Coney Hill Baptist Church

Demonstrating God’s Love Together

Be Reconciled

Intro:

Any communion service is a symbolic occasion, one that resonates in many different ways, but it’s also, as we often say, an opportunity to encounter God afresh, in a place he has designated. 

Communion can, of course, become routine, even if we do our best to keep it special – its very sacredness can obscure its true meaning.   Recently we’ve been challenged again by the centrality of this table, in a way that has created a tension between casual, common, friendly simplicity and awesome, focussed, sacred worship.

At its heart though, this meal, like many meals, is about relationships.  The quality of the table, like with our Christmas lunches, is not defined by the extravagance of the food, but by the depth of the love evident in the participants.

And so a communion table always provides the chance to renew relationships, and to reflect again on one of the central meanings of this table.  We are going to use it today to kick start a whole series of weeks, thinking about that key component of the gospel – what it says about relationship. There’s no better place to do this than 2 Corinthians 5…

Paul’s explanation of the gospel here is rooted in emotion, he appeals to conscience (v11), he talks critically of those whose pride is in what is seen rather than what is in the heart (v12), he speaks about the compulsion of love (v.14).  All of this is tied to Christ’s death, and so to this table. 

The new-ness that is here (v.17) is a gift, from God (v18) constantly offered in this bread and this wine.  And what’s the key to it? Both the explanation and the consequence – one word; reconciliation – this meal both calls us to remember an act of supreme reconciliation and invites us to engage with the challenge to become reconcilers ourselves. To do one without the other is to miss the point.

 

God is a Reconciling God… (v.18-19)

His initiative (‘…from God’),

His incarnation (‘…in Christ’),

His completion of a universal work (‘…the world’)

 

God’s Calling is a Calling to Reconciliation… (v.18-20)

His gift to us (‘gave us the ministry’)

His challenge to us (‘committed to us the message’)

His status for us (‘Christ’s ambassadors…appeal through us’)

 

God’s Appeal is for Reconciling Action…(v.20-21)   

Be renewed (‘Be reconciled to God…’)

Be Good (‘Become the righteousness of God’)

Look at each other through His eyes…

 

Conc.

That’s why there’s that emphasis on being right with each other when we come to this table.  It’s easily overlooked, yet, if we don’t take it seriously we will not only get nothing out of this service, we hold the entire gospel up to ridicule to – for it is the message of reconciliation – for the whole world.