2nd Corinthians 4:16--5:21
Paul looked with longing toward moving day. The ravages of time had taken their toll on his body. It didn’t help that he was constantly facing the stress of persecution from both the Jews and many that called themselves saints. It is not therefore surprising that he often spoke of the life to come. Because he was weary, Paul found himself desiring the life to come.
The apostle believed that he would have to give an account of his life before the judgment seat of Christ. For that reason, he did his best every day both to witness to the lost and to encourage believers. Have you ever found yourself acting as a mediator? Sometimes two people have personal confrontations that result in the ending of their relationship. If we are friend to one or both of the parties involved it may fall to us to act as an agent of reconciliation.
Paul recognized the enmity that exists between God and the world. Sin is responsible for this sorry state of affairs. The opposing natures of God and man have caused such a rift that neither can effect reconciliation alone. Of course I know that God is omnipotent and can do anything He chooses. In this case, God has limited Himself because of man’s free will. There presently exists a sentence of condemnation against all that transgress the law of righteousness.
Reconciling man to his Maker is, from start to finish, the work of God and to Him must be all the glory. Christians are nothing more than tools that God uses to accomplish His purpose. Through Jesus’ sacrifice God has made the impossible possible. If the lost will only repent God will save.
I. The Agents Of Reconciliation
A. Were themselves once the enemies of God
1. We are not superior to the lost. We were once lost ourselves – our hearts were hard and we were possessed of the old sinful nature
2. These facts enable us to sympathize with the lost
B. We have been regenerated
1. The good intentions of God were not sufficient
2. Man must be converted from within
3. We (Christians) are the proof of God’s promise
4. God would have us be as glass that does not distort or change the light that passes through it. My great comfort is that it is God that pleads with men and not me!
Note: We have nothing to boast of except Christ. Our importance is solely based upon the message we bear. Neither the message nor its power is ours.
II. The Ambassador’s Message – The Gospel
A. Is delivered as if Jesus Himself were preaching
1. Tender and compassionate
2. Remembering that we too were lost and heard this same message
B. God still loves sinners
1. In spite of everything God is “dying” to save
Jesus died for us while we were still enemies