GOD'S SOLUTION TO ALIENATION
Our society has a Ph.D. in alienation. Every teenager and every adult know
what alienation is. Most of us have personal experience with alienation. Even though I
wish it were not so, too many preteens have experienced alienation. Stated simply,
alienation is the separation of two individuals or groups who have experienced
togetherness. In this sense, alienation produces the unfriendliness, the hostility, or the
indifference that separates two persons or two groups.
In the following, I used the most recent statistics available. In 1998, there were
1,135,000 divorces in the United States. In 1999, 27% [more than one in four] of the
children in the United States lived in a one parent home. Over half of the Americans
who are alive this morning will experience one or more step situations before they die.
Each day 1,300 new step-families are formed in this country. Of these families, two out
of three will divorce. Most divorced people remarry, and most remarriages involve
If we only consider family realities, most Americans experience alienation first
hand. Yet, alienation experiences certainly are not restricted to family situations. Have
you ever had a good friend who became an enemy?
- One of life's helpless feelings is the earnest desire to end alienation, and to be
unable to end it.
- Consider an adult, of any age in any situation, who desperately wants
alienation to end and reconciliation to begin, but cannot make it happen.
Consider an adult, of any age in any situation, who desperately wants
alienation to end and reconciliation to begin with God, but thinks it is
- This person's heart yearns for reconciliation.
- He or she make sincere efforts to reconcile, but every effort fails.
- He or she is confused because he or she does not understand why the
alienation happened or why reconciliation cannot happen.
- Or, he or she is grieved because he or she knows what caused the alienation
but cannot do anything about it.
If what you do is search for a way that you of yourself can "fix" your
relationship with God, you are right--there is nothing you can do.
- Do you remember an experience when you felt like a Mack truck hit you?
- You feel totally crushed.
- You do not know what hit you.
- You simply do not know what happened, but it was bad!
- Life's experiences can run over you like a eighteen-wheeler.
- Life's events can run over you with guilt, depression, despair, and grief.
- When they do, you can feel the separation from God.
- Your heart yearns for reconciliation.
- And you try to be "good enough" for association with God, but you cannot.
- You see your own flaws and failures, and you grieve--there is nothing you
can do to change the past and "make it right."
- You of yourself cannot destroy the alienation.
- You of yourself cannot create reconciliation.
- You of yourself never can associate with God because you are "good
- If what you are trying to do is deserve relationship with God, it cannot
Let's play a game of questions and answers.
- Question # 1: What was God's basic objective in sending Jesus to this
Question # 2: What is a Savior?
- Answer: "God's objective was to give the world a Savior."
- Most of us agree God's basic objective was to give the world a Savior.
Question # 3: How do people learn about this Savior?
- Answer: "A Savior rescues us from a situation that will destroy us."
- Most of us agree that a Savior rescues us from destructive situations.
Question # 4: What is the "gospel"?
- Answer: "People learn about the Savior by hearing the 'gospel.'"
- Most of us agree that people learn about the Savior by hearing the gospel.
Question # 5: What is the "good news"?
- Answer: "The 'gospel' is the 'good news.'"
- Most of us understand that "gospel" means "good news."
Just how much did God want to reconcile us to Him?
- I do not want to try to answer that question.
- In the claim of "preaching the gospel" the religious world has shared every
attitude and perspective imaginable, and so have we.
- "Paul, why don't you help us understand what the good news is?"
Colossians 1:19-22 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in
[Jesus], and through [Jesus] to reconcile all things to Himself, having made
peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or
things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind,
engaged in evil deeds, yet [Jesus] has now reconciled you in His fleshly body
through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond
- God the Father's pleasure was for the divine fullness to live in Jesus.
- God the Father's pleasure was to reconcile everything to Himself through
- God the Father's pleasure was to make peace through the blood of
- The Christians at Colossae needed to understand before they were
Christians their evil deeds alienated them from God.
- But, Jesus died on the cross to reconcile them to God.
- Jesus made it possible for people to stand before God as holy, blameless
people who were beyond reproach.
- Christians can stand before God as holy and blameless because Jesus
reconciled them to God.
- What is the good news? In Jesus, we are reconciled to God.
Romans 5:10,11 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the
death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through
whom we have now received the reconciliation.
- Paul told the Christians at Rome that God paid the full price for
everyone's reconciliation while people were still enemies, still alienated
- If God by choice paid the price of reconciliation while people were His
enemies, God will do much more than that by saving us in Jesus' new life.
- So God is the Christian's greatest, highest joy. Why? Jesus Christ ended
the alienation and reconciled us to God.
2 Corinthians 5:18-21 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself
through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in
Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and
He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for
Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of
Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
- You never wanted anything as much as God wants to reconcile us to Himself.
- Think of something you want and have wanted above everything else, and
realize God wants reconciliation with you more.
- What God did in Christ was reconcile the world to himself.
- God gave Paul and his mission companions the ministry of
reconciliation--God wanted them to inform everyone that God paid the price
- God did not use Christ to take an accurate count of people's sins.
- God used Christ to destroy sin so we could have reconciliation.
- God wanted reconciliation so much that He made Jesus sin for us so we
might become God's righteousness in Jesus.
So, how do people react to that good news? Different people react in different
- Some people react by declaring that is totally useless information
Some people react by declaring, "I do not need reconciliation because I am
basically a good person. Evil is not and never has been a problem in my
- In fact, they say it is not even information.
- To them there is no God, no good, no evil, no right, no wrong, no alienation,
and no reconciliation.
- To them, religion is useless and Christianity is "bad news."
Some people react by acknowledging that guilt, despair, and depression
are major problems.
- "There are no absolutes; nothing is always good or bad."
- "Every consideration of good and evil is relative."
- "God is not upset with me--everything between God and me is cool."
- "God wants me to be happy, and that is what life is all about--me being
Some react by saying, "I do not need reconciliation nor an understanding
- Many of these people try to "fix" problems on their own.
- They try to be good and do right, but the harder they try the deeper the guilt
and despair become.
- Peace is not an option in their lives.
- They are convinced God would never look at them; their situation is
Where are you? What is your reaction?
- "God is obligated to take care of me."
- "I did what He said I must do."
- "God owes me."
- "Because God owes me, reconciliation is not an issue for me."
I conclude the following scripture I want to share with you is Paul writing
Please read and listen.
- Paul had the whole range of experiences: keeper of the law, expert in the
scriptures, religious persecutor, guilt's devastation, dependence on the
grace of God.
- Hear the despair.
- Hear the solution.
Romans 7:18-8:2 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the
willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do
not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do
not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the
principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur
with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my
body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of
sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the
body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the
one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my
flesh the law of sin. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ
Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of
sin and of death.
- The despair: human effort cannot make a person pure. Our mistakes
always condemn us.
- The solution: there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
[Prayer: God, help us accept and trust reconciliation in Jesus Christ.]
Are you alienated from God? Or, do you live in peace because you live in God's
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 25 February 2001
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