GOD CAN REBUILD THE THINGS WE HAVE CORRUPTED AND DESTROYED
A SERMON DELIVERED AT
THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
HUDSON, NEW YORK
18 June 2000
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
2 Corinthians 5:14-20
God can renew and rebuild the things that we have corrupted and destroyed.
He can do this within our own lives and even for a whole nation, as He did with Israel.
In the History of the World, no other destroyed nation has ever come back to life as did the State of Israel, and this has happened twice in her life.
The first time was between 2,500 and 2,600 years ago, when Israel so turned away from God, that He allowed the nations of Assyria. and Babylon to take the people away, but God restored Israel 70 years after the Babylonian captivity.
And the last time Israel was destroyed was in the year 70 when the Romans destroyed Israel, and by the grace of God, Israel was restored in 1948, which I believe is the first great sign of the pending return of Jesus Christ.
And we need to ask ourselves whether we are ready for Jesus' return, or whether He just might leave us behind when the trumpet sounds.
Where is our heart with the Lord Jesus Christ?
It should be wholly committed to Him.
Nothing in our lives should be more important.
Listen to the words of God through the prophet Ezekiel as recorded in 17:22-24.
22 "'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain.
23 On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches.
24 All the trees of the field will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. "'I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.'"
A physical nation cannot corrupt itself any more than a physical church can corrupt itself.
Corruption comes from and through the evilness contained in the heart of individual people, and from those who follow after them.
Just as God said that He would bring down the tall trees, so He removed the corrupt leaders of Israel.
But the Lord found a soft heart in some of the children of Israel, who are represented by the tender sprigs, and from them, God could once again build a nation of His people.
And He can do the same thing with the people of this community.
Thus, we need to ask ourselves if we have such a tender heart; one that will allow the Lord to bring forth His mighty work of renewal in this place.
Listen to the words of Jesus as He explains this in a similar way in Mark 4:26-32:
26 He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.
27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.
28 All by itself the soil produces grain-- first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.
29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."
The seeds that are scattered are examples of the people of God, who grow in the light of the Lord, who grow even when the darkness of evil over-shadows them as the night, and who mature into the fullness of His Word.
These are the people in whom is seen the presence of God, and in whom is the promise of heaven to come.
These are the people who are truly Christians.
And each good seed is to produce more good seed, just like the grains of wheat on the stalk.
One seed is planted, but many are produced.
Thus, we need to ask ourselves, "What kind of seed are we?"
Are we going to make a positive difference in this world?
Are we going to multiply the goodness of God?
Are we going to produce abundant love in the presence of fear, hatred and violence?
Are we willing to overcome evil with good?
30 Again He said, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?
31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground.
32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."
Some of us may think we are small and unimportant, but that is just the kind of person whom God builds up into a mighty tree of life.
But God will only do this if we are willing.
Each and every one of us, by the grace of God, could and should bring the kingdom of heaven to this place that others would seek the Lord's love and peace in the branches we extend to them.
And if any of us think that we are too old to do this, remember that God was able to have Sarah give birth to Isaac when she was 90 years old.
God can do anything if we believe and are willing to do what He desires of us.
Jesus Christ gave us the power to do this, if we are willing.
Or, are we afraid to accept this challenge?
If we are Christians, we shouldn't be.
Listen to what Paul told the Corinthians in his second letter 5:14-20.
14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one [Jesus Christ] died for all, and therefore all died.
We who believe in Jesus Christ are to die to our sinful ways; we are to nail our sins upon the cross.
15 And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
This is our rebirth!
This is how God sanctifies us in love to make us holy and acceptable to Him.
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
19 that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
He gave all of us this ministry that we may offer it to others.
20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
God desires to restore within us the things that sin and evil intent have corrupted and destroyed.
He wants to rebuild and renovate us into the Christians He desires us to be.
These restored Christians are to be loving peacemakers.
They don't buy their children and grandchildren violent video games or guns and other such weapons, even if they are only considered to be toys, for they teach our children to kill, and that killing is acceptable.
Instead, they teach their children and grandchildren to love God and one another and all the other creatures of God's creation, and to protect the environment.
We are to make peacemakers and not warriors of our children.
Remember what Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:9; "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons [and daughters] of God.
And each and every one of us is being called by God into His service to do at least this and hopefully much more.
Let us pray...
Your Comments are welcome
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