Living Invitations Part 15

August 7, 2017

This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “Living Invitations”.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

We are continuing in our series on the church. We have talked about the church being people, our relationships with God, the people of God and the future people of God, all being developed in the context of worship, discipleship, fellowship and mission. We are going to continue our discussion on mission today.

We are using 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 as the foundation for this discussion on Mission. We have talked about our radical message (The Good News), radical generosity (Outreach that makes people say what? and check us out) and radical hospitality (helping people to be comfortable so that they can take in the radical message). We have put that in terms of being a FORCE for Him. Frontline Operation, Reconciling, Caring, and Encouraging people for Him. Last week we found out that if we are out of mind in doing these things it is for Him, and if we are not, it is for the people we are reaching out to.

Scripture Reading

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (NIV)
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (NIV)
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1.) How we see people

2 Corinthians 5:16 (NIV)
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

We talked about this a couple of weeks ago but I will bring it up often, we sometimes have a problem with our eyes. We don’t see people the way that God does. The beauty of potential. We will continue to work on this together because our getting it is so important with regards to our mission of One More. If we can’t see people the way that God does, and have a measure of the care and concern that God has for them, we will never embrace our mission.

2.) A new creation in Christ

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

In Christ, we are new creations. God now sees us “in Christ”, which is amazing, but when we are honest about our own lives, we can quickly see that we still have a lot of mess we are dealing with. We are all works in progress. If you can’t see your own mess, then you really can’t reach out to others.

Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV)
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

We have to realize that we are on this journey with God where by His Spirit He is working in and on us to change but it is a process, not a one time event. Sanctification is the churchy word for the process. It is a process. We give language to it here by saying that we are:

Living by trying to do the next right thing

We are faced with choices constantly, we try to do the next right thing, but sometimes we fail. When we do, we are to turn around and go running back to God for forgiveness, which He gives, and then we start living again by trying to do the next right thing. You need to have a picture of God as one who loves you and is for you or this process falls apart. You need to remember the grace of God. How much you need it and much the world needs it.

It is by His grace that we are able to have relationship with Him. It is not by anything that we have done. Not because we are performing well, but because of His grace.

3.) The message of reconciliation

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NIV)
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

The message of reconciliation is the Good News, the Gospel, the Truth. I know we have talked about this in each of the last two sermons, but again this is foundational to our mission. We have all sinned and God made a way for us in Christ to be reconciled to Him. Christ died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day He rose, which was witnessed by hundreds of people.

His perfect sinless life was given in exchange for ours. He paid for our sins and we can now be reconciled to God.

And having accepted Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, this radical message of hope has been committed to us. We are to tell others so that they can be reconciled to God as well.

4.) We are His Ambassadors

2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV)
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

God is using us to implore others to become reconciled to God. It is an outward focus. Loving people the way that God does so that they might come to know Him.

John 3:16-17 (NIV)
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

How do we do it? How do we get people to hear and receive this radical message of Good News. This radical message of reconciliation. We have to love them enough for them to listen. How do we do that?

5.) Becoming His righteousness

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Righteousness – Being right with God and doing what is right

We have to live this out before the world. We get right with God in Christ and then we try and live by doing what is right, by doing the next right thing. We are not perfect and therefore we do not need to run around pointing fingers of judgment. We recognize the fact that all of us desperately need God. We should always treat people in a way that incorporated the beauty of their potential.

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