The world we live in is filled with all kinds of broken relationships.
1. What are some broken relationships we see all around us? (Divorce; countries at war; companies suing each other; employer/employee; children and parents; friendships; etc)
The closer the relationship, the greater the hurt if that relationship is broken!
2. Can any broken relationship be fixed?
3. How does the restoring of a once broken relationship change the people who were once at odds with each other?
The restoration of a broken relationship requires at least one of the parties involved to take a step toward the other, offering a solution to the problem.
God created us to relate to one another and to Him. Because of sin, our greatest need is to be reconciled to God. When we get our relationship with God fixed, our relationship with each other will improve as well. Churches that reconcile fractured relationships will be more effective in proclaiming the gospel message!
In our study today, we’ll see that Paul thought deeply about reconciliation and insisted that genuine reconciliation comes only through a right relationship with Jesus!
Read 2 Cor. 5:14-15. These verses leading up to our focal passage emphasize the driving force in Paul’s life and should be the driving force in our life.
Reborn! Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-17
1. Paul explained that we are made different by the Holy Spirit. How should this change cause believers to regard one another? (We no longer look at the flesh or outward appearance of people. He wanted them to look at the heart. Our view should go from temporal to an eternal perspective.)
2. Before Paul’s conversion, how did he view Jesus? (He viewed Jesus as a mere man of flesh and blood, but now he understood who Jesus was and knew Him as the Messiah!)
3. How did Paul explain the transformation process that takes place in believers? (“New creation.” In other passages we are told we will be “born again.” When we accept what Jesus did for us on the cross we become a new creation—new on the inside.)
In this transformation, nothing changes on the outside, but our perspectives, deep prejudices, wills, and love of sin are changed. Only God can make this change!
4. Christ is said to be in believers. Being united with Christ involves both aspects, revealing a complimentary relationship between our being in Christ and Him dwelling in us. What are the benefits of being united with Christ? (We have His power indwelling us, which helps us resist sin as well as empower us to live in right relationship to Him.)
Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus!
Reconciled! Read 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
Some form of the word “reconcile” is used five times in these verses.
1. In your own words, how would you define “reconcile”?
Our author offered this definition: Reconciliation is the restoration of a relationship that has been broken or severed; it is the reunion of parties separated by the consequences of sin or wrong doing.
Note that God initiated reconciliation with humanity, taking all the actions necessary for that reconciliation to happen.
2. How should being reconciled to God serve as motivation for serving Him?
3. What does God initiating the reconciliation with us reveal about how God feels about humanity in general and you in particular?
4. How should the love God demonstrates motivate us to serve Him?
5. If we have accepted Jesus’ offer of reconciliation, according to verse 20 to what position have we been appointed? (Ambassador.)
6. How does being reconciled to God qualify a person to be an ambassador for Christ to a lost world?(Heavenly ambassador.)
7. What responsibilities does an ambassador carry and how do those responsibilities inform believers of God’s expectations for them?
Two definitions for an ambassador include (1) the highest-ranking representative of the president or leader to a specific nation or international organization abroad, or (2) a messenger or representative who tells or reveals truth.
8. How do these definitions help you understand God’s expectations for believers?
9. Whose message does an ambassador share with those he is sent to, his own message or the message from the One who appointed him? (We are sent to be ambassadors to a lost world by the One who loves them with a message of love and acceptance through the blood of His one and only Son.)
Our message is a message of reconciliation as a desperate appeal for people to return to God. The message should also include an explanation about the transformation that takes place in the lives and hearts of those who believe!
Ready! Read 2 Corinthians 6:1-2
1. What warning did Paul extend to the Corinthian believers? (We are called to work alongside of Christ. He also made a strong appeal that they take their position with Christ seriously.)
2. What are some reasons people may give for waiting to accept the gospel? (I don’t believe all that stuff. I’ll do it someday but I’m too busy now. I know too many professed Christians who don’t live like it. Like the King told Paul—some more convenient time. Any old excuse will do.)
Paul reminded the Christians that the time to share the good news of the gospel is now. He also reminded those who heard the good news that now is the time to respond and accept this offer of grace and mercy!
The message of reconciliation with God is too important to overlook or push off for another time.
3. What can a believer do to emphasize to others the urgency for accepting Christ?
Summarize and Challenge!
1. What does this text teach us about the change that takes place in believers? (The Holy Spirit has changed our hearts, giving us new lives and new perspectives of the world. We no longer desire to participate in sinful activities.)
2. How do some people seek to become reconciled with God on their own terms?
3. What actions can we take to help others know that reconciliation with God only comes through faith in Jesus? (Be using the Word of God! See Hebrews 4:12!)
This week, take time to people watch. Your transformation and reconciliation should have changed the way you view others. As an ambassador for God and a coworker with Christ, take time to think about what Christ would say to the people around you.