Monday, February 25, 2013

Sermon Feb. 13, 2013 Ash Wednesday

Title: Jesus Christ reconciles the word unto himself!

Text: 2 Cor. 5:20b-21

20b we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Dear Friends,

When we look at a new born baby we might have a difficult time recognizing the corruption of sin upon this beautiful creation of God. How, we might think, can this be a sin bearer and God’s enemy? The truth is that sin like life happens at conception.

You might also ask, “How does a worm get inside an apple?” Perhaps you think the worm burrows in from the outside. No, scientists have discovered that the worm comes from inside. But how does he get in there? Well it’s simple! An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom. Sometime later, the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then eats his way out. Sin, like the worm, begins in the heart and works out through a person's thoughts, words, and actions.

Heaven and Home Hour Radio Bulletin. 

Jesus Christ reconciles the word unto himself!

We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

As a pastor to the congregation in Corinth, Paul’s words are passionate and direct. He implores those that are either apathetic, which means: (showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern) but living a mere outward type of holiness to be reconciled to God.

In his first Epistle to the Corinthians Paul had been strong in his rebuke of them in how they were dealing with sin in their midst. Paul had written them:

11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, (someone inside the church) who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.

Paul’s rebuke is strong, as it should be. But after the Corinthian’s come to repentance, the sweet balm of the gospel must be applied. For there is no joy for Paul in leaving a repentant sinner terrified of their sin that Christ Jesus has carried upon Himself to the cross forever burying it in the grave by his all sufficient sacrifice.

Paul now pleads to the repentant sinner as workers together with Him … not to receive the grace of God in vain.2 For He (the God of all glory) says:

“In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”

The help for the sinner is our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus who became sin for us that we might be reconciled to God receiving again our original righteousness that had been lost and corrupted in the fall in to sin.

Jesus Christ reconciles the word unto himself!


Will Rogers was known for his laughter, but he also knew how to weep. One day he was entertaining at the Milton H. Berry Institute in Los Angeles, a hospital that specialized in rehabilitating polio victims and people with broken backs and other extreme physical handicaps. Of course, Rogers had everybody laughing, even patients in really bad condition; but then he suddenly left the platform and went to the rest room. Milton Berry followed him to give him a towel; and when he opened the door, he saw Will Rogers leaning against the wall, sobbing like a child. He closed the door, and in a few minutes, Rogers appeared back on the platform, as jovial as before.

If you want to learn what a person is really like, ask three questions: What makes him laugh? What makes him angry? What makes him weep? These are fairly good tests of character that are especially appropriate for Christian leaders and those who serve the church.

At times people throughout the church cry: "We need angry leaders!" or "The time has come to practice militant Christianity!" Perhaps, but the epistle of James tells us: "The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:20).

What is needed today is not anger but anguish, the kind of anguish that Moses displayed when he broke the two tablets of the law and then climbed the mountain to intercede for his people, or that Jesus displayed when He cleansed the temple and then wept over the city. The difference between anger and anguish is a broken heart. It's easy to get angry, especially at somebody else's sins; but it's not easy to look at sin, your own included, and weep over it.

Warren W. Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, pp. 75-76.

The sin of the world, your sin and mine … God wept over. But do you? Do you feel the anguish of falling short daily? Are you in prayerful repentance sorry for your sin and asking for forgiveness?  Or has sin your master? It could be indifference, greed, jealousy, cohabitating, adultery - which Paul speaks of as being sexually immoral; gossip, or simple unkindness … does it cause you to break down in guilt and repent of your sin which really is simply to ask for forgiveness and make amends to change this sin that controls you and that you now live in and embrace?

Jesus Christ reconciles the word unto himself!

In the epistle today Paul brings Good News to those who are broken and repentant.

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor. 6:2b)

Friends, now is the time to receive forgiveness.

Ash Wednesday is the name given to the first day of the season of Lent, in which ashes are applied to the foreheads of Christian’s signifying an inner repentance. This repentance continues throughout Lent as we remember the suffering that our Lord endured at the cross for the sins of the whole world – yours and mine - as we wait in anticipation of Christ’s glorious Easter resurrection.

The work of the ministry is to call sinners to repentance so that the work of God’s Law can bring about a true repentance for sin and the Gospel of salvation a glorious comfort that on account of Christ you are forgiven!

Paul tells the Corinthians and us what the true work of the ministry is commending ourselves as ministers of God:

in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Christ through his ministers today as then absolves the repentant. This gift He gives through his church, so that comfort is given to those broken by sin so that they might be renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit working in them to a newness of life over sin, death and the power of the Devil.

I saw Betty Buchanan at the hospital last Saturday afternoon. She took a fall out of bed and broke her hip and shoulder. I stopped by on Thursday but she was resting and the nurse didn’t want to wake her because she had had a restless night. Our visit was comforting for us both as Betty doesn’t see well and the noises of the night staff walking in and out of the room caused her anxiety and distress. I was able to hold her hand and pray with her and even though I’ve only been her pastor for a short while there was comfort for her and for me.

As I continue to visit those like Betty who are unable to be at church or are confused at times by dementia, I am constantly lifted up as together we pray and remember God’s, loving forgiveness in Christ. And though they at times may not remember me or even their family, they always remember Him who is the one who has freed them from sin and this broken world giving them the assurance that in Christ they have true forgiveness, peace and comfort and a place in the house of the Lord forever.

Jesus Christ reconciles the word unto himself!

It is interesting that the worm corrupts the apple from the inside out and that our first parents eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil separated us from our loving God who had to restore the broken relationship between God and man.

We can all be comforted to know that in Christ we are forgiven and that by His stripes we are truly healed!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.


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