Today we are praying for the country of Iran. Please help us lift up this nation to the Lord today. You can follow the two links below to learn more about the nation and its unreached people groups. You can watch the video below to help guide you in your prayers.
Please take time to meditate on the sermon or devotion for today as well.
Please pray for the nation of Iran by joining in prayer with the video below.
Today's Devotional Thought
This past Sunday was Easter Sunday. Have you ever considered why Easter Sunday is such a big deal?
The reason so much emphasis is put on Easter Sunday is because it is in the events surrounding this Sunday morning that you and I could find peace with God. All religion has at its core attempting to climb a ladder to heaven…to peace with God. Pray, give, read, memorize, do good, refrain from doing evil, and if you do (or don’t do) enough of the right (or wrong) things you might be acceptable to God. You might go to heaven when you die. But in Jesus Christ, God descended the ladder to earth to live, die, and rise so that we could have perfect peace with God. There may not be a more concise description of what happened than what we see here in 2 Corinthians. Consider Paul’s words to us in 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 6:1 And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain-- 2 for He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.” Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION.”
I have divided the text into 4 major points. Let’s consider them together. The first point I will call the Command. Look at what the Scripture says in verse 20: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."
Our text begins with a command. We beg you…be reconciled to God. Some translations use the word implore or plead. The Greek word literally means to admonish, beg, exhort. In other words, we are begging you to heed this command…be reconciled to God.
Notice who issued this command. We (the Apostle Paul and Timothy who wrote this letter to the church at Corinth), as ambassadors (messengers and representatives of Jesus Christ) issued this command. Let us not forget however that it was God the Holy Spirit who inspired them, breathed out these words through their minds and pens, to the church. We also see God the Father alluded to… “as though God were making an appeal through us!” We see Christ, God the Son, as well…. “we beg you on behalf of Christ.”
Think about what we see in this one verse. Paul, Timothy, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are appealing to us, begging us, to be reconciled to God. Isn’t this amazing! We have God the Father making His appeal by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul and Timothy on behalf of Jesus Christ! There is no doubt that “it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4). How does this make you feel…that God so loves You and desires Your salvation that He would implore you, admonish you, and beg You to be reconciled to Him and be saved?
What does it mean to be reconciled to God? This word reconcile means to make peace…to bring into a right and peaceful relationship. We see this need magnified in Romans 5 as we are described by 4 words: helpless, ungodly, sinners, and enemies. Take the time to look up Romans 5:6-11 and underline those 4 words. As helpless, ungodly sinners under the just wrath of God, his enemies…we are commanded to be reconciled to God. Not…God be reconciled to us. We don’t have a problem with God. God is not the one on trial here. He is not subject to us, or our opinions. We don’t have a problem with God. He has a problem with us! We must be reconciled to Him. John Calvin said, “In some ineffable way, God loved us and yet was angry with us at the same time, until he became reconciled to us in Christ.”
The second point that I see in this text is the hope. Notice verse 21: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
Jesus is describe here as him who knew no sin. Jesus never knew sin. He was, and is equally holy, as the Father. Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Jesus Christ came to this earth, born apart from sin. He lived a sinless life never once falling to the world, the flesh, or the devil. He never knew sin…it was foreign to Him. Now, why did He who knew no sin, come into this sinful world? Paul tells us, to be sin.
Jesus had no concept of sin….no experience with it. And He became sin! He became our sin! Take some time to read Isaiah 53:4-12 and consider how Christ took our sin. He did this for us! On our behalf he knew no sin—imputing righteousness to us. On our behalf he became sin—imputing our judgment and justice to Himself, so that we might become the righteousness of God IN HIM!
Our hope is in Christ! He is the only one capable of reconciling us to the Father. No priest, preacher, or parent can make us right with God: only the Almighty Son of God! We will see the final two points of this message on Thursday. Until then....
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