· Can we really believe the Good News of Reconciliation?
· What does the Good News of Reconciliation mean?
· How do we apply the Good News in this Church?
1. Can we really believe the Good News of Easter?
· Biblical consistency suggests this is not a heroic myth – confusion among apostles sounds like real people
· Biblical accounts of Resurrection appearances sound real
· Lives were dramatically changed – stories of martyrs
· 2,000 years of personal experiences of the divine including near death experiences
2. What does the Good News of Reconciliation mean?“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15.22) explains how we die spiritually by our rebellion against God and need reconciliation IN CHRIST to have eternal spiritual life.
· Like Adam and Eve we all tend to rebel and become separated – God is holy and cannot be around un-holiness
· We are all morally weak, tempted by the world and fallible
· We get distracted by the idols of wealth, power, popularity
· We deceive ourselves into thinking we have done no wrong
· We get tempted by spiritual forces of evil (we don’t believe in)
· We fail to love God and our neighbour, keep the Covenant
· Our sin is too great to be reconciled by animal sacrifices
· God needed to do a new thing, provide a new way
The Good News of Easter is that we can be reconciled through our spiritual connection to the sacrificial death of Jesus:
· God made a New Covenant through faith in Jesus
· Not saved by just knowing about Jesus, going to church, being baptized or being a good person
· New Covenant is a way to be forgiven and be restored to right relationship through our dependence on the death of Jesus as payment for our guilt for specific sins
· Spiritual Reconciliation is a very legalistic process
· Cannot just repent “all my sins” need specificity
· Good News is God “MAKES” us alive when we ask
· We live spiritually IN JESUS, died with Him to our sin
· We all have a Prodigal Father in Heaven who loves us!
3. How do we apply this Good News in this Church?Need to focus on what God wants to do here – not our agenda. My first task as Interim Priest is to help you come to terms with history.
· There is probably a lot of anger and un-forgiveness
· Anger, un-forgiveness and revenge are spiritual strongholds
· Nobody wants to be in a church where there is unresolved conflict – conflict is ok, but it has to be reconciled to move on
· Nothing worse that wounded people bleeding all over each other - We all need to examine our lives and seek healing
· Good News of Easter is we have a simple and effective way to be reconciled to God and to each other
· Requires humility and sensitivity – a safe place
Let us covenant together, in this place and before God to:
· Examine our lives to feel the pain we have caused
· Bring our failures to love to Jesus in Confession
· Accept the Good News by accepting God’s forgiveness
· Pray for the grace to forgive ourselves and others for all the hurts of the past.