Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Mike Novotny » Mike Novotny - How Do I Fix My Relationship With God

Mike Novotny - How Do I Fix My Relationship With God

Mike Novotny - How Do I Fix My Relationship With God
TOPICS: Relationships, Reconciliation

Today, I want you, and I want me to slow down just a bit, slow down our busy lives and open, not just our Bibles, but a dictionary as well so that we can read this holy book, this book that has the power to change everything about everything, and we, maybe for the first time, can understand the words that make up this word. Because if you can understand what it means that we are justified by the blood of Christ, that at the cross, you are redeemed from all of your sins, if you learn that the whole earth is full of God's glory and that our Father in heaven is indeed holy, holy, holy, these words can change you in all of the best ways. So, let's take a breath, let's slow down, let's push pause, and let's understand some of the best words in the word of God. As I thought about that big idea, I decided to start today with one of the most emotional words in the whole Bible, the word "reconcile".

Now, reconcile is a word that is packed, it's brimming and overflowing with emotion, and that's exactly what Google told me on page two. The other day I typed in "reconciled" or "reconciliation" into a Google search, and I clicked "return" and what came up, filling the first entire page? Bank statements. Yes, bank statements. How to reconcile your checkbook. How to reconcile your business's finances. How to reconcile the budget. Come on, if you're watching at home, nothing says, "This is going to be great". Like bank statements. But, but, but then I got to page two of the Google search, and I didn't find bank statements there, what I found was relationships. How do I reconcile with my son?

Five tips to reconciling a broken relationship. And I was reminded that when the Bible uses this word "reconcile" it comes brimming with emotion. It makes me think of a conversation I had less than 24 hours ago. I'm in the lobby at church and I meet this guy for the very first time, and I just got his first name, and then the rest of his story was about the separation. He and his wife had been going to counseling for a while and she had just told them that she wanted some time apart. There kids were involved, of course, and this guy who I barely knew, like, my heart just broke for him, for a man to be divided, to live apart, to not share the same bed. And he shared what he had been learning in counseling, but honestly, he knew, and I knew that there was no guarantee. Would they reconcile? Would the two of them get back together? What would his life look like? What would hers? What about the kids if they couldn't? And how good would it be if they could?

If they were blessed with reconciliation, if the counseling worked, if they could confess to each other and forgive each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, serve each other in mutual submission, how good could that family be? How blessed could those children be? When I thought of his story, I thought of this word, "Reconcile". And some of you don't have to think hard to feel that emotion. Maybe you can remember, as a kid, lying in your bed, hearing mom and dad raised voices, and what you prayed with passion, what you prayed so often. Even if as a little kid you didn't know the word was this, you sensed that mom was here and dad was here, and you just wanted more than anything in the world for this, reconciliation. Or maybe that's happened with a friend. You been through so much together, right?

You grow up together, and then you have the first big issue, you don't see eye to eye, you don't agree, and it's messy, and it's complicated, and tensions are high, and voices have been raised, and if you can't work it out, this long time friendship, it's done. But if you could. Man, if you could learn to be quick to listen and slow to speak, if you could put a check on your anger, if you'd be willing to forgive, if you'd still serve each other and move past it. How good is it, when you don't make friends and lose them, make friends and lose them, but when you stick together, when you learn to reconcile, I mean, that's the power, that's the emotion of this loaded and beautiful word. But as much as I would love to talk about all of that, as much as I would like to speak to those of you who have been separated from a spouse, a significant other, a father or a daughter, there is even something bigger than that, and it's the something the Bible talks about most.

It's not you and a husband, you and a wife, you and a boyfriend, you and a mother, you and a son, it's you and God. According to the prophet, Isaiah, sin separates people from God, that beautiful face to face relationship with a loving Father in heaven, it's broken, it's messed with, and so, the question is, can we reconcile with God? So, if you're ready at home, here's the first passage. In 2 Corinthians 5, the apostle, Paul, said this, "God reconciled us to himself through Christ". Just in case you're not smiling, let me read that again. "God reconciled us to himself through Christ". I mean, simple grammar lesson. Who is doing the reconciling? God. Who gets reconciled? Us. Does that seem crazy to you?

Think of it this way. If I sinned against my wife, if I took her for granted, if I stopped pursuing her, serving her, seeking her, loving her, if I had said some ugly things to her, if, you know, if I didn't come home, I was running around on her, what would it take for me to be reconciled to my wife? Me. Lots of me. If sin punished us apart and we were going to get back together and the sin was my fault, it would take me. I would have to work, and serve, and prove myself, right? I mean, come on, ladies, I would have to do a lot, and not just buy you flowers and some jewelry, I would have to make changes, say beautiful words, make promises and keep them, rebuild trust, I would have to do so much work because the damaged relationship was my fault. And I think of this passage again. God reconciled us, God does the work, but God didn't do anything wrong.

You know, most religions teach that if you break it, you buy it; if you mess up a relationship with the divine, you got to fix it; your karma is bad, the scales are off, you're a few commandments behind, you better buck up, make some changes, and live a different life, but this message, the good news of Christianity says this, that God reconciled us, God did the work. In crazy love, what Christians call Grace, God did everything so that you and he could be one again. How did he do it? Well, he didn't do it like I did this. I found this in my checkbook the other day. This is a very old transaction register. Now, if you do all your banking online like I do these days or on a phone app, you might not remember these, but those of you who are a little bit older do because this is where we used to reconcile our finances. I guess I ended up in a banking analogy, huh?

See, every time I'd write a check, I'd write it in the register, every time I'd swipe a debit card, I'd write it in the register, every time I got paid from work, I'd add it into the register, and in this column, I do all this math, and at the end of the month, the bank would send me a statement, and I had to check if they fit together, however, what often happened, at least with my finances, is that the two didn't reconcile. The numbers, for some reason, didn't fit. I might have gotten some numbers backwards, I might have forgotten a check, I might have missed a charge that I swiped, maybe I threw out the receipts and I forgot to record them, it didn't fit, the bank statement said A and this thing said B. So, do you know how I would reconcile the two? I would write, I think I have one here. I would write, "Error" and then just write in the new numbers. Fixed it! Like, "The bank and this doesn't fit? Alright, give me 30 seconds, I can reconcile this".

And if that seems financially irresponsible, and dishonest, and not exactly true, you'd be right. But I tell you that story because that's what a lot of people try to do with God. Like, maybe our conscience reminds us that we and God aren't exactly on the same page, right? Some of our years, some of our choices, some of our words haven't exactly been godly, there's some distance between us and the holy one of heaven, and so, how do we fix it? Well, lots of people think, "I don't know. I just do some good works, try harder, become a better person". Exactly, we just make up this stuff that God doesn't necessarily agree with, we just decide, "There, it's fixed". But listen, that is not how reconciliation works, it's better than that and it's truer than that, and if God is at the head of reconciliation, if he reconciled us to himself through Christ, then this is actually a solution God will agree with which is why I want to share a second passage with you.

In the Book of Ephesians 2, we find these words, "God's purpose was to reconcile us through the cross". How did God get back together with sinful people? Through the cross. He didn't just write in, "Error" and Jesus didn't just snap his fingers or send out a tweet. The way that people like you and a person like me gets back together with God is through the cross. The reasons that Christians sing about the cross and love this book that focuses on the cross, the reason that we have cross t-shirts, cross necklaces, cross tattoos is because we would have been eternally separated from God if it wasn't for the sacred, holy, beautiful, and bloody cross of Jesus Christ. Makes me think of a quote I just read.

I was reading a book about the human body which was called "The Body". That's a good title, huh? One chapter was about how blood works in your body, and the author said these words and as soon as I read them, I reached for my pen, highlighted, copied them down because here's what I learned. The author writes, quote, "We all know that blood carries oxygen to our cells, but it also does a whole lot more. Blood transports hormones, carries off waste, kills pathogens, signals our emotions, and helps regulate body temperature. By one estimate, a single drop of blood may contain 4,000 different types of molecules. That's why doctors are so fond of blood tests. Your blood is positively packed with information". Ooh, that last line got me. "Your blood is positively packed with information". And Jesus blood is positively packed with reconciliation. I mean, what right...

Come on, let's be real. What right does a guy like me have to be close to God? After all the stuff I've done as person, a friend, a son, a citizen, a neighbor, husband, a father, what right do I have to be in the same room as God? The answer is none, but the blood of Jesus, the blood of Jesus forgives me and brings me back to a Father in heaven. Right now, in this very moment, me, some random middle-aged guy, tall, scrawny, too cold, living in Wisconsin, I walk every step in the presence of God himself, because God reconciled us, me, through the blood. And you, you could give me a thousand reasons why God shouldn't listen to you, why he shouldn't be near you, why he should turn his back to you, why he should run away from you, and logically, you'd be right. Sin separates people from God, but... but the blood of Jesus is packed with power, the blood of the cross is packed with potential, the blood that he shed on that Good Friday is packed with reconciliation power.

So, you, in this very moment, you don't have to run, you don't have to catch God, you don't have to get back to him, you don't have to climb a ladder, you don't have to make improvements. In this very moment, your faith in the blood of Christ, you get to be with God. And I know we can't see him, but with the eyes of faith, we believe he is near, he is here, he is within me, he is beside me, he goes before me, he walks behind me, he's above me, and his strength is beneath me, God is everywhere in the space because sin hasn't pushed us apart, I am reconciled to God. Here's the last passage I want to share with you today. It comes from the apostle, Paul, again, in the book of Colossians where Paul said this, "But now God has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation".

Come on now. That is so good. If you are reconciled by Christ's body through death, God presents you. It's like he stands you right in his presence, and what are you like to him? "Holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation". That is so good. Listen, if you are not a Christian, you should become one. If that was the only promise in the whole Bible, "Holy in the sight of God". I mean, come on, if you spent one day with me, get me a soccer ball, a close game, and my competitiveness will prove that I am not the holy man. In your sight, I would not be holy, but if you're reconciled through the blood of Christ, you're holy in his sight. "Holy" means sinless, pure, set apart from everything ugly, disgusting, the blood of Jesus cleanses us so entirely, that's what we look like to God, and free from every blemish. You could probably list a thousand things that are wrong with your faith, your patience, your kindness, you know, you get bumped from an airline flight and just, faith goes out the window, and you're not impressive at the big presentation at your job, and you just get angry that fast, right?

There's all these moral blemishes to our character. I can think of mine, and I bet you can think of yours, but if Jesus reconciled you to God, you are without blemish and free from accusation. You might look in the mirror and accuse yourself, all your weaknesses, your faults, your flaws, the voice of the enemy, he accuses, our brothers and sisters, he accuses us, but this passage says that if you have been reconciled at the cross, you are free from accusation, you stand before God. He doesn't point a finger, he opens his arms, he smiles, he looks on you with favor, and that's what gives us peace. So, come on. I mean, if you thought reconciled was a dry dictionary word, the Bible wants to prove you wrong. Sin separated us, but through the blood of Christ we're brought back together and made beautiful in the sight of our heavenly Father. And now that you understand it, I hope you can apply it, and more than anything, I pray that you enjoy it.

So, where do we go from here? Let me leave you with three really, really quick thoughts, okay? Number one: if you're not a Christian, I plead with you, be reconciled to God. The apostle, Paul, in the biggest reconciliation chapter of the Bible says this, "God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. So, we implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God". Today could be the day where sin doesn't get in the way. Wherever you are, in a jail cell, in a nursing home, sitting on the couch in sweatpants, God could move into that place. It's through the blood of Jesus you become reconciled to him. Look to the cross, confess your sins to God above, trust in Jesus, and you will be reconciled forever and ever in his presence.

Second: if you are a Christian, but if you're one of those Christians that doesn't live with a lot of joy, if yore always thinking about what's going wrong and what's wrong with you, if you're kind of pessimistic, depressed, or negative, I have some homework for you. I want you to get a sticky note, and if you have to drive to the store to get one, that's okay, and I want you to write down the words of Colossians that say this, "God has reconciled you to present you holy in his sight". I want you to copy down that quote, I want you to stick it to your bathroom mirror, and I don't want you to touch that note until God lets it fall off.

And then, once it falls off, I want you to stick it where you put your toothbrushes, and I want you to read it, I want you to say it, and I want you to plant this beautiful truth in your heart. God has reconciled you, not them, you, and he presented you, not just him, not just her, you, "he presented you holy in his sight". Repeat it, remind yourself of it. God is not far away, he's not mad, he's not disappointed, and he is not distant. You have been reconciled and made holy by the blood of Jesus. And finally, some of you are listening here today, I know some of you are watching on TV, some of you will see this online, I'm not exactly sure when you will hear this message, but Paul would say this, "God has committed to us a message of reconciliation".

Just like me, you know someone who is distant from God, and so, what I'm asking you to do today is pray. The message I shared with you today, you don't even need all three passages, just one of them could be the good news that changes someone's forever. So pray. Pray that God would open the door, pray when someone is struggling in a relationship, they're trying to hold onto a friendship, his wife separated from him, her husband divorced. That is a perfect time to say, "But you know the best news, we never have to worry about that with God". And in that moment, when their hearts know how much reconciliation matters, tell them that there is a better version, an eternal version of a relationship with God that Jesus died on the cross to fix forever. God has committed to you the message of reconciliation, pray that the door would open that could share it. So, look to Jesus, trust in his cross, and you never have to wonder if you and God can work it out. Reconciled. What a word. Let's pray:

Father, I pray to you today without fear, without shame, without worry that maybe you're not listening or you're far away. You have made a promise, so many promises in your word, that you are right here, that there is nothing in all of creation, not life, not death, not angels, demons, there's nothing in all of creation that can separate us from the love that you have in Jesus Christ. Thank you, thank you, God, that this faith is not about us, it's about you. And yes, we want to do the right thing and we want to respond in obedient ways, but we know that our connection with you isn't based on that, it's based on your Son, and his blood, and his cross. Thank you. I hallow your name today, God. When I think of you and your name, it is hallowed, it's holy, it's not average or normal, it's wonderful, it provokes praise in my heart, because what other name has offered us blessings like this? I worship you today, God, and I pray that your Spirit would work to reconcile person after person and soul after soul in the name of Jesus Christ. God, I want to pray today for everyone who's separated, everyone who's listening as a husband or wife and they're not just sure if they can work it out, God, it would be such a gift to us if you would help, if kids wouldn't have to buy an extra toothbrush, if you could help us forgive, if what seems impossible for us to rebuild trust and intimacy. God, you can, so I pray for that reconciliation. But even more, God, a million times more. I pray for those that I know and love who are not quite reconciled to you, that they don't know Jesus yet. And so, give me courage, give us courage, heavenly Father, to embrace the ministry of reconciliation and preach this message with confidence and faith, knowing that it could change relationships forever. We love you, God, but we know that you loved us first, and we know that you love us infinitely more. We pray today in the name of the only one who can reconcile us to you, the name of Jesus Christ, in his name we pray. Amen.

Are you Human?:*