Sermon by Dr. E. Dale Locke
Series: Beautiful, Week 4 – “Our Divine Assignment”
- The Community of Hope mission is to: “interest disinterested people in Jesus Christ and grow together into fully devoted followers of Him.” Think of someone you know well, who is disinterested in (and perhaps even very negative about) the Christian faith. Tell your group about the factors that caused them to be that way.
2. Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, and talk about what you notice out of this passage.
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 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. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
- Pastor Dale said that Paul isn’t speaking here as a “salesperson,” but rather, he is speaking as a “satisfied customer.” Explain the difference between being a “salesperson” and a “satisfied customer” when it comes to the way we share our faith.
- In this passage, the Apostle Paul extends four invitations. The first invitation is to see ourselves differently. In verse 17, Paul writes that anyone who is “in Christ” is a “new creation.” However, most of us still do things we don’t want to do that cause us to be disappointed in ourselves. How can we “live into” the newness that Christ wants to give us? How do we actually experience what it means to be a “new creation”?
- Because of God’s grace and His love for us just as we are, we can love ourselves – no matter how we have lived in the past. But Pastor Dale cautioned about being satisfied with ourselves in a way that makes God’s grace “cheap”. What did he mean by that?
- Christ-followers should be improving and becoming more like Christ. Tell about one way that you’re currently seeking to change, through Christ’s power.
- Paul also invites us to see others differently. In verse 16, Paul says that we no longer regard others “from a worldly point of view”. What did Paul mean by that? How will our relationship with Jesus Christ cause us to see others differently?
- Paul invites us to see Jesus differently. As we get to know the real Jesus, it will change how we treat others. Talk about some qualities and teachings of Jesus that have impacted how you treat other people.
- Finally, Paul invites us to see our lives differently,because God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. What are some ways that we can we be reconcilers in our families, community, workplace and world?
- Many of us will spend time over the holidays with family members who are difficult to be around. How can an awareness of your “ministry of reconciliation” change the way you handle that situation?
- Think about someone who helped you come to faith in Christ. In what ways did they live out this idea of “a ministry of reconciliation”?