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Description: God has called us to be ministers of reconciliation to this world-we are to treat unbelievers as new creations in Christ
Covenant Service: Ministers of Reconciliation
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
And will you take a Bible please and turn to 2 Corinthians piece that we know well, but it is part
of what I think God wants to say to us this morning. 2 Corinthians 5:16, “From now on, therefore,
we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point
of view, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ
reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was
reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us
the message of reconciliation.
So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of
Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we
might become the righteousness of God.” May God help us to do that in our lives, amen.
Get a Bible please and turn to Ephesians and we’re together at last on verse 14. Ephesians 3:14,
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is
named,” and some of the manuscripts have a Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, “For this reason I bow
my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom every family in heaven and on earth
is named,” and that’s the Simpsons, and everybody, and all the families that we know, all the
strangest people in the world.
The ones that are furthest in our minds away from God. Every family and in heaven and on earth is
named from God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And we know in what a real way that is true,
because Jesus is the one in whom all things were created, and in whom all things hold together. So
you and I know that even the person who is furthest from God in our minds and in their own minds if
you could think of that person, we can all think of certain people that seem miles away from any
kind of religion, that person holds together in Jesus, Jesus holds that person together.
And that’s why I wanted you to read that 2 Corinthians 5, “from now on, we regard no one from a
human point of view,” and that’s actually our contribution. We think our contribution is we’ve said
it before, somehow getting them into conversation about God. Somehow getting them to read “Mere
Christianity”, I’m not saying those are bad things, but we have tended to think that’s our main
task, our main task is to regard them no longer from a human point of view but to see them as people
in whom Jesus lives, and people who are held together by Jesus. They don’t see themselves that way.
Nobody else sees them that way, you’re the only one who can have faith, and you’re the only one who
can see them as they really are, that’s our contribution. That’s why he says, Paul say’s, “For this
reason, I bow my knees to the Father,” that’s the best thing we can do. Actually it’s about the
only thing that we can do, to bow our knees before the Father from whom every family on earth is
named and to see them in Jesus, in reality.
Please I urge you not to try to imagine them, not to play games, not to practice the power of
positive thinking, not to say what the little guy said, “What is faith?” you know it’s believing
what you know isn’t true. Not having that attitude, not having the attitude well I know they
haven’t a clue about God, they have no interest in him, but let me see I’ll try to see them in
Jesus. No, no, either God’s word is true, or it’s not true.
If it is true then they are in Christ, and Christ is holding them together, and that’s reality.
They don’t know that, they don’t believe that, they’re not living in the benefits of it, but that is
reality according to God’s word, Jesus has died for all, therefore all have died. And we know that
if we’ve died with Christ then we’ll be raised up with him, and we know that if anyone is in Christ
he a new creation and they are in Christ because they were created in Christ, and they hold together
in Christ. So there’s no way you can get out of the sheer simple fact that when your thinking of
anyone else in this earth your thinking of someone who is in Jesus, and whose sins Jesus is bearing
at that very moment, and who is being held by it, together by him, and is being kept alive by the
All we can do, all, the greatest thing we can do is to see them as they really and truly are. To
see them as they are. I thought of that as usual late one night, or early one morning and I thought
so then they’re coming at you with a gun, and you keep saying, “I believe in Jesus, I believe they
are in Jesus, I believe they are in Jesus.” No, no, they may not believe in Jesus, but they might
not be acting in reality, so no you do the sensible thing. Sure you’re not stupid, we’re not
playing games. There are times when you to have to look after your money, yeah. You don’t go on
and say, “This guy’s a robber, he’ll take all my money but I have to believe as in Jesus,” no. He
doesn’t believe that so he may not act according to that, it’s not a game, you see.
I think we often think it’s a game, I think we often think it’s some kind of game where well if we
treat them, you know, as if their different from what they are, then they’ll be, no they may not be.
That’s not the issue, the issue is that they are in Christ, and you have to see them assuredly in
Christ. You have not to be stupid in your practical everyday life. You know fine well that they
may not believe that and they may not act in accordance with that and even God himself cannot force
them to. And he cannot force upon them grace that they will not receive, and he cannot, he cannot
deliver you from things that he would have to overrule their wills in order to do. No, but in your
heart and in your mind and in your whole attitude to them and most of all for this cause I bow my
knees before the Father.
That’s the place where you see them as they are, that’s the place where you think of them before God
and you see them in Jesus, and you see God as having his arms around about them, and you see them
there in the presence of God. That’s praying and that’s having faith for them, and that God is able
to bless to them. I don’t know if you’ve got what kind of theory you have for Jesus intersession,
but obviously Jesus intercedes before the Father for all of us, for all the saints, and for all
people. Jesus is interceding at this moment before the Father, but his intersession seems to only
have power on earth when he in somebody in this world is able to exercise their free will alongside
his and his Fathers will.
And when those two things come together then there is power of the Spirit that works to bring
revelation in the other person. But some will here, and of course we’re talking about our wills,
some will here has to exercise itself right alongside the will of Christ, and the will of his
Father, and then the Father is able to manifest reality and manifest it vividly to that person. So
the only thing we can really do is for this cause I bow my knees before the Father, but you know
that you and I have a tendency to say, “Oh yeah, yeah well the only thing we can do is pray, you
know, that’s about it. That’s about all we can do for that person, pray, and that’s our attitude.
Prayer is kind of okay, you’re really better if you can witness to them, you’re really better if you
can get them to read the right book but, you know, if can’t do any of those things then you better
pray for them. Paul puts it all the other way around he says, “For this cause I preach to you for
this reason I travel miles to see you, for this reason I write all kinds of letters to you,” No, he
says for this reason I bow my knees before the Father, it’s the greatest thing you can do, because
no one else is exercising the faith of Christ for them. No one else is seeing them as they really
And of course you have some idea of the power of that when you think of the difference between your
quiet time before God and the chaos out on the freeway when you’re going only 65 miles an hour, but
when you’re driving fast, or when you’re in the midst of a crowd in a restaurant or a coffee shop,
you know the difference, huge difference between the quietness in God’s presence and the chaos out
there. And what you’re doing when you bow your knees before the Father is seeing things as they
really are, and in some way God’s Spirit uses that to build up reality around that person.
It may only be a moment, for a moment that they see the reality but God uses that to build up
reality and things as they really are around that person. No other time do they see anything
verging on reality, and you know that of course, you know that most of the people we know they don’t
see themselves in Christ, they would laugh at it. That’s the point that Satan brings about in this
world, he has brought them to the place where the actual reality, things as they really are most of
the world laughs at, and thinks in Christ I don’t care about Christ I am not in Christ, I’d be the
last one to be anywhere near God, I’m so different, I’m so poor, I’m so pathetic.
So people don’t see reality as it is, and so when you bow your knees before the Father and you see
them, yeah, yeah, don’t have to pray a whole lot of things for them, you know we really wear
ourselves out often praying for all the things that we think they need. We don’t need to wear
ourselves out with all kinds of little prayers we just need to see them, think of them in Jesus, and
think of the way Jesus thinks of them, and the way God thinks of them, think of reality that’s it.
You don’t have to even imagine all kinds of things, the streets of gold and the New Jerusalem, you
just have to think of things, think as they really are. Now wait a minute, start with somebody you
know, your dad, so my dad is held together by Jesus everything in him, every little atom of his body
is held together in Jesus, and Lord Jesus you see him and your eyes are upon him, and you know him.
And dear Father, you, you have him in your arms, you have loved him from the very beginning, you
just think of the person and you think of your dear Father, and your dear savior, and you bow your
knees before the Father, and you are probably the only person seeing that one that your praying for
as they really are.
And that’s what we have to do, and that’s why God has said also in that verse, that we are ministers
of reconciliation, and not just that we’re beseeching you as Paul says, be reconciled to God,
because in fact of course that’s what we’re really doing when we say to a person in the store,
“Well, you know, there’s somebody in charge of this besides us thank goodness,” and they say, “Oh
yes, Blair.” Well yeah, but there’s somebody even better than him, you know, I mean there is
somebody up there, some people call him the person up there but he’s there and he’s holding the
thing together otherwise you know it would have blown it apart.
And they say, “Yeah, yeah there must be somebody.” That’s beginning to be reconciled to God, that’s
beginning to say, “I beseech you, be reconciled to God.” That’s the beginning of saying, “Well you
know there is someone who cares about you.” And you need to get together with him, and bit by bit
you can move on into that kind of thing, but that’s what God has called us to, to be ministers of
reconciliation, to be people who say, “You know our Father has made all things right, and he has
actually foresaw all that would happen to you. And he has it all organized, you know if our
computers can do it you bet you that the creator of the world can do it. And he does, and really
everything is ready we only need to agree to it, and need to see that it’s true and it will begin to
be real in our lives,” that’s being reconciled to God.
We have to beseech them in every way we can to be reconciled to God, but that the love that they
sense I would say even in the fellow, you remember, that ran the drug ministry in New York, David
Wilkerson. I would say that’s what got over to the little guy that he first met, you remember, when
he said, “Jesus loves you.” I would say the little guy wasn’t just impressed with it, “Oh Jesus
loves, oh so I’ll start,” he was cutting the button of his coat I believe at that moment. Oh I’ll
stop threatening you with my knife, he knew that was something true and real behind that because
Wilkerson was before the Father on his knees, and so those words came home as truth and reality to
the fellow, who was it? Nick Cruz, yes, it came home to Cruz as reality not because of the words
spoken by Wilkerson up in some ally in New York, but because of the prayers that Wilkerson had
prayed not necessarily just for Cruz but for the people that he was, that he knew he would meet on
the streets of New York as he stopped you remember.
He stopped watching television and started to go to New York and visit the back allies and so forth.
And it comes from being before the Father on your knees in prayer. Then the customer knows that
you’re not just throwing off a couple of quick comments. They know this person has actually thought
about me, they’ve thought about me. So that’s why the greatest thing, indeed really the only thing
we can do is for this cause I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family and every nation
on earth has been named, that God owns them all. They all belong to him, they all kept alive from
him, and he wants us to see them in reality.
So that’s what it is, it’s very easy, it’s just seeing people as they really are. It’s not playing
games, it’s not playing tricks with your imagination, it’s not doing all kinds of trickery in verbal
witnessing, its seeing things as they are and treating people as they really are. And of course
that does obviously mean seeing them better then they appear at this present moment, but not seeing
them better than they really are in Jesus, seeing them just as they are in Jesus.
So that’s what we’re about and that’s what we’re about in the websites, in the newsletter, and the
scanning of the books, and all that we do. We’re actually endeavoring to keep our eyes on reality
to see it plainly and clearly whether we’re with people, or whether we’re on our own in our room
before Jesus. To keep seeing that, that is faith, and faith is what changes things. That is faith
is what brings eternity to earth and manifests what is, has already happened in Jesus here in the
temporal life that we have here, let us pray.
Dear Lord, thank you for such clear reality in which you’ve called us to live, and thank you Lord
that we can now make our covenant with you to live in this truth everyday of this coming year, and
we know Lord that you will bring about the results from that that glorify you in Jesus name, amen.
Let’s stand loved ones, as we begin the covenant service. And now beloved let us bind ourselves
with willing bonds to our covenant God and take the yoke of Christ upon us, this taking of his yoke
upon us means that we are heartily content that he appoint us our place and work, and that he alone
be our reward. Christ has many services to be done, some are easy, others are difficult, some bring
honor others bring reproach, some are suitable to our natural inclinations and temporal interests
others are contrary to both. In some we make please Christ and please ourselves, in others we
cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves, yet the power to do all these things is assuredly
given us in Christ who strengthenth us. Therefore let us make the covenant of God our own, let us
engage our heart to the Lord, and resolve in his strength never to go back, being thus prepared let
us now in sincere dependence on his grace, and trusting in his promises yield ourselves anew to him.
Let us repeat together, I am no longer my own, but thine, put me to what thy wilt, rank me with whom
thy wilt, put me to doing, put me to suffering, let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee.
Exalted for thee, or brought low for thee, let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things,
let me have nothing. I freely and heartedly yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal, and now
oh glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine so be it,
and the covenant which I have made on earth let it be ratified in heaven, amen. Let us be seated as