Biblical Reconciliation Realized

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Opening Prayer -
Intro: Image of God – World filled with His Glory – People who act just like Him – King Priests
The theme of the conference is Resilience or being Resilient and the scripture we are leaning into is from 2 Cor. 4:7-10. There are powerful word pictures used there to communicate a rather awe inspiring message, fragile clay jars, containing a great treasure, suffering and death but the message is climaxed with “that the life of Jesus may be manifested/seen in our mortal bodies.
What has inspired me concerning scripture is the unity of thought and purpose from Genesis to Revelation. God, does not work from plan, b, or c, or, d, but from Plan A. His original design was perfect as was His purpose and plan. He made mankind in His image and In His likeness, what has come to be know as the imago Dei – Now you and I were not the original hearers of this theological masterpiece. But the theological consensus of what God was refereeing to when He was talking about image and likeness was…. “To sum up the term the image of god in the culture and language of the ancient near east in the 15th century BC would have communicated 2 main ideas 1) rulership 2) sonship”
In covenantal terms Adam, Mankind was to live in loving relationship with God as His son, and representative on planet earth and therefore as a ruler over all of God’s creation.
In terminology that we would understand we are looking at Servant Kings, or King Priests
Ie. Abraham, Moses, David, Melchizedek and Jesus, ones who wash the feet of another even though we are worthy of the highest praise and service. From the very beginning we were made to have the Life of Jesus manifested, seen in our mortal bodies.
I. The Image Marred
Gen. 4– gives us the sad story of humanities demise, where within one generation murder has beset the family that was to showcase the image and likeness of God. A brother, for the sake of jealousy kills a brother. The interchange between God and Cain is alarming. God says that Abel’s blood cries to him from the ground and Abel’s response is one of ‘Am I my brother’s keeper”
The Hebrew word for Keeper is – smr - and it means to keep watch, to guard, to protect, observe and be a watchman for.
So out of Cain’s own mouth he communicates what he was called to do and what he should of done but in fact what he did not do. As a matter of fact, he murdered his brother and in doing so damaged himself. We have here a picture of the history of the world. When it started out, the reasoning behind his actions had nothing to do with anything external, it was all about the heart of Cain and his jealousy of his brother. But it did not take long for us to lose sight of the family of mankind and who indeed is my brother.
We may not be aware of it but we have been born into a world that judges by the externals. And part of that externals are the differences that we have. In the midst of this we live in a day and age where the idea of race blinds us to who we are and the uniqueness’s of one another. I am more than the color of my skin, more than my heritage and more than my language. But prejudice and racism create a caricature of who I am based on my race and not on actually getting to know me and my history, my ethnicity. I say that though it be done away with in Christ so that we can see the bigger picture of how when we just assign someone a color, we do not care to know who they are as a person made in the image of God and one we are called to Love & Keep.
I see you and I make a judgement call on who you are because of the color of your skin. This is rife all over the world. White is bad and black is good. I grew up in a world where the opposite was true, I grew up in Germany, where being called the “N” was the national past time, I had boxing gloves on at three to deal with the world around me and not be subjugated by the legalized racism that still existed.
God is always numerous steps ahead of us. He who made us knows just what we need and how to restore us to His image and likeness. So in giving the Law to Moses and in the ministry of Jesus we see that God calls us to focus on what is for Him the most important thing.
The Jews called it the Shama and we call it the Great Commandment.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength and you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Deut. 6:4; Luke 10:27
The Apostle John clarifies the message just in case we thought we could love God without loving others. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 Jn 4:20–5:1.
When the church loves like Christ loves we bring healing and reconciliation into the most difficult of situations. One of the things that we find very difficult today is reconcile the past with where we are today. Racism found its way into biblical interpretation. People of color and particularly black people were considered under the curse of Ham and intended to be slaves. For many of us this seems like ancient history, but nations were built on this lie. Governments made decisions socially, economically, politically and religiously on lies that were based on faulty interpretations of scripture. In my lifetime I have seen relationships between ministers end because of cultural and ethnocentric misinterpretations of scripture. And that is why to this day there is still a visibly ethnic division in churches, not only in America but around the world. Churches put their ethnic name on the church telling others basically you are not welcome here unless you are of this ethnicity. I am not convinced that is what Jesus had in mind when He bled and died to make us one. Another message for another time.
The heroes of history are those who could see the truth of scripture and opted, even without full understanding demand changes in the world and in how we treated one another. For the missionaries in Jamaica who enslaved themselves so that they could minister to slaves, for the William Wilberforce’s who tirelessly fought the system to end slavery in the British empire, for the abolitionists and others throughout the world who fight against racism and prejudice.
II. Reconciliation Realized
Reconciliation is a spiritual condition it’s something that’s true in the spirit so from God’s perspective from heaven’s perspective from the theological perspective there isn’t an African American church a white church, an Asian church. What is true in heaven, is true right now that we are one, we are reconciled. I am reconciled to you, and you are reconciled to me because we are reconciled to Christ, therefore we are Co-heirs, our skin means nothing, yet our faith means everything. Our faith says we’re one that’s either true or it’s not true, but I already have it. I now walk it out, I’m not trying to get reconciled I’m living reconciled.
What is the process by which I live reconciled with you, something that Christ has already done because if an African American believer and a Caucasian believer walk out of a room today and we’re both in Christ but we have our issues and we’re to die. Are they in two different heavens? In Christianity we understand that what God has done in the spirit must now be worked out in the flesh. We do this with justification, forgiveness, adoption, all these theological foundational truths that we build our Christian life on. We take them by faith; we walk in them, and we walk them out. We must do this with reconciliation as well.
God is after a multi-ethnic bride for His Son, one of our greatest flaws in history was to think that God was building a national kingdom and not a spiritual kingdom. For when we set out to build a national kingdom it was also an ethnic kingdom made up not of all ethnic groups but particularly one ethnic group. It derailed the kingdom that God was building, the apostles asked Christ, will you restore the kingdom to Israel at this time, Jesus ultimate response was to get their eyes off of the natural and into the spirit to see that when you receive power when the Holy Ghost comes upon you and you will be witnesses…..
God has always had a harvest of epic proportions in mind. It was throughout the prophets, it was clearly identified in the psalms, He highlighted it with Naaman, and the Widow and the Ethiopians who helped the people of God.
Acts 13:1 13 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. Ac 13:1–3.
So the question many would ask, is this prescriptive, something you should follow, or is it descriptive, simply relaying to you the facts of the matter. Some may say it is both, others would say it is descriptive. This is the church where not only gentile believers flourished along side Jewish believers, the leadership team was multi-cultural. It is the place where disciples were first called Christians and the place where the early church missionary movement began. It is in this house that the call to go beyond, Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, saw its fulfillment in going to the uttermost parts of the world.
These two African and one Jewish leader laid a foundation theologically that was balanced, historical and rational and lasted well into the 8th century. Somewhat impressive but the most part overlooked in regard to us seeing the oneness of Christ being fully on display in the most notable church in the New Testament.
III. Living as King Priests
We were born into a world that is filled with ignorance, prejudice and racism, and you can add to that sexism and tribalism as well. This is the normal everyday experience of most people. So many could sit and tell you stories of how they have faced this both in the world and in the church.
There is a reason why CRT and BLM has such a foothold and such a stronghold amongst the intelligentsia of our day. The one point I will make in regard to this is simply this, if we cannot honestly, historically, see the failure of the church in regard to teaching racism from the pulpit, encouraging slavery as a God ordained practice, fighting against civil rights and desegregation, the creation of apartheid was connected to a theological position. If we cannot on behalf of our spiritual forebearers repent openly on their behalf we will have no voice in bringing healing and fulfilling true biblical reconciliation.
Living as King Priests means that we make the house of God a house of prayer for all nations. We hear the heartbeat of heaven that has called us to mirror His heart and we are involved in intercession, lament and unity.
1) Intercession – Gen. 18 – Abraham praying for Sodom and Gomorrah
Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. 15 Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no man and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. Is 59:14–16.
2) Lament - · And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes. Est.4:3
Put on sackcloth and lament, O priests; wail, O ministers of the altar. Go in, pass the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God! Because grain offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God. Joel 1:13
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. Is 62:1.
3) Unity – John 17/Psalm 133 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another. 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me Jn 17:20–21.
Intercession will lead to Lament and lament will lead to Unity and Unity will lead to Harvest
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