There are three huge questions:
- 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?
The Good News of Easter is that God raised Jesus from physical death to authenticate all Jesus teachings and to create a new way for individuals to be forgiven and reconciled to God. Forgiveness removes the sin guilt that separates us from God, creates a holy place in us for the Holy Spirit and enables our soul to live on with God after our body dies. Many people have trouble with the miraculous and tend to dismiss the Resurrection – and its’ implications for salvation as myth. How do we know this is not a myth?
- · In my book Going Spiritual I take a critical detour through secular psychology to explain how our mind "protects us" from actually hearing information that upsets our firmly held beliefs (self-deception) and how Satan tries to build an even stronger wall (Biblical strong man / mental stronghold) around our beliefs to obscure the truth
- · Biblical consistency suggests this is not a heroic myth
- · Confusion among apostles sounds more like real people
- · Evidence is lives were dramatically changed – stories of martyrs
- · 2,000 years of personal experiences of the divine including near death experiences and modern stories of people raised from death
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 as a result of our rebellion against God and need forgiveness and reconciliation IN CHRIST to have eternal spiritual life. Christians are baptized into the Covenant of Jesus, receive His Holy Spirit and born again into a new eternal spiritual life of love, joy and peace.
- Like Adam and Eve we all tend to rebel and become separated – God is holy and cannot be around un-holiness
- · 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 as ourselves
- · The Good News of Easter is that we can be reconciled through our spiritual connection to the sacrificial death of Jesus:
- · Not saved by just knowing about Jesus, going to church, being baptized or being a good person
- · 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 because we died with Him to our sin
3. How do we apply this Good News in this Church?
Need to focus on what Holy Spirit wants to do here – not our agenda.
- · There is anger and un-forgiveness in every church
- · 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 quickly to move on
- · Nothing worse that wounded people bleeding all over each other - We all need to constantly 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
- · Reconciliation requires humility and sensitivity
- · Reconciliation builds a safe community of healing and love that everyone is searching for
- · Take away - "Being reconciled is better than being right."
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.