Creflo Dollar - The Ministry of Reconciliation
This morning if you will go with me to the Book of 2 Corinthians chapter 5. 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17 through 21; 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17 through 21, and I'm going to talk to you about, and I call this "The Ministry of Reconciliation". What is that? You know, you can quote the Scripture, you know where the verse is, but what does this mean? And we want to take some time to really dive into this, really milk this. And I want to relate to you the reconciliation that we have with God versus the reconciliation that we should have with one another, the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 17 he says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ".
Now notice there are no limitations here. If any man be in Christ regardless of his pigmentation. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation," he's a new creature, he is a new specie of being that has never existed before. So if any man be in Christ - the key is, are you in Christ? And now if you're in Christ, you take on a new creation. If you're in Christ, then you're a new specie of being that's never existed before. Praise God. The key is, if you're in Christ. And how do you get in Christ? You get born again. You make Jesus the Lord of your life. And he says what happens is that now that you're in Christ and now that you're born again, old things are passed away; and behold, all things are become new.
So I'm in Christ, old things have passed away, the old man has passed away, but he says that all things become new. So old things have passed and all things have become new when you get in Christ. Next verse, "And all things are of God," when you get in Christ, "who hath reconciled us to himself". How did he do that? By Jesus Christ. So all things are of God, who hath reconciled or restored to friendship. You've got to understand that there was enmity between God and man, and to reconcile God says, "I've got to restore the friendship that God had with man before sin was the reason that destroyed that relationship".
And now there's a cause for reconciliation between God and man. But now you can see where if sin was the cause of this break, of this breach in this relationship, that somehow God's going to have to deal with sin in order to cause reconciliation. He's not going to be able to reconcile if the very thing that broke up the relationship is still there. So he says, "All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ". That's the key, by Jesus Christ. "And hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation".
So a couple of things here. He says he wants to reconcile us, or he has reconciled us to himself. How did he do it? He did it through Jesus Christ. Jesus was the key to God being able to restore this friendship between God and man, and then he has given to every man who has been reconciled the ministry of reconciliation. He said, "To wit, that God was in Christ". Look at the deity here. God was in Christ. What was he doing in Christ? Reconciling the world or restoring the world unto himself. So God here is saying, what he is doing here is he's going to do it for the whole world. He says, "I'm going to make a way available for any man on the planet to be restored to friendship with God through Jesus Christ". "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself".
Now, look at what he did here. "Not imputing their trespasses unto them". So he says, "I'm going to reconcile the world, but I'm not going to charge their sin to their account. I'm not going to charge sin to their account, not imputing their trespasses unto them reconciling the world". "There's only... If I impute, if I charge sin to their account, I won't be able to reconcile the world. If I don't deal with the sin issue, then I won't be able to reconcile the world". So he says, "I'm not going to charge sin to their account. Therefore, I'll be able to cause reconciliation to be available to the world". "And hath committed unto us," watch this, "the word reconciliation".
So again, he says not only was he responsible for reconciling, but he says, "I now commit to you the Word or the ministry of restoration to friendship or the ministry of reconciliation". Now, look at this, verse 20, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ". Now, what's an ambassador? An ambassador is an authorized messenger, an authorized representative. So he's committed to us the word of reconciliation, he's committed to us the ministry of reconciliation, and then he authorizes us as an authorized messenger of reconciliation, the church, those of you who have been born again. "As though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, that you be reconciled to God".
That's the message, be reconciled to God. That's the thing we should be preaching to everybody in the world that's not born again. "Be reconciled to God". That's what you ought to be saying to that unsaved uncle. That's what you ought to be saying to that unsaved friend. "Be reconciled to God". That's what you say to your children. "Be reconciled to God". And then in verse 21, very powerful verse, "For he hath made him to be sin for us". He has made Jesus to be sin for us. Why did he have to do that? "Who knew no sin". So now this talks about not only the deity of Christ, but the sinlessness of Christ. "He has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin". He didn't know any sin, but he was made to be sin for us. He took our sins. He who had no sins, he took our sins. Why? "That we might be made the righteousness of God in him".
Why did we need to be made the righteousness of God and the only way we could be made the righteousness of God was to get in Jesus? What's going on here? I know this is something that we've read over and over and over again, but digging into this, what is really happening here, what is this ministry of reconciliation? Well, 2 Corinthians chapter 5:17, we've read that and we understand that there were great changes. "Behold, all things have become new". The great changes reconciliation brings upon the sinner are changes only the gospel, which I just shared with you, can bring to man.
So there are three specific changes that we see in these verses of Scripture, and I think I want to take some time to show you. What are those changes that come as a result of reconciliation?
The first change, number one, we see a change in devotion. Once a man has been restored back to friendship with God, once a man has been saved, there is a change in devotion. Whatever you were devoted to before, that devotion is going to change. A change in devotion. Your interests will greatly change. A saved person will have interest in spiritual things, and an unsaved person will not have interest in spiritual things. A saved person will have devotion for Christ, and an unsaved person will not. So the change that happens, when you're reconciled with God, your interest will change, your devotion will change. I don't know what you were devoted to before, but once you are reconciled back to God, your devotion is to him, to spiritual things.
The second change that we see, the change of deportment, or the change in deportment, and all that is a change in behavior. A change in deportment. A change of deportment. There will be change in that person's behavior. May not be right away, but you're going to see some right-away changes and then you're going to see the Holy Spirit just changing them from the inside out.
There's going to be a change in deportment. You're going to see change in behavior. When he is saved, when he is reconciled to God, that you're going to see a change in that person's behavior. You understand what I'm saying? When you get born again and you accept Jesus as the Lord and Savior of your life, the Holy Spirit is the agent of change, and he's going to show up in your life and he's going to change your desires on the inside. He's going to change you within. If you begin to recognize who you are, you're going to see change in your life. That's going to be a change. This change will especially be noted if that person was saved in his adult life. You will see a change, the change in deportment.
Number three, you're going to see a change in destiny. This is obvious. When a person gets saved, when a person is reconciled, when a person is restored back to God, this is the greatest and the most important change. It's the eternal destiny of the reconciled soul that is going to now be in heaven. The unreconciled soul is headed for eternity in hell, the reconciled soul is headed for eternity in heaven. So there's a change in destiny. So we see very clearly three very, very clear changes that will happen when you get born again, when you're reconciled to God, when you get saved. Number one, there's a change in devotion; number two, there's a change in deportment or change of behavior; and number three, there's going to be a change in destiny. Just by accepting, be reconciled to God.
Now listen to me carefully. 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 18, "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself," how? "By Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation". Reconciliation is a work of God that can only happen through Jesus Christ. Now, I'm trying to get through your religious ears. I want you to understand. God would not have been able to reconcile with man without Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ in the equation is the only way you and I could be restored back to friendship to God. Why? That's the the answer we're looking for. Reconciliation involves the work of the gospel. Everything about reconciliation all revolves around Christ. Everything about being reconciled back to God, everything about being restored back to friendship after sin in the garden caused enmity between God and man, everything about being restored back to God revolves around Christ. Why? If you leave him out, you will not have any reconciliation.
You know, I just thought, "Well, you know, just God just reconciled with man". But I never thought about the intricate details of what God had to do and why he had to have a Jesus in order to be able to do that. And I'm telling you right now, if it were not for Jesus, he would not be able to restore friendship with mankind. Now, 2 Corinthians chapter 5:19. Pay close attention to what I'm saying 'cause I'm going to get into some heavy stuff, but this is the foundation of where I'm going. 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 19 and 20, God has called the reconciled to be involved in a ministry of reconciliation.
You see in verse 18 that he has given us the ministry of reconciliation. Verse 19, that he has given unto us the word of reconciliation. So God has called us to be involved in the ministry of reconciliation. Everybody that's born again, everybody that's saved, everybody that's had their friendship restored back to God, you have a calling on your life and you have a ministry in your life, and that calling and ministry is the ministry of reconciliation. And now you've got to ask yourself, "Have I been involved in the ministry I've been called to"? You're trying to get into another ministry and that's fine, but God is calling everybody who's been saved, everybody who's been restored, their friendship restored back to God, you are now called into the ministry of reconciliation. "What's that about"?
Well, let's dissect that just for a moment. Let's look at all of the elements that are involved in this calling of the ministry of reconciliation. Let's look at all of the elements that are involved in the ministry of reconciliation. The first thing that we see that's involved is that there are messengers of reconciliation. We've all been called to ministry. So there are messages of reconciliation. And in verse 19 he says, "And hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation". So he hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. And then he also says we are ambassadors for Christ, which I told you an ambassador is a authorized messenger. So you've been authorized as an ambassador to be a messenger of this reconciliation. And only the redeemed, only the reconciled are given a commission to spread this gospel, this good news about we've been restored back to friendship with God.
So there are messengers in this call. Number two, it's the message of reconciliation. What's the message of reconciliation? Well, he says in Scripture, "Be ye reconciled to God". That's the message. "Be reconciled to God". That's the message. "Be reconciled to God". It's not complicated. That's the message when you go on the street. "Be reconciled to God". When you go to jail, "Be reconciled to God". When you have your Thanksgiving dinners with your unsaved relatives, "Be reconciled to God". The great need of man is reconciliation with God. That's the greatest need. The great need to man is, sin created enmity between you and God, and God's figured out a way to restore the friendship. And now that he's been successful in figuring that out, he is saying to every man that's not saved, "Be reconciled to God".
So the message is not heard in a lot of churches today though it is, in my opinion, the only thing that brings salvation to the souls of men. Nothing you do can get you saved. You got to be reconciled to God. To accept that will be to your benefit, to deny that will be to your strong disadvantage. Here's the third element that we see in this calling. In this calling of reconciliation, there is a savior. There is a savior in reconciliation. God was in Christ. Did you notice that in Scripture? God was in Christ. What was he doing in Christ? Reconciling the world unto himself.
So reconciliation or restoration of friendship can only come, watch this, through Jesus Christ. I'm headed somewhere, guys. I'm headed somewhere. The Savior is Jesus. You're going to see that today. "What is this Savior stuff"? The Savior is Jesus. He is the only one by whom man can be reconciled to God. You have to have a savior. We've got to be saved from something in order to be restored back to friendship with God. Jesus is that Savior. He is the only one by whom man can be reconciled to God. This is God's plan. This is God's plan. This is not man's plan, this is God's plan. God was in Christ. His plan was, "I'm going to use Jesus in order to restore a friendship that was broken in the garden". Why?
Here's the next element in reconciliation, the sanctifying that takes place in reconciliation. The word sanctify is the same Greek word for holiness, and it means whole. Somehow God's got to figure out how to make man whole. "He's been infected with sin. We've got to make him whole. I cannot reconcile or restore friendship with man until I can make him whole". So the sanctification that's in reconciliation. You notice what he said? "Not imputing their trespasses unto them". There's only, listen, he cannot reconcile man with the sin that caused the break. He's got to deal with the sin. So he says, "I'm not going to impute their trespasses unto them".
So reconciliation involves the removal of sin from the sinner. In order for man to be reconciled back to God, he's got to remove the sin from the sinner. God cannot be reconciled to man unless sin has been removed from the man. Whoo. He cannot be reconciled to man unless sin has been removed from the man because it's the sin that caused the break. Please get that, all right? Let's go to the next element that you will find in this ministry of reconciliation; the substitute for reconciliation. The substitute. There has to be a substitute for reconciliation. "He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin". The substitute. He has made Jesus to be sin, who knew no sin.
So Christ's death was substitutionary, it was Christ dying instead of man, Christ taking man's sin and going through the death and the punishment and the pain and hell for man's sin. Christ became the substitute. Instead of man, Christ became the substitute. He took upon himself our sins. He paid the price on the Christ that sinners could not pay. It was too expensive, sinners could not pay it. So Jesus paid it. So notice here the sinlessness of Christ. It's taught in this text; who knew no sin. But you see the sinlessness of Christ and the deity of Christ, they are in the reconciliation message. All right, we're there now.
Now take everything I just said to you. Watch this last element, and here we go. The last element here that we find in this ministry, this calling of reconciliation is the sanctity from reconciliation; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, that he has to now make us the righteousness of God, and the only way he can do that is to make us righteous in him. Listen to me carefully. This is radical, what I'm about to say. In order to be reconciled to God, we must be as good as God. What? You see this? The dilemma is, "How can I reconcile with man and man's on a level, I can't restore man in this sin state. I can't restore man unless we deal with the sin nature, unless we deal with the unrighteous nature. I've got to restore man. Man's got to be righteous like I am righteous. Man's got to be sinless like I am sinless".
And so there's no way for us in our own ability to accomplish this. So Jesus was the substitute. And so God says, "I can do everything I want to do with man as far as restoring him back to friendship, but I'm now going to have to do it through Jesus. I'm now going to have to do it through Jesus". The only way that can happen is for the righteousness of God to be imputed unto us. God had to declare us righteous. You know, the Bible says something in Isaiah chapter 61 and 10. The Bible says in Isaiah 61 and 10, that he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness. And I often wonder, "Why did he cover me with the robe of righteousness"? 'Cause he cannot reconcile something that is not as good as he is.
And so, how does he do this? Now, I'm gonna say something, this is very, very radical, I'm gonna say it. God knew that there could be no reconciliation until there's, first of all, equality. He says, "How am I gonna reconcile man back to me? And he's not as good as I am, and he's not equal to me". And please don't get upset. I know that in our own self, we can never ever be equal to God. It can't happen. I know that a human being without Jesus Christ can never be equal with God. But see, here's the point. God said, "The only way I can make a man equal to me is that I've got to do it through Christ".
Now look at what Jesus was referred to in the book of Philippians chapter 2:6, turn there. In Philippians chapter 2:6, the key is, there is no reconciliation until there is equality. And he says of Jesus, "who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God". Woah! So God says, "Here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna bring Jesus in as the great equalizer. And everything I wanna do with man, I will do it through Jesus, because Jesus is righteous and Jesus is sinless and Jesus is perfect. So I can reconcile and restore friendship with man, but I have to do it through the man Christ Jesus, and he now represents mankind". And he now comes on the level where reconciliation with man is now possible. Jesus was the great equalizer for reconciliation.
Now take a deep breath. Think about everything I just said. Think about everything you just saw. And now let's bring it to our society, and bring it to where we are right now. The Webster's New International Dictionary defines reconcile like this: "to cause to be friendly again". It defines reconcile as "to restore to friendship". You heard me using that phrase throughout this explanation. It defines reconcile as "to bring back harmony," as to reconcile a person who has had a quarrel. And in this case, that whole sin thing came in. Now listen to me very carefully, please listen to me. For all of my ministry, I have believed that the first step towards good relationships between blacks and whites, I believe that it was reconciliation.
And often in my life in ministry, I would hear people say, you know, "Let's quit the fighting and just reconcile". And I understood that. And I'm not belittling reconciliation, but here, I've learned something from God. I've learned something from Jesus. I've learned something from this calling of reconciliation. I have since grown, and I have matured, and I have experienced enough in my life to know that the first step towards a good relationship between blacks and whites and other races is not going to be reconciliation. The first step is gonna have to be recognition of equality. It's the same first step that God had to deal with when it came to reconciling between God and humankind and mankind.
The first step has got to be, how do I bring about equality? And he said the only way he could do it was through Jesus. But now I've come to understand that the first step to reconciliation amongst whites and blacks and Hispanics and Asians, the first step is equality, to recognize equality. That if I'm gonna do this, if I'm gonna ever see the need for reconciliation, I've got to understand that there's no real reconciliation without equality.
Oh, listen to what I'm saying. I said to a group of folks, we were talking, and they were talking about "Black Lives Matters". And I understand, you know, black lives matter. Somebody else will say, "Well, white lives matters too". Well, of course, white lives matters. Asian lives matter. Everybody's lives matter. But it doesn't seem like, you know, one group mattered because of all of the inequality and injustice that was going on, okay? So I looked at that and I said, "Well, well, okay. I see what you're saying. But I think the real question, the real issue needs to be not so much as 'black lives matter,' as much as it should be, 'are black lives equal?'" Are black lives equal? Are Asian lives equal? The Native American, are their lives equal?
The first step, if you're ever gonna have a need for reconciliation, is the recognition of equality. Again, Philippians chapter 2:6, Jesus didn't count it light to be known as equal to be God. The verse Philippians 2:6: "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God". God had to resolve that issue before reconciliation could take place. And then, if you go to Galatians chapter 3:28, you see Jesus is the great equalizer. He's the great equalizer regardless of what color you are. He is the great equalizer, and we've got to get this right. We've gotta figure this out. You cannot spend all your life mad and full of hate, you can't! You gotta go forward! And even going forward, you're always gonna be somebody with hate, you're always gonna be somebody who's gonna give you a problem.
You may meet somebody your same color that's gonna give you a problem. But we got to go forward. We cannot allow our plight in life to cause us to develop a crutch where we just kinda sit back. And there's a will of God for you, there's a plan of God for you, there's success for you. And you can't get it full of hate and full of strife. We gotta figure out how this works, which is why I'm preaching this now. Galatians 3:28, Jesus is the great equalizer. He said, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ". He's the great equalizer. Whether you're a Jewish man, whether you're a Greek man, whether you're a white man, whether you're a black man, whether you're a Native American, he said Jesus is the great equalizer.
The first thing, the first thing I wanna address, because I'm addressing it from the place of the church. The first thing I wanna address is that we've got to do a better job of inviting people in to be reconciled unto God, because if they get in Jesus, they stand on equal ground. And it may be the only place in your life where you can stand on equal ground, but when you get in Jesus, you have equal ground. But if you're searching around and waiting for somebody else to give you equal ground, when Jesus has died and shed his blood so you can stand on equal ground, and now you see why there are those who are trying to talk people out of Jesus, and trying to use the color of a man's skin to try to talk you away from the only equal ground that you may have. Jesus, Jesus is the great equalizer.
Now let's address, on a natural level now, racism, which is something that's, you know, very interesting word. But look at Acts chapter 17, verse 26. I said it once and I'll say it again: having four or five different races, it's the biggest lie ever. There are people with different pigmentations and different colors, but talking about that a color is a race, that's incorrect, that's ignorant. A color is not a race. A color is not a race. You're not a different race 'cause you have a different color. That's been a very careful experiment that's put out before human beings, and we bought it. You're not a different race because you're a different color. You're one race that has a variety of colors. A Ford truck is not a different truck because it's a different color. It's still a Ford truck. A horse is not a different race because it is a different color. You still have a horse. God-doggit!
Can't we figure that out? Can't you figure out that if a horse is a horse regardless of the color, and a truck is a truck regardless of a color, God-doggit, can't you, listen, listen. Ford truck didn't become Chevrolet because it was a different color! You're humans! You're made of the same blood! And you keep referring to different races because they're different colors. Look at Acts chapter 17, verse 26. "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation". And according to the Word of God, we are one race. There is one race. It's the human race with the same blood.
Ford produces the Ford truck. All of the trucks have the same engine. God produced the human race, and all the humans have the same blood. Of one blood has he made all nations of men. One blood! There's equality right there. How are you going to say that I am a different race when I have the same blood? I got the same engine you got! I got the same blood you got! I'm not the black race. I'm the human race that's black. You're not the white race, you're the human race that's white. You're not the brown race, you're the human race that's brown. Get that in your head. Can't you see the division that has come? Because we bought the experiment to see what would happen if we could divide the human race by colors and then categorize them as one or different races. That's the biggest lie that's ever been purchased by mankind.
So in Acts 17:26, God is making it very clear that, like all other people, we as black people are equal with white people. We are equal with brown people. We are equal with everybody else! I thought it was pretty cool and all right for you to at least define yourself by the nation you come from. I mean, if you're from France, you're a Frenchman. If you're from Great Britain, you're British. If you're from America, born in America, you're an American. All right? French people come in different colors. Italians come in different colors. British people come in different colors. And Americans come in different colors. And Americans are made up of the Italians, the French, the British, the Africans, and everybody else that came. While they were in their land, they were referred to as Africans, and referred to as British, and referred to as Italians. But when they got here, in these United States of America, then no matter where they came from, they are now Americans of different colors.
I am an American! I was born in America. I dare you, take that away from me and say that I'm not an American because my pigmentation is a different color. If you wanna be honest, the original "Americans" were not white pigmentation, they were red. But European white folks came from Europe, settled and were born here, and they were called "Americans". We gotta get this thing right. We bought into an experiment that's caused the spirit of division, that's trying to distract and stop you from the destiny that God has called you to. And you can fight, and you can hate, and you can do everything you can do, and then when it's all over, you're no better than you were before until you can get ahold of equality.
I am equal with every man on the planet where blood is concerned. When I get born again in the church, I am equal with every person that's born again in Christ Jesus. Look at this. We already share equality. Whether you wanna admit it or not, I got the same blood. I guarantee if you were dying and I had your blood type, you'd take my blood. You'd take it then. You wouldn't care the color of the carrier because the blood's the same. Glory be to God of one blood, of one blood.
Now, Webster defines friend as "one who entertains for another's such sentiments of esteem, respect, and affection". A real friend has esteem, respect, and affection that he seeks in his society and welfare. So to reconcile means "to restore friendship". Reconciliation cannot work for black and white people until they have, first of all, deal with the issue of equality, because in this nation and in the church, we've never truly been friends, because we didn't settle the equality issue. And once the equality issue is settled, friendship can come. And then, if you have a problem with one another, reconciliation will work.
There is no reconciliation without equality! We saw that with when Jesus became the equalizer for God to reconcile with man. Take Jesus out of the equation, there is no reconciliation between God and man. There is none. There is no reconciliation without equality. First, we must be recognized as the equals we are in God's creation, along with every other racial and ethnic group. And once we have been recognized as equals, if we have a falling out, then the reconciliation will become valid, and the basics for reconciliation can be there.