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God's Gospel Appeal

2Corinthians: Paul Most Underappreciated Epistle

Apr 14, 2019

by: Jack Lash Series: 2Corinthians: Paul Most Underappreciated Epistle | Category: NT books | Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:20–5:20
  1. Introduction
    A. 2Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
     B. Three points
    II.  We are ambassadors for Christ. 
     A. As ambassadors of Christ, we represent Him here – by the way we speak and by the way we live. And we represent His interests. We act on behalf of the King.
     B. Being ambassadors means we live in a foreign land. America is not our homeland. This world is not our home. We belong to a different nation. We’re placed here on a mission – on behalf of our King. 
     C. It’s an honor to be an ambassador! The Lord has chosen to use such weak and earthen vessels to represent Him in this world, and to carry forth such a precious treasure as the gospel of His Son. 
     D. As ambassadors, we need to cooperate with Him, and be faithful channels of His appeal to others. We need to speak with boldness and great love, as one sent by Him and speaking in His name. 
     E. An all-absorbing job, not just 40 hours per week
      1. You’re never off-duty. You represent your country 24-7.
      2. And there’s no retirement from this job. Until He calls us home we are to represent Him here.
      3. You see, it’s not just a job. It can’t be a local. It has to be someone who belongs to his country and who loves his country very deeply. 
      4. The ambassador visiting Michelle – A corporate executive or scientist wouldn’t have done that. 
     F. Being Christ’s ambassadors means our homes are not our homes. They’re Christ’s embassies. (Rosaria Butterfield)
    III.  God is making his appeal through us.
     A. As ambassadors, we deliver the message he has commissioned us to deliver, the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a message of reconciliation, a call to surrender to the King, an appeal to stop resisting the Lord and come to Him. 
     B. Being an ambassador of Christ means (amazingly!) that God Himself makes His appeal to others through us. We urge others to make their peace with God (whether believers or non-believers), and in doing so, it is God Himself who is appealing to them through us. 
     C. We are His mouthpieces, His spokesmen.
     D. This is one of the greatest challenges for a preacher. It’s one thing to teach what the Bible says. But the job is more than that. The job is to speak to people on behalf of the Lord. 
      1. "Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God." (1Pet.4:11) 
     E. Now of course this can be done obnoxiously by those who "speak for God" and insert themselves into other people’s lives in arrogance and cockiness. But we’re not talking about telling people anything other than how they can be reconciled to God through Christ. That’s the content of our message. And the tone of our message is not one of ordering around but one of appealing and begging on behalf of Christ.
     F. We need to not only communicate the message of Christ, but to reflect the attitude of Christ. 
     G. We appeal because He is appealing. We call hem because He is calling them. We invite them because He is inviting them. 
     H. Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
      1. He sent the prophets to plead with them. But what was the Lord’s heart behind the prophets’ plea?
       a. The Lord longed to gather His people to Himself. Like a mother hen gathers her little brood of chicks, the Lord wanted to gather His little ones to be near Him. 
       b. But they wouldn’t come. They were not willing. They said no to the Lord’s invitation. They even stoned God’s messengers.
      2. But the prophets job was not to be safe. It was not to protect himself. It was to deliver the Lord’s message in the Lord’s way. 
    IV. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 
     A. Our message, our appeal to others is to be reconciled to God through Christ. 
     B. James 4:8 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
     C. It’s astonishing that we have a God who implores us to come to Him! 
     D. He could justly say, “Depart from Me!” And He will eventually say that to those who refuse Him.
     E. But today to us He amazingly implores us to come to Him. 
      1. And because of this, in His name, we implore others.
    V. And so listen now as I – in His name – implore you. And I implore ALL of you. 
     A. The church is a mixed bag: In any church there’s a significant number who have no true faith.
      1. It’s especially hard regarding those who grow up in the church. 
       a. My brother and I have spent our lives having our family members roll their eyes at us because we’re Christians. They put up with us, but they don’t take us into their hearts. 
       b. But when you grow up in a Christian home, the opposite is true. It’s easy to say you’re a Christian. It’s hard to say you’re not. It’s much easier just to go along with it while you’re still at home.
       c. That’s why it’s hard to tell if a person has true faith until they live that faith on their own. 
      2. But even those who truly know Christ need to be appealed to. This was written to Christians. 
       a. We all need to be reconciled to Christ everyday. 
       b. We drift away. We go astray. We sin and rebel. We forget how much we need Him. We think we’re OK on our own. Sadly, I’m not unfamiliar with this myself. Even as a pastor, I wander from Him. I have a list of sins I confess. One of them is my Christlessness. 
     B. But Christ extends His hands to us and calls to us: Come to Me! 
      1. Isaiah 55:1–3a “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live.”
      2. “Come, ...come to the waters; ...come... and eat! Come, me, and eat (of me), delight yourselves in (Me). Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live.”
     C. Will you come? Most folks won’t, you know.
      1. Romans 10:21 “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
     D. Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
      1. He’s knocking! This is God’s attitude toward us. He wants to gather us to Himself. 
      2. Have you been ignoring the knocking? Has the knocking been a bother to you? 
      3. It’s time to open the door. 
     E. David in Psalm 32 — When he was refusing to return to the Lord, “my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” (3-4) 
      1. But when he finally opened heart to the Lord, it was wonderful: “You forgave the iniquity of my sin...You are a hiding place for me...You surround me with shouts of deliverance.” (Ps.32:.5, 7)
      2. “Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.” – v.9
     F. Have you ever given your life to Christ? 
      1. Have you ever said, Lord, I have nowhere else to go, and no one else to turn to. 
      2. I’m not worthy, Lord, but I desperately need You. Lord, You have been so good to me, and I’ve enjoyed Your many gifts, but never have I enjoyed you, the Giver. 
      3. It took a while before the prodigal son came to grips with his need for his father. He had to run out of money; he had to come to the end of himself, he had to hit bottom.
       a. And that’s the way it is with a lot of people. As long as they still have a few shekels in their pocket to invest in worldly pleasures, they’re not ready to come to the Lord. 
       b. And even when they’ve run out of shekels, their stubborn pride still holds them back from returning to their father, until they’re starving. 
       c. But the fact is, they were already starving. They just didn’t know it. 
      4. And if you have given your life to Jesus, when is he last time you came to Him like a chick comes to the mother hen? When is the last time you hid yourself under the shadow of His wing? 
     G. He invites everyone! He even holds out His hands to those who are stubborn & stiff-necked – like you and me. (Romans 10:21) But He doesn’t accept everyone. 
      1. He receives those who want Him, those who fear Him, those who know they need Him. 
      2. He doesn’t accept those who think He is boring. “This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” – Is.66:2
      3. He doesn’t welcome those who think they are already rich and need nothing. He doesn’t help those who don’t realize that they are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (Rev.3:17) 
      4. Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
       a. He only calls those who are weary and burdened. He doesn’t call those who think they’re fine.
       b. In Rev.3:17 He mocks them as saying, “I am rich. I have prospered. There is nothing I need.”
       c. But then in the next verse He urges them again to come, to come to Him for their treasure, to come to Him for their clothing to cover up their sin & shame, to come to Him for the healing of their eyes, that they might truly see. – Revelation 3:18 
     H. In Luke 14:16–24 Jesus tells us about “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ ”
      1. We are sent out by our Master to urge people to come to His banquet. 
      2. Some are offended by our urging. But our Lord Jesus demands it. 
      3. And love demands it. If people are starving and we know where the food is, love demands that we tell people and urge them to come.
      4. And so right now in His name I call to you to come to Jesus, come to His great feast of grace. 
     I. Sometimes people come to a wedding or to a birthday party without really knowing the person(s).
      1. They may enjoy the party, but they’re not really a part of the celebration. It’s not personal to them.
      2. It doesn’t really matter to them whose party this is or whose wedding. It’s just a party/wedding.
      3. That’s the way church is for some of you. 
      4. But now I’m calling you to come to Jesus. You’ve come to His party, now come to Him.
      5. He’s knocking. Open the door!
     J. Don’t take His invitation lightly! Many say, “I’ll deal with it later!”
      1. V.24 makes it clear that those who refuse the invitation will not partake of the banquet.
      2. But as it says in 2Cor.6:2 “Now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 
      3. Don’t be like the foolish virgins who waited, and the door was shut on them. (Matt.25:10)