, here they are. Here are the children that you bought. Here are the children that you wanted, Father, that you sent me. I've brought them. I've lost none of them.

And he presents them. This Present language is this holy language that's also Old Testament, kind of the way that Aaron was presented before Moses, who ordained him to be the high priest, and how he took the blood of the lamb, and he put some on his right thumb and some on his right big toe and some on his right earlobe. And all of this might seem strange to us, but it's all a picture of what was necessary in order to present him to God so that he could go into the holy of holies and be right with the Father. He took our sin. It says, he's presenting us now how holy this word says this.

How many saints we got in the house? If you believe in Jesus, how many saints? Some of you are still thinking about it, okay? You don't have to wait for anybody to vote on you being a saint. You don't have to wait until you're dead and somebody say, well, that was a real saint.

No, the minute you receive Jesus, you're holy because you receive his holiness into your account. He makes a deposit into your account before God, and you're counted holy in that moment. Blameless, which means unblamable. Blameless and above reproach in the Greek are both greek words that begin with the ah with the alpha, and the alpha negates whatever follows. So like atheos, atheist, agnostic, no knowledge, no God.

Those words anytime you see ah. And so both of these are ah words. And so no blame. Not blame. You can't be blamed.

Somebody tries to blame you. No, you're not blamed. No reproach because of Jesus, his account, which is his righteousness, has been accounted unto you so that you are wholly blameless and above reproach before the father. It says in two Corinthians, for our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. He took our sin so that we might receive his righteousness deposited into our account.

It's not about being good. It's about putting your faith in the cross of Jesus, his bloodshed, his body broken and crucified. And not only that, that three days later he rose again. He defeats sin, death in the grave on our behalf. This past week in my community group, I asked the question of our group.

I was like, when you talk to people about Jesus, do you ever get to the story of the cross. When you're talking to a loved one or a friend about Jesus, do you ever get to the point where you talk to them about what Jesus did for them on the cross? And we were discussing that. One of our members said to me that she's tried to do that from time to time. And she named a couple of her friends that she was praying for, one in particular.

She said, every time we get to that part, they always get really uncomfortable. And I have several friends who say this to me.

I don't like being called a sinner. I'm a good person.

This whole thing, I think Jesus is wonderful. I love the stories about Jesus, but this whole thing, I just don't see. And she said, what do you do about that when you're talking to someone? And they just feel like. I just don't feel bad.

I feel like there's a lot of people worse than me. I don't feel like that. And I told her, I said, perhaps we should just tell him what Jesus told some people who thought they were good enough. And he said, you've heard it said, thou shalt not murder. But I say, if you call your brother Raqqa, which means empty head, or stupid or ignorant or dummy, to put it into English.

And some of the young people are going to talk to their parents later and say, Pastor Gary said some bad stuff. But if you say that to a brother, if you say empty head, you've committed murder in your heart. What? You just changed the rules. Jesus, I understood this whole thou shalt not kill thing, but now you're saying, if I hate my brother and call him empty head, I've committed murder.

That's what he said. He said, you've heard it said, thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say, if you've looked at a woman with lust in your heart, you've committed adultery with her in your heart. Can you imagine the people in the crowd? They all just dropped their stones and walked away.

He that is without sin, throw the first stone. Yeah, let's all drop our stones. He concludes this. He's in the sermon on the Mount in Matthew, chapter five. He concludes it with this.

You therefore must be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect. Mic drop. No one is perfect. Only one. Only one is without blemish, only one accomplished.

Because he is God of very God. Only one did what was necessary so that in place of our separation, we could be adopted as his sons. As children. In place of our death, we could receive his eternal life. And live forever in place of our sin.

He deposits his righteousness to our account. So that when the father looks at us, he calls us holy, blameless, above reproach. It's all because of him. And so I take no glory in any learning. I have no glory in whatever God has taught me through the years other than this one.

Name. All glory to Jesus. All glory to Jesus on the cross who died for me and is risen again unto life. As Isaiah said, all we, like sheep, have gone astray. We've turned everyone to his own way.

And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Have you trusted Jesus today? Are you someone here today? And you've never fully understood what it means to trust Jesus and his bloodshed on the cross, his body broken and crucified in our place? I'm going to pray for you.

Just a moment. To receive the Lord. Maybe you're here and you have trusted him, but you've been beating yourself up, thinking that somehow there was something for you to complete, like you've been checking boxes. I'm a believer, but I feel shame because of. And I want you to preach the gospel to yourself afresh today.

Hear the gospel afresh. He's the one who makes us holy, blameless and above reproach. Apply Jesus to your heart afresh and know the freedom of being right with the Father. Let me pray and then you respond. Lord Jesus, thank you for your word.

Thank you for this word from the book of Colossians. I pray first for that person that might be in my hearing today. You've never received Jesus as your lord and savior. Would you do it right now in your seat. Prayer is just talking to God.

Let me pray for you. But as I pray, repeat with me, right where you are. Dear Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner. I need a savior. I believe in you, Jesus.

I believe you died on the cross for me, for my sin. I believe you were raised from the grave on the third day.

I believe you've ascended to the father and you're at his right hand right now. Would you come and live in me by your spirit? Forgive me of my sin, adopt me into your family. Give me eternal life. Make me right with the Father.

Oh Lord Jesus, I'm trusting you for that because you've done what's necessary. I believe in you. And if you're praying that prayer, faith, believing, he'll save you. He'll make you right with the Father. He'll reconcile you to the Father.

Others are here and you've believed. But somehow along the way, you've stumbled back into legalism or religiosity. Just thinking I still need to be good enough. I need to check the boxes. I'm still dealing with shame from the past.

Take it to the cross, nail it to the cross. Leave it there right now. Whatever's causing you, wait. Lord, we lift it up. We lift up those burdens, and maybe there's an unreconciled relationship in your life today because we've been reconciled.

He calls us to a ministry of reconciliation right now. So, Lord, I'm just praying for believers, that Holy Spirit, you'd give us reconciliation with that person. We're separated from forgiveness for that person, that we would forgive others as the Father has forgiven us through Christ Jesus. Lord, we pray it all now in Jesus name. And for his sake.

All of God's people said, amen.


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