Sunday March 31 4th Lent

Scriptures:Joshua 5:9-12

The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.” And so that place is called Gilgalto this day.

10 While the Israelites were camped in Gilgal they kept the passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. 11 On the day after the passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12 The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

“Restored”

We often think of Jesus coming to Earth in human form for the purpose of saving us from sin by dying for our sins.  Therefore, his sacrifice provided for our salvation.  Though this is for the most part true, there is much more to the story.  Salvation is more than a future promise of everlasting life with God in Heaven.  Salvation is also a current reality of spiritual freedom in this life.  With this being the case, Jesus’ ministry was and is not just about dying on the cross; it is also about regeneration and reconciliation. 

We are all created in God’s image or imago dei.  We are told thisin Genesis 1:26 when God says “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness…”  This means God’s original intension was to create a near, if not completely, perfect creature to live in a near perfect paradise.  However, because of the Fall by Adam and Eve, our perfect relationship with the Creator was fractured.  This means two things for us.  First, our spiritual nature was/is damaged.  We are born broken and missing a part of our true selves.  Second, our relationship with God was/is damaged beyond our capability to fix. 

Because we are born missing something of ourselves, something which was there in the original plan, we need it to be added to us to make us whole again.  As an example of this in the natural world, let us look at the common blue-tailed skink.  We have all seen these little lizards scurrying around our houses, out buildings, and lawns.  They are easily seen and recognized because of their bright blue tails.  We also all know that when threatened and attacked by a predator, these little lizard have the capability to break of their tails so the rest of them can escape.  Over time, they will re-grow their missing tails by a process called regeneration.  The same is true for our missing spiritual pieces.  Through the power and grace of God and the ministry of Jesus the Christ, we can and do experience a re-growth of our broken parts.  In this way, we become spiritual whole as we were originally designed and created to be.

Of course, becoming whole is important, but this does not finish the work of Jesus the Christ, because we are still in an improper relationship with our Creator.  This means reconciliation needs to take place.  This is accomplished by the power and grace of God as well, but is mediated through Jesus the Christ.  When we answer the call to follow Jesus, HE become not only our LORD and Savior, he also becomes our intercessory.  In this role, the Son come before the Father on our behalf and restores our relationship with the Creator to the state it was originally. 

Neither of these processes can happen by our own power.  They must originate with God and be powered by God.  It is only through the Father’s grace, the divine ministry of the Son, and in-dwelling power of the Holy Spirit, that any of this can take place.  Every day, God is at work in the lives of followers of Jesus.  Just as with the tail of the blue-tailed skink, regeneration takes time and relationships are not mended overnight.  These are processes which take time; mostly because they rely on us to respond and submit. This means we must be faithful and obedient to the work of the LORD in our lives, if we are to be fully RESTORED

Pastor Mark

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