I have written quite a bit about the need in the Body of Christ for a heart of restoration: for mercy to triumph over judgment, and about how all of God's people are continuously being restored to His original intent for mankind.
I'd like to expand that train of thought today, to address the actual ministry of reconciliation:
- what it is;
- why we need it;
- and the special promise it carries when we birth it in our churches.
What is the ministry of reconciliation?
The ministry of reconciliation is essential to God's strategy to bring His Body into alignment with His purposes. This ministry happens when you add up two components:
- Godly people who do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God; PLUS
- A humble understanding that all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory, and that we all need restoration back to God's original intent.
By adding those two things together, you get people–leaders and non-leaders–who are simply willing to be agents of God's heart on the earth. These people then abandon the evil desire for vengeance and retribution, and they start to minister God's heart to others. That is the ministry of reconciliation: when God's people walk in wisdom and use their authority to bring people back to God's original intent.
Why we need the ministry of reconciliation:
We need to minister reconciliation in our churches because it's the foundation of the Gospel. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Jesus came to earth as a man for the specific purpose of redeeming God's people back to His glory.
For too long, we have taken our delight in vengeance and gossip, rather than reconciliation. Like the soldiers at the foot of the cross, we have gambled for the garments of the fallen. That is sin, and it needs to be forgiven.
Since Jesus said that if we forgive the sins of others, the Father will also forgive their sins, let's stop right now and forgive the Church for every time it has walked in retribution, rather than reconciliation. Would you pray the following prayer with me?
Heavenly Father, in the Name of Jesus, I choose to forgive the sins of the Church for every time it has loved judgment instead of mercy. I choose to forgive the Church for every time it has walked in retribution, instead of reconciliation. I humbly ask that You would forgive us, Your Body, as well. Cover us with your goodness, mercy, and grace, and birth Your ministry of reconciliation in our hearts. In Jesus' Name, let it be done. Amen.
Now for the special promise God gives when we birth the ministry of reconciliation in our churches:
The weirdest thing happened a few years ago: God started to use me in deliverance ministry. This was weird, because I'm not a counselor. I'm an intercessor, but I had never had a desire to work in deliverance at all.
Nevertheless, He told me to work with someone. I had no idea what I was doing. I prayed in the Spirit the whole time and spoke what I heard Him say to me, and He did the work. He set someone free from bondage and oppression, and filled them with the Holy Spirit. This person was radically changed. It's the coolest thing.
But I was wondering why on earth God told me to do it. Our church has a huge encouragement and deliverance ministry–in which I am now involved, but I wasn't at the time. They counsel people all day every day, and they're great at it. I had never done it before. So why me?
Then I came across Isaiah 42:22:
But this is a people robbed and plundered; all of them are snared in holes, and they are hidden in prison houses; they are for prey, and no one delivers; for plunder, and no one says, ‘Restore!'”
They are FOR PREY, and no one delivers. They are for plunder, and no one says, “Restore!” Get it? This is huge; don't miss this:
Deliverance from bondage and the ministry of restoration are connected.
This thing struck me right between the eyes. I had been wondering why on earth Papa used me to help do the work of deliverance for this one person. I never connected it to anything else going on in my life. Yet, at the time, I had actually been praying about restoration for months, asking the Lord to birth His heart to restore in His people.
And I realized that the Lord had been hearing my prayer to restore His people, so He threw me into deliverance ministry. Deliverance from oppression and restoration are two sides of the same coin.
How is this a promise for our churches?
When we begin to operate in the ministry of reconciliation, ministering restoration to God's people, chains that have kept our churches and our people in bondage are going to fall off.
God's people have been robbed and plundered long enough. They have been in bondage long enough. When God's people stand up and cry “Restore” on behalf of the saints, God Himself is going to deliver us from oppression and bondage.
So let's birth the ministry of reconciliation in our churches. Let's cry out to the Lord for restoration.
Will you cry “Restore!” today?
Does this message speak to your heart today? If so, please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!