If the Gospel is true: It is for everyone
The Gospel means good news; the good news that Jesus came to save sinners from the wrath of God. O which I was one of those sinners that was forgiven by His grace. If the Gospel is true then it is for everyone! What do I mean by this; well I believe that through the death of Christ on the cross the grace of Christ has been extended to all if they would by faith believe in Him. 1 Timothy 2:4 2 Peter 3:9 teach that it is God’s will that all men might be saved. Now even in in saying this there is some problems, firstly there is a reality that all men won’t be saved. Secondly what does that do to the sovereignty of God? If God desires all me to be saved but it does not happen can he still be sovereign? I believe that it is possible because the sovereignty of God is far more profound that we in our human mental capacity can comprehend. The reality is that at all time God knows all things forever! Even the concept of this is too great for me to understand. In the same way God can be fully in control and still allow people to choose. I believe that this control is a dynamic control not a deterministic control. In other words God is using our choices rather than dictating them. For me this makes God far more profound and powerful than I can even begin to understand. In saying this however, God does desire that all men might be saved. However, the word teaches that this will not happen. Why? Because God loves. God so loves that he gives us a choice, either connect with the covenant established by Christ upon the Cross or deny it, and therefore reap the consequences of that. God loves us so much that he gives us the freedom of our own will. This does leave a door open for the people of God. We are to be reconcilers of the world to God. We are to be praying for God’s workers to go out and reap His harvest, we are to be showing people where they can find the live giving water found in the Gospel. It says in Colossians 1:19-20 just how good the good news is; Paul says it so beautifully: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 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.” This is an incredibly divisive verse in Theological circles because it affirms that God has made a way for all of creation by the blood of Christ. To some this cannot be because to them it denies the sovereignty of God because some will be lost. To others it is far to inclusive; they say if we hold onto this passage for what it says we are in danger of being Universalists A Universalist is someone who believes that ultimately we will end up with God. All of us. It doesn’t matter what you believe or how you live, God will inevitably save you. To make it plainly clear I am not a Universalist. I believe in the words of Christ; unless you come to me you cannot go to the father. And I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the father unless they come to me. So what do we make of this verse? Well I believe we apply it for what it says; God has made a way; if people would only connect with that way. It is like someone giving you R1 000 000 cheque to get you out of all your debts, but rather you lock the cheque away. It is still there to take away your debts, but only if you cash it. If you don’t people will come and reposes your house. Now this illustration has its weaknesses but the principle is the same. Unless people connect with Christ admit their own hopelessness and need for him they cannot receive the salvation that He has won them through the cross. The message stays the same; the Gospel is for everyone if they would believe. The challenge is getting them to believe. Would you turn to 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 in the meantime? The reality is that for people to hear the truth that they are desperate and in need of salvation. That they don’t have it all together and that they need direction and help is a very difficult thing to hear. This will always remain an obstacle to the gospel being heard. However in saying that you and I are still charged to get out there and live a life that makes sure that everyone hears, that everyone knows, and that everyone can have a chance to respond. Let’s read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 [READ] The message Paul brings us is that you are reconciled so reconcile. In other words make the news know. Get it out there! Don’t hoard this to yourself. It amazes me even in my own life how easily I will speak of trivial things like Google’s next innovation (stating that as something good), yet the opportunity of spreading the greatest news possible – that there is hope and salvation for all – is a challenge to me. Sometimes I believe it comes down to the fact that maybe I don’t see the possibility of the world being reconciled. This is my first point 1. A Reconciled World Paul says that God has reconciling the world to Himself through the blood of Christ. We read this in verse 19. Let us just think of these words that Paul says here; God is reconciling the world to himself through the blood of Christ not counting men’s sins against them. God is doing this, daily! God is at work in the world right now working through people no wiser or greater or more equipped than you and I to reconcile the world to Himself! The invitation is given, the possibility is there; God is at work! Have you ever wanted to know what it is you are meant to be doing in this world! I want to suggest it is that! Being about God’s work sharing the wonderful news that Jesus saves, and reconciling people to Himself through the Blood of Jesus. That is what it is all about! I must admit the one thing I love about what I do is that it is not about what I do, it is about what God is doing! I simply and connecting with God in what He is already doing! There is something incredibly powerful and amazing about that! I am connecting with what God is doing in this world! I am a bit of a dreamer, but I believe that our societies and country can be changed for good, if we get this news out! If we change lives. Just think about it. Imagine you lead someone to God who is involved in some form of destructive behaviour (whatever that might be; fraud; crime; abuse etc) that person’s life is forever changed by the grace of Christ! They are freed, for the first time they experience a true conviction and are freed enough to overcome their tendency towards their destructive behaviour (and through discipleship and prayer and the help of God’s church their lives are forever changed). But it does not stop there, for not only their lives are changed, but the people they would have brought down in their destructive behaviour I changed! And so a whole community of people’s lives are changed because you are about God’s work of reconciling people to himself. In fact a whole community experience in some way a form of reconciliation! Lives are changed for the good, and the community we live in is forever change! That is why the good news is good: it is so much bigger that just a person being saved! It is a person being saved and changed and reconciled and restored and all the people around them benefiting from their reconciliation! Just imagine the possibilities of a reconciled world! Get excited about it and see that the Gospel is for everyone! This happens when God’s people take seriously their ministry 2. A Reconciling Ministry God Himself has given us this ministry of reconciliation and He has committed us to the message of reconciliation! We are called to it. Many people have a Sunday faith I believe in God but he only really is in my life on a Sunday. The reality is that if you have heard and accepted the word of God in your life and committed your life to Christ, then there is no such thing as a faith that suits your schedule. God has called you to a ministry of reconciliation! Yes you are called. We often only think that Pastors and missionaries are called! That is the biggest lie that Satan has ever sold the church! The reality is the power of the church is that every person is an active minister of the Gospel! The mission field is not out in the ends of the earth! It is out of those doors! As you leave church you are entering you mission and your calling and your ministry! I wonder as you go through your work week and get busy through your day, how aware are you that God has placed you where you are to be His minister of Reconciliation at your Job! I loved visiting ABSA with Shanon and Quitin and seeing a little community of believers who are living out their walk with God in the midst of their organisation! Maybe we need to ask ourselves what is it that God is calling me to do where I am? Now if we are called we have to live out our own reconciliation 3. Our Reconciliation Paul says in verse 20 [READ] The key is; are you living our your own reconciliation! Are you living as Christ’s ambassador to the world that you find yourself? I promise you will find nothing that will complete you and fulfil you more than living out what God has called you to do. But doing this we have to live out our own reconciliation! I want to say if we say we know God but live as if we don’t, we have to ask; do we know Him? Our own reconciliation to God changes us, it changes the way we relate to our world. Sin is all of a sudden not acceptable as it was before, we live according to a different set of rules than before and we find our hearts being made uncomfortable to things that did not matter before! Christ has taken your sin so that you might live our His righteousness! Let us live out what Christ has died to secure for us! So I challenge us to look again at what we are doing with our life. Because the reality remains if the Gospel is true then it stand that it is for everyone and God has called us to share that great news with all! I believe that even though we are relatively few (with regards to how many people are around us) we can change the world by the power in this good news! There is over 16 million people living in the greater Johannesburg area. It seems like too big a task to do. However, God has called you to reach out to the people these people! And if we simple connect with what God is doing we will reach the people (let us remember God has called to himself many others in Johannesburg that are also ministers of Reconciliation!) But let us remember our lives are lived to share God’s glorious good news! There is hope and salvation through Jesus Christ!