Reconciled in Christ

At The Center Of The Gospel Of Jesus Is Reconciliation With God

Dan Franklin
Aug 28, 2022    37m
Join us as we explore the question, "What is at the center of the Gospel?" We learn that the heart of the Gospel of Jesus is that we are forgiven of our sin so that we can be reconciled to God. Reconciliation is when you have two parties that are hostile, and peace and harmony are brought into their relationship. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] We're just about at the end of the summer, and today is the final week of this series that we've been going through during the summer months that we started all the way back in June at the end of Second Corinthians chapter 2, and today we're finishing second Corinthians Chapter 5. And all summer, we've been talking about this idea of glory and frailty. And this is a little bit risky to do because I don't know if it's going to pay off, but there's been a mantra, there's been something that we've been talking about each week that's at the center of this series and of this portion of scripture. I'm going to see if you guys can remember it, it's that God shows the world his glory through? Yes, through our weakness, through the frailty of his servants. That God loves to show his power and his grace and his goodness and his love and his ability to transform, he loves to show the world all of that, and he does that not through having us as his servants and us as his people, be people who are self-sufficient and have everything together and are powerful and our adequate in and of ourselves, but through people who are weak and frail and clearly unable to hack it on our own, God shows the world His glory through the frailty of his servants.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] And as we finish this section of scripture today, we're going to be zeroing in not only on something that's said in these six verses, but something that I think sums up this section and even goes a little bit further, that really points us towards something that's at the center of the Christian message, at the center of the Gospel. So here's what I want you to do, I don't want you to answer out loud, but I want you to think about it as I ask this question. If you had to summarize what is at the center of the message of Jesus, what is that the center of the Gospel? And if you had to boil it all down to just one word or one phrase, once again, don't answer old loud, but just think right now, what would you say? What word comes to mind? What phrase or sentence would you use to say of all the things, this is right at the center of the Gospel. And we might feel like in this room we might come up with some different options. Somebody might say, right at the center of the Gospel is the idea of walking rightly before God. And some of us might say, well, no, that's not it, that's works, but we're not saved by works, the message of Jesus is not about works. But Jesus certainly talked about repentance, and so somewhere near the center of the message has to do with new life in Christ. But we would probably say, well, no, that's not quite it, it's not that we live rightly before God, that's not at the center of the message. So we might try to get closer to the center and say, well, maybe we could say at the center of the Gospel of Jesus is the love of God. Hard to go wrong with the love of God, right? That seems pretty good, and it's not even that that's incorrect, but it's sort of like it's not specific enough. Because we need to understand, what is it that the Gospel of Jesus says about God's love? And even then, how do we define what love means? Because the way that it's used popularly in our culture is not the same way that the biblical authors used it. So it's not that the love of God is not accurate for the answer here, but it's not quite specific enough. So we need to get closer to the center and what's really at the center. And so what we might come up with is forgiveness, that seems like a pretty good answer. At the center of the message of Jesus is forgiveness, because, after all, Jesus died on the cross so that we could be forgiven of our sins. But I want you to know that the answer isn't forgiveness, as great as forgiveness is. Because for forgiveness, you can forgive somebody from a long distance away. You can forgive someone and never see them again. Some of you are like, yeah, our country just did that with student loans, and you don't even have to meet anybody to forgive them of something. And by the way, that's the only statement I'm going to make about that, that's not what this message is about. But forgiveness is great and beautiful, but you can do forgiveness, you can practice forgiveness without ever having a relationship with someone.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:27] There is an answer to this question, I believe, that at the center of the Gospel of Jesus is reconciliation with God. That is what our message is about, that's what Jesus's message is about, that the reason that we're forgiven is not so that God can shout out forgiveness from heaven and then allow us to go our own way, but that we would be reconciled to God in a relationship. Reconciliation, the word, has to do with the idea that there are two people who are at odds they are hostile towards each other, and then there's peace that's brokered, there's peace and harmony and restoration in their relationship. When we think of reconciliation, we might think of marriage because we frequently talk about this in terms of marriage, where there's some kind of estrangement, maybe there's even physical separation in some way, or maybe you're still living together in the same home, but you just know we're at odds, we're not together in all of this. And then there's reconciliation, and you come back together and you've worked through the differences, and you're one again.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:37] I'm in fact, some of you, when we think of October, when we think of those marriage events that we're going to do, some of you might be saying, I think I need this in my marriage right now. Right now, maybe we're not divorced, maybe you're not even separated, but you're saying we're not together in this, we're at odds, we have hurt, we have a lack of forgiveness, we have distance, we need reconciliation. And when reconciliation happens, it's beautiful because it's people who are at odds coming together. And even if you're not married or you haven't experienced this in your marriage, how many of you have had a falling out or a conflict with a friend at some point in your life? And you know how painful that is, and you said something or somebody else said something or there was a misunderstanding or there was a conflict, and suddenly this person that you were close to, you have distance from them. And for some of you, maybe there are some friendships that never quite come back. But there's sometimes that you sit down, you don't just pass it over, you sit down, and you hash it out and you work it through, and then you end up getting to be reconciled into a relationship after being estranged. Reconciliation is when you have two parties that are hostile and peace is brought into it, and harmony is brought into it. That is at the center of the Gospel of Jesus, reconciliation with God. That's the case I'm going to make from the passage that we're going to go through, that reconciliation with God is at the center of the Gospel. And by the way, it's not going to be a hard case to make, you're going to be convinced pretty easily, because it's right there in the passage.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:10] And here's what we're going to go through as, as we go through these six great verses in Second Corinthians chapter 5 verses 16 through 21, we're going to ask and answer three questions about reconciliation. We're going to ask why, who, and what. So to be more specific, we're going to ask, why were we reconciled to God? We're going to ask, who made the reconciliation happen? And then finally, for the last question, we're going to ask, what did it cost to make the reconciliation a reality?

Dan Franklin: [00:07:46] Now we start with the why question. And here's what I mean by this why question. What I mean is for what purpose, for what purpose were we reconciled to God? What was God after in all this? And we start to see it in verse 16. Verse 16 says, "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view." As we've talked about all through this series, most of the ways that we start each week, we have to look back because the first word of verse 16 is, so. In other words, he's building on what he said before, so if you have an open Bible, we're just going to look at one verse before. Speaking of Jesus, Paul wrote, "And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." So right there in verse 15, he's talking about reconciliation. He doesn't use the word, but he's saying Jesus died for us so that we would live for God. And now he's going to build on that in verse 16, once we get to verses 18 and 19, reconciliation is going to be all over this passage. But first, he tells us what the reason behind this reconciliation was, and he says, "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view." And here's what Paul means, he means we don't look at other people and decide who they are based on surface realities about them.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:15] Have you ever done this? You don't have to raise your hand and admit it. But have you ever been in a crowded place, and you just realize that you're sort of categorizing every person that you see? You are sort of like tall, short, attractive, not attractive, male, female, whatever it is, rich, poor, and you're just kind of doing that, you know, racial, ethnical, whatever it is. And maybe not even in a mean way, but you're just realizing that's how you're categorizing each person. Paul says, that's not what we do anymore, that's not how we view the world, and that's not how we view people, not from a worldly point of view. It doesn't mean those things aren't true, whether it's ethnic, or whether it's how tall a person is, those things are true, but that's not the main thing about that person.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:58] In fact, look, in the second part of the verse, Paul says, "Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer." Paul is saying there was a time when some of us, and Paul would include himself, looked at Jesus and drew a conclusion about him based on surface realities about him. And Paul probably would have said back at that time, I looked at Jesus and I said, physically, he's nothing impressive, and also, he was rejected by his own people and executed by the Romans. So he drew a conclusion about Jesus because of all that, and you can almost hear Paul just laughing at himself saying, we don't do that any longer. I met the risen Jesus, I know who he is now, I know that He is the Son of God, so don't judge people according to their surface appearance. So he says, we don't look at people and categorize them based on these surface realities, whether it's how rich they are, or how poor they are, or what they look like, or what political party they're a part of, that's not how we categorize people.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:59] But in verse 17, he is going to tell us how we do categorize people. In a famous verse, he says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" There are certain things in the human race that bond us all together, we are all made in the image of God. But here, Paul says, the human race breaks down into two categories of people, those who have been made new by the grace of God and are part of the new creation that God is bringing about, and those who are still estranged from God, those who are still part of the old. You can't tell by looking at a person, you can't tell by their ethnicity, you can't tell by how tall or how short they are, but that's how the world breaks down now. And Paul's not saying this in a way that would make us feel pumped up if we're like, I'm part of the new group. He's saying this is how we understand the world, there are those who, by God's great grace and by his love, have been brought into his family, and then there are others who God deeply loves and longs to bring into his family, but at this point, they have not received his grace.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:15] He says, "If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!" And let's pause a minute on this because I know this is a famous verse, most of you have probably heard it before. This means if you are a believer in Jesus, he is saying you are a new creation. Not only is your status different before God, but your practical life is different before God. The old is gone, the new has come. And once again, I'm not going to ask for a show of hands, but how many of you right now are like, I don't feel like a new creation? You're like, I read this, it's not that I want to doubt God or doubt the Bible. But you're saying I'm a new creation, I don't think you know me very well, I am still dealing with so many of the same petty things that I dealt with before I was a Christian. I still find myself raring up with jealousy when there's no good reason for that to happen, or anger, or lust, or things like that. I just find myself constantly dealing with those petty things, I don't feel new. And some of you are in the battle right now with different sins and different issues, and you'd just I don't feel it, I don't feel like I'd look at myself and say, I'm just this brand-new person, I'm still in the trenches with this. And here's what I want you to understand about what Paul is saying. But Paul understands this reality, and he tells us this reality as something that is a fact, but also a pursuit.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:48] I want to show you something else that Paul said in the book of Ephesians. This is Ephesians 4 verses 22 through 24. So the same man that says you are new says this, he says, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." There's a whole bunch here, but here's the headline, here's what I want you to get. In Second Corinthians Chapter 5, verse 17 Paul says fact, you are new. Ephesians 4, Paul says, put on the new man. On the one hand, this is a fact you are new, on the other hand, this is a pursuit, live in the newness that Jesus has bought for you. This is, I've already mentioned marriage, but this is a little bit like in marriage where you read the Bible, and if you are husband and wife, you are one, you are one flesh, you are together, you are unified, you are one. And once again, some of you would say, you don't know our marriage. Like, you're saying we're one, we're not really one. Yes, you are, you are one, that is a fact, but we also know you've got to pursue that if that's going to become a practical reality. So Paul is not saying all the work is done, but he's saying you are new. And another passage, you would say live in that, embrace that, as your identity and live in that newness.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:22] And if right now you're like, I want more of that newness, here's what I want to recommend that you do. Number one, this might be a big ask, earlier this year, we did a five-week series called Walk by the Spirit. If you want some help and just saying, all right, practically, how do I live this out? Go back and listen to those messages or read Galatians five on that. But I'll give you the cliff notes, here's the deal, as we walk by the Holy Spirit, we do not control the Holy Spirit. We do not just decide to change, the Holy Spirit works change inside of us. And so Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit and draws a parallel to the wind, we don't control the wind, but you can harness the wind. We don't control the Holy Spirit, but we can put up our sails so that the Holy Spirit can empower us to move forward. And there are at least four ways that we do this. We do this through regularly being in the Bible, which is the sword of the Spirit. We do this through praying in the power of the Holy Spirit. We do this through being around other Christians who are also in by the Holy Spirit. And we do this through simple, regular, everyday acts of obedience and listening to the voice of the Spirit. If you're sitting here today and you're like, this says, I'm new, I want to feel new, I want to experience that newness. That's not something you're going to do just through effort, but that's going to happen through you opening yourself up to the leading of the Spirit. And Paul says do you know why we were reconciled? It's so that we would be made new, not just in the future, but now, that's the why.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:05] But this middle part might be the most important part. We're going to move on to the question of who, and specifically, we're going to look at the idea that if there is a reconciliation, if we have hostile parties coming together, somebody has got to do something to fix it. So who fixes it? Verses 18 and 19, "All this is from God." Well, we kind of got our answer right there, right? All this new creation, all this is from God. You didn't become new because you did something. all this is from God. And then I want to highlight it a little bit of this look at what Paul says, he says, "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." We'll get back to that later. And then he says again in verse 19, "That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." So just look at the two highlighted parts, this is a gimme, you guys are going to get this right, I have confidence in you. Who made the reconciliation happen? God did. It's that you had a problem with God, so here's what you did, this passage says you had a problem before God, so here's what God did. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. If you are reconciled to God, it's not because of something you did, it's because of something that God did for you. And I love this, how it says not counting people's sins against them. That's the whole idea of forgiveness is part of what happens with the reconciling, but I love how it's put there. And that's a good translation from the Greek, not counting people's sins against that.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:50] I don't know how many of you have ever played a game with a little kid, or maybe you're younger, and so when you're playing games with your friends, you'll recognize this. But when you're playing games with a young kid, the words, that doesn't count, come up a lot. I mean, frequently, you could be playing soccer with a little kid and you can kick the ball into the net and I guarantee you, nine times out of ten, they're going to have a reason why it didn't count. Doesn't count, I wasn't ready. Doesn't count, you kicked it too hard. Doesn't count, you need to take it easy on me. Whatever it's going to be, whatever game you're playing with kids, there's a lot of, it doesn't count. And you can be sitting there saying like, I saw it happen, I saw myself kick the ball into the net, I saw this reality happen. And they could say, fine, it happened, but it doesn't count.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:38] Here's the deal, sometimes we think about our sins and we're like, I know I did this, I was there, like, I know I'm guilty. God is not here saying it didn't happen, God is saying it doesn't count. And you might be looking at it saying, look, I don't think you understand how bad what I did is. That's not the question, the question is not whether you did it, you did. The question is not, was it that bad? It was. The question is, did it count? And God says it doesn't count. That is forgiveness, he reconciles us by not counting our sins against us.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:22] And here's what I hope, this might be the center of everything we talk about today. If there's one thing that I think we're meant to take from this passage that Paul lays out here, it's this, if you're reconciled to God, it's not because God begrudgingly signed on a contract that made it a reality, it's because God sought you out and at a great cost to himself made it happen. You are in the family of God, not because of a loophole. You are in the family of God because God in his deep love desperately wanted you in the family. He wanted to welcome you as a son or as a daughter.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:01] I don't think there's any story that more perfectly illustrates this than the story that Jesus told in Luke 15, of The Prodigal Son. How many of you know the story of the prodigal son? Even if you're not a big Bible reader, you probably know the story in Luke 15, and Jesus talks about it. In fact, one of the powerful things, just as a side note, one of the powerful things about the story is that the real deep real deep take away from the story is that by the end, when reconciliation happens, there's somebody in the story that doesn't want reconciliation to happen. There's an older brother who's not into it, and there's a little lesson for all of us to say, are there people in the world that we don't want to be reconciled to God? But the other big point of the story is to see the heart of God. And so Jesus tells a story about this young man, and this young man basically says to his father, I don't want to wait for my inheritance until you die, I want it now. He takes it and goes and lives it up, spends it all, and wastes all the money and he ends up poor, he ends up friendless, he ends up feeding pigs, for a Jewish young man that's about as low as it gets. And as he's feeding the pigs, he thinks maybe there's a better way. And here's the thing, if you go back and read the story, he doesn't think reconciliation is possible. It never occurs to him, maybe I could be reconciled to my father. What occurs to him is, maybe Dad would welcome me back in as a slave. Maybe I could go back in, be welcomed back into the house, I'd have a roof over my head, I'd have some meals and I could go back in as a slave, but he doesn't even consider the possibility of reconciliation. So he starts walking home and this is one of my favorite parts of the story is as he's walking home, he's rehearsing his speech. Have you ever done this before? Going to meet with somebody in your head, you're like, let me get all the wording right. You know, Dad, I've sinned against you, and I've sinned against God, if you'll just welcome me back as a slave in the household, I'll be perfectly happy with that. He doesn't get the speech out, and the reason that he doesn't get the speech out is while he is still a great distance from the home, his dad runs out and meets them and embraces him, and says, my son is home. And here's part of this, I think that we're meant to get this, just follow me for a second. If the father ran out to the son while the son was still a long way off, what does that imply the father was doing? I don't think that binoculars back in that day, but he's up on a balcony and he's watching for his son, hoping that his son comes home. And when his son is still a long distance away, not having given any apology, the father runs out to him. Please don't miss the fact that God is an eager forgiver. God loves to forgive sins. And it's not because your sins aren't that bad, it's because He is just that loving.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:51] In fact, one of the powerful realities that we come to, is we come to a verse like Hebrews chapter 4 verse 16, where it says, "Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." We're told as believers in Jesus, we're told, come boldly, come confidently to God when you have a sin to confess. And you're not coming confidently because you're like, my sin wasn't that bad. Your sin was worse than you think it is, that's always true of us. However bad you think your sin was, it was worse. The question is not, was my sin that bad? The question is, is God that forgiving? And you go with boldness because you know just how loving and forgiving the father is and you're confident you're going to get grace and mercy when you go to him. God is an anxious, eager forgiver.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:46] But we not only get that in this passage, but we also get these two statements about God not only reconciling us to himself, but God making us his messengers, so you see that, the whole idea of he gave us the ministry of reconciliation. And at the end of verse 19, he's committed to us the message of reconciliation. And this would have been especially true for Paul and Timothy, who are the authors of this letter, but this is true in a wider sense of all believers. We have been given not only the joy of knowing that we belong to God's family, but we have been given the task of spreading this message to others.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:28] And that's why we get verse 20. Verse 20 says, "We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors. We go forward in his name, and he explains it, he says, "As though God were making his appeal through us." And so God wants everybody to hear this message, and he's going to get the message out through us. He says, "We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God." We not only have the privilege of being sons and daughters in the family of God, we have the privilege of being given the message to spread to others. Which, by the way, means this, it means we don't go to others with a message that says, here's what you need to do for God, we go to others with a message that says, here's what God did for you. The message that says, come to God by his pure grace, come to God in desperate faith, offering him nothing but yourself, because God is the one who makes the reconciliation happen.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:24] I love the video earlier with Dane and Stef just sharing some of their story. And one of the things I love about Dane and Stef is I feel like every week that I talk to you guys, whether it's between services or after the second service, almost every Sunday there's somebody that they're like, hey, come over here, here's this new person that we just invited. What they talked about in the video, that is their lives. Here's somebody new that I invited here, somebody from the gym. You can tell it's from the gym, you can just look at Dane and be like, that guy spends time in the gym. But they're always doing that, they always have this eye open, wanting to be ambassadors for Christ, wanting more people to be reconciled to God, and that's part of our calling. As we see God show off His glory through our frailty, we not only live in the enjoyment of the fact that we can unburden ourselves of anything that's weighing us down, but that we can also walk forward in the joy of telling other people that they can be reconciled to God, and it's because God makes it happen.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:25] Now, there's one last movement in this passage, and it's verse 21, and that's where we get to the question, what. The question if this was going to happen, what did the reconciliation cost because there's always a cost? And verse 21 tells us the cost. Verse 21 says, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us." Now, follow on this, God made him who had no sin. Who's that? All right, that's Jesus. Good job you're following. Jesus is the sinless Son of God. God made Jesus who had no sin to be sin for us. Jesus, the sinless Son of God, was treated not only, and follow this, he wasn't simply treated as if he was a sinner, he was treated as if he was sin, he was treated as if he was sin itself. And when he was sacrificed on the cross, he paid the price for the sins of every person who would ever put their faith in Jesus, he died for the sins of the world through his sacrifice. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us."

Dan Franklin: [00:28:46] Quick side note, when reconciliation happens, a price is always paid, but it's usually paid by the offender. Like if there needs to be reconciliation, for example, if there needs to be reconciliation in a marriage and one of the partners with the husband or the wife has been unfaithful, usually, they pay the cost for reconciliation. And what I mean is not that they pay a monetary cost, but they pay the costs through apologies or through promises or through doing hard work to make the reconciliation happen, it's usually the offender who has the work to do. Not when it comes to God, we were the offenders, and he paid the cost through his son. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us."

Dan Franklin: [00:29:32] And then look at the second half, the second half of this verse we might just skip, but it's just as important, "So that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Jesus not only died a sacrificial death, Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. And so there's a trade that goes on here, and the trade is this, Jesus gets all the punishment that we deserve, and we get all the reward that he deserves. Think of it this way, think if you were in a classroom and there were two kids who stood out in this classroom. One of them was the A student, and, man, he aced everything the entire year, turned in all the assignments, always got things right, did every bit of extra credit, you know, was in line for a citizenship award, and all of that, student of the year, valedictorian. And then you had another student who had never turned in an assignment all year and had been disruptive in class every day. And the A student goes to the F student and says, we're going to switch places and I want him to get all the rewards that are coming to me, and I'll take all of the consequences that are coming to him. That's sort of like what Jesus did, except we weren't facing summer school, we were facing hell. And Jesus didn't just deserve a valedictorian award, Jesus deserved all of the riches of an inheritance in heaven. Think of the trade that has happened here and think of the cost that was paid. We all like to pretend that we don't do this, but when somebody gets you a gift, you do sort of judge how much they care about you based on how much they spent. Let's just admit it, that says something about somebody, and it's okay if that says something about somebody to you.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:27] Listen to what Paul said in another one of the letters he wrote, Romans chapter 8, verse 32, I love this verse, "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" In other words, here's what Paul is saying, if God gave you Jesus, if God was willing to pay the price of the life of his beloved son, do you think later on he's going to hold out on you? Do you think later on he's going to say, no, no, no, that's too much, I can't give you the wisdom for that situation, I can't give you the forgiveness for that sin, I can't give you the strength for that trial, I can't? He will never hold out on you because he's already paid the ultimate price. How will the God who gave his son, not along with him, freely give us all things? God loves to show the world his glory through the frailty of his servants. He loves to show off how great and how gracious he is through all of us and all of our weaknesses. And we get a passage here that points us towards the idea that what God loves to do, and how God loves to show this off, is that he loves to take lost, broken, guilty sinners and turn them into forgiven, renewed, precious children. This is what God loves to do, and this is how he shows off his glory, in our frailty.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:05] Here's the deal, I don't know where everybody is at this morning, but I believe wherever you're at, there's some way that God wants to speak to us through this passage. And honestly, for some of you, it may just be the simple idea that you need to be reconciled to God. That just because you're at a church, does not mean that you have ever placed your faith in Jesus, and right now you are estranged from God, but you don't have to leave here this way because God paid every bit of the price to bring you into his family. And today what you may need is simply to place your faith in Jesus and be reconciled to God. For some of you, what you need today may be to walk in the reality of that new creation that God's brought about, that you're looking at this and it's sort of like, yeah, we're married, but we're not acting like it. You're like, I'm new, but I'm not acting like it. I'm new, but I'm not enjoying the newness of the closeness with Jesus, and I want to walk in that newness through the Holy Spirit. For some of you, what you're needing is just this, and this is going to be a big one for a lot of you, for some of you, what you're needing is that there are still burdens and there's still guilt that you're carrying around and you are not enjoying the reality that you are forgiven of everything. I believe right now in this room, there's some of you that you heard that you've heard that said, but Satan is hard at work saying it doesn't apply to you, if God knew what you did, you'd be the exception for that verse. For some of you, what you desperately need right now is to live in the grace and the reality that there is no sin and no guilt and no burden that you can't bring before God that isn't already covered by the cross of Jesus, and that you get to boldly expect his forgiveness every time you go to him. And for some of you, maybe what you need is, you just need the strength and resolve from God to be that ambassador that he's called you to do. But here's the deal, whatever God is calling you to do, I know the next step for every single one of us. The next step for every single one of us is to turn all of our attention to God through Jesus and lose ourselves in Him.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:12] And I'll just tell you, on Thursday, when we were talking about this, we decided to change the service and we said we want to do the music afterward because we want the very first thing that we do after this message to turn all of our focus, all of our hearts, all of our attention to God. For some of you, that's going to be an explosion of praise. For some of you, that's just going to be a sobering, calm reality. For some of you, it's going to be a desperate cry for hope. I'm going to be back up here at the end of the service just to give some thoughts as we wrap up this series, but here's what we get to do now. Sometimes when we get ready for a time of worship, I think that there's a part of us that says, all right, forget everything else that you've been thinking about and just focus on God. But what I want to tell you right now is don't set aside anything that you've been thinking about. If right now you're like, I have this guilt, I have this garbage, I have this trouble, I have this trial, bring all of that to God in this time of worship. When you're crying out for hope, be thinking about the thing that you're hopeless about. When you're praising him for his love, be thinking about the ways that you're unworthy and allow God to bring His grace and His hope into all of the baggage that we're bringing to him right now.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:25] I'm going to ask you to stand and I'm going to pray for us as we move into this time right now. Father, thank you so much that you have paid the price in full to reconcile us to yourself. Thank you, that we have hope through Jesus. Thank you, that none of our sins count against us. Father, speak to us now, speak your grace, speak your power, speak your hope over us, as we look to turn to you and honor you with praise. May you get the glory, and may we get the help and all of our frailty as we turn to you now in the name of our Savior, Jesus. Amen.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848