Reconciliation – Part 1
Matthew 5:23-25 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.”
Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
We live in a world where man is not only separated from God, but also separated from his fellowman. We see the reality of this when we look back over the 20th century. There never has been such a century of bloodshed.
Even now when we look forward to the 21st century it does not look any better. We see disputes among the nations, marriages that are falling apart, children estranged from their parents and churches breaking apart because of disunity.
We who are in Christ have been given the ministry of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
The Gospel is the power of God to bring reconciliation between a Holy God and a sinful man. What a powerful message this is in the Muslim world where two billion people are trying to find peace with God.
Satan knows that this is a powerful message that we have to offer to the world and the world is waiting to hear. This is why broken relationships and disharmony among God’s people is so evil. It takes away the message that we have.
We cannot separate the message from the messenger. Broken relationships among us distort the message. How can we talk about reconciliation when there are broken relationships among us?
The definition of reconciliation: to harmonize, to restore to union and friendship after estrangement.
Matthew 18:19-20 “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”
It is interesting that the word for ‘agree’ is the word ‘sumphoneo:’ to be harmonious.
It brings out the idea of a symphony with different musical instruments all in tune with one another bringing out tremendous sound of harmony and beauty.
Take a family, church or community of people who come from different backgrounds and cultures living and working together in harmony. What a testimony! What a powerful message this sends to a world that is divided.
Back in the early 70’s the OM Logos ship was in the Sudan. The Minister of Education came to open the book exhibition. He was a Muslim. When he looked around and saw all of the different nationalities on board the ship speaking different languages and working without salary, he said that we were like a small United Nations, except, he said, we had unity. The second comment was a question. How could we live together like we did? He knew it was not the money, but he could not understand how it was possible. This was how we brought Jesus Christ in; how Christ has broken down the barriers and brought us together.
It is hard for a Muslim or any person no matter what religion he might have (or no religion at all) to argue with this type of testimony. Jesus knew this and He prayed in John 17 that His people might be one as He and the Father are one, so that the world might believe. The opposite of this is true as well. If we are not one – then the world will not believe.