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Friday, November 25, 2022
This stone farmhouse from the 1800's is along the Donegal Creek trail that starts right across the road from our house. For years the landscape was filled with grazing sheep but the owners passed away in recent years and the current tenants are now raising livestock.
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Message summary: The atoning death of Christ on the cross is the supreme demonstration of God's love resulting in our reconciliation to God. Today we consider the phrase "much more" in regard to this act of mercy.
Listen to our message on your audio player.
"Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation" (Romans 5:9-11).
In Wednesday's message we shared a photo of a missionary named Goforth, which struck me as a descriptive name for a missionary, like having your job description in your name!
Upon posting this photo Brooksyne pointed out that we have a missionary couple in our church with another descriptive last name, Muchmore. Yesterday at our Thanksgiving service Dave Muchmore came to the microphone and gave a testimony. The Muchmores have served in Haiti for many years and now are training others for missionary work.
Much more might be a good theme to consider after the day of abundance and indulgence many of us experienced yesterday with a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Most had much more than was needed for sustenance. It also fits today, "Black Friday" when retailers want us to spend much more than we should!
His name prompted me to consider the phrase "much more" in Scripture. It is used 37 times, the first being a wonderful response to an offering requested by Moses when the people brought in "much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do” (Exodus 36:5). This was followed by, "So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, 'Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.' So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more" (Exodus 36:6,7).
However, today I am drawn to Romans 5 where the phrase "much more" is used 4 times in regard to the sufficiency of Christ in meeting our need for reconciliation with God.
Hardly a day goes by that we don't personally observe the need for reconciliation in marriages, with family members, co-workers, business associates, friends as well as with other believers. Above all, each one of us has the need for reconciliation with God.
We have heard people say, "Find out what God is doing", as if He's always changing and doing something different! People will flock to conferences, buy books or DVDs and participate in whatever program or seminar is currently hyped to find out what God is doing.
But God is doing what He has been doing since the original transgression of Adam and Eve. He is reconciling the world to Himself through Christ. Specific methods change but the overall plan; His mission remains the same. "All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:18).
The word "reconcile" comes from the Latin and means to "bring a person again into friendly relations with another after an estrangement". Reconciliation describes the change from a state of enmity between persons to one of friendship. It pictures the reestablishment of an interrupted or broken relationship.
Henry Blackaby writes,
"Sin breaks our relationship with God; it severs relationships with others as well. Broken relationships are the epidemic of our day. Sin alienates family members, separates friends, divides churches, and destroys marriages. Sin creates mistrust, jealousy, hatred, and greed, all of which devastate relationships. Only Christ has the remedy for the disastrous effect of sin on human relationships. As His ambassadors, we are to take the message of reconciliation to a broken, divided world. We urge reconciliation first with God, and then with each other."
Reconciliation produces restoration of a relationship of peace which had been broken between God and man in the garden of Eden. Sinful man is reconciled to God in that his attitude of enmity toward God is changed to one of rejoicing. "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation".
Hear this glorious truth: "We have now received reconciliation"! Rejoice in this truth and pray for opportunities to share it with others! Today all over the world, in large settings and in small, God is using His reconciled children to proclaim the glorious message of reconciliation.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, it is because of the great love of Your Son, Jesus, and His willingness to take our sins upon Himself that we can be reconciled to You. It is the greatest news of all time for all generations. We want to be passionate as Christ's ambassadors since You are making Your appeal through our reaching out to others with the greatest message of all time: "Be reconciled to God." When we were lost, broken, and without hope Christ reconciled us to You who sought us, repaired our broken lives, and gave us eternal hope. Where would we be without Jesus! Thank You for receiving, redeeming, reconciling and restoring us to Yourself, our Creator. Where my sin abounded Your grace did much more abound for which I will be eternally grateful. Amen.
Four times Paul uses the phrase "much more" 4 times in Romans 5. In addition to the two times in our daily Scripture portion in Romans 5:9-11.
"But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many" (v.15).
"For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ" (v.17)
Note: In some versions the phrase is also used in Romans 5:20 as Brooksyne used in the prayer. "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound".
Reconciliation is a vivid word, pointing to the making of peace after a quarrel. It describes the bringing together again people who have been estranged and describes the state of those who have been restored to friendship. In the New Testament it refers, of course, to God's reconciling of the world to Himself through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Thayer describes it as "the restoration of the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ".
Pastor R. Kent Hughes comments, "The ministry of reconciliation is not telling people to make peace with God, but telling them that God has made peace with the world. The gospel is not good advice, but good news."
Warren Wiersbe sums it up, "Totally apart from Law, and purely by grace, we have a salvation that takes care of the past, the present, and the future. Christ died for us; Christ lives for us; Christ is coming for us! Hallelujah, what a Savior!"
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Reconciliation Song" Video People and Songs
"His Mercy Is More" Video Shane & Shane:
"Saved My Soul" Video CityAlight
Growing up cranberry sauce in both of our homes was always the jiggly, jelly-like variety that came in a can with the distinctive can ridges still visible when you poured out the entire contents. How many of you have that child memory?
For many years, especially since living in New England, Brooksyne has made her own cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries, celery, an orange, crushed pineapple, pecans, raspberry jello, etc. which we both prefer. (See photo)
However, my brother Pat always insists on having the kind Mom served us as children whenever we have dinner with his family.
Well Ocean Spray now has one of the funniest ads regarding their jiggly product! Video
Brooksyne's sauce includes celery, orange, pineapple, pecans, and raspberry jello
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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