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The Glory of The Gospel

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
II Corinthians 5:17-21

Good Morning Beloved,

Welcome to worship, we're so glad you're here.

This year has been wrought with disappointments, anxiety, fear, failures, heartaches and losses.
Everyone seems to be looking forward to a new year, to give us the sense of a clean slate. A fresh start. A new beginning. The year 2020 will have passed away and 2021 comes with all its newness, hope, potential, excitement, and possibilities. Deep down inside, we all crave what the possibilities of a new year seems to give us: A clean slate. A chance to start over.

Each year, the world waits and hopes that January 1st will give them a clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning, however, year in and year out, they are most often disappointed. But today, we have the answer! We have been given an amazing gift, we have been given a glorious opportunity. We have a clean slate of our own.

However, that fresh start, that new beginning only comes when we are recreated. It is not enough to turn over a new leaf; we must begin life anew, under a new master. We must be born again, in order make a new start.

Let's bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this glorious day, another opportunity to gather in worship. Thank You for Your grace, such a grand and glorious incomprehensible grace. Thank You for giving us this reconciliation, for making us Your beloved children, though we are so unworthy, so undeserving of such grace. Thank You Lord, for this marvelous, penetrating Word, we pray that You give Your church a clear understanding of this message and the gospel. Help us O Lord, to never lose to sight of what is the main purpose we are here in this world; to share the gospel, the ministry of reconciliation.

Give us a passion for this high calling, such a high and holy calling. Thank You Lord, for such an honor, such a great privilege. Make us worthy ambassadors of Christ by the strength of Your Holy Spirit. That we might be effective for the kingdom, that we might boldly proclaim these truths, all for Your glory.
This we pray in Christ’s name

Today's Message: The Glory of The Gospel

When we hear the word "reconciliation" in our culture, we understand what that means. There are courts of reconciliation, there are organizations that engage themselves in reconciliation, resolving animosity between people. There are families that need to be reconciled, there are sibling rivalries that need to be reconciled. There are marriages that need to be reconciled. There are friendships that need to be reconciled. We all understand what it means to be alienated in a relationship and finding the way back. 

However, when it comes to God, the perfect, flawless and holy God, being reconciled to sinners, that it's much more difficult to comprehend, to understand. Because sinners being reconciled to one another, since both are guilty of sin, that seems reasonable.

However, with God, it’s all our fault, all our guilt, all our responsibility, because all the sin is ours, He has been violated. And yet, in His grace and mercy, God has determined a way in which we as sinners can be reconciled to Him. It would seem from a human standpoint irreconcilable. In fact, Islam has a god that’s transcendent and irreconcilable. That’s why the gospel is so startling, stunning and shocking, so incomprehensible to so many. That’s why it was a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks. It makes no sense to have a God whose laws were violated, frequently, willfully, who was offended, who was blasphemed, yet still desires to reconcile those violators to Himself, even unto the point of offering Himself to death, in sacrifice, in order to accomplish it. But that's God's reconciling plan.

Mankind has been living in a state of separation from God since the Garden of Eden. This is who we are, as the old creation: we are all sinners: selfish, self-centered, destructive, evil. However, we have all been given an amazing opportunity to have our slates wiped clean through reconciliation with Jesus Christ. What a great and glorious God we serve!

Open with me your Bibles to the book of II Corinthians chapter five. As we come to the end of this magnificent epistle, so rich, we'll be looking at verses  17 through 21. Allow me to read to you this marvelous text for our message today, to get it settled in our minds, as we conclude our study of II Corinthians chapter 5. Follow along with me, if you would, as I read to you II Corinthians 5:17-21.

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

In this one passage a word appears over and over, in fact five times; that word is reconcile, five times. It should then, become clear, that the theme of this passage, is reconciliation. The ministry of reconciliation; that’s what the ministry is about. It is a ministry of reconciling sinners to God.

Here, in verse 17, Paul is teaching us, that when we enter into a relationship with Christ, we are no longer who we once were, our slates have been wiped clean and we are made anew, a new creation.
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."

Note in verse 18, Paul says, "Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation," That tells us that reconciliation is by the will of God, by nature, God is a reconciling God. Never is that more clearly manifest than in the person of Jesus Christ!

That is clearly demonstrated in verse 19, "namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation."

What a glorious truth, God is "not counting men’s trespasses against them."

So, what does that mean? It means that we have been given that gift. An incredible gift! With this gift comes a clean slate, God has given us freedom. Today, I'd like us to focus our attention on how this clean slate, this new freedom, deeply and supremely, affects our lives.

First of all, with a clean slate, we are free from our past. With a clean slate, we are free from our past.
Talk to almost anyone and they’ll tell you that they’ve done something, in their past that they’ve regretted. Something that they feel guilty for. Look, we all have a past and for many people, that past haunts them, sometimes, throughout all their lives. There are people who are never able to move forward for fear of the past. The past is a powerful force in our lives! A very powerful force.

I'm sure many of you are probably familiar with Victor Hugo’s novel Les Miserables. Maybe you’ve read the book, perhaps you’ve seen the musical, either on Broadway or at a local theater. Or maybe you have seen the movie starring Liam Neeson.

To summarize, the story follows an escaped convict, Jean Valjean. Who after escaping from prison has a profound experience of mercy from a priest that he was robbing. As a result Valjean, under a new name, becomes a force for good in the world. Throughout the story, Valjean, however, is haunted by his past, literally and figuratively. An overzealous policeman, Inspector Javert, relentlessly chases Valjean, determined to make him pay for his past sins.

Throughout the story, Valjean seeks one thing: to be free from his past. He seeks redemption. He seeks a clean slate. Many of us are like Valjean, in one way or another. However, I presume that most of us don’t have the law chasing us, bent on retribution. However, hopefully, we understand Valjean’s plight because it too, is our plight. We all long to be free from our past.

Christ has told us that when we are reconciled to Him, when He gives a clean slate, we are free from our past. Remember what Paul said in verse 19? God is not counting our sins against us anymore!

Psalm 103:10-12 teaches, "He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us."

Or let's look at Jeremiah 50:20, which says, "In those days and at that time,’ declares the Lord, ‘search will be made for the iniquity of Israel, but there will be none; and for the sins of Judah, but they will not be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant." 

And Isaiah 44:22, "I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud And your sins like a  heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you." 

Do you see the reoccurring theme? God, in His grace, has given us His forgiveness, and because of that we are set free from our past. I'm sure we have all heard the term, "Forgive and forget." Most of us hear that statement and say, "That’s ridiculous! Nobody does that." And, for the most part, that’s entirely true! That is no one, but God.

In God’s eyes, when we come to Him, when we are truly repentant and seek to be reconciled with Him, He forgives us, and like the Psalmist said, He removes our sins as far as the East is from the West.

What an amazing, precious gift, the gift of freedom we have been given. Instead of carrying the weight of our past on our shoulders, Christ wants us to come to Him, so He can take that burden. He casts our past sin from Him and remembers them no more. We are set free! And as John 8:36 teaches us, "...if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." Amen? And not only does this clean slate not only frees us from our past, but it also frees us from present sin. Our clean slate frees us from present sin.

Allow me to read Romans 6:15-18 in order to answer that question for you. 
"What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness."

The apostle Paul has talked about how we have been given new life by the grace of God. We no longer live under the law, but we live under grace. Paul says that Christ sets us free from the slavery of sin, but that doesn’t allow us to be autonomous. Paul basically says that you are always serving somebody. Christ has given us freedom from the slavery of sin and death.

We often hear people today, particularly teenagers, talk about independence and freedom. We want freedom. We want independence. Simply put, what is it that most teenagers want? They want to be able to do whatever they want. They use words like independence and freedom to mean that they can do whatever they want.

The freedom that Christ gives us, however, isn't a license to sin! It isn’t a freedom to do whatever we want. In fact quite the opposite. The freedom we are given is the freedom to do what is right, what is good and what is true. You see, as slaves to sin, we had no choice: we had not the ability to live a life of righteousness. The Bible says that on our own, our righteousness is like filthy rags. But God gives us the freedom to pursue His righteousness.

But thanks be to God that, though we used to be slaves to sin, we wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. We have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness!

Romans 6:20-23 says, "For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Beloved, we have been given the precious gift of freedom from sin. We are no longer slaves to sin, but we are able to follow wholeheartedly after God. We can now live in moment-by-moment obedience to Him, free from the bondage of sin in our lives. We are free from our past sin, fee from our present sin.

Finally, the clean slate not only frees us from our past and frees us from our present sin, finally, the clean slate that Christ has given us frees us to live a life of worship. We are free to live a life of worship before Him. God has given us the freedom to live our lives in worship to Him. This is something I've become quite passionate about over the years.

Romans 12:1 gets right to the heart of the matter of worship. "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship."

So, I'd like to encourage you to try this, as I have, it really made a difference. Take your everyday, ordinary life, your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life, and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

What is worship? At church, many oftentimes use the word worship interchangeably with the word "music." I mean of course, we have worship, prayer and preaching. But is that all worship is? Or is worship simply music or is there something more to worship?

As Christians, we tend to gauge our worship experience based on how it affects us. We say things like, "That worship service really moved me." It’s easy to confuse worship with the emotional response to music Sunday mornings. And, the worship was good if the music moved us emotionally, and was bad, if we left emotionally unaffected.

Worship, however, is so much more than an emotional response, it’s a lifestyle! Worship is taking your everyday, regular life and giving it to God, presenting all you have to give as an offering.

Here’s something I'd like for you to think about: I’d go as far as saying that in everything we do, we’re worshiping something. The only question, is "Who or what are we worshiping?" Because in everything we do, we’re worshiping something. The question is “Who or what?"

I don’t get a euphoric emotional response doing laundry, or mowing the lawn, however, if I give that to God as an offering, it is worship. Worship is a lifestyle! Worship is a lifestyle.

If music at church is the extent of our worship, then we are really missing the point because worship is a lifestyle. When the music fades, the worship must continue in our lives, in our day-to-day lives, in our daily routines. When we begin to offer up our lives, in spirit and in truth, then we have discovered the heart of worship. We have been given this freedom by Christ through our reconciliation with Him. We are all free to live a life of worship.

Beloved, Jesus doesn’t care where we’ve been; He knows you've not been perfect! However, He still wants to give you a new life, a clean slate. You have that opportunity today!

Maybe you’ve been here before. Or maybe you’ve already come to Christ and been cleansed. You’ve been given a clean slate, over time, that slate has become dirty again. Maybe, it’s become even a little grimy. Or maybe you’ve never had a clean slate before. You have never experienced the overwhelming joy of being set free; of having your past record expunged, of being set free to live in obedience to Him, and to live your life as an act of worship. 

I’d invite you to make the declaration that you want Jesus Christ to give you a clean slate, that you too want to be set free. Today, is the perfect time for a new beginning. There's never going to be a better time than right now. Jesus is reaching out His hand to you. He wants to take your old self and make you new. I encourage you to surrender to Him today. 

Some of you might be wondering, "How can God be just and the justifier of sinners?" Well, that’s the great question. So just allow me to give the answer: "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Just allow that to sink in: He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. That's the glory of the gospel!

May it be so... 
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

Copyright © 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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