Message Scripture:

“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (KJV)

Introduction;

Greetings Christlike Ministries NWA Family!

One of the cool things about this ministry is that I’ve actually done it long enough and have enough messages that from time to time I can revisit teaching series that I’ve done a few years ago, and that’s what we’re about to do here.  We were in the middle of that “Potential” series, and I just felt like we’d reached our potential with that series.  So, I felt like the Lord was leading me in a different direction.  So, I started looking at a few things to realize that perhaps it was time to take us back to some of the basics, and you can’t get more basic than talking about “Reconciliation”.  I originally penned a series on this back in 2012, and I think that it’s a good time to get back to it.  So, this entire series of messages is all my original work…and I’m hoping that it’s right on time to minister to people who need it.  I believe that God wouldn’t direct me to redo this series if there weren’t people that need it.

Let’s Pray First:

Heavenly Father, thank You for leading us to this series on Reconciliation.  I pray that my tongue, Lord God, would be that as a pen of a ready writer speaking only of the oracles of You. Let those that read these messages have ears to hear and hearts that will be receptive and respond to what You are about to speak to us this day. In Jesus name…Amen and Amen.

Let’s Worship The King:

I believe this is the song that God wants to accompany this message.  It’s an older song by Hillsong, but it’s the perfect song because we’ll never know how much it cost to see our sin upon that Cross, but the only way to receive what He did on that Cross is to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.  So, here’s “Here I Am To Worship/Call Upon The Name Of The Lord And Be Saved” by Hillsong.

You Are A New Creation:

One of the things that God’s really impressed upon my heart lately is that there needs to be a return to the basics of Christianity.  It seems that we’ve gotten so far away from the ministry of reconciliation that no one really knows that we’ve become new creations in Christ.  We are new creations in Christ, and it begins the moment we become whosoever’s that have called upon the name of the Lord to be saved.  I see so many believers questioning whether or not certain sins will send them to hell even after they’ve become born again.  There are even more that believe that we can lose our salvation, but the truth is that salvation is entered in by grace through faith.  We lose it by losing our faith in Christ, and placing it in another god…but this notion that we can sin away our salvation is squashed by Paul in the main text of our message today.  Most people know 2 Corinthians 5:17 nearly by heart, but neatly tucked into this passage of scripture is a verse that’s very rarely spoken about…and I really don’t know why that is…but when I read it…I want to shout because God’s taken ALL the burden of maintaining our salvation off our shoulders…and put it squarely on His own…and that’s what this message and ultimately this series is all about…

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 KJV…Hidden in these verses is one of the more well-known that most Christians can at least paraphrase if not quote word for word. However, these verses are absolutely critical to the Christian walk, and tells us some very important news. I am going to let you know right away that I’m going to step on the toes of religious people in this series, and it’s going to start right away on day one.

Most of us can sort of paraphrase 2 Corinthians 5:17, but the basic point of the verse is that once we become whosoever’s that call upon the name of the Lord to be saved the journey to becoming new creations in Christ begins.  We enter into God’s workmanship by grace thru faith, and God begins working on the inside of us so that people will eventually see on the outside the changes God is making on the inside.  But, missed in all of the new creation stuff is the point that God’s no longer counting our sins against us, and that’s because He counted them all and nailed them to the Cross with Jesus.  There isn’t one sin that had or ever would be committed that wasn’t nailed to the Cross, and that means that in reality there is only ONE sin that is preventing us from spending eternity with God in Heaven.  That sin is rejecting Jesus Christ.  That’s the only unpardonable sin, and as long as you have breath in your lungs the offer of salvation is available.

It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor). 2 Corinthians 5:19 (Amplified)

Occasionally, I like to use the Amplified Version of the Bible because it allows me the ability to dig into a verse without changing the meaning or context like a lot of the other more “common English” translations do. I love 2 Corinthians 5:19 (Amplified) because it really breaks things down into lingo and language that is easier to understand, and is a great tool for writing these messages. In this 19th verse of 2 Corinthians 5 we find the words “not counting up and holding against men their trespasses but cancelling them”, and that’s that part of this verse that should have every man, woman, and child shouting in praise to God.

It sound more spiritual to say “I’m just a sinner saved by grace”, but the moment we become born again we’re no longer sinners…we are in Christ.  Paul tells us in Galatians 2:20 (KJV) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I’m no longer a sinner saved by grace, but I’m a new creation in Christ Jesus…and so are you.

Tucked away neatly in this passage of scripture is the best news the religious world refuses to acknowledge, and that’s that God is “not counting people’s sins against them”. You can see why religion doesn’t want to acknowledge this truth because it goes against everything that they teach in their pulpits. They want you to believe that your sin is keeping you from the presence of God, and that if you continue to sin after you come to the Lord as Savior that you can lose your salvation…and go to hell. They don’t want you to believe that your sin was nailed to the Cross along with Jesus, and that your sin (neither prior to salvation or after salvation) is forgiven. They also want you to be fully conscious of your sin, and want you to believe that your sin is keeping you from having a strong, intimate personal relationship with God.

The simplicity of salvation is very difficult for the religious world to handle because it takes the burden of maintaining our salvation off our shoulders, and places it on the Cross where it was meant to be.  I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  I am a new creation in Christ Jesus.  I am crucified with Christ.  I am now seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  You see, friends, I’m not trying to get or obtain anything…I’ve already been given everything I need…but the key to having  and receiving all I have in Christ isn’t working harder to obtain it…but by understanding my identity is in Christ.  Everything I need is in Christ.  Everything I need to live the Christian life is by grace through faith in Christ…and if you are a born again, spirit-filled believer you have those same things too.  You are justified by faith just like me.  You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus just like me.  You have been bought and paid for by the Blood of Jesus just like I have.  YOU ARE RECONCILED TO GOD JUST LIKE I AM.

The ministry of reconciliation what we’re supposed to be preaching as ambassadors for Christ is found in this very same passage that is the main text for this series and message which is 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 KJV.  This is what we’re supposed to be encouraging one another with…the fact that God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to Himself…in other words God was in Christ Jesus reconciling YOU and ME to Himself.  That’s why the Bible says there’s no other name by which men can be saved, and that there’s only one mediator between God and man…and that’s Jesus Christ.  That’s why Jesus says of Himself in one of my favorite Bible verses “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” in John 14:6 (KJV).

There is no other way to obtain or receive this reconciliation with God then by going through the Cross.  You can’t be reconciled without the Blood of Jesus.  You can’t be reconciled by earning it, you can’t be reconciled by working for it, and you can’t be reconciled by hoping for it.  The only way to reconciliation with God is by doing what Romans 10:9,10, and 13 say to do…become a whosoever that calls upon the name of the Lord to be saved.

They don’t want you to believe that your sin was nailed to the Cross along with Jesus, and that your sin (neither prior to salvation or after salvation) is forgiven. They also want you to be fully conscious of your sin, and want you to believe that your sin is keeping you from having a strong, intimate personal relationship with God.

ALL sin was nailed to the Cross.  Every sin that had already been committed, every sin that was being committed, and every sin that had yet to be named and committed was all nailed to the Cross with Jesus.  Just like every sickness and disease…there isn’t one sin that was left out when it comes to the Cross.  I like to say that the Cross is undefeated, and it has a perfect record.  There isn’t anything that will or can ever defeat the Cross because the Cross was the victory.  We have that same assurance, that same victory, and the very same power that raise Jesus from the dead is living on the inside of each and every one of us…but we can’t earn it, we can’t work for it, we can’t obtain it or achieve it, and the only way to receive everything we are and have in Christ is by grace through faith in the finished work of the Cross.

The number one problem in the Body of Christ today is that they still don’t know how much God loves them, and the number one reason for that struggle is because people are so sin conscious and not God conscious.  We have been reconciled to God.  We aren’t trying to be reconciled…we ARE…and when we understand that God has already done everything He’s going to do through the Cross…that’s when we will stand up and stop allowing the devil that access to our lives we give him.  There’s nothing left for God to do, and the reason I know that is because the Bible says that Jesus is seated.  He is seated right now at the right hand of the Father, and the next time He gets up…we will be meeting with Him along with the dead in Christ after the trumpet sounds.  In the blink of an eye millions of people are going to vanish from the face of the earth…and that’s what’s going to happen the next time Jesus gets up.  Right now, He’s seated and resting…and that’s what we can do also.

I don’t know how God could make it any more clear that it’s not your sins that’s keeping you from having the close, personal,intimate relationship with Him your seeking…it’s the religious mindset that keeps you bound & conscious of your sin. It’s not your sins that’s sending you to hell because it wasn’t your sins that was sending you to hell to begin with. It was Adam’s sin that sentenced all of us to eternal separation from God…not yours. It was the fall in the garden than sentenced us all to die, but that’s why what Christ did on the Cross is so important.

You see, friends.  We came into the world blemished by sin…Adam’s sin.  Not one of us sinned in the womb.  We came into the world sinners, we came into the world needing to be reconciled to God, and that’s why the Cross was necessary.  It’s the religious mindsets we have that keep us bound and enslaved to sin.  It’s the religious mindset that keeps us conscious of our failures, but as I said it’s not our sin that sentenced us to die…it was Adam’s.  What the religious world teaches today is a ministry of condemnation, and there are so many worn out Christians trying to earn something that they can’t.

I see so many posts by Christians wanting to be more holy, but the holiness they have doesn’t come from their own efforts…it’s Jesus’ holiness.  The righteousness they are seeking isn’t their righteousness.  The Bible doesn’t say that we’re the righteousness of God in ourselves, does it!?!  I know it’s silly, but the Bible says we’re the righteousness of God IN CHRIST JESUS.  What’s silly to God is watching us all try to earn things we already have, and trying to reconcile ourselves to God when He already reconciled us to Himself.  Jesus took all our sin, all our shame, all the punishment…and gave us His righteousness in exchange.  Jesus paid it all so that all we would have to do is receive what He did for us through the Cross.  He didn’t die on the Cross so that you could be found guilty of your sin. He died on the Cross AS your sin. He died on the Cross to take away the sin of the world. He died so that we could live in Him.

What awesome news to read that God isn’t counting our sins against us because Jesus paid for them. That’s the ministry of reconciliation in a nut shell. God was in Christ reconciling the world to HIMSELF. If God was counting our sins against us, if there was sin in our lives that God couldn’t forgive and forget then we couldn’t be fully reconciled to God, and the Bible would have to have written that God made Jesus to be some of the sins of the world. But…it doesn’t say that. The Bible says that Jesus became sin so that we could become the righteousness of God.

If there was sin being counted against us…we could not be the righteousness of God. If there was sin that wasn’t nailed to the Cross then Paul would have had to say “God is not counting people’s sin…except for _______ against them. But the Bible doesn’t read that way because God really is not counting your sin against you.  When God looks at you…He doesn’t see your sin, He doesn’t see your wrong-doings, and He doesn’t see what you see when you look in the mirror. What does God see? He sees the shed blood of Jesus! When God looks at you He sees His Son’s blood covering you from head to toe and all points in between. That’s what it means to be IN CHRIST. When God looks at you He sees JESUS.

Reconciliation is possible only because of the Blood of Jesus. Another set verse of scripture for this series is going to be John 14:6…”Jesus said; I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes unto the Father but by Me.” We receive nothing in this Christian walk on our own, of ourselves, or because of our own merits…everything we have is because of Jesus…period.

And let’s close with this:

It’s all about the Cross. It’s all about Jesus. It has everything to do with the Cross and Christ…and nothing to do with us. If there was anything we had to do in order to earn our place it wouldn’t be good news…and there would be no real hope of reconciliation…because none of us can or ever will be able to live sinless lives.

Let’s Pray:

Lord God, thank You that although we were far away from You and wallowing in our sin and disobedience, we have been brought close to You Father, through the precious blood of  Jesus Christ – our Lord and Savior. It is a thing most wonderful to know that through the cross of Christ the hostility that we had with You Lord, has been removed and we have been reconciled back to You and have not only become a citizen of heaven along with all who trust in Christ Jesus and have been made a member of God’s household but also His beloved children and joint-heirs with Christ Himself – There are no words sufficient for the thanks that we give You and pray that we may worship You for ever and ever. We glorify Your wonderful name that there is now no condemnation and that our reconciliation with God Almighty is both permanent and eternal – for the wrath of God was poured out upon the innocent life of the Lord Jesus – Who took our place, so that we could be brought back into fellowship with You – and reconciled with God.   I rejoice and thank You Father that I have peace with You through our Lord Jesus Christ and have wonderful access to Your amazing gift of grace – through simply believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen

The Last Word from Pastor B:

It is my hope that over the course of the next 7 messages to get us to see ourselves in a different light because what religion wants us to do is focus on ourselves and what we can do in order to become holy, righteous, sanctified, and redeemed…but we can’t.

We can’t be more holy, we can’t be more righteous, we can’t be more sanctified, and we can’t become more redeemed by anything we do or don’t do. The ONLY reason we are holy, righteous, sanctified, redeemed, and reconciled to God is because we are new creations in Christ Jesus…and the reason our holiness, righteousness, and reconciliation will never be more than what it is…is because Jesus did it absolutely perfectly and flawlessly…and it is HIS. He took what we did so we could receive what He has.

Thank you for joining me as we take a journey back to some of the basics of Christianity.  It’s good to remind ourselves about things like grace, faith, reconciliation, justification by faith, and the love of God.  My father in the faith use to say that we have to preach the God side of things so that we will know how to respond with the man side.  We have to know what Jesus did through the Cross before we can believe in our hearts that what He did on the Cross He did for us, and then once we understand that it’s a gift and that there’s nothing we can do to achieve what Christ did…then we can confess with our mouths that we believe in our hearts that what He did on the Cross He did for us…and that’s how we become whosoever’s that call upon the name of the Lord…we recognize that the only way we can receive what Jesus did…is by calling upon Him to be saved.

Hey!  I never like to close a message like this without giving you a chance to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.  So, if you’ve never asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior.  If you’ve never accepted what Jesus did on the Cross was for you…then I’d like to invite you to take a moment to do that right now.  You don’t have to go to church to accept Christ, you don’t have to clean up your life first, and you don’t have to say some fancy prayer.  All you have to do is believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that what Jesus did on the Cross He did for you…and then become a whosoever that calls upon the name of the Lord to be saved.

In fact, here’s a simple prayer that will accomplish just that…

“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. Amen.”

That’s it.  If you prayed that prayer won’t you take a moment to let me know that you’ve asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior.  You can write me at pastorbryankizer@outlook.com or christlikeministriesarkansas@yahoo.com.  When you write let me know you are a new believer, please include a return email address, and if you need some materials to help get you started I have the ability to offer you some free gifts thanks to my friends at Bibles for America, and I’ll also get you started with a guest subscription to the Bible devotional I used for more that 25 years…but you’ll have to include your mailing address when you write me.

Have you been blessed by this ministry? Would you like to help me out?  Here are some really practical ways you can help me out.

1) Engage – I don’t always have time to reply to everyone but I read every single comment and post on here. I reply to every message and email and every one blesses me! Please do get involved and let me get to know you in the little ways we can online.

2) Share – If you love the posts here, or maybe an article on the website… please share it on Facebook or Twitter… it really helps new people find this ministry and be blessed by the good news of the gospel…and tell people about us.

3) Pray – We really value your prayers. Pray for this message to find good soil – that God would continue to bring new faces to this ministry that are ready to accept His embrace.

4) Give – Running a ministry is a lot like running a business. There’s always a cost, and if this ministry blesses you in any way…you can now help by giving to it financially. I’ve set up a ministry card that is used specifically for ministry needs & expenses.

Thanks to our friends at Bibles for America we are able to send you a free gift for your support in any amount, and for those of you that can give a one time gift $25.00 or more…and you have a smartphone there is a special gift that I’m excited to be able to offer…but this is only a one time offer and for those who can give $25 or more.  If that’s you and you’d like to give to this ministry contact me directly at christlikeministriesarkansas@yahoo.com for more information.

Please check out the newer Pastor B’s Blog at www.pastorbryankizer.wordpress.com, follow me on Twitter @ChristMinistNWA, become a fan of ours on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ChristlikeMinistriesNWA, become a friend of mine on Facebook by going to www.Facebook.com/ChristMinistARK, or even join the Christlike Ministries NWA Family Group Page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/christlikeministriesnwa/.

Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support. All of you who follow me are of great encouragement to me…and I’m grateful for all of you.

Blessings & Grace:
Bryan Kizer – Pastor
Christlike Ministries NWA
“My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Corinthians 16:24 (KJV)