In June Bro Steve Robinson brought following exhortation,
As a job I work in finance and accounting. For those of you who do not know much about this work – it does involve quite a lot of judgement and what may even be called creativity.
One of statements about accountants is that an answer to any question they are asked is “it depends” – accountancy is not an exact sciences as we are trying to measure a business in terms of numbers and percentages which does involve some judgement – I promise! Actually most of life’s questions have this answer.
In the recent general election and we ask the question – who won. On one level the conservative party won – they are still in government – but on another level, they lost because there is now a “hung” parliament and they are now a minority party. They expected a landslide victory and did not get this.
The aim of the election, so the Prime Minister said, was to create a “strong and stable” government to negotiate Brexit and what has happened is that due to the political balance of power that now exists – this is far from the case. The conservative party, as we know, is in a minority and so now has to rely on the votes of another party (the DUP) in order to be sure that its legislation can be voted through.
We can also say they this for other and most questions. Is the weather good or bad – if it is fine and sunny – very good if you not a farmer who needs the rain for his crops. Hay -fever sufferers also.
In the recent super sprint at Blenheim where I managed a dismal third following the super stars – following the dynamic duo of Malcom and Tim, I can console myself of some of the splits and not actually being last. Anyhow – lessons learned and role on next year! Tim – do not worry I have not got the medal for being the highest placed Belgian! It depends how we look at things.
So there a many things where there is a range of answers or a range of ways we look at the outcomes. Politicians and truthfully – we also, are masterful for reading things in a way that best suits what they want to see.
BUT For us – there are some absolutes. We are here this morning because we acknowledge that we are in a state of sin, and so separated from God and the only way for us to be reconciled is through the grace offered to us through the sacrifice of our saviour Jesus Christ. His life and death – his sacrifice of love – has given us the opportunity of salvation through grace.
In the olden days – before electronic payments – one the of the basic tasks we would have would be to reconcile the number we were showing in the accounting records to the bank statements. The reconciling items would show items for one reason or another – were missing either from the books because the bank was showing them or vice versa where the bank had not recorded the transactions – which would be mainly from cheques which had been sent out but were not cleared on the bank statement.
Unrecorded bank payments and receipts, uncleared cheques and late receipts being the differences – and may be cheques left in the draw to be sent out to suppliers.
So for me as an accountant reconciliation is about comparing two values and then knowing what represented the differences between these values – or knowing what separates these two values. Then doing what is necessary entries to correct these – whatever adjustment is appropriate. If any
We have recognised that there is a difference between what He expects and what we actually deliver. We are sinful and God cannot accept sin. This is the basic truth of the Bible.
Could we turn to Exodus where the name of the Lord is revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai and chapter 34: 5-6 where we are reminded what the qualities of God are. As the LORD proclaims his name to Moses.
The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.
The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation,
The qualities of the Lord were those of love and forgiveness:
- Slow to anger
- Abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness
- But still a God of judgement.
These are basic differences between man’s and our natural ways and God’s ways. These – going back to my example – these are the reconciling differences between God and man. This is what separates us from God.
Although we have been saved by the grace given by the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ – we as his disciples and friends need also to aspire to these spiritual qualities.
Even though our nature means we cannot perfect these – we are of course unable to achieve salvation by works – we cannot earn our salvation.
But we are asked to we grow the qualities during our spiritual lives.
In this contest we remember the parable of the talent – and the expectations for disciples.
We all come this morning with different feelings and emotions:
- Feeling happy and excited
- Full of energy
- Maybe angry or hurt
- Lonely – as we thought about in last week’s Bible Time
- Needing encouragement.
The world has treated us very differently and we have the expression
“we all have our cross to bear”.
Yet we have come to this place to remember the absolute truth of who we are and how much we are need the salvation which has been shown to us when we share this bread and wine together. We have acknowledged that there is a separation between ourselves and God and we are here to remember how we can be reunited or reconciled, through the love shown to us in the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
How much we can truly live our life to the Lord and develop those divine characteristics will depend up the things in our life that can distract us.
In book Words and Weights by Brother Dennis Gillett we have a list of what he calls weights – or hindrances on the road to the kingdom. Using the metaphor of the race (or triathlon) we are running and how these weigh us down as we run this race.
- Disappointment – the condition of hope unrealised –yet we have a great hope
- Guilt – whatever we have done – we have forgiveness and hope. In this bread and wine
- Commitment – is our energy in the right place – are we doing enough for God?
- Resentment – do we feel that our service is not appreciated? We need more humility.
- Other people’s failure – has someone we looked up let us down? Our faith must be own.
- Doubt – we need to trust in Christ’s love
- Love – are we loving worldly things rather than our Lord Jesus Christ? Is out first love the gospel.
- Spiritual discrepancy – do we feel we are acting hypocritically given what we know to be right. Should we be seeking strength from confessing to God and one another this feeling?
- Fear – are we in fear of the judgements of God?
But God is on our side – the judge’s rules are designed for our success. We are not being tricked.
- Lack of understanding – wonderfully we are saved by grace – read and understand the word better.
- Spiritual stagnation – we should not be resting on our laurels – there is still a job to do. It is the new man that grows and the old man is being executed. Throughout our lives.
this should be out goal – to get to the finishing line.
- Worldliness – are there material things we are putting in front of our service? I John 2:15/17
- Lack of friendship
- Compromise – we live in a very tolerant world – is our separation as full as it should be?
We should not dilute the truth – there are absolutes – boundaries that cannot be crossed.
Are our lives really as holy or set apart as they should be?
We are all weighed down by some or all of these weights. We are also surrounded by our brethren and sisters who also have issues (or weights) to deal with and distract them from their walk to the kingdom.
We pray that we might recognise this in ourselves and also for help from God. But also – out of love, as should also be compelled to help our fellow brethren and sisters should they struggle and even if they are not struggling.
Brother Dennis also mentions another potential weight – which he calls “besetting sin” what is this?
He refers to this as that described in Hebrews 12:1 – the sin which doth easily beset us” in the Authorized Version – the ESV translates this is the sin which is closest – or always with us. The one sin we are most likely to commit – the weak spot in our spiritual armour.
I think we probably know the things that diverts us from the our service to God – and the context of this verse which is after that great chapter 11.
Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (from Hebrews 11), let us cast aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely to us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith – who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
It is for us to examine what the sin or sins that are in our lives which clings closely to us.
Life is a battle against our own nature and we have to pray for strength, study as well as asking help from our brethren and sisters.
We took a reference from I John 2 a few moments ago and as we now turn to think of the emblems before us – I would like to take a few thoughts from this scripture.
Brother Colin mentioned this in his exhortation last week.
We have a great hope in I John 5:1-5
We mentioned earlier – God has not made our salvation impossible.
He is not trying to trick us – He wants us to be saved.
It is hard – sometime harder than others – and we need to pray for help as well has helping each other to run this race.
We remember this now – when we remember His Son. The love shown to us in his life and death, as we know, provides us that way of salvation.
We de need to examine ourselves and grow within us Christ’s character within – which should show the fruits of the spirit.
So at this time when we rededicate ourselves to his service and remember giving thanks for his life and death through the symbols of the bread and wine.
Romans 8 31/37
Another Colin reminded us on Wednesday of the humanity of Christ.
He will help us – he knows our nature – what we are.
He ran the race victoriously for our salvation by his love for us and his Father.
So we come now to remember His love shown to us in his life and death – the sacrifice of our saviour.
We know that this is the only way that leads to salvation for us – and for mankind.
We should acknowledge the differences that separate ourselves from God and we give thanks for this perfect service and life of love Jesus led – by remembering in the bread and wine what has been done for us.
We should also strive to live our lives modelled on his example and try and develop those qualities he showed by his example.
Those divine qualities of the nature of God – love, mercy, graciousness, truth and long suffering.
Exodus 34: 5/6,
I John 2: 15/17 – 5: 1/9,
Romans 8: 3/7
Find the bible quotes at: Bible readings to Reconciled and reconciliation terms very familiar to accountants
- She Came Last but the Crowd Cheered Loudly
- Reflections on Super Bowl LI
- Competition vs. Compassion
- Running the Race! Part 2
- Life Choice
- The Perfect Pace is the Perfect Place
- God’s Love For You
- Tough Lessons
- Exodus 2; Luke 5; Job 19; 1 Corinthians 6
- “To Die is Gain.”
- Peter – Anxiety and Fears
- How does Whiteness Separate us from God – Take Three
- How Whiteness Kills God & Sprinkles Crack on the Body (How Whiteness Separates us from God – Take Four)
- And the Award goes to…
- The Most Needed of Ministries
- Pursuing the Offender
- Exodus 22: Boundaries, Trust and Reconciliation
- Matthew 5:21-26
- Love the sinner, hate the sin
- Get over the wall!
- Agree in the Lord