Sermon – Reconciliation, Your Greatest Need (Colossians 1:15 – 1:23) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Colossians 2023

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Sermon 5 of 16

Reconciliation, Your Greatest Need

Pete Woodcock, Colossians 1:15 - 1:23, 22 October 2023

Continuing our series in Paul's letter to the Colossians, Pete takes us through Colossians 1:15-23. In these verses Paul is taken up by the supremacy of the Lord Jesus and his relation to all of creation. What is reconciliation and what does Paul have to tell us about our reconciliation with the Lord?

Colossians 1:15 - 1:23

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 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, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

We're gonna, read, now. So if you could turn with me to colossians, chapter 1. And what we're gonna do, because this is a song, we're gonna we're gonna stand off and we're gonna sing this. We're not gonna sing it.

Sorry. Much than that. We're gonna make a bar we're all gonna make our own tune up, and we're gonna sing it. Now we're gonna stand, and we're gonna read it together. And then Pete's gonna come up and preach.

Okay. So let's stand and we're gonna read from verse 15 to 23, and we're all gonna read it together. Okay? So verse 15. The son is the image of the invisible god, the firstborn overall creation.

For in him, all things were created, things in heaven and on earth visible and invisible. Whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things and in him, all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead.

So that's in everything he might have the supremacy. For god was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things. Whether things on earth or things in heaven by making peace through his blood shall the cross. Once you are alienated from god and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he is reconciled to you by Christ's physical body through death to present you wholly in his sight.

Without blemish and free from accusation. If you continue in your faith, establish and firm and do not remove from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature on the heaven and of which I, Paul, have become served. Let me pray. Father help us now as we look at these incredible words, help us to understand just what you're saying, And would you help us to live in the light of them in Jesus name, amen?

Now, reconciliation, I think is is a costly. It's a very painful thing, but it's a very beautiful thing when you see reconciliation. It always costs It's always painful, but it is a very beautiful thing. And there are many powerful stories within the Christian faith. Of reconciliation, but 1 of the stories that I like and I read read in an old book by a preacher in America called Charles Swindle.

He writes about a murderer. And he's a pretty vile man, actually. His name's Rusty Woomer. He's a pretty, vile man, but eventually he's put in prison for murder and, he becomes a Christian. Now I'm I'm cutting things right down short so it feels like a, you know, there's a lot there's a long period and there's a lot of pain in that.

Don't wanna make these things try to murder or becomes a Christian and it's all okay. But he is a pretty vile man, but through, all kinds of, reasons. He becomes a Christian follower of Christ, and he admits his guilt before man and god. As he waits in on death row in America. But the story goes on like this and this is this is what I wanna read.

In the summer of 19 8 89, a letter made its way through the prison security checks to rusty Woomer's cell, as the murderer. He eagerly picked up the plane envelope then trembled when he saw the return address. It was from Lee Hewitt the younger brother of Dela Stellers, the woman who whose murder Rusty was on death row for and would die for. This is how the letter went. For years, I hated you with all my heart I could have blown your brains out for what you did to my sister.

I only regret you were in prison and I couldn't get hold of you. But I've spent time in jail myself. In fact, 56 times over the years I've been in jail. I felt like a failure, but then I became a Christian. And the more I learned about being a Christian, the more I knew I had to forgive you.

I didn't want to, but I got to where I couldn't even pray the lord's prayer where it says, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. It made me so mad How could I forgive you? But the ball was in my court. I've prayed about it. And god has done a miracle in my heart.

I forgive you. We are brothers in Christ It's extraordinary story, isn't it? It says that Rusty looked up blinded by his tears and the radiance of god's goodness to him, forgiven, not only by Christ, but now by the man who had offended he had offended most here on earth. It seemed the greatest blessing he could have ever hoped for. And then actually, Lee and Rusty eventually met in Rusty's death row prison.

Just before he was put down to the electric chair, they they met together, and there's this remarkable scene of the meeting each other, and then it ends. Let me just read the ending. By now, their time was up and the guards motion that Lee had to leave. Before he did, however, Rusty and Lee held hands and prayed together in the name of the lord Jesus Christ. Who had saved them, forgiven them, and made them brothers in him.

They knew they would not see each other again this side of heaven. And Lee left. Now, that is quite a remarkable story. And there's lots of stuff in that story that I haven't told you, but it is a remarkable story. And it's about reconciliation.

And I want to say that reconciliation is always painful and always hard and always costly. Reconciliation is much more than just saying sorry. Reconciliation is the 2 parties that are divided, coming coming together. There's a a unity or a reunion, a restoration or a new relationship. And, the thing that's caused the row and the hatred and the alienation and the injustice for both parties perhaps has been put down, put aside, and re reconciliation is people coming together in peace.

A peace that's so secure that they actually like each other. They have joy being together. A relationship comes and flourishes. Reconciliation is much, much more than a ceasefire or a truce or a compromise. It's actually a relationship restarting or starting from the beginning.

Now, I I think That is an amazing thing, reconciliation when we think about it. And I think that you would agree with me that the world needs reconciliation. Doesn't it? We've just heard about 11 conflicts that are going on in the world. And if we've been seeing the news.

You've seen what's going on in Israel and Palestine, and we know that revenge is horrible. Revenge keeps the thing going. And somehow, it would be good to have reconciliation. We see it in the international and the national scene We see it in the race racial scene, but we also see it in families and individual lives. Reconciliation is needed everywhere.

As far as I can see. Now as a Christian and a Bible believer, I believe that all the wars and all the fight and all of the awful things that are happening in the world are the fruit if you could call them the fruit. They're a rare, a really ugly fruit. But they're the result of actually our war with god. And as we saw with the life of Rusty Woomer and and Lee Hewitt, their source of reconciliation came from them both being reconciled to god.

There's something supernatural in real reconciliation. There's there's something where all of the hate and the injustice and the evil is absorbed, and the world needs that. The world needs that today. And you need that, and I need that. So here's my first point.

We need to be reconciled to god Now that comes as a surprise to some people. I mean, I heard of 1 young minister that said to an old lady that he was visiting in church. He asked the question, which is great, have you made your peace with god? And she said, I didn't know we had a quarrel. And that's where a lot of people are at.

They they don't know that there's a quarrel with god. But when you open the Bible and and particularly here, Paul is showing us in verse 21. There is a massive division between you and god, me and god. People and god. Look at verse 21 of this chapter.

Once you were alienated, from god and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. Paul is describing these colossian Christians and he's saying that they once were this and but now they're this. By the way, that's a great definition of a Christian. A Christian is a once was a and a but nower. I once was this but now and he's just showing you where the world is alienated from god.

Cut off separated, estranged from god. Now in 1 sense, this is the easiest of the phrases to prove. In this world. I mean, even even god deniers know that there's a sense of of being cut off a sense of alienation in this world. Birch and Russell who was a who's a, an atheist in the in the last century in a very, very well known atheist and philosopher, Bert from Russell.

His daughter, who was a Christian, actually wrote a biography of him. And in the biography, he, she says this, somewhere at the back of my father's mind that and at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul, there was an empty space that had once been filled by god and he never found anything else to put in it. So even Russell, he wrote a he wrote a book called Why I'm not a Christian that had, you know, it was a significant book in lots of atheist lives. But even here, as an atheist knows, there's an alienation, there's something missing. There's he's alienated.

And if you go through the 20 if century and the 20 first century and if you look at the world of literature and art and philosophy and even political theory like Marxist or or you you get this alienation teaching coming through. Alienination dominates all of those fears. There's a sense in human beings that we're out of sorts with the world. We're out of sorts with with with themselves that we feel estranged and a sense of just not quite belonging that there's there's something more that we need but we can't seem to get hold of. It's an elusive butterfly.

We see it and and sort of sense it, but it flutters all over the place, and it's very hard to get hold of. And even though we're taught constantly, we're that we're just products of chance and evil and blind evolution. Even though we're taught this stuff, we know that isn't there something significant in us, but we can't find it? Why are people on such a great quest to find themselves? Always, you know, people sort of always makes me sort of sort of always a strange thing, I think.

I'm going on a world tour to find myself. It's such a very odd thing. What what are you in Australia or something? Just look in the mirror or something. You know, when do I have to go to Thai, Thailand?

To find myself. It's a strange thing. Anyway, that's what people do, isn't it? There's such a sense of alienation. I was listening to some Beatles songs.

Remember the Beatles? Anyone ever heard of the Beatles? Yeah. Nowhere man He's a real nowhere man sitting in a nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody. Doesn't have a point of view knows not what, what, where he's going to.

Isn't he a bit like me and you? No where man? So many like that, aren't they? There's nowhere men. And people have embraced the philosophy of nihilism without even knowing what nihilism means, but They're lost alone, not fitting.

What is the point? There's a sense of alienation. That's what I'm trying to show but there's a a sense of alienation that is is is in the whole world. There's a universal alienation. In verse 20 of chapter 1, Paul implies that the whole universe All of creation is in a state of rupture.

That there's a there's a there's a cosmic alienation and that's why you need that cosmic Christ that Paul was praying about. To to bring all things together. Jesus is the 1 we're told that holds everything together So if you're alienated from Jesus, then you're not gonna be held together. There's a sense of brokenness of falling apart of alienation. And, Augustin, the great Saint Augustine is great statement.

Just really does mean stuff. It certainly meant stuff to Bert from Russell. But to us, you he says, you have made us for yourself, oh lord. And our hearts are restless until we find rest in you. There's a cosmic alienation that's going on, and the source of that alienation is our alienation from god.

So we need reconciliation. But how? And be people talk about praying, but it's like praying to a brick wall. Is there a god there? How?

Alieninated. Once, you were alienated. If you're a Christian, that's a once you were that. But hold it. Let me just go on, make it worse.

Once you were enemies in your minds, he says in verse 21. Why are we alienated? Why are we cut off from god because we're enemies? So our our problems is not just as simply an external problem. There's a there's fracture in the universe This is an internal problem.

We are enemies of Christ. Enemy of God. There's cosmic treason going on here. Enemies of Christ Now we don't like talk like that. Most people, if you go and go down in Kingston and say, did you know you're an enemy of Christ?

People say, why, hey, you are whoa. You know, I'm quite sympathetic to Christian things. Oh, no, hey, yay, yay, yay. I'm just apathetic to the god stuff. I don't really care about the god stuff.

I've got an enemy, but the new testament teaches that we're enemies. What else is to be made of our defiance of god? What else? Unless we're enemies, What does, you know, whatever god does to get our attention, he shows us his utter love and compassion of Jesus dying on the cross for us, and we turn away from it. He warns us about the the judgment to come, and we turn away from it and laugh at people like that.

That's the sort of actions of enemies, isn't it? How else do you describe actions by? Just just flick over to chapter 3 of colossians. And verse 1, the second half of verse 1, just and and verse 2, just to look at these verses. He says, set your hearts on things above where Christ is, see, seated at the right hand of god.

Set your minds on things above not earthly things. Set your hearts on things above where Christ is, yeah, and set your minds on things above where crisis, not earthly things. I mean, just that 1 verse shows us up, doesn't it? Because we're all about earthly things. I'm all worried about earthly things.

My stresses and pains in life and my worries are all about earthly things. So very often. We take the creation and we don't even thank the creator for it. Isn't that the action of an enemy? We take thing god gives us and never say thank you.

It's like stealing from god, isn't it? Isn't that the actions of the enemy? We're acting like enemies. Again, if you go into Kingston Town Center and say, you're an enemy of god. They say, you're a loony.

Well, why are you shopping and not praising god with god's people? Oh, dare you say that? How dare you? How I will worship who I'm like, yes? Or What other conclusion can we come to when we look at the treatment of god's people around the world?

Christians persecuted, rounded up and killed, not allowed to take further education, and it was only it was only like it's only in our fairly recent history, a hundred years or so, and even less that that free church people, people that, are like us, were even allowed to go to university. Christians weren't allowed to do things. But what about the mockery on the media? How they mock Christians and manipulate and twist things? What other verdict can we come to?

When we hear the 10 commandments, but don't even know what they are, that god is commanding us and their commandments always of love. They're all to do with love, and I could take some time to prove that if you want, but, it would take too much time, and we've done a series on that. The commandments of love, the 10 commandments, they're all well, we don't even know them yet alone obey them. Isn't that the action of an enemy? And then look, thirdly, you once were enemies.

Look at verse 21 again. You once were alienated from god, and where enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. He's out calling us evil behavior. But I'm a nice bloke. And, you know, there are evil people in the world.

And there are evil actions, but not me, but hold it. Hold it. Hold it. If Christ is the everything of the universe, which first is 15 to 20 have told us. If Jesus is the everything that everything was made by him and for him, then isn't it an evil action if you're not working with him?

There's a new little central headquarters of Little is in Chestington. I mean, what amazing of it? Yeah. They built it over COVID. We saw it go coming up during lockdown.

They built this massive office block. Yeah. And there are offices all over the place. And of course after COVID, no 1 comes in to go to the office. So they've got this big block and no 1 seems to be in there.

Just the odd person. But let's just say, here's a man. He's he's he's missed a little. You know? He wears the little clothing.

He's got the little logo on, but he comes to little office in Chestington. He doesn't live anywhere near Chestington, but he travels in and he gets off at Tollworth and he walks down to little and he's at his desk at 7 30. He's the 1, you know, person that is at his desk. But you know, he's very kind to the the the reception lady. He's kind to the blokes who sweep up.

He's a really nice bloke. In fact, you know, he's 1 little man of the year. Yeah. Yeah. Mister centralisle himself.

You know? And he's working there and he's a nice bloke. You can't call him evil, can you? Except when he's at his desk. All he's doing when he's writing and typing is working for Esther.

Everything he does all day is working for Esther. Yeah. And he looks like a really nice bloke, and he is a nice bloke. He's never a kind. If Christ is the everything of the universe, and you don't even work for him or love him or serve him.

That's evil behavior, isn't it? Isn't that evil behavior? So we need reconciliation. That's my first point. There's a cosmic war going on, and we've been part of it.

There's a dis dish disharmony in the world. Can't you see it? Just turn the news on. There's a disorder in the world. The world and god are at odds with each other.

And it began with our fracturing ourselves from god, and it's made a cosmic occurrence. There's frustration all over the universe. We need reconciliation. That's my first point. Second point, the place of reconciliation.

Look at verse 20. And through him to reconcile to himself all things whether things on earth or things in heaven by making peace through his bloodshed on the cross. Verse 22, but now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you wholly in his side without blemish and free from accusation. You notice that This reconciliation, the place of reconciliation has all got to do with god. God is the god of peace, God takes the initiative.

God senses it sends his darling some to do it. God achieves it through Jesus Christ. We mustn't think that reconciliation is just me saying sorry to god sort of ri raising up a white flag and say there you go. I said sorry. He needs much more than just sorry.

Look verse 20 by making peace through his bloodshed on the cross It takes god becoming a man and bleeding and dying. Why? Because the offense is he's offended. It's not only an alienation between me and god, but god and me. And we've caused the offense We've done the massacres.

We're the ones that, of course, cosmic, treason. And it's the cross The cross is the place where god can absorb all the pain and all the anger and all the injustice that a righteous god feels against sin. All of the hurt against him is absorbed in the cross. Someone described the cross as a collision of passions, a collision of passions, in justice and hurt on the 1 hand, and mercy and love on the other hand meeting together. We have a song that we wear justice and mercy meet, a collision of passions, first 22, but now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death death.

What an extraordinary statement that is? Is utterly astonishing by a human body, a person being taken A person being beaten up nailed on a piece of wood, flesh lacerated, veins cut, blood flowing, that's where god started the reconciliation. Let me put it this way. Jesus was taken apart on the cross. Jesus was taken apart on the cross so that we could be put together.

He was destroyed so that we could be remade. On the afternoon of Good Friday, AD 33 on a hill outside Jerusalem, called gold buffer outside the city god made peace with sinners. It's extraordinary, the cross, the explosive meeting between a holy god and human sin. The cross. I mean, just go through those verses.

Let's just quickly go through them. Look at from first 15 to 20. Just just look, look, Who's this on the cross? The sun is the image of the invisible god, the firstborn overall creation. That's the 1 who came and died for you for reconciliation.

Verse 16, for in him, all things were created, things in heaven and on earth visible and and invisible, where the thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through him and for him. That's the 1 that's dying on the cross, died on the cross for you to bring reconciliation. First 17, He is before all things and in him, all things hold together. That's the 1 dying on a cross for reconciliation. Verse 18, and he is the head of the church, the body.

That's the 1 going on the cross. The 1 who came to die for us. First 19 or or rather. He is the beginning, and the firstborn from among the dead so that in everything, he might have the supremacy. That's the 1 who died on the cross, to bring reconciliation.

For god was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him. That's the 1 who died on the cross. For reconciliation. And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven by making peace through his blood shed on the cross. That's that's what it took.

So you once were that enemy, evil behavior, but now You see that? Because of this, but now you're reconciled. The need for reconciliation, the place of reconciliation. My third point is the scope of reconciliation. Look at verse 20 again.

Look at the scope of it and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven by making peace through his bloodshed on the cross. See how wide ranging this reconciliation is? Verse 15 begins with the creation of all things. Verse 20 ends with the reconciliation of all things. And in between there's been the alienation.

Reconciliation. It's the opposite to alienation and being an enemy. And god's plan for reconciliation is breathtaking. It's breathtaking. I mean, sometimes when I'm in the right mood and I see the evil that goes on not only in my own heart, but in the world, and when you see children from the different sides that are at war, being killed and people being executed When you see that, don't you cry out?

How big is this evil? How vile is this evil? The prayers of man, what is up with us? We are so wicked and that I can just sit here and watch this and then no seeds of evil in my own heart. The the plans of man, the evil is breathtaking, but this is even more breathtaking.

Because god somehow can take all the injustices and take all the evil and absorb them on the cross and have this breathtaking reconciliation where there be no more wars and no more graveyards, whether there be no more sorrow and no more sadness but only joy ever getting deeper. He reconciles the whole world. He's able to reconcile and put into place the animal kingdom that is is just a kingdom of of blood and claw and teeth and and yet he's gonna bring a place where the wolf and the lamb and the snake will lie down together. Picture language of peace and the world and the universe that is full of, decay and death and entropy and earthquakes and tsunamis and floods. He's going to turn, and he says in Isaiah, he'll heal the bruised earth, the bruised earth.

And then their reconciliation of heaven and earth where god's will that's done in heaven will be done on earth. And the reconciliation of the devil and all his evil ones and the ones that haven't turned to god, they'll be reconciled and shown that they're now not enemies they're defeated, they're thrown into the fire. And the peace of god will crush satan. It's amazing reconciliation. Every evil, everything we see, wiped out.

Do you see the supremacy and sufficiency of the lord Jesus Christ? The need, the place, the scope. This is where I wanted to get to. The scope, sorry, the aim of reconciliation. The need, the place, the scope, and the aim of reconciliation.

Look at verse 22. Let me slow down a little. You ready? But now he has reconciled you. You were once was a, but now.

See the but now? See, what is a Christian? Someone who's just brought up as a Christian? Someone who's just of a nice put no. You are a once washer and a but an hour.

Do you understand that? This brings glory to Christ. I once was an enemy But now, yeah? When I first became a Christian, that was my testimony. I always used that.

I always stood up because, people used to use it before I started preaching, I was asked to come and give my testimony everywhere, and I would always say I'm a once was a and a but now. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to what what's the aim of it? What's the aim of reconciliation? Look, look, to present you, you wholly in his sight without blemish and free from accusation. Who?

You? You who once were alienated you who once were enemies in your minds, you who once had evil behavior, you, you, by the power of the cross, can be presented to god as holy. In his sight, not in your sight. That's easy. I'm easily holy in my sight, but holy in god's sight without blemish and free from accurization.

That's the aim of reconciliation. It's extraordinary that the power of the cross can take evil people and make them holy. Can take disobedient people and make them obedient. The power of the cross, the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. And 1 day we will be presented to god as her We won't sneak in.

I won't be hiding behind some great saint or Mary or something like that. Hold this, Mary. Let me hide behind her. Because Jesus is there. Hold it.

There she goes, there's no hiding. There's no sneaking in. There's no, oh, will I get in? I'm presented. Christ presents me to the father and father god Holy 1 Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy who the angels cover their faces I'd like to present you someone who once was alienated once was evil in his behavior Once was an enemy, I'd like to present you my bride, the 1 I loved, the 1 I died for.

It's extraordinary, isn't it? I know we're running out of time. Have I got time to tell you 2 stories? Not just 1, 2. I read them this week again.

First time I read the first story was 19 93. Anyone alive then? It's from serious Lewis. He puts it so well. In his incredible book called The Great Divorce, often taken wrong, but if you read it rightly, it's outstanding.

His understanding of people and what Christ has done is outstanding. He talks about ghosts because you've gotta remember what a ghost is. A ghost in his mind is us because this is the shadowlands. This isn't real. This is the shadow lands, the shadowy gray colored land.

The reality is heaven. So a ghost is us, and the ghosts are waiting to go to heaven. And it's all a picture of excuses and things. And here's this ghost, and he's waiting in the, valley of the shadow of life and he's waiting there. And he has a pet that dominates him and rue and rulers him.

And it's a red lizard. And it stands for passions and desires and false lusts. But it dominates the ghost. And then an angel, which is Christ. An angel comes towards him before he can get to heaven.

And he has to say, no, no, no, no, even though he's a ghost, the angel is burning him and says, no, for you, you're too you're too you're too powerful. Stand back. And the angel says, no, I need to come to you. And he says, but if you come to me, you'll hurt me, you'll kill me. And the angel says, I need to kill the red The red lizard, your passions, your lusts, the things that you've committed your life to that are false, And the ghost says, no.

No. No. If you kill the lizard, you'll kill me. I don't like the lizard. I don't wanna live for the lizard, but if you kill the lizard, you'll kill me.

I'm so tied up in my passions and my lusts and my evil thoughts that if you kill the lizard, you'll kill me. And the angel says, you have to say you want the lizard dead, or you'll live with him forever. And eventually, the ghost says, take the lizard. And the angel burning towards him and he feels the the pain grabs the lizard, and he screams with pain himself as the lizard is screaming. And he twists the lizard's neck.

And as he's killing the lizard, the ghost becomes a person. You start to see color and weight and reality. And as he kills the lizard, the lizard turns into a white stallion. And the man who was a ghost, but no longer gets on to the stallion and rides into heaven. It's a fantastic bit of imagery of reconciliation.

What god does on the cross is to take those false, sinful desires, desires that should be committed to Christ but have been distorted into other things. And what price does on the cross is to kill those desires and turn those desires into a desire for good and righteousness and the love of god. And so the man becomes a real man and reconciliation is reconciliation with himself. There's no more alienation. And now he's reconciled to what he should be doing and that is to bring praise to god.

And the lusts that dominate him are now lusts or not rather desires that are good that take him running to Christ That's the aim of reconciliation to present you and all your enemy lusts to god in Christ. Isn't that amazing? Holy in his sight without blemish and free from accusation. Now if you didn't get that 1 because you're all muddled up about ghosts, here's a simpler 1. Do you want another story?

There's a boy and his sister, and they live with the grandma. They love the grandma. They live out in the outback somewhere in Australia. And the Grandmoor has a pet duck. She loves the duck, gives her an agery day, and she loves the duck and it's her pet.

Yeah? She only thinks she's got in life except her grandchildren. The boy, 1 day, has built a catapult I don't know when I don't know about you, but where I first had a catapult is 1 of the greatest things you could ever have as a boy. And a catapult, you can smash windows from far away. Anyway, a catapult.

He was firing the catapult, And then the pet duck went past. His grandma's duck, and he aimed the catapult, and the stone at the duck, poof. That duck was killed. Now what'd you do? Well, he just came in and said to grandma, oh, the ducks dead.

And grandma said, oh, that's shame. And they sat at the dinner table, and it was his sister's turn to do the washing up. And his sister said at the dinner table before grandma, I think Jim will do the washing up tonight. And Jim said no, it's not my turn. And she whispered in her ear, I saw the duck incident.

And he said, no, no, yeah, I'll do the washing up. And he did the washing up. Well, this went on for 2 weeks. His sister every time, he didn't wanna do something. She would say remember the duck.

And so he would do it, but after 2 weeks he'd had enough He was weary, he was fed up with doing all the washing up and all the chores, all his sister's chores, as well as his own, that he decided that it was better to get rid of his guilt and also get rid of the consequences of his guilt and go and tell grandma. And he said to grandma, I killed the duck. And she said, oh, I know that. I saw it. I was looking out the window.

I forgave you back then. I was just waiting for you to say sorry. Do you see? Christ has died on that cross for all your sin and yet some people are still living under the guilt of their sin. They're still living as if they need to somehow work out their sin.

Christ has done it all. He's reconciled you. And he will present you, and there won't be 1 single sin that hasn't been dealt with. He will present you wholly in his sight without blemish. And free from accusation.

The need for for reconciliation, we desperately need it, the place, the scope, the aim. Just 1 last point, and I'll do it quickly. The evidence of reconciliation. You get it in verse 23 He says if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel, This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven and for which I, Paul, have become a servant. The if there.

It's a bit of a downer, isn't it? But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you wholly in his sight without blemish and free from accusation if. What is that if? Well, we gotta get that. It's not the if of something you have to do and become.

That's already happened. It's the if that proves that you are. It's not the if that says, if you do this, then it's the if of this is what you are. It's not the if of you eat as some parents will do, at lunchtime. If you eat your vegetables, you can have an ice cream.

It's not that if. It's the if, if you are a diamond, apparently, you put it in a glass of water, it will sink. If you're a diamond, you'll sink. It proves that you are it. Not that you have to become it.

And so he's saying, carry on, living what you are Keep on going, persevere, stick at it. Be what you are. Work these truths out. You're going to be presented. So work that out.

You're going to be presented without blemish and free from accusation. So stop living under the guilt of sin, work that out, live as a Christian, walk to where you're going, and That gospel is the gospel that needs to go to other people. The gospel of reconciliation to a lost world that are not only broken by sin, but are breaking other people with their sin. Wars and rumors of wars. Christian, live out in this world the gospel Keep going with it.

Be a once was a and a but narrower, and then the world might hear our message. Let's pray. Father, we thank you so much for the things that we have just heard. And we look at our world and we recognize that this is a world that desperately needs reconciliation. We might look at ourselves.

I mean, we see that we are people that desperately need reconciliation. But we praise you, and we thank you so much that you have provided reconciliation for us. We thank you so much that the lord Jesus came, and on the cross where where there is justice and hurt, but there's also mercy and love. We argue that it was there that the cosmic problem of alienation was dealt with by the cosmic Christ. We pray to you father, that you have provided us a way where we no longer have to be your enemies, but now we can be your friends.

We praise you father that the lord Jesus will present us, those who have evil, but now will present us as holy and without blemish and a pure bride. We we praise you father that the cosmic nature of the cross means that all things will be reconciled. What an incredible savior. We saw last week that that Christ is all things. But on the cross, he reconciles all things, and we praise you for him.

And we pray father that we will show the evidence of being reconciled. Help us to live out this gospel truth. In our lives, and we pray father that we will be those who want to share this amazing breathtaking plan of reconciliation with a world that so desperately needs it. And so we pray these things now in Jesus' name, amen.

Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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